January 30, 2009

46 Medical Staff, One Woman, 7 Babies

Or was it really 7?

Dr. Harold Henry and his colleagues had followed their patient for 10 weeks, and knew just what to expect. The woman was carrying seven babies. Multiple ultrasounds confirmed it every time: 7 heads, 7 spines and 28 limbs, all packed into a space typically only several centimeters in diameter.

“Each time, we thought we were validating that there were in fact seven babies,” said Dr. Henry, the chief of maternal and fetal medicine at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in southern California.

But when the time for delivery came on Monday morning, there was one wrinkle. After the seventh baby was plucked from the womb, an assistant announced that he felt another foot.

“Quit joking,” Dr. Henry shot back.

continued…

January 27, 2009

Salmonella Outbreak Worrisome

Nancy Shute, expert writer on all things parenting for US News and World Report, has just described the current salmonella outbreak as the ’scariest’ she’s ever seen. Her fears don’t stem from the number of people sickened (491 and counting) or killed (seven so far) or the widespread geographical scope of the outbreak (43 states and Canada). Her concern is for the extremely large number of common supermarket items that are made from peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut paste.

Many items under suspicion of contamination are common products easily kept at room temperature, don’t require cooking, and are packaged to make them so easy to keep handy. Those same characteristics create an ideal living environment for the bacteria that is making so many people so sick.

Full story: Parenting Expert Says Current Salmonella Outbreak is ‘Scariest’ Ever

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

January 22, 2009

Ottawa boy’s invention to protect birds from crashing into windows

Eighth grader Charlie Sobcov wants to stop birds from dying in collisions with windows, but he doesn’t want to ruin anybody’s view.

For his latest school science fair project he has invented painted, plastic decals that can be placed — discreetly — right in the middle of a window pane.

“This paint is a colour that birds can see but humans can’t,” he said Wednesday on CBC Radio’s All in a Day. “It’s like putting a big stop sign in the middle of the window.”

The colour is ultraviolet, beyond the range of colours visible to humans. That means the “stop sign” lets birds know the window is solid, but is nearly invisible to humans.

Full story: Ottawa boy’s invisible invention warns birds about deadly window

January 14, 2009

Parenting and Presidential Advice

Bush reportedly has this advice for the Obamas:

“Tell them you love them daily. I have no doubt that the president-elect and Michelle Obama will have a fabulous experience with their little girls here in the White House. And I believe their little girls are going to have the time of their life. They will find that the White House is a fabulous place to live. They will find that it is full of people who work hard to make their family comfortable.”

Full story