A rare condition that leads to serious heart damage may be spreading through the wind, researchers believe. Kawasaki disease frequently impacts children and includes symptoms of prolonged fever, blood-shot eyes, red lips, red tongue, and also red, swollen hands and feet with peeling skin.
Large-scale wind currents moving from Asia to Japan and around the North Pacific could be the root of the problem. Researchers discovered the number of Kawasaki disease cases increased in Japan when the wind blew in a southwesterly direction, and decreased when winds blew from the south. They also found the numbers of cases peaked from November to March when air from Central Asia blew over Japan and reached as far as Hawaii and San Diego.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that around 5,000 to 6,000 American children get the disease every year, most under the age of 5. Children with the disease are treated with a high dose of antibodies, but 10 to 20 percent of those with the disease end up with coronary artery damage.
If a childâ€™s fever lasts beyond five days and includes a rash, red eyes, and lips, have him or her checked out for Kawasaki disease.
Do you know someone with this disease?
A candy binge might not be the first thing youâ€™d think a dentist would recommend. But this Halloween, dentists are encouraging kids to gorge on their spoils from trick-or-treatingâ€”because itâ€™s healthier than rationing the candy over a longer period.
Eating candy bit by bit, every few hours, day after day, keeps your teeth bathed in enamel-corroding acid. This may lead to dental caries, or cavities. If kids eat ten pieces of candy in a short period of time, saliva will neutralize the acid over the course of an hour so. Spread those candy bars out over ten days, and the teeth are being constantly exposed to the harmful acid.
Still, dentists are recommending a good brushing after every candy gorging episode. Sour candies do the most damage to teeth, so consider switching to less-corrosive chocolate. Of course, the recommendation to eat lots of candy at one time only applies to oral health: kids may take in lots of unnecessary calories without nutrients if they eat their entire stash of treats the day after Halloween.
Will you encourage your kids to eat lots of candy?
Thereâ€™s a dark side to a tasty candy that may make its way into several treat bags this Halloween, the FDA is warning. Black licorice can lead to heart arrhythmias and other health problems when consumed by adults in large quantities, the FDA noted in its pre-holiday alert.
The candy contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which lends it a sweet flavor. But eating only two ounces of black licorice daily for two weeks could cause a heart arrhythmia, since it causes the kidneys to excrete potassium. Low levels of potassium can make the heart beat irregularly fast or out of sync, health authorities say.
People taking diuretics, digoxin and laxatives should be especially cautious when consuming the treat. The combination of the candy with these medications can drive potassium down to dangerously low levels. Other studies suggest that women taking oral contraceptives should practice moderation with black licorice because of the potassium effect.
However, the FDAâ€™s warning applies to everyone: young, old, at Halloween or at any other time of the year.
Do you eat black licorice?
Almost half a million baby strollers are being recalled due to a choking hazard, the CPSC and Health Canada announced. An embroidered logo on the canopy of the B.O.B. Trailers Inc. stroller can come loose, posing a choking risk to young children. The recall involves all B.O.B. strollers manufactured between November 1998 and November 2010.
About 411,700 strollers in the United States and 27,000 in Canada are being recalled. In February, 357,000 units were recalled due to strangulation hazard posed by the canopy drawstring.
The stroller company has received six reports of children mouthing the detached panel on the single and double strollers. Choking and gagging has been reported twice, B.O.B. Inc. reported.
Do you own a B.O.B. stroller?
A diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains may prevent certain birth
defects, according to a study appearing in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent
Medicine this week. The study compared the diets of 3,824 mothers whose children
experienced birth defects with those of 6,807 mothers of healthy children.
Compared with high-fat, high sugar diets, healthier diets with plenty of folate, iron and
calcium were associated with a one-third lower risk of cleft lip, a one-quarter lower risk
of cleft palate, and a one-fifth lower risk of spina bifida, another neural-tube defect.
Folic acid deficiencies are associated with neural-tube defects and cleft lip and palate.
The researchers took into account whether the women they studied were taking folic acid
in addition to having a healthy diet. Women who followed the healthier diets in the year
before pregnancy were up to one-half as likely than those with unhealthier diets to have a
baby with the neural-tube defect anencephaly.
Researchers said that women of child-bearing age should continue to take folic acid
supplements, since studies have shown it makes a significant impact on reducing birth
Do you eat a healthy diet?
Anesthesia use in children may be linked to long-term damage and learning disabilities,
according to a new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Researchers
found that kids exposed to anesthesia before the age of 2 could develop a form of
cognitive impairment called apoptotic neurodegeneration.
However, researchers did not find an increased risk of learning disabilities in children
who had only been given anesthesia once. Multiple exposures to surgery and anesthesia
had more of a harmful impact, significantly increasing the likelihood of learning
disabilities later in life. The estimated incidence of learning disabilities in kids whoâ€™d
been exposed to anesthesia once was 23.6%, compared to 36.6% in those whoâ€™d had
anesthesia multiple times.
