From swine flu to obesity to dangerous plastics, many issues that affect children’s health garnered media attention in the year 2009. Here’s a rundown of the some of the biggest and most important stories:
This is the story that caught the most attention—for good reason. Not only is the H1N1 influenza virus very contagious, it appears to particularly affect young people. H1N1 caused more pediatric hospitalizations and deaths than we usually see with the seasonal influenza virus, which is very scary for parents (and pediatricians!). The virus led to countless school closings—sometimes to control the spread, and sometimes because there weren’t enough teachers left to teach! …
By Robert Troug, MD, executive director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice and director of Clinical Ethics in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School.
Last week, I wrote a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine on recent guidelines for routine mammography screening published by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. In it I described why the concept of rationing, which has been a dirty word in the American health care debate, is actually essential if we are to develop a health care care system that makes sense, is affordable and delivers the best possible health care to all of our citizens.
In their guidelines, the Taskforce recommended that routine mammography screening for women should begin at age 50 rather than the previously recommended age 40. As I read the report and reviewed the data, I was drawn toward what seemed to be contradictory conclusions. …
Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.
Read why the days of jumping back into a game after a possible concussion are over. A new study shows that adult survivors of childhood cancer are much more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than their peers. Children’s expert Ellen Hanson, PhD, questions whether autism really is on the rise. An experimental heart valve saves a child with H1N1. Children’s has established and unprecedented partnership with the state’s largest health plans. The HealthMap team gives its weekly H1N1 update. Children’s Dennis Rosen, MD, questions whether sleeping late can keep your child slim and Joanne Cox, MD, answers parents’ questions about H1N1. Our resident mediatrician tackles the question of graphic violent and sexual images in the media and a teen guest blogger writes about teens and self-esteem.
Judy Palfrey, MD, FAAP, has been a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston since 1974. She is a general pediatrician and child advocate. She was chief of Children’s General Pediatrics Division from 1986 to 2008 and currently directs the Children’s International Pediatric Center.
Dr. Palfrey is the new president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is the nation’s largest pediatric organization, with a membership of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists.
Here, she writes on the important issues discussed at last weekend’s annual AAP meeting, and she’ll be writing for Thrive regularly about issues important to health care providers, parents and children. …