Dec 05 2011

THIS WEEK IN HEALTH NEWS: WOMEN WHO EAT LOTS OF VEGETABLES HAVE A LOWER RISK OF STROKE, VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES AND EFFECT ON BRAIN FUNCTIONING, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE GOES UNTREATED IN MANY TEENS, WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE THE FLU VACCINE?

WOMEN WHO EAT LOTS OF VEGETABLES HAVE A LOWER RISK OF STROKE

Dr. Susanne Rautiainen and her research group from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, reported in the journal: Stroke, that after collecting data on the dietary habits of women, they found that those women who consumed the highest amount of antioxidant containing foods (foods that have elevated levels of vitamins C, E, carotenoids, flavonoids and phytochemicals-fruits and veggies and grains) had a lower risk of stroke.  Lesson-Make half your plate fruits and veggies-especially if you are a woman!!!

VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES AND EFFECT ON BRAIN FUNCTIONING

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine presented data recently showing that in a test group of young men, ages 18 to 29, that were told to play a violent video game for ten hours, MRI studies and cognitive testing performed afterwards revealed changes in brain function, and cognitive behavior. These changes did revert back almost to baseline, after a week of not playing the games. Lesson: parents, be careful with what video games your children are playing in your home and at the homes of friends. There is an abundance of violent and incredibly popular video games coming out daily, for all of the techno-game boxes and these games seem to obtain viewing access in many homes with young children. Be aware,  stay informed and stay connected !

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE GOES UNTREATED IN MANY TEENS

Research from Esther Y. Yoon, M.D. MPH and her colleagues at the University of Michigan published in the journal: Pediatrics and reported in the online medical news journal Medpage Today, indicates that many teenagers that have elevated blood pressure, and who are considered “hypertensive” by guidelines,  do not receive medication for it. Lesson: if you are a parent of a child that has elevated blood pressure, keep track and make a diary of the pressure readings at home (at various times of the day) and follow up with your pediatrician, primary care physician and or specialist. Monitor the sodium (salt) intake in your child’s diet by looking at all foods, snacks and beverages (e.g. energy/supplement loaded drinks). And monitor your child’s weight and calorie intake.

WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE THE FLU VACCINE?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone ages 6 months and older should receive an influenza vaccination on a yearly basis. The vaccines are meant as protection from the three most common influenza viruses of the year you may have exposure to:  this includes influenza A (H1N1), influenza B, and influenza A (H3N2), and can make your illness milder if you get sick from a different influenza virus. If you received a flu vaccination last year, your bodies immunity may have declined over the year so it is recommended that you receive a fresh vaccination to raise the level of immunity to the new set of viruses that have the highest risk of exposure. By 2 weeks after receiving a vaccination, the body develops antibodies to protect against the viruses in the vaccine. Those antibodies help protect us from influenza viruses if we come in contact with them later. Even though everyone after the age of 6 months of age is recommended to receive the influenza vaccination, the following groups of people are at high risk for developing flu-related complications and definitely need the vaccination:

  1.  Pregnant women
  2. Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  3. People 50 years of age and older
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • Health care workers
    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Lesson: Discuss the influenza vaccination with your health care provider as soon as possible. The CDC recommends that people get the vaccination as soon as it is available, especially the high risk groups. IT IS AVAILABLE NOW!!! For more information, please visit the CDC influenza vaccination information site at www.cdc.gov/flu.

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