Pre-teen children need help with hoarseness

Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center opens up outpatient clinic to treat children with hoarse voices.

August 19, 2012 03:44
Children in a kindergarten class [illustrative]

Kindergarten children 311. (photo credit: Courtesy


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Hoarseness is known as an occupational hazard among schoolteachers, especially in the elementary grades, due to teachers’ efforts to achieve some quiet in the classroom, as well as among Knesset members. But can it be that Israeli children under age 10 suffer from scratchy voices from overuse as well? Apparently so, according to Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center, which recently opened a special outpatient clinic to treat such cases.

Hoarseness usually comes from incorrect use of the vocal cords, say Yifat Nitzan, head of the language and speech clinic at the hospital, and Dr. Yoram Stern, director of the upper respiratory airways unit at Schneider.

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If the vocal cords rub against each other too much due to overuse and excessive volume, edema and calluses can result. Such benign growths are most common in pre-adolescence. Treatment by a clinical communications specialist includes teaching proper speaking and breathing techniques, which reduce tension and rubbing together of the cords, as well as other good habits. Many children with the problem have usually not received the proper treatment. Thus the Schneider clinic was regarded as necessary.

First, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist (otolaryngologist) uses a video endoscopic exam to diagnose the problem. If calluses are found, the childrenpatients are sent to a communications specialist together with their parents to receive an explanation of the structure of the throat and how calluses are created. Then they are taught how to prevent these from forming and shown how to reduce vocal stress in accordance with their ages.

UV Damage Reduced By Strawberries

Strawberries can be protective. In an experiment by Italian and Spanish researchers published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures was found to act as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing the skin’s viability and reducing damage to DNA. The study opens the door to the creation of photoprotective cream made from strawberries, said Maurizio Battino at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Italy, lead author of the study.

The team prepared human skin cell cultures (fibroblasts) and added strawberry extract in different concentrations (0.05, 0.25 and 0.5 mg/ml)to all but the control sample. Using ultraviolet light, the samples were then exposed to a dose “equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun in the French Riviera.”

Data confirmed that the strawberry extract, especially in the highest concentration, displays photoprotective properties in those fibroblasts exposed to UVA radiation; it increases cell survival and viability and decreases damage in the DNA when compared with control cells.


“These aspects are of great importance as they provide protection for cell lines subject to conditions that can provoke cancer and other skin-related inflammatory and degenerative illnesses,” said Battino.

The researcher recognized that this is the “first step in determining the beneficial effects of strawberries in our diet or as a possible compound source for ‘food integrators’ or cosmetics, for instance.”

But what molecules give strawberries their photoprotective properties? Scientists suspect that it is the anthocyanins, which are pigments that give leaves, flowers and fruits their red color. Analyses have confirmed that extracts are rich in such substances. These compounds have important anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor properties and are capable of modulating enzymatic processes, the researchers said. But they have not yet found a direct relationship between their presence and photoprotective properties. The researchers previously found that strawberries strengthen the red bloods cells and protect the stomach from the effects of alcohol.

Musical Catheterization

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, wrote 17th-century English playwright William Congreave. It is also good for cardiac catheterization. Dr. Aharon Primerman, head of the heart catheterization unit at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, is implementing an idea for reducing anxiety and nervousness among his patients. He asks them what their favorite pieces of music are, recites poems they like and even discusses philosophical issues that interest them while slipping the catheter through a vein in the groin and then to the heart.

Patients undergoing catheterization and angioplasty – in which clogged coronary arteries are opened up and a supportive stent usually inserted to keep the vessel open – are awake during the procedure. The more relaxed the patient, the better the invasive procedure goes, said Primerman, who has many years of experience. Some surgeons speak in a calm tone while others hold conversations to calm patients down. But Primerman prefers songs, poetry and philosophy. Not long ago, he found himself discussing Israeli poet Natan Alterman’s writings with a female patient. When the procedure was finished, the patient added sadly: “What, is it already over?” Six months ago, Assaf Harofeh neurologist Dr. Sergio Blumen was working with Primerman and learned that their patient liked the late French singer George Brassens. “Since I know his songs, we sang them together during the catheterization. Recently, he arrived for another catheterization, and I already had a disk of the music that he had given me after the procedure. Again, we sang Brassens’s songs together.”

Course Good For All

The Health Ministry recently gave the Center for Professional Training and Rehabilitation at Beit Loewenstein in Ra’anana recognition for a course it offers for demobilized soldiers to become dental technicians, of which there is a shortage. The practical course – open to those who have a matriculation certificate, agile hands, exactitude and patience – lasts for 20 months, at the end of which they receive official recognition as dental technicians.

The participants take courses in anatomy, restoration, material sciences and the preparation of dentures, implants and the principles of orthodontics.

The Beit Loewenstein course is appropriate for healthy people as well as those with physical disabilities. Those who are disabled are assisted by psychologists, social workers and others during their studies and their efforts to find work. The National Insurance Institute refers disabled students to the course and the demobilized soldiers are referred by the Israel

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