Health & Wellness


Study Finds Many Children Have Vitamin D Deficiency

A study at a Queens hospital has found that children are not getting sufficient vitamin D in their diets. NY1's Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report on what parents can do to change that.

Taking vitamin D supplements has become an essential part of seventh-grader Dominique Sermon's diet. With close to zero levels in her system about a year ago, now she's taking a dose of 50,000 international units a month. That's equal to four to five times the recommended daily amount so she can get her levels back up.

"The healthier my body is, meaning getting my vitamin D in, the healthier my body is, the easier it may be to lose weight or to help myself," she says.

In a national study conducted by doctors at New York Hospital Queens, they found that 14 percent of children in general are vitamin D deficient. For the black population, the deficiency is even greater, with 50 percent of teens affected.


Paralysis more common than thought

Spinal cord damage and paralysis are substantially more common in the United States than researchers had previously believed, according to a new study by the University of New Mexico's Center for Development and Disability.

In a study released Tuesday by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Anthony Cahill and his colleagues reported that about 5,596,000 Americans are living with some form of paralysis, defined as a central nervous system disorder resulting in difficulty or inability to move the upper and lower limbs. That is about 40% more than the previous estimate of 4 million.


Breast-Feeding Benefits Mothers, Study Finds

Most doctors agree that breast-feeding is best for babies' health. Now a large study suggests that the practice benefits mothers as well: women who have breast-fed, it says, are at lower risk than mothers who have not for developing high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease decades later, when they are in menopause.

The benefits increase with duration of past breast-feeding, the study found. Women who had breast-fed for more than a year in their entire lifetimes were almost 10 percent less likely than those who had never breast-fed to have had a heart attack or a stroke in their postmenopausal years. They were also less likely to have diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

The study found that even those postmenopausal women who had breast-fed for just one month had lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, although the risk of heart disease after such limited breast-feeding was comparable to that among mothers who had never breast-fed.


Study: Video-game-playing kids showing addiction symptoms

Nearly one in 10 children and teens who play video games show behavioral signs that may indicate addiction, a new study reports.

The study found 8.5% of those who played had at least six of 11 addictive symptoms, including skipping chores and homework for video games, poor test or homework performance and playing games to escape problems. The research, which is published in the May issue of the journal Psychological Science, is based on a 2007 Harris poll of 1,179 U.S. youngsters, the first nationally representative poll on the subject.

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Having Psoriasis Raises Risk of Diabetes, Hypertension

Researchers suspect chronic inflammation is common thread among all 3 conditions

A new study lends more credence to a long-suspected connection between psoriasis, diabetes and hypertension.

Researchers reporting in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology suspect the link may have to do with the chronic inflammation that is associated with all three conditions.


The Hipster Grifter: a female psychopath on the loose

It's likely that when Kari Ferrell walked into the Vice magazine offices in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, last month to interview for an administrative assistant job, they thought they'd hit the jackpot. Ms. Ferrell - petite, 22 years old, of Korean heritage - had a huge tattoo of a phoenix across her chest and a cute pixie haircut. She was talkative, funny, charming, adorable. She had a tattoo on her back that read "I Love Beards." She told them she'd been working for the New York office of the concert promotion company GoldenVoice, which puts on huge rock festivals like Coachella near Palm Springs, Calif., and that she'd moved to New York from Utah just a few months earlier. They hired her on the spot.

A few days later, one of Ms. Ferrell's new colleagues came by her desk. "I said, 'Excuse me, miss, is [her boss] downstairs?'" the 29-year-old told The Observer. "She thought that was very polite that I said, 'Excuse me, miss,' and after that she started talking to me, instant-messaging me. She asked if I was from the South. I told her no. It escalated from there."


Controlling Our Brain's Perception Of Emotional Events

Research performed by Nicole Lauzon and Dr. Steven Laviolette of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario has found key processes in the brain that control the emotional significance of our experiences and how we form memories of them. A lack of proper brain function in this area is what lies beneath such conditions as Schizophrenia and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In people who suffer from these conditions emotional experiences can become distorted, causing the person to 'lose touch' with reality. The findings have been published online by The Journal of Neuroscience.

Lauzon, a Doctoral graduate student in the Laviolette laboratory, discovered that specific receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine can control how the brain processes emotionally significant information as well as memories for those experiences. Using a rodent model of emotional learning and memory formation, the researchers found by increasing the activity of a specific dopamine receptor in a region of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex, it was able to transform a normally insignificant emotional experience into a very strong emotional memory. In contrast, when a different subtype of the dopamine system was activated, it was able to block the ability to recall an emotionally charged experience.


Why Hospitals Are Dangerous to Your Health

More than one-third of patients receiving injected medication in the intensive care unit of a hospital may experience an error, according to a study conducted by researchers from Rudolfstiftung Hospital in Austria and published in the British Medical Journal.

"It is a really serious problem," lead researcher Andreas Valentin said. "The administration of injected medication is a weak point in patient safety."

The researchers examined 1,300 patients receiving injected medication in one of 113 intensive care units in 27 countries over the course of one 24-hour period. They found that 441 patients, or 34 percent, experienced at least one error in the administration of their medication. Nearly half of these experienced more than one error in the study period. Seven patients suffered severe harm from the errors, and in five cases the errors contributed to a patient's death.

The most common errors involved medication being given at incorrect times, or a scheduled dose not being given at all. Other errors included incorrect dosages or administration of the wrong drug altogether. A full 69 percent of the errors occurred during routine, rather than emergency, care.


Use Herbal Remedies for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become increasingly prevalent among children. A recent report by the CDC based on phone interviews with parents shows that about 4.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD at one time. Out of these children, about 2.5 million of them were on medication. Pharmacological treatment of ADHD can have troubling side effects which is why more and more parents are turning towards herbal treatments instead of medication for their children.

ADHD is typically treated with the medications methylphenidate or amphetamine, which are stimulant drugs. While they have been proven to be effective they also have a high risk for abuse and have many side effects such as weight changes, appetite changes, insomnia, and nervous tics. The numbers of children on these drugs is alarming - the production of methylphenidate and amphetamine has increased by 500% and 2000%, respectively, since 1991. More than 50% of prescriptions for these drugs are from pediatricians.

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Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets

Due to a recent sharp increase in the number of incidents being reported from the use of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for pets, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is intensifying its evaluation of whether further restrictions on the use of these products are necessary to better protect pets.

Incidents with flea and tick products can involve the use of spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of the potential incidents reported to EPA are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products. Spot-on products are generally sold in tubes or vials and are applied to one or more localized areas on the body of the pet, such as in between the shoulders or in a stripe along the back.