US poll shows low-income parents delay child dental visits due to lack of guidance

Parents were often unsure when they should be taking their child to the dentist, shows a new  US national poll has found.  Parents polled were often unaware about national guidance which advises when young children should visit the dentist.  baby-2553539_1920According to the poll 1 in 6 parents  believed children should not have dental appointments under the age of 4. This is in stark contrast to The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association (ADA)  which recommends dental visits occur from around age one when baby teeth emerge.

The poll co-director Sarah Clark said, we found “that when parents get clear guidance from their child’s doctor or dentist, they understand the first dental visit should take place at an early age. Without such guidance, some parents turn to family or friends for advice. As recommendations change, they may be hearing outdated information and not getting their kids to the dentist early enough.

“Parents get much less guidance, however, on when to start taking their child to the dentist, with less than half saying they have received professional advice. This lack of guidance may mean many parents delay the start of dental visits past the recommended age.”

Parents with higher income and education, and those with private dental insurance, were more likely to report that a doctor or dentist provided guidance on when to start dental visits.

“Our poll suggests that families who are low-income, less educated, and on Medicaid (payment for medical services for low-income citizens) and by fitting into a specified eligibility are less likely to receive professional guidance on dental care. This is particularly problematic because low-income children have higher rates of early childhood tooth decay and would benefit from early dental care,”says Clark .

She advises that parents ask their child’s doctor or their own dentist about when to start dental appointments and for advice on keeping their child’s teeth healthy.”


Full story at Science Daily 

Do teenagers who frequent Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites perform worse academically?

The investigators explored whether young people’s social media usage and engagement correlated with their attainment in school.  The researchers identified 59 studies (which  included almost 30,000 people) undertaking meta-analyses on this topic. 


The four results of the meta-analyses:

• The first result: Pupils who use social media intensively to communicate about school-related topics tend to have slightly better grades. This finding was anticipated by the  scientists in the study

• The second result: Pupils who use Instagram and the likes a lot while studying or doing their homework, tend to perform slightly worse than other students. This form of multi-tasking thus seems to be rather distracting.

• The third result: Students who use social networking sites very frequently, regularly post messages and photos and spend a lot of time there have slightly lower grades. This negative effect is, however, very small.

• The fourth result: Pupils who are particularly active on social media do not spend less time studying. So there is no scientifically verified proof of social media stealing valuable time for schoolwork from pupils.

According to the researchers using social media does not seem to have a significant adverse impact on school grades.

Story from Science Daily 


The popularity of social networking sites (SNSs) among adolescents and young adults has raised concerns that the intensity of using these platforms might be associated with lower academic achievement.
The empirical findings on this issue, however, are anything but conclusive. Therefore, we present four random-effects meta-analyses including 59 independent samples (total N = 29,337) on the association between patterns of SNS use and grades.

The meta-analyses identified small negative effects for general SNS use and for SNS use related to multitasking.

General SNS use was unrelated to the time spent studying for school  and no support for the time displacement hypothesis could be found in a meta-analytical mediation analysis. SNS use for academic purposes exhibited a small positive association.

Hypotheses with regard to cross-cultural differences were not supported.

Full abstract from Springer 

Full reference: Marker, C.  et al | Active on Facebook and Failing at School? Meta-Analytic Findings on the Relationship Between Online Social Networking Activities and Academic Achievement | Educational Psychology Review | 2017 | DOI: 10.1007/s10648-017-9430-6

This article can be requested by Rotherham NHS staff here 

To sit or to stand, that is the question: examining the effects of work posture change on the well-being at work of software professionals

Active work stations and standing desks have been promoted as a healthy alternative for desk-bound office workers.  Yet, a new study from Finland has claimed that standing desks and active work stations have a minimal effect on health. The team found that the benefits of standing at work over sitting in a study of software workers were not as obvious as the marketing hype for standing workstations might suggest.

Instead the study’s findings appear to demonstrate that working at standing workstations, rather than sitting desks have only modest benefits for physical activity, and they do not have an effect on mental alertness. While such workstations do decrease musuloskeletal strain in the neck and shoulders, they increase strain in the legs and feet.
Full story from Science Daily

Full reference:

Makkonenn, M. et al |To sit or to stand, that is the question: examining the effects of work pressure change on the well-being at work of software professionals |International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations (IJNVO) | Vol. 17 | 4 |20 | Doi:

