Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crohn'sAdvocate™ Educates and Inspires those Impacted by Crohn's Disease

/PRNewswire/ -- UCB today announced the first installment of the Crohn'sAdvocate™ Online Forum Series, a succession of interactive programs designed to connect, educate and empower those who are affected by Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is a chronic, progressive and debilitating inflammatory bowel disease that results in an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Many Americans living with Crohn's disease often feel isolated and limit social activities because of the constant pain and fatigue they experience, as well as the fear of an urgent and immediate need to find a public restroom. Those with the condition often battle Crohn's disease alone, as people find it difficult to share their experiences with others.

On Thursday, October 7, 2010, at 7:00pm ET and 9:00pm ET , Brett Cavalli – a restaurant owner who suffers from Crohn's disease – will share his personal journey with Crohn's disease, which began when he was 13 years old. After years of silently suffering the symptoms of the disease and enduring the pain without any clear diagnosis or effective treatment, he was finally diagnosed with the condition when he was 29 during an emergency surgery that removed nearly a foot of his small intestine.

As a self-professed lover of food, coming to terms with the realities of Crohn's disease was particularly difficult for Brett. In fact, when Brett was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, he distanced himself from his family and friends because of the constant pain and fatigue he experienced. The Crohn'sAdvocate program helped educate Brett about Crohn's disease and gave him the strength to reconnect with his family by talking to them openly about his diagnosis.

Today, as a manager of an Italian grill, Brett uses his love of food to encourage others in the Crohn's community to learn more and speak out about their own disease. Through the Crohn'sAdvocate Online Forum, Brett will share with others his time-tested recipe for successful Crohn's disease management – including diet modification, favorite recipes, and medications.

Accompanying Brett in this first installment of the Online Forum Series will be registered dietician Tamara Duker Freumann, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. Tamara will address the unique dietary concerns of Crohn's patients and offer helpful advice for finding balance in your diet.

To access the Crohn'sAdvocate Online Forum Series, participants will need to register at CrohnsAdvocate.com. After doing so, further instructions will be made available. Following each live event, the content will be available for download and made accessible in an archived library on CrohnsAdvocate.com.

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Warnings Re: Over-the-Counter Medication for Children: Less is More

/PRNewswire/ -- Parents may be giving their children more medicine than they should, according to new research being presented this week at Research Forum during Scientific Assembly, the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Two studies are raising concern about over-the-counter pediatric medications ("Liquid Pediatric Medication Dosing Cups Are Inaccurate" and "Do Parents in the Emergency Department Understand the Food and Drug Administration's Recommendation on Cough and Cold Medication Use in Children Under Two Years of Age? A Survey").

Measuring the actual doses delivered by liquid pediatric dosing cups in multiple over-the-counter medications, researchers found most are inaccurate, which may lead parents to give their children a larger dose of medication than intended. http://bit.ly/9iDuoh

"Parents may be unintentionally overdosing their children," said lead study author Alison Tadros, MD, of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. "When parents use a medication cup that delivers extra medication and then, as has been found in prior studies, they overfill the cup, a child may get more medicine than recommended. Multiply that by multiple doses over multiple days and a child may receive an amount that is not healthy. Our team is planning further research to study the actual medication amounts that parents would administer to their children using these dosing cups."

Another study found that the majority of parents are not aware of a 2007 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public health advisory recommending that children under the age of two not be given over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medications. http://bit.ly/c5KSn8

"Nearly two-thirds of parents we surveyed were not aware of FDA guidelines," said lead study author Shawn Varney, MD, FACEP, of Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. "Even among the minority who knew that OTC cough and cold meds are unsafe in the youngest children, only one-third knew that these medications had caused death in children under two."

Both researchers emphasized that parents are the first line of defense when it comes to the health of their children.

"Emergency physicians are experts at treating childhood emergencies, but we're also here to try to prevent them," said Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Parents: More is not better when it comes to medicine for your kids."

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Education is crucial for lymphoma patients and caregivers

(ARA) - When someone says they have cancer, people often ask the stage of the cancer, as an indication of treatment or prognosis. However, with lymphomas, the specific type of disease (such as peripheral T-cell lymphoma) is equally as important as stage. Lymphoma is the most prevalent form of blood cancer in the United States, but there is a significant knowledge gap among Americans about this kind of cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2010 an estimated 65,500 people are expected to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 8,500 people are expected to be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. A recent survey commissioned by the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and funded through a grant by Allos Therapeutics, revealed that despite those facts, a majority of American adults (86 percent) remain unaware that there are 67 different types of lymphoma - 61 types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and six types of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Upon diagnosis, a patient's disease is first classified as Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma and then further defined as B-cell or T-cell. Although all 67 types of lymphomas are classified as B-cell or T-cell at diagnosis, fewer than 20 percent of those surveyed had heard of either of these disease types.

With this greater understanding and ability to identify the individual types of lymphoma, health care professionals are better able to personalize treatment for the patients' specific disease. There are now targeted therapies for both B-cell and T-cell lymphomas, when only a few short years ago this was not the case. Understanding the specific type of lymphoma helps health care professionals and patients choose the best treatment option.

"Based on this recent survey, of those who personally knew someone with lymphoma, only half were aware of the specific type their friend or family member had been diagnosed as having," says Diane Blum, CEO of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. "At the Lymphoma Research Foundation, our mission is to increase these statistics so that patients, as well as caregivers, are fully informed about their disease and treatment options. We encourage patients and caregivers to learn as much as possible about their specific diagnosis so that they can play an active role in their treatment. Knowing and understanding the specific type of lymphoma is crucial to receiving the right treatment."

To find out more information about lymphoma, including disease-specific fact sheets, visit the Lymphoma Research Foundation website at www.lymphoma.org.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

U.S. Senate Declares September 23, 2010 'National Falls Prevention Awareness Day'

/PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed resolution S. Res. 633, designating September 23, 2010 as "National Falls Prevention Awareness Day" to raise awareness and encourage the prevention of falls among older adults. The declaration can be viewed at www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=sr111-633.

