ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
FITNESS
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
The Unmedicated Mind
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children from Hispanic or low-income families are more likely to have hearing loss, and a serious but rare eye disease is often missed or mistreated among urban preschoolers.

The hearing finding was based on a review of five studies conducted between 1966 and 2007, all of which explored hearing loss among children of various ethnicities from birth through the age of 19.

In contrast, the vision finding was drawn from a new investigation conducted between 2003 and 2007 that looked into so-called "refractive eyesight errors" among black and white children (aged 6 months to about 6 years) living in the Baltimore area.

"Based on the data available in the various studies we looked at, it appears that in the Hispanic population and in low-income homes, there is likely a higher burden of pediatric hearing loss," said Dr. Donald G. Keamy, lead author of the hearing study and a surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an instructor in the departments of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

"But we don't know the absolute cause of that increased rate," Keamy noted. "And it is also very important to point out that the information we looked at is actually both somewhat old and very fractured, in the sense that there is no unified national approach to collecting pediatric hearing loss information. So, we can not even say if the finding is absolutely true until we have a much more systematic and fresh analysis of the problem, which would require a more national approach to the assessment of hearing loss in children."

Keamy published his team's observations in the April issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. The vision study team, from Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, reported its findings in the April issue of Ophthalmology.

Keamy and his colleagues point out that hearing loss is one of the most common birth disorders in the United States, noting that two to four of every 1,000 children are born either deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The current review examined prior research gleaned from medical databases and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The hearing study authors found that the average rate of hearing impairment from birth to adolescence was "significantly higher" among all subgroups of Hispanic-Americans (Mexican-American, Cuban-American, and Puerto Rican) and to a similar degree among low-income households.

"The bottom line is that pediatric hearing loss is a largely under-recognized problem that has a great impact on a number of issues, with regard to learning and language development," noted Keamy. "And until we really completely understand the scope of the problem, we can't fix it and make things better."

"So the point here," he stressed, "is that despite the fact that most states now screen newborns for hearing loss before hospital discharge, the process is not entirely standardized, and different techniques are used which have different sensitivities for detecting hearing loss. So the indication about the higher risk among Hispanics is, of course, important. But what we truly hope to accomplish with this work is to encourage the adoption of a more systematic approach to the overall problem."

"This study really shows the need for an apples-to-apples approach to pediatric hearing loss," agreed Robert D. Frisina, an associate chair of otolaryngology at the University of Rochester Medical School in New York.

"This is a relatively novel and interesting analysis," said Frisina. "And I haven't heard of a higher risk among Hispanic households before, which makes it a little bit surprising and provocative. But before any health recommendations could be made, it does need to be followed up to find out with certainty whether or not there is a sampling error here. And to do that, I think a national repository and national standards for hearing loss data collection are very much needed."

As for the vision findings, the Hopkins team -- led by Dr. David Friedman, of the Bloomberg School of Public Health -- found that despite the fact that 5 percent of the nearly 2,300 urban children they examined had a defect in the eye's ability to focus on light that was serious enough to warrant treatment, just 1 percent actually got necessary medical attention.

On the other side of the coin, they actually uncovered some evidence of over-treatment, given that one-third of 29 children who had been prescribed eyeglasses before the study launch actually didn't need them.

-Alan Mozes

More information

For additional resources on pediatric hearing and vision, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.



SOURCES: Donald G. Keamy, M.D., surgeon, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and instructor, departments of otology and laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D., associate chair, otolaryngology, and professor, department of otolaryngology, department of neurobiology and anatomy, and department of biomedical engineering, University of Rochester Medical School, N.Y.; April 2009, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; April 2009, Ophthalmology

Last Updated: April 03, 2009

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