HEALTH

Sleep Apnea

Autism Treatment Morning Sickness Preventing Cancer LASIK Eye Surgery Save Your Vision Cope With Colic Deal With Asthma

Lack Of Sleep Getting You Down?

(NAPSI)—Do you wake up in the morning feeling fatigued after what seemed like a full night’s sleep? Does your bed partner complain about your snoring? If so, chances are you may be living with a condition called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes people to stop breathing while they sleep. Nearly 42 million Americans are living with the condition, yet at least 75 percent of the most severe cases remain undiagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a multitude of other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

Think you may be at risk? Take the “sleep apnea quiz” and find out:

• Do you wake up in the middle of the night choking or gasping for air?

• Do you find it hard to stay awake when you’re sitting quietly (for example, when you’re in a meeting at work or stopped at traffic lights)?

• Do you have the energy to do things you want to do?

• Do/did your parents or grandparents snore?

• Are you depressed?

• Do you have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease?

If you can answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may be at risk for sleep apnea. A diagnosis of sleep apnea can sound worrisome, yet with support and education, you can be on your way to a better night’s sleep and a healthier life. Wake Up to Sleep, a comprehensive patient support community, is here to help you on your journey from diagnosis to successful treatment. Visit www.wuts.org/FYI for more information.

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A New Approach To Autism

(NAPSI)—Many families may be relieved to learn about a new opportunity to try to stem the tide of autism.

The Situation

The rate of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder has reached epidemic proportions, impacting one in 88, up from one in 110 just a short time ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.* That figure jumps to one in 54 for boys.

Seeking A Solution

Because of this, Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®), the world’s largest newborn stem cell bank, has partnered with Sutter Neuroscience Institute and Sutter Institute for Medical Research to establish the first-of-its-kind FDA-regulated clinical trial that will assess the use of a child’s own cord blood stem cells to treat select patients with autism.

Understanding Autism

Autism is thought to have multiple risk factors including genetic, environmental and immunological components. It is the leading cause of delayed development in children, typically surfacing before 3 years of age. The condition is characterized by impaired communication, repetitive thoughts and behavior and difficulty in socialization. This clinical trial will evaluate the ability of an infusion of cord blood stem cells to help improve language and behavior. To ensure quality of the cellular infusion, only families that have had Cord Blood Registry process and store their baby’s cord blood stem cells will be eligible to participate in this trial.

The Doctor’s Opinion

“This is the start of a new age of research in stem cell therapies for chronic diseases such as autism, and a natural step to determine whether patients receive some benefit from an infusion of their own cord blood stem cells,” said Michael Chez, M.D., director of Pediatric Neurology with Sutter Neuroscience and principal study investigator. “I will focus on a select portion of children diagnosed with autism who have no obvious cause for the condition, such as known genetic syndromes or brain injury.”

Umbilical cord blood stem cells have long been used to treat a variety of conditions including certain forms of cancer, blood diseases and immune disorders. The cord blood contains a unique population of stem cells that can be used to rebuild the blood and immune systems.

“We have evidence to suggest that certain children with autism have dysfunctional immune systems that may be damaging or delaying the development of the nervous system,” said Dr. Chez. “Cord blood stem cells may offer ways to modulate or repair the immune systems of these patients, which would also improve language and some behavior in children who have no obvious reason to have become autistic.”

Banking On An Answer

“CBR works as a catalyst for medical researchers to advance stem cell medicine and this clinical trial is an example that sets us apart in the industry,” said Heather Brown, vice president of scientific & medical affairs at CBR. “As the largest newborn stem cell bank, we are the best equipped to match researchers with children who have access to their own cord blood stem cells as a potential therapy.”

The study will enroll 30 children between the ages of 2 and 7, who meet the inclusion criteria for the study.

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Data and Statistics, http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html, accessed May 2012

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Morning Sickness: What You Should Know

(NAPSI)—Eighty percent of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness, which, despite its name, can take place mornings, afternoons or any time of the day, sometimes even several times a day. In fact, more than half of all pregnant women have experienced three or more episodes a day.

Usually, morning sickness happens during the first three months of gestation, but as anyone who has been afflicted by it can tell you, that’s way too long. The hormonal changes women experience during early pregnancy may be at fault, but no one is sure.

