Docs tell parents to limit kids’ texts, tweets and computer use

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Doctors 2 parents: Limit kids’ tweeting, texting & keep smartphones, laptops out of bedrooms.

The recommendations are bound to prompt eye-rolling and LOLs from many teens but an influential pediatricians group says parents need to know that unrestricted media use can have serious consequences.

It’s been linked with violence, cyberbullying, school woes, obesity, lack of sleep and a host of other problems. It’s not a major cause of these troubles, but “many parents are clueless” about the profound impact media exposure can have on their children, said Dr. Victor Strasburger, lead author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics policy

“This is the 21st century and they need to get with it,” said Strasburger, a University of New Mexico adolescent medicine specialist.

The policy is aimed at all kids, including those who use smart phones, computers and other Internet-connected devices. It expands the academy’s longstanding recommendations on banning televisions from children’s and teens’ bedrooms and limiting entertainment screen time to no more than two hours daily.

Under the new policy, those two hours include using the Internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, TV and movies; online homework is an exception.

The policy statement cites a 2010 report that found U.S. children aged 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours daily using some kind of entertainment media. Many kids now watch TV online and many send text messages from their bedrooms after “lights out,” including sexually explicit images by cellphone or Internet, yet few parents set rules about media use, the policy says.

“I guarantee you that if you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography,” Strasburger said.

The policy notes that three-quarters of kids aged 12 to 17 own cellphones; nearly all teens send text messages, and many younger kids have phones giving them online access.

“Young people now spend more time with media than they do in school – it is the leading activity for children and teenagers other than sleeping” the policy says.

Mark Risinger, 16, of Glenview, Ill., is allowed to use his smartphone and laptop in his room, and says he spends about four hours daily on the Internet doing homework, using Facebook and YouTube and watching movies.

He said a two-hour Internet time limit “would be catastrophic” and that kids won’t follow the advice, “they’ll just find a way to get around it.”

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Exercise During Pregnancy Could Improve Offspring health

ImageOne of the key maxims of pregnancy is that a woman is now “eating for two.” According to a new study, the sentiment should be expanded to include exercising for two, as scientists have found that a woman who exercises during pregnancy may benefit her offspring’s vascular health through adulthood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults between 18 and 64 receive 150 minutes of cumulative moderate-intensity exercise each week. With that knowledge, researchers from California State University San Marcos and Universitätsmedizin Greifswald in Germany performed the first-ever analysis of maternal exercise and offspring health. Their results may help newly pregnant mothers make more informed decisions during gestation.

Published in the journal Experimental Physiology, the study involved pigs instead of traditional rodents. Swine respond better to exercise regimens than rats or mice, and provide a better comparison to humans when it comes to physical activity responses, without the ethical burdens of long-term studies that use humans themselves. Researchers had the animals run on a treadmill for 20-45 minutes five times a week, “which is consistent with American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommendations,” according to researchers Dr. Sean Newcomber and Dr. Martin Bahls.

“We assessed vascular function in offspring femoral arteries using in vitro techniques,” they added in a statement, ultimately finding the greatest impact on the vascular smooth muscle — a type of smooth muscle running along the inside of the blood vessel wall.

The study is the first of its kind to examine offspring outcome into adulthood; prior studies have ceased observation in adolescence. The present study has also overturned a once-believed notion that fetal programming could intervene with the single-cell layer lining the blood vessels, called the endothelium, and disrupt physical activity’s impact on the vascular smooth muscle.

Admittedly, exercise during pregnancy is still something of a hot-button issue for doctors, as a general consensus has yet to be reached whether the increased physical stress does more harm than good for a developing fetus. The expert Advisory Board for the Baby Center lists weight training as a “great pregnancy exercise,” encouraging women to lift weights with moderate intensity in the first trimester, then scale back the workouts as the pregnancy progresses.

“We are only starting to understand how exercise during gestation influences offspring adult health and disease,” the researchers explained. “Results like ours may help to create guidelines enabling women to make the best decisions for them and their children by providing evidence based health choices.”

Further research, the team argued, was needed primarily as a screening tool for cardiovascular diseases among newborns as they age through life. The transference of vascular health from mother to offspring suggests a link that could in fact work in the opposite direction — particularly in reference to the well-known dangers of inhaling tobacco smoke during pregnancy.

“Physical activity may act through multiple pathways which depend on type, duration, intensity and frequency of the exercise regimen,” the team said. “Furthermore, it is essential that future research investigates the coronary circulation and also establishes what impact these reported changes in vascular function in the offspring have on cardiovascular disease susceptibility.”

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Stroke Affecting Younger People Worldwide


Strokes are increasingly hitting younger people and the incidence of the crippling condition worldwide could double by 2030, warns the first global analysis of the problem.

