ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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