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Health Updates 14 May 2012

  • ‘E-mail vacations’ boost job productivity, lower stress: “Email vacations while on the job could benefit people’s health, reducing stress levels and contributing to better focus, a new study suggests.  Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and the US Army found that a group of workers who were cut off from office email use for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates and switched between computer windows only half as much.  Study co-author Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the university, said the findings could help boost productivity in offices that choose to implement these email vacations, either by controlling email login times, batching messages or through other strategies.  ‘We were surprised by the results, because they didn’t have to turn out this way,’ Mark said.  ‘It’s possible that people might have been even more stressed not to have email, to feel like they were missing out on something, so we didn’t expect that people would become significantly less stressed’.” (HealthDay)
  • Binky, sippy cup can be source of trip to the ER: “More than 45,000 US children under age 3 required emergency treatment after suffering injuries sustained from seemingly harmless bottles, pacifiers or sippy cups over the last 2 decades, according to a database review.  The vast majority of the estimated injuries occurred after the toddler fell…in the home, usually while drinking from a baby bottle, which caused lacerations or contusions to the mouth or face, reported Sarah Keim, PhD, from the Research Institute of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues in Pediatrics.  Almost all infants and toddlers use bottles, pacifiers (often referred to as a binky), and sippy cups for supplying nutrition, comfort and convenience, but parents don’t always include these items as part of a baby-proofing scheme.  ‘Parents do a lot of things to baby proof their home and make sure children’s toys are safe, but often don’t give a second thought to these products’, Keim told MedPage Today….Given the number of injuries from bottles, pacifiers and sippy cups, Keim and co-authors advised that children not use these products beyond the intended ages recommended by the AAP, and parents help their children transition to a lidless cup around age 1.  The authors also recommend that parents encourage children to sit while they drink or eat, rather than walk around with a bottle or cup during the day and ‘graze’, not only as a way of reducing accidents but also to develop better eating habits.” (Rita Baron-Faust, MedPage Today)
  • Make sure your child’s bike is the right size: “When shopping for your child’s next bicycle, like a pair of shoes, it’s important to buy a bike that fits properly.  The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these bike-buying guidelines:
    • Have your child shop with you for a new bike to make sure it fits properly.
    • Don’t intentionally buy a bike that your child will ‘grow into’. A bike that’s too big can be very dangerous.
    • Don’t let your child ride a two-wheeled bike until about age 5, or until the child is physically ready.
    • Make sure the child’s feet reach the ground when sitting on the seat.  When the child stands, there should be about an inch of room between the crotch and the bar of the bike.
    • Make sure your  child can easily reach the brakes.” (MedlinePlus)
  •  Blood clot risk linked to some non-pill contraceptives: “Some women using hormonal contraceptives other than birth control pills may have an increased risk for serious blood clots, Danish researchers report.  These alternate hormone-releasing birth control methods include skin patches, implants and vaginal rings.  To reduce the risk, women who use these should consider switching to the pill, the researchers  said.  Deep vein thrombosis is a kind of clot that typically originates in the legs and can travel to the lungs, where it becomes an often deadly pulmonary embolism.  Both types of clots combined are called venous thrombosis, according to the study.  Symptoms include leg pain, chest pain or sudden shortness of breath.  ‘The transdermal patch and vaginal ring confer at least a sixfold increased risk of venous thrombosis as combined pills with desogestrel or drospirenone, a risk which is about twice the risk among women using second-generation pills with levonorgestrel,’ said lead researcher Dr. Ojvind Lidegaard, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Copenhagen.  However, hormone-releasing intrauterine devices (IUDs) do not increase the risk of venous thrombosis, he said.  ‘Women should be informed about these risks in order to be able to choose the most appropriate hormonal contraceptive product,’ Lidegaard said.  ‘There are hormonal contraceptive alternatives which confer less or no risk of venous thrombosis’.” (HHS/womenshealth.gov)
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