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What You Should Know About Gluten

Gluten has been in the news a lot lately and often gets a bad rap. Some see a gluten-free diet as a cure all for a vast array of stomach problems, including pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and even weight gain and behavior problems.

But gluten – a nutritious mixture of proteins found in wheat and other grains – isn’t necessarily the culprit, says Nancy Nelson, a nurse practitioner at Seattle Children’s in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology program who specializes in stomach problems and inflammatory bowel disease. Cutting it out of your diet may not magically make you feel better.

That doesn’t mean that gluten sensitivity isn’t real – just that it gets the blame more often than it should. And while the cause of stomach problems varies, the symptoms are often very similar making it difficult to figure out how to feel better. Read full post »

Addressing ADHD Improves Academic and Social Success

At every moment of every day, the human brain processes a constant, and natural, barrage of stimuli. At multiple levels, including below consciousness, our brains constantly filter through these competing stimuli to prioritize those that help us respond, begin a task, take steps toward a larger goal and behave in socially appropriate ways.

For people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), something is amiss in the brain pathways that filter through these competing impulses. Those affected with this neurological condition have difficulty sorting out relevant stimuli from non-relevant stimuli, and may respond impulsively or not respond when a quick response is required. In the classroom, children with ADHD have difficulty focusing on school or homework, sustaining their attention for things they are not interested in, and some (especially younger children) have difficulty sitting still.

Between 9 percent and 11 percent of school-aged children (4 to 17 years of age) in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD – about 13 percent of boys and 5.5 percent of girls.

Though people with ADHD can be very successful in life, without proper diagnosis and treatment, this condition can have serious consequences, like:

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Helping new parents cope with normal infant crying

Typical newborn cryingOne of the biggest surprises new parents face is just how relentlessly a normal, healthy infant can cry during their first few months of life. This crying can lead people to question their fitness as parents, raise unnecessary concerns about their child’s wellbeing and result in overwhelming feelings of anger, frustration and guilt.

Research shows that bouts of prolonged, unrelenting crying is the No. 1 reason parents – and other caregivers – shake a baby. Shaken baby syndrome can cause blindness, seizures, physical and learning disabilities, and even death.

Thankfully, research also has shown that simply understanding the normal pattern of infant crying and learning a few coping skills significantly reduces the likelihood that a child will be shaken or abused. Read full post »