The study authors cautioned that the underlying condition requiring surgery might
complicate the relationship between anesthesia and developmental learning outcomes.
Surgery often involves trauma to tissues, blood loss, and inflammation, and the skill sets
and experience of surgeons vary widely.Still, the study may be beneficial for those who
have the option of delaying early surgeries.
Has your child been exposed to anesthesia?
Drop-side cribs have been under attack since health experts found them potentially dangerous for children. Now, Chicago is the first municipality of the nation to ban crib bumpers, citing safety risks that include suffocation. Will bumpers be outlawed everywhere soon?
Bumpers were first marketed as a way to keep babiesâ€™ arms and legs in the crib after regulations required crib slats to be narrow enough to prevent babiesâ€™ bodies from falling through. Now, theyâ€™re mostly used as decorative items in a crib, sold alongside coordinating nursery sets.
But thereâ€™s a dangerous side to the padded crib guards: if babies get their heads near the bumpers and canâ€™t move away, thereâ€™s a chance they could suffocate. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to remove bumpers from cribs once kids are old enough to stand. Toddlers may be able to shimmy out of cribs and fall by using the bumpers to boost themselves out.
Meanwhile, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association is asking Chicago to â€œreconsider all scientific data on crib bumper pad use.â€
Where do you stand on the crib bumper debate?
A popular childrenâ€™s cartoon negatively impacts 4-year-oldsâ€™ attention spans, according to a study published by the journal Pediatrics. Watching â€˜SpongeBob SquarePantsâ€™ was detrimental to their ability to stay on task, the study claims.
University of Virginia researchers recruited 60 mostly white and middle- or upper-middle-class 4-year-olds and randomly divided them into three groups. One group watched a 9-minute clip of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” a second watched a 9-minute clip of “Caillou,” a realistic PBS cartoon about a preschool boy, and the third drew pictures for 9 minutes instead of watching television.
Afterwards, the researchers examined what psychologists called â€œexecutive functionâ€ in the groups. The kidsâ€™ ability to stay on task and not be distracted was evaluated.
Those who watched PBS and drew performed equally well on tests, while those who spent time watching SpongeBob did significantly worse. Watching the full half-hour could be even more detrimental to kidsâ€™ attention spans, study authors speculated. Fast-paced programming aimed at a slightly older demographic might be too much for young kids to handle.
A review from the Institute of Medicine sends one message loud and clear: childhood vaccines do not cause autism. The independent panel looked at eight different childhood vaccines, and found that they may cause several other adverse effects, however.
Two live vaccinesâ€”one against measles, mumps and rubella and one against chickenpox â€” were found to be responsible for most of the serious side effects. The committee found clear evidence that the MMR can cause fever-related seizures, which usually cause no long-term harm. The MMR also can cause brain inflammation in people with immune system problems.
The varicella vaccine was also found to cause health problems, including pneumonia, brain swelling, and shingles. Six vaccines were listed as sometimes causing anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction: MMR, varicella, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and tetanus.
Disproving a link between vaccines and autism is nearly impossible, the researchers responsible for the review said. But recent studies show strong evidence that thereâ€™s not an autism risk. Although scientists havenâ€™t pinpointed the causes of autism, genetic and environmental factors are involved.
Are you concerned about childhood vaccines?
- Vita Food Products is recalling more than 8,000 packages of Classics Premium Sliced Salmon Atlanta Nova Salmon due to listeria contamination.
- Fiskars Brands Inc. is recalling FiskarsÂ® SmartPowerâ„¢ String Trimmers sold from January 2011 to June 2011. Engine vibration during use of the trimmers can cause wear on the fuel line, leading to a propane fuel leak.
- Taylor Farms is recalling approximately 52,191pounds of chicken Caesar salad products because of misbranding and undeclared allergens.
- Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. says it is recalling certain bikes from the 2011 and 2012 model years to fix a potential problem with their engine-control electronics. If not repaired the problem could cause the motorcyclesâ€™ engines to stall unexpectedly while in traffic.
- Silva Sausage Co. is recalling about 28,782 pounds of chicken sausage products due to misbranding and an allergen in the product that isn’t listed on the label.
- 2-pound trays of Loweâ€™s Foods fresh ground beef are being recalled because pieces of blue plastic were found in the product. The products have establishment number “EST. 34176″ inside the USDA mark of inspection and a sell by date of 8/29/11 on the label.
- Radio Flyerâ€™s Scoot â€˜N Zoom childrenâ€™s riding toys have been recalled due to a hazard of tipping over and allowing the child to fall forward.
- Ajinomoto Brand Vegetable Gyoza Dumplings are being recalled because the product may actually contain Seafood Dumplings made of fish and shrimp.
- Haircare Australia, a company that provides products to more than 5500 hairdressers across the country, has recalled 158 bottles of ”Brazilian Blowout” after the product was found to contain high levels of formaldehyde.
- Rojoâ€™s Ultimate 7-Layer Dip and Fresh Food Conceptsâ€™ 5-Layer Dip are being recalled because they may be contaminated with listeria.