The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 26, 1996 · Page 11
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 11

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, September 26, 1996
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Page 11
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THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL Health CLASSIFIED/C4 c BRIEFLY Combination hormones curb heart disease BOSTON — Widely prescribed hormone pills that combine estrogen and progestin appear to be just as effective as straight estrogen in preventing heart disease after menopause, a study says. Many women take hormone supplements to ease hot flashes attd other symptoms of the change of life. Some stay on the pills for many years to reduce risk of heart disease and broken bones. The risk of heart disease was 61 percent lower in postmenopausal women taking combination hormones than in those who took no hormones, and it was 40 percent lower in those on estrogen alone. 1 Hormones after menopause may have other benefits, too. Research suggests the treatment lowers the risk of broken bones, Alzheimer's disease and colon cancer. Two medications ease motion sickness ;HOUSTON — Does motion sickness often derail your travel plans? One doctor says it doesn't have to. "Motion sickness is caused when there is conflict between what you see and how the inner ear feels it," said Dr. Helen Cohen of Baylor College. "This causes ' your brain to be confused, sending signals that can result in higher heart rates, rapid breathing, nausea and sweating." There are some medications and common-sense tips that head off the dizzy feeling. Two effective over-the-counter medicines are meclizine and diphenhydramine. Be, sure to follow instructions carefully. -Then, if you still feel queasy, try the following: • Stay in well-ventilated areas. • Avoid overeating and alcohol before the trip. • Focus on an area slightly above the horizon to help your brain realize motion is occurring. • In planes, sit over the wing, where there is less motion; in cars, sit in the front seat or drive if possible. Child-resistant packaging pays off You may gripe when you grip and grope that child-proof top on a pill bottle. But what's a minor inconvenience to you has saved the lives of hundreds of kids. In 1974 it was mandated that oral prescription drugs be sold in child-resistant packaging. And recently, the American Medical Association reports, a study by the U.S: Consumer Product Safety Commission found a reduced mortality rate for children younger than 5 from unintentional irigestion of prescription drugs. Gregory B. Rodgers, Ph.D., evaluated the statistics from 1964 to 1992. In the late '60s, there were 3.5 deaths per million children; by the early '90s, that dropped to 2 per million children. Rodgers noted: "This reduction is substantial as well as statistically significant. It equates to about 460 fewer child deaths from 1974 through 1992. This averages to 24 fewer child deaths annually." But even this statistic could be improved. Many children die from eating medicine they pried from resistant packaging, which shows that child-proofing is not fpol-proof. Adults should always keep medicines safely out of the reach of children, no matter how it is stored. From Wire Service Reports T CHILD MOLESTATION T MEDICINE ethinking RICHAE MORROVWThe Salina Journal italin Some of the 2 million kids on wonder drug shouldn 't be By CAROLYN POIROT Fort Worth Star-Telegram F ORT WORTH, Texas — Second grade was a horrible year for Michael. A meticulous child, he spent most of kindergarten and a lot of first grade sitting in the hall at Wood Elementary in suburban Arlington. He was increasingly less able to handle stress, and became angry over the least imperfection in himself or others. He was impulsive and always picking at other children. The summer before second grade, Michael was diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder and was prescribed Ritalin. Instead of getting better, everything got worse. If he struck out in a little league baseball game, he would cry and pout, or he might throw down his bat, kick at his friends and shout at everyone. If some of his classmates left their desks while the teacher was out of the room for a minute, he became furious; he yelled at other children for misbehaving and demanded they do what they were supposed to do. In the aftermath, a child psychiatrist would say that putting Michael on a high dosage of Ritalin was like handing him a loaded gun. "It was like living with Sybil while he was on Ritalin," his mother said recently. The most popular prescription drug marketed for children in this country, methylphenidate, sold mostly under the brand name Ritalin, helps some children turn their lives around. Kids who "Medication should not be used without clear evidence that a child's attentional difficulties significantly affect school performance, cause difficulties with social adjustment or are associated with a significant behavioral disorder." American Academy of Pediatrics could never organize well, if properly medicated, can get organized. Handwriting improves. They are able to block everything else out and concentrate on specific tasks. But Ritalin's reputation as a wonder drug could be leading to its misuse. Teachers push parents to put "difficult" students on the drug, and parents push doctors. Ritalin is the only commonly prescribed medication for children that parents come in asking for by name, doctors say. At least 2 million are on the drug, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. By 2000, a projected 15 percent of the pediatric population, or 8 million kids, could be on the drug. "No other nation prescribes stimulants in such volume to its children," states the drug enforcement agency. Ritalin is medically indicated only for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a neurobiological disorder stemming from a chemical imbalance in the brain. But doctors are beginning to realize that children too often are misdiagnosed, and Ritalin is improperly prescribed for children with learning disabilities, personality disorders, behavioral problems, post-meningitis syndromes, severe anemia, allergies, low blood sugar, hyperthyroidism and various forms of depression. All of these conditions share some symptoms: easy distractability, difficulty with controlling impulses, restlessness, difficulty with planning and organizing, difficulty with following directions, a low tolerance for frustration. Ritalin is a stimulant pharmacologically similar to amphetamines. It stimulates the central nervous system to increase output of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially norepi- nephrine. By restoring the brain's chemical balance, it restores the ability to block out unwanted distractions and concentrate. But for children such as Michael, who was later correctly diagnosed with manic-depression, drugs such as Ritalin can be devastating. (Michael's name has been changed for this story to protect his privacy.) At 7, Michael became a loner. His lifelong neighborhood buddies became strangers to be scrutinized