Press-Republican

FYI...

August 8, 2013

SIDS rate has declined considerably, but efforts continue to save more young lives

I still put my 2-year-old to sleep on his back even though each morning he's snuggled on his tummy, head shoved into a corner of his crib. The "back to sleep" message has become ingrained in my new-parent psyche, as the campaign to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was designed to do when it began 20 years ago after studies showed that placing babies to sleep on their stomachs tripled their SIDS risk.

SIDS, in which an infant dies during sleep from an undetermined cause, can be a huge source of anxiety for new parents - and rightly so. Even after Back to Sleep efforts helped cut the SIDS rate by more than half from 1994 to today, it is still the leading cause of death among U.S. infants aged 1 month to 1 year, with 2,300 cases annually.

The latest research into SIDS is giving parents clearer guidelines for protecting babies during sleep. For example, a recent analysis of more than 1,400 SIDS cases found that having a baby sleep in the parents' bed increases the risk of SIDS by a factor of five for infants younger than 3 months old. Bed sharing presents a risk because, as Children's National Medical Center pediatrician Linda Fu explains to new parents, the airflow around the baby may not be good enough, "and that is all it takes."

In the past decade, researchers identified how low oxygen levels, combined with an underlying brain defect, can cause SIDS. Scientists believe a triple-risk model explains many SIDS cases: A baby has a defect in an area of the brain that controls breathing and arousal; the baby is at an age when those brain areas are still immature; and the baby is exposed to an external stress that compromises his breathing or oxygen levels, or that causes overheating.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 28, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 27, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 26, 2014

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 25, 2014

  • An alternative diagnosis to ADHD: Schoolchildren need more time to move

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that in recent years, there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2011.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 23, 2014

  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 21, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 18, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 17, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo