Archive for July, 2009

Study: 9-year-olds can learn to perform CPR


Children as young as 9 years old can and should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Austrian researchers say.

In a study of 147 students who received six hours of life-support training, 86 percent of the children performed CPR correctly at a follow-up session four months after the training, according to the report published online in the journal Critical Care.

“The usefulness of CPR training in schools has been questioned, since young students may not have the physical and cognitive skills needed to perform such complex tasks correctly,” Dr. Fritz Sterz, of the Medical University of Vienna, said in a news release from the journal’s publisher.

“We found that, in fact, students as young as 9 years are able to successfully and effectively learn basic life-support skills. As in adults, physical strength may limit depth of chest compressions and ventilation volumes, but skill retention is good,” he added.

In the training program, the children were taught CPR, …

Continue reading Study: 9-year-olds can learn to perform CPR »

THINNER YOU: 9 Hidden Reasons to Stay Motivated


Everyone tells us to stay motivated. Our friends, our co-workers, our relatives say to keep going, don’t quit. Sometimes, though, you ask, “Why? Why try my hardest when it ends in disappointment? Why go through something when it’s going to hurt? Why?”

Because it’s going to be different this time! Because you can’t accomplish anything that you give up on. Disappointments and failures happen to everyone. The difference between those who reach their goals and those who don’t is staying motivated. If you’re motivated, you’ll keep going. If you keep going, eventually you’ll reach your goal.

Need more reasons? Here are 10 of our ‘hidden’ reasons to stay motivated. Use one or all of them to keep the fire burning inside you.

1. Confidence

How did it feel after that first jog around the block? Or when you finally walked the stairs at work without losing your breath? The more you accomplish, the more you’ll believe in yourself.

2. Fit into that dress

It’s …

Continue reading THINNER YOU: 9 Hidden Reasons to Stay Motivated »

PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Drug interactions may have lethal results


Q. My doctor recently discovered that my potassium was a little low, so he put me on potassium pills. Later, after trying several blood pressure medicines, he switched me to triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide.
The patient prescription information sheet says not to take potassium supplements with this new diuretic medication, as it can raise potassium levels. The pharmacist didn’t make too much of it, but I am really concerned, as I already have fast irregular heartbeats. What should I do?

A. Your doctor must monitor your potassium at frequent intervals. When extra potassium is added to a diuretic containing triamterene (Dyazide, Maxzide), potassium overdose can occur, leading to irregular heart rhythms. In some cases this could be lethal. Even salt substitutes containing potassium chloride could cause trouble.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. They can be reached at

Continue reading PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Drug interactions may have lethal results »

ASK DR. H: Over the years, gravity can impact height

Q: I am a 78-year-old man who’s about an inch and a half shorter than he used to be. Why am I shrinking? — R.J., Macon

A: We’re all getting shorter with age. Blame gravity. There are 23 discs between the vertebrae that make up our spine. Over time and over the years, these shock-absorber discs dry out a bit and get compressed from all the weight of gravity they bear. That causes them to shrink a bit.

Let’s say that you lose 1 to 2 millimeters of height from each disc. That may seem pretty small, but if every disc loses 1 to 2 millimeters of height, that’s between 23 and 46 millimeters of height. There are 25.4 millimeters to an inch, so it’s easy to shrink an inch or so with age. Even our daily height varies depending upon the time of day. At the end of day, we’re a little bit shorter, thanks to the effect of gravity; by morning, we’ve gained that height back. So if you want to feel taller, measure your height first thing in the morning.

But there’s another …

Continue reading ASK DR. H: Over the years, gravity can impact height »

HEALTHY EATING: Guests get garden lesson


Accessorizing for a sunny afternoon in a vegetable garden takes a stylish turn when you begin by harvesting heirloom tomatoes, basil and rosemary on the back lawn of the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation. My Chanel sunglasses fit right in as I joined a group of guests plucking produce to prepare our lunch in a Garden to Grill cooking class.

Located on Lake Oconee a little more than an hour from Atlanta, the resort that boasts championship golf courses and a luxury spa has added a chef’s garden.

Jaco Smith, chef at the property’s Georgia’s Bistro, and executive chef Scott Gambone are dedicated to putting Southern-grown products on the menus. They worked with local farmer Sid Cox of Deerwood Farms in nearby Sparta to carve out a section of the lawn in front of the terrace to create an herb and vegetable garden.

In less than eight weeks the little plot is bursting with tomatoes, mint, rosemary, three kinds of basil and lots of other herbs.

