IMG_0791 Dear Mr. Timberlake, I was not expecting to see you and I together. As a long-time fan, our names sharing space in the celebrity gossip column of In Touch Weekly was truly a surprise. Now, JT. Can I call you, JT? I know that you remember me from a few months back. We shared some time in a darkened auditorium with a few thousand of my friends ...

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Swim season, sleepovers, and summer sports camps -- many tweens and teens are asking about tampons. It’s time for a refresher. 1. It’s OK for her to use a tampon. Using tampons is normal and safe, even from the very first period. In other words, there is no medical reason that a young girl cannot wear a tampon. Using tampons do not imply “sexual maturity” or advanced sexual interest. Tampons are just another form ...

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Dear doctor no longer seeing vaccine-hesitant families, I know that creating your “no tolerance” office-wide vaccine policy was not easy or came without soul-searching. I can only imagine the heated boardroom meetings and passionate arguments throughout the weeks the policy was being drafted. I trust it is because of your support and love for the families you currently care for that you felt the need to create the policy, and it ...

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"Nervous." I’ve heard that word a lot lately. It keeps falling from the mouths of my families in clinic, landing on the floor with a silent thud. I mean, we have a right to be. We should be. It is one of the most infectious diseases on the planet, today about 400 people worldwide will have died of it, and the number of infected people in the U.S. is climbing. As Read more...

Parents are appropriately expressing concern about the safety of Miralax®, a commonly used stool softener in kids, after a recent New York Times article exposed a potential association with long-term use of the drug and undesired behavioral side effects. As the article explains, the FDA has awarded a research grant to a team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to directly address these concerns. Miralax® has been used ...

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shutterstock_1175794 As a doc, I need to take care of the whole child. I do this with respect for every kiddo; and with their parent’s consent, presence, and permission. Sometimes the job includes discussing or examining a child’s genitals. In the past, it was not thought of as appropriate to allow children to speak openly about sensitive anatomical areas (“private parts.”) Growing up as kids, we may have ...

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shutterstock_150587615 Dear college freshman, I just saw you in clinic a few weeks ago; your last check up before college. We talked about a lot of stuff, updated shots, filled out forms, hugged good-bye; crammed in what we could in just a few minutes. It was a great to see you. Now that you are out of the office, away from the distractions of a buzzing ...

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“It’s a disgrace to the human race.” The talented, high school senior physically cringed as she described the app, adding, “it’s just horrifying what people put on there.” Teens in my office have nearly universally agreed in the repulsive nature of one of the newest social networking apps called Yik Yak. The app is causing disruption within our local community; being described as a way to cyberbully, offend, and generally disgust anyone anonymously. App users, or ...

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CNN recently released a report on picky eaters. This short piece featured the family of a picky pre-schooler, Harper O’Bamsawin. The brave O’Bamsawin family opened their house to the world, seeking solutions to improve their dinner table experience. The result, however, was an expose of common problems left unsolved. As the camera revealed a typical meal in Harper’s home, it quickly became clear that Harper’s parents have fallen into ...

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On December 4th, 2013, Katie Couric gave the HPV vaccine center stage during a segment on her talk show, Katie. The segment, entitled “The HPV Controversy,” was 20 minutes long, but ignited a digital firestorm between pro- and anti-vaccine voices that raged for days after the stage lights went dark. In partnership with Global Prairie, the entire online conversation surrounding this Katie segment was digitally captured using DataFarm. ...

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A recent study in JAMA Pediatrics discovered that conversations about sexual health between a health provider and a teen patient are shockingly short (less than 40 seconds), full of bland yes/no answers, and more likely to occur if the patient is older. The research has put a glaring light on the need for better sex education opportunities during routine teen health visits. I believe all teenagers deserve ...

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It’s the beginning of cold and flu season. That means a lot of kiddos, big and small, are coming to the office with fever. As docs, we know that fevers can freak moms and dads out. Kids look pretty awful when their temperature climbs, and it is understandable that parents want to bring them to the office for an evaluation. In the exam room, I often hear worried parents say ...

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The HPV vaccine is in the news again. This time it is Katie Couric’s daytime talk show that is shining the spotlight. And, I am thankful. A medicine that prevents cancer is worth giving airtime. In the segment, Couric chose to highlight the experience of 3 mother-daughter duos and their experience with the HPV vaccine. One story ended in loss, one in pain, and one in quiet confidence. Couric also highlighted advice from ...

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From gas stations to grocery stores, slender cylinders of nicotine “e-juice” seem to be available everywhere. On my drive to work, in fact, 2 new e-cigarette shops have opened their doors in just the last 3 months. So I was not surprised to read a recent report suggesting a rise in the number of teens trying e-cigs. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine by heating nicotine-containing fluid into a vapor that is inhaled. ...

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color crayons “I’m so frustrated, Dr. Natasha. My 2-year-old son knows his letters and can count to 10, but he does not seem to know any colors. He just calls everything ‘blue’. Do you think he could be colorblind?” Parents often come to my office with the concern that their child is unable to correctly identify colors, even when these children have an impressive ...

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The teenage girl was in my office for a routine physical. As we were talking about healthy dietary habits and routine exercise, she blurted it out: “I make good choices, Dr. Natasha, I’m not like those girls who just want a bigger thigh gap.” “So, you guys are talking about thigh gaps now?” I asked with horrified curiosity. “Yeah, mainly the girls in volleyball or cheer. I mean, they have to show their gaps. But, ...

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Our hearts are heavy after learning about the loss of a talented high school athlete in our community. Recently, Andre Maloney died after suffering from a stroke caused by a blood clot in his brain. As the details are continuing to emerge, it is beginning to become clear that the stroke Andre suffered from was not a result of a traumatic hit on the field, nor a concussion event. Sadly, his ...

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Did your team win this weekend? I hope so. It is so exciting when your team gets to throw up a “W” after their first contest. It gives all the fans hope for a successful and exciting season. Fall also is a time to cheer for our annual opportunity to protect our families against a predictably unpredictable opponent: influenza. That’s right. It’s time to defend against the flu by getting an annual flu vaccine. This ...

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school-bus Recently, parents all over the Kansas City area waited patiently for the news that the 6th graders were okay. Many were holding their breath. And those of us whose children ever step foot onto a school bus, thoughts came to our brains that we don’t like to talk about. The good news is that the kids were fine. Certainly shaken, but no critical injuries. The community is thankful ...

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ABC_baby_monitor_hacked_thg_130813_16x9_608 (1) When I heard the news of an innocent child’s room getting infiltrated by a digital stranger, I was worried. Disgusted. Disturbed. Although reports about baby monitors getting hacked are certainly not new, the event in this little girl’s room seemed different somehow. More real and more personal. I know most of my families have monitoring systems in their children’s rooms. ...

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