October 20, 2017 by John Fernandez
Roundup: Half of Parents Don’t Always Put Babies to Sleep Safely; B Vitamins Linked to Higher Lung Cancer Risk in Men
About half of new moms surveyed don’t always place their babies in the widely recommended safe-sleep position to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The disturbing survey results surprised experts and caregivers who have taken part in a public education campaign for more than two decades to educate new parents. In 1994, the U.S. government launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign to encourage parents to put their babies to sleep lying face-up.
It is highly recommended that infants be placed on their backs for sleeping. What is NOT recommended are the following: placing a baby on his or her stomach or on soft surfaces, such as adult mattresses, or placing a baby under or near soft or loose bedding. Research has shown that SIDS is related to problems in the brains of infants that control breathing and arousal from sleep. There is no way to determine which infants are most vulnerable. That’s is why back-sleeping is so widely recommended for all babies in the first year of life.
The new survery findings were taken from a nationally representative survey of 3,300 U.S. mothers with babies between the ages of 2 and 6 months.
Overall, 77 percent said they “usually” put their babies on their backs to sleep. But only 49 percent said they “always” did.
SIDS rates for the United States have dropped steadily since 1994. But recent studies have confirmed that many parents are still putting their babies to sleep incorrectly, or surround them by loose bedding items or sleep with their babies in their own large beds. All three of these scenarios amount to SIDS risk factors.
“There are many, many new things to learn when you’re a new parent, but SIDS is one of those things where we can reduce the risk factors for a devastating outcome for the baby,” says Cynthia M. Amaro, M.D., pediatric neonatologist at Baptist Children’s Hospital.
Long-Term Use of B Vitamins Linked to Higher Lung Cancer Risk in Men
Men who take vitamin B-6 and B-12 over at least a 10 year period significantly increase their risk of developing lung cancer, according to a new study from Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dietary supplements containing high doses of B-6 and B-12 doubled the risk of developing lung cancer. Researchers said there was no increased risk of lung cancer in women who took high doses of vitamin B.
The risks of developing lung cancer were even higher in men who take these supplements and also smoke, stated the study, which was published this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study monitored 77,000 patients ages 50 to 76 for more than 10 years.
B vitamins, such as B-6 and B-12, are some of the most popular dietary supplements sold in the United States. They’re often marketed as products that can boost energy levels. The recommended daily intake of B-12 is less than 2 micrograms and about 1 and 1/2 milligrams for vitamin B-6, according to researchers.
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Children’s Blood Pressure Guidelines Updated
More children may be diagnosed with elevated blood pressure under new guidelines released this week by the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP).
The guidelines, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, urge doctors to look for high blood pressure in children and teenagers. Instead of terming high blood pressure in a child as “prehypertension,” it will now be considered “elevated blood pressure.” The classification more closely aligns with blood pressure guidelines for adults.
The new guidelines also come with new tables to which healthcare providers can refer. The tables indicate ideal readings for children based on their gender, height and age.
Approximately 3.5 percent of children and teenagers have high blood pressure. This is an increase of 1 to 2 percent previously. The guideline of measuring a child’s blood pressure starting at age 3 remains unchanged.
The group also recommends that any abnormal blood pressure detected in a child at the doctor’s office be followed up by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. This technique involves a child wearing a blood pressure cuff for 24 hours and BP levels read periodically throughout that time. It provides a more accurate reading because so many children’s blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office due to being nervous. The AAP hopes this will become the standard for measuring children’s blood pressure after an abnormal office reading.