Thursday, January 15, 2009

If You've Birthed a Child in The Winter, Shame on You and Other Headlines: Relevant Health

Recently I read a great title to a blog post: "Blogging is like going to the gym for your brain." Clever, but did they have to put it that way? Somehow that mere word, "gym," triggered a bodily reaction that triggered the avoidance reflex. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I'm working on getting back into the groove. 

Let's get current on some health news (and there is a lot):
  • Let's get the critical stuff out of the way right off the bat. There is an ongoing national Salmonella outbreak occurring that is being linked to peanut butter, triggering a recall of King Nut and Parnell's Pride brand peanut butters, which are not sold directly to consumers, but to food service companies. Kellog, however, has also asked stores to remove peanut butter sandwich cookies under its Austin and Keebler brands over concerns of peanut butter from a possibly affected supplier.
  • In case you missed it, Vicks Vapor Rub misapplied in children under 2 years of age can cause severe respiratory distress. When applied directly under the nose, and especially in children under two years old, it can cause the airways to swell and fill with mucus. Further the company cautions that it should never be applied under the nose to anyone.
  • There are many distressing and wrenching realities of the current financial downturn that we are experiencing, and high on the list is the numbers of children who are losing their health coverage as their parents lose their jobs. Congress is considering renewing the national universal childhood healthcare coverage provisions, and it is sorely needed, and hopefully will not be derailed by disagreements over how to accomplish the overreaching healthcare reforms aspired to.
  • A new national study has just begun that is unprecedented. It will track individuals from fetus to adulthood
"Researchers hope to find genetic and environmental causes of preterm birth, birth defects, low birth weight and other health problems. They'll look for new ways to prevent and treat major diseases, such as obesity, asthma, diabetes, autism, schizophrenia and injuries, which together cost the country $758 billion a year, according to the NIH."
  • Being able to predict and prevent is the focus of medical research, but it is often fraught with many ethical and moral dilemmas as well. In the U.K., researchers are closer to being able to detect Autism in fetal testing, which is once again posing the concern that given such information, will parents choose to abort their unborn? Additionally, with the World Health Organization predicting that cancer will be the leading killer by 2010, also comes the news that a so-called "world's first breast cancer gene-free baby" has been engineered by scientists in London, prompting some critics to see a eugenics, genetic class war in the making.
  • Having a good family medical history is invaluable, but information is usually rushed in the gathering and spotty at best. A new tool is available to help people construct a comprehensive family medical history collaboratively with their families.
  • Food allergies are a growing health issue, and another comprehensive study is working on understanding this challenge that touches more and more families.
  • More and more adults and children are now seeking complementary and alternative medical care, or CAM. And, increasing numbers of children are now vegetarian.
  • Many people think that if they don't smoke directly around others that it spares them, but now they have found that "third hand smoke," like that carried in one's clothes, in homes and cars is just as harmful. 
  • Speaking of environment, USA Today recently ran a three part in depth series chronicling the impact on children's health and attendant socio-economic effects of living close to urban industrial areas. It was particularly alarming to see the results of the tests conducted around schools, putting the youngest and most vulnerable at risk. Also learn how you can get EPA air alerts for your area.
  • Apparently babies born in the winter seem to experience lower stations in life, and find out why. Moms, apparently it's one more thing to add to our "it's our fault" list.
  • Given the horrific debacle that was the Chinese tainted milk and formula scandal, leading to thousands of sick children, activists in the U.S. are calling for more testing and stricter standards on formula in this country.
  • A new dvd is showing promising results in helping Autistic children recognize and process emotions.
  • Finally, apparently getting enough sleep is a key factor in preventing colds. I'm doomed!

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