Korean Children Eating High-Fat Foods at Risk for Otitis Media with Effusion

dollrefrigeratorA high-fat diet is associated with otitis media with effusion (OME) and may be a factor in childhood obesity. The study analyzed the dietary intake of 4,359 participants between the ages of four and 13 years of age. The 2008-2012 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey provided the data for the analysis. Read more:

Australian Case Study Links Obesity to Otitis Media

australianaborigineComprehensive strategies to prevent and control obesity impacts otitis media, according to a recent report that studied children and adolescents. The research examines a sector-wide approach that also potentially improves outcomes for dental health, cardiovascular disease, depression, and bullying. Read more:

SMED Reaches Out to Mothers, Aborigines and Ear Surgeons-In-Training


The Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh had a “hole in its mission,” according to Dr. Charles Bluestone. “They’ve never had a program for otitis media, yet it is the most common disease in infants and children.”

The Eye and Ear Foundation, which specializes in sensory neural hearing loss located in the central nervous system and the inner ear, now oversees the Society for Middle-Ear Disease (SMED), which was founded four years ago.

Dr. Charles Bluestone

Dr. Charles Bluestone

“I realized we had no advocacy group that is a community-managed society like there is for cancer, diabetes, sickle cell (anemia), and atherosclerosis,” he explains.

Aborigines internationally suffer from middle-ear disease that often goes untreated. Here in the United States, “The Navajos and Apache tribes in the native populations of Western United States also have a high frequency of ear disease,” he says.

So do infants and children under five, and breastfeeding can be a deterrent. “No question, every immunologic study shows that breastfeeding, especially into the sixth month, is very successful in prevention of otitis media,” says Dr. Bluestone.
“We want to get mothers who are looking to breastfeed, ‘should I do it, or should I not?’ be advised about otitis media,” he says. “Some have no time for it. It’s hard for them to pump their milk at work.” Visit our blog for more information on breastfeeding.

In addition to lay advocates, SMED has 45 advisors from 32 countries who “are worldwide experts in middle-ear disease, and who have been my colleagues over the years,” says Dr. Bluestone.

He has partnered with SMED advisor, Dr. Leslie Salkeld, who has been treating the Maori. “They are the indigenous population of New Zealand and very prone to middle-ear disease from infancy on to adulthood,” he says.

For the past 35 years, SMED advisor and long-time ally, Dr. Harvey Coates, has been spearheading medical treatment for the indigenous population of Australia. “Almost everybody had ear disease when they were a kid, and they still have it as adults,” says Dr. Bluestone. “It can be very lethal if it’s not handled properly.”

The Eye and Ear foundation has been very supportive in keeping the public informed about SMED, maintaining the website, and getting donations.

If funds are raised, long-term plans are to set up a program to provide advance training for otolaryngologists in developing nations to learn middle-ear surgery. The training would take place at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Otolaryngology.

“Children and adults die from complications of otitis media, mainly mastoid infections, because they don’t get treated, “ he says. “It moves onto a chronic phase that can result in a mastoid infection that spreads to the brain. They can die of a brain abscess and meningitis.”

Breastfeeding “Wins” Healthier Babies in Developing Countries

A woman with her newborn in Lucknow, India, plans to wait a couple days to breast-feed her baby, following the guidance of her traditional birth attendant.  Nicholas Kristof/New York Times

A woman with her newborn in Lucknow, India, plans to wait a couple days to breast-feed her baby, following the guidance of her traditional birth attendant. (Nicholas Kristof/New York Times)

Pulitzer Prize winning writer Nicholas Kristof is on his annual “Win-a-Trip” journey to India with a Stanford student to promote breastfeeding. A recent study reports that infants who are breastfed are 14 times less likely to die than those who aren’t. The mother featured in the photo fed her near-death newborn tea and honey for the first 24 hours, stating, “I’ll breast-feed the baby tomorrow, or the next day.” “This is common,” says Kristof, who is hoping to educate mothers in developing countries about best practices. Read Kristof’s article.