Parenting Books Can Also Have Mistakes

Armen Hareyan's picture
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I was in a local book store yesterday looking at new parenting books. As I skimmed quickly through one book written by two doctors in a major medical school, I saw a bad mistake. Then I picked up another parenting book about Autism and saw another glaring mistake.

These mistakes are of great concern since parents are assuming major publishers have their books checked by other experts in the field. The first glaring error was a description of muscular dystrophy in chiildren. I doubt that the authors had ever seen a case. They described the symptons as "weakness of the legs." That is exactly opposite of the problem. Duchenne dystrophy begins as weakness of the proximal muscles or the muscles in and around the trunk of the body.

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The weakness starts in the lower part of the body or pelvic muscles and then goes slowly upward. The second glaring mistake was that autistic kids should have an I.Q. test. A Stanford-Binet or I.Q. test does not work with kids with special needs. Instead, they must be given a battery of different tests to find out where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This is called a "psychometric profile" and the tests should be given by an educational, child psychologist. Testing kids is a real art and is certainly not just an I.Q. test.

Whne I picked up the New York Times later in the day, I found an article about testing for cholesterol in children. This certainly should be done if there is a strong family history of high cholesterol and heart disease. However, the article states that the American Academy of Pediatrics, of which I am a member, is recommending screening for cholesterol at age two and no later than age ten. Then say cholesterol lowering drugs or statins should be used in children with a bad cholesterol level of over 190, even thoough these drugs have some bad side effects.

There is no mention of talking to parents about what their kids are eating. In the 8.5 minute office visit that most doctors are allowed these days, that takes time. I have been told by several medical students and residents that I am the only doctor they have ever heard who took a diet history. So ordering lab tests and drugs takes over once again!

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