Friday, February 17, 2017

New advice: Keep baby in parents' room, but not bed

I remember watching my daughter sleep...breathing in and out. It is so hard to leave them, so tiny and helpless, in a big crib alone.

Of course, parents worry about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which claims 3,500 infant lives a year in the US.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recommendation that infants sleep in the parents' room, close to their bed, but on a separate surface designed for them.

This arrangement should last six months to a year.

Doing this could cut the risk of SIDS in half.

Of course, some pediatricians say no, this would interfere with the parents' sleep and ability to perform the next day.

Still, the recommendation has been reinforced since it was made in 2011.

The rate of SIDS has actually decreased but the risk of accidental suffocation and strangulation in an adult bed have increased.

Parents need to decide for themselves. Some tips:

--Put babies on their backs to sleep.

--Have a firm surface.

--Keep soft objects--toys, pillows, wads of sheets, out of the crib.

--Breastfeed for as long as you can--it reduces the risk of SIDS.

--Keep your baby away from smokers or places where people smoke.

--Don't overbundle the baby and let him or her get too hot.

--Offer a pacifier so the baby does not thrash around.

--Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors or other products claiming to reduce the risk of SIDS.

I think the theory is that the parents will subconsciously listen for the baby's breathing if the child is nearby. You know--an instinct.

By the way, my daughter did not like covers. So I got her blanket sleepers--pajamas that were warm, fuzzy blanket material--no covers needed.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Australian system connects with discharged patients

Personify Care from Down Under helps hospital staff and patients stay connected after a hospital release.

This is one of 25 companies selected for the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institutes' accelerator program.

When patients are discharged now, they may get a fistful of paperwork, which they may or may not feel well enough to read and heed.

Personify Care sends the forms to the patients and allows them to ask followup questions.

Discharged patients receive regular texts from their nurse over a 6-8 week period with information about what they should be feeling and questions allowing the nurse to see if complications are developing.

In the test site, in Australia, each patient was contacted 17 times across seven weeks.

These texts got a 95.8 response rate. In one case in five, it identified risks the patient was facing.

Now--on to the US market.

Sounds useful to me. I remember being discharged from the hospital and feeling...what...scared..sort of abandoned--and thinking, what now?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nutty goodness

Jane E. Brody, New York Times, riffed off the other day on nuts.

When you stop to think of it, a nut is a seed for a big tree and a plant--it contains the nutrients that tree or plant will need to grow. Some of this giant nutrient package is also good for humans.

Since the 1990s, studies have revealed nuts as a powerhouse. The newest study (NEJM) followed 119,000 men and women for decades. They compared nut-eaters to non-nut eaters, basically.

The more nuts that were consumed, the less likely the participants were to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. Their death rates, in fact, were lower of all causes during the years that followed.

Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20% less likely to die between 1980 and 2010...once a week, 11% less likely.

The more often people ate nuts, the leaner they were likely to be, too.

Nuts have calories, of course, quite a few. But if you eat nuts, you are less like to eat chips and other empty calorie foods. A small amount of nuts is filling.

All this applied to peanuts, as well--not just tree nuts.

Nuts are packed with unsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, Vitamin E, and fiber, to name a few things.

You can add nuts to hot and cold cereals, eat peanut butter on toast for breakfast, put them in stir fries, toss them over ice cream and into other desserts.

Nuts rule!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Start before birth to get kids to like veggies

Getting children to like vegetables starts in the womb, says Richard Rosenkranz, assoc professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health at Kansas State.

At least in rodents (no offense), the eating habits of the mother can shape the tastes of the babies.

Once born, infants learn through exposure and variety.

--Rosenkranz says rely on whether the child will try the item, not the face they make once it's in their mouth.

--If they swallow, offer the item over time.

--As early as six months, kids notice whether the parent is eating the food...they take cues from the parents. Parents need to eat items similar to what they are offering the baby.

--Start with sweeter items--corn or carrots.

--When kids develop hand-eye coordination, they will pick up tiny pieces and be distracted by that and not mind the taste. Rosenkranz also recommends cutting items into fun shapes and putting on faces and eyes made of other food items.

--Involve the children in the food prep as early as kindergarten. If  kids wash the veggies or better yet, help shop for them or get them from the garden, they will eat them.

--As kids grow older, respect their input. Let them decide which veggies and fruits they prefer.

Remember, as kids grow into teens, their veggie consumption drops. Put dip and veggies on the counter, make it easy.

My daughter would eat artichokes with orange Hollandaise at age one, scrape the leaves with her new white teeth. I would not say she eats a ton of veggies now, but she doesn't hate them and still buys artichokes for pizza and salad.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cooking as a med school course

I think most people with obesity or digestive problems get shunted to nutritionists. Doctors are not famous for their nutritional knowledge.

Often, in fact, doctors don't even mention food or they say eat less, see ya. (OK, a little exaggerated but not by much.)

Several universities, though, are including cooking classes in their med school curricula--notably Tulane.

Teaching doctors to cook healthy, delicious meals, it is hoped, will increase their interest in passing this along to their patients.

Stats show nearly half of all deaths in the US are due to heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes (CDC).

The links between food and health are well known at this point. Policy recommendations abound.

But studies show providing info does not change eating habits. Coaching is needed.

Doctors could be such coaches, but fewer than a fourth of doctors feel they could fulfill this role.

The National Academy of Science recommends 25 hours of nutrition instruction for med students.

Tulane requires 53 hours of culinary classes, 53 hours of clinical teaching, and 53 hours of learning nutritional counseling techniques.

At present, 28 other medical school, two residency programs, and two nursing schools have adapted the Tulane program. Harvard even partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to offer week-long workshops in making healthier food choices and managing caloric intake.

Even without a trip to the doctor, taking a culinary course can improve your eating pattern.

Why not?