Friday, November 15th, 2013
An Argentine car mechanic has developed a device to help deliver babies who are trapped inside the birth canal–and the World Health Organization has taken notice and endorsed the product, and an American medical technology company has licensed it for production. More from The New York Times:
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Mr. [Jorge] Odón, 59, an Argentine car mechanic, built his first prototype in his kitchen, using a glass jar for a womb, his daughter’s doll for the trapped baby, and a fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving device.
Unlikely as it seems, the idea that took shape on his counter has won the enthusiastic endorsement of the World Health Organization and major donors, and an American medical technology company has just licensed it for production.
With the Odón Device, an attendant slips a plastic bag inside a lubricated plastic sleeve around the head, inflates it to grip the head and pulls the bag until the baby emerges.
Doctors say it has enormous potential to save babies in poor countries, and perhaps to reduce cesarean section births in rich ones.
“This is very exciting,” said Dr. Mario Merialdi, the W.H.O.’s chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health and an early champion of the Odón Device. “This critical moment of life is one in which there’s been very little advancement for years.”
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Nestle and General Mills, which are part of a parent company called Cereal Partners Worldwide and the second-largest cereal producers in the world, have announced a massive new plan to cut the amount of salt and sugar in their cereals…outside of the United States and Canada.
Twenty cereal brands popular with children and teenagers will be part of the initiative, as the companies pledge to cut 24 percent of the sugar and 12 percent of the salt in the products, Reuters reports. The move follows a 2003 program in which the companies increased the nutritional profile of their cereals, including making large cuts in salt and sugar. From Reuters:
CPW Chief Executive Jeffrey Harmening said the plan builds on efforts started in 2003 to improve the nutritional profile of cereals. The group has cut almost 900 tonnes of salt and more than 9,000 tonnes of sugar from its recipes since then.
“A certain number of moms don’t want their kids to have as much sugar as they do right now, so that is a barrier for some to purchasing breakfast cereal,” Harmening told Reuters at CPW’s new global innovation centre in the Swiss town of Orbe.
The move comes as food and beverage companies seek to preempt tougher regulation due to the global obesity epidemic by offering healthier products or smaller portions.
The World Health Organisation estimated there were over 42 million overweight children under the age of five in 2010. It says obesity in Europe is already responsible for up to 8 percent of health costs and up to 13 percent of deaths.
Image: Cereal, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Doctors from the World Health Organization and other groups have finally identified the cause of the mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of more than 60 Cambodian children, CNN is reporting. The illness appears to be a combination of viral pathogens, some of which are mosquito-borne, and it is apparently exacerbated by the use of steroid medications. From CNN.com:
The pathogens include enterovirus 71, which is known to cause neurological disease; streptococcus suis, which can cause infections like bacterial meningitis in people who have close contact with pigs or with pork products; and dengue, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The inappropriate use of steroids, which can suppress the immune system, worsened the illness in a majority of the patients, the doctors said. The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to advise health care workers to refrain from using steroids in patients with signs and symptoms of the infection, which include severe fever, encephalitis and breathing difficulties.
While not all the microorganisms were present in each patient, doctors concluded the illness was caused by a combination of them and worsened by steroid use.
The WHO sources did not want to be identified because the results of the health organization’s investigation have not yet been made public.
“I’m very confident for the reason of the epidemic,” said Dr. Phillipe Buchy, chief of virology at the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia and one of the doctors who cracked the case.
Image: Cambodian children, via Warren Goldswain / Shutterstock.com.
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Monday, July 9th, 2012
Mothers who breastfeed their children beyond infancy have been in the news recently, especially in the wake of a controversial Time magazine cover story about “attachment parenting.” Now, a New York production is reportedly planning a reality television show that will tell the stories of these moms. The New York Post reports:
“I didn’t set out to nurse a 3-year-old,” said Jessica Cary of Park Slope, whose daughter Olive continues to breastfeed. “But two years came and went. Now breastfeeding and mothering are so intertwined for me.”
Government agencies don’t track breastfeeding past 12 months, and many pediatricians assume it has stopped by the child’s first birthday. So there’s no way to know how many of the 28 percent of New York babies who breastfeed up to age 1 keep on going.
Long-term breastfeeding moms often cite the World Health Organization, which encourages nursing until at least age 2. Neither WHO nor the American Academy of Pediatrics sets an upper limit on breastfeeding’s duration
“Experienced pediatricians realize that the benefits of breastfeeding don’t just magically disappear after one year,” said Karen McGratty, a lactation consultant in Midwood who is nursing her 3-year-old son.
Most mothers of breastfeeding preschoolers let the child take the lead in weaning.
“At this point I don’t offer nursing, only give it to her when she requests it,” said Cary. That leads to a gradual reduction on the child’s own timetable.
Image: Nursing mother, via Shutterstock.
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