Though the chances of a stroke jump dramatically with age, the growing number of younger people with worrying risk factors such as bulging waistlines, diabetes and high blood pressure means they are becoming increasingly susceptible.

Worldwide, stroke is the second-leading cause of death after heart disease and is also a big contributor to disability.

Most strokes occur when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain. Patients often experience symptoms including a droopy face, the inability to lift their arms and garbled speech. If not treated quickly, patients can be left with long-term side effects, including speech and memory problems, paralysis and the loss of some vision.

Scientists combed through more than 100 studies from 1990 to 2010 studying stroke patients across the world and also used modeling techniques when there wasn’t enough data. They found the incidence of stroke has jumped by a quarter in people aged 20 to 64 and that those patients make up almost one-third of the total number of strokes.

Researchers said most strokes still occur in the elderly and that the numbers of people suffering strokes are still increasing as the world’s population ages.

“Some of the increase we will see in strokes is unavoidable because it has to do with people aging, but that doesn’t mean we should give up,” said Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, one of the study’s authors. Ezzati said countries should focus on reducing smoking rates further, aggressively controlling blood pressure and improving eating habits.

Ezzati said developing countries such as Iran and South Africa that have set up national systems to monitor maternal and child health are a good model for similar initiatives that could help keep stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure, in check.

Ezzati and colleagues found the death rate from strokes dropped 37 percent in developed countries and 20 percent in developing countries, largely because of better diagnosis and treatment.

Stroke prevalence was highest in East Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. It was lowest in Africa and the Middle East —though researchers said people in those regions may be dying of other ailments before they get old enough to have a stroke.

In the U.S., doctors have already noted an alarming increase in strokes among young and middle-aged Americans, while the number has been dropping in older people.

The research was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and published online Thursday in the journal Lancet.

“Young people think stroke is only a problem of the elderly, but we need to educate them,” said Dr. Yannick Bejot of the University Hospital of Dijon in France, who co-wrote an accompanying commentary. He added that using illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine also boosts the chance of a stroke.

“If young people understood how debilitating a stroke is, maybe they would change their behavior,” he said.

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A baby born with HIV remains free after taking Pills


A 3-year-old girl born in Mississippi with HIV acquired from her mother during pregnancy remains free of detectable virus at least 18 months after she stopped taking antiviral pills.

New results on this child, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, appear to green-light a study in the advanced planning stages in which researchers around the world will try to replicate her successful treatment in other infected newborns.

And it means that the Mississippi girl still can be considered possibly or even probably cured of HIV infection — only the second person in the world with that lucky distinction. The first is Timothy Ray Brown, a 47-year-old American man apparently cured by a bone marrow transplant he received in Berlin a half-dozen years ago.

This new report addresses many of the questions raised earlier this year when disclosure of the Mississippi child’s case was called apossible game-changer in the long search for an HIV cure.

“There was some very healthy skepticism,” Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, tells Shots. She’s part of the team that has been exhaustively testing the toddler’s blood and considering every possible explanation for her apparently HIV-free state.

Luzuriaga is confident the latest tests prove that the child was truly infected with HIV at the time of her birth — not merely carrying remnants of free-floating virus or infected blood cells transferred before birth from her mother, as some skeptics wondered.

The UMass researcher says there’s no way the child’s mother could have contributed enough of her own blood plasma to the newborn to account for the high levels of HIV detected in the child’s blood shortly after birth.

Similarly, Luzuriaga says, new calculations show that the mother “would have had to transfer a huge number of [HIV-infected] white blood cells to the baby in order for us to get the [viral] signal that we got early on.”

Clinching the question as far as the researchers are concerned is the infant’s response to anti-HIV drugs that she began receiving shortly after birth. The remarkable earliness of her treatment is a crucial feature that makes this child different from almost any other.

“There’s a very characteristic clearance curve of viruses once we start babies on treatment,” Luzuriaga says. “The decay of viruses we see in this baby is exactly what we saw in early treatment trials from 20 years ago when we initiated anti-retroviral therapy and shut off viral replication. That’s a very different decay curve than you would expect if it were just free virus transferred to the baby.”

It might be helpful to recap the unusual, if not unique, features of the Mississippi case.

Her mother did not receive prenatal care, so she was not identified as HIV-infected before delivery. If she had been, she would have received drugs that are highly effective in preventing mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

While the mother was in labor, she got HIV testing, as is routine for women without prenatal care. When that came up positive, Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatrician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, was ready to test the newborn for infection and start anti-retroviral medicines within 30 hours of birth.

