The case against spanking your children: Study finds it can lead to mental illness

Think spanking will make your child behave?

In fact, a new study discovered that children who receive spankings are more likely to be anti-social, aggressive and suffer from mental health and cognitive difficulties.

The study by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan finds the more a child gets spanked — defined by an open hand on the backside — the more likely they were to defy their parents. Their study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, analyzed five decades of spanking research representing around 160,000 children, according to the news site Mic.com, a website geared towards millennials.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” Gershoff said. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”

Spanking of children is still a popular mode of discipline in households. A 2013 poll found that 81% of Americans “say parents spanking their children is sometimes appropriate,” according to NBC News.

“We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline,” Gershoff said.

To read the whole Mic.com story click here.

Beach horror: Can sandcastles make your kids sick?

Is there anything more wholesome than children building sandcastles on an American beach?

Guess again, vacationers. The Environmental Protection Agency and pediatricians have issued warnings that beach sand can contain pollutant and bacteria especially harmful to children.

The Palm Beach Post’s news partner, Channel 5, WPTV noted that beaches are occasionally closed because of poor water quality.

A study five years ago among some 5,000 beach visitors, found that those who dug in the most contaminated sand were twice as likely to fall ill with diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach aches.

And it came from the deep. EPA and health officials warn building sand castles can be dangerous to your child’s health. No kidding. (Photo by Suzanne LaGasa via Creative Commons.)

Those who had been buried in the sand showed an even greater tendency to get sick.

Brittany Schiro said she lives close to Galveston, Texas, but comes to Clearwater in Florida with her family for cleaner beaches.

“We have a lot of problems in the water, bacterial stuff going on there,” says Schiro, who lives close to Galveston, Texas.

So what can bad sand do to you? Symptoms can range from gastrointestinal illness to severe rashes.

Sand pollution is highest after heavy rains. Doctors urge parents to use sanitizer on tiny hands.

Schiro said there are limits to being the ever-cautious parent.

“You gotta let them be children, right?” she said.

(Featured image by Richard Leeming via Creative Commons)

Study: Infants should sleep in own room, not with parents

A new study is encouraging parents of babies to put them to sleep in their own room, finding they sleep on average of 40 minutes more a night by nine months of age than their counterparts sharing a room with at least one parent.

American Academy of Pediatrics surveyed 30 first-time mothers at Penn State to come to the conclusion.

“We know from prior research that babies experience brief awakenings overnight regardless of where they sleep,” said lead study author Dr. Ian Paul, chief of academic general pediatrics at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in Hershey.

The findings could be a controversial, though. They fly in the face of latest guidance of the very group doing the study which recommended parents share a room — but not a bed — with their infants for at least the first six months.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/J.K. Califf.

“Our research suggests that parents respond to these brief awakenings, which interrupts both parent and child sleep when they are room-sharing, but not as much when the baby is sleeping in a separate room,” Paul told Reuters.

“This could set up a cycle where parents respond to the infant and then the infant grows to expect a parent response in order to get back to sleep.”

The guidelines to keep baby closer were meant to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, which may occur while an infant is sleeping.

But the practice of having babies sleep in their own room might actually be safer. Infants were more than twice as likely to have unsafe objects around them like blankets or pillows that increase the risk of sleep-related deaths, the study found.

 To read the whole Reuters story click here.

Could disabled children be collateral damage in education bill fight?

The Florida’s Legislature secret effort to steer more money to private charter schools, virtual education and home schooling have resulted in political heat on Gov. Rick Scott to veto the sweeping education bill.

But could disabled children be collateral damage?

The Associated Press reports that tucked in the 300-pages of HB 7069 is $30 million for the Gardiner Scholarship Program that provides tuition, therapy and other services to roughly 8,000 disabled students. By all accounts, it’s a wonderful program that helps autistic and other disabled children.

Gov. Rick Scott

But Scott is under pressure to reject the bill by school superintendents, the state’s teacher union, parent-teacher groups and Democrats. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the leading Republican candidate for governor in 2018, called the legislation a “train wreck.”

