Health Briefs: Nap time a learning tool

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A preschooler's nap may be an important tool for learning, a new study of 3- to 5-year-olds suggests.

Researchers tested 40 children in the morning by showing them a picture on a card, then flipping it over and asking the child to remember its location on a grid.

At around 2 p.m., half the children were encouraged to nap while the other half were given activities to keep them awake.

The researchers retested the children after nap time, and again the next morning. When children napped, they scored higher on tests of recall afterward than when they stayed awake for the same time period. Nappers also did better on tests the next day. The findings were published online in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Unequal pain relief in ER

Black and Hispanic children who go to an emergency room with stomach pain are less likely than white children to receive pain medication, a new study reports, and more likely to spend long hours in the ER.

The analysis, published in the October issue of Pediatrics, examined the records of 2,298 emergency room visits by people under 21, a nationally representative sample from a large survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 53 percent were white, 24 percent non-Hispanic black, 21 percent Hispanic and the rest from other ethnic or racial groups.

Overall, 27.1 percent of white children with severe pain received analgesics, but only 15.8 percent of blacks, 18.9 percent of Hispanics and 7.1 percent of children of other races did.

Black children were about 68 percent more likely than white children to spend more than six hours in the ER, although there were no statistically significant differences among races in results for any diagnostic test.

"This data set will not answer the question of why," said lead author Tiffani J. Johnson, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "It could be that white parents are more likely to ask for pain meds, or that minority patients are likely to get care in ERs that have longer wait times. And it could be racial bias."


First Published October 13, 2013 8:00 PM


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