HEALTH

Study reveals babies born to smokers have increased risk of SIDS

BY Michael Johnsen

VICTORIA, Australia Monash University researchers have found that babies born to a mother who smokes are more likely to be slower to wake or respond to stimulation – and this may explain their increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, researchers reported last week.

Scientific director of the Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research Rosemary Horne and researcher Heidi Richardson compared babies of mothers who smoked both during the pregnancy and after the baby was born, with babies who lived in a smoke-free environment.

Horne said the study suggested that maternal smoking can impair a baby’s ability to respond to external stimuli, which may explain their increased risk of SIDS.

“Those babies whose mothers smoked did not have as many arousals overall and the progression of the arousal response through the brain was also impaired,” Horne said. “Mothers who smoked while pregnant and continued to smoke afterward significantly increased their baby’s chances of succumbing to SIDS.”

The study involved 12 healthy, full-term infants born to mothers who smoked an average of 15 cigarettes per day. Their arousal responses during daytime sleep were monitored and compared with that of healthy infants who were born to non-smoking mothers.

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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services releases PSAs to encourage healthy lifestyles

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Surgeon General on Monday released two public service announcements, in English, “Take the Lead” and in Spanish, “Mi Cocina,” on childhood overweight and obesity prevention.

“Early intervention against overweight and obesity is crucial,” stated acting Surgeon General Steven Galson. “This is because children learn lifelong eating and activity habits at a young age.”

Both PSAs encourage families to be physically active and eat healthy foods. The new PSAs encourage adults to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to improve their personal health and set an example for children to follow. More than 12.5 million children and adolescents — 17.1% of people ages 2 to 19 years — are overweight. As they grow older, overweight children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes.

“To ensure a healthy future for America’s children we must help kids get the recommended 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity,” Galson said. “Using family time to help children develop good habits will benefit them now and throughout their lives.”

The National Public Health Information Coalition, an independent organization dedicated to improving America’s health through public health communications, will help distribute the PSAs to health departments nationwide and promote posting the announcements to the departments’ Web sites.

The PSAs will be featured beginning Monday on Washington, D.C.’s WUSA 9 as part of its Lighten Up Campaign, a partnership between Children’s National Medical Center, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. and WUSA 9, that brings attention to childhood obesity. In addition, the PSAs will be highlighted by Weight Watchers on www.weightwatchers.com.

In the “Take the Lead” PSA, children emulate the adults as they exercise, make healthy food choices, and practice good hygiene. The PSA closes with a message from Galson urging everyone to take a part in leading our youth to a healthy future. He also directs the audience to the Office of the Surgeon General’s web site to receive a parent or caregiver checklist. The Spanish PSA “Mi Cocina,” takes a family approach that encourages helpful tips on healthy eating. Both PSAs reinforce the importance of adults taking the lead in setting healthy examples.

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Natrol introduces probiotic

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATSWORTH, Calif. Natrol last week announced the launch of Natrol Probiotic Intestinal-Maximum Care, a probiotic that helps protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and supports gut immune defense mechanisms.

“Spring travel and holidays can be stressful on the mind and body and Natrol Probiotic Intestinal-Maximum Care allows consumers to enjoy holiday meals without worry of digestive upset, and it helps immune support, which is needed during times of stress,” stated Michael Yatcilla, Natrol VP research and development. “With clinically validated probiotic strains, Natrol Probiotic Intestinal-Maximum Care is a great solution for consumers, particularly seniors, menopausal women and people with digestive sensitivities.”

The supplement supports healthy immunity, digestion, food absorption and elimination, the company stated.

The new probiotic contains IntestiBiotic, a proprietary blend of four probiotic strains to help reduce oxidative stress and promote cellular health within the digestive tract. Suggested retail for a 10-capsule package is $16.99.

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