If you experience morning sickness, here are a few natural remedies you can try:

• Snack all day. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day.

• Keep your diet bland. Avoid fatty, spicy or fried foods.

• Try liquids. If you are having trouble keeping anything solid down, it may be easier to get your nutrition from soups and juices.

• Choose complex carbohydrates. Starches are easier to digest, and some pregnant women swear by crackers and potato chips.

• Think mint. A cup of sweetened mint tea may soothe nausea.

• Ginger it up. Drink ginger ale, ginger tea or try ginger candy. A new Ginger Lozenge from a line known as Sea-Band Mama contains ginger oil and 40 mcg of folic acid to contribute to a developing baby’s health. The all-natural lozenge works by stimulating the production of digestive juices. It acts quickly to neutralize stomach acids and soothe tender tummies.

• Band it. Another option is the company’s acupressure Sea-Band wristbands, which have successfully been used to combat seasickness and carsickness.

• Rely on your nose. The company has also created an Aromatherapy Rollette to apply to wrists, chests or temples, either before the onset of nausea or once feeling nauseous. Inhaling the rollette’s essential oils—ginger, mint and lime—triggers the release of natural chemicals that relieve stomach upset.

Many mothers-to-be find that these remedies can make the early months of pregnancy much easier to get through. If morning sickness persists more than a few weeks, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

This product is available at Walgreens.com. For more information, visit www.sea-band.com.

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Preventing Cancer In The Community

(NAPSI)—Once the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States , cervical cancer is now the most preventable female cancer. Yet it affects women of color more than it does white women.

One reason is that women of color are diagnosed with cervical cancer at a later stage than are white women. Black women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than women of other races or ethnicities, possibly because of decreased access to Pap testing or follow-up treatment.

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by a persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). Almost everyone who is sexually active will be infected with HPV sometime in his or her life. Most of the time the infection goes away, but sometimes, HPV infections can lead to cancer.

Fortunately, many of the HPV infections that cause cervical cancer can be prevented with vaccination. HPV vaccine can decrease cervical cancer rates and help improve the health of women of color in every community.

Dr. Iyabode Beysolow, a pediatrician in the Immunization Services Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explains: “We have an entire generation of girls we could protect from getting cervical cancer. Every year, 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 die. If we can protect girls now with HPV vaccine, we could drastically reduce these numbers.”

HPV also causes vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal and oropharyngeal (back of throat, base of tongue and tonsils) cancers. Screening programs don’t exist for these cancers, so HPV vaccine is even more important for prevention.

There are many ways to reduce your risk for HPV-related cancer:

• Get the HPV vaccine for boys and girls when they are 11 or 12 years old.

• For adult women, see your doctor regularly and get a Pap test when your doctor recommends it.

• Follow up with your doctor if your Pap test results are not normal.

• If your doctor says you have cervical cancer, ask to be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating cancers like this.

• Help spread the word that HPV vaccine is cancer prevention.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/Features/HPVvaccine/.

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How To Talk To Your Doctor About LASIK

(NAPSI)—More than 16 million people have benefited from LASIK eye surgery. If you or someone you care about would like to be among them, consider this: The first step is talking with a LASIK surgeon.

According to a recent survey by the American Refractive Surgery Council (ARSC), 80 percent of people who need vision correction are thinking about LASIK—but only 2 percent make their way into the surgeon’s office to find out if they’re good candidates for LASIK or if the safe and effective vision correction procedure is right for their vision and lifestyle.

Some people avoid talking to eye care professionals about LASIK because they’re not sure how to pick a surgeon or what to ask when they visit the surgeon’s office. To help, ARSC offers a few pointers:

• To pick a surgeon, check the Internet, the chamber of commerce, and medical organizations such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Get referrals from friends and family members who had the procedure. Ask them about their experiences. Speak with your personal physician and optometrist. Once you find a surgeon, get additional references from patients.

• Ask about the surgeon’s experience. The more, the better. A reputable surgeon should welcome any inquiries into his expertise. It is not uncommon for a highly experienced surgeon to have performed more than 25,000 procedures. He or she should also meet the highest standards for selecting patients—including screening out those who aren’t good candidates. That can be 15 to 25 percent of patients. Certain health issues, thin corneas and other factors may preclude the procedure.

