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Monday, 24 February 2014 00:53

Polio-like illness a mystery in California

   LOS ANGELES (AP) — A polio-like illness has afflicted a small number of children in California since 2012, causing severe weakness or rapid paralysis in one or more limbs.
   The Los Angeles Times reports that state public health officials have been investigating the illness since a doctor requested polio testing for a child with severe paralysis in 2012. Since then, similar cases have sporadically been reported throughout the state.
   Dr. Carol Glaser, leader of a California Department of Public Health team investigating the illnesses, called the doctor's request "concerning" because polio has been eradicated in the U.S. and the child had not traveled overseas.
   The symptoms sometimes occur after a mild respiratory illness. Glaser said a virus that is usually associated with respiratory illness but which has also been linked to polio-like illnesses was detected in two of the patients.
   Dr. Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital who has worked with Glaser's team, will present the cases of five of the children at the American Academy of Neurology's upcoming annual meeting.
   He said all five patients had paralysis in one or more arms or legs that reached its full severity within two days. None had recovered limb function after six months.
   "We know definitively that it isn't polio," Van Haren added, noting that all had been vaccinated against that disease.
   Glaser wouldn't provide the number of illnesses. Van Haren said he was aware of around 20.
   She urged doctors to report new cases of acute paralysis so that investigators can try to figure out a possible cause.
Published in Health & Fitness
   A new study says nearly 3 out of 4 U.S. children and young adults consume at least some caffeine.
   For most, it comes from soda, tea and coffee. The rate didn't budge much over a decade, although soda use declined and energy drinks became an increasingly common source.
   That's according to a government analysis of national health surveys from 1999 through 2010.
   The research shows even most preschoolers consume some caffeine-containing products. But their average was the amount found in half a can of soda, and young kids' overall caffeine intake fell during the decade.
   The analysis is the first to examine recent national trends in caffeine among children and young adults.
   The results were published online Monday in Pediatrics.
 
Published in Health & Fitness

   The first and busiest Ronald McDonald House in the St. Louis area is open again after a five-month, $1.5 million renovation.  

   The 20 bedroom mansion on West Pine in the Central West End opened its doors in 1981.  It provides lodging for families who live more than 50 miles from the hospital where their seriously ill children are being treated. Families are asked to contribute $5 a night.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the three St. Louis area Ronald McDonald Houses served nearly 1,700 families last year, with almost half staying at the West Pine home.

   According to the charity, major renovations at the West Pine house include: rehabbing both kitchens and most bathrooms, adding new carpet and furniture in the bedrooms, and replacing the entire HVAC system.

   More information about the house, and Ronald McDonald Charities of St. Louis can be found on their website: www.rmhcstl.com.  

Published in Local News
SEATTLE (AP) - A new study has found teaching parents to switch channels from violent shows to educational TV can improve preschoolers' behavior, even without getting them to watch less.

The results were modest and faded over time, but the study authors and other doctors say they may hold promise for finding ways to help young children avoid aggressive, violent behavior.

The research involving 565 parents was published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics.

They periodically filled out TV-watching diaries and questionnaires measuring their child's behavior.

Half were coached for six months on getting their 3-to-5-year-old kids to watch shows like "Sesame Street" and "Dora the Explorer" rather than more violent programs like "Power Rangers."

Low-income boys appeared to get the most short-term benefit.
Published in Health & Fitness

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