Medical News Notes – April 14, 2010

Posted Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 by Allen B. Ury

Medical News NotesSummertime eye protection advice. Diet tips for raising healthy kids. Iodine deficiencies from popular fast foods. These and other stories from the world of health and medicine are in this week’s Medical News Notes:

This Summer, Give Your Eyes ‘Sun Block’ Too

By now, we all know how important it is to use sun block on exposed skin to prevent skin cancer and other cell damage. But what about your eyes? Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to a host of problems, including sunburned corneas, cancer of the eyelids and even macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

The New York-Presbyterian Hospital/University of Columbia Medical Center offers these sight-saving tips for summer sun worshipers:

  • Always wear sunglasses outdoors, even if you have UV-protected contact lenses.
  • Choose sunglasses that offer at least 95 percent UV protection.
  • The best colors for sunglasses are neutral gray, amber, brown or green.
  • Wrap-around sunglasses are better than those that allow light in from the sides.
  • Wear a brimmed-hat to protect your eyes from light from above
  • Make sure your kids wear UV-protected sunglasses, too!

Children’s Hospital Offers Tips on Raising Healthy Kids

The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colo., has just issued guidelines to help parents raise healthy kids and avoid the many potentially lifelong health problems associated with childhood obesity. These tips include:

  • Make sure children eat a good daily breakfast that is high in fiber and protein and low in sugar.
  • Pack lunches at home and involve your children in their preparation. Be sure to include a healthy mix of low-fat protein, fruits and vegetables. Perhaps do all the week’s packing in a single session Sunday night.
  • Don’t send kids to school with money for vending machines.
  • Establish and follow a predictable schedule for snacks and outdoor exercise.
  • Eat at home as much as possible; restaurants, particularly fast food eateries, present few healthy choices.
  • Substitute 100 percent fruit beverages for fruit “drinks” (often just 10 percent fruit) or, worse yet, sugary sodas.

Get kids into healthy habits early — the benefits can last a lifetime.

Fast Food Diet Can Lead to Iodine Deficiency

Need another reason to cut back on the fast food? A recent study by Boston Medical Center reveals seriously low levels of iodine in top selling items at McDonald’s and Burger King restaurants. Iodine is critical to proper thyroid function; lack of dietary iodine is the leading cause of mental retardation in children. Good sources of dietary iodine include seafood, iodized salt and some vegetables.

Smart Diet Can Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

We’ve heard it all before: Eat a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and poultry, and limit your intake of fatty foods, especially red meat and diary products. Only this time, it’s not just about preventing heart disease and stroke, but Alzheimer’s too. A new study just published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows a surprisingly strong link between a classically “healthy” diet and reduced risk of memory-robbing Alzheimer’s disease in later life. So if you need yet one more reason to choose salmon over hamburger, here it is.

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