The full text article can be requested by Rotherham NHS Staff here 

Insomnia as a risk factor for depression

A Japanese study posits that insomnia itself causes many of the conditions that it is seen as being a  symptom of, such as depression. The researchers sought to identify a correlation between insomnia and depression. Chronic insomnia is the one of the factors influencing the development of mental illness.  In Japan suicide is the leading cause of death (over 30,000 deaths between 1988 and 2002), with a particularly high incidence rate among middle aged males. 
sheep-981881_1920.jpgThe survey was designed to collect information about the respondent’s gender, age, and medical profession, as well as data about their sleeping history.  It also questioned  their overtime at work, and their history of disease and chronic pain. Respondents were also asked to assess their own feelings of depression and fatigue.
The researchers tried to clarify the relationship between chronic insomnia and various factors preliminary research was conducted with 108 working participants, which included healthy participants and patients with mild to moderate depressive episodes. The results showed that the IS was significantly correlated with the severity of depression, subjective fatigue, sadness, and suicidal thoughts. Thus, an IS evaluation has the possibility of identifying depression based on a questionnaire survey related to direct mood changes

The researchers conclude that the IS (insomnia score), which served as the starting point for this research study, is a predictive factor for the detection of early depression. They deduce that determining insomnia as a risk factor for depression as well as a high level of stress and lifestyle-related diseases is a significant observation that can open the door to preventative care for a wide spectrum of disorders. The researchers intend to use the IS in preventative medical care and in industrial healthcare settings in Japan.

Full story at Science Daily 

The full article is published in Open Medicine  and can be downloaded from Open Medicine  here 



This study aimed to identify a correlation between insomnia and the occurrence of depression among Japanese hospital employees using the data obtained from a self-reported questionnaire.


A self-administered questionnaire on sleeping patterns, depression, fatigue, lifestyle-related diseases, and chronic pain was given to 7690 employees aged 20-60 years, and 5,083 employees responded.


An insomnia score of more than 2 was observed in 840 (13%) respondents. Chronic insomnia correlated significantly with gender, occupation, overtime work, metabolic syndrome, chronic pain, fatigue, and depression. Moreover, significant negative effects on depression scores were observed in males aged 30-39 (partial regression coefficient: b=0.357, p=0.016), females aged 20-29 (b=0.494, p less than 0.001), male administrative staff (b=0.475, p=0.003), males with metabolic syndrome (b=0.258, p=0.023), and both genders with chronic insomnia (male; b=0.480, p less than 0.001: female; b=0.485, p less than 0.001), and fatigue (male; b=1.180, p less than 0.001: female; b=1.151, p less than 0.001).


Insomnia is a risk factor for depression and for other lifestyle-related diseases. The insomnia score may be useful in preventative care settings because it is associated with a wide spectrum of diseases and serves as a valuable marker for early detection of depression. Thus, our future studies will focus on establishing a method for early detection of depression symptoms among workers across various job profiles.

Full reference:

Koyama, F. et al.|Insomnia and depression: Japanese hospital workers questionnaire |Open Medicine|2017|Vol. 12 | 22 |Doi:

Maternity care guideline

Intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience | The World Health Organization

Image source:

This guideline brings together new and existing WHO recommendations that, when delivered as a package, will ensure good-quality and evidence-based care irrespective of the setting or level of health care.

It highlights the importance of woman-centred care to optimize the experience of labour and childbirth for women and their babies.

Full document: Intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience


Additional links: WHO press release | Royal College of Midwives press release

Integrated care: impact on commissioning

Integrated care: what does it mean for commissioning?  | The Nuffield Trust 

This article looks at the risks and opportunities for commissioning as integrated care develops and evolves. Topics discussed include:

  • What are ACSs and ACOs?

  • NHS commissioning to date

  • The limited effectiveness of the market

  • Commissioning in integrated care systems

Additional link: Commissioning: the times are a changing

It’s good to talk- parents can have significant impact on child’s language acquisition and brain development simply by talking with them

Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found that children from lower income homes who were involved in conversations with parents had developed language skills in a specific area of the brain (Broca’s area) comparable to children in higher-income families. 

father-1633655_1920.jpgStudying conversations between children between 4 and 6 years of age,  the researchers  found that differences in the number of “conversational turns” accounted for a large portion of the differences in brain physiology and language skills that they found among the children. This finding applied to children regardless of parental income or education.

They concluded that conversational experience has a greater impact on children’s neural language processing in the brain over and above the sheer quantity of words heard. This refutes previous findings in an influential  1995 study  which found that children from higher-income families hear about 30 million more words during their first three years of life than children from lower-income families.

The researchers credit their findings to interactive conversations, which enable children to practise their communication, interpreting what others are saying and respond to them appropriately.  The lead author of the paper explained,  “the important thing is not just to talk to your child, but to talk with your child. It’s not just about dumping language into your child’s brain, but to actually carry on a conversation with them.”

While children from higher-income families were exposed to more language on average, children from lower-income families who experienced a high number of conversational turns had language skills and Broca’s area brain activity similar to those of children who came from higher-income families.

Full story from Science Daily 

Full reference:
Romeo, R. R., et al | Beyond the 30-Million-Word Gap: Children’s Conversational Exposure Is Associated With Language-Related Brain Function |Psychological Science |ePub | 2018

The article can be requested by Rotherham NHS staff here