• Choose experience over price. It is natural to want to get a good deal, but you can’t put a price on your vision and health. You should never feel pressured to have the procedure performed; a consultation shouldn’t feel like a sales process.

• Ask about technology. All LASIK surgeons don’t have access to the same technology. Not all practices invest in the most advanced equipment. To ensure that you’re getting the best care, you need to understand which LASIK technology is available and why a particular one is recommended for your vision correction.

• Be comfortable with your surgeon. He or she should be eager to answer all your questions and help educate you so you can make an informed decision. You should be made fully aware of the risks and benefits. Be wary of a practice that overpromises. LASIK is a terrific procedure but there are limits to what it can achieve. Remember that your eyes will continue to change as you age and you may still need reading glasses when you’re older.

If you’ve been thinking about vision correction options, you can get information to assist you with your decision at www.americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org.

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Top Five Tips To Save Your Vision: EyeCare America Encourages Prevention And Early Detection

(NAPSI)—Many people take their vision for granted, but what if you started to lose your peripheral vision, developed a black spot in the center of your visual field, or even went blind altogether? For almost 4 million American seniors living with serious vision loss or blindness, these and other vision challenges can make it difficult to enjoy life’s simple pleasures such as reading, playing cards or watching grandchildren grow. Vision loss can also make it difficult to live independently, work or drive.

Not all eye diseases can be prevented, but certain lifestyle choices can help you keep your vision healthy. To protect healthy vision, ophthalmologists-eye physicians and surgeons—encourage seniors to follow these top five tips to safeguard vision:

1. Get an eye exam. To protect healthy vision, seniors age 65 and older should have a dilated eye exam every one to two years or as recommended by their ophthalmologist. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to find out if you or a loved one qualifies for an eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost with one of EyeCare America ’s volunteer ophthalmologists.

2. Know your family history. Eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma can run in families, so it’s important to know your family’s history of eye disease and talk to your ophthalmologist about any possible genetic risk factors.

3. Don’t smoke. Tobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including cataracts and AMD. Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop AMD than people who have never smoked.

4. Eat right. A variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are an important part of an eye-healthy diet. Researchers have found that people on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced AMD. For delicious recipes that incorporate these essential nutrients, EyeCare America offers a free, downloadable cookbook called “Feast Your Eyes on This!”

5. Protect your eyes from injuries. An estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year, so it is critical to wear proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries, especially during home projects like gardening and cleaning. Eye injuries can also be prevented by securing loose rugs, railings or other hazards that could cause falls or slips.

Seniors age 65 and older are at the greatest risk for eye disease and vision loss, and because diseases like AMD and glaucoma often have no early symptoms, comprehensive eye exams are especially important. EyeCare America provides care at no out-of-pocket cost to seniors age 65 and older through its corps of volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

EyeCare America is designed for people who:

• Are U.S. citizens or legal residents;

• Are age 65 and older;

• Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years; and

• Do not belong to an HMO or receive eye care benefits through the VA.

To see if you or a loved one age 65 or older is eligible, visit www.eyecareamerica.org. EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon. The program is endorsed by state and subspecialty ophthalmological societies.

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Coping With Colic

(NAPSI)—If you ever find yourself walking the floor with a colicky baby, here’s something you may find comforting: You’re not alone.

In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, colic—a condition where otherwise healthy newborn babies cry for more than three hours a day, for three days a week, for more than three weeks in a row—affects an estimated 20 percent of newborns in the U.S.—and nearly 80 percent of pregnant women are concerned their baby might have it.

“Colic can be a physically and emotionally exhausting experience for families, and many parents don’t know what to do to help relieve their baby’s discomfort,” says pediatrician, author and renowned children’s health expert Dr. Alan Greene. “Several colic solutions have been demonstrated to be effective for some children.”

The Doctor’s Advice

• Motion. Gentle movement, whether from a swing, a car ride, a ride in a stroller or a parent’s arms.

• Massage. Baby belly massage can help.

