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September 19th, 2011
09:26 AM ET

Learning to see: How vision sharpens
September 19th, 2011
09:12 AM ET

Learning to see: How vision sharpens

Editor's Note: Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang are the authors of Welcome to Your Child's Brain, a guide to what's really going on in the mind from conception to college.

Babies are born nearly blind. You may think that your newborn is gazing into your eyes, but what she actually sees is a vaguely face-shaped blur, associated with loving sounds and possibly milk. How she develops mature vision is mostly automatic, requiring involvement from you only at a few key points.

Though vision feels seamless, the brain constructs its image of the world from neural activity in dozens of interconnected regions that specialize in particular aspects of seeing. All these cortical areas are immature at birth, so babies’ acuity starts out forty times worse than adults’ and doesn’t become equal until four to six years of age. Indeed, an adult who could see as well as a newborn would have 20/600 vision.

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Exercise benefits boys in anti-smoking program
September 19th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Exercise benefits boys in anti-smoking program

Adding exercise improved the results of a smoking cessation program among teen boys according to a CDC funded study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.  Teen girls in the program were more successful without the exercise, the study found.

"In the context of a smoking cessation program, the study suggests that a relatively small amount of time dedicated to motivating youth to increase their physical activity may have high payoff in terms of health and health economics," said study author Kim Horn, Ed.D of  West Virginia University.

Most adult smokers pick up the habit before age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Doctor, my child and I need more time with you
September 19th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Doctor, my child and I need more time with you

For new parents, advice from their pediatrician about soothing a crying infant or putting them to sleep is invaluable and often discussed at well-baby check-ups.  But a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that a third of the time parents of young children spent 10 minutes less in the exam for a those check-ups and this may be depriving families of important preventive care for their children.

When doctors were asked how much time was needed for a well visit, they said on average about 17 minutes, according to the study.

Why the time crunch? Experts say doctors are being asked to do more in less time and though they would like to provide more care, they can't make it happen. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has specific guidelines for what pediatricians and families need to discuss during these regularly check-ups, which are not only for newborn, but are also recommended for children all the up to age 21.  While breast feeding, sleep positions, language development, and keeping your child safe are top priorities for parents of infants, pediatricians can also provide guidance and children get older, including how to toilet-train, deal with discipline issues, or how your child gets along with others. 
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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