from across the street. See RITALIN, Page C2 DR. PAUL DONOHUE North America Syndicate Pressure on driver's back causes hives Dear Dr. Donohue: I just got a job that requires some driving over long distances. I am 45 and have suffered with hives most of my adult life. Now, it seems I get welts on my back, which I never had before. My doctor says it's the same as the other hives, which I suspect are due to foods to which I am allergic, such as shellfish. Are the welts the same as hives? — R.S. Dear R.S.: Folks get hives from dietary, chemical and physical sources. The outpourings of histamines occur in the hive-prone individual when he meets his trigger. Some react to heat. Your latest encounter can indeed result from pressure against your back, and that can be part of the overall problem. The hives appear at the point of the pressure. Some people get pressure hives at the waist from the mere force of a tightened belt. People such as yourself need to be aware of any potential pressure source. The answer for hives, whatever the source, is usually the same: antihistamines. Another possible drug approach to recurring hives is a combinaton of an antihistamine with cimeti- dine. Although we think of cimeti- dine as a drug to combat stomach acid production, it is actually a close relative to antihistamine drugs. Dear Dr. Donohue: A word, please, on being blessed with an occasional extra heartbeat. Seriously, it is very annoying and scary. Is it a problem? What about cure? — A.F. Dear A.F.: What we perceive as an extra beat is actually a premature contraction of the heart's lower pumping chamber, the ventricle. The weaker-than-normal contraction precedes a normal, more-forceful one, perceived as a dull chest thud. While startling, a premature ventricular contraction is essentially harmless. The heart usually reverts quickly to the proper biological cadence. However, rarely there are frequent episodes of premature contractions. They should not be ignored. Such an episode might call for control drugs. Sometimes, caffeine prompts extra heartbeats. In that case, the patient would need to avoid the drug. Dear Dr. Donohue: In this era of eating more vegetables, I was reminded of a textbook I read years ago. It said that eating peas can cause blindness. So I never eat them. Can you find out if there is any truth to all this? — H.S. Dear H.S.: I can find no reference to any problems arising from eating peas. Eat all you wish. Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him at P.O. Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077. Many causes but no cure for pedophilia Behind the grossness of their rjehavior lies sadness, anger By MELANIE PHILLIPS London Observer Service Most of us are as baffled as we are disgusted by-pedophilia. Why are certain individuals sgxually attracted to children? How can they so.';grossly deform the boundaries between adult and child sexuality and be so indifferent to |he harm and pain they cause? :At same time, the subject arouses potent fga'rs. Are pedophiles different from other people* in some fundamental way, or are "normal" people themselves merely a few steps away from perpetrating similar abuses? Concern is also growing that our highly eroticized consumer culture is playing some unquantifiable part in these horrific developments. Is a popular culture which churns out images of pubescent children in come-hither poses to sell Calvin Klein underwear causing a confusion which encourages the sexual abuse of children? And can pedophiles ever be treated so that the public know for certain they will never prey upon children again? Attempts to answer such questions uncover a great deal of professional uncertainty. But certain myths can be laid to rest. First is the myth that every man may be a potential pedophile. "I don't believe that every man is aroused by seeing a naked child run down a beach. They wouldn't even think about it," says Ray Wyre of Britain's Lucy Faithfull Foundation, which runs a residential unit for sex offenders. The next, related myth is that only men are pedophiles. Therapists and probation officers report that women may abuse both male and female children. "There are clearly women whose own experience of childhood damage can lead them to perpetrate abuse on children either with a man or by themselves," said Dr. John Coleman of London. "This is almost more difficult to acknowledge and it's more difficult for them to get help because of the extra taboos surrounding women pedophiles." So what turns people into pedophiles? According to Dr. Mervyn Glasser of London's Portman Clinic, the question is difficult to answer, not least because there are many different types of pedophile. "Pedophilia is no respecter of class or culture. Some are apparently 'normal,' such as the scoutmaster or teacher who abuses a child when the opportunity presents itself. These people are often married. Others are more disturbed, lonely, isolated figures." But why are these people attracted to children? "Crucially," said Glasser, "the child represents themselves. They are narcissistically making love to themselves and enacting what they imagine is being a loving parent to the child. Many have been fostered or been in institutionalized care." Some pedophiles want to hurt children. But many delude themselves into believing they are doing the child a favor. So what chances do we have of curing the pedophile? None, said Wyre. We must think rather in terms of controlling their behavior. He believes his residential program is relatively successful in this. "These people should never be abandoned," Wilson said. "Behind the grossness of their behavior there's unbearable sadness and anger. That all needs a hell of a lot of resources, time, skill, backup and tolerance." T ENVIRONMENT Trips often turn cold to sinusitis By L.A. Times News Service "Most people don't realize how travel affects the body, especially if they have a cold or suffer from allergies. Changes in climate and air quality, for instance, can cause a cold or allergy to develop into sinusitis (an infection in the air spaces surrounding the nasal cavities)," said Dr. Michael Kaliner of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy at Washington, D.C. Some of the hazards follow: • Air travel. Changes in air pressure, which occur mostly during landings and takeoffs, can cause congestion of the sinuses and lead to sinusitis. • Pollution and ozone. Levels of pollution and ozone are dramatically high in urban settings. • Chlorinated water. Swimming in pools treated with chlorine can irritate the lining of the nose. • Damp environments. Molds that grow on dead leaves, straw and grass can trigger an allergic reaction and lead to infection of the sinus. If you are prone to sinus infections, check with your doctor before you travel. He or she may be able to prescribe a medication to tackle an ailment that might strike. Also, any analgesic — acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen — can temporarily relieve the pain. SUGGESTIONS? CALL SHERIDA WARNER, LIFE EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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