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"When you know better, you do better." – Maya Angelou

ceoMoms want to know what's going on. It's one of the ways we can improve ourselves and expand our minds. We encourage you to read the news, pick up the book you've been putting off or learn about the world in general. Then pass on your thirst for knowledge to your children. Go mom!

Skinny thighs could spell your doom

At last, good news for anyone who ever despaired of fitting into skinny jeans: Thin thighs might actually kill you. Or at least put a strain on your heart.

That’s the word from Danish researchers who studied more than 2,800 middle-aged people for up to a dozen years, only to find that those with the slimmest thighs had the highest chance of heart disease and premature death.

“There was up to a double risk for the people with the smallest thighs,” said Dr. Berit L. Heitmann, a director of research at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. “It’s quite substantial.”

People whose thighs measured less than 60 centimeters, or about 23.6 inches in circumference, were in trouble. And those with stick-thin gams (less than 18 inches around) were at the greatest risk, according to new study in the online version of the British Medical Journal. Read more

Most children actually thrive on numerous activities, research shows

No need to worry about frazzled kids cramming ballet lessons, soccer practice, Girl Scout meetings and piano recitals into their schedules come the new school year.

Turns out, most kids are fine. It’s the parents, who bear the burden of shuttling kids from one activity to another and feel the pressure to see their children succeed, who might actually be the ones on overload.

Contrary to popular belief that many children today are stressed out by overscheduled lives, recent research suggests that a heavy load of structured activities is actually beneficial for children, according Sandra L. Hofferth, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland at College Park and author of a study titled “The ‘Hurried’ Child: Myth vs. Reality.” Read more

ADHD drug abuse calls flood poisons centers

CHICAGO - Calls to poison control centers about teens abusing attention-deficit drugs soared 76 percent over eight years, sobering evidence about the dangerous consequences of prescription misuse, a study shows.

The calls were from worried parents, emergency room doctors and others seeking advice on how to deal with the problem, which can be deadly. Four deaths were among cases evaluated in the study.

Kids taking ADHD drugs to get high or increase alertness may not realize that misuse of the drugs can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening symptoms, including agitation, rapid heartbeat, extremely high blood pressure. Read more

Babies’ brains ‘reach’ for toys, study shows

The look of amazement in the eyes of an infant suggests the wheels are churning away inside that noggin. New research confirms they are. Scientists have shown that when 9-month-olds watch people reach for objects, the motor region in their brains gets activated, as if the babies were doing the reaching themselves.

The brain ability is likely due to so-called mirror neurons, which fire both when we do an action ourselves, and when we watch others do a similar action. While such neurons have only been directly measured in monkeys, scientists think they exist in adult humans, and now in infants.

"Even in the first year of life, babies are using the area of their brain that is involved in their own motor skills, in order to help them perceive other people's actions," said lead researcher Victoria Southgate of the Center for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London.
Read more

Pills cause most accidental poisonings in kids

Medication overdoses send one in every 180 U.S. 2-year-olds to the emergency department every year, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Such overdoses are responsible for more than two-thirds of all childhood poisonings.

Most of the time, these cases occur when a child finds a medicine and eats or drinks it without adult supervision, Dr. Daniel S. Budnitz, who directs the Medication Safety Program at the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion and led the study, told Reuters Health.

"Although there have been some great stride in preventing deaths from overdoses with the traditional child-resistant caps ... it might be time to kind of take the next step," Budnitz said. He said the CDC is working with manufacturers and other agencies to come up with innovative packaging that reduces the likelihood that a child can take too much of a medication. Read more

12 surprising signs you’ll live to 100

You're the life of the party
Outgoing people are 50 percent less likely to develop dementia, according to a recent study of more than 500 men and women age 78 and older from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Participants also described themselves as not easily stressed.

Researchers speculate that their more resilient brains may be due to lower levels of cortisol — studies show that oversecretion of this "stress hormone" can inhibit brain cells' communication. Science-backed ways to cut cortisol levels: Meditate, sip black tea, or take a nap. Read more

Cost to raise a kid? Nearly a quarter million

ST. LOUIS - It's no secret that raising children can be expensive, but how about nearly a quarter of a million dollars expensive?

A government report released Tuesday says a middle-income family with a child born last year will spend about $221,000 raising that child through age 17.

The report by the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion identified housing as the largest single expense, followed by food and child care/education costs. The $221,000 in expenses rises to about $292,000 when adjusted for inflation.
Read more

Kids today on tighter leash, but wilder at home

Parents today give their children more freedom at home but keep them on a tighter leash in public, a new study finds. This is the reverse of what was considered good parenting in the early half of the last century, the researcher showed.

The conclusion comes from an offbeat, qualitative study, which involved a review of 300 advice columns from Parents magazine, published between 1929 and 2006.

Examples cited in the study reveal a disciplined approach to child-rearing a couple generations ago that's all but gone today. Read more

Amid recession U.S. births dropped

ATLANTA - There aren’t just fewer jobs in a recession. There are fewer babies, too.

U.S. births fell in 2008, the first full year of the recession, marking the first annual decline in births since the start of the decade and ending an American baby boomlet.

The downturn in the economy best explains the drop in maternity, some experts believe. The Great Depression and subsequent recessions all were accompanied by a decline in births, said Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health and epidemiology. Read more

Student injuries in gym class jump 150 percent

CHICAGO - Injuries to American children during physical education classes increased by 150 percent from 1997-2007, a new study finds, a possible drawback to a movement encouraging more vigorous exercise in schools.

Yet that may have less to do with lively gym programs than with lack of adult supervision, experts said. A decline in school nurses and larger class sizes could be to blame, said the study's senior author Lara McKenzie of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"Children got hurt by running into equipment or having contact with structures or other persons," McKenzie said. "They had heat stroke, fainting and heart palpitations." Boys had more cuts and broken bones than girls. Girls were more likely to suffer strains and sprains. Read more

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