ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
Winter Is Tough on Feet
CANCER
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Get to Know the Pap Test
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
CAREGIVING
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Eat Light - Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
FITNESS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Be Healthy, Spend Less
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Add your Article

TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills

MONDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- The next time you pass by a shelf full of videos claiming to be educationally stimulating for babies, you might want to think twice before pulling out your wallet.

A new study suggests that watching television won't improve a baby's language or cognitive skills, even if they watch several hours a day.

"TV, in and of itself, doesn't seem to have an influence on cognition at age 3," said the study's lead author, Marie Evans Schmidt, a research associate at the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston.

Results of the study were published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics.

In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that children under 2 years of age not have any screen time at all. But, more than two-thirds of American kids in the under-2 age group watch TV daily, and about 25 percent of those kids also have a TV in their bedrooms, according to background information in the study.

Almost 30 percent of parents responding to a recent survey said they felt TV or DVD viewing by children younger than 2 was educational and "good for the child's brain."

To assess whether or not TV has an effect -- positive or negative -- on babies' brain development, Schmidt and her colleagues included almost 900 children who were assessed at birth, six months of age, and then again at age 3. The researchers also asked the mothers to complete questionnaires on the baby's TV-viewing habits at six months, one year and two years. On average, the children watched 1.2 hours of TV a day.

After adjusting the data for numerous factors -- such as maternal age, income, education, marital status, whether there were siblings in the home, and duration of breast-feeding -- the researchers found that TV viewing wasn't associated with improvements in vocabulary testing or in visual motor abilities tests.

"I don't know why people think TV is good for babies. It's probably the way those products have been marketed," Schmidt said. "Although our study showed no evidence of harm, parents should be aware that infants watching TV may be at risk of obesity, sleep disturbances and possibly attention problems. We don't want this study to be viewed as a license for babies to watch TV because they won't be harmed. It might be that the effects don't show up until children are older."

Dr. Sara Hamel, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, called the new study "a very sound piece of research, and it looks to me like they did a good job of controlling the data for a number of variables that can influence child development, like parent education and income."

"This study answers a very specific question: For under 2s, does watching one hour or more of TV a day have an effect on cognitive outcomes? And, the answer is, no, being in front of the TV does not have an effect on some measures of language function and visual abilities," Hamel added.

A second study in the same issue of Pediatrics focused on whether or not adding violent-content labels to video games made those games more attractive to school-aged children and teens.

The warning labels had the opposite of their intended effect. Even for the youngest children in the study -- 7 to 8 years old -- a violent-content warning label made them want to play the game more, the U.S. and Dutch researchers found.

-Serena Gordon

More information

Here's what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say about TV and toddlers.



SOURCES: Marie Evans Schmidt, Ph.D., research associate, Center on Media and Child Health, Children's Hospital Boston, and instructor, pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Sara Hamel, M.D., developmental behavioral pediatrician, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; March 2009, Pediatrics

Last Updated: March 02, 2009

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