The Falls Free™ Coalition and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) would like to thank sponsor Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and co-sponsors Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI), Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for their support in sponsoring the passage of the resolution.

"Directing resources to prevention programs, including the prevention of falls, is an investment that pays off in the long-run by saving billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on treatment," said Sen. Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. "Prevention programs are important because they help to alleviate the rise in health care expenditures, and I am proud to have supported the Administration on Aging's falls prevention programs."

Across the country, state governments, senior centers, and older adults will observe Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, September 23, 2010. Thirty-five states will participate, joining more than 70 national organizations, professional associations, and federal agencies that comprise the Falls Free™ Coalition to raise awareness of the dangers of fall-related injury and death among older adults.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries for Americans aged 65 years and older. More than 18,000 older Americans die every year because of a fall, and the rate has risen dramatically over the last 10 years. The U.S. spends an estimated $19 billion annually on medical care related to falls; in 2008, over 2.1 million older adults were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries.

"When an older adult falls, it can begin a cascade of events affecting quality of life, including a loss of independence, reduced mobility, and even earlier admission to a nursing home," said Lynn Beattie, vice president of Injury Prevention with NCOA, which leads of the National Falls Free™ Initiative. "An injurious fall can also affect caregivers, family members, and even entire communities. But the good news is that falls are largely preventable."

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls in the older adult population. Experts recommend a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components; in the case of a history of falls or balance and gait difficulties, consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment; having medications reviewed periodically; getting eyes checked annually; and making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.

Senior centers and other community-based organizations serving older adults across the U.S. are offering programs like A Matter of Balance and Stepping On, along with Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance classes, to help older adults gain the strength, improved balance, and confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence.

For additional information, please visit www.ncoa.org/improving-health/falls-prevention/ and http://www.healthyagingprograms.org/content.asp?sectionid=149.

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Once Bitten: Helping Rid the World of Rabies

/PRNewswire/ -- Rabies kills. And the deaths are preventable.

As World Rabies Day approaches on September 28, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reminding everyone – especially animal owners – about the importance of vaccinating their animals for rabies and avoiding exposure to the usually-fatal viral disease.

Rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "has the highest case fatality ratio of any infectious disease if prompt intervention is not initiated."

While cases of human rabies are rare in most developed nations, a recent CDC report published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) shows that people are still vulnerable to the disease. There were four reported cases of human rabies in the United States in 2009, three of which proved fatal.

"Most of us recognize the dangers associated with rabies," says Dr. Larry Kornegay, AVMA president, "but even though reported cases of rabies in humans are rare in the U.S., we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to control the disease. Every year, we continue to see rabies in pets, livestock, horses and wildlife. And the truth of the matter is, we can prevent most of these cases."

Rabies education and prevention is the goal of World Rabies Day, an international program now in its fourth year that has helped educate about 100 million people worldwide, has involved 125 countries and has led to the successful vaccination of 3 million animals. These numbers are significant because rabies kills more than 55,000 people each year, many of them children living in poorer areas of Africa and Asia.

During 2009, according to the CDC report, 49 states and Puerto Rico reported 6,690 cases of rabid animals and four human cases, representing a 2.2 percent decrease from the 6,841 rabid animals and two human cases reported in 2008. About 92 percent of reported rabid animals were wildlife, with the majority of cases involving raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes. There were 300 reported cases in cats, 81 cases in dogs, 74 cases in cattle, and 41 cases in horses and mules.

"Rabies is still prevalent in wild animals, and clearly, every unvaccinated pet that lives within our family setting has the potential to bring rabies back into our homes and our schools and expose us as well as our loved ones," says Peter Costa, director of global communications for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the lead agency behind World Rabies Day. "The sad fact is that rabies still claims human lives in the United States and around the world."

So what can the public do to help control rabies? For starters, pet and animal owners need to have their veterinarian vaccinate their dogs, cats and ferrets, as well as horses and select livestock. The public can reduce the possibility of exposure to rabies by not letting their pets roam free. Cats and ferrets should be kept indoors, and dogs should be closely supervised when they are outside, Dr. Kornegay says. Spaying and neutering pets not only helps prevent the birth of unwanted animals, it may also decrease their roaming tendencies and their exposure to unvaccinated animals.

"It is also important to discourage wildlife or stray animals by not leaving exposed garbage or food outside," Dr. Kornegay says. "And wild animals should never be kept as pets. Not only is this illegal, but wild animals pose a potential rabies threat to anyone who may handle them or come in contact with them."

It is also critically important to educate children about the dangers posed by wild animals and to remind them to never handle unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.

"If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to the city or county animal-control department," Dr. Kornegay says. "Never take matters into your own hands."

For more information about rabies, including a brochure for pet owners and helpful tips on how to avoid dog bites, visit the AVMA's World Rabies Day web page.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Serious Hockey Injuries Among Young Children Skyrocketing

Newswise — The incidence of hockey-related injuries among children aged 9 to 14 leading to emergency department visits more than doubled between 1990 and 2006, according to a new nationwide study.

There were 2,935 hockey injuries treated in emergency departments in that age group in 1990, increasing to 7,713 in 2006 – an increase of 163 percent.

The injury incidence among teens aged 15 to 18 didn’t increase as much as that of younger children, but still grew 85 percent during the same time period.

The startling increase in injuries calls for more attention to safety, according to researchers at Ohio State University and The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

“The incidence of ice hockey injuries will likely continue to increase, given the sport’s growing popularity, unless we make a concerted effort to make sure kids wear the proper protective equipment,” said Jeff Deits, lead author of the study, who did the work as part of his master’s degree project at Ohio State’s School of Physical Activity and Educational Services.

This study is the first long-term assessment of hockey injuries in a broad, national sample, said Deits, who is now an assistant athletic trainer at Wichita State University.. It appears in the September-October issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.

The study uses data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects injury reports from a sample of 100 U.S. hospitals. Deits examined all emergency department records from 1990 through 2006 that involved playing ice hockey, including both structured games and those in which people were playing on ponds or open rinks.

