Health Scan: Some casts can be cast off

Fractured shoulders and elbows don't necessarily have to be encased in plaster.

cast 88 (photo credit: )
cast 88
(photo credit: )
Fractured shoulders and elbows don't necessarily have to be encased in plaster, according to orthopedic surgeons at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin who say plaster casts can harm future mobility. Instead, the broken limbs should be moved around as early as possible. Surgical interventions should be carried out only when restoring bone and stabilizing the fracture are needed, says Dr. Mark Lovenberg, an Assaf Harofeh orthopedic surgeon who underwent training at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. In addition, many elderly people suffer from inflammation in the muscles responsible for raising the arms above the shoulders, he says. This condition can be treated conservatively with physiotherapy, cortisone injections and drugs. If the ligaments develop tears, surgery is sometimes needed, and there is the option of arthroscopy - keyhole surgery that eliminates the need to make major incisions. Deterioration of the wrist and shoulder joints, the Assaf Harofeh expert concluded, are less common than problems affecting the knee and hip. But the ageing of the population is steadily increasing the number of such problems, and the use of artificial joints. These man-made joints can liberate people who have been unable to even raise their hand to their mouth. A few weeks after joint replacement, they can eat on their own. THE IMPRINT OF NEGLECT The absence of a loving caregiver in the earliest years of life can affect the activity of two hormones - vasopressin and oxytocin - that play an essential role in the ability to form healthy social bonds and achieve emotional intimacy. University of Wisconsin Prof. Seth Pollak and doctoral student Alison Wismer Fries have for the first time shown that two "social bonding" hormones can run awry when young children suffer emotional and physical neglect. The researchers, who published their findings in a recent issue of Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences, monitored hormone levels in children before and after they played an animated and interactive computer game while sitting in the lap of either their mother or an unfamiliar woman. The study appears at a time when many in the developed world are adopting children from developing countries who were cared for during their first months or years in orphanages with little emotional and physical contact. Dr. Toni Ziegler, an endocrinologist at the UW's National Primate Research Center, developed a technique for tracking vasopressin and oxytocin levels using a chemical analysis of urine. The scientists worked with 18 four-year-old children who had lived in Russian and Romanian orphanages before being adopted into homes in the Milwaukee area. Despite the fact that the children now live in stable homes - some for over three years - they still display some of the behaviors that researchers have come to associate with early neglect. The abnormal willingness of a child to seek comfort from unfamiliar adults even in the presence of the adopted parent is one common instance of such behavior, they said. The results do not suggest that victims of early neglect are biologically prevented from forming healthy relationships later in life, they stressed.