Thursday, July 10, 2008

Roundup of interesting medical news

I don't have much time for writing original posts right now, but here are a couple of recent studies that seem interesting for one reason or another to me. Discuss.

Farm-raised tilapia fish contains potentially dangerous fatty acid combination: Farm-raised tilapia, one of the most highly consumed fish in America, has very low levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and, perhaps worse, very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, according to new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

A suspect found for SIDS
: New evidence is suggesting that a chemical imbalance in the brain may be the cause of some cot deaths.

Statins have unexpected effect on pool of powerful brain cells: Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins have a profound effect (and not necessarily a good one) on an elite group of cells important to brain health as we age, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found. The new findings shed light on a long-debated potential role for statins in the area of dementia.

Brain food - what we eat affects our intelligence: New research findings published online in The FASEB Journal provide more evidence that if we get smart about what we eat, our intelligence can improve. According to MIT scientists, dietary nutrients found in a wide range of foods from infant formula to eggs increase brain synapses and improve cognitive abilities.


Rachel said...

Have you begun moving yet? I know what a pain that can be, but I imagine its 10 times worse moving intra-states. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Those last two stories are why I cringe so greatly at the new news that healthists are suggesting even very small children be put on low-fat diets, and that young children with suspect cholesterol be given statins.

Fat is important for brain development in small children! We have known that for YEARS! And so it scares me to think of parents, fearful of having a fat child, starving that kid's brain of the fatty acids it needs.

Ms. Heathen said...

Aw dangit, I like tilapia! It's the only fish I can afford when I have the budget for fish.

Lady Epiphany said...

I read about studies pointing to brain defect (though at the time I believe it was an anatomical problem with the development of the hippocampus in babies who died of SIDS) about 2 years ago, which was when I was struggling with sleep deprivation with my then infant who set "back to sleep" would only sleep in 40 minute cycles. I noticed if she managed to roll herself over, she would sleep 4 hours on her stomach. After reading these studies, I realized I was fighting my own parenting instincts. My inner Mommy voice said, let her sleep how she's comfortable. So I did that.

Harriet said...

hi rachel,
not quite yet. i have a big family reunion in a week. after that--the packing begins. :-)

ms. heathen, i know! i love tilapia, and it's affordable.

epiphany, that's really interesting. sometimes we have to listen to our inner mommies, don't we?

How the SIDS Back to Sleep Campaign Caused the Autism Epidemic said...

I'm surfing the blogs for info on SIDS. I'm a medical writer and I think it's an interesting subject and that many of the "cures" might actually not be that safe and that the statistics are highly inflated:

In a 2006 letter to the editor in the Journal of Pediatrics Dr. Rafael Pelayo, Dr. Judith Owens, Dr. Jodi Mindell, and Dr. Stephen Sheldon asked the following question of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome after their Pacifier and Co-sleeping report was published:
"...from the perspective of the field of pediatric sleep medicine, the policy statement's laudable but narrow focus on SIDS prevention raises a number of important issues that need to be addressed. In particular, the revised recommendations regarding cosleeping and pacifier use have the potential to lead to unintended consequences on both the sleep and the health of the infant. The potential implications of a SIDS risk-reduction strategy that is based on a combination of maintaining a low arousal threshold and reducing quiet (equivalent to Delta or slow-wave sleep) in infants must be considered. Because slow-wave sleep is considered the most restorative form of sleep and is believed to have a significant role in neurocognitive processes and learning, as well as in growth, what might be the neurodevelopmental consequences of chronically reducing deep sleep in the first critical 12 months of life?"

"There are indications of a rapidly growing population of infants who show developmental abnormalities as a result of prolonged exposure to the supine position."

Dr. Ralph Pelligra regarding the impact of the Back to Sleep Campaign

"In its fundamental purpose it has been largely successful. The incidence of SIDS has been reduced dramatically. However, as many orthotists can attest, this important gain has not been without its lesser comorbidities. The one we tend to think of has been the rapid increase in the incidence of positional plagiocephaly and positional brachycephaly. However, there have been whispers and rumors of other effects."

Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO regarding side effects of the Back to Sleep Campaign.

"Since the implementation of the "Back to Sleep" campaign, therapists are seeing increasing numbers of kindergarten-aged children who are unable to hold a pencil."

Susan Syron, Pediatric Physical Therapist

"A lot of us are concerned that the rate (of SIDS) isn't decreasing significantly, but that a lot of it is just code shifting,' said John Kattwinkel, chairman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's special task force on SIDS. 'We don't know where the best place is to put our emphasis on further reducing the risk of SIDS. It is still a very high killer of babies.'"