ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
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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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