Sufferers of a condition called Barrett esophagus – in which there is an abnormal change in cells lining the lower part of the esophagus due to chronic acid reflux – are usually treated with surgery.

The condition has a strong link to a deadly cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma. In fact, Barrett esophagus is found in up to 15 percent of patients who seek medical care for heartburn.

But Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center now offers radiowave treatment instead of surgery to eliminate the abnormal cells and prevent the development of cancer. Dr. Dov Weinberg, head of the endoscopic unit in the hospital’s gastroenterology branch, explained that surgery for Barrett esophagus is major and complex. Patients have to be hospitalized for a week to 10 days and take a long time to recover, he said. The new, non-invasive treatment, however, is quick and does not require hospitalization.

A gastroscope is introduced through the mouth, bringing a cateter into the esophagus. Radio waves destroy the affected tissue, allowing new, healthy cells to replace it. The patient is send home on the same day, recovery is speedy and the patient’s longterm quality of life is preserved. The procedure is much less expensive and a boon for all.

PREVENTING HARM One of the biggest challenges to parents is constantly thinking in advance about hazards to kids – from swallowable objects on the floor to playing with matches to smoking – and how to prevent them. As parents, we’ve all seen our children teeter on a chair, leap from the sofa and/ or careen about the playground, fearing the worst. How can we teach them to be safer? Such was the goal of a team of researchers at the University of Iowa, who analyzed in a new study how children take stock of various real-life scenarios and how mothers can help them assess potential hazards. They concluded that the two groups don’t see eye-to-eye on situational dangers. Because of that, it’s critical that mothers explain why a situation is dangerous, beyond simply administering a verbal slap on the wrist.

UI Prof. Jodie Plumert, a co-author on the study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, said that “it’s pretty simple when the child is young, because parents directly supervise him. But what about when the child gets older, becomes more independent and goes out on his own? That’s when the responsibility for staying safe transfers from the parent to the child. And that means the child has to be able to assess the danger of situations.”

They showed 63 mothers and their eight- and 10-year-olds photos of other children engaged in various activities. Some – such as a photo of a child swinging a hand-held ax to chop wood or striking a match with a canister of lighter fluid nearby – screamed danger, while others, such as riding a skateboard on the driveway or climbing on a countertop, appeared more benign. Separately, the mother and child rated the danger of each scenario on a fourpoint scale, from very safe to very unsafe. Children also were asked to rate how scared they’d be to perform the activity, also on a four-point scale.

“Saying to your child, ‘Don’t do that’ or ‘stop’ or ‘be careful’ doesn’t really work,” Plumert says. “It’s okay to say that, but the next step is to say why not.

You shouldn’t assume that your child knows why not, even if it seems obvious to you.”

Mothers effectively pointed out the dangerous elements in the situation and explained how those current dangers could cause the child to get hurt.

Still, there are some children who are prone to injury, no matter what. These are the risk-takers, and the researchers learned that these children are more likely to view a situation as less dangerous than their peers. These children likely need more parental explanation to counteract their inclinations, the researchers say.

“In terms of intervention, the mother-child conversation might be especially important for these risk-takers, [more so] than with the cautious kids,” Plumert concluded.

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