Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Practices

 

 

From the July 2012 issue of NCCAM Clinical Digest   (US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

 

Millions of Americans suffer from pain that is chronic, severe, and not easily managed. Pain from arthritis, back problems, other musculoskeletal conditions, and headache costs U.S. businesses more than $61 billion a year in lost worker productivity.

Pain is the most common health problem for which adults use complementary health practices. Many people with conditions causing chronic pain turn to these practices to supplement other conventional medical treatment, or when their pain is resistant or in an effort to advert side effects of medications. Despite the widespread use of complementary health practices for chronic pain, scientific evidence on efficacy and mechanisms—whether the therapies help the conditions for which they are used and, if so, how—is, for the most part, limited. However, the evidence base is growing, especially for several complementary health practices most commonly used by people to lessen pain.

This issue highlights the research status for several therapies used for common kinds of pain, includingarthritisfibromyalgiaheadachelow-back pain, and neck pain.

 

Information for Your Patients

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Just the Newest Toys Hold Risks for Kids

Not Just the Newest Toys Hold Risks for Kids

Danger lurks among tricycles as well as battery- and magnet-loaded gadgets, experts warn

HealthDay news image


From the December 17 Health Day news item

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) — Toys today are often cutting-edge wonders, loaded with gadgets and gizmos. But as toys become more sophisticated, they often pose new dangers for children that safety experts urge parents and gift-givers to consider.

Tiny magnets, powerful batteries and laser lights are among the features on modern toys that can be just as dangerous as small parts and sharp edges have always been…..

Choking hazards have long been a leading cause of death in children, prompting the creation of warning labels detailing small parts and recommending minimum ages for certain toys….

But in recent years, riding toys have proven to be the most dangerous type of toy on the market, according to the consumer agency. They were associated with the most deaths in 2008: Two children on tricycles were hit by a motor vehicle, and two others drowned after riding their tricycle into a pool. Other types of non-motorized riding toys accounted for another five deaths…..

…..Parents also should be mindful of new dangers presented by modern toys. For example, many toys contain small but powerful magnets, and “magnets have proven to be incredibly dangerous,” Weintraub said.

The hazard comes when a child swallows more than one magnet. The magnets can stick together through the walls of the child’s digestive tract, potentially causing internal tears or blockages. “It can rip through a child’s intestines,” she said.”

Small batteries contained in toys present another danger to children. If swallowed, the batteries can lodge in the esophagus and cause a potentially fatal burn as the battery’s current eats through the body’s internal tissues. Medical experts whose research on battery hazards appeared in the June Pediatrics found that a swallowed battery has to be removed from the child’s esophagus within two hours to prevent serious injury or death.

Consumers Union performed a presentation where they put a piece of ham on a battery and it burned through,” Weintraub said.

Laser pointers and toys with laser attachments also present a risk. A 15-year-old Swiss boy playing with a laser pointer accidentally beamed the laser into his eyes, permanently damaging his vision, according to a letter published Sept. 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Even video games have their problems. Too much play can create eyestrain, Kehoe said.

“If you do anything too much, it’s not good for you,” he said. “Children should not spend more than 20 to 30 minutes playing a video game without taking a visual break.”

Parents who want to make sure toys remain fun and treasured possessions rather than potentially dangerous devices should follow a few key suggestions, according to Weintraub, Kehoe and Prevent Blindness America:

  • Follow the age recommendations listed on toy packaging. The recommendations now are available on toys advertised over the Internet as well, Weintraub said.
  • Consider how a child plays with and interacts with toys. For example, if the youngster still places objects in his or her mouth, be keenly aware of potential choking hazards on any toys.
  • Make sure that battery-powered toys keep the batteries in compartments that cannot be easily opened by children.
  • Don’t buy any magnetic toys for children who are still placing objects in their mouth.
  • Examine all toys for loose parts and sharp points or edges.
  • When buying a riding toy, also provide all the proper protective equipment and make sure it is worn. Supervise the child’s play on riding toys at all times.
  • Don’t buy costume jewelry for a child. “Metal children’s jewelry has been such an ongoing problem in terms of high levels of lead and cadmium that we recommend that people not purchase it and children not play with it,” Weintraub said.

SOURCES: Rachel Weintraub, director, product safety, Consumer Federation of America; Peter Kehoe, O.D., optometrist, Peoria, Ill.; June 2010Pediatrics; Sept. 9, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine

 

 


December 21, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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