Author: Matt Cyr

What should parents know about concussions in the wake of Junior Seau’s suicide?

William Meehan, MD, director of Boston Children's Hospital's Sports Concussion Clinic

Yesterday’s suicide of former NFL star Junior Seau has once again raised troubling questions about the short- and long-term impact of concussions on the brain. While it’s not clear that Seau was diagnosed with concussions during his 20-plus year career, his method of suicide—shooting himself in the chest—echoes that of former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, who killed himself in 2011 and left a note saying that he wanted his brain to be studied for the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). According to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE is “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma.”

Notice that it doesn’t say, “a history of concussion”. What’s troubling about CTE is that it’s not just happening to former NFL linemen who make their living crashing into each other every week. William Meehan, MD, director Boston Children’s Hospital’s Sports Concussion Clinic, says he’s seeing serious concussions in kids who play sports not typically associated with them.

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How to not fight the good (food) fight

In a great piece on NPR this morning, child nutrition specialists talked about picky eating in toddlers and how it’s important that parents let their little ones regulate their eating behaviors as much as possible; kids will usually get what they need if you just let them alone at the dinner table.

The story reminded me of an article I wrote a few years back from Children’s Dream magazine about how hard it was for my wife and me when our then-2-year-old triplets wouldn’t eat. One of the interviews I did for the article was with Children’s beloved pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, and something he said has always stuck with me: “A battle over food is one a parent is sure to lose.”

Our triplets (l to r), Olivia, Jackson and Sophie, at age 2.

So, here’s the article I wrote back then. Do you have picky eaters at home? Have any advice for those of us who still struggle through the (more than) occasional meal with their toddlers? Share it in the comments section below or on our Thrive Facebook page.

If you’ve ever had your child ignore the dinner you put on the table (and the lunch you put on the table before that and the breakfast that went untouched to start the day), you’ve probably asked yourself, exasperated, “Why won’t this child eat? He needs to eat to survive!”

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Against my better judgement: a week in review

I don’t usually like to do Thrive posts that wrap up a previous week’s events, but last week was an interesting and exciting week on Thrive and at Children’s Hospital Boston, so I thought I’d break my own rule just this once (and I reserve the right to break it again!)

The post by Dr. Brian Skotko (shown here with his sisters Kristin and Allison) generated a lot of conversation—and controversy.

The most widely read, shared and commented on post—by far—was Dr. Brian Skotko’s thought-provoking article, “Will babies with Down syndrome slowly disappear?” Dr. Skotko, a clinical genetics fellow in Children’s Down Syndrome Program and the brother of a young woman with Down syndrome, talked about a new study that says mothers-to-be will soon be able to get a simple blood test during the first trimester of pregnancy that will let them know if their baby will have Down syndrome. This caused Dr. Skotko to ask:

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$7 million gift will help Children's tackle childhood obesity

Children’s Hospital Boston got an historic $7 million gift from the New Balance Foundation yesterday to support the pioneering work of David Ludwig, MD, PhD, as he and colleagues try to stem the tide of childhood obesity. The gift establishes the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention, Research and Care, which will support Dr. Ludwig’s clinical research and outpatient programs, as well as community outreach efforts.

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