Overall, hockey injuries in all age groups combined increased during that time period, but not significantly. But there were significant increases in injury rates both among children and teens, and among females generally.

Among girls and women, the incidence of hockey injuries increased 347 percent from 1990 to 2006. Females also made up an increasingly larger proportion of total hockey injuries, increasing from 4.8 percent from 1990 through 1999 to 8.9 percent from 2000 through 2006.

“Women are about as likely to be injured playing hockey as men, and their participation has increased greatly, which explains why women’s injuries have increased so much,” Deits said.

Part of the large increase in children’s injuries undoubtedly is the result of more children playing the sport, said Sarah Fields, co-author of the study and associate professor of physical activity and educational services at Ohio State.

For example, the number of high school students playing ice hockey in school-sanctioned leagues increased 88 percent from 1990 to 2006.

However, injury rates seem to be outpacing the growth in participation, Fields said.

“We can’t tell for sure, but we believe that hockey is a much more serious sport now than it was in 1990, so kids are probably spending a lot more time on the ice. That results in more chances for injury,” Fields said.

Deits and Fields said one of the more surprising findings was that nearly one in four ice hockey injuries was to the face or mouth.

“The only hockey players who should not be required to wear a face mask are NHL players,” Deits said. “The majority of these facial injuries are preventable if players used face masks and shields.”
The researchers suspect that players in youth hockey leagues, where face masks are required, may not be wearing this protection during non-contact drills.

“Players and coaches may think they don’t need masks during skating drills, but we know from other research that when you fall on the ice, you usually injure your face because your hands slide out from under you,” Fields said.

“We encourage parents and coaches to require kids to wear face masks and shields every time they are on the ice.”

Another concerning finding from the study was the number of concussions among young players. Concussions were more common among those under age 18 (accounting for 9 percent of all injuries) than for those older than 18 years (3.7 percent of all injuries).

“The brains of children and adolescents are more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury, even at a lesser force, than a mature brain,” Deits said. “There’s been more focus on traumatic brain injuries in recent years, especially among children, and that’s very appropriate.”

One way to protect children may be to limit body checking among younger players, Fields said. As of now, players are allowed to begin checking in pee-wee hockey, which starts at about age 11. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that body checking not be allowed in children under the age of 15.

“If we could eliminate checking in pee wee leagues, we think it would reduce the number of emergency department visits for kids in those leagues,” she said.

Deits said parents need to understand the risks involved in hockey, while doing everything they can to reduce those risks.

“Hockey is a full-contact, high-speed sport, at least among older kids and adults. Parents need to make sure their children wear all the protective equipment that’s required, but realize there will always be risks involved.”

Other co-authors of the study were Ellen Yard and Dawn Comstock of The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State; and Christy Collins of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.





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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

National Study Finds 70 Percent Increase in Basketball-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries

Newswise — A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital examined basketball-related injuries treated in emergency departments among children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 19 from 1997 to 2007. According to the study, more than 4 million basketball-related injuries were treated in emergency departments during the 11-year study. While the number of injuries decreased 22 percent over the course of the study, the average number of injuries per year (375,350) remained high.

Data from the study, being released online September 13 and appearing in the October 2010 issue of Pediatrics, revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which carry significant risk, increased 70 percent over the study period despite the overall downward trend in basketball injuries.

“We found a dramatic increase in the number of basketball-related TBIs over the 11-year study period,” said study co-author, Lara McKenzie PhD, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “In addition, the proportion of TBIs doubled for boys and tripled for girls during this time. Many athletes do not recognize the symptoms of concussions or do not report them to coaches and trainers. Educating athletes, coaches and parents to recognize and report on suspected concussions is vital to managing them effectively and helping to prevent future injuries.”

The study also showed that the most common injuries were sprains and strains to the lower extremities (30 percent), especially the ankle (24 percent), and fractures or dislocations to the upper extremities (15 percent), specifically to the finger (8 percent). Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years were more likely than younger athletes to have strains and sprains and cuts. Children aged 5 to 10 years were more likely to be diagnosed with a TBI than athletes aged 11 to 19 years. Boys were more likely to sustain cuts, fractures and dislocations, while TBIs and knee injuries were more common among girls.

“Basketball is a very popular sport and we want to encourage children to continue playing while also reducing the risk of injury,” said Dr. McKenzie, also a faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “There are some precautions such as having young children use age-appropriate basketballs, which may decrease the rates of concussions and finger-related injuries.”

This is the first national study of basketball-related injuries for school-aged children and adolescents treated in U.S. emergency departments. Data for this study were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NEISS dataset provides information on consumer product-related and sports and recreation-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments across the country.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research as its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy and advances in clinical care. For related injury prevention materials or to learn more about CIRP visit http://www.injurycenter.org.

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Pregnant Women Need Flu Vaccine

/PRNewswire/ -- There will be only one flu shot needed this year and pregnant women should make sure they're at the front of the line to get it.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended two flu shots, one to protect against the seasonal flu virus and a second to protect against the H1N1 virus, which became prevalent after the seasonal flu vaccines had been manufactured. This year, the seasonal vaccine was designed to protect against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus, and the 2009 H1N1 virus, so only one shot is needed.

The March of Dimes says pregnant women should make sure they get immunized to protect themselves and their babies. The normal changes from pregnancy put pregnant women at increased risk of the harmful effects of flu infection.

"Based on expert medical opinion, we urge all pregnant women, and women who expect to become pregnant, to get their influenza immunization because the flu poses a serious risk of illness and death during pregnancy," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "The flu vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective. As an added bonus, during pregnancy, mothers pass on their immunity, protecting babies until they are old enough to receive their own vaccinations."

The March of Dimes was one of 10 leading national health organizations to co-sign a letter urging health care providers recommend the flu vaccine to pregnant women and those who expect to become pregnant.