GOP lawmakers wrote the bill largely in secret to steer away money from public education. Scott has not indicated what he will do.

Sen. Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat opposed to the bill, told The AP that legislative leaders crafted the legislation to include the disabled scholarship program in order to make it harder for Scott to veto the bill.

“I was deeply disturbed that (the families of disabled children) were hijacked and used as pawns to mollify opposition to an otherwise bad bill,” Farmer said.

Barbara Beasley, whose 9-year-old daughter receives a Gardiner scholarship, told the AP that lawmakers need to separate out the scholarship program.

“I beg Gov. Scott to order lawmakers back to session to fix their mistakes, separate these items from the bad and push them through,” Beasley said.

To read the full AP story click here.

(Feature image by Christos Doulkeridis through Creative Commons)

Advocates: Disabled take huge hit under GOP health reform

Advocates for the disabled say the House Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act seriously threatens some of the most vulnerable Americans.

The website DisabilityScoop reports that advocates say the bill threatens home- and community-based services and other supports that people with developmental disabilities rely upon.

Photo: Joshua Zader/Creative Commons

“The American Health Care Act shows callous and dangerous disregard for the well-being of people with disabilities and their families and erases decades of progress,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc, an organization that service people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

The House passed the bill 217 to 213, allowing President Donald Trump and Republicans to do a victory lap that they had finally succeeded in destroying Obamacare. The measure though was roundly criticized by doctors, hospital and senior groups. It must still pass the U.S. Senate, which gave it a lukewarm response and promised to address its more draconian measures.

While the disabled take a hit, the most wealthiest Americans are big winners with the new legislation as it delivers a big tax cut the would redistribute billions of dollars to the upper tier.

 

How does it hurt the disabled? The many groups who represent them say the bill would institute a per capita cap for Medicaid. This means the federal government would offer a fixed amount of money for each beneficiary.

“These huge cuts and caps will likely put pressure on states to cut home- and community-based waiver services, especially those that are ‘optional,’ like personal care services and therapies,” said Kim Musheno, chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a coalition of disability advocacy groups.

Schools also would be affected by the Medicaid shift because they are currently able to seek reimbursement for a variety of services provided to disabled children to a tune of $4 billion annually. That means money to reimburse schools for speech and occupational therapy, specialized playground equipment, and even wheelchairs is now in jeopardy.

Advocates for the disabled say House Republicans would allow states to no longer consider schools as eligible Medicaid providers.

To read all of the story by DisabilityScoop click here.

 

CDC: Type 2 diabetes increasing with tweens, teens

Our fast-food nation is taking a toll on our children.

Type 2 diabetes was once considered a disease mostly confined to the adult population, but the CDC says it is now firmly established in the teen and tween populations in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says in New England Journal of Medicine the increase in type 2 diabetes corresponds with the increase in childhood obesity, which has tripled since the 1970s.

Photo: Health Aiken, Creative Commons.

The study, funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, found that type 2 diagnosed cases increased by 4.8 percent between from 2002 to 2012.

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of the disease in youngsters where the pancreas produces no or too little insulin, a hormone that allows sugar to enter cells to produce energy.

Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes. It is characterized by high blood sugar and insulin resistance and is thought to be brought on a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. Extra body fat makes it hard for cells to use insulin.

Those who have diabetes often have to take insulin shots to regulate their blood sugar. The disease also costs an average of $13,700 per year.

In 2012, The American Diabetes Association estimated the total costs of diagnosed diabetes was $245 — a 41 percent increase over a five-year period.

This figure represented a 41 percent increase over a five-year period.

To read more about the latest report, click here to read a Los Angeles Times report that delved into all the study’s findings.

Injecting insulin. Photo: Tess Watson, Creative Commons.

 

 

Moving on up: Palm Beach County now the 8th healthiest in the state

Palm Beach County got it’s annual physical and the news was good.

Diverse and with a population of 1.4 million, Palm Beach County moved up to No. 8. It has moved up one slot each of the last two years and health officials say it shows that wellness programs by the Department of Health are working.

All the other counties ahead of them have far less population.

