A Fan in Your Baby's Room May Reduce SIDS Risk
Putting a fan in your baby's bedroom may cut the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, according to a new study, published this month in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. "What we found in this study is that if an infant had a fan that was used in the sleeping room, the infant's risk of SIDS was reduced by 72 percent compared to no fan in the room," study senior author De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist in the division of research at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., told HealthDay.
Experts believe that SIDS happens as a result of carbon dioxide getting trapped in a baby's airway. Risk factors that seem to up the risk of SIDS include infants sleeping on their stomachs and bedding that is too soft. Putting a baby to sleep with a pacifier seems to decrease the risk of SIDS, HealthDay reports. The new study looked at whether improving the ventilation in a baby's room impacts SIDS risk by comparing data from 185 babies who died of SIDS with 312 other randomly selected babies. Other than using a fan, having an open window also seemed to reduce the risk of SIDS, but this result was not statistically significant, the authors reported.
Two years ago, U.S. News's Nancy Shute revealed the deadly secrets of SIDS.
Circumcision and Risk of HIV/AIDS
Circumcision may not protect gay men from HIV/AIDS infections, according to a multistudy analysis published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The new research analyzed 15 studies involving more than 53,000 men, just over half of whom were circumcised. Prior to 1996, men who were circumcised had a 53 percent lower risk of HIV/AIDS infection, but more recent studies failed to show a similar protective effect. The reason for this may be that men involved in the earlier studies may have been having less risky sex, HealthDay reports. The only way to know for sure whether circumcision helps protect against HIV/AIDS is to conduct a clinical trial. Past clinical trials have found that straight men are less likely to acquire HIV if they have been circumcised.
Last month, U.S. News described the epidemic of HIV among black women and told how one young woman battles the virus. Earlier this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended HIV testing for most adult women.
Honey for Wound Healing
Researchers have discovered that an ancient and affordable remedy—a dab of a certain type of honey with potent antimicrobial properties—is a worthy weapon against an ulcer that refuses to heal, Adam Voiland reports. Using honey to treat wounds is hardly a new idea. Anthropologists have found evidence showing ancient Egyptians used the approach as far back as 5,000 years ago. Aristotle wrote of using the sweet stuff as a salve for wounds around 350 B.C. The practice has persisted to the present day in certain tribal areas in Africa. Yet the bulk of the 2 million Americans with chronic foot ulcers probably aren't aware of honey's curative power, says Peter Molan, a researcher at the University of Waikato in New Zealand who has been studying honey's properties for decades.
Voiland also explains why Manuka honey seems to help treat persistent sores.
The Importance of School Lunches
Does eating right make schoolchildren perform better? A team led by Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist and creator of the popular South Beach diet, recently presented findings at an Obesity Society meeting showing that improving the nutritional quality of school meals bolstered the academic performance of students over a two-year period, in addition to lowering their weight and blood pressure, Adam Voiland reports. The researchers saw significant increases in math scores among the 1,197 elementary students who participated in the Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren obesity prevention program, an intervention currently used in 79 schools in seven states.
—January W. Payne
Corrected on 10/23/08: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed to HealthDay the information that putting a baby to sleep with a pacifier seems to increase the risk of SIDS. Doing this appears to decrease the risk of SIDS.