The 10 organizations - American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Medical Association (AMA), American Nurses Association (ANA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), March of Dimes, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered to issue the joint letter to send pregnant women and their providers a clear and consistent message about the importance of getting their flu vaccination. Pregnancy increases the risk of complications of flu, such as bacterial pneumonia and dehydration, which can be serious and even fatal. Pregnancy also can change a woman's immune system, as well as affect her heart and lungs. Pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized from complications of the flu than non-pregnant women of the same age. Getting vaccinated is the best way pregnant women can protect themselves and their babies from the flu.

Although pregnant women make up only one percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for five percent of the H1N1 deaths in 2009, according to research published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In addition to getting immunized against the flu, pregnant women also can protect themselves from the virus by following healthy practices such as washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, limiting exposure to children, avoiding people who are sick, touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. Also, those who live with pregnant women or young children, or are in close contact with them, should be immunized. Pregnant women who develop flu-like symptoms should quickly contact their health care provider so that they can begin treatment immediately.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walk Georgia online exercise program kicks off for fall

Registration ends today, September 14.

It’s time to pull out those walking shoes and get steppin’, Georgia. The annual eight-week program, Walk Georgia, began Sept. 5, and registration continues through Sept. 14.

Walk Georgia encourages Georgians to increase their physical activity and have fun with their community while doing so.

“The goals of the program are to get people more physically active, encourage them to make activity part of their daily schedule and show them it can be fun,” said Connie Crawley, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.

Georgians of any age are allowed to participate in the free service and may do so individually or with a team of up to four people.

Once registered, participants are able to record their activity online from Sept. 5- Oct. 30. Anyone who has access to a computer can join. Participants of any age can log on to www.walkgeorgia.org and track their activity.

“When people have a website to go to and log their activity and minutes, they do so more regularly,” Crawley said.

Activity recorded is translated into “walked” miles. Accumulating miles allows the individual or team to navigate across the state and chart their course to virtually “walk” Georgia. As the course continues, participants learn facts about the counties they visit along with new ways to improve their health.

“People really enjoy the interaction, and it can encourage them to be more physically fit,” Crawley said. “They also enjoy the rewards for the activity. When they record more activity, they learn new things about the places they visit.”

Walk Georgia also encourages friendly competition. Teams and individuals can compare themselves to others who are “walking” Georgia. This allows rankings for teams and top individuals in each county. People are eager to be on the top, Crawley said.

The program encourages physical activity of all kinds. Activity can range from hiking, yoga, swimming and gardening to Frisbee and bowling.

Walk Georgia has a weekly goal for individual participants and teams to walk 15 miles. This goal can be spread out through a number of activities, days and team members.

Before registering, Crawley says there are two important things to know: “The most important thing is to write down your username and password,” she said. “When you register and don’t log in for a couple weeks, it is easy to forget. Secondly, all activity counts, and there is a lot to choose from. Walking, bike riding and a swim can all be logged for one day.”

For more information and to register for Walk Georgia, visit www.walkgeorgia.org.



By Sarah Lewis


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Tips for treating a cough caught at school

(ARA) - Any parent knows a child's cough can render you feeling helpless at 3 a.m. and keep the entire family from being well-rested. Moreover, doling out the remedy can escalate into a wrestling match ending with you wondering about the dangers of giving more due to spillage. Fortunately, a little information can reduce the household stress from this common problem.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the common cold is the number one reason why children miss school. Children catch six to 10 colds a year and cough is a major symptom. In fact, it's estimated to be the symptom that most commonly prompts patients to see a doctor. "A cough is a symptom, not a disease," says Dr. Jim LaValle, a clinical pharmacist, author of "Green Immunity Boosters," and founder of LaValle Metabolic Institute. "Among the many mechanisms of defense and adaptation we have, coughing is one of the most misunderstood."

"In healthy people, it is a very useful reflex that keeps our air ducts clear from particles or excessive mucus so our breathing is protected," he says. "However, not only does it spread germs but it also interrupts sleep. This further weakens the immune system, making us more vulnerable to a secondary infection."

LaValle offers some advice for parents treating kids' coughs:

* Stay hydrated and settle down. To start, parents can encourage kids to drink water or other healthy liquids to thin mucous secretions, thereby soothing a cough, and discourage kids from over-exerting themselves when they have fever, aches or a cough that produces phlegm.

* Honey: Myth or truth? Grandma was right according to a study published in the December 2007 "Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine." A teaspoon of honey before bed seems to calm children's coughs and helps them sleep more soundly. Honey coats the throat to soothe irritation and is rich in infection-fighting antioxidants. It also spurs saliva production, which can help thin out mucus. Refrain from giving honey to children younger than 1 year of age.

* Opt for an expectorant, rather than a suppressant. Coughs associated with colds should be treated with an expectorant to clear out mucus. A productive cough is the body's way of clearing out mucus. An expectorant encourages the body to get rid of the phlegm quickly and get over the coughing. Suppressants on the other hand suppress the body's natural desire to heal.

* Read the labels. Manufacturers of decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants recently have voluntarily relabeled these medications, instructing parents not to use them in children younger than 4 years of age. The move followed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel questioning the safety and efficacy of these medications' use in children younger than 6 years of age.

"One of the safest and tastiest over-the-counter options I recommend for kids is a cough syrup that combines honey and homeopathic medicines, Children's Chestal," says LaValle. "It doesn't contain any of the ingredients in question by the FDA. Instead of working against the body as a suppressant, it works naturally with the body to make any type of cough more productive for a speedier recovery."

From the makers of Oscillococcinum, a flu medicine relied upon by families throughout the world for 65 years, Children's Chestal is safe for children 2 years of age and older and has no risk of overdosing. The sweet, kid-friendly honey base coats and soothes the throat while the blend of safe homeopathic medicines works on loosening chest congestion. It calms those dry, fitful coughs at bedtime so they don't prevent sleep, but without drowsy side effects for the day.

* Know when to see a doctor. Most coughs subside on their own within a week to 10 days. Coughs that linger longer or are associated with coughing up colored phlegm or blood, wheezing, temperatures higher than 101 degrees and drenching night sweats can be symptoms of a more serious illness like pneumonia or asthma.



