ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Functional Foods Uncovered
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
FITNESS
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Eat Light - Live Longer
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
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
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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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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