Houston Area Pediatric Specialists

Independent pediatric specialists aim to serve our community. We want to share news and analysis regarding our specialties and our practices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cellphones Exceed U.S. FCC Exposure Limits by as Much as Double for Children, Study Finds

Cellphones Exceed U.S. FCC Exposure Limits by as Much as Double for Children, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2011) — A scholarly article on cell phone safety to be published online Oct. 17 in the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine reports the finding that cell phones used in the shirt or pants pocket exceed the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exposure guidelines and that children absorb twice as much microwave radiation from phones as do adults.
The paper notes that the industry-designed process for evaluating microwave radiation from phones results in children absorbing twice the cellphone radiation to their heads, up to triple in their brain's hippocampus and hypothalamus, greater absorption in their eyes, and as much as 10 times more in their bone marrow when compared to adults.
The paper's authors include three team members at Environmental Health Trust: Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, Founder and President; L. Lloyd Morgan, Senior Science Fellow; and Ronald B. Herberman, MD, Chairman of the Board.
The existing process is based on a large man whose 40 brain tissues are assumed to be exactly the same. A far better system relies on anatomically based models of people of various ages, including pregnant women, that can determine the absorbed radiation in all tissue types, and can account for the increased absorption in children. It allows for cell phones to be certified with the most vulnerable users in mind -- children -- consistent with the "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" (ALARA) approach taken in setting standards for using radiological devices.
In the United States, the FCC determines maximum allowed exposures. Many countries, especially European Union members, use the "guidelines" of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a non-governmental agency.
Three additional authors contributed to the paper: Om P. Gandhi, ScD, of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Utah; Alvaro Augusto de Salles, PhD, of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil; and Yueh-Ying Han, PhD, of the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health at New York Medical College. Drs. Gandhi and De Salles serve on EHT's Scientific Advisory Group.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Houston student strives to overcome concussions - 5 in three years.

Houston student strives to overcome concussions

Cornerstone Academy eighth-grade student Davis Lamberton has suffered five concussions in three years but has overcome disruptions in his life caused by the injuries.

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011 9:23 pm
It was a play Davis Lamberton had run countless times.
Lined up as a receiver during an October 2010 game, his responsibility was to block the defensive end.
A defensive end himself, Lamberton was used to collisions. As he routinely initiated contact once more both players’ helmets collided, but the effect on Lamberton was significant.
“On film it doesn’t look like a helmet-jarring hit,” said Joe Malouf, an assistant coach on the Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association team Lamberton played for last year. “We were kind of shocked he had a concussion. On an event like that you usually see a violent collision. But he got up and went back to the huddle. He was talking but it just wasn’t correct so we had our trainer look at him.”
Members of the team and coaching staff of The Cardinal, the SBMSA varsity (ages 11-12) division team for which Lamberton played in 2010, got Lamberton off the field and his parents took him to the emergency room.
“The game was just about over and he was stumbling on the field,” Davis’ mother Meredith Lamberton said. “In the huddle he couldn’t remember if they had won or lost. The coach pulled me over and said something wasn’t right. His head was killing him.”
Lamberton, who has not played football since, was diagnosed with a concussion and his symptoms lingered. Currently an eighth-grade student at Spring Branch ISD’s Cornerstone Academy, he recalls struggling with reading, classroom instruction, migraine-level pain, sensitivity to light and balance issues, among other symptoms, during the course of more than two months.
“School got really hard,” Lamberton said. “Usually I got straight As, but it got really hard. Socially it became kind of hard. I’d have headaches, I’d be dizzy and just confused. One day I just completely couldn’t subtract.”
Lamberton recovered from his October 2010 concussion but has since had two more. One occurred in February during a game of flag tag at school. This past September he said he was kicking a soccer ball with his friends when struck with another concussion.
“We were just playing soccer and the ball was in the air,” Lamberton said. “I thought to head it, and I did. It felt really weird. It seemed so small, but it really put it in perspective that I need to take it easy.”
Fortunately, Lamberton has been supported in recovery by family, friends, educators and physicians. He advanced through a trying seventh-grade year at Cornerstone and has broadened his interests in addition to athletics.
Lamberton has been unusually susceptible to concussions, also suffering two mild head injuries prior to the one he sustained on the football field. He has had five concussions in three years.
Knowledge and awareness has increased for concussions, particularly in youth sports, reflected by the passing of Natasha’s Law in Texas this year.
According to the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is estimated more than three million recreation- and sport-related concussions occur annually in the United States, though several go undiagnosed. In high school sports, football, girls soccer, boys lacrosse, boys soccer and girls basketball are the leading producers of traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Joshua Rotenberg treats neurological conditions in children, teens and young adults, as well as sleep disorders in adults at Texas Medical and Sleep Specialists in the Memorial City Medical Plaza. Though he said the high school sports season has coincided with an increase in concussion patients, athletics are merely one cause.
“More concussions are from falls and motor vehicle accidents,” said Rotenberg, who has treated Lamberton since his October 2010 concussion. “It’s great that awareness is being raised through sports, but I think one of the important messages to get out is it’s not just sports. Any impulsive force to any part of the body which causes a brain deceleration can cause concussion.
“Davis is in an atypical position. But it illustrates the point that even if you keep a young person out of sports they can still fall down and have a concussion playing in the yard or at recess.”
As Rotenberg noted the most significant aspect of treating a concussion is rest, both physical and cognitive. The AAP recommends shortening days and reducing workloads in school during recovery, while limiting exposure to computers, video games and television at home.
Rest can be accompanied by exercises to build tolerance to symptoms, including trouble with balance and dizziness. Lamberton said one test included spinning in a chair until he was dizzy. Another involved focusing on his extended finger while turning his head back and forth, which Lamberton said he struggled with at first but gradually had less trouble with.
Lamberton rehabilitated at Memorial Hermann’s TIRR outpatient facility at Kirby Glen following his October 2010 concussion.
Rotenberg said the duration of the recovery process can vary and symptoms differ for each individual. Meredith Lamberton observed her son had post-concussion symptoms for two months following his football injury.
“Typically young people are impaired longer than adults,” said Rotenberg, also a member of the Spring Branch ISD Concussion Management Team. “My message to families when they come in is it is likely to take months to improve. When it does it can improve quickly. Seventy-five to 80 percent of concussions are resolved by the three-week mark, but it kind of depends on how closely you look.”

full article

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Special Needs Teacher Accused Of Using Vinegar-Soaked Cotton Balls To Discipline Students - Katy, TX

Special Needs Teacher Accused Of Using Vinegar-Soaked Cotton Balls To Discipline Students

A Katy, Texas, special needs teacher is under fire for allegedly engaging in some highly questionable discipline practices.
According to KPRC, Pam Manning, a teacher at Exley Elementary, and two aides have been accused of soaking cotton balls in vinegar and forcing students to hold them in their mouths, as a form of discipline. The practice came to light after one parent reported witnessing it first-hand.
The accused have since been removed from the classroom. Manning is currently on contract arbitration with the district, KPRC said.
"The things that these folks have been alleged to have been engaged in were not approved by the parents, were not condoned by the school district," school district spokesman Steve Stanford told the local news station. "That is why they have been removed from the classroom and we have taken the steps that we have."

Link to story

Link to KHOU