Fighting iron-deficiency anemia

Clalit Health Services found that one in six babies aged nine to 18 months has iron-deficiency anemia.

By
April 25, 2010 05:24
Ear technology

Ear technology 311. (photo credit: AP)

Even though parents are instructed at family health (tipat halav) centers to give their newborn infants iron drops daily until their first birthday, a new study by Clalit Health Services has found that one in six babies aged nine to 18 months has iron-deficiency anemia. While it is absolutely the best food for babies, breast milk contains only minimal amounts of iron, which is needed for child growth and development.

The largest health fund examined 35,000 babies and found too many to be anemic. Dr. Revital Hevroni, Clalit’s Jerusalem region pediatrician, said that the lack of red cells in the blood due to inadequate iron reduces the amount of oxygen from the lungs that reaches the body tissues and removes the carbon dioxide from the body via the nose. As babies grow by a tremendous rate during the first two years of life, they need adequate amounts of iron for healthy development, especially of the brain, she said.

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Clalit’s Jerusalem district has devoted effort to increasing parents’ awareness of iron-deficiency anemia and expanded its reception hours for parents to bring in their babies for blood tests. They can now come to any of several Jerusalem clinics, including that in Gilo Uptown, Mekor Baruch and eastern Jerusalem, in the afternoons after their jobs so as not to do it at the expense of work. Clalit members don’t need a doctor’s referral for the test, and the results are ready the next morning, the health fund said.

BETTER TO HEAR YOU

When your family physician, pediatrician or otolaryngologist examines ears, he (or she) conventionally uses a simple otoscope that merely magnifies the inside of the ear. But now the Medton company (www.medton.co.il) has imported to Israel the world’s first otoscope that includes a 2.4-inch LCD screen and camera to produce the most accurate image of the ear anatomy. The high-resolution screen can help doctors give a more accurate diagnosis of ear problems, says the company, whose device can also be connected to the video-out port of a TV or PC. Thus all the data can be stored on a computer disk. 

It works on two AA batteries with enough power to keep the device working for up to four hours. But the cost of the device – NIS 1,690 – will be prohibitive to many physicians.

At a number of recent medical conferences, the new otoscope has been called a “breakthrough technology” in the field of ear-nose-and-throat.

ISRAELI HEADs INT’l DIABETES STUDY



Prof. Itamar Raz, director of the diabetes unit at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, has begun to co-chair a large international research trial on a Type 2 diabetes medication. Called SAVOR (Saxagliptin in Assessment of Vascular Outcomes Recorded in Patients with Diabetes Melliuts), the trial is aimed at assessing the effects of saxagliptin, Onglyza, a novel DPP4 inhibitor that enhances response to incretin (a hormone that works to increase insulin activity) on cardiovascular events in Type 2 diabetes patients. Diabetics are at higher risk of developing heart disease.

Raz will co-chair the study in collaboration with Dr. Eugene Braunwald of the TIMI Group in Boston, a world leader in conducting clinical trials that assess the care of patients with coronary artery diseases. The SAVOR study is sponsored by the Bristol-Myers Squibb/AstraZeneca Diabetes Collaboration, which is dedicated to global patient care, improving patient outcomes and creating a new vision for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, which is affecting growing numbers of people around the world.

SAVOR will be conducted over five years in several countries worldwide e– including Israel – with targeted enrollment of 12,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes. Onglyza has been approved in 40 countries, including the US, and by the European Union and was recently submitted for registration in Israel.

“This study is aimed at assessing that a new medication from the family of incretin medications has any impact on decreasing the risk of cardiovascular events and its related mortality in patients with Type 2 diabetes,” said Raz said. “It is an honor to collaborate with Dr. Braunwald and the TIMI Group and I look forward to working with them.” 

Two principal investigators – an endocrinologist and a cardiologist – were selected to lead the project in each participating country. In addition to co-chairing the international effort, Raz was asked to lead the Israeli research team in conjunction with Prof. Basil Lewis of Haifa’s Carmel Medical Center. An international scientific committee will supervise the execution of the project and convene once every few months to analyze the data and provide recommendations on the direction of the research. Raz and Prof. Eran Leitersdorf, dean of Hebrew University Medical Faculty are members of this committee.

EAT SLOWLY

Fast food may make those exposed who eat it regularly impatient and less willing to save money, according to researchers Chen-Bo Zhong and Sanford DeVoe of the University of Toronto. According to a UPI report on an article in the journal Psychological Science, merely flashing a fast-food logo for milliseconds on a computer screen caused study participants – compared to controls – to increase reading speed although there was no advantage to finishing sooner.


“The problem is that the goal of saving time gets activated upon exposure to fast food regardless of whether time is a relevant factor in the context,”Zhong said in a statement. “For example, walking faster is time efficient when one is trying to make a meeting, but it's a sign of impatience when one is going for a stroll in the park.”

In another experiment, participants asked to recall having fast-food subsequently preferred time-saving products such as two-in-one shampoo (conditioner plus shampoo) to regular products. A third experiment linked fast-food exposure to spending preferences – they preferred a smaller immediate payment rather than a larger later payment.

“The ironic thing is that by constantly reminding us of time efficiency, these technologies can lead us to feel much more impatience, DeVoe said.


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