Health Buzz: Dental X-rays Linked to Brain Tumors

Hidden risks to children at home; 6 ‘bad’ foods that really aren’t

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Dental X-rays Linked to Common Brain Tumor

Frequent dental X-rays, particularly in childhood, may increase the risk of developing a brain tumor. Researchers analyzed 1,433 patients who were diagnosed with meningiomas—the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor in adults in the U.S.—and compared them with 1,350 people without tumors. They found that those with brain tumors were more than twice as likely to report having had at least one bitewing X-ray in their life. (For a bitewing X-ray, the patient holds the film in place by biting down on a tab.) Study findings were published today in the American Cancer Society journal Cancer. "Let's get the information out there, let's have patients and dentists talk about this and see if for a given patient, we might be able to reduce the number of dental X-rays they get," study author Elizabeth Claus of the department of epidemiology and public health at Yale University told Time. "That's the more important message."

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  • Home Safety: Hidden Risks to Children

    The child left his mother's sight for mere minutes. Yet that was enough time for 21-month-old Ollie Hebb to fall into the top-loading washing machine and become submerged in a full tub. The Utah boy died a day later, after suffering severe brain damage.

    Between 2005 and 2009, two children under the age of five died as a result of laundry room accidents, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Washing machine-related injuries are more common than deaths, says Scott Wolfson, director of public affairs for the CPSC. Aside from drowning, children may suffer burns from hot water in the machine, or injuries to their limbs if they come into contact with a rapidly spinning basin. "Kids are curious. We have to be very vigilant about our children, and really live in the moment and be present when we're supervising them," says Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, which aims to prevent unintentional childhood injuries.

    Washing machines aren't the only hidden dangers lurking in homes. Here are 5 others to be cautious of:

    Standing water. Drowning concerns extend beyond swimming pools. Any type of standing water—even if it's just an inch deep—can harm a child. "The bathroom is the riskiest room in the house," says Garry Gardner, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' council on injury, violence, and poison prevention. "Children lean over and look into the toilet or bathtub, they trip, and they fall in." Keep young children out of the bathroom unless they're being closely watched, and teach others in the home to keep the bathroom door closed at all times. Ice chests with melted ice, water buckets or pails, and whirlpools also pose risks. Empty all buckets, pails, and bathtubs completely after use; never leave them filled or unattended. And adjust the water heater thermostat so that the hottest temperature at the faucet is 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to help avoid burns. [Read more: Home Safety: Hidden Risks to Children.]

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    • 6 'Bad' Foods That Really Aren't

      Have you been depriving yourself of eggs, pasta…or chocolate? Well, maybe you shouldn't be. Research reveals that some foods we typically think of as "bad" really aren't. And nutritionists tell us that there's room for more of these in our everyday diets. The trick is knowing how much of them to eat—and how often.

      Eggs. This breakfast staple gets a bad rap because of the cholesterol content in yolks. But eggs—and yolks in particular—are a good source of protein and vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin A and iron), says Laura Cipullo, a New York-based registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Plus, a 2011 study from the University of Alberta found that eggs' antioxidant properties may help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. If you're generally healthy, and don't have high cholesterol, there's no need to only eat egg-whites—or to avoid eggs altogether. "My suggestion is always to have one whole egg and then add an egg white," Cipullo says. That way you're getting the nutrient-rich yolk but not overdoing the cholesterol.