This week on Thrive: June 28- July 4

From offering advice to exhausted caregivers, to exploring whether or not early school times are endangering the physical well being of teenagers, it’s been a busy week here at Thrive. See what you may have missed and/or what others are saying about some of these issues.

Deciphering epilepsy: Epilepsy is a disease that remains stubbornly bewildering—to the nearly three million Americans who have it and the doctors who treat it. This week 60 Minutes aired a piece on the disease featuring research done by Children’s Frances Jensen, MD, recently named president of the American Epilepsy Society.

Caring for the Caregiver: Dixie Coskie is the mother of a child who lived through both a traumatic brain injury and cancer. In this blog post, Dixie writes about the stress that comes from being the primary caregiver of a sick child and the importance of taking care of yourself. The story really hit home with our readers. Check out some of the comments, and join the conversation.

“Thank you for sharing your story! As a caregiver for my son, I also did not care for my own health and suffered the consequences. I am now back in school to become a medical social worker to use our experiences to assist others with chronic medical conditions adapt to their new lives. Even though I had to learn along the way, I do not want others to have to learn the hard way!”

“I am so sorry that your son went through so much! Sharing your story can help so many others! Best wishes as you continue assisting your son and your other children! How did your other children adapt to the challenges?”
-Ginny Miller

“This article came at just the right time. I have been taking care of my severely sick daughter for almost a year now. It is so true about getting away and making time to exercise, meditate, pray, or just sit alone outside in the fresh air. And ASK FOR HELP– people are more than willing to help out and give you a break.”

-Kim

“I know it is not the point of this story, but I’m literally in tears thinking of how often I send my children out without their helmets on to ride their bikes. I’m pulling those helmets out of the garage right now.

As an Army wife with 5 small children who has gone through countless year-long deployments, I have learned the hard way that asking for help when you need it is not weakness. Weakness is putting on that false picture of super woman strength and pretending help is not needed. No matter the reason, we all need help from time to time. It does indeed take a village to raise a child, and 1 person does not make a village.”

Can love fight underage substance abuse?: New research shows that young love may account for more than sweet memories; it may make young adults less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. One of our doctors comments on this interesting study.

Dangerous ‘thinspiration’: pro-eating disorder sites spread: The Internet can be a dangerous place for young people, from online predators to identity theft. Now, adding to the list of potential online hazards, are a slew of websites that actually encourage eating disorders by asserting that anorexia and bulimia are lifestyle choices rather than life-threatening mental illnesses. Our experts already weighed in on this dangerous trend, here’s what other readers have said. Please feel free to join the conversation.

“I developed anorexia bulimia at the age of 12, and won my battle against it last year, at the age of 29. Eating disorders are lethal and devastating, and I would never wish the suffering on anyone else.

The internet was in its infancy when I became ill and I never used pro-ana sites; however, as the author of a pro-recovery site, I have also seen the positive and honest support that is available to people online. I didn’t expect to find this when I launched my blog and entered the online world but I think that this is a powerful movement that might be able to challenge the pro-ana sites, where I imagine empathy is a key attraction.

I just wanted to add this into the debate because the authentic voices of people who have struggle with eating disorder and seeking recovery is also active in the online space, and might reach people who are desperate for a connection, as well as those who would like to better understand these complex conditions.”

-Melissa

“I know we cannot possibly monitor every move our children make, but with tools available to limit certain websites online as well as to monitor internet activity, why are parents not stopping their daughters from visiting these sites? I have 3 little girls and although I do know if they want access to something bad enough that they will in fact get it, I also know I am their strongest support and advocate, even when they don’t like it. I have read so many articles about these pro-ana websites, and I always have to wonder where the parents are while the girls are visiting them? My guess is that they are at work because that is more important.”

-Happymommyx4

How dangerous are tired teen drivers?: Based on a new study some researchers are suggesting early school start times may lead to students getting less sleep— resulting in drowsy driving— a known risk factor for increased motor vehicle accidents. Our expert discusses the pros and cons of pushing back school start times to give students more rest time.

Can’t get enough of Boston Med? Read this post to learn how you can see even more of the Peerless family, who’s baby with a potentially lethal heart condition was treated here at Children’s.