- Bicycle Helmet Law Cuts Deaths by 52 Percent
- Sports Talk Stimulates Action-Oriented Brain Areas
- Another Study Finds Farm Life Protects Children Against Asthma
- Angioplasty Needs More Follow-Up Than Bypass: Study
- Maine Bans Smoking in Cars With Kids
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Bicycle Helmet Law Cuts Deaths by 52 Percent
Deaths among cyclists age 15 and younger decreased 52 percent after bike helmet use for children up to age 17 became law in the Canadian province of Ontario in 1995, a new study found.
The study found that the average number of deaths among cyclists age 15 and younger decreased from 13 a year to six a year, which translates into a life saved every two months, said Dr. Patricia Parkin, of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, and her colleagues. There was no similar reduction among cyclists ages 16 and 17, CBC News reported.
"These findings provide support for extending the law to include adults. The findings also argue for continued enforcement of the existing laws as it applies to bicyclists less than 18 years of age," the researchers wrote.
The study was published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics.
Under the Ontario law, parents of children under 16 can be fined if a child doesn't wear a bike helmet. Cyclists ages 16 and 17 who don't wear a helmet can be fined directly, CBC News reported.
Sports Talk Stimulates Action-Oriented Brain Areas
Listening to conversations about sports activates a part of the brain that plays a role in planning and controlling actions. This can help improve language skills of both athletes and fans because parts of the brain usually involved in playing sports are instead used to understand sports language, say University of Chicago researchers.
They used MRI scans to monitor brain activity in hockey players, fans, and people who'd never seen or played the game, United Press International reported.
The brain activation linked to sports-related conversations helps improve athletes' and fans' understanding of information about sports, even though they have no intention to act while they're listening to such discussions, said lead author Sian Beilock.
The findings show that the adult brain may be more flexible than previously thought, UPI reported.
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Another Study Finds Farm Life Protects Children Against Asthma
Children born to women who live on a farm during pregnancy have a much lower risk of developing asthma, eczema and hay fever, according to New Zealand researchers who studied more than 1,300 farm children.
The researchers found that children who lived on farms and whose mothers lived on farms during pregnancy had a 50 percent reduction in asthma and an even greater reduction in eczema and hay fever, BBC News reported.
Exposure to animals and the bacteria they carry may affect the developing fetus's immune system, including suppressing production of immune cells linked to asthma, the researchers suggested. They noted this beneficial effect may only persist if a child has the same type of exposure after birth.
"This study adds to existing evidence supporting the hygiene hypothesis, which states that early exposure to potential allergens results in a reduced risk of asthma development," Dr Elaine Vickers, research manager at Asthma UK, told BBC News. "However, the causes of asthma are still largely unknown and the processes involved in asthma development are incredibly complicated, including family history, environment and lifestyle."
The study was published in the European Respiratory Journal.
Angioplasty Needs More Follow-Up Than Bypass: Study
While bypass surgery and angioplasty offer similar results for heart patients with clogged arteries, those who have angioplasties are twice as likely to require another procedure within a year, new research contends.
For a presentation Monday at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Munich, European doctors compared the effectiveness of open-heart surgery versus angioplasty in a trial of more than 3,000 patients in Europe and the United States, according to the Associated Press.