Tag Archives: health tips

X-Ray Vision and Our Medical Superheroes: What to Expect in Pediatric Radiology

You care about your children’s health, and it can be extremely anxiety-provoking to see them in pain or discomfort. When they need medical attention, knowing what to expect can help you manage an already-stressful situation.

At NYU Langone Pediatric Radiology, we typically see patients from the newborn period through adolescence. We understand that kids are not just small adults; they have their own needs, and our approach is tailored to children specifically. It matters to us that your child has a positive experience, so we’ve made every effort to ensure they do.

Here’s what you can expect the next time you bring your child in for an imaging appointment:

Fluoroscopy: This type of imaging uses low dose X-rays to look at the inside of the body in real time, usually using a contrast liquid that will appear on our monitors. Some of our most common types of fluoroscopic procedures in pediatrics include contrast enemas, small bowel series, upper GI series, voiding cystourethogram (VCUG), and video swallow studies. Here are some helpful tips:

•  Patients for these exams should be as comfortable as possible. Any soothing comfort items your child would like—toys, pacifiers, etc.—are welcome.
• Babies and toddlers in particular should not eat before their studies.
• Fluoroscopy uses low dose radiation. We subscribe to the Image Gently campaign’s Pause and Pulse philosophy of using the lowest radiation dose possible as described.

CT and MRI: When your child needs imaging done with CT or MRI, there are a few things to keep in mind.

• CT, which stands for Computed Tomography, uses radiation to generate very detailed 3D images of any part of your child’s body. A CT scan does involve a low dose of radiation, but we use the most state-of-the-art equipment to minimize exposure.
• MRI, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, produces detailed 3D images of the body without using ionizing radiation. MRI takes longer than a CT scan. The decision to image with CT or MRI depends on several factors, including the anatomical location of the problem.
• In order for us to obtain the highest-quality images, it’s important for kids to stay as still as possible during imaging. When necessary, the department of anesthesia is available to provide sedation to make the experience easier.

X-ray: It’s common for pediatricians to refer kids to us for X-ray imaging, often for the evaluation of possible broken bones or pneumonia. Here are some helpful tips:

• Unless otherwise instructed, you can feed your child before the exam so that he or she is kept as comfortable as possible. Other soothers, such as pacifiers and blankets, are also allowed for the exam.
• X-rays do involve radiation, but a very small amount. These procedures are non-invasive and nothing needs to be put into the body. The radiation is isolated to the specific part of the body that needs imaging and nowhere else, making X-rays extremely safe.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a very common pediatric imaging procedure. It can be used to evaluate almost every part of the body. One of the most common reasons we see pediatric patients is to evaluate abdominal pain. This procedure is particularly easy for our patients. Here are some helpful tips:

• The entire process is non-invasive, so there’s no stressing out about radiation or discomfort.
• We like to consider the simple things to make our patients more comfortable during medical procedures, so we use warm jelly that will feel more pleasant for the kids.

Imaging is central to any good patient care. Our pediatric radiologists are part of the healthcare team, working closely with your referring physician to gather relevant information as quickly and accurately as possible. We know imaging studies play a huge role in helping doctors diagnose exactly what is happening to a patient and determine which treatment steps to consider.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Nancy Fefferman, MD is an associate professor in the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, and the chief of Pediatric Radiology.

Beyond Milk & Cookies: Festive Gluten and Dairy-Free Holiday Treats!

Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Now Gluten-Free Prancer and Dairy-Free Vixen?

If your child has celiac disease or a milk allergy, leaving Santa and his crew the usual milk and cookies on Christmas Eve may be out of the question. How can you best handle these food allergies and stick to your family’s traditions on Christmas Eve?

Eat Like a Reindeer
In the wild, reindeer rely on leafy greens as their main source of food. They enjoy birch and willow leaves as well as grass, moss, fern, and herbs. During the winter, they even dig below the snow using their hooves in search of a bushy plant called lichen, otherwise known as “reindeer moss!” For those with food allergies, leafy greens are gluten and dairy-free, not to mention packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K (essential for growing teeth and bones, a strong immune system, and healthy eyes and skin). Notably, leafy greens are also rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium, significant to those with celiac disease, as levels in some individuals may be low.

Why not include some reindeer food as a side for Christmas Eve dinner and save some for Rudolph to enjoy later? Make your own salad dressing to limit allergens and to encourage your family to experiment with different flavor combinations. For reindeer fare inspiration, check out CHOPCHOP’s Red Radish Salad or put your little elves to work at designing their own gluten-free, dairy-free fodder:

Jobs for Santa’s Helpers

Wash and dry lettuce using a salad spinner Tear leaves and herbs into small pieces
Peel cucumbers Grate carrots
Toss ingredients together Measure olive oil
Squeeze lemons Shake salad dressing to combine in a jar with a lid

Mix and Match Recipe: Reindeer Food
Decorate reindeer food with your choice of greenery and ornaments, then top with your favorite trimmings!

Greenery Red and Green Ornaments               The Trimmings
Baby spinach or Bok Choy Apples 2 parts olive oil plus . . .
Kale Dried Cranberries or Cherries 1 part balsamic vinegar OR
Arugula Pomegranate seeds 1 part Red wine vinegar OR
Boston Lettuce Grapes 1 part Lemon juice plus . . .
  Bell Peppers Pinch of salt
Cherry Tomatoes
Green onions
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Plan a Cookie Swap
Now that you have the reindeer taken care of, what is there to cook up for Santa? Gluten-free, dairy-free baking does differ from baking with wheat flour, milk, and butter. However, in our experience, these baked goods taste just as delicious as the real thing!

