Health Scan: It can be a short slide from fun to fracture

Healh Scan It can be a

Don't go down a playground slide with your child on your lap, warns a new study published in Britain's Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. A New York orthopedic surgeon who specializes in children, Dr. John Gaffney, found an increased risk of tibia (shinbone) fractures in toddlers when they slide down in this position. This was not known before, said Gaffney, who noted that "many parents think it is actually safer to hold their toddler while going down a playground slide. This study may prove otherwise." According to his study, when young children ride down, they place their legs in a fixed position, while both the adult and child continue moving down the slide, posing a high risk of broken bones, which can also occur when the child's leg becomes twisted, creating a torque. Children from 14 to 32 months can suffer a fractured tibia while sitting on a lap. Joan Mescall, a woman whose 14-month-old son Gavin was part of the study, said: "You think you are doing the right thing, and then you realize you contributed to this accident. Once a week, I see a parent doing this at the park and I try to warn them," she added. "Parents of the patients in this study, just like Joan, were dismayed and frustrated at the lack of public awareness," said Gaffney. "Although going down the slide with a child on your lap may seem like an enjoyable moment for both, it may be putting them in danger," he stated. LAUGHTER CAN TURN TO TEARS Tossing a toddler into the air to make her laugh can result in everybody crying. A 21-year-old man who played with the two-year-old daughter of friends at a family gathering in Haifa recently did not notice the twirling metal ceiling fan when he raised her into the air. The result was serious injuries to her forehead, nose and the area around one eye. Liraz was rushed to Carmel Medical Center with serious lacerations on her face and head after the mother - in shock - was unable to stop the bleeding with a towel. The child was wheeled into the trauma center, where a team of doctors consulted on how to save the child, whose head was very swollen. A CT scan found a fracture in the bone that surrounds the eye. Doctors feared she would be blinded and had suffered brain damage. Prof. Yaron Har-Shai, who runs the plastic surgery department, operated to repair the fractured bone. Dr. Oren Golan of the ophthalmology department was overjoyed to see that the fan blade did not harm the cornea even though it had passed one millimeter away from it, and that her brain had not been injured. She is now recovering, as the swelling and bleeding are receding. It will take a few weeks of hospitalization before the child can function normally, said the doctors, who warned against tossing children in the air - especially if there is something dangerous such as a fan or lighting fixture hanging from the ceiling. LOOKING FOR ARAB BONE MARROW Due to the low representation of Arab tissue types in the Hadassah University Medical Center's bone-marrow data bank, the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) has taken upon itself to collect blood samples from Arabs to find potential donors for those who suffer from leukemia, other cancers and certain genetic diseases that can be treated with compatible bone marrow. The Hadassah project is headed by Dr. Amal Bashara of the hospital's tissue-typing unit. The medical center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem has a national bone-marrow transplant center that serves patients from all over the country. Two-fifths of Israeli Arabs who need bone marrow transplants can't find a compatible donor because too few sample are stored in Israeli databanks compared to the share of Jewish samples. The proportion of Arabs who have given blood samples to bone marrow databanks abroad is very small. As ethnic origin is important in finding compatible donors, few "Jewish types" can save Arab patients. Recently, samples were taken in the Al-Nur Medical Center in Um-el-Fahm in the Galilee Triangle and Rahat (the Beduin city in the Negev). Muslim clergymen explained the importance of bone marrow donations and encouraged Arabs to give blood samples. SPECIAL DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR CANCER DRUGS A new technology to bring drug compounds straight to a tumor and starve it of blood has been developed at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine. Dr. Ronit Satchi-Fainaru and colleagues noted that tumors die unless they have a good supply of oxygen-rich blood to "feed" them so they can metastasize. They developed a new drug-delivery system that brings anti-cancer medications directly to bone cancers and reported on it in the PLoS One (US Public Library of Science) journal. The technology is aimed at halting the angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels) in malignant tumors by binding existing cancer drugs to an inert polymer that doesn't interact with the immune system. Among the cancer drugs that can be delivered straight to the bone are Alendronate and Taxol. TRANSPARENT HEALTH INSURANCE New regulations that will empower people who hold private health insurance policies as members of a group - such as a workplace - were approved recently by the Treasury. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called them "a vital step in the protection of the rights of the insured." The new regulations, which go into effect on July 1, 2010, will require private insurance companies to send comprehensive information on the policies to each new customer when he joins and when it is renewed every year. According to rules formulated by the Treasury's commissioner of insurance Yadin Antebi, each customer is entitled to see the contract signed by the employer or other group head and the insurance company. Every member of the group policy must give his explicit permission to join, even if he does not pay all the premiums. Antebi explained that conditions of group insurance policies are often kept hidden from customers, as they are not involved in determining benefits and may be completely unaware of them. Publication of the regulations increases transparency, he said. The customer must be given enough information to decide whether he wants to continue as a member of the group or choose another policy. More information is available (in Hebrew) on the Treasury's Web site at]