Postings for June 2011

BullyBully for you?
According to a new study published in Pediatrics, bullies — as well as their victims — make more trips to the school nurse than other kids, and the reasons aren’t as simple as being sent to the nurse for an obvious injury. Being bullied takes a psychological toll on kids, which can make them more vulnerable to illnesses and symptoms, such as stomach­aches. But bullies can also suffer psychological stresses related to their behavior — and wind up in the nurse’s office. The authors of the study said their research suggests that school nurses can be instrumental in identifying bully­ing patterns at schools. Read more at

Autism awareness
Is your child on the autism spectrum? Find the best information about autism on The Autism Blog, recently launched by Seattle Children’s. Doctors, nurses and psychologists offer expert perspectives on issues faced by families of kids with autism — from new research to finding a summer camp — to help parents cut through the thicket of sometimes confusing info out there. Visit the site to subscribe to the blog.

Vac facts
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the bacterial meningitis vaccine Menactra for kids between the ages of 9 and 23 months — the first approval in the United States of this type of vaccine for such young children. Bacterial menin­gitis, an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, is spread by close contact, such as coughing and kissing, and strikes previously healthy kids and young adults. (A major risk factor for contracting the disease is being 5 years old or younger.) Although rare in the U.S., bacterial meningitis can be devastating; it can quickly cause death, and those who survive it can suffer hearing loss, paralysis and other life-changing disabilities.

Heart smarts
A new study out of the University of Washington has found that college athletes suffer from sudden cardiac death far more frequently than previously thought. Earlier studies had estimated the risk at one in 300,000, but UW researchers put the risk at one in 43,000, with basketball players topping the list of athletes with the highest rates of sudden cardiac death. Researchers are hoping that the new numbers will convince schools that better — and more expensive — screening is worth the cost.

Divorce dilemma
Stay together for the sake of the kids — or not? Conventional wisdom favors the former option, but a new study out of Montclair State University suggests that a parent’s divorce isn’t the most important factor in determining a child’s future success at marriage. The way parents got along before divorcing actually has greater implications for their children’s future relationships. Researchers found that adult children from highly conflicted families that stayed together had a greater likelihood of relationship failure than adult kids from highly conflicted families in which the parents split.

—Kris Collingridge

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