CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Sept. 30, 2002
UI children's health specialists focus on early brain development
Faculty and staff members of the Children's Hospital of Iowa will place
increased emphasis upon the importance of early brain development for children
during the month of October.
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has declared October as Iowa Child Health Month. Pediatricians
and other child health specialists are encouraging everyone to become more
aware of how they can enhance early brain development among children.
"Protecting early brain development begins before and during pregnancy.
A healthy lifestyle, with avoidance of alcohol, drugs and smoking, and use
of prenatal vitamins with folic acid helps to insure normal brain development,"
said Royann Mraz, M.D., University of Iowa assistant professor (clinical)
of pediatrics in the Center for Disabilities and Development at UI Hospitals
Gretchen Vigil, M.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of pediatrics added,
"It continues from there with reading to your children beginning in infancy,
limiting television viewing and protecting children and adolescents from head
injuries by ensuring that they wear helmets and seat belts."
Child development specialists report that children who watch more then 10
hours of television each week are less successful in school and have lower
reading abilities. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that
children less than two years old not watch any television. Children two years
and older should not view more than two hours of television per day.
Most of the disability and deaths that occur during childhood accidents
involve a brain injury. For example, three-quarters of deaths among children
injured while riding bicycles are due to brain injuries. Wearing a helmet
decreases the risk of a head injury by up to 80 percent. Similarly, car seats
and booster seats reduce a child's risk dying in a motor vehicle collision
by the same amount.
The Iowa AAP chapter again sponsored a poster contest for children from
kindergarten through eighth grade. For more information about early brain
development, visit online at www.uihealthcare.com/aapiowachapter.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and
UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research
programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.