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Monday, September 13, 2010

Public Handwashing Takes a Hike

Editor's Note:  Atlanta comes in second place for handwashing in public restrooms. Come on Atlanta and Georgia.  Step up to the plate and wash those hands! We can do better than 82%.

/PRNewswire/ -- Mom's advice about cleaning your hands may finally be starting to get through.

In the latest observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute® (formerly The Soap and Detergent Association), 85% of adults washed their hands in public restrooms, compared with 77% in 2007. The 85% total was actually the highest observed since these studies began in 1996. The results were announced at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, an infectious disease meeting sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.

In a separate telephone survey, 96% of adults say they always wash their hands in public restrooms, a percentage that has remained relatively constant over the years.

On behalf of ASM and ACI, Harris Interactive discreetly observed 6,028 adults in public restrooms in August 2010 to note whether or not people washed their hands. Researchers returned to six locations in four cities where two previous studies were conducted: Atlanta (Turner Field), Chicago (Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium), New York City (Grand Central Station, Penn Station), and San Francisco (Ferry Terminal Farmers Market).

Guys Washing Better - But Don't Take Them Out to the Ballgame

Men stepped up to the sink a bit more than they have in the past when it comes to public handwashing. More than three-quarters of the guys (77%) washed their hands publicly in 2010, compared to 66% in 2007.

The men still strike out more on handwashing in sporting venues, though. Turner Field by far fielded the worst percentage for the guys - barely two-thirds (65%) - though that's still better than just 57% in 2007. Perhaps as a counter to the men's poor handwashing practices, Turner Field brought out the best in women's handwashing among all venues: 98%.

Overall, the rate of women washing their hands in public restrooms improved from 88% in 2007 to 93% in 2010.

"We are really pleased to see these results, which suggest that our campaign is being effective," said ASM spokesperson Dr. Judy Daly, Director of Clinical Microbiology at Children's Primary Medical Center, Salt Lake City. "Although the venues were different, our first observational study in 1996 found only 68% overall washing up in public restrooms, and that declined to an all-time low of 67% when we repeated the study in 2000. We hope that as a result of an increased focus on handwashing in the media over these years, as well as increased public awareness of infectious disease risks, behavior really is changing."

"The message is that people are getting the message," said Nancy Bock, ACI Vice President of Consumer Education. "Between mom's common sense advice and the recent pandemic scare, people now seem to realize the importance of when and how you wash your hands."

First-Place Tie Between Windy City, City by the Bay

The best observed handwashing in 2010 was in Chicago and San Francisco, with 89% of adults lathering up in public restrooms. Atlanta was next (82%), followed by New York City (79%). The venue with the best overall handwashing regimen was Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (93%).

More of Us Are Getting Behind Handwashing After Changing Diapers

In a 2010 telephone survey of 1,006 American adults, Harris Interactive's survey for ASM and ACI found the vast majority of us say we always wash our hands after using the bathroom at home (89%).

More Americans now report that they always wash their hands after changing a diaper (82%), an increase from 2007 (73%). Women are better than men at this practice: 88% of the ladies say they always wash their hands after diaper duty, compared to 80% of the guys.

Food for Thought

Those of us who say we always clean our hands before handling or eating food is staying about the same: 77% in 2010, compared to 78% in 2007. Among women, 83% say they clean their hands before touching their food; just 71% of men say they do.

And only 39% of Americans say they always wash their hands after coughing or sneezing.

"Although we are happy about the latest results, there is still work to do," Daly said. "Only a minority indicate they wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Handwashing in this context is particularly important because we now know that many respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses are transmitted primarily by hand contact when contaminated hands touch the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth."

"Whether it's cold and flu season or baseball season, handwashing is a no-brainer," said ACI's Nancy Bock. "Washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or more is a simple way to stay healthy. And if you're out and about, hand sanitizers or hand wipes are good alternatives for keeping your hands clean."

Methodology

Harris Interactive observed the behavior of 6,028 adults who appeared to be age 18 and older in public restrooms located at major public attractions in the U.S. and recorded whether or not they washed their hands after using the facilities. The research was conducted in four cities and at six different locations:

Atlanta - Turner Field
Chicago - Museum of Science and Industry and Shedd Aquarium
New York City - Penn Station and Grand Central Station
San Francisco - Ferry Terminal Farmers Market


Observers discreetly watched and recorded whether or not adults using public restrooms washed their hands. Observers were instructed to groom themselves (comb their hair, put on make-up, etc.) while observing and to rotate bathrooms every hour or so to avoid counting repeat users more than once. Observers were also instructed to wash their hands no more than 10% of the time.

The data from the telephone survey are based on a nationally representative sample, stratified by census region and weighted by gender, education and ethnicity composure to represent the U.S. population. The 1,006 telephone interviews were conducted between August 4-8, 2010.

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Three Out of Four New Moms Initiate Breastfeeding

However only 43 percent of babies still being breastfed at 6 months of age

Seventy-five percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 - over 3 million - started life breastfeeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card. The 75 percent breastfeeding initiation rate meets the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal, and half of the states have breastfeeding initiation rates above 75 percent.

State by state breastfeeding initiation rates ranged from nearly 90 percent in Utah to 52.5 percent in Mississippi.

But while initiation rates have risen steadily, the number of babies who continue breastfeeding until six and 12 months remains stagnant for the third consecutive year. Only 43 percent (1.8 million) are still breastfeeding at six months and only 22 percent (fewer than 1 million) are breastfeeding at 12 months. National Healthy People 2010 objectives call for 50 percent of new mothers to continue breastfeeding for six months and 25 percent to continue for one year.

Breastfeeding at 6 months of age ranged from over 62 percent in Oregon to about 20 percent in Louisiana. Breastfeeding at 12 months ranged from nearly 40 percent in Oregon and Vermont to 8 percent in Mississippi.

