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Health Updates 4 April 2011

  • Asthma rose 12% in both children and adults in the last decade: Children were more prone than adults to have asthma, and women more than men.  African-Americans were affected at higher rates than other ethnic groups.  About half of persons with asthma reported having an asthma attack in the preceding 12 months, the CDC said”. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Low-Salt Diet ineffective, study finds.  Disagreement abounds: “A new study found that low-salt diets increase the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes and do not prevent high blood pressure, but the research’s limitations mean debate over the effects of salt in the diet is far from over.  In fact, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention felt so strongly that the study was flawed that they criticized it in an interview, something they normally do not do.”  According to Dr. Peter Briss, a medical director at the centers, “this study might need to be taken with a grain of salt”.  (New York Times)
  • Toning shoes not for kids: “A lot of these shoes…create instability which would create more muscle activity to balance the person” said Chris Cole, a board certified pedorthist in Florida.  However, it is this instability that can pose dangers to children.  “Children are still learning the fundamentals of proper walking and balance,” noted Cole. “Toning shoes for children are far more likely to result in falls and twisted ankles, as kids are typically focused on playing or running fast.  They are not considering the necessary compensation for balance that these shoes would require when they are climbing or playing chase”. He offers the following suggestions to shoe shopping parents: 1) make sure the shoes are professionally fitted; 2) take time for the fitting; and 3) consider the child’s age when selecting a shoe – as a rule, younger children need softer, more flexible shoes while older children tolerate more support and cushion.  (Farah Dosani, HealthyState.org)
  • Problems at VA hospitals continue: “More than two years after thousands of veterans were put at risk of disease from improperly cleaned medical equipment, federal inspectors said Tuesday that weaknesses still exist in Veterans Affairs‘ policies for cleaning the equipment, posing ‘potential safety risks to veterans'”. (Miami Herald)
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