Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

A change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school

line art drawing of Adrenal gland, cleaned up ...

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From the 9 August 2011 Eureka news alert

Study finds stress boosts performance for confident students, but holds back those with more anxiety

Knowing the right way to handle stress in the classroom and on the sports field can make the difference between success and failure for the millions of students going back to school this fall, new University of Chicago research shows.

“We found that cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, can either be tied to a student’s poor performance on a math test or contribute to success, depending on the frame of mind of the student going into the test,” said Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology at UChicago and one of the nation’s leading experts on poor performance by otherwise talented people.

She is the author of “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To,” released this month in paperback.

In a new paper published in the current issue of the journal “Emotion,” Beilock and her colleagues explore the topic of performance failure in math and show, for the first time, that there is a critical connection between working memory, math anxiety and salivary cortisol.

Working memory is the mental reserve that people use to process information and figure out solutions during tests. Math anxiety is fear or apprehension when just thinking about taking a math test. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and associated with stress-related changes in the body; it is often referred to as the “stress hormone.”

Read this entire Eureka news alert

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study Shows Sports Can Help Communities Recover From Disaster

From a 7 July 2011 Medical News Today article

Research from North Carolina State University shows that organized sports can be a powerful tool for helping to rebuild communities in the wake of disasters. The research focused specifically on the role of professional football in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“Sports, and by extension sports media, can be a powerful force for good. It can bring people together. It can provide hope, even in the midst of great destruction,” says Dr. Ken Zagacki, co-author of a paper describing the research and a professor of communication at NC State. “But we have to be careful that we don’t use sports to gloss over real problems. We don’t want to ‘move on’ from tragedies like Katrina when real social problems remain.” …….

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

Evidence mounting on the harms of alcohol industry sponsorship of sport

Evidence mounting on the harms of alcohol industry sponsorship of sport

From the February 1, 2011 Eureka news alert

While policy makers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand debate whether alcohol advertising and sponsorship should be banned from sport, new research provides evidence that alcohol industry sponsorship is associated with more hazardous drinking in sportspeople compared to non-alcohol sponsorship.

Health scientists from Monash University, the University of Manchester, Deakin University and University of Western Sydney, asked Australian sportspeople about their drinking behaviours, sport participation, and what sorts of sport sponsorship they currently receive.

After accounting for other influences receipt of alcohol industry sponsorship in various forms was associated with significantly higher levels of drinking. Receipt of similar forms of sponsorship from non-alcohol industries such as, building firms, food or clothing companies was not related to higher drinking levels.

Of the 30 per cent of sportspeople reporting receiving alcohol industry sponsorship, 68 per cent met World Health Organisation criteria for classification as hazardous drinkers.

The research, published online in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, is the first to compare alcohol industry sponsorship to non-alcohol industry sponsorship…..

….

Sport is being misused to promote alcohol to sportspeople and the general population. The public do not need more encouragement to drink, and there are ways of replacing alcohol advertising and sponsorship dollars in sport,” Dr O’Brien said.

“Much like was done with tobacco, a proportion of the excise duty currently gathered by governments from alcohol sales could be ring fenced (hypothecated) for funding sport and cultural events. This would replace alcohol industry funding many times over,” Dr O’Brien said.

Norway and France have had longstanding bans in place with little apparent effect on sport, and this year Turkey banned all alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sport. France successfully hosted the 1998 FIFA World Cup with their alcohol sponsorship and advertising ban in place, and currently host the multi-nation Heineken Cup Rugby competition, renamed the H-Cup in France….

…Deakin University scientist Dr Peter Miller said “This study provides new evidence of the harms associated with alcohol industry sponsorship of sport and we believe that any sporting association serious about the well-being of young people should support calls for governments to provide alternative funding. It’s simply not worth gambling with their future for the sake of some easy money.”

