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Novel kidney stone solution

One in 10 Americans at some point will have a kidney stone and more than half a million people per year visit an emergency room for kidney stone treatment, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Now, researchers report, passing a kidney stone could be accomplished with a simple roller coaster ride.

After several people reported they had passed a kidney stone after riding the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando, a Michigan State University urology professor set up an investigational study. With permission from Disney officials, researchers placed a silicone model of a kidney containing urine and various-sized kidney stones in a backpack and sent it on 60 roller coaster rides at the amusement park.

Results revealed that when the model was positioned at the back of the roller coaster, nearly 64 percent of kidney stones were passed. When placed in the front seat, nearly 17 percent of stones were passed.

“Preliminary study findings support the anecdotal evidence that a ride on a moderate-intensity roller coaster could benefit some patients with small kidney stones,” said David D. Wartinger, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine professor of urology. “Passing a kidney stone before it reaches an obstructive size can prevent surgeries and emergency room visits.”

The study was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Teething product warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has issued a warning that homeopathic teething tablets and gels could be harmful to infants and children. Consumers should not use the products and should dispose of any they might have on hand. The tablets and gels are sold at CVS, Hyland’s and possibly other retailers, FDA officials said.

“Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels,” the FDA said in a news release.

“Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies,” FDA spokesperson Janet Woodcock, M.D., said. “We recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their healthcare professional for safe alternatives.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] on its Healthychildren.org website recommends a variety of teething toys, such as a wet washcloth that has been chilled in the freezer; a frozen banana or berries for youngsters already eating solid foods; solid [not liquid-filled] teething rings that have been chilled; a frozen bagel; or a parent’s finger. The AAP noted that some plastic teething rings containing liquids have been recalled in recent years due to potential bacteria growth in the liquid, which a baby could consume if the ring is punctured.

Silicone and latex chewy toys may be a safer bet, the AAP said.

For breastfed babies not interested in teething toys, the AAP suggests massaging a baby’s gums with fingers that have been dipped in cool water prior to feeding.

Car seat safety

Most adults understand the importance of putting children in car seats, but data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that roughly six in 10 car seats are not correctly installed.

To assist parents in the proper use of car seats, child safety organization Safe Kids Worldwide last month launched a new online resource, “The Ultimate Car Seat Guide.”

Developed in partnership with General Motors, The Guide answers parents’ questions about what kind of car seat to buy, how to properly install it and how to know when it is time for a child to move to a booster seat.

To learn more, visit ultimatecarseatguide.org.

Upside of morning sickness

The nausea and vomiting that many women experience early in pregnancy seem to be associated with a reduced risk of miscarriage.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development conducted a study involving about 800 pregnant women who tracked their nausea and vomiting symptoms during pregnancy in diaries and via questionnaires.

Results revealed that a 50-75 percent reduction in the risk of miscarriage was associated with nausea and nausea with vomiting among women who had experienced one or two prior pregnancy losses.

“Our study confirms prior research that nausea and vomiting appear to more than a sign of still being pregnant and instead may be associated with a lower risk for pregnancy loss,” the study authors concluded.

No more measles

Measles has been eliminated in all of the Americas, according to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization [PAHO/WHO].

Late last month, the PAHO/WHO issued a news release declaring that The Region of the the Americas is the first in the world to eliminate measles, a virus that can cause serious health problems, and in some cases, death.

The achievement was attributed to a 22-year effort involving vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.

“It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century,” PAHO/WHO Director Carissa Etienne said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 but remained – and still remains – in other parts of the world.

Last year, about 245,000 measles cases were reported worldwide. More than half of those cases were in Africa and Asia.

Because measles has not been eliminated throughout the world, vaccination remains important.

“I would like to emphasize that our work on this front is not yet done,” Etienne said. “We cannot become complacent with this achievement but must rather protect it carefully. Measles still circulates widely in other parts of the world, and so we must be prepared to respond to imported cases. It is critical that we continue to maintain high vaccination coverage rates, and it is crucial that any suspected measles cases be immediately reported to the authorities for rapid follow-up.”

The CDC notes that even those who do not travel internationally could come into contact with measles, which is brought into the U.S. by unvaccinated travelers who contract the disease in other countries. Anyone not vaccinated against the disease remains at risk.

On the calendar

“Pretty in Pink: Focusing on Women’s Health” is from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at Spencer Road Library, 427 Spencer Road in St. Peters. BJC Medical experts dispel myths about breast health and heart disease, discuss signs that should not be ignored, and provide an overview of the latest means of detection and treatment, including 3D mammography. Hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, heart-healthy cooking demonstrations and attendance prizes also are featured. Admission is free, but registration is preferred. Call (636) 928-9355.

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A flu shot clinic is from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 28 at Progress West Hospital, 2 Progress Point Parkway in O’Fallon. Shots are free and available while supplies last for those aged 18 and older. Registration is required. For an appointment, call (636) 928-9355.

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“Babysitting 101” is from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters.  Presented by BJC HealthCare, in partnership with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the class provides an introduction to the basics of babysitting. Topics include the business of babysitting, child development, safety and first-aid, and fun and games. A workbook and light snack are provided. The fee is $30 per child. To register, call (636) 344-5437.

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American Red Cross blood drives are from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31 at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters, and at Progress West Hospital, 2 Progress Point Parkway in O’Fallon. Appointments are not required, but may speed the donation process. To schedule a time, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1 (800) 733-2767 and use one of the sponsor codes: BJSTPETERS or PROGRESSWEST.

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BJC HealthCare provides free bone density screenings for women from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Middendorf-Kredell Library, 2750 Hwy. K in O’Fallon. Participants learn their personal risk for developing osteoporosis and find out what they can do to decrease their risk of developing the disease, which causes more than 1.5 million fractures annually in the U.S. Registration is required. To schedule an appointment, call (636) 928-9355.

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The Alzheimer’s Association’s “Care and Conquer” is from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Spencer Road Library, 427 Spencer Road in St. Peters. The community education forum on Alzheimer’s disease features presentations by noted Alzheimer’s experts. Topics covered include the latest in research and detecting and living with Alzheimer’s disease. The presentation includes a special focus on people with early-stage dementia and their families. Admission is free. Registration is required. Call (636) 928-9355.

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BJC HealthCare presents “Questions about Knee Pain” from 2-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Middendorf-Kredell Library, 2750 Hwy. K in O’Fallon. Orthopedist Kevin Quigley, M.D., conducts an informal session, providing expert information and answering questions about knee pain. Admission is free. Registration is required. Call (636) 928-9355.

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