Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Parental Health

POSTED: Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 5:30 AM

The media was obsessed when famous actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, apparently died of a heroin overdose last month. I was saddened last week when I worked a shift at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital nursery when a new baby was born having lost the father to an opiate overdose before the birth, and an acquaintance’s young adult son recently died of overdose.

So I was frightened when the Federal Drug Administration approved a new very potent pain killer named Zohydro.  The hydrocodone medication is five times more potent than what is on the market at present. Legal prescription opiates are a gateway into addiction for millions of Americans. These drugs directly led to 16,000 deaths in users in 2012 – whether legally prescribed and used for good reasons such as chronic severe pain (often in Sickle Cell Disease for a pediatrician), or illegally diverted into a street drug for widespread use in the United States. This is up from about 4,000 deaths in 1999.  Many users after addiction start heroin by injection because it is markedly cheaper than diverted pills, and another 4000, at least, died from heroin last year.

As a pediatrician who works in well baby nurseries, I am even more directly involved in the over 20,000 babies born to opiate and methadone using mothers last year in the U.S., half of whom will have drug withdrawal and have extended stays in the hospital. In 1999, about one in a 1,000 babies in the U.S. was born in danger of withdrawal (officially Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or NAS), but now almost six in 1000 have a mother on opiates or opiate substitutes such as methadone.  In less than 15 years, the number of NAS babies has gone up more than fivefold and many are being born in very poor rural areas such as inland Maine or Appalachian Tennessee and Kentucky where there are limited resources to take care of these babies in small rural hospitals .

POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013, 5:30 AM
(iStockphoto)

Today's guest blogger is Anita Kulick, President & CEO of Educating Communities for Parenting in Philadelphia. ECP offers a variety of programs and services for teen and adult parents, adjudicated delinquent youth, young adults aging out of the foster care system, preschoolers, and children at grave risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence.

Healthy parenting is the ultimate group project. That includes all parents: highly educated, financially secure, mature, teenage, married, single, same sex, male or female. As cliché as it may sound, it really does take a village to raise a child. Today’s world is complex and chaotic with many outside, often negative, influences impacting the lives of children and parents daily and constantly.      

No matter how well prepared we think we are for the arrival of a child, it doesn’t hit home until we walk through the front door with a tiny human being in our arms who is 100 percent dependent on us for every single thing. The awesomeness of the responsibility that we’ve just committed to for the rest of our lives can be overwhelming and frightening. How can we possibly be prepared to provide everything our children need to grow physically, mentally, socially strong and healthy?

POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013, 9:43 AM
Experimental Antidepressant Appears Quick-Acting, Safe

Postpartum depression (PPD) is characterized by a full-blown episode of depression that occurs within four weeks of delivery.  It is more serious and severe than the “baby blues,” the weepiness that lasts just three to seven days post-delivery.  A recent study in the April issue of JAMA Psychiatry now shows that as many as one in every seven women suffers postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and child, beyond the misery and guilt women afflicted with this disorder typically experience. For instance, postpartum depression predicts maternal suicide. Although postpartum women are less at risk for suicide than the general population of women, suicide is the second leading cause of death among them and accounts for 20 percent of deaths.  Moreover, postpartum depression can adversely affect attachment between mother and child, and maternal mental illness is highly predictive of later child psychological problems.

The research examined 10,000 women four to six weeks after they had given birth at Margee-Womens Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh. Women were first screened for symptoms of postpartum depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EDPS), a well-researched and common measure of the disorder.  What made this study unique is that women who were identified as “at-risk” via a cut-off score of 10 or above on the EDPS were then visited in their homes for a full face-to-face diagnostic interview.  During the two to three hour interview, an experienced clinician could determine with more sensitivity if the mother met criteria for actual postpartum depression, as well as any other psychological disorders.

POSTED: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 10:10 AM
(iStockphoto)

“I can hear what you’re listening to!” If you’ve said this to your teen when he or she is listening to an iPod or MP3 player through ear buds, you are not alone. I’ve had to say (yell) it to my own teens!