"Meeting the national breastfeeding initiation goal is a great accomplishment in women's and children's health, but we have more work ahead," said William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. "We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces and communities to continue breastfeeding beyond the first few days of life, so they can make it to those six and 12 month marks."

"High initiation rates tell us that a lot of moms plan to breastfeed, but these rates do not indicate that a birth facility is doing what it needs to support them in their effort," said Carol MacGowan, Public Health Advisor for CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. "Evidence shows that hospital routines can help or hinder mothers and babies as they are learning to breastfeed. The care that mothers receive from hospitals should always be based on practices that are proven to help them continue breastfeeding after they go home."

Less than 4 percent of U.S. births occur at facilities designated as Baby-Friendly - a designation program implemented by Baby-Friendly USA on behalf of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The program outlines 10 steps that support the initiation of breastfeeding and identifies hospitals that meet internationally recognized health care quality standards for maternity and breastfeeding support. In 21 states and the District of Columbia there are none of these hospitals.

The Breastfeeding Report Card also provides data from a CDC survey that measures every U.S. hospital's maternity practices in infant nutrition and care. The survey finds that the average score is 65 out of a possible 100 points awarded for supportive maternity care. Scores range from 81 in New Hampshire to 50 in Mississippi.

Breastfeeding offers many benefits. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. And breast-fed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese children or adolescents compared to babies who are exclusively bottle-fed.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

CVS Caremark to Offer $5 Million in Free Flu Shots to Uninsured Patients of Community Clinics and Health Centers Beginning September 20

/PRNewswire/ -- CVS Caremark announced today that it will partner with Direct Relief USA to offer up to $5 million in free flu shots to community clinic and health center patients who lack health insurance. Direct Relief USA is a non-profit organization that works with 1,100 clinics and health centers in all 50 states, providing them with free medications and supplies for their low-income and uninsured patients. Most of the facilities in Direct Relief's network are affiliated with either the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) or the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC).

Flu vaccinations are now available at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide. Vouchers redeemable for a free flu shot at any CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic will be distributed by CVS Caremark and Direct Relief USA to participating clinics and health centers. These facilities will identify uninsured individuals from their existing patient populations in order to provide them with a free flu shot voucher.

"With every CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic location providing flu vaccinations this year, we want to make sure that as many people as possible have access to a flu shot, including patients for whom cost may be a barrier," said Larry Merlo, President and COO, CVS Caremark. "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone receive a flu shot this year. We are pleased to partner with Direct Relief USA to help accomplish that goal."

"Direct Relief USA is delighted to partner with CVS Caremark to help protect thousands of people who are in a tough financial situation with a free flu shot this season," said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief. "The network we've built in collaboration with community health centers and clinics nationwide enables CVS Caremark's generous contribution to reach people who need help in a very efficient way. CVS Caremark is demonstrating great leadership by addressing an annual public-health risk."

"We appreciate CVS Caremark's free flu shot donation to uninsured patients of community health centers. This is certainly an example of a partnership that provides support for safety net providers and the patients they serve," said Malvise Scott, Senior Vice President, Partnership and Resource Development, NACHC.

Beginning September 20, 2010, CVS free flu shot vouchers for the uninsured will be available at participating community clinic and health centers for their existing patients. Names and locations of participating clinics will be made available on September 20.

CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,000 locations and MinuteClinic has more than 500 locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores. Customers can make an appointment to receive a flu shot from a CVS pharmacist at the time, date and location of their choice by using the My Flu Shot Scheduler available at www.cvs.com/flu or by calling toll-free 1-888-FLU-SHOT (1-888-88-GRIPE for Spanish). MinuteClinic nurse practitioners are available to provide vaccinations 7 days a week during regular business hours with no appointment required.

MinuteClinic nurse practitioners can vaccinate patients who are 18 months or older except in Massachusetts, where the minimum age is 24 months. The minimum age for vaccinations by a pharmacist varies depending on the state. Check with your local CVS/pharmacy or visit www.cvs.com/flu to determine minimum vaccination age by state.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Experts Convene to Discuss State of Total Heart Health in Georgia September 11

/PRNewswire/ -- Today six national organizations committed to improving the health of patients with heart disease announced a public education and awareness event for the Georgia community focused on the entire spectrum of heart health care. This free public forum, titled "Complete Care for Your Heart," is part of a series of regional "Know What Counts" programs hosted by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) and designed to educate the public about the many facets of heart disease. Highlights of the program include inspiring testimonials from heart disease patients as well as informative and engaging presentations from medical experts.

SCAI developed "Complete Care for Your Heart" in partnership with the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Association of Black Cardiologists, Mended Hearts, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. The public forum will take place on September 11, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Marriot Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center in Atlanta.

"The number of people in Georgia diagnosed with heart disease continues to grow. Every day I see patients who will struggle with this disease for the rest of their lives," said J. Jeffrey Marshall, M.D., FSCAI, SCAI vice president, director of Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Northeast Georgia Heart Center and Know What Counts program director. "It has never been more important to educate the public about the whole spectrum of heart health care, including prevention, detection and treatment. This event can help patients and the general public to understand how to proactively manage their heart health through medication adherence and lifestyle changes and live a full life with heart disease."

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. In 2007, more than 20,000 people in Georgia died from heart disease, accounting for approximately one-third of deaths in the state. According to data collected from 2000 to 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia ranks higher in heart disease and stroke deaths than the national average. In Georgia, 474 per 100,000 people died from heart disease and 119 per 100,000 died from stroke, compared to the national average of 428 and 98, respectively. In 2006, it was estimated that more than 80 million people in the U.S. had one or more forms of heart disease. Yet many people remain unaware of the risks for developing heart disease, or the array of treatment options available. During the Know What Counts program, medical experts will discuss the importance of adhering to a prescribed drug regimen for the treatment of heart disease or after heart attack, appropriate lifestyle choices to prevent or overcome heart disease, the need for cardiac rehabilitation and the latest therapies to optimize patient outcomes. Accompanying patient testimonials will focus on living with heart disease including medication adherence and lifestyle changes to ensure a full life after treatment.

