My new book

Below is one chapter from my new e-book that you can find on Amazon

Holidays, rituals, routine

We are what we repeatedly do

Aristotle

Ten-year-old “G” with his mother came to my office for the first time. The family was looking for a doctor who would help them solve an enduring problem: the episodes of vomiting over the last few years.
Situation was simplified by the fact that the child had seen various specialists; the experts had made the necessary examinations to rule out possible diseases, so I didn’t have to think about all that. On the other hand, no one had been able to explain the disease, and they came to me with the hope that I was more skilled professionally than the others.

I could not disappoint.

We began to sort through things, but soon came to a dead end, since there were no other symptoms. We discussed the circumstances of the incidents. I will not burden my readers with the details. Let me just say what we found. The boy would vomit when his regular daily routine was disrupted: when going to sleep late, when on vacation, and when there were guests over at the house.

At first, the mother was incredulous, but the more she thought about the episodes, the more convinced she became of the correctness of our conclusions. We agreed on a strict adherence to a schedule every day. It was easy to implement. The vomiting subsided.

I remembered this incident when I recently came across an article in the “Pediatric News,” dedicated to new treatments for PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder) in children. The article was not about new drugs or their combinations for the treatment of this problem.
It was about the healing power of an established routine, customs and rituals.

Take another look at the quote to this chapter. In this wisdom lies the advice to establish good habits.

Indeed, we feel that we know others when we can predict how they act in certain situations. When people change their usual behavior, we say that we “don’t recognize them.” Continue reading

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Social networking sites safety tips for teens

Dear parents,

I’M ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT YOUR TEENAGERS ARE AWARE OF THESE SAFETY ASPECTS. NEVERTHELESS, REMIND THEM ONE MORE TIME.

From Federal Trade Commission (FTP) website:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/tech/tec14.shtm

Your Safety’s at Stake

The FTC suggests these tips for socializing safely online:

  • Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
  • Think about keeping some control over the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school, your club, your team, your community groups, or your family.
  • Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or bank and credit card account numbers — and don’t post other people’s information, either. Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs, and where you work or hang out.
  • Make sure your screen name doesn’t say too much about you. Don’t use your name, your age, or your hometown. Even if you think your screen name makes you anonymous, it doesn’t take a genius to combine clues to figure out who you are and where you can be found.
  • Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing — and knowing — about you. Many people can see your page, including your parents, your teachers, the police, the college you might want to apply to next year, or the job you might want to apply for in five years.
  • Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.
  • Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself whether it’s one your mom would display in the living room.
  • Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Because some people lie about who they really are, you never really know who you’re dealing with.
  • Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Before you decide to meet someone, do your research: Ask whether any of your friends know the person, and see what background you can dig up through online search engines. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: Meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. Tell an adult or a responsible sibling where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.
  • Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.
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Energy Drinks Pose Serious Health Risks for Young People

For those who consume Energy drinks, who’s kids do or might do it in future.I am very glad that we started looking at it seriously.     MY

News Author: Emma Hitt, PhD

February 16, 2011 — A lack of research and regulation associated with energy drinks, combined with reports of toxicity and high consumption, may result in potentially dangerous health consequences in children, adolescents, and young adults, according to a review of scientific literature and Internet sources. Continue reading

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Social Media Confuses, Concerns Parents

As many of you know I spend a lot of time discussing the issues of TV, computer, cell phone use by our children. Below is short version of article published in “Pediatric news”. Different opinions are reviewed. Decide for yourself…

Click here for full article

Time and again, parents come to Dr. Michael Rich overwhelmed by the role that texting, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are playing in the lives of their children and adolescents.

“Most parents are coming with no idea or fairly misinformed ideas about what these media are,” said Dr. Rich, director of the center on media and child health at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Some report that their daughter is losing sleep and failing in school because she stays up until 2 or 3 a.m. texting her friends.

Others tell him that their son has becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful since playing war games online with friends and perfect strangers.

Still others inform him that their child has been cyberbullied by a classmate and refuses to attend school. Continue reading

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TV cont’d

Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it. 

                                                                                           Alfred Hitchcock


Have you ever heard of “second-hand TV viewing”? You probably haven’t because I made it up.

We have all heard about the “second hand smoking”. We all know its harmful applications: it affects the lungs, causes asthma, etc. Now I will tell you about ”second hand TV watching”.

I’ve been in pediatrics for a lo-o-ong time. I’ve seen lots of kids (including my own) biting their nails. We all know that this is a sign of nervousness and anxiety. There is little we can do with it as parent. All we can do is to reduce stress for our kids or change their attitude to the stressful situations. One thing that I have never seen before is 1.5 year old child biting his nails.  Continue reading

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Who even needs these physicals?

 “The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed.

                                                                                Unknown

It was many years ago. I didn’t have my own practice yet and worked for another doctor.   One day I entered the room to see a teenage boy who came for his regular check up. I have never seen this family before. The boy was sitting on a high stool, the mom on a regular chair. Nothing unusual. I started asking the mom about her concerns while looking through the boy’s chart. All she mentioned was his height.

“What about his height?”, I asked. Automatically, I opened his growth chart. Then, the boy stepped down from his high stool… Continue reading

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Do you really believe in Vitamins?

Some of you have heard about my unfortunate vacation last year. While entering the hotel, I slipped on the wet floor and broke my arm. “Why me?!” is the first question a person asks when something unpleasant happens to him or her. I was not an exception, but the reason for this question was different. I exercise regularly; I take my vitamins (including Vitamin D, minerals and calcium). It was just a fall, and I have never broken any bones before. Why did this happen?

I started studying multivitamin composition, absorption in the body, recommendations, and daily requirements. The more I learned, the more confused I was getting:

  • Some of the recommended dosages have not been renewed in more than 10 years;
  • What brand of vitamins to buy?
  • How can I be sure that the pharmaceutical company that makes them is reliable?
  • Do they contain any preservatives or additives that could be harmful long term?

I spent a long time in different drug stores, including what they call “natural” ones, looking at the labels, trying to figure out who made them, whether they were made in U.S. and looking for any evidence of certifications, etc. Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to find supplements for myself and my family that would satisfy me. To be specific, I could not find the vitamins manufactured (not distributed!) in the U.S.A. and certified by the independent non-profit organizations.

I found out that VITAMINS AND OTHER DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS DO NOT GO THROUGH THE FDA APPROVAL!!! So, anybody can sell them!

We can’t always eat a perfect diet, and each of us has unique health needs. Vitamins and other dietary supplements are something we use on a daily basis. You do not see the immediate effect of vitamins. So, we really need to know what we introduce into our bodies every single day.

As it was such an eye-opening experience for me, being in the medical field for a long time, I felt obligated to share this information with you. Now when shopping for supplements for your family, you will have a better idea of what to look at.

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