Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Pregnant Women Should Avoid Dental X-Rays POSTED: 2:28 pm EDT April 27, 2004 A new study finds dental X-rays during pregnancy are associated with low birthweight babies. Current guidelines for pregnant women who need diagnostic X-rays are concerned with direct radiation to the reproductive organs, but the results of this new study may change those guidelines. "Currently, the guidelines say that women who are pregnant are eligible for receiving very low dose diagnostic radiation to the head and neck because, up until now, people assumed that head and neck radiation will not have any adverse affects on pregnant women. They assumed that only direct radiation to the uterus or the fetus would be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes," said Philippe Hujoel, a researcher at the University of Washington. The study does not clearly point to the thyroid as the culprit, but it is a suspect. As a precaution, many women are told not to get dental X-rays while pregnant. But two-thirds of the women in the study were exposed to the radiation during their first trimester, suggesting they didn't know they were pregnant. Dental X-rays might result in small babies, study suggests Women who undergo dental X-rays while pregnant face an increased risk of having underweight babies, a study found. The study lacked data on whether babies born to X-ray-exposed mothers developed any problems associated with low birth weight, including lung ailments and delays in physical or mental growth. Still, Dr. Michael Fleming, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, called the study "potentially very significant because it really changes the information that we've believed all these years." While doctors and dentists usually are cautious about taking X-rays during pregnancy, the academy has told pregnant women that medical and dental X-rays are safe. Fleming said the study will "make us take a closer look at the data." Similar findings have been reported in babies born to women exposed during childhood to radiation for cancer treatment. X-rays generally involve much lower radiation doses. The study, which appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, involved about 4,500 women who gave birth while enrolled in a dental insurance plan in Washington state between 1993 and 2000. A total of 1,117 low birth weight babies, or those weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, were born to study participants. Women who had had dental X-rays during pregnancy faced about double the risk of having a low birth weight baby born either prematurely or full-term, and more than triple the risk of having a full-term underweight baby. There was no link found between X-rays and the smallest babies, those born at less than 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Only 21 women who had low birth weight babies had dental X-rays, all in the first trimester, when they might not have known they were pregnant. The study's lead author, Dr. Philippe Hujoel, a professor of dental public health services at the University of Washington, said more research is needed to determine if dental X-rays really are the culprit. Hujoel said it is unclear how dental X-rays might affect fetuses but theorized that the radiation might cause subtle changes in the functioning of the mother's thyroid gland, in the neck. Previous studies have found an increased risk of low birth weight babies in women with mild thyroid disease, he said. The researchers lacked information on why the women received X-rays. Hujoel said that while the X-rays were probably for routine checkups, they might have been prompted by conditions that could also increase the risk of low birth weight babies. In the meantime, Hujoel said, the results should not discourage pregnant women with dental emergencies such as bad toothaches from seeking appropriate care, including X-rays. The risks of such problems might outweigh any dangers from the X-rays, Hujoel said. Dr. Sally Cram, a Washington, D.C.-area dentist and spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, said the ADA advises dentists to avoid giving pregnant women X-rays during the first trimester if possible. All patients, pregnant or not, should be given protective aprons and collars that cover the upper body and neck, Cram said. She said the study reinforces the importance of taking care of any dental problems before pregnancy. Source: and Would you give a comment?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

