Sunday, February 28, 2010

COSTCO Executive Business Member of the Month - Banic Chiropractic Clinic

Thanks to everyone at the Issaquah COSTCO for inviting Banic Chiropractic and Massage to be your Executive Business Member of the Month! It means a lot to us, and as with all our sources of referral in the Issaquah community, we do not take this responsibility lightly. The trust you have shown in referring your clients, friends, and family is deeply appreciated and we will provide the best technology, most current evidence-based care, and caring customer service possible.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another incentive for wellness care - Hospital Infections Kill 50,000 Annually

Study: Hospital Infections Kill 50,000 Annually

[I am sure you have heard these statistics before, but have you thought about them? NPR hosted a great story on this subject February 23rd, 2010. One of the points the study author drove home was that these were not individuals already at risk of dying. These were individuals who "were there for elective surgery and were given a mechanical airway that had not been washed." I am shocked at how eager some of our patients are, to jump into surgery for conditions like disc herniation, sciatica, and back pain, when a conservative course of the type of Chiropractic care we provide has been studied and found to be 85% effective. It takes longer but....we pay the lowest malpractice insurance of any health care profession. Why, because the risk of serious adverse events from Chiropractic care is unbelievably small. So please remember, elective surgery is very very risky. It is much better to stay healthy through using your body correctly - healthy weight, good biomechanics, good ergonomics, etc...and if you do have an illness or injury, try conservative Chiropractic care first!]

Each year nearly 300,000 U.S. patients get serious cases of pneumonia and sepsis -- bloodstream infections -- during their hospital stays. Almost 50,000 of them die.

Pneumonia and sepsis make up a large fraction of hospital-acquired infections.(

That's the bottom line of a new study that its authors say is the first truly national look at the stubborn problem of hospital-acquired infections. It's based on 69 million hospital cases in 40 states.

These potentially avoidable infections result in longer hospital stays, costing more than $8 billion a year.

The researchers found the death toll from avoidable pneumonia and sepsis is bigger than from traffic fatalities. It's more than three times higher than that for AIDS, and roughly twice as much as annual deaths from firearms.

The authors consider the 48,000 death estimate an underestimate, since it counts only those from infections acquired and diagnosed during the same hospitalization. But many hospital-acquired infections are not diagnosed until after discharge.

The study is part of an ongoing project called Extending the Cure funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (The foundation also funds NPR health programming.)

Dr. David Murphy and Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins say the new data are "disconcerting." "The knowledge that patients continue to experience harm from their interactions with the health system is unconscionable," they write in an accompanying editorial.

The new data focus attention, once again, on how to reduce avoidable hospital infections. Laxminarayan says Medicare's 2008 decision to stop paying for care associated with "never" events -- infections that should "never" happen -- won't do much. So far, he notes, Medicare's policy covers only three types of infections -- those related to vascular catheters, urinary catheters or surgical sites following coronary bypass grafts.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is Chiropractic care safe for children?

[Children suffer from a myriad of musculoskeletal pain conditions that can be related to anything from falls to birth trauma. Chiropractic care has been demonstrated to benefit these conditions, and without the side-effects associated with Aspirin, Acetaminaphen, and other medications. In addition, a wide range of non-pain conditions; such as Autism (improved symptoms, not a cure), Infantile Colic, Chronic ear infections, some forms of bed wetting, and more have been reported on in the literature. As you consider what interventions to take for your child, know that Chiropractic care is an extremely safe and effective treatment to release subluxations and improve your childs pain and the way their body grows and functions. In fact, we adjust our own children frequently and they are magnificent, hardly a scientific statement, so I have included the following articles.] - Six hundred ninety-seven children received a total of 5242 chiropractic treatments, with 85% of parents reporting an improvement. Seven parents reported an adverse effect.[Adverse events are usually a little stiffness and no serious complications were reported. And the other article (one of many, I should add)] [Pediatric]Patients responded favorably to chiropractic management, and there were no reported complications. [This article also reported "important" improvements in as many as 87% of participants.]

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Jul-Aug;31(6):419-23.

Adverse effects of spinal manipulative therapy in children younger than 3 years: a retrospective study in a chiropractic teaching clinic.
Miller JE, Benfield K.

Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, Bournemouth, UK.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to identify any adverse effects to chiropractic care occurring in the pediatric patient and to evaluate the risk of complications arising in the pediatric patient resulting from chiropractic care. METHODS: A 3-year retrospective study of pediatric case files from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) (Bournemouth, England) teaching clinic practice in Bournemouth, England. All files (n = 781) of pediatric patients younger than 3 years of age were selected manually in sequential order from current files stored in the AECC clinic presenting to the AECC clinic during a specific period. Most (73.5%) patients presenting were 12 weeks of age or younger (n = 574). RESULTS: Six hundred ninety-seven children received a total of 5242 chiropractic treatments, with 85% of parents reporting an improvement. Seven parents reported an adverse effect. There was a reaction rate of approximately 1 child in 100, or one reaction reported for every 749 treatments. There were no serious complications resulting from chiropractic treatment (reactions lasting >24 hours or severe enough to require hospital care). CONCLUSION: This study shows that for the population studied, chiropractic manipulation produced very few adverse effects and was a safe form of therapy in the treatment of patients in this age group.

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 Jan;26(1):1-8.

Evaluation of chiropractic management of pediatric patients with low back pain: a prospective cohort study.
Hayden JA, Mior SA, Verhoef MJ.

Institute for Work and Health, 481 University Avenue, 8th Floor, Toronto M5G 2E9, Ontario, Canada.

BACKGROUND: Recent epidemiologic studies have estimated that the lifetime prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in children is approximately 50%, with almost 15% of children experiencing frequent or continual pain. A literature search revealed no published studies addressing conservative treatment of childhood LBP. OBJECTIVE: To describe chiropractic management of LBP in patients between the ages of 4 and 18 years, as well as outcomes and factors associated with the outcomes. METHODS: Prospective cohort study of consecutive pediatric patients with LBP seeing randomly selected chiropractors within the cities of Calgary, Alberta, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Follow-up data collection included the type and extent of treatment rendered and its outcome, which was measured with a 5-point subjective rating scale and a self-report pediatric visual analogue scale. RESULTS: Fifteen chiropractors provided data on 54 consecutive pediatric patients with LBP. The average age of the patients was 13.1 years, 57% were male, 61% were acute, with 47% attributing onset to a traumatic event (most commonly sports-related); 24% reported an episode duration of greater than 3 months. Almost 90% of cases presented with uncomplicated mechanical LBP, most frequently diagnosed as lumbar facet dysfunction or subluxation. Patients were managed with manipulation, with a minority (7.7%) receiving some form of active management. "Important" improvement was seen in 62% and 87% on the visual analogue and subjective scales, respectively, within a 6-week course of management (Kaplan-Meier survival analysis). Patients with chronic LBP were less likely to respond within the median number of treatments (relative risk = 2.1). CONCLUSIONS: Patients responded favorably to chiropractic management, and there were no reported complications. Future investigations should establish the natural history and compare chiropractic management with other forms of treatment to gain knowledge about the effectiveness of chiropractic in managing pediatric LBP.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Increased respiratory capacity from chiropractic adjustments may benefit migraine sufferers.

[Recently, I discussed an article in which migraine number and headache intensity were decreased through an indoor cycling program designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake. The risk of the program, according to the researchers is that exercise can trigger migraines. Another recent study may also point to a treatment that can give the same relief to migraine sufferers. "[Chiropractic] Manual therapy appears to increase the respiratory function of normal individuals." Wow, exciting stuff!]

Exercise Program Reduces Migraine Suffering
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2009) — While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a new study describes an exercise program that is well tolerated by patients. The findings show that the program decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life.

The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention. The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients’ migraines.

After the treatment period, patients’ maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and, during the last month of treatment, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medication used.

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 Sep;30(7):509-13.

The effect of combining manual therapy with exercise on the respiratory function of normal individuals: a randomized control trial.
Engel RM, Vemulpad S.

