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Autism, Measles, Bingeing, Blues, Bad Sleep, and Lunchroom Volunteers: Thank God It's Monday

Posted May 24 2010 9:36am
The kiddies back in school, sit back, sip on something and take a quick look at some new discoveries from the past week...that yes, I couldn't get around to until this week - until the house quieted down again, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, THANK GOD IT's MONDAY!!!. 

This is the kind of thing we don't often think about....young infants aren't protected against measles from two to three months until they're vaccinated at twelve months.  Doesn't seem to matter much to the little darlings if mom was vaccinated or naturally immune (i.e. had measles).  Any antibodies they get from her disappear by then.  News would be only fodder for small talk at pediatric conventions if we weren't seeing measle outbreaks in some communities.  And no, breastfed kids are not more immune.

A newish binge eating disorder has been linked to childhood sexual and emotional abuse.  A Canadian study suggests the link to Binge Eating Disorder (uncontrollable binges about once a week) arises from self-criticism following the abuse that then leads to body dissatisfaction and depression and the enormous volume of food.   And no, not an extra helping of mocha chip but an entire day or two in one sitting.  Interestingly, physical and emotional neglect doesn't bring on the self-criticism to the same degree as sexual or emotional abuse.  Of course, BED is twice as common in women as men and doesn't involve the purging of bulimia.

Preschoolers get depressed?  We didn't always think so or at least spend much time worrying about it.  But psycholgists and psychiatrists are trying to figure out how to better identify and treat childhood depression, especially treatments that avoid pharmaceuticals and thus troubling side effects.  Depressed children don't always act like depressed adults.  But some of the symptoms are similar like loss of joy, poor sleep, guilt.  Yes, guilt.  Wonder if my preschooler's preference for black is a risk factor?

One more piece of evidence we can't treat autism through diet.  A new pilot study (it's small, unpublished) found gluten- and casein-free diets don't reduce problems with behavior, sleep, or the bowels.  This was a tightly controlled study, hopefully part of a large project aimed at the common theory implicating the gut in autism.

News Alert: All this talk about autism and vaccines, can't help but think of the infamous autism quack, Dr. Andrew Wakefield and today's news that he's been officially banned from medicine in Britain.
The PTA president must have well-behaved children.  Seems parental school involvement predicts better behavior at school, less disruption and aggression but not better grades.  So of course I'm promising that I'll sign up for lunch room duty next fall.  But honestly, do we really think the act of going to school promotes social skills?  No, it's more likely a subtle message parents who like and enjoy and want to be involved and who also feel it's important to show up somehow communicate to their children.  School's important, show up, do it, that kind of message.  Not "if I don't stuff these 589 envelopes with flyers for the next shin dig my child will get detention".

Poor sleep is more disruptive to poor kids.  This study finds disadvantaged youth suffer more consequences from lack of sleep than their better-off peers.  Something about an economically strapped environment, perhaps stress, combined with too little sleep spells trouble.  Not hard to imagine.  I'm a firm believer in a good night's sleep - if I kick you out on a school might you'll know why.
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