The treatment quickly cleared the virus from the baby’s blood. Normally such children would stay on antiviral drugs for a lifetime. But in this case the mother – whose life circumstances were reportedly chaotic – stopped giving the child the medication between 15 and 18 months after birth.

Gay and her colleagues caught up to the child when she was 23 months old and were astonished to discover she was apparently still virus-free despite being off treatment. Five rounds of state-of-the-art testing — at UMass, Johns Hopkins, federal research labs and the University of California San Diego — failed to reveal any trace of the virus in her blood.

That led to last spring’s report and widely reported hope that the child had been cured of HIV.

But Dr. Scott Hammer, an HIV researcher at Columbia University in New York, is not quite convinced. “Is the child cured of HIV infection? The best answer at this moment is a definitive ‘maybe,’ ” Hammer writes in a New England Journal editorial that accompanied the report.

The reason is that a couple of tests done when the child was about 2 years old found indications that her system may contain pieces of RNA or DNA from HIV. This hints that some of the nucleic acid building blocks of the virus are hanging around within her blood cells.

There’s no evidence these “proviral” remnants are capable of assembling themselves into whole viruses that can make copies of themselves. But researchers are concerned about that possibility and how it might be headed off.

“The question is whether those viral nucleic acids have the ability at some point to replicate and allow a rebound of the virus,” Luzuriaga acknowledges. “That’s why it’s important to continue to test the baby over time.” She says that means years.

But for now, the signs from the Mississippi child’s case are encouraging enough to have generated an ambitious global human experiment that Luzuriaga says is in final planning stages.

Women who present in labor without having had prenatal care will be tested for HIV and, if positive, their infants will be intensively treated within a couple of days of birth, as the Mississippi child was. Then they’ll be followed with the most sensitive tests to determine if the virus has been eradicated.

If certain criteria are met, researchers plan to decide whether it would be safe to discontinue HIV treatment deliberately and follow the children closely to see if the virus returns. (If it did, treatment would be restarted.)

If the experiment succeeds, it would be a huge advance in the prevention of childhood HIV and AIDS in many parts of the world. More than 9 out of 10 the world’s 3.4 million HIV-infected childrenlive in sub-Saharan Africa, where many women deliver without having had prenatal care or HIV treatment. Around 900 children are newly infected every day.

Meanwhile, researchers pursuing an HIV cure will convene next month in San Francisco to consider various strategies — for adults as well as children. One other recent glimmer of hope was provided this summer by Boston researchers who reported that two HIV-infected men with lymphoma remain virus-free without treatment for several months after stopping antiviral treatment.

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Air pollution ‘still harming Europeans’ health’

Air pollution is continuing to damage European citizens’ health and the environment

The European Environment Agency (EEA) listed tiny airborne particles and ozone as posing a “significant threat”.

However, the authors said nations had significantly cut emissions of a number of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide, lead and carbon monoxide.

In a separate study, research identified a link between low birth-weight and exposure to air pollution.

EEA executive director Hans Bruyninckx said that EU nations had made considerable  Air pollution still harming Europeans healthprogress over recent decades to reduce the visible signs of air pollution, with cities now no longer shrouded in blankets of smog.

However, he added: “Air pollution is causing damage to human health and ecosystems. Large parts of the population do not live in a healthy environment, according to current standards.

“To get on to a sustainable path, Europe will have to be ambitious and go beyond current legislation.”

The EEA report showed that data suggested that up to 96% of the EU’s urban population was exposed to fine particulate matter concentrations above UN World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

Even more, 98%, were subject to ground-level ozone concentrations above WHO recommended levels.

As well has urban outdoor air quality, the report also highlighted that the natural environment was also continuing to suffer.

It said ecosystem were subject to the pressure of air pollution impairing vegetation growth and harming biodiversity.”

The EEA also produced country-by-country breakdown of air quality data.

Responding to the report’s findings, Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said: “Air quality is a central concern for many people.

“Surveys show that a large majority of citizens understand well the impact of air quality on health and are asking public authorities to take action at EU, national and local levels.”

He added that he was willing to address those concerns in the Commission’s Air Policy Review.

Infant concerns

A separate study, also published on Tuesday, concluded that a substantial proportion of the cases of low birth-weight (less than 2.5kg at 37 weeks of gestation) “could be prevented in Europe if urban air pollution was reduced”. Air pollution still harming Europeans health

A pan-European study identified a link between low birth-weight and air pollution

The findings, published in the The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, said: “The population attributable risk estimated for a reduction in [particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less] concentration to 10 micrograms per cubic metre during pregnancy corresponded to a decrease of 22% in cases of low birth-weight at term.”

A team of European researchers carried out what they describe as one of the largest studies of its kind, collating data from more than 74,000 births between 1994 and 2011 across 12 European nations.

