Health Watch: Protect your brain during winter sports

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Health Tip: Reduce risk of head injuries

Every year, thousands of children and adults are treated at U.S. emergency rooms for head injuries related to the pursuit of winter sports. Wearing a helmet and taking other precautions can protect you and your family, says the American Association of Neurological Surgeons:

- Purchase and always use sport-specific helmets or protective head gear approved by ASTM International, one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world.

- Wear appropriate clothing for the sport.

- Don't participate in sports when you're ill, tired or have consumed alcohol.

- Don't participate in sports when weather conditions pose a hazard.

- Be cautious when driving snowmobiles and stay on marked trails.

- Skate only in designated areas, and check the ice for cracks and debris.

- Use only sleds that can be steered. Never go down a slope head first.

- Obey all posted signs and warnings on ski slopes, sledding hills and skating rinks.

Number to Know: 14

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it has approved 14 new tests for determining a person's blood type, a process that's essential to a safe blood supply and safe transfusions.

"These 14 new tests will provide blood establishments and transfusion services with additional choices to help assure safe, well-matched transfusions," Dr. Jesse L. Goodman, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a prepared statement. "The tests offer a broader diversity of reliable blood-typing tests and will help protect against product shortages."

Quote of Note

“There seems to be an additional beneficial effect of drinking one to two drinks per day and doing at least moderate physical activity.”

Morten Gronbaek of the University of Southern Denmark, who led a study that found people who neither drink nor exercise have a 30 to 49 percent higher risk of heart disease than people who do one or both of the activities.

Children’s Health

Medical experts have compiled a checklist of seven signs that mothers and healthcare workers can use to identify severe illnesses in newborn infants requiring urgent treatment in hospital.

The seven clinical signs are:

- history of difficult feeding

- history of convulsions

- movement only when stimulated

- breathing rate of 60 breaths per minute or more

- severe chest indrawing

- temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius

- temperature under 35.5 Celsius

Senior Health

People with four healthy lifestyle behaviors -- not smoking, physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption, and eating five servings of fruit or vegetables a day -- live an average of 14 years longer than people with none of those behaviors, a British study contends.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council looked at 20,000 men and women, aged 45-79, who filled out a questionnaire about the four health behaviors. For each of the four healthy lifestyle behaviors, a participant received one point. After they factored in age, the researchers found that participants with zero points were four times more likely to have died over an average period of 11 years than those with four points.

Healing Herbs

WebMD recently released a list of 10 herbs that are starting to attract interest from scientists as being beneficial for a variety of conditions. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll highlight some of these healing herbs.

Andrographis does a great job of relieving upper-respiratory infections, such as colds or sinusitis. A study in the journal Phytomedicine reported that the herb eased symptoms such as fatigue, sleeplessness, sore throat and runny nose up to 90 percent.

GateHouse News Service