Family News and Events

Family News and Events
Picnic time for teddy bears

Organised by ADHD Ireland, families are invited to attend their 2019 Teddy Bear’s Picnic in the playground area of Ashtown Castle in the Phoenix Park.

There’s plenty of opportunity to meet other families for a fun day out in the sunshine. Organisers say: “Bring along a picnic or purchase from the Phoenix Cafe just around the corner and enjoy a quiet chat while kids make friends in the large enclosed playground.

“Most of all don’t forget to remind your kids to carry along their favourite teddy so our teddy Marmaduke won’t be lonely!”

ADHD Ireland envisages a future where all individuals affected by ADHD are included, supported, and empowered in all contexts of their lives (e.g. school, work, home, and socially) to participate fully within, benefit from, and contribute meaningfully to Irish society.

The event takes place from 11am-1pm on July 27.


Toy robots can uplift sick children

‘Social robots’ used in support sessions held in paediatric units at hospitals can lead to more positive emotions in sick children.

Many hospitals host interventions in paediatric units, where child life specialists will provide clinical interventions to hospitalised children for developmental and coping support.

This involves play, preparation, education, and behavioural distraction for both routine medical care, as well as before, during, and after difficult procedures. Traditional interventions include therapeutic medical play and normalising the environment through activities such as arts and crafts, games, and celebrations.

According to a new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the MIT Media Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Northeastern University deployed a robotic teddy bear, ‘Huggable’, across several paediatric units at Boston Children’s Hospital. More than 50 hospitalised children were randomly split into three groups of interventions that involved Huggable, a tablet-based virtual Huggable, or a traditional plush teddy bear. In general, Huggable improved various patient outcomes over those other two options.


Keeping a good gut with friendly bacteria

New US research reinforces the idea that the absence of certain bacteria in the gut can cause a food allergy, a condition that affects millions of people. It suggests that replenishing key gut bacteria could offer a way to treat food allergies.

Scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also in Boston, found that babies and children with food allergies are missing certain species of gut bacteria.

When the team gave the missing bacteria to mice, the microbes protected the animals from food allergies.

The researchers also mapped the mouse cell and bacteria interactions behind the protective effect.

They describe their findings in a recent Nature Medicine paper.

Previous studies have reached similar conclusions about the links between gut bacteria and food allergy. However, they did not conduct detailed analyses of the interactions at the cellular level.