The  2017 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to give a snapshot of health across the country.

The researchers look at physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

“These rankings are a testament to the hard work and commitment our community partners have toward assuring a healthy community,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, Director, Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County.

Dr. Alina Alonso, director of Department of Health in Palm Beach County, has gotten healthier as well in the last few years.

Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Healthcare Foundation, said programs such as Let’s Move, Diabetes Month and Healthier Together have paid off with healthier citizens.

He pointed to Joshua Timmer, a 14-year-old from St. Ann’s Catholic School in downtown West Palm Beach who took it upon himself to bring the Let’s Move program — a Palm Healthcare initiative – to his classmates. The program encourages 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day to combat obesity.

Joshua told The Palm Beach Post’s for a story earlier this month that he wanted to get kids moving who play a lot of video games.

On Wednesday, Joshua said between classes he was thrilled with the county’s ranking but wants to get people moving around the world.

He said it wasn’t easy putting down the video games at first.

“It was a hard change,” he said. “At the beginning, I wanted to play more video games, but then I realized I got stuff to do and I need to do more stuff outside.”

These days he plays basketball with his sibling and golf. “I do at least 30 minutes outside every day,” he said.

McNamara said it was Timmer and residents like him that moved the needle for Palm Beach County in the right direction.

“He was just an example of a resident taking it upon himself to be part of the solution,” he said. “One of the affirming things for us is that we are seeing growing numbers like him.”

Timmons is not alone. Andrea Bruton, the owner of SkyeHigh Fitness, leads an exercise program for older women in the black community in Delray Beach.

“Let’s Move has already made such a positive difference, such as bringing people and communities together–groups that would never otherwise mingle and building great rapport between the community and law enforcement,” she said.

The program gets companies, schools, colleges, non-profits, local community groups, families, to organize a team whose members log the minutes they have “moved” and compete against each.

Let’s Move is held each March for the entire month.

So let’s look at the numbers of the county’s annual checkup.

We got good numbers in the category of “health behavior” be it smoking tobacco or drinking excessively, ranking third among all Florida’s 67 counties. We landed in the top 10 in Life Expectancy (9) and Clinical Care (9).

Palm Beach County did get seem dings. It ranked 19th in Social and Economic Factors, such as income inequality and violent crime. It also ranked 32nd in “Physical Environment” that measures everything from pollution to driving alone to work.

We are lonely commuters, it appears.

Dr. Anthony N. Dardano, the vice president for Medical and Academic Affairs at Delray Medical Center.

The hospitals see it from a different perspective. They see a community benefiting greatly from the Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University which spins out doctors in training to five hospitals.

“It is kind of known fact whenever you have academic institution affiliated with a hospital provider that elevates the level care,” said Dr. Anthony N. Dardano, the vice president for Medical and Academic Affairs at Delray Medical Center.

He also said that increase the quality of care and cutting-edge medical care are due to the elderly population.

So next time you shake your fist at a senior maybe driving too slow think that he or she is to thank for heart surgery techniques not available in other counties and a host of other specialties that are available when it comes to treating cancer and brain disorders.

“The average age of a patient at Delray Medical Center is in the 80s,” Dardano said. “They are sicker people and in order to keep up we have developed state of the art techniques and have recruited physicians who can do all these specialties.”

 

Family: Teen suicides evidence of failure of privatized foster care

A lawyer representing the biological family of a teenager in foster care who broadcast her suicide on Facebook live says the tragic death is just the latest evidence that the state’s move to privatize foster care is not working.

WLRN-FM reports the death of 14-year-old Naika Venant in January was the second teen suicide in a Miami Gardens foster care home overseen by the agency Our Kids in the two months. In December, 16-year-old Lauryn Martin hanged herself with a scarf in her room at the Florida Keys Children’s Shelter on Plantation Key.

Howard Talenfeld, a lawyer representing Naika Venant’s biological family, said it is the Department of Children and Families that gives the job to a contractor like Our Kids.

Naika Venant on Facebook

 

“We’re seeing kids that just aren’t in the right kinds of placements, don’t receive the right kinds of services. In her case, she wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the internet,” he said in a story published by Health News Florida.

