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Should I “redshirt” my child for kindergarten?

kindergarten redshirtingRedshirting is a term originally used to describe a college athlete who does not compete for a year in order to grow in size, strength, and/or skill in order to give him or her an extra year of eligibility.  The term is now frequently used in discussions about whether or not to start a young 5 year old in kindergarten.  To redshirt a child means to not enroll him in kindergarten even though he is 5 years old by the cut off date, September 1.

While growing in popularity, the data on redshirting is fairly consistent — there does not appear to be any long-term advantage.  A redshirted kindergartner may sail through the first few years of elementary school ahead of the class, but the rest of the class has caught up by middle school and at that point may even surpass the redshirted child.

Studying the Issue

One of the most extensive studies on redshirting was published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis in 2006.  Continue reading

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Is your child ready for kindergarten?

mottblog - kindergarten readiness imageChildren who are 5-years-old on or before September 1, 2016, are eligible to enroll in kindergarten this fall in the state of Michigan. Is your child ready? Kindergarten readiness is a popular topic especially as it relates to children who do not turn 5 until the summer. While you probably get no shortage of “advice” from friends and family, there are some evidence-based guidelines that might help you decide.

Reading, Math, Social Skills 

The three areas we typically look at for kindergarten readiness are reading, math, and social skills. While there are general guidelines around these, it’s not as simple as testing a child. It’s about looking at the total picture.
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Teen waits for second gift of life

Donate Life Month: 19-year old Kyle is among more than 3,000 people waiting for an organ in Michigan

For Amy and Pat Petrlich, it all feels too familiar.

Seventeen years later they are at the same hospital, with the same fears and hopes, waiting for the same news – that a heart may be available to save their daughter’s life.

Last time, Kyle was just a toddler. Today, she’s 19.

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Rethink that drink for better heart health

Eliminating sugary and diet beverages may reduce your chances of heart disease

sugary drinks

What’s your favorite beverage? Coffee with sugar? Tea with honey? Diet soda or low-calorie sports drink? Read on to learn how your go-to beverage could be affecting your heart.

According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, beverage consumption in the United States accounts for 47 percent of all added sugars. Those guidelines also report that higher intake of added sugars, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, is consistently associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke in adults. Continue reading

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HPV and throat cancer

HPV and throat cancerRecently I received a phone call from a patient who was concerned about the increased risk of throat cancer related to a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. When asked, she stated that yes, both she and her partner had engaged in oral sex, therefore, the concerned interest in a potential connection between HPV and throat cancer.

Oropharyngeal cancer in the throat, soft palate, tonsils or base of the tongue can occur as a result of the HPV virus. HPV can cause warts in the genitals, mouth and anus, and is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, particularly in adults younger than 55. This might be related to changes in oral sex practices. Continue reading

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Does poor sleep cause dementia?

Woman_poor_sleep_dementia_blog

It makes sense that after a night of poor sleep, we might not be thinking as clearly the following day. But what about engaging in poor sleep habits throughout our lifetime? Could that put us at risk for long-term cognitive impairments, such as dementia?

Even in people who don’t seem to be cognitively impaired, poor sleep seems to correlate with subtle changes in the same brain proteins that are used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The question is why.

Possible explanations

There are several explanations, which are not mutually exclusive and could all be true:

  • Sleep is biologically important for reducing or clearing harmful neurodegenerative proteins from our brains. Exciting new studies in mice have suggested that sleep may clean the brain of amyloid beta, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

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