ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
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
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer 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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