- Pregnancy & Childbirth
- Attachment Parenting
- Family Nutrition
- Family Wellness
VACCINE SHORTAGES CONTINUES
There is now a shortage of vaccines for eight of the 11 vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. The government is working on ways to increase production.
The latest recommendation for Chicken pox vaccine is to delay giving it to healthy infants until 18 to 24 months of age (instead of at 12 months as scheduled). This will ensure an adequate supply for higher priority cases, including health care workers, family members of people with immune diseases, teenagers and high-risk children.
Click here for a full report and discussion.
ANOTHER STUDY CONFIRMS LINK BETWEEN SMOKING AND SIDS
A recent study of 44 infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome revealed significantly higher levels of nicotine in the infants' lungs compared to 29 infants who died of non-SIDS causes (heart defects, trauma and infections).
Dr. Sears comments: more proof that smoking and babies don't mix. Click here to read more about smoking and babies.
EATING FISH DECREASES CHANCE OF HEART ATTACKS AND SUDDEN DEATH
Two new studies support recent research that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart attacks and sudden death by 45 to 80 percent, depending on how much of these healthy fats a person eats. The higher the levels of these fats in the bloodstream, the lower the risk of heart attack and sudden death.
Dr. Sears comments: Eating fish and eggs, or taking omega-3 oil supplements, is an extremely important part of our diet.
Click here to read about DHA and other omega-3 fats.
Worried about getting too much mercury in fish? Click here to learn more.
FISHER PRICE "SMART RESPONSE" INFANT SWINGS RECALLED
The seat of the swing can easily be assembled incorrectly, causing the baby to flip forward out of the swing. Four babies have been injured so far. The swings were sold between Dec 2001 and Mar 2002. Call Fisher Price at 1-800-942-5912 for instructions on how to properly assemble the seat.
CANCER-CAUSING CHEMICAL FOUND IN BASIC FOODS
Researchers in Sweden have discovered high levels of acrylamide in many everyday foods, including French fries, bread and chips. Acrylamide is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable carcinogen. This chemical isn't intentionally put into foods. It is formed during baking or frying carbohydrate-rich foods. No acrylamide was found in the raw potatoes or bread products before cooking. The amount of acrylamide found in one bag of potato crisps was 500 times the World Health Organization's allowable levels in a glass of water.
Dr. Sears comments: Everyone knows fried foods cause heart disease, but this news is also very alarming. Further research will have to be done to determine if this is a real threat. Stay tuned. Click here to read about the anti-cancer diet.
OAT BRAN LOWERS CHOLESTEROL AND NEED FOR BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATIONS
A research study showed that patients who ate 6 grams of soluble oat fiber (12 grams total) daily were able to reduce their blood pressure medication dosage and saw a 15 percent drop in their cholesterol. Comparatively, those who ate wheat bran instead were also able to reduce their medication, but did not see a decrease in cholesterol. A second recent study showed similar drops in blood pressure with oat bran.
Dr. Sears comments: Click here to read how to lower your cholesterol through nutrition.
Click here to read Dr. Bob's personal cholesterol story.
USE OF BEHAVIORAL MEDICATIONS IN U.S. CHILDREN HAS TRIPLED IN PAST DECADE
Between 1986 and 1996, the use of medications to treat ADD, depression, and other behavioral problems in children has increased from 1.4 to 4 percent. Specifically, ADD medications have increased from 0.6 to 2.4 percent, and the use of antidepressants has risen from 0.3 to 1 percent.
Dr. Sears comments: while I do support the appropriate use of these medications to assist in the treatment of behavioral disorders, I find it alarming that 4 percent of our nation's children need to be medicated. Click here to read more about options for treating ADD.
DELAYING FILLING AN ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTION SHOWN TO DECREASE ANTIBIOTIC MISUSE
A small research study of 130 patients who were given a prescription for cold and cough symptoms showed some useful results. Those who were told to wait a few days before filling the prescription to see how their illness progressed ended up getting the antibiotics only 48 percent of the time. 89 percent of people who were told to start the antibiotic right away did so.
Dr. Sears comments: I sometimes do this in my practice if I know a child doesn't need an antibiotic, but the parents are insistent. This is a good way to cut down on antibiotic misuse. Click here to read about colds, coughs, and appropriate antibiotic use.
CURIOUS, OVERACTIVE TODDLERS SHOWN TO HAVE HIGHER IQ'S
A study of 3-year-old behavior showed that those who were labeled as "overactive, stimulation-seeking, and curious" scored 12 points higher on IQ testing and had better reading skills at age 11.
Dr. Sears comments: This is good news for those parents who have a "hyperactive" toddler. Next time someone comments negatively about how "hyper" your toddler is, inform them of these study results.