January 26, 2009

Sharing Bed With Infants A Bad Idea

The rate of accidental suffocation deaths among babies increased fourfold over the past two decades, according to a new study, despite a national campaign to encourage safe infant sleeping.

Authors of the study, which appears today in the journal Pediatrics, say the nationwide increase probably is the result of more thorough investigations and changes in how deaths are classified. Nevertheless, the researchers and local medical experts said the figures reflect a continuing problem and highlight concerns about whether babies should sleep in the same beds as their parents or siblings.

“These deaths are likely preventable,” said Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, an epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the study. “So this problem is ongoing, and we should not divert our attention. … We need an infusion of more efforts to make them reduce further.”

Researchers have long studied Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a term that refers to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a medical investigation. Shapiro-Mendoza’s study sought to find out if a newer, more specific category of infant death – by strangulation or suffocation – was increasing.

Full story: Don’t share bed with infant, parents told

Donating Umbilical Cord Blood

Today more than 70 diseases are being treated using stem cells and the possibilities for these remarkable cells keep growing. I’m not alone when I tell you that in the future stem cells will be used to cure and treat diseases now fatal or disabling. Stem cell discoveries in the 21st century will be like the antibiotic boom in the last century.

The reason for the explosion in stem cell research is because these cells have the remarkable ability to develop into almost any type of cell in the body. It’s a complicated process, but after years of successful research, stem cells are now considered standard therapy in the treatment of many serious diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, some bone marrow diseases like multiple myeloma and some immune system diseases. And the list is growing.

Full story: Banking on cord blood