The fact is: our teens are risking hearing loss. Sound scary? It is. Ear buds are basically tiny little speakers worn in the ear canals. When ear buds are used to listen to high-volume sound over a long period of time, they can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Our teenagers may painlessly, gradually, and unknowingly be experiencing just that. Here’s the data:

  • One in three people develop hearing loss as a result of exposure to extreme noise.
  • More than 5 million children between the ages of 6 and 19 report NIHL.
  • Hearing loss in U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 19 increased from 14.9 to 19.5 percent since 1990.

The high cost of technology. Ownership of iPods and MP3 players among children and teens has increased from 18 to 76 percent between 2005 and 2010. Just imagine where we are in 2013—and right after the holidays!

POSTED: Friday, November 9, 2012, 6:00 AM
The real experts -- parents and former teens who’ve been through it -- say parents can make a difference. As the parent of a young teen, that makes me feel better. But readers of the blog have been divided over just how much parents can do to deter it.

By Sari Harrar

During October and November, the Healthy Kids blog will look at this issue through the stories of former teen prescription-drug users now in recovery, their parents and local addiction-recovery experts working to treat addicted teens and help parents prevent this under-the-radar and illicit drug use.

Today, Sari took a look at your comments and decided to examine the one recurring theme that ran through the thread: Are parents powerless when it comes to teen abuse of prescription drugs?

POSTED: Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 6:00 AM

By Sari Harrar

Prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Ritalin and Valium are the killer new teen high. One in six teens say they’ve taken a prescription drug at least once in the past year just for kicks. One in 11 are drug-dependent and another one in five show signs of dependence, one new study says. But while kids swipe pills from medicine cabinets and purses, trade them at school or pluck them from bowls at “pharma parties,” parents are often clueless. We don’t think it can happen to our kids, so we say little, miss early warning signs and fumble opportunities to educate and protect our kids.

During October and November, the Healthy Kids blog will look at this issue through the stories of former teen prescription-drug users now in recovery, their parents and local addiction-recovery experts working to treat addicted teens and help parents prevent this under-the-radar and illicit drug use.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 5:45 AM
“Up to 90 percent of parents who come for the family program while their teen is in treatment at Caron say they had no idea what was going on,” says Tom Dietzler. “They were too busy with their own lives and concerns, in denial about what might be going on, or just unaware."

By Sari Harrar

Prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Ritalin and Valium are the killer new teen high. One in six teens say he or she has taken a prescription drug at least once in the past year. One in 11 is drug-dependent and one in five show signs of dependence, a new study says.

While kids swipe pills from medicine cabinets and purses, trade them at school or pluck them from bowls at “pharma parties,” parents are often clueless. We don’t think it can happen to our kids, so we say little, miss early warning signs and fumble opportunities to educate and protect our kids. During October and November, the Healthy Kids blog will look at this issue through the stories of former teen prescription-drug users now in recovery, their parents and local addiction-recovery experts working to treat addicted teens and help parents prevent this under-the-radar and illicit drug use.

POSTED: Monday, November 5, 2012, 9:42 AM
Tim Radar speaks to teens about his personal triumph over drug abuse and addiction. His "Live to Tell" presentation is given at middle and high schools all over the country. He is pictured here with several students after a presentation.

By Sari Harrar

During October and November, the Healthy Kids blog examines the epidemic of teen prescription drug abuse through the stories of teens and young adults in recovery, their parents and treatment experts. You’ll get a first-hand look at a problem that’s more widespread and deadly than many parents realize and find real-world advice about protecting your kids.

Previous posts told the story of Tim Rader, a high school football star from Ashland, Pa., who became addicted to prescription pain pills while undergoing cancer treatment at age 17. He is now in recovery after a 10-year battle with addiction. Yesterday his parents, Lou and Patty Rader, talked about their own struggle as their son sunk into addiction.

About this blog
The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Mario Cruz, M.D St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Lauren Falini Bariatric exercise physiologist, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, RD Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Flaura Koplin Winston, MD, PhD Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected