Health Scan: 'Law against abandoning children under six must be enforced'

Israel Council for the Child chairman says only a minuscule number of negligent adults have been prosecuted.

child abuse 88 (photo credit: )
child abuse 88
(photo credit: )
The 2003 law that makes it illegal to leave children under six alone - especially in a vehicle - must be enforced, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, chairman of the Israel Council for the Child. In a letter to State Attorney Moshe Lador and Israel Police's Ramle chief Sgan-Nitzav Shmuel Rosenthal, Kadman said only a minuscule number of negligent adults have been prosecuted. Not long ago, a two-year-old boy was left in the family car with the windows opened, but they closed electronically, leaving the child in heat of up to 60ºC. Fortunately, a passerby notified Magen David Adom, whose medics broke into the car and released the child. He was taken to hospital in moderate-to-serious condition but his life was not in danger. It was not the first case of the season. Kadman says the authorities feel sorry for negligent parents when children are harmed in such situations, saying that they have been "punished enough." But lack of enforcement does not deter other people. While public education can help, he thinks stiff punishment would have a strong deterrent effect. A few weeks ago, The Jerusalem Post suggested to Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman that warning stickers be produced and stuck on the driver's door of all vehicles. The reminder stickers would ask: "Have you forgotten a child in this vehicle? Check again and save a young life." Testers would not renew vehicle licenses unless the sticker is in place, according to this suggestion. Litzman said he would consult with experts and take action soon to minimize the number of young children left in vehicles. THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS Who needs sports drinks for energy? A new University of Texas study has found that a bowl of whole-grain cereal is just as good. The research, published in BioMed Central's open-access Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has shown that the readily available and relatively inexpensive breakfast food is as effective as popular, carbohydrate-based sports drinks. Exercise physiologist Lynne Kammer led a group of researchers who investigated the post-exercise physiological effects of the foods. Kammer and her team studied 12 trained cyclists, eight men and four women. In contrast to many sports nutrition studies, however, the exercise protocol was designed to reflect a typical exercise session. After a warm-up period, the subjects cycled for two hours at a comfortable rate, rather than the more frequently used test-to-exhaustion. "Our goal was to compare whole-grain cereal plus milk to sports drinks after moderate exercise," said Kammer. "We wanted to understand their relative effects on glycogen repletion and muscle protein synthesis. We found that the replenishment of muscle fuel was just as good after whole grain-cereal consumption, and that some aspects of protein synthesis were actually better. Cereal and non-fat milk are a less expensive option than sports drinks. The milk provides a source of easily digestible and high-quality protein, which can promote protein synthesis and training adaptations, making this an attractive recovery option for those who refuel at home," she explained. The researchers concluded that, for amateur athletes and moderately active individuals trying to keep in shape, popping into the kitchen for a quick bowl of whole-grain cereal with a splash of skim milk may be a smarter move than investing in a high-priced sports drink. PHONEY VIAGRA DISTRIBUTOR CAUGHT WITH PANTS DOWN Thousands of fake Viagra and Cialis pills were recently seized in a joint effort by the Israel Police and the Health Ministry's Unit Against Pharmaceutical Crime. A few weeks ago, the authorities received information that an importer and distributor of sex toys had imported large amounts of empty capsules and sold them to the illegal drug industry whose products are sold in kiosks. The drug unit of the Customs Authority at Ben-Gurion Airport was informed. Inspectors examined shipments brought in by this importer, and the empty capsules were found. No legal documents were available. More recently it was learned that this same man distributes large amounts of phoney Viagra and Cialis pills. A Petah Tikva warehouse owned by the importer was searched, and 1,500 pills were found. Legitimate erectile function pills sell for about NIS 60 apiece, thus the potential black-market profits are huge. The man was arrested and is being questioned by the police. BACK IN TIME The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has a long (digital) memory. Every article published since the journal's first issue in October 1840 is now freely available from Some of the oldest editions include some famous authors such as Dr. Joseph Lister (who introduced antiseptics), nurse Florence Nightingale and Sherlock Holmes's "father" Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as important articles that have changed the world of medicine. An article published at the turn of the 20th century described a study by Patrick Manson and Ronald Ross - two rivals in tropical medicine research - who introduced the theory that mosquitoes transmit malaria. And, in the 1950s, the BMJ published two landmark studies that have transformed the way we live. The first, by Richard Doll and Bradford Hill confirmed the link between smoking and lung cancer, and the second by Alice Stewart, showed a link between low-level radiation and childhood leukemia. According to the BMJ, it has spent almost a decade scanning over 824,000 pages, often from thin, fragile paper, to create the complete and fully searchable archives; it was funded by the US National Library of Medicine and the UK's Wellcome Trust and Joint Information Systems Committee. Each issue was scanned cover to cover, and PDF files of the original pages were created for every article. Optical character recognition was used to create XML files, which allows full text searching. Access to the online BMJ was free until January 2006, after which the publisher has charged for access to its non-research articles (editorials, news, features, letters, analysis, education, shortcuts, reviews, obituaries and others). However, research articles remain free from the day of publication. This means that the v meets the requirements of the growing number of funding agencies that mandate free access to reports of the research they fund. On PubMed Central (, all theBMJ's non-research articles from 1840 until April 2006 are available free, without registration. On, all non-research articles published during this time are available free but require registration.