Department of Health and Chiropractic, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to explore the effect of combining manual therapy with exercise on respiratory function in normal individuals. METHODS: The study design was a randomized control trial. Forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) were measured in 20 healthy, nonsmoking individuals before and after 3 interventions: exercise only, chiropractic manual therapy only, and manual therapy followed by exercise. The participants, 18 to 28 years of age, were randomly allocated to a control and 3 intervention groups. Each participant underwent 6 sessions of interventions over a 4-week period. RESULTS: The exercise only group showed a significant decrease in FVC (P = .002, generalized linear model [GLM]) and FEV1 readings (P = .0002, GLM). The manual therapy only group showed a significant increase in FVC (P = .000, GLM) and FEV1 (P = .001, GLM). The group that received both manual therapy and exercise showed increases in FVC and FEV1 immediately after manual therapy followed by an additional increase after exercise. The overall increase in this group was not statistically significant. Participants in the control group showed no change in FVC or FEV(1). CONCLUSIONS: Manual therapy appears to increase the respiratory function of normal individuals. The potential for this intervention administered before exercise to permit additional tolerance within the respiratory system that could allow an extended exercise program than was previously possible is discussed.

PMID: 17870419 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog) commenting on consumer reports recommendations to avoid muscle relaxers for muscle and back pain.

Check out the options before you use muscle relaxers for muscle pain - Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog) [Great article from a local - I plan to visit the blog.] Check out the options before you use muscle relaxers for muscle pain
Although more than $1 billion is spent in U.S. annually for potent muscle relaxant drugs, Consumer Reports recommends over-the-counter drugs as the best first option for relief from these conditions.

Muscle relaxants are no better than the nonprescription pain relievers acetaminophen (Tylenol and generics), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and generics), or naproxen (Aleve and generics), according to Consumer Reports. And they don't carry dangerous side effects, such as addiction, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, and sedation.

Consumer Reports also suggests trying massage, yoga, or a heating pad, or for lower back pain, a chiropractor instead of muscle relaxers.

If you do need to take a muscle relaxer, you might want to try the cost-effective Cyclobenzaprine or Baclofen, the researchers recommend. Avoid "Soma" because it has a risk of addiction. Talk your doctor first for recommendations.

See "Drugs to Treat Muscle Spasms and Spasticity" for details.

The video with the article "Are Muscle Relaxers the Best Choice for Muscle Pain?" also provides useful information.

For more information for boomer consumers, see my blog The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

Will she lose her tooth or won't she?

[Certainly it is futile to try to change the outcome now, but we are trying to help Kate keep her tooth after she fell on a step and crushed it into her gum/maxilla. In an attempt to reduce swelling around the tooth and to reduce nerve injury, we are giving her ibuprofen 7mg/kg and omega-3 supplements based on the following article. We won't know for a couple weeks if she will lose the tooth and, as with all preventative treatments, we may not know if our active interventions really changed her future.]

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Nov-Dec;77(5-6):295-300. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Omega-3 fatty acids and neurological injury.
Michael-Titus AT.

Neuroscience Centre, Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Queen Mary, University of London, 4 Newark Street, London E1 2AT, UK.

Studies with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have shown that these compounds have therapeutic potential in several indications in neurology and psychiatry. Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is an event with devastating consequences, and no satisfactory treatment is available at present. The pathogenetic mechanisms associated with SCI include excitotoxicity, increased oxidation and inflammation. We review here our recent studies, which suggest that omega-3 PUFA have significant neuroprotective potential in spinal cord trauma. In a first study, we administered an intravenous bolus of alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 30 min after spinal cord hemisection injury in adult rats. The omega-3 PUFA led to increased neuronal and glial survival, and a significantly improved neurological outcome. In subsequent studies, we tested DHA in a more severe compression model of SCI. We also explored a combined acute and chronic treatment regime using DHA. Saline or DHA was administered intravenously 30 min after compression of the spinal cord. After injury, the saline group received a standard control diet, whereas DHA-injected animals received either a control or a DHA-enriched diet for 6 weeks following injury. We assessed locomotor recovery and analysed markers for cell survival and axonal damage, and we also investigated the effects of the treatment on the inflammatory reaction and the oxidative stress that follow SCI. We showed that the acute DHA treatment is neuroprotective after compression SCI, even if the treatment is delayed up to an hour after injury. The DHA injection led to an increased neuronal and glial cell survival, and the effect of the DHA injection was amplified by addition of DHA to the diet. Rats treated with a DHA injection and a DHA-enriched diet performed significantly better at 6 weeks in terms of neurological outcome. The analysis of the tissue after DHA administration showed that the fatty acid significantly reduced lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation and RNA/DNA oxidation, and the induction of COX-2. Parallel studies in a facial nerve injury model in mice also showed pro-regenerative effects of chronic dietary administration of DHA after nerve lesion. These observations suggest that treatment with omega-3 PUFA could represent a promising therapeutic approach in the management of neurological injury.

