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CHILDREN

ANTIBIOTICS

“Two leading medical groups are expected to recommend soon that doctors stop treating most ear infections in children with antibiotics, federal health officials said this week. Health officials believe if they can reduce child antibiotic use for minor bacterial infections, they can stop the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs created by overuse of the drugs. For years, health officials have urged that the drugs should not be used for viruses, such as colds, because they do no good” –AP, week starting 3/1/04

Studies show that up to 80% of inner ear infections, though bacterial, will clear up without medical intervention.

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, director of pediatric otolarynglology at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn stated,” In many cases, the potential harm of antibiotics exceeds the benefits for ear infections.” Rosenfeld also spoke of studies which reveal 6 out 0f 10 children with an ear infection will improve within 24 hours whether they use an antibiotic or a placebo.

He went on to stipulate that 15% of children on antibiotics develop an upset stomach and 5% develop a potentially serious rash or allergic reaction.

Dr. Karl Neuman of Forest Hills Pediatrics in Queens was quoted, “Historically, before we had antibiotics, 99 percent of people got over ear infections.”

Long term antibiotic use in adolescent female increases risk of estrogen related cancer. It eliminates the microflora that is soil-based.

The annual expenditure in the U.S. to combat ear infections is $3 billion dollars with more than 1,000,000 myringotomies per year.

METALS

The most recent U.S. surveys of blood mercury levels, released last year, reveal that 10% of American women of childbearing age have mercury close to or in excess of mercury levels of 5.8 parts per billion, the guideline issued by the EPA. Just recently, the EPA estimated that each year more than 600,000 babies may be exposed prenatally to unsafe levels of methyl mercury from the mothers’ blood.-Newsday, 4/14/04

The FDA warns about 4 high-level-mercury-containing fish: tile, king mackerel, swordfish, tuna and shark. Pregnant women place the fetus at great risk when they consume these fish. Contact FDA @ 888-SAFEFOOD or its food safety website @ www.cfsan.fda.gov

VACCINES

Vaccines cause a drop in T-helper cells in young children and infants after multiple vaccine protocols. This may impair proper maturation of the immune system even if the T-cell decrease is transient.

Vaccines may contribute to non-infectious diseases i.e. bowel disease. Studies reveal an increase in Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.

BREAST FEEDING

Infants breast fed have decreased infections, increased IQ, decreased allergies. When they become infected, their immune response is greater than those bottle fed.

Breast feeding transmits antibodies in the milk to help fight infections. It also helps develop the varying components of the immune system i.e. the cells that fight infections- B & T lymphocytes, macrophages and neutrophils

Breast feeding helps promote healthy intestinal bacteria.

Breast milk protects against allergies, asthma and intestinal problems

Babies should be breast fed minimally 6 months. When transferring to food, start with the easy to digest vegetables first. Slowly move towards fruit. Different authorities disagree whether proteins or grains should be next. See which one is easier for your child to digest. Dairy, if given, should be last.

Most common allergies are corn and soy.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS

A study, appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Services, conducted by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management company, analyzed antidepressant use among 2 million privately insured children. For children of all ages, antidepressant use rose 68 percent among girls and 34 percent for boys. Use was highest among girls age 15 to 18, at 6.8 percent. Overall, antidepressant use among patients in the sample who were 18 and younger increased 49 percent between 1998 and 2002. Thomas J. Moore, a health policy analyst at George Washington University, said his own research shows an even greater increase in antidepressant use among the children, possibly because his figures include a broad population, including children who don’t have private insurance.

“The drugs are used mostly for boys pre-adolescence, and mostly for girls during adolescence,” he said. “The drugs are being used for attention deficit disorder…even though no {antidepressant} drug has shown been effective. In the younger boys, the majority of use is in that area.”-Gathered from Newsday article 4/4/04

According to the FDA, more than 10 million children and teens under 18 took antidepressants in 2002.-Newsday 4/4/04

Last year, Britain banned the use of Paxil for depression in children because of an increase in self-harm and suicidal behavior. The FDA recommended children not take Paxil for depression because research showed it was no more effective than a placebo.

A government report revealed that Prozac can affect infant development if taken during the mother’s pregnancy. The panel appointed by the National Toxicology Program reported Paxil can cause babies “to be born lighter and sleepier than normal, or make them jittery of cause respiratory problems”. The report goes on further, “These effects appear to result more readily from in utero exposure late in gestation”. It continued, “The observed toxicity may be reversible, although long-term follow-up studies have not been conducted to look for residual effects.”-Reuters 4/28/04

Paxil can get into the breast milk and be transferred to the infant. It has also been discovered in the blood of newborns.