- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2003

DISTRESS CAN LEAD CHILDREN TO SELF-DOUBT

A new study involving close to 1,000 children has revealed depressed or anxious children tend to doubt themselves and see the world in shadows. "The developmental costs of emotional distress put children at risk for further symptoms and lifetime difficulties," said Eva Pomerantz, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Over the course of a year, the fourth through sixth graders in the study took three tests to measure their levels of depression and anxiety, views of themselves and the world, and views of their competency. The children with emotional distress tended to blame themselves for failures and think they could not meet others' expectations, the study reported in the March/April issue of Child Development. Although the children did not underestimate their academic abilities, they sold themselves short on social skills.

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ORGANIC FOODS HIGHER IN CANCER-FIGHTING AGENTS

Certain organic fruits and vegetables have higher levels of cancer-fighting chemicals than their conventionally grown counterparts, new findings reveal. A recent study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, analyzed the cancer-fighting antioxidant content of corn, strawberries and marionberries. Those grown with no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers had antioxidant levels nearly 60 percent higher than foods grown with chemicals. The researchers, from the University of California, Davis, said this could mean chemicals applied to crops hinder production of phenolics, chemicals that naturally defend plants.

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GREEN TEA INEFFECTIVE AGAINST PROSTATE CANCER

Researchers have shown green tea, widely touted for its medicinal properties, is not effective in fighting advanced prostate cancer. Previous studies had suggested this possibility. Laboratory research demonstrated an ingredient in green tea kills prostate cancer cells and findings from other studies suggest the tea can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, a Mayo Clinic team in Rochester, Minn., looked at the progress of 42 patients with the disease. One showed a short-term drop in prostate-specific antigen levels, which indicates treatment progress, but a month later, the level rebounded. "Green tea failed to show an anticancer effect in the group of patients we studied," researchers said, adding other avenues of treatment should be pursued for the disease responsible for most cancers in men 65 and older.

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VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE CHRONIC DISEASE

Hypotheses that childhood vaccines cause chronic diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis and diabetes do not hold water, researchers report. The study, published in March in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed multiple arguments that would support the link but found none of them valid. One of the hypotheses suggests vaccines cause allergies to develop. Although some factors such as improved hygiene and decreased exposure to common illnesses might make a child more vulnerable to developing allergies, this is not true of vaccine-related diseases, which are easily transmitted regardless of hygiene. It is unfortunate anecdotal reports "have led some parents to delay or withhold vaccinations for their children," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He added, "Scientific studies have shown … that reducing vaccination rates lead to increases in preventable infectious diseases."

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(Editors: For more information about CHILD DISTRESS, contact Eva M. Pomerantz at 217-244-2538 or [email protected] For ORGANICS, Allison Byrum at 202-872-4400 or [email protected] For TEA, Mary Lawson at 507-284-5005 or [email protected] For VACCINE, Erin McDermott at 215-590-7429 or [email protected])


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