A friend can mend a broken heart Wednesday, 15 April, 2004, 23:38 GMT Love seems to help mend a broken heart. Having a really close relationship with another person, whether they be close friend, lover or relative, can halve the risk of suffering ongoing heart attacks, researchers suggest today. Doctors in Manchester who monitored 600 people for a year after they suffered a heart attack found patients with someone they could confide in were only half as likely to have another heart attack as those with no one close to turn to. The link remained after taking account of the severity of the original heart attack, the previous history of heart disease, and age. Those without a close relationship were more likely to drink heavily, use illegal drugs, and to have had a previous heart attack, suggested the research, reported in the medical journal Heart. They were also more than twice as likely to have been separated from parents during childhood. The screening of the patients, three-quarters of them men and with an average age of 60, included patients' assessments of their mental health before their heart attack as well as their personal histories. About one in four of those screened had been depressed before their heart attack, but, in contrast to the findings of some previous research, they were no more likely to have another attack or die. The authors speculate that the loss of parents early in life may reduce the chances of forming intimate relationships in adulthood. "Alternatively, those who do not have a close confidant may delay seeking treatment for myocardial infarction [heart attack] or may be less likely to adhere to treatment afterwards," the authors say. However, heart specialists should not ignore depression, they say. Other research had shown that depressed people were less likely to give up smoking after a heart attack. The researchers, from Manchester royal infirmary and Manchester University's department of psychiatry, were supported by the Medical Research Council and the British Heart Foundation. Belinda Linden, head of medical information at the BHF, which provided �160,000 for the study, said: "A close relationship, whether it be lover, friend or relative, is obviously a potentially vital source of social support, which can play an important role in both preventing coronary heart disease and enhancing recovery from attack." Source: Guardian Unlimited Human warmth 'can protect heart' Having a very close relationship with another person may be the best medicine for people who have had a heart attack, research suggests. Scientists have shown that a strong bond - whether it be with a friend, lover or relative - can halve the risk of further heart attacks. The researchers, from Manchester Royal Infirmary, believe having somebody to talk to helps people cope better. The research, based on a study of 600 patients, appears in the journal Heart. The volunteers who took part in the study were screened three to four days after having had a heart attack. They were also monitored for a further 12 months to assess their risk of further attacks or death. About one in four of those screened had been depressed before having their first heart attack - suggesting state of mind may influence risk. However, despite findings from previous research, these patients were no more likely to have a further heart attack or to die than the patients who were not depressed. But the researchers found that patients who had a close friend or relative in whom they could confide had half the risk of those without such a confidant. This was the case even after taking account of the severity of the heart attack and other risk factors. Patients without a very close relationship were more likely to drink heavily, to use illegal drugs, and to have had at least one previous heart attack before admission. The finding echoes a previous study by the University of Chicago which found that lonely people's cardiovascular systems worked differently to those of people who were not lonely, in ways which put them at higher risk of heart disease. Stress response Lead researcher Professor Francis Creed told BBC News Online that a variety of factors seemed to increase the risk of recurrent heart attacks. These included smoking, heavy drinking, little exercise, and poor diet - but also depression and lack of social support. He said that stress and depression tended to make the heart beat faster, and keep the body in a more aroused state. He said: "We think that people who have no close confidant may react to stress in a more pronounced fashion. "This is potentially dangerous, as in the post-heart attack phase the heart is more susceptible to arrthymias [disrupted rhythms]." The researchers also found that people without a very close relationship were twice as likely to have lost both parents during childhood as patients who enjoyed a very close relationship with another person. They speculate that separation from parents during childhood might adversely affect the chances of forming an intimate relationship as an adult. Belinda Linden, of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) which co-funded the research, said: "This research is helping us to understand how important such psychosocial factors can be in preventing further cardiac events. "A close relationship - whether it be a lover, friend or relative - is obviously a potentially vital source of social support, which can play an important role in both preventing coronary heart disease and enhancing recovery from a heart attack." Source: BBCnews Would you give a comment?

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Easter Sunday How glorious it would be if we could help folks see that our Heavenly Father has built into each Sunday a greeting of its own: �Good morning glory, good morning grace!� The first day of the week, each Sunday, rolls around every seven days. It punctuates each week with a reminder that our Savior �was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God.� (Romans 4:25) The Supper we share when we meet together on Sunday (Acts 20:7), the Lord�s Day (Revelation 1:10), isn�t just about remembering his death, but also about anticipating his coming again and about living as his presence as the Body of Christ in the world until that day arrives. (1 Corinthians 10:17; 11:23-26) Jesus� resurrection from the dead, and our weekly reminder of his victory over death, means that our lives are not lived in vain (1 Corinthians 15:56-58) and that we are freed from the power of death to destroy and to produce fear (Hebrews 2:14-18). Our Lord�s resurrection guarantees our own, and ensures our reunion with those of faith who have gone before us. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) So what�s the point? Well, actually I want to leave you with two. First, Easter isn�t about getting dressed up and going to church once a year to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in the springtime. Instead, Easter is a mindset, a lifestyle. It is about living with the firm conviction that death has ultimately been defeated and Jesus has given us �new birth into a living hope.� (1 Peter 1:3) Easter is about living daily with our minds focused on things above, knowing that Christ will come and enable us to share in his glory. (Colossians 3:1-4) We are the resurrection people of God. Life is ours. Not even death can take it from us. Second, to give us our booster shot for glory, God gives us Sunday every week. This first day of the week, the day the early church called the Lord�s day because it was the day of his resurrection, is our weekly time to awaken and cry out to each other: �Good morning glory, good morning grace!� Just as the dawn gave the crushed disciples the gift of the empty tomb and the presence of a living Lord, we too celebrate that our Lord lives and our life and future are bound up with him!"

Friday, April 09, 2004

Good Friday The passion week of the Easter season is here, and I am so grateful for this wonderful time to reflect on what Jesus did for us. He suffered every step of the cross with us in mind. He loved us and willingly took every stripe for us. He shed His precious blood for us. May this week be a time of constant reflection in your heart and soul as you remember the incredible gift of God � His Son's sacrifice for our salvation. Roy Lessin has written a beautiful message of Jesus' purpose and passion for us He Saw You What an incredible journey Jesus made; what an overwhelming expression of love He undertook; what an awesome purpose He had in mind. You were on His heart. When He left His home in heaven, He saw you; When He became a man on earth, He was seeking you; When he stretched out His hands upon the cross, He was reaching out to you; When He returned to His Father, He was preparing a place for you. You are the sheep He has come to shepherd, to guide, to feed, to protect, to shelter, and to carry. You are the one He calls His own. - Roy Lessin

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Passive smoking is dangerous! 2004-04-07 11:00:11 New research proves that second-hand smoke is linked to increased risk of premature death, heart disease, ill health in children and the slow healing of wounds. Scientists say non-smokers who live with a smoker have a 15 percent higher risk of early death than those living in smoke-free households. Passive smoking also damages the chemical makeup of cells needed to heal wounds and accounts for abnormal scarring in second-hand smokers. Children of parents who smoke face double the risk of certain diseases compared to children of non-smokers, even if the smoker only lights up outdoors. If indoors, the risk is 15 times higher. Source: