Chronic pain syndromes, including back pain, headaches, and abdominal pain are on the rise in children. Better nutrition, biofeedback and attention to family dynamics can make a world of difference.
Once the epitome of public health success, childhood vaccine policies are under fire, owing to a growing concern that thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative in many vaccines, may trigger autism, ADHD and other developmental problems. Federal authorities maintain vaccines are safe and thimerosal poses little threat, but an increasingly vocal movement of parents, politicians and physicians are unconvinced.
Acne, psoriasis, rosacea and other common skin disorders are reflections of the same systemic inflammatory processes that underlie heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel, and many other chronic disorders. Eliminating high-glycemic foods, restoring hormone balance, and minimizing inflammation will not only resolve these skin problems, they will also reduce risk of more serious diseases along the way.
There appears to be a strong correlation between teenage obesity and exposure to phthalates—endocrine-disrupting compounds found in many personal care products and a myriad of plastic and vinyl products.
Pound for pound children absorb more environmental toxins than adults, and they are also more vulnerable to adverse health effects of these exposures. Parents are desperate for help with environmental health problems, and green-minded physicians can play a vital role in ensuring healthier futures for the next generation.
A number of recent studies show that probiotic supplements and fermented dairy products can prevent or even treat colic, atopic dermatitis, and many other common allergic and infectious problems in infancy. Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, the two main classes of “good bugs” can greatly improve the health of premature babies and those born via cesarean section. Plus, Perinatal Probiotics: A Research Review, and Choosing & Using Probiotics.
Allergic rhinitis may not be the most serious problem confronting us as primary care physicians. But it is very common, affecting up to one-fifth of the US population, including children. This amounts to 40,000,000 people. While not life threatening, it causes a great deal of discomfort, and more importantly, it can be an indicator of dysfunction of the adrenals, liver, immune system, or of dysbiosis and/or chronic stress, all of which warrant careful assessment and treatment.
What works for attention deficit disorder? Depends on the kid, says Dr. Stephen Cowan, a holistic pediatrician who uses the Five Elements concepts from traditional Chinese medicine in working with attention problems in children. He believes modern drug therapies, with their one-size-fits-all philosophy, are doing more harm than good for many of these kids. The Five Elements approach recognizes that children are different from one another, and opens up a healthier way of addressing this increasingly common problem.
Nasal washes can be a big help for patients with seasonal allergies. Many people use salt water. But this not the best choice, as it is irritating and it inhibits natural defense mechanisms. Xylitol nasal washes are effective in stimulating allergen clearance without the risk of irritation, and with the added benefit of inhibiting bugs that cause upper respiratory and middle ear infections.
A brighter future awaits autistic children, as clinicians learn how to apply the tools of neurotransmitter assessment, detoxification protocols, and nutritional therapies to this increasingly common problem.