“We …

Continue reading HEALTHY EATING: Guests get garden lesson »

AGING & CARING: 8 warning signs an older adult’s finances are off track


Financial problems can easily spiral out of control if older adults don’t tackle them quickly. And if they’re tight-lipped about their finances or fearful of losing control over their money, they may be less likely to confide in a caregiver or family member about any money difficulties they may be experiencing — giving problems time to snowball.

Even if you’re not privy to the details of their finances, if you pay attention you’ll see early indications that problems are brewing. Here are some of the warning signs that their finances are off track:

1. Mail is piling up unopened in their house.

Take a look around the kitchen or mail area. Are there stacks of unsorted mail? What about piles of statements from mortgage or credit card companies, utilities, notices from the Internal Revenue Service, or other unopened envelopes that appear to be bills?

As people get older, the monthly chores of paying bills may become mentally or physically …

Continue reading AGING & CARING: 8 warning signs an older adult’s finances are off track »

DOCTOR IS IN: Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Assistant professor of medicine and director of Gastrointestinal Motility in the Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases. Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer and digestive disorders in women.

Do you have bellyaches, and either diarrhea or constipation, or both off and on? If so, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This problem can be a real annoyance and can affect your health.

About 15 percent to 30 percent of the U.S. population has IBS, a bowel disorder with a complex of abdominal pain and stool alterations. It is not in your head, it is a real diagnosis defined as chronic, recurrent abdominal pain with relief after a bowel movement.

Symptoms of IBS can include:

•    loose stools at pain onset
•    increased frequency of bowel movements with pain
•    abdominal distension or bloating
•    mucous in the stool and
•    constipation or a feeling of incomplete …

Continue reading DOCTOR IS IN: Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome »

THINNER YOU: How to avoid on-the-job weight gain


Even if you love your job, it may be killing you.

Australian researchers found that men sitting at their desks more than six hours a day are nearly twice as likely to be overweight than those who sit for less than 45 minutes a day. While women fared slightly better—spending on average 20 more minutes on their feet at the office than men—researchers conclude that a sedentary job is a major health concern for both genders.

And it’s no secret that sedentary jobs (and lifestyles) have contributed dramatically to the accelerating obesity rate of the past 20 years. Put emphasis on the word ‘dramatically’—a study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2001 found that a worker in a sedentary career may end up with a Body Mass Index 3.3 units higher than someone in a highly active job. If you’re 5′5″ this can mean an increase in weight from 140 pounds to 155 pounds!

Now that you’ve heard the bad news, let’s turn to the good …

Continue reading THINNER YOU: How to avoid on-the-job weight gain »

AGING & CARING: Foods that prevent memory loss


“You are what you eat” goes an old saying. How about “You remember what you eat”? More proof that diet can influence cognitive health and dementia was announced this week from a long-term study involving more than 3,000 people ages 65 and older who had no sign of dementia at its start.

Over the 11-year course of the study, the subjects who showed the least mental decline were those whose normal diets most closely resembled the low-fat, high-fiber DASH diet — Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. DASH is a diet commonly used to combat high blood pressure, which is one of the risk factors for dementia.

Utah State University researchers say that this same group had also scored the highest on memory, attention span, and problem solving skills at the beginning of the study.

So what’s in the DASH diet?

  • Whole grains (at least three whole-grain foods per day)
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Nuts, seeds, and dry beans
  • Vegetables and fruit — at …

Continue reading AGING & CARING: Foods that prevent memory loss »

ASK DR. H: Sweet syndrome may signal serious illness

Q: Can you explain the rash known as Sweet syndrome?— D.C., Macungie, Pa.’

A: It’s a skin condition first described in 1964 by Dr. Robert Sweet. It’s characterized by the sudden onset of tender, red papules and/or plaques on the skin. Unlike other skin rashes, this one is often seen in the setting of a recent fever, and the affected person often has an elevated white blood cell count.

The diagnosis of Sweet syndrome is made definitively by a skin biopsy. It responds well to topical or oral steroids just like a lot of other rashes. These lesions do not cause scarring. Unlike a lot of other skin conditions, Sweet syndrome may be the first sign of an underlying serious systemic illness — especially acute myelogenous leukemia.

The diagnosis of Sweet syndrome should prompt a full workup to look for the presence of a possible underlying disorder. Fortunately, Sweet syndrome is an uncommon disorder and most cases are linked to benign causes or simply unexplainable.

Dr. …

Continue reading ASK DR. H: Sweet syndrome may signal serious illness »