Taking Young Children from Their Parents -How Can That Happen Here?


Digital Media Exposure and Well-Being

Two studies show that increased digital media exposure (DME) is inversely related to a child’s well-being.

In the first study (S Ruest et al. J Pediatr 2018; 197: 268-74), the authors analyzed more than 64,000 U.S. children (2011-2012). ages 6-17 years.  Only 31% reported <2 hours per day of DME.  2-4 hrs/day of DME was noted in 36%, 4-6 hrs/day in 17%, and >6 hrs in 17%.  There was an inverse relationship between DME and 5 markers of well-being: completing homework, caring about academics, finishing tasks, staying calm when challenged, and showing interest in learning.

In the second study (P-Y Pin et al. J Pediatr 2018; 197: 262-7), the authors conducted a 1 year prospective trial with 1861 adolescents.  They found that 23% had internet addiction at baseline, with internet addiction based on the Chen Internet Addiction Scale. 59 students (3.9%) developed new self-harm/suicidal behaviors.  Internet addiction risk conferred a 2.41 relative risk of emerging self-harm/suicidal behaviors.

My take: These studies document a strong association between digital media exposure/internet addiction and worrisome behaviors/worsened well-being.

Pine Mountain Trail

Not Preparing for the Next Pandemic

A terrific commentary (Bill Gates, NEJM 2018; 378: 2057-60) explains how we are NOT preparing for the next pandemic and what we should be doing and why.

Key points:

  • There has been incredible progress in many areas of global health and infectious diseases.  In fact, “child mortality has decreased by more than 50% since 1990.”  HIV is no longer “a certain death sentence” and there has been progress with malaria.
  • Yet, “there is a significant probability that a large and lethal modern-day pandemic will occur in our lifetime.”  Some recent events have alerted us to this risk, including swine flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014 as well as recent MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).
  • “We need better tools, an early detection system, and a global response system.”
  • “A simulation by the Institute for Disease Modeling shows what would happen if a highly contagious and lethal airborne pathogen, like the 1918 influenza, were to appear today.  Nearly 33 million people worldwide would die in just 6 months.” (see below)
  • Vaccine development holds some promise to protect against many pathogens.  One step to help with vaccines has been a public-private venture, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
  • Vaccines alone are not enough as they take time to stimulate immunity and often not enough people receive them.  “So we need to invest in other approaches, such as antiviral drugs and antibody therapies that can be stockpiled.”

My take (borrowed): “”If it were a military weapon [threat], the response would be to de everything possible to develop countermeasures.  In the case of biologic threats, that sense of urgency is lacking.  But the world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way.”

What to Do For Friends and Family Who Are Depressed

In light of the troubling news of recent suicides, I wanted to reference a recent NY Times article which provides useful guidance on What to Do When a Loved One is Severely Depressed

Here are the key points/excerpts:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of showing up
  • Don’t try to cheer him up or offer advice

“Your job as a support person is not to cheer people up. It’s to acknowledge that it sucks right now, and their pain exists,” she said…

Instead of upbeat rebuttals about why it’s not so bad, she recommended trying something like, “It sounds like life is really overwhelming for you right now.”

  • It’s O.K. to ask if she is having suicidal thoughts
  • Take any mention of death seriously

If this person is seeing a psychiatrist or therapist, get him or her on the phone…

If that’s not an option, have the person you’re worried about call a suicide prevention line, such as a 1-800-273-TALK, or take her to the hospital emergency room; say aloud that this is what one does when a loved one’s life is in danger.

  • Make getting to that first appointment as easy as possible

You alone cannot fix this problem, no matter how patient and loving you are. A severely depressed friend needs professional assistance from a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or another medical professional.

  • Take care of yourself and set boundaries

Still, just because someone is depressed is not a reason to let their abusive behavior slide. Set clear boundaries with straightforward language such as, “It sounds like you’re in a lot of pain right now. But you can’t call me names.”..

It’s O.K. not to be available 24-7, but try to be explicit about when you can and cannot help. One way to do this, Ms. Devine advised, is to say: “I know you’ve been really struggling a lot, and I really want to be here for you. There are times that I physically can’t do that.”

  • Remember, people do recover from depression

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Also, it is worth noting that the suicide rate has been increasing.

Increased Organ Availability for Transplantation Related to Opioid Epidemic

A letter to the editor (MR Mehra et al. NEJM 2018; 378: 20: 1943-45) provides a perspective on the increasing availability of organs for transplantation from drug overdoses/opioid epidemic from 2000 to 2016.

Key findings:

  • “The drug-abuse epidemic has been associated with a sharp increase in the recovery of organs from brain-dead donors in the United States but not in Europe. “
  • “The U.S. data indicate that survival among recipients from donors who died from drug intoxication is similar to survival among recipients from donors who died from other causes.”

My take: Opioid use is more likely to place one at risk for needing a liver transplantation due to increase acquistion of hepatitis C infection and is more likely to make a donor available due to drug overdoses.

