Posts belonging to Category researchers



Kids with Knee Injuries Need Special Care

According to a study that appears in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, youngsters who injure the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee require special treatment and care to prevent future knee injuries and complications such as osteoarthritis.

kneeThe ACL is the main, stabilizing ligament of the knee joint. ACL injuries were once rare in children and young teens but are on the rise due to factors such as year-round training, less free play, and a focus on only one type of sport, say the researchers

They analyzed published studies to identify the best ways to treat ACL knee injuries in children and adolescents whose bones have not yet fully matured, which typically occurs in girls by age 14 and in boys by age 16.

Researchers found that youngsters with an ACL injury should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon who has expertise in surgical treatment of this type of injury. Their other recommendations included:

  • Nonsurgical treatment — including limits on physical activity and bracing and/or physical therapy — should be considered for patients with partial ACL tears that involve less than 50 percent of the diameter of the ligament
  • Management after surgery may include weight-bearing and physical activity restrictions, physical therapy, knee strength-training exercises and a gradual, careful return to sports.

The study author, Dr. Jeremy Frank, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., stated in a news release that complications from ACL knee surgery are rare in youngsters when the appropriate operation is performed on the right patient.

 

Parents Underestimate the Calories in Fast Food Meals

At a recent meeting of the Obesity Society Jason Block, MD, of Harvard Medical School and fellow researchers reported that parents often underestimate the calories their school-age kids are consuming when they eat large meals at fast food restaurants.

caloriesAccording to the study, the average meal purchased  in four New England cities contained 733 calories, and 21% contained more than 1,000 calories, But the parents estimated an average of only 562 calories per meal, with 72% underestimating the actual content. “There was an association between larger meals and larger underestimations, which may hold some promise for menu labeling,” Dr. Block said. He noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide post calorie information on their menus.

The researchers found that only 15% of parents saw nutritional information in the restaurants and fewer still (4%) used that information when ordering. “So they may not use it even if it’s more accessible,” Block stated.

Last year at the society’s annual meeting, Dr Block reported that 80% of adolescents in Boston, Springfield, Mass., Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn., underestimated the amount of calories their fast food meals contained and 86% did not notice any nutritional information in the restaurants.

In the current study, Block and his colleagues visited 10 restaurants in each of the four cities… three McDonald’s, three Burger King, two Subway, one KFC, and one Wendy’s. Each restaurant was visited six times at dinnertime.

Those participating in the study included parents or legal guardians of children and teens, ages 3 to 15 (mean age 7.9). The analysis included 330 families, representing 45% of those who were approached.

Most of the children (57%) were overweight or obese. The sample was ethnically diverse — 33% black, 30% Hispanic, 19% white, 3% Asian, and 15% other or multiracial.

The researchers collected receipts when the parents left the restaurants and administered a short survey about the calorie content of the meal and awareness and use of the nutritional information. The actual calorie content of the meals was calculated using the receipts and information on the restaurants’ websites.

Many of the parents purchased large meals for their children and most underestimated the calorie content. Nearly one-quarter (24%) underestimated the calorie count by at least 500.

Those who underestimated the daily requirement tended to also underestimate the calories in a meal, a finding that “supports an anchoring statement on menus,” Block said. The federal regulations require that, in addition to calorie information, menus must include an anchoring statement describing the typical daily calorie requirement.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Seed Grant.

Source: The Obesity Society

 

Health Tips from Those in the Know

healthSoccer Players

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these health tips for soccer players:

  • Stay in good physical shape, even in the off-season, with regular exercise and strength training.
  • Always warm up and stretch before playing.
  • Always cool down and stretch after playing.
  • Be sure to drink enough water before and during play.
  • Always wear proper safety gear, including shin guards and shoes with ribbed soles or molded cleats.
  • When the field is wet, use soccer balls made of synthetic, nonabsorbent materials, instead of leather.

Obese Youth and Gallstones

According to health information from the U.S Dept of Health and Human Services obese youth are an eight times higher risk of gallstones than youth who are not obese.

Young people should only rarely have gallstones. But doctors are treating more teens for the buildup of the hardened cholesterol-laden lumps in the gallbladder. Research finds that the risk of gallstones was higher in obese young people.

At Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, research scientist Corinna Koebnick looked at medical records of 766 10- to 19-year-olds with gallstones, “Obese youths have a much higher risk – up to 8 times higher – than their normal-weight counterparts.” Koebnick shared that parents and kids should get together on eating right and being moreactive.

This health study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

 

 

Allergy Triggers, What You Need to Know

allergyThe American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology,ACAAI, reported, in a July press release, that common allergy triggers in classrooms and playgrounds spur 14 million school absences a year in U.S.

“Children with allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active and not miss any classes or activities this school year due to their condition,” allergist Dr. James Sublett, chair of the ACAAI Public Relations Committee, said in a college news release. “Helping  children understand what triggers their allergy symptoms can keep them focused on their studies and not their allergies.”

The ACAAI advises that there are ways children can stay away from allergy triggers so they can feel their best, including:

  • Avoid chalk dust. Children with asthma or allergies should wash their hands after handling chalk and not sit too close to the chalkboard.
  • Steer clear of bees and wasps. Children should not disturb bees or other insects when they are outside. They should also avoid wearing brightly colored clothing on the playground. Parents of children with insect allergies should consider talking to an allergist about venom immunotherapy, which can be 97 percent effective in preventing future reactions to insect bites.
  • Pack lunch. Children with food allergies should bring their lunch to school and avoid sharing food, napkins or utensils with their friends. Teachers, coaches and the school nurse should also be informed about students’ food allergies. In extreme cases, food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Parents could also suggest that school adopt an allergen-free snack policy.
  • Be aware of breathing troubles after physical activity. Children who experience trouble breathing during or after gym class, recess or other physical activities at school could have exercise-induced broncho-constriction or asthma. These children need to be seen by an allergist who can diagnose and treat their conditions.
  • Don’t cuddle classroom pets. Children with allergies should avoid pets with fur and not be seated next to children who have furry pets at home. Parents can also request that teachers choose a hairless classroom pet, such as a fish or a frog.

Experts recommended that parents of children with allergy symptoms or asthma make an appointment with a board-certified allergist to develop a treatment plan.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about students’ health in school.

(SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, July 19, 2012)

Watch Those Button Batteries

batteriesCoin-sized batteries are the reason for seeing double the children’s emergency room visits during the past twenty years.

In a study that is online and in the June issue of Pediatrics, researchers document serious complications, including deaths, occurring when children swallow “button batteries,” found in items ranging from remote-control devices to children’s toys.

The researchers looked at U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data concerning all battery-related visits to the ER among children up to age 18.

Four different types of accidental contact with button batteries were found: swallowing and insertion of a battery into the mouth, ear, or nose.

Researchers found that over the 20-year period such contacts translated into nearly 66,000 ER visits, with a dramatic increase over the final eight years. Button batteries accounted for 2,785 ER visits by kids younger than 18 in 2009, up from 1,301 in 1990.

Toddlers and others 5 years and younger faced the highest risk for accidental button-battery contact, with the average age of incoming ER patients just below 4 years.

Boys accounted for more of the ER visits (about 60 percent). Most cases (nearly 77 percent) were the result of swallowing batteries. Nose contact accounted for roughly 10 percent of cases, followed by mouth exposure (7.5 percent) and ear insertion (almost 6 percent).

The study report carries a message for parents stating that if they suspect that their child has swallowed a battery they need to get to the ER right away. To prevent such accidents, parents need to store and dispose of batteries while keeping them out of reach of their children. They need to tape all battery compartments shut.

The study report also carries a message for manufacturers stating that we need to have the industry make battery compartments inaccessible and child-resistant for all products, not just toys.

The study report concludes by advising parents to heed the general advice regarding choking, especially for those 5 years and younger. Children should never be within reach of any object that can fit through a choke tube, which is about the size of a cardboard tube of a toilet-paper roll. This is particularly the case with objects not normally considered dangerous, such as children’s toys that have batteries and other small parts, and various objects found in the kitchen or bathroom.

(SOURCES: June 2012 Pediatrics)