Raising awareness of the importance of adhering to prescribed medication and lifestyle changes is a critical part of Know What Counts, as research has consistently shown low patient adherence rates to physician-prescribed medication or lifestyle changes for the treatment of heart disease or after heart attack, including a 2006 study in the American Heart Journal that showed heart attack patients' adherence rates to prescribed medication after heart attack was only 45 percent after one year.

"Complete Care for Your Heart" will feature engaging sessions from a variety of medical experts and patients including:

-- Theodore Bass, M.D., FSCAI, SCAI Secretary; Chief of Cardiology,
Medical Director of Cardiovascular Center, Program Director of
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Florida
College of Medicine, Jacksonville
-- Barbara Fletcher, RN, MN, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN, Board of Director,
Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association; Clinical Associate
Professor, School of Nursing, College of Health, University of North
Florida, Jacksonville
-- Bonnie Sanderson, PhD, RN, FAACVPR, American Association of
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation President-Elect; Associate
Professor, School of Nursing, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.
-- Ann Bendall, heart disease patient, WomenHeart Champion
-- Steve Stanko, heart disease patient, Mended Hearts



"Each of us plays an integral role in the prevention of heart disease and in spreading the message about the importance of caring for your heart," continued Dr. Marshall. "In forums like Know What Counts, real progress can be made to educate the public and raise awareness about heart disease and adherence to treatment regimens, while also informing physicians and policymakers of their important role in the prevention and treatment of this disease."

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Decline in U.S. Adult Smoking Rate Stalled

Half of children still exposed to secondhand smoke

Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, 1 in 5 American adults continues to smoke cigarettes, and 4 in 10 nonsmokers were exposed to cigarette smoke during 2007-2008, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among children between the ages of 3 and 11 years old, 54 percent were exposed to secondhand smoke. Nearly all (98 percent) children who live with a smoker are exposed and have measurable levels of toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke.

According to the report, the number of adult smokers dropped between 2000 and 2005, but smoking has remained at about 20-21 percent since 2005. In 2009, more men (nearly 24 percent) than women (about 18 percent) smoked and about 31 percent of those living below poverty level smoked. Less than 6 percent of adults with a graduate degree smoke compared to more than 25 percent of adults with no high school diploma. Further, nearly 90 million non-smoking Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke and have measurable levels of toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke. Black non-smokers are one-third more likely than white smokers, and twice as likely as Mexican-American smokers, to have measurable exposure to tobacco.

"Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in this country," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "But progress is possible. Strong state laws that protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, higher cigarette prices, aggressive ad campaigns that show the human impact of smoking and well-funded tobacco control programs decrease the number of adult smokers and save lives."

In 2009, smoking among adults was lowest in Utah, followed by California. California has had a long-running comprehensive tobacco control program. Adult smoking in California declined by about 40 percent during 1998-2006, and as a result lung cancer in California has been declining four times faster than in the rest of the nation. Maine, New York, and Washington have seen 45-60 percent reductions in youth smoking with sustained statewide efforts. If each state supported comprehensive tobacco control programs for 5 years with CDC recommended levels of funding, an estimated 5 million fewer persons in the country would smoke, resulting in prevention of premature tobacco-related deaths.

The federal government is intensifying its efforts to reduce tobacco use in order to achieve the tobacco use targets in Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products and has provided new opportunities to reduce tobacco use.

In addition, the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program provides guidance and funding for states and communities to change policies to prevent tobacco use and protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. The latter is especially important given that more than half of young children are exposed to secondhand smoke. Children whose parents smoke are twice as likely to smoke themselves, but children who grow up in communities with comprehensive smoke-free laws are much less likely to become smokers.

Smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach, pancreas, kidney, colon, cervix, bladder and leukemia, as well as heart attacks, stroke, blindness, pneumonia, emphysema and other lung diseases, and many other health problems. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes sudden infant death syndrome and low birth weight, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, exacerbated asthma, respiratory symptoms, and decreased lung function in children. It also causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.

For more information on tobacco control, visit www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns or www.cdc.gov/tobacco. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.smokefree.gov for quitting assistance. For state-specific tobacco data, visit CDC's State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/statesystem. Follow us on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/CDCTobaccoFree.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Ways Parents Can Prevent Childhood Obesity

(StatePoint) With nearly one-third of children overweight or obese, childhood obesity has become an epidemic. Fortunately, it's also treatable and preventable.

"Parents want their children to be healthy, but given the mixed messages about food and weight in our culture, they're unsure how to address the problem. However, there is a great deal families can do to support each other in eating well and staying fit," says Dr. Sandra Hassink, chair of the Obesity Leadership Work Group at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Be a Role Model

Children do as they see, not as you say. It's important to evaluate your own healthy living before trying to instill the right habits in your kids. Assess your own diet by looking at what's in the fridge and what snacks you keep on hand. While serving size and calorie count may vary, both children and adults should be eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Also, take the time to exercise. Doing so will give your kids a roadmap for adulthood as they begin to see exercise as a fun part of daily family life. If a child is already overweight, involve the whole family in a fitness routine rather than singling out one child. After all, everyone needs an hour of physical activity a day, regardless of size or weight.

Tune Out

How much screen time do you and your children get? Sedentary lifestyles, driven by increasing amounts of time in front of TV sets or computers, are a major contributor to obesity.

"Children should get no more than one to two hours of screen time a day, not counting what they need to complete schoolwork," says Dr. Hassink.

Don't place a television in your child's room. If television serves as background noise in your home, instead try turning on the radio when you come home. Music may lead to dancing, and talk radio fills the quiet as you and the kids do chores.

Think Big Picture

You are not alone in trying to curb the obesity epidemic, and using the professionals and resources at your disposal can help. Talk to your pediatrician about your child's nutrition and activity level.  Pediatricians can also measure the Body Mass Index of your child to help you gain a better understanding of your child's health. 

Parents can also work with schools and community groups to provide healthy options. Encourage teachers to schedule time for daily physical activity. With the support of other parents, ask school officials to remove soda machines and unhealthy snacks. Also make sure all water fountains are working and sanitary.