PMID: 18036801 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS electric stim) used to treat chronic back pain not effective, medical group says - Workers Comp Forum

Device used to treat chronic back pain not effective, medical group says - Workers Comp Forum

A device that is widely used to treat chronic back pain is not effective, according to a study.

For years, employees who suffer from chronic low back pain have been treated with a transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, a portable device that applies a mild electrical current to the nerves through electrodes. The theory behind the treatment was that nerves can only carry one signal at a time. Physicians believed that transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation confused the brain and blocked the real pain signal. However, according to a guideline issued by the American Academy of Neurology, this method is not recommended.

[I remember observing a big formal debate at Palmer College of Chiropractic about this subject. Many physical therapists and chiropractors in other states choose to employ these methods in their practice. However, even almost a decade ago, it was known that there was controversy about how effective these treatments are. If someone suggests this treatment for you it may be time to get a second opinion.]

Chronic Migraine Sufferers Sicker, Poorer and More Depressed - try Chiropractic which has been found to confer benefits in a variety of ways.

Chronic Migraine Sufferers Sicker, Poorer and More Depressed Than Episodic ... - Science Daily (press release)

The results showed that those with chronic migraine had significantly lower levels of household income, were less likely to be working full time, and were almost twice as likely to have a job related disability than their peers with episodic migraine.

They were twice as likely to be depressed, anxious, and experiencing chronic pain. And they were significantly more likely to have other serious health problems.

These included asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. They were also around 40% more likely to have heart disease and angina and 70% more likely to have had a stroke.

[These recent studies linking Migraine to a variety of lifestyle diseases make me wonder if lifestyle is playing a part in these Migraine conditions. The bronchitis and COPD mentioned in the study are clear signs that the individuals are smoking or exposed to smoke or toxic chemicals. The high blood pressure and diabetes are related to obesity. I am betting the Migraines did not make them smoke and gain weight, rather they may be associated with the myriad of disorders linked to chronic inflammation. Diet, exercise, postural stress reduction, relaxation techniques, supplementation, and cleansing of the body may eventually be the key to eliminating these headaches.]

A fun little article on wine headaches from the Pour Fool]

The Wine Headache: Help Is On The Way - Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog)

[This article hit home as my poor winery owning Dad,, gets splitting headaches and trouble sleeping when he tastes. No, he is not a Chiropractic or massage patient, he is an old stubborn farmer.]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Botulinum Toxin Injection May Help Prevent Some Types of Migraine Pain - Science Daily (press release)

Botulinum Toxin Injection May Help Prevent Some Types of Migraine Pain - Science Daily (press release)

[I also read a study that found botox injection into the glabella to remove the furrow between the brows reduced depression equal to major brands of seratonin re-uptake inhibitors.]

Child 'mini-marketeers' paid by junk food firms to secretly push products among their friends

[I guess this was inevitable - but it is still horrific]

Children are being paid up to £25 a week to promote sugary soft drinks and other products through social networking sites and playground chat.
Products including Fanta and Cheestrings are at the centre of stealth marketing campaigns.
Firms are turning to the controversial tactics after moves to crack down on TV advertising of unhealthy products.
The Dubit website, set up by a British entrepreneur, recruits thousands of children from seven upwards to take part in surveys that are used by big business to shape products and policy.
Now it is trying to get the youngsters to promote brands to their friends in return for money-off vouchers, which can be worth £25 a week, and free samples.
Children and teens are recruited as 'brand ambassadors' by the site. This involves performing a range of tasks including putting up flyers, posting on message boards and social networks such as Facebook and Bebo and hosting parties for friends.

Read more:

Systematic review of the literature finds spinal manipulation/ chiropractic care benefits chronic headache equal to prescription medications

[This article is a review of the literature, meaning multiple studies have been performed on various groups and various types of headaches and the reviewers pooled all the studies to increase the number of participants and look at overall trends. This allows reviewers to discount unusual findings, like if only one study found a benefit and all the others found no difference compared to control groups, that would be revealed in a literature review. Anyway, this found both massage and spinal manipulation (chiropractic care)to be beneficial in short term headache relief and longer term headache prevention and improvement.]

Efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic headache: a systematic review.
Bronfort G, Assendelft WJ, Evans R, Haas M, Bouter L.