 

 

 

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Youth Sports : Epidemic Injury Levels & Low Practice Exercise Levels

Two recent cautionary news items about youth sports

8,000 kids are treated in ERs daily, trainers’ association says
From the December 7th Health Day news article

TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — Youth sports injuries have become rampant in the United States, with

HealthDay news image

emergency departments treating more than 8,000 children a day for sports-related injuries, safety experts reported Tuesday.

As more children play school sports and in organized leagues, they are suffering an ever-increasing number of injuries, the experts from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association said in presenting their grim picture at a conference in Washington D.C.

Statistics released by the organization also revealed that:

  • Forty-eight youths died as the result of sports injuries in the past year.
  • About 63,000 high school athletes suffer brain injuries every year.
  • High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers led the association to issue a national report card on youth sport safety, giving the nation a C- for 2010…….

Kids’ Team Sports Often Lacking in Exercise
Soccer, softball and baseball players found to be inactive for about 30 minutes per practice session

From the December 7 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

HealthDay news imageMONDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) — Playing team sports does not guarantee that a child will get the U.S. government-recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, a new study reveals.

Using accelerometers, a type of sensor that measures physical activity, researchers studied activity levels of 200 children aged 7 to 14 while they took part in practices with their soccer, baseball or softball teams.

Overall, only 24 percent of the children met the 60-minute physical activity recommendation during practice. Less than 10 percent of participants aged 11 to 14 and less than 2 percent of female softball players reached the guideline, said Desiree Leek, of San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, and colleagues….

…The findings were released online Dec. 6 in advance of publication in the April 2011 print issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.



December 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

What Parents Can Do to Create a Positive Youth Sports Experience

From the American Academy of Pediatricians Healthy Children Web Page

What Parents Can Do to Create a Positive Youth Sports Experience

  • Support for your child must be unconditional.
  • Be patient for the process, and enjoy it.
  • Understand how the developmental progression works for sports skills.
  • Be knowledgeable that many of the developmental milestones for sports skills cannot be accelerated beyond their natural limit.
  • Realize that physical, chemical, and mental development all affect ability and all progress along different timetables.
  • Support achievements as they occur. This will reduce pressure to achieve skills that are not quite ready.
  • Remember, your child has his or her own likes and dislikes and should be able to participate without pressure to choose a certain activity.
  • Remember that there are developmental patterns for chemical changes that allow your child to be able to progress in training intensity when it is time.
  • Understand the extra changes that occur in the puberty transition from child to teenager.
  • Don’t overreact to normal developmental processes and changes that occur during puberty and may temporarily affect ability.
  • Understand the profound developmental effect of a firm positive foundation of self-esteem on future performance and ability to handle competitive pressure.
  • Redefine success and make sure performance disappointments are not seen as failures that the child might take personally.
  • Teach your child that winning means a lot more than a gold medal (you first have to believe that yourself).
  • Encourage your child any way you can.
  • Find more things your child is doing right than things to criticize.
  • Support by being visible at their events.
  • Keep your comments positive without a lot of addenda or stipulations.
  • Help your children take some responsibilities for their sport without making them feel overwhelmed with duties.
  • Watch for warning signs of burnout or avoidance.
  • Remember your child is a child, not a child-sized adult.
  • Help your child set realistic goals (not your goals).
  • Allow changes in sports, and encourage exposure to different sports.
  • Instill a sense of value in exercise and fitness regardless of structured competition.
  • Communicate sincerely and often with your child about his or her desires.
  • Help your child build a strong sense of self-worth and identity that is not dependent on the sport itself or level of achievement.
  • Provide positive momentum by celebrating reality successes as often as possible.

 

Author
Paul R. Stricker, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
6/9/2010
Source
Sports Success Rx! Your Child’s Prescription for the Best Experience: How to Maximize Potential AND Minimize Pressure

 

December 4, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

Sports Safety Information from Medline Plus

The MedlinePlus Sports Safety Web page includes links on how to prevent sports injuries, specific conditions, and material specifically geared to children and teens.

August 2, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | | 4 Comments

   

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