Related blog posts:

Celecoxib as Safe as Naproxen and Ibuprofen

Link to NPR article: FDA Affirms Safety of Painkiller Celebrex

An excerpt:

The FDA’s committee’s conclusion is based on the results of that study, which involved more than 24,000 patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. One-third took celecoxib, which is only available by prescription. One-third took prescription doses of ibuprofen. The remaining third took prescription naproxen.

The study found no evidence that celecoxib poses any greater risk for causing heart attacks and strokes than ibuprofen or naproxen. Those medications are in category known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs

The study found the risk of dying, suffering a stroke or having a heart attack among patients taking celecoxib was 2.3 percent during a 30-month period, compared with 2.5 percent for naproxen and 2.7 percent for ibuprofen

From ImproveCareNow: Resources for Mind Body Interventions

From ImproveCareNow: Resources for Mind Body Interventions

The above linked-website has links to many others for patients and providers: meditation, mindfulness, yoga and guided imagery.  The links on this page borrowed from Chelly Dykes and KT Park who credits Dr. Sindu Vellanki and Dr Ann Ming Yeh from Stanford.


Literature on these topics (also from ImproveCareNow): Mind Body Interventions and IBD

Mind Body Interventions and IBD – Journal Articles


  • Yeh, A. M., Wren, A., & Golianu, B. (2017). Mind–Body Interventions for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Children, 4(4), 22. doi:10.3390/children4040022
  • Mindfulness/ Meditation/ Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR):
  • Kabat-Zinn, J., Lipworth, L., Burney, R., & Sellers, W. (1987). Four-Year Follow-Up of a Meditation-Based Program for the Self-Regulation of Chronic Pain: Treatment Outcomes and Compliance. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 3(1), 60.

**Note: This is an overview of MBSR, not IBD specific


  • Neilson, K., Ftanou, M., Monshat, K., Salzberg, M., Bell, S., Kamm, M. A., . . . Castle, D. (2016). A Controlled Study of a Group Mindfulness Intervention for Individuals Living With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 22(3), 694-701.
  • Jedel, S., Hoffman, A., Merriman, P., Swanson, B., Voigt, R., Rajan, K., . . . Keshavarzian, A. (2014). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to Prevent Flare-Up in Patients with Inactive Ulcerative Colitis. Digestion, 89(2), 142-155.
  • Hood, M. M., & Jedel, S. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, 46(4), 859-874.
  • Berrill, J. W., Sadlier, M., Hood, K., & Green, J. T. (2014). Mindfulness-based therapy for inflammatory bowel disease patients with functional abdominal symptoms or high perceived stress levels. Journal of Crohns and Colitis,8(9), 945-955. doi:10.1016/j.crohns.2014.01.018
  • Gerbarg, P. L., Jacob, V. E., Stevens, L., Bosworth, B. P., Chabouni, F., Defilippis, E. M., . . . Scherl, E. J. (2015). The Effect of Breathing, Movement, and Meditation on Psychological and Physical Symptoms and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.Inflammatory Bowel Diseases,21(12), 2886-2896.

Clinical Hypnosis:

  • Keefer, L., Taft, T. H., Kiebles, J. L., Martinovich, Z., Barrett, T. A., & Palsson, O. S. (2013). Gut-directed hypnotherapy significantly augments clinical remission in quiescent ulcerative colitis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics,38(7), 761-771.
  • Mawdsley, J. E., Jenkins, D. G., Macey, M. G., Langmead, L., & Rampton, D. S. (2008). The Effect of Hypnosis on Systemic and Rectal Mucosal Measures of Inflammation in Ulcerative Colitis. The American Journal of Gastroenterology,103(6), 1460-1469.
  • Shaoul, R., Sukhotnik, I., & Mogilner, J. (2009). Hypnosis as an Adjuvant Treatment for Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics,30(3), 268.
  • Vlieger, A., Govers, A., Frankenhuis, C., & Benninga, M. (2010). Hypnotherapy for children with functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome: Long term follow-up. European Journal of Integrative Medicine,2(4), 191.


IBS + Yoga:

  • Schumann, D., Anheyer, D., Lauche, R., Dobos, G. Langhorst, J., Cramer, H. Effect of Yoga in the Therapy of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Clin. Gastroenterol. Hepatol.  2016, 14, 1720-1731.
  • Selvan, S. R., Kavuri, V., Selvan, P., Malamud, A., & Raghuram, N. (2015). Randomized clinical trial study of Yoga therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). European Journal of Integrative Medicine,7, 23.
  • Kuttner, L., Chambers, C., Hardial, J., Israel, D., Jacobson, K., Evans, K. A Randomized Trial of Yoga for Adolescents with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Pain Research & Management 2006, 11, 217-223.
  • Evans, S., Lung, K., Seidman, L., Sternlieb, B., Zeltzer, L., & Tsao, J. (2014). (567) Iyengar yoga for adolescents and young adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). J. Pediatri. Gastroenterol. Nutri. 2014, 59, 244-253.

IBD + Yoga: