Today in Medicine: More screen time linked to bad behavior in kids

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Topic of Study: Screen time and kids’ behavior
Location of study: U.K.
Study subjects: 11,000 children born between 2000 and 2002
Results: A study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood states that five year-olds who watch TV for more than three hours a day are more likely to engage in negative antisocial behaviors, such as fighting or stealing, by the age of seven. But researchers also found that time spent playing computer or electronic games had no impact on behavior.
Significance: The report stated that the risk of TV’s influence on behavioral development was found to be very small, adding little conclusive evidence to the long waged debate on how screen time affects children’s development.

Topic of Study: Microorganisms and obesity
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 792 people
Results: Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that people whose breath had high concentrations of both hydrogen and methane gasses – that is, bad breath — were more likely to be overweight. The cause is an abundance of a microorganism called methanobrevibacter smithii, which helps convert food into energy.
Significance: “Usually, the microorganisms living in the digestive tract benefit us by helping convert food into energy. However, when this particular organism– M. smithii – becomes overabundant, it may alter this balance in a way that causes someone to be more likely to gain weight,” because they hold onto more calories, lead author Dr. Ruchi Mathur says.

Topic of Study: How diet influences disease
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 380,000 people
Results: A 13-year study found that people who made seven lifestyle changes recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research cut their risk of dying from many diseases – including cancer, circulatory disease and respiratory disease — by 34 percent, compared to those who did not follow the recommendations. The research, published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” found that the greatest ways to reduce the risk of premature death was to avoid being overweight or obese (22 percent lower risk), and eat a plant-based diet (21 percent lower risk).
Significance: Researchers think that this is more evidence that diet and lifestyle greatly affect the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Topic of Study: Difficulty getting pregnant linked to neuro problems
Location of study: Denmark
Study subjects: 209 two-year-olds
Results: A study of children born to parents with impaired fertility — that is, those who fail to become pregnant within 12 months of trying — found that neurological development problems in their children were more likely. Most of the children studied were born to parents who become pregnant via fertility treatment. The study, published online in the Fetal & Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood, concluded that longer it took for the women to get pregnant, the more likely her child was to have neurodevelopment problems.
Significance: Ironically, the data shows that efforts to increase fertility may actually be causing more harm than good. Previous studies have found that children conceived via fertility treatment also have a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight.


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