They explained that babies with low birth-weights were at greater risk of mortality and health problems than infants with higher birth-weights.

“Low birth-weight has been associated with wheezing and asthma in childhood, and with decreased lung function in adults,” they observed but added that there was inconsistency in the findings.

“In addition to active and passive smoking, atmospheric pollution exposure is a highly prevalent and controllable risk factor for low birth-weight.”

Lead author Dr Marie Pedersen from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain, observed: “The widespread exposure of pregnant women worldwide to urban ambient air pollution at similar or even higher concentrations than those assessed in our study provides a clear message to policymakers to improve the quality of the air we all share.”

Current EU legislation has sent the annual mean limit on fine particulate matter at 20 micrograms per cubic metre for particles measuring 2.5 microns (PM2.5) or less.

This is twice the concentration outlined in World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which recommends an annual mean limit for PM2.5 exposure to 10 micrograms per cubic metre. Air pollution still harming Europeans health

These microscopic particles (the diameter of a human hair ranges between 15 and 180 microns) end up in the atmosphere from a range of sources, including road transport emissions, and have been linked to heart and lung disease, cancer and premature death.

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Aloe Vera – the Most Happening Health Drink

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Aloe vera juice is now on top of the charts for its immense health benefits and may have beaten many of its ilks in the race for the most happening health drink.

Experts have extolled its virtues, and one that stands out is its cholesterol lowering property

According to the claims of its manufacturers, Aloe Vera juice seems to help with weight loss, digestion and immune function. It is also thought to relieve discomfort of any kind.  Aloe Vera   the Most Happening Health Drink

They say Aloe vera contains a mix of some of the best vitamins- including A, C, E, folic acid, B1, B2, B3, and B6. It is also one of the few plants that actually contain Vitamin B12, which helps with brain and nervous system function.

Aloe vera juice is also rich in minerals and contains zinc, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, sodium, and potassium. This juice is also packed with amino and fatty acids – all helpful in beating indigestion. It boosts the body’s immunity and has the ability to throw out toxins from the body.

‘Aloe vera is amazing if you have any suggestive discomfort. It is very soothing for the internals and helps beat the bloat. Drinking Aloe vera replenishes your body naturally with a huge range of nutrients. It contains approximately 200 active components including – vitamins A, B1,B2,B6, B12, C, E, folic acid and Niacin,’ a leading nutritionist said.
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Foods To Consume Before Yoga Class

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Most of us practice a common form of exercise to live healthy and that is yoga. Today, you see a lot of people who are practicing yoga to stay fit and to lead a healthy life.

With this practice, comes along a wide range of foods you should eat too. Eating a healthy diet and following a fully fledged regime will only make you live longer.

If you are a believer in doing yoga to keep fit your mind and body, you need to follow certain food habits as well.

Experts say that before you go ahead with your yoga class, you need to eat a healthy and ‘light’ meal. The only reason is because yoga is a certain type of exercise where your body needs to be focused on your mind solely.

If you have a heavy meal before yoga exercise, you will want to throw up. One should keep their stomach light before a yoga exercise, so you can move your flexible body easily to perform the asanas. Some of the foods you should eat before yoga take a look at some of these healthy foods. These foods should be eaten half an hour before yoga class.


If you are hungry, grab a bowl of healthy oatmeal before a yoga class. This is a healthy food which you can consume. It is light and will boost your metabolism.


This is one of the best foods you can choose before you hit the yoga class. Consuming cut fresh pieces of pears is rich in fiber which will fill your tummy completely.


If you consume a handful of raisins before your yoga class, you are pampering your body to a high content of natural sugar. This natural sugar will help to keep you active right through the class as you burn energy for weight loss.

There are a lot of people who refrain from eating a banana as they feel it adds to the extra pounds if you are on a weight loss program. If you are heading to yoga class, have a banana 15 minutes before as it is rich in sodium which will keep you hydrated.


You need to stay light when you perform the asanas. Apricots are filling and a light food for you to consume before a yoga class. Dried apricots are the best opt.


If you want to stay light on your tummy, watermelon is the best food for you to consume before a yoga class. Watermelon helps to build your energy levels, so have a cup of fresh juice before you head out.


It is light and the best food to enjoy before yoga. A small cup of yogurt will help you stay fit and keep you mentally sound too.


Dark chocolate is much better when compared to normal chocolate. It is the dark chocolate which provides you with energy, and also helps to keep your heart healthy and active.


It is a good food for you to consume before a yoga class. Prunes contain a high content of potassium which will keep you hydrated during the workout.


Eating a handful of almonds will help boost your energy levels. Soaked almonds is however the best option for you to chose.

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