Department of Research, Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies, Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, MN 55431, USA.

BACKGROUND: Chronic headache is a prevalent condition with substantial socioeconomic impact. Complementary or alternative therapies are increasingly being used by patients to treat headache pain, and spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is among the most common of these. OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy/effectiveness of SMT for chronic headache through a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. STUDY SELECTION: Randomized clinical trials on chronic headache (tension, migraine and cervicogenic) were included in the review if they compared SMT with other interventions or placebo. The trials had to have at least 1 patient-rated outcome measure such as pain severity, frequency, duration, improvement, use of analgesics, disability, or quality of life. Studies were identified through a comprehensive search of MEDLINE (1966-1998) and EMBASE (1974-1998). Additionally, all available data from the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, the Chiropractic Research Archives Collection, and the Manual, Alternative, and Natural Therapies Information System were used, as well as material gathered through the citation tracking, and hand searching of non-indexed chiropractic, osteopathic, and manual medicine journals. DATA EXTRACTION: Information about outcome measures, interventions and effect sizes was used to evaluate treatment efficacy. Levels of evidence were determined by a classification system incorporating study validity and statistical significance of study results. Two authors independently extracted data and performed methodological scoring of selected trials. DATA SYNTHESIS: Nine trials involving 683 patients with chronic headache were included. The methodological quality (validity) scores ranged from 21 to 87 (100-point scale). The trials were too heterogeneous in terms of patient clinical characteristic, control groups, and outcome measures to warrant statistical pooling. Based on predefined criteria, there is moderate evidence that SMT has short-term efficacy similar to amitriptyline in the prophylactic treatment of chronic tension-type headache and migraine. SMT does not appear to improve outcomes when added to soft-tissue massage for episodic tension-type headache. There is moderate evidence that SMT is more efficacious than massage for cervicogenic headache. Sensitivity analyses showed that the results and the overall study conclusions remained the same even when substantial changes in the prespecified assumptions/rules regarding the evidence determination were applied. CONCLUSIONS: SMT appears to have a better effect than massage for cervicogenic headache. It also appears that SMT has an effect comparable to commonly used first-line prophylactic prescription medications for tension-type headache and migraine headache. This conclusion rests upon a few trials of adequate methodological quality. Before any firm conclusions can be drawn, further testing should be done in rigorously designed, executed, and analyzed trials with follow-up periods of sufficient length.

PMID: 11562654 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Migraines and cardiovascular events, a common thread and treament that may help.

Migraine may double risk of heart attack

[Good information for migraine sufferers. And following is a look at improved migraines after aerobic exercise designed to maximize oxygen uptake.]

Exercise Program Reduces Migraine Suffering
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2009) — While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a new study describes an exercise program that is well tolerated by patients. The findings show that the program decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life.

The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention. The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients’ migraines.

After the treatment period, patients’ maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and, during the last month of treatment, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medication used.

Individuals with headache and migraine typically are less physically active than those without headache. Patients with migraine often avoid exercise, resulting in less aerobic endurance and flexibility. Therefore, well designed studies of exercise in patients with migraine are imperative.

“While the optimal amount of exercise for patients with migraine remains unknown, our evaluated program can now be tested further and compared to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to see if exercise can prevent migraine,” says Dr. Emma Varkey, co-author of the study.

5 Ways Therapeutic Massages can help Fight off the Flu

Here are five ways that therapeutic massage can benefit your health:

Eliminate harmful toxins. Negative toxins consistently build in our body, resulting in pain, fatigue and an overall feeling of gloom. Massage helps stimulate your lymphatic glands, which is the natural way your body gets rid of the negative toxins.
Improve your circulation. Massage helps encourage the flow of blood, essential nutrients and oxygen to your body and your brain, improving the overall circulation in your body. This can be especially helpful for the elderly and the sick.
Reduce your chance of becoming ill. By improving your circulation through massage, you are benefiting your entire body by helping ward off incoming germs that could make you sick. Massage can help your antibodies fend off germs by improving the circulation of your lymphatic system.
Improve the function of your immune system. Stress can lead to a suppressed immune system, which in turn, makes you more susceptible to illness. With regular massages, your immune system can regain the balance it needs to keep your health in check.
Reduce stress. While a massage can help relax the body and soul, medical studies have shown that anything that promotes relaxation can help reduce stress. Stress can lead to many negative health aspects, including illness and disease, so regular massage appointments can help reduce stress, and thus, lessen your chance of getting sick.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Soft Drinks Could Boost Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Soft Drinks Could Boost Pancreatic Cancer Risk

[Wow, I have never seen an article written in such a careful way. The author was clearly very concerned about drink industry statements. I am going to research the other published articles because I have to admit, Diet Pepsi is my vice.]

