Pediatrics / Children's Health News

A Mother's Touch May Protect Against Drug Cravings Later

An attentive, nurturing mother may be able to help her children better resist the temptations of drug use later in life, according to a study in rats conducted by Duke University and the University of Adelaide in Australia.

A rat mother's attention in early childhood actually changes the immune response in the brains of her pups by permanently altering genetic activity, according to Staci Bilbo, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, who led the research. High-touch mothering increased the brain's production of an immune system molecule called Interleukin-10, leaving these rats better able to resist the temptation of a dose of morphine much later in life.

Preventing Childhood Obesity

Targeting children aged six to 12 with school-based programmes that encourage healthy eating, physical activity and positive attitudes to body image are among a range of interventions that can help reduce levels of obesity, according to a new review of the evidence. While some people argue against taking action because they worry that the action could itself do harm, evidence of harm due to the interventions themselves was not found across the studies. "There is now compelling evidence that strategies can be implemented to halt the growing rates of obesity in children.

Teens' Physical Activity Discouraged By Some Mexican Parents

Imagine this scene: A teen who is about to enter college goes for a run or heads off for a game of soccer. But Mom and Dad complain about it, and the more physically active the teen is, the more the parents push back against it.

"This scenario is a variation on an often-heard complaint among students in Mexico," said Angela Wiley, co-author of a new University of Illinois survey of Mexican college applicants that offers a possible explanation for these attitudes and experiences as being rooted in cultural beliefs and expectations.


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