Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center Offer Back To School Tips

Released: 7/23/2010 1:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: NYU Langone Medical Center
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Assessing Developmental Milestones in Children
According to US Department of Education, nearly 5 million children will start pre-school and kindergarten this fall. How do you know if your child is achieving all developmental milestones? Developmental delays can occur in one or many areas including gross or fine motor skills, language, and social interaction or thinking skills. They can result from genetic causes or complications of pregnancy and birth or even poor maternal nutrition. Environmental risk such as low-level lead exposure may have an impact on your child’s cognitive development. What are the warning signs of developmental delays? What kind of early intervention services are available? These and many other developmental issues can be addressed by pediatric development specialists at NYU Langone Medical Center.
-Benard P. Dreyer, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics

Living with a Heart Murmur
Heart Murmurs – an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat -- are extremely common findings in infants and children. About 95 percent of heart murmurs are “innocent” and have no effect on a child’s health. About 5% are abnormal murmurs resulting from congenital heart defects or heart muscle functional problems. Doctors can detect a murmur through a stethoscope and based on that evaluation can determine if the murmur is abnormal or innocent. If innocent, the child can be as active as other children. If the murmur is abnormal the child should be evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist.
-Achiau Ludomirsky, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics

Annual Physical: Avoiding Sudden Cardiac Death on the Playing Field
Sudden cardiac death or SCD is the leading cause of death in athletes and remains one of the most devastating medical events in sports. Though the condition is rare, occurring in only 2 out of 100,000 children each year, it is the leading cause of death in young athletes. SCD may be due to a genetic predisposition or undiagnosed congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia or abnormalities in the coronary arteries. Pediatricians recommend that every child have an annual physical prior to participating in strenuous exercise or competitive sports. If any heart irregularities are detected, a pediatric cardiologist should be consulted for an electrocardiogram or EKG and preventive measures should be taken.
-Achiau Ludomirsky, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics

Childhood Obesity Can Damage a Child’s Heart
A recent study by Achiau Ludomirksy, MD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center indicates that obese children have more advanced “strain rates” in the muscle fibers of their hearts as compared to normal weight children. He believes these “strain rates” may be a novel and more sensitive indicator of heart disease in children – and he is trying to find out if there is a way to reverse the damage or strain through weight loss or practicing a healthier heart lifestyles. Dr. Ludomirsky recommends parents start their children on exercise and a healthy diet at an early age. “The whole family should participate in healthy eating with a diet low in fat and high in fresh vegetables and protein,” says Dr. Ludomirksy. “Parents should be sure to pack healthy lunches and snacks for their kids including fruits, yogurt and foods low in fat and cholesterol. Children should drink water, juice and also less soda since it is high in caffeine and sodium that can damage the heart.”
-Achiau Ludomirsky, MD, professor, Department of Pediatrics

ADHD
Experts at the NYU Child Study can speak about diagnosing and treating ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition which affects about 3-5 percent of school age population and is characterized by inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Patients with ADHD can be treated with medications and helped by strategies which can help them overcome problems in relationships, learning and behavior. In fact, doctors at NYU have developed a new intensive behavioral treatment program for children with ADHD who have difficulties with organizational skills.
-Howard Abikoff, PhD, The Pevaroff Cohn Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
-Richard Gallagher, PhD, associate professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Bullying: What if your child is being bullied, or is a Bully?
Bullying can impact the wellbeing of children and young people and have serious long-term consequences. It can undermine educational attainment and self-esteem and can destroy a sense of security. The most common forms of bullying reported by children are being verbally bullied, followed by exclusion and physical bullying. Parents and schools also need to be aware that cyber-bullying is affecting younger age groups as more children get mobile phones and have computer access. Experts at NYU Child Study Center can talk about how to protect your child from bullying on the playground and on social media sites, as well as give advice on what to do if your child is a bully.
-Lori Evans, PhD, clinical assistant professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

How to Prevent Suicide
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults. In fact, more than 5,000 U.S. teenagers commit suicide each year with many more making serious attempts to kill themselves. Warning signs of depression and suicidal thinking include a marked personality change, a change in eating or sleeping problems and an overreaction to a recent experience like a breakup or reprimand. Mental health experts at NYU Child Study Center can talk about preventing suicide and helping children understand their emotions.
-Richard Gallagher, PhD, associate professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Preventing Backpack Injuries
Practicing proper backpack safety is important to maintaining the daily health of a teenager. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 12,309 book bag injuries in 2008 that sent kids to the doctor, hospital or emergency department. To minimize injury, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends purchasing backpacks with padded shoulder straps and dense material to protect against sharp, protruding objects, organizing the backback to use all of its compartments and not overloading with excessive weight.
-Jeffrey Goldstein, MD, clinical associate professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Protecting Against Lice Infestation:
About 6-12 million children between the ages of 3 and 11 are treated annually for head lice in the United States. Lice infestations can affect schools and daycare centers where many children are in close proximity to each other – and personal hygiene has nothing to do with getting this dreaded parasite. Are your children scratching their heads? Do they feel itchy? How can you determine if your child has lice and how can you treat them? Gabrielle Gold-Von Simpson, MD, pediatrician and pediatric hospitalist at NYU Langone Medical Center can discuss the methods and medications available to treat head lice.
-Gabrielle Gold Von-Simpson, MD, assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics


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