For more ideas on how to prevent childhood obesity and keep your family fit, visit HealthyChildren.org.

"Being healthy is about consistently making decisions that are in your family's best interest," says Dr. Hassink. "Be positive and proactive, and don't get discouraged if you or your child has a setback. Keep your eye on the end goal of creating a healthier lifestyle for your family."

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

'You Kick Like A Girl': New Study Finds Men and Women Use Different Leg and Hip Muscles During Soccer Kick

/PRNewswire/ -- Significant differences in knee alignment and muscle activation exist between men and women while kicking a soccer ball, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Data reveals that males activate certain hip and leg muscles more than females during the motion of the instep and side-foot kicks - the most common soccer kicks - which may help explain why female players are more than twice as likely as males to sustain an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury.

Soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States with approximately 20 million registered players* and an annual participation increase of more than 20 percent(1), according to statistics from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)(2). Women also are playing this sport on more competitive levels. Prior research shows that females are more prone to non-contact ACL injuries than males and though many theories exist, a direct cause for the disparity is unknown.

"By analyzing the detailed motion of a soccer kick in progress, our goal was to home in on some of the differences between the sexes and how they may relate to injury risk," said orthopaedic surgeon Robert H. Brophy, MD, study author and assistant professor of orthopedics, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "This study offers more information to help us better understand the differences between male and female athletes, particularly soccer players."

Dr. Brophy and his colleagues from the Motion Analysis Laboratory and Sports Medicine Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York used 3-D video-based motion analysis and electromyography to examine the differences between 13 male and 12 female college soccer players during the action of kicking a soccer ball.

Using eight to 10 video cameras, 21 retroreflective markers and 16 electrodes simultaneously, researchers measured the activation of seven muscles (iliacus, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, hamstrings and gastrocnemius) in both the kicking and supporting legs; as well as two additional muscles (hip adductors and tibialis anterior) in the kicking leg only. Five instep and five side-foot kicks were recorded for each player. Muscle activation was recorded as a percentage of maximum voluntary isometric contraction.

They found that male players activate the hip flexors (inside of the hip) in their kicking leg and the hip abductors (outside of the hip) in their supporting leg more than females.

-- In the kicking leg, men generated almost four times as much hip flexor
activation as females (123 percent in males compared to 34 percent in
females).
-- In the supporting leg, males generated more than twice as much gluteus
medius activation (124 percent in males compared with 55 percent in
females) and vastus medialis activation (139 percent in males compared
with 69 percent in females).



"Activation of the hip abductors may help protect players against ACL injury," said Dr. Brophy, a former collegiate and professional soccer player and past head team physician for the former St. Louis Athletica professional women's soccer club. "Since females have less activation of the hip abductors, their hips tend to collapse into adduction during the kick, which can increase the load on the knee joint in the supporting leg, and potentially put it at greater risk for injury."

Brophy said that although the study does not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between muscle activation and knee alignment and ACL injuries, the data "moves us toward better understanding of what may contribute to differences in injury risk between the sexes and what steps we might take to offset this increased risk in females."

The current research in the area of ACL injury prevention has shown some promise. For example, in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study that found a new training program called the Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance (PEP) program, was effective in reducing ACL injuries in female soccer players. Developed by the Santa Monica Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Research Foundation and supported by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) among other medical and athletic associations, PEP is an alternative warm-up regimen that focuses on stretching, strengthening and improving balance and movements and can be conducted during regular practice time and without special equipment.

"Programs focusing on strengthening and recruiting muscles around the hip may be an important part of programs designed to reduce a female athletes' risk of ACL injury," said Dr. Brophy. "Coaches and trainers at all levels, from grade school through professional, should consider using strategies that demonstrate potential to prevent these injuries."

He said that additional research is warranted to investigate how the differences in hip muscle activation and alignment between the sexes may relate to differences in the risk of lower extremity injury among athletes in soccer and other sports.

Disclosure: Dr. Brophy and his co-authors received no compensation for this study.

* Giza E, Mithofer K, Farrell L, Zarins B, Gill T. Injuries in women's professional soccer. Br J Sports Med. 2005;39:212-6.

(1) Injuries in youth soccer: a subject review. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Pediatrics. 2000;105(3 Pt 1):659-61.

(2) National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 1982-2003 NCAA sports sponsorship and participation rates report. Indianapolis, IN: National Collegiate Athletic Association; 2004.

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AAP Updates Guidelines On Sport-Related Concussion

Athletes often joke about "getting your bell rung" after taking a hit on the playing field, but adolescent concussions can cause serious long-term injury or death, and should always be taken seriously. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is publishing a new clinical report, "Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents," in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 30). Young athletes are more susceptible to the effects of a concussion because their brains are still developing, and appropriate management is essential for reducing the risk of long-term complications.

Although preventing all concussions is unlikely, there are several ways to reduce the risk, including protective gear (such as helmets and mouth guards), adhering to the rules of the sport, identifying athletes at risk, and educating parents, teachers, athletes, school administrators and trainers about the dangers of concussions. Football has the highest incidence of concussion, but girls have higher concussion rates than boys in similar sports. Better understanding of the symptoms and risk of long-term complications have prompted the following recommendations from the AAP:

- Children or adolescents who sustain a concussion should always be evaluated by a physician and receive medical clearance before returning to play.

- After a concussion, all athletes should be restricted from physical activity until they are asymptomatic at rest and with exertion. Physical and cognitive exertion, such as homework, playing video games, using a computer or watching TV may worsen symptoms.

- Symptoms of a concussion usually resolve in 7 to 10 days, but some athletes may take weeks or months to fully recover.

- Neuropsychological testing can provide objective data to athletes and their families, but testing is just one step in the complete management of a sport-related concussion.

- There is no evidence proving the safety or efficacy of any medication in the treatment of a concussion.

- Retirement from contact sports should be considered for an athlete who has sustained multiple concussions, or who has suffered post-concussive symptoms for more than three months.




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