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Health line

By Times Staff
Published May 30, 2006

Safety for cyclists

As schools begin to let out for the summer, it's a good time to review safety tips for cyclists. America's hospital emergency departments see an estimated half-million bicycle-related injuries a year, and the bike is the No. 1 cause of children's sports-related visits to emergency rooms. In Florida, a bicycle rider or passenger under 16 is required by law to wear a helmet that is properly fitted and fastened securely. When riding at night, a cyclist also is required to have lights. Other tips to remember: obey traffic signs, never ride against the flow of traffic, and never carry another person on the bike. Also of concern to emergency-room professionals - injuries caused by scooters and skateboards. Pads should be worn on elbows, wrists and knees.

No walking when comatose

Note to screenwriters, filmgoers: People look bad when they are in comas, and they never get up, unplug themselves from their machines and walk away. A recent review of 30 movies with characters in prolonged comas found only two - Dream Life of Angels and Reversal of Fortune - contained reasonably accurate representations of coma. The other films often portrayed the comatose as tanned, muscular and merely appearing to be in a deep sleep. In reality, the patients' muscles would atrophy, and they'd probably be incontinent.

Taking men at face value

New research suggests that women subconsciously pick up cues of interest in children in men's faces and that the women use those cues to determine if the men are suitable for long-term relationships. The same research also shows that women can accurately judge men's testosterone levels - a lure for short-term relationships - by looking at their faces.

Anti-psychotics and kids

"Children are receiving anti-psychotics with greater frequency and that may be because they are viewed as less dangerous than the older medications. . . . However, these drugs are not without their risks."

- Robert Epstein, chief medical officer of Medco Health Solutions, commenting on a report by his company that use of anti-psychotic medicines among people 19 and younger rose 73 percent between 2001 and 2005.


Wrist pain for Xbox crowd?

With the rapid increase in our use of such handheld gadgetry as BlackBerries, Palms, iPods and video-game controllers comes a likelihood that many of the users will suffer hand problems at an earlier age. Orthopedist Mark E. Pruzansky of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City warns that people genetically predisposed to carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic joint pain and tendonitis "who 'abuse' these gadgets . . . might have chronic pain at the age of 25 or 30 rather than at 50 or 55." Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pinching of the median nerve within the wrist that can result in wrist pain and numbness and tingling in the hand.


A spoonful of flavor . . .

Finally heeding Mary Poppins' advice that "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,'' the manufacturers of Children's Tylenol are offering a variety of sweet flavorings youngsters can select to customize the taste of the medicine. According to a recent survey conducted for the company, 70 percent of parents have experienced difficulty in getting their children to take liquid medication, and 62 percent of the parents said it was the taste to which their kids primarily objected. In addition to a bottle of "Cherry Blast'' flavored medicine, Children's Tylenol with Flavor Creator comes with sugar-free powder packets of these flavors: bubble gum, chocolate, apple and strawberry. Kids select the flavor(s) they want and the adults mix that with the liquid. This medicine is only for children ages 2 to 11.

[Last modified May 30, 2006, 07:12:00]

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