How to fight childhood obesity in 3 steps

How to fight childhood obesity in 3 steps An excerpt from the article: Just 14.5% of the children were exposed to all three of the study behaviors on a regular basis: Eating the evening meal as a family five or more nights a week, getting more than 10.5 hours of sleep per night, and watching less than two hours of TV, video or DVDs a day. [This is pathetic, why can't a four year old get at least 10.5 hours sleep and less than 2 hours of TV a day, any parent can accomplish that, there is no excuse.]

Kids Born Early in Year More Likely to Be Athletes?

Kids Born Early in Year More Likely to Be Athletes?

[This is hardly news, this subject was thoroughly discussed in Gladwell's awesome book, Outliers. Many people even "redshirt" their kids in everything from sports to kindergarten, which is holding them back until they are one year older than their peers.]

Debate over blood samples from babies

Debate over blood samples from babies

[This article is so interesting because it never occurred to me to wonder what they did with the leftover from newborn screening blood samples. But really, imagine the amazing research they could do with this extensive collection. It would be fascinating to read about.]

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Miracle of Vitamin D: Sound Science, or Hype?

The Miracle of Vitamin D: Sound Science, or Hype?

[This is a great article that really sums up my confusion about vitamin supplements. For example, knowing that all vitamins and minerals are important to health, in our family we eat a lot of salmon, go out and play everyday, and take Vitamin D supplements. Some researchers would say, they are healthy because they take Vitamin D. Others would say, they have a healthy lifestyle and also happen to take vitamin supplements, how much of that health should we really attribute to the vitamins. Of course that is oversimplifying because good research studies should be set up so that the two groups being compared are the same and I am certain there must be quite a few good studies but...... am I totally convinced? No, but I still give my kids a multi and Vitamin D just to be sure.... and I hope I am not doing them harm.]

5 Questions Find Hidden Celiac Disease in Kids

5 Questions Find Hidden Celiac Disease in Kids

[Don't go crazy with this information. It seems like everybody thinks they have gluten intolerance. Celiac Disease is relatively rare, but as indicated in this study, early recognition of symptoms can help parents help their doctors to diagnose the condition. This could help some little guys get bigger, taller and happier, with less pain and discomfort.]

Feb. 1, 2010 - Five simple questions can help you find out whether your child needs a gluten-free diet, Danish researchers suggest.

Many children have celiac disease, a disorder that causes damage to the intestines when food containing gluten is eaten. Such kids do much better on a gluten-free diet. Foods containing wheat, oats, and barley give them trouble.

But at least half of kids with celiac disease never get diagnosed, and thus needlessly suffer symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and behavior problems.

There's a blood test that tells doctors which kids likely have celiac disease. But it's impractical to give all kids the blood test. Might it be easier to test only kids who have one or more symptoms of celiac disease?

To find out, Peter Toftedal, MD, of Odense University Hospital, Denmark, created a questionnaire for parents. The five items elicit information on recurrent abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, and lack of height and weight gain:

Has your child ever suffered from abdominal pain more than twice during the last three months?
Has your child ever had diarrhea lasting more than two weeks?
Does your child have a tendency to firm and hard stools?
Does your child gain enough weight?
Does your child gain enough height?
How well does it work? Toftedal and colleagues tested the questionnaire on Denmark's County of Funen. They mailed it to the parents of 9,880 8- and 9-year-olds. Before giving the questionnaire, 13 Funen kids were known to have celiac disease.

Of the 7,029 parents who filled out the questionnaire, 2,835 reported at least one symptom. All of these kids were invited for a blood test. Of the 1,720 children tested, 24 were positive for the antibodies characteristic of celiac disease.

Further tests identified 14 kids with celiac disease. That means that in Funen, only half of the kids with celiac disease had been diagnosed.

"A number of preclinical and low-grade symptomatic patients with celiac disease may be identified by their responses to a mailed questionnaire," Toftedal and colleagues conclude.

The findings appear in the March issue of Pediatrics.