The Department of Children and Families contract out cases with management agencies, such as Our Kids.

“We’re trying to get at the truth. Until we know what the truth is, we couldn’t even begin to try to determine what’s appropriate,” he said

Lauryn Martin, courtesy of family.

Talenfeld says it’s been 40 days since his firm requested relevant records from DCF and Our Kids, and it hasn’t gotten anything yet.

“We’re hopeful that this kind of information becomes available very soon so that the Florida Legislature can hear more than the fact that ‘this kid was just a kid we couldn’t help,” he said.

Representatives of DCF and Our Kids did not respond immediately to requests for comment, WLRN reported.

Venant was a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, bouncing in and out of state care since 2009 – 10 just since April of last year until her death She hanged herself from a shower stall while about 1,000 people watched on Facebook, many of them taunting her, according to the Miami Herald.

At a news conference in January, Naika’s mother, Gina Alexis, said: “I am sick and devastated. I have trusted Florida foster care people to care for my baby. Instead, she kills herself on Facebook.

Ill Iranian boy can’t get to West Palm Beach for treatment after Trump’s ban

Nearly three years ago, President  Donald Trump posted on Facebook photos of himself with two children at Mar-a-Lago. The little children were patients of The Paley Orthopedic and Spine Institute in West Palm Beach. Both sported high-tech braces on their legs.

“We love helping the kids — nothing is more important,” Trump said in the post.

Yet, swept up in the wake of Trump’s immigration travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries are children trying to get into the United States for life-and-death medical care.

A 4-month-old Iranian girl needing heart surgery was temporarily banned from traveling to Oregon for surgery.

Now, there is a 12-year-old patient of the Paley Institute who is in limbo in Iran. He also seems to be caught up in hospital politics for the institute. which is on the campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center, owned by Tenet Healthcare.

Tenet does not want the story about Mohammad Aref Zarezadeh out even when his delay may have nothing to do with Trump’s controversial travel ban that has been delayed by the courts.

Paley wrote to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office on Friday, saying the boy has a serious birth defect of congenital femoral deficiency.

Currently, the boy has a leg lengthening device with external pins going through skin and bone. He was scheduled for surgery on Feb. 16 and any delay in removing the device could cause infection.

“We were waiting for them to get a visa when this most recent ban was announced last week,” Paley wrote to two aides in the Democratic senator’s office.

Sources in Washington told The Palm Beach Post that visas for the boy and his mother were delayed because some of the problems with the documents the family submitted.

Whether the travel ban did play a role in the boy’s delay remains a mystery. Mother and son have traveled on medical visas in the past for treatment and surgery by Dr. Dror Paley.

Paley also reached out to U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach.

The Post received information that Tenet’s lobbyists were in contact with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

In an e-mail to Dr. Paley, the father of boy — Ali Zarezdeh — said the family had an interview in Dubai on Nov. 13.

“Exactly, when we sent the passports (Aref and his mother) to stamping the visa by agency, the ban was announced,” the father wrote on Friday. “Unfortunately, three days ago their passports returned without visa.”

Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order halted all refugee admissions for 120 days and imposed a 90-day ban on visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.  A federal judge has temporarily frozen all enforcement of the order’s key parts.

The quandary for his patient may have left Dr. Paley in the awkward position of taking on Trump in the name of his patient. Paley is renowned for his leg-lengthening techniques. In many instances, he is able to save the limb of a child that would have otherwise been amputated.

In that same 2013 posting on Facebook, Paley sits next to Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, the former presidential candidate who is now Trump’s  secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In December 2013,  a fundraiser was held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago that benefited The Paley Institute and Carson Scholar Fund.

Paley responded to an e-mail by The Post inquiring about Aref by asking the newspaper not to report on his patient but he would not say why. “I think we are making headway through some connections via some of our legislators. I am awaiting to hear if the family gets a visa,” he wrote.

In an e-mail obtained by The Post, a Tenet spokesman tells the boy’s mother, Azadeh, not to speak to the press.

