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American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, Oct. 7-10, 2006

American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition took place Oct. 7-10 in Atlanta and drew about 10,000 attendees, including 5,000 medical professionals. Topics included disaster planning and preparedness for pediatricians, protecting children from inappropriate material on the Internet and the AAP's "Bright Futures" program.

"One of the big themes is that children tend to get forgotten in planning for disasters and we need to keep thinking about children," said Michael Foulds, M.D., of the Children's Health Center in San Antonio, Texas, and incoming chair of the AAP's National Conference and Exhibition planning group. "What are you going to do if your office gets destroyed in a storm? And how are you going to get your practice going again?"

Lou Romig, M.D., a pediatric emergency physician at the Miami Children's Hospital in Florida, presented a symposium entitled "Pediatrics for the 21st Century: Disaster Preparedness, Respond and Recovery for Children and Pediatricians." Her point to clinicians: "It's your job, too" to develop personal and professional disaster-preparedness plans, teach patients and families how to prepare and participate in response efforts. (More Information)

Other important topics included the consequences of obesity in children, Foulds said. (More Information)

One symposium addressed the new partnership between the AAP and the Microsoft Corporation to develop Internet protection tools for families, said Myles Abbott, M.D., outgoing chair of the AAP's National Conference and Exhibition planning group and newly inducted board member. "Microsoft contacted the AAP to develop developmentally appropriate filters for parents," Abbott said. "This is a major program that is just now being rolled out."

Donald L. Shifrin, M.D., of the University of Washington School of Medicine, outlined the program in a plenary session entitled: "Age-Appropriate Family Safety on Your Computer: From Toddlers to Teens," during which he asked the question: "Are kids too wired for their own good?" (More Information)

"Several sessions addressed the AAP program 'Bright Futures,' which gives pediatricians advice on providing appropriate well-child care," Foulds said. "The third edition is in final review and should be released next spring." (More Information)

Another plenary session discussed new MRI findings showing that significant structural changes occur in the brains of adolescents. "The amount of gray matter in the brain increases rapidly in adolescents and there are differences between boys and girls," Foulds said. "The research also showed that connections are better in the frontal cortex, where a lot of emotional and social judgments occur, and are better connected to other parts of the brain."

Foulds added, "This research is relatively new. It's too new to say if it will be of prognostic value, but over time we'll know more about its implications."

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Among adolescents, misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is second only to misuse of alcohol and marijuana, according to a presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta.

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AAP: Onscreen Smoking Seen As Threat to Adolescents

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Tobacco use in movies and videos is a graver threat to children's health than violent video games and Internet predators, according to an Oct. 9 presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta.

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AAP: Report Defends Benefits of Free, Unstructured Play

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Children need free and unstructured play to reach important social, emotional and cognitive milestones, manage stress and develop resilience, according to a report released Oct. 9 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta.

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Physician's Briefing