ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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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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