“We understand that a reporter from a newspaper in Florida, The Palm Beach Post, has learned about your situation,” writes Dan Waldmann, senior vice president for public affairs for Tenet.

“We do not believe it would be beneficial for Aref’s story to be published in the media before the visas have received and he is in the United States.”

He tells the mother if she is contacted by anyone in the media to not respond and to let Tenet know immediately.

The mother did respond, though, to The Post, saying in an e-mail that she had sent passports for herself and her son to Dubai for a stamping visa two days ago.

“The agency told us the process will take 10 to 15 days,” Zarezadeh “Our main problem is the visa and how responsive will be the staffs of Dubai embassy.”

081111 (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post) West Palm Beach - Towards the end of the surgery, a fixator is assembled on the newly lengthened leg of Demi Reilly at the Paley Advanced Limb Lengthening Institute at at St. Mary's Medical Center Thursday.
A  fixator –similar to the one on the leg of Mohammed Aref Zarezadeh  — is shown in a photo by Post photographer Richard Graulich at The Paley Institute.

Waldmann told the family in his e-mail that Tenet is working on expediting the process but there are no guarantees.

“There are a large number of individual cases for which special assistance is being requested, many of which are being handled by the embassy in Dubai,” he said. “As a result, I can’t provide any assurance that we will be able to get the expedited handling, but we will try.”

Time is ticking for Aref, though.

In a December e-mail to Paley from his father, Ali, he said “Aref has some pain and discharge around his pins. What should he do?”

Trauma Drama: Tenet, HCA fighting over providing critical care

The hospital wars — readily apparent on practically every other billboard down the interstate — has now bled over into trauma with accusations that expansion by a competitor into the area threatens “the entire care system in our country.”

The fight pits two giants against each other: Tenet Healthcare and HCA Healthcare and puts taxpayers in the middle as the whole system is administered by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County.

Currently, the county’s state-designated Level 1 trauma centers are St. Mary’s Medical Center and Delray Medical Center.

Trauma centers handle the most extreme cases of emergencies, such as car accidents,  gunshot wounds. Life and death hang in the balance with each case that comes through the doors.

TraumaHawk
Tenet and HCA healthcare companies are squaring off over which hospitals will provide trauma in the county.

The current trauma drama stems from Tenet competitor JFK Medical Center in Atlanta filing a letter of intent with the Department of Health on Sept. 30 to upgrade its trauma care services to Level 2 that would cater only to adults.

It is a first step in formerly submitting an application next year.

In a letter sent out today by Mark Bryan and Gabrielle Finley-Hazle – the CEOs of St. Mary’s Medical Center and Delray Medical Center respectively – the Tenet hospitals excoriate the competitor’s plan, saying it would undercut a system in place for 25 years.

“There will be a lack of qualified trauma surgeons to cover an excess center and decrease trauma center staff proficiency,” the letter states.

In the letter addressed to its board members, the community, employees and doctors, the CEOs say that the proposal goes against the five-year plan approved and submitted to the Department of Health and the Health Care District.

The district is an independent taxing district that operates Trauma Hawk and provides a health care safety net for the county.

122611 (Alyssa Orr/The Palm Beach Post) Atlantis--JFK Medical Center off of South Congress Avenue in Atlantis.
.

The letter states since JFK is only offering adult trauma services it means if a tragic event occurs involving an entire family, then parents and children will be split up.

The Post plans on interviewing all players in this trauma drama and will update this story as warranted.

Whether its heart surgery or maternity, hospitals are very aggressive in vying for patients in the county.

St. Mary’s closed down its pediatric heart surgery unit last year following criticism that is now being leveled at JFK’s trauma plan: that the program diluted the number of patients and undercut the proficiency of existing programs in South Florida.

In the letter, the Tenet hospitals point to an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times into how HCA is targeting trauma for profit, charging exorbitant fees that pale in comparison to competitors.

“HCA is capitalizing on a marketplace that is unchecked by politicians or regulators. That has allowed one of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chains to bill injured patients record fees,” according to the March 2014 story.