Gluten-free baked goods turn out the best if you make your own gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture from a few different types of flours. By including both whole grain and starchy flours, you’ll ensure that the end result more closely mimics wheat flour. For a more detailed explanation, as well as suggestions for a variety of flours to use, check out The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. If you’re short on time or would rather purchase a gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture, there are many ready-made products available. We have tried both flour routes, and both led to yummy results!

You can use coconut, soy, and almond milk as substitutes for cow’s milk in most recipes, however, since each has a unique flavor, you may want to experiment a bit depending on what you’re baking. Additionally, if a recipe calls for warmed up milk (like hot chocolate), note that soy milk may curdle if heated too quickly or at too high of a temperature. Stick to low and slow! Many recipes for cookies and other sweets call for butter, but if you’re dairy-free, there are some very butter-like alternatives available.

On the night before Christmas, try this favorite gluten-free, dairy-free cookie recipe, or use gluten-free all-purpose flour in your own cookie recipes. To drink, leave Santa a cup of Hot Honey Vanilla Milk (substitute coconut, soy, or almond milk for cow’s milk), or go with a cold glass of a cow’s milk alternative. Now grab your apron, put on some festive music, and show Santa how gluten-free, dairy-free baking is done right!

Jobs for Santa’s Helpers

Measure ingredients Crack eggs
Mix batter Roll cookies in cinnamon-sugar mixture

Recipe: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Makes: 3 dozen

315 gm. Gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
1/2 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. Cream of tartar
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Gluten-free, dairy-free butter substitute
1 3/4 cups Sugar, divided
2 large Eggs
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ancho Chile powder (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt
3. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter substitute and 1 ½ cups of sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat to combine
5. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated
6. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with cinnamon and chile powder
7. Using a small ice cream scoop, or heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture
8. Place about 3 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets
9. Bake until cookies are set in the center and beginning to crack, about 12 minutes
10. Let cookies cool, and store in an airtight container for up to a week (these cookies also freeze well)

To learn more about nutrition and gluten-free foods, join us in the kitchen and get cooking! Through a partnership with the Natural Gourmet Institute, the Sylvia Center and NYU Langone Medical Center’s S.Q.U.A.S.H. and Pediatric Celiac Disease and Gluten Related Disorders Programs, kids learn to make fun, healthy, gluten-free recipes with professional chefs.  Class is free and open to the public for kids ages 7 to 12. For more information, email celiacdiseaseprogram@nyumc.org or call 646-754-2233.

NOTE: Foods and ingredients listed are considered to be gluten-free and dairy-free as of the date of this blog post, but we always recommend reviewing food labels to confirm, as manufacturing practices may change. Call food companies if you are ever not sure!

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Jackie Ballou Erdos, MS, RD, CDN, Pediatric Nutrition Coordinator and Director of the S.Q.U.A.S.H. Program (Smart choices, Quality ingredients, Unique, Appetizing, Simple & Healthy) at NYU Langone Medical Center.

A Surprising Reason For Child Obesity and What You Can Do

For as much as parents worry about their children’s health and safety, new research suggests that some may be oblivious to one of the most significant health issues today: childhood obesity. Child obesity is at epidemic levels, with 16.9 percent of U.S. children and adolescents obese, which is higher than other developed countries, according to recent statistics. Not only does obesity make it more difficult for kids to participate in physical activity in the short-term, but it also puts them at risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, asthma, coronary heart disease, and certain cancers in the long term.

The reasons for the obesity epidemic may seem obvious, given the wide availability of junk food and seemingly little opportunity for kids to be active. But there is one surprising factor that is rarely explored. It turns out that a majority of a nationally representative sample of parents of obese and overweight kids—95 percent of them—believe their kid is about the right weight—a kind of “Goldilocks syndrome,” according to a study published in April by Dr. Duncan and colleagues. They also found that parents’ misperceptions of their child’s weight status has gotten worse over the last couple of decades.

This poses a challenge because the first step in addressing a health problem is to acknowledge its existence. And correctly perceiving weight is a basis for healthy lifestyle choices among all ages, according to research. Parents who are aware that their child is overweight or obese tend to make lifestyle changes that help their kids lose and manage their weight, such as encouraging physical activity and healthy eating. On the flip side, parents who do not recognize that their child is overweight or obese may make unhealthful choices. For instance, parents who failed to view their child as overweight or obese did not allow them to participate in a weight loss intervention, one study found.

Why might parents be oblivious to their child’s weight? For one, they may be comparing their child to his or her peers instead of clinical growth charts used by pediatricians. If most peers are also overweight or obese, parents may see their kids as the norm, an idea known as “social comparison theory.” Additionally, parents might not understand what obesity means for their young children, or they might believe their child still has time to “grow out of it.” However, we know that obesity in childhood can “follow” a child through adolescence and into adulthood.

As a parent, there are things you can do. Show your child that you care by proactively discussing weight issues with his or her pediatrician. Serve as a role model for your kids by making positive health decisions and focus on healthy living instead of weight control—eating healthy and being active. It is important that parents don’t make children self-conscious or insecure about their weights. Instead, encourage healthy choices such as playing outside rather than on the iPad or computer or suggesting parent-child activities like hopscotch, jump rope, and Frisbee. Not only do these activities create lasting memories, they also keep children healthy.

NYULMC-2011_2CP_RGB_300dpiFrom the Real Experts at NYU Langone Medical Center:

Dustin T Duncan, Sc.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center and at the NYU College of Global Public Health.

Elaine Meyer, M.S., is a senior communications specialist in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Aisha Khan is a research assistant in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.