• Changing the mother’s diet. For breast-fed babies, eliminating certain foods can help—especially if there’s asthma, eczema or allergies in the family.

• Changing to a hypoallergenic formula.

• Changing feeding technique. Switching from nursing at both breasts at each feed to prolonged emptying of one breast cut colic in half in one study. Sucking on a pacifier or thumb between feeds can also help.

• Soothing noise. Heartbeat recordings, white noise machines, recordings of babies yawning or the gentle voices of parents sshhing, humming or singing a lullaby.

• Swaddling. Being wrapped snugly in a wrap, such as the SwaddleMe® wrap from Summer Infant, comforts some babies.

• Probiotics. Compared to placebo, taking beneficial bacteria reduces crying for some.

• Changing bottles. Nearly 80 percent of moms with colicky babies say bottles play a role in reducing the symptoms. Any bottle change can produce improvement in some babies, but in one clinical trial, switching to Born Free® bottles with ActiveFlow™ made a significant difference for 80 percent of babies.

“Breast is best when possible,” Dr. Greene says, “but for the times parents use bottles, those developed to help reduce gas, like Born Free® bottles, can be beneficial.”

A leader in premium infant feeding products, Born Free® clinically designed the unique ActiveFlow™ Venting Technology to reduce colic and gas. The two-part venting system was modeled after natural milk flow to reduce the amount of air ingested, compared to other bottles, and offer babies a calm feeding experience.

Learn More

For expert tips and facts, visit www.newbornfree.com/colicawareness and www.summerinfant.com.

To sign a pledge agreeing to donate an hour of time to help parents with fussy or colicky babies, visit: www.newbornfree.com/TakeThePledge.

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Spring Can Be Especially Challenging For Asthma Patients

(NAPSI)—While many people are excited about the warmer weather and blooming flowers that springtime brings, nearly 40 million Americans are also preparing for the onslaught of seasonal allergy symptoms. For some, springtime allergies can feel like a cold that just won’t go away, but for others, spring allergies can be a trigger for more serious respiratory conditions like asthma.

People with asthma can experience chronic inflammation in both their large and small airways, which in turn can make the airways of the lungs very sensitive. Similar to tree limbs, the airways of the lungs are divided into “branches,” or bronchial tubes that begin with the large, main bronchi and then break off into many small airways in the lungs. Increasing evidence suggests that these small airways, when inflamed, may play a significant role in contributing to asthma symptoms and attacks. If inflammation is not treated properly, each time the airways are exposed to triggers, like pollen or other spring allergens, the inflammation increases and asthma symptoms are more likely to occur. There have been many advances in drug delivery over the past several years, which have led to the availability of treatments that target the small airways in particular—and when used daily, as prescribed, have the ability to improve asthma control.

“About half of all asthmatics also have allergies,” said Dr. LeRoy Graham, pediatric pulmonologist at Georgia Pediatric Pulmonology Associates. “Spring allergies may seem like a small inconvenience to some people, but for a person with persistent asthma, allergy season can be very problematic, particularly among people who may not have been keeping up with daily asthma treatments before spring allergies hit. During spring allergies, daily asthma management is critical to help reduce inflammation in the large and small airways of the lungs and control asthma.”

While inflammation can be a defense mechanism for the body, it can also be harmful if it occurs at the wrong time or lingers when it is no longer needed. When allergens, like pollen, are inhaled, the body can mistake them for an invader and attack them. When this occurs, the body produces chemicals that cause inflammation around the allergen to isolate and destroy it. The airways of people with asthma are even more sensitive to allergens, which can cause the inner linings of the airways to become inflamed, leaving less room for air to move through. Additionally, the muscles surrounding the airways tighten up and the mucus glands in the airways may produce thick mucus, which can further block the large and small airways.

While asthma is a chronic condition and has many triggers beyond just spring allergens, it can be successfully managed and may not hinder people from doing the things they enjoy. A new website, www.GetSmartAboutAsthma.com, offers tips about managing asthma and inflammation in the large and small airways. The website also offers downloadable materials, like a symptom tracker, doctor discussion guide and asthma diary, so that patients can track their own asthma symptoms and triggers, during spring allergy season and throughout the year.

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