Category Archives: Children

Don’t neglect the human stories — and human pain — behind clinical trials

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Most often, reporting on medical studies means recounting numbers, demographic details, findings and statistical probability values that are so abstract that it’s easy to forget they all refer to actual people enrolled in the study. With epidemiological studies, the researchers themselves often never meet the people they report on, especially if it’s a retrospective study that primarily relies on electronic medical records.

But clinical trials are a different story. Continue reading

Maine’s Medicaid expansion won’t help those who need dental care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Backers of Maine’s Medicaid expansion, approved by voters in 2017, have been locked in a court battle with outgoing Republican governor Paul LePage, an outspoken opponent of the step.

At the same time, Gov.-elect Janet Mills, a Democrat, has offered assurances that she will put the expansion into place “on day one” if it hasn’t been implemented by the time she assumes office in January, Joe Lawlor of the  Portland Press Herald reports.  Continue reading

For children born with or without heart conditions, social factors play a clear role in their cardiovascular outcomes

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

When it comes to health care disparities and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the divide widens early. A spate of studies published recently illustrates how social factors influence CVD outcomes from our earliest years.

For example, a report published in Pediatrics found that the increased obesity prevalence among U.S. adolescents is happening almost entirely among those in low- and middle-income families. Smoking, diet quality, and physical activity levels also tracked with household socioeconomic status for these children, based on the NHANES data used in the study. The only equal-opportunity metabolic derailment among teens in the United States appears to be prediabetes and diabetes. Risk factors for CVD overall declined for adolescents from 1999 to 2014, but significantly so only for those from high-income households. Continue reading

The health benefits of grandparenting

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: minjungkim via Flickr

As a brand-new grandmother, I’m overjoyed to welcome our new baby girl into the family. Of course, I think she’s absolutely perfect. But beyond the emotional high of holding this tiny being, it turns out that research shows that grandparenting can be a boon to older adults’ health.

Grandparenting can relieve stress, improve socialization, encourage physical activity and even boost longevity. In one analysis, researchers examined data from more than 500 people ages 70 and older, who took part in the Berlin Aging Study. Continue reading

Report: Pregnant women have harder time obtaining dental care, regardless of income

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: NIAID via Flickr

There is a shortage of state and national data on the subject, but studies suggest that women face unique barriers in obtaining dental services during pregnancy, according to a new issue brief from the nonprofit Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP).

Experts agreed that “preventive, diagnostic, and restorative dental treatment is safe throughout pregnancy and is effective in improving and maintaining oral health.” Continue reading

New report lays out challenges in expanding practice of dental hygienists

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Conor Lawless via Flickr

An estimated 61 percent of low-income children — roughly 6.5 million kids — lack dental sealants that could help protect their teeth from decay, according to federal research.

School sealant programs have been shown effective in getting preventive treatments to children who might otherwise go without. Continue reading