Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tax 1st Quartile 2nd 3rd (Middle) 4th Next 15% Next 4% Top 1%

Sales Tax 6.30% 4.50% 3.50% 3.00% 2.10% 1.30% 0.70%

Property Tax 5.50% 3.90% 4.20% 4.50% 3.90% 3.30% 0.90%

Income Tax 0.10% 1.40% 2.90% 3.60% 4.20% 4.00% 5%

Total CT Tax 12% 9.70% 10.70% 11% 10.20% 8.70% 6.50%

Total CT Tax 12% 9.70% 9.90% 9.60% 8.50% 7.60% 4.90%
w/ FedOffset

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anesthesia Exposure=Kid's Learning Disabilities

Mayo Researchers Find Link Between Anesthesia Exposure and Learning Disabilities in Children

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that children who require multiple surgeries under anesthesia during their first three years of life are at higher risk of developing learning disabilities later. Several studies have suggested that anesthetic drugs may cause abnormalities in the brains of young animals. This is the first study in humans to suggest that exposure of children to anesthesia may have similar consequences. The finding is reported in the current issue of the journal Anesthesiology http://journals.lww.com/anesthesiology/pages/default.aspx).

Using data from the long-term Rochester Epidemiology Project (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/rep/), researchers studied the medical records of 5,357 children from Olmsted County who were born between 1976 and 1982.

The research team, led by Robert Wilder, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist, found that although one exposure to anesthesia was not harmful, more than one almost doubled the risk that a child would be identified as having a learning disability before age 19. The risk also increased with longer durations of anesthesia.

"It's very important for parents and families to understand that although we see a clear difference in the frequency of learning disabilities in children exposed to anesthesia, we don't know whether these differences are actually caused by anesthesia," says Randall Flick, M.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and co-author of the study.

"The problem is that anyone who underwent an anesthetic also had surgery," says Dr. Wilder. "It's unclear whether it's the anesthetic, the physiological stress of surgery or perhaps the medical problems that made surgery necessary that are responsible for the learning disabilities."

Young children's brains are more vulnerable to a variety of problems because they are undergoing dynamic growth. The brain is rapidly forming connections between cells and trimming excess cells and connections, says Dr. Wilder.

The general anesthesia chemicals in use during the study period were primarily halothane and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Although halothane is no longer used in the U.S., it has been replaced by newer agents that have similar effects on the brain. Nitrous oxide is widely used throughout the U.S. and the world.

Debate exists about the developmental correlation between the animal (rodent) and human studies. Some think that the related exposure period would be perinatal in humans (the last month of pregnancy and first six months after birth), so the researchers repeated their analysis, examining anesthetic exposure before age 2, and found similar results.

"Parents and physicians need to balance this information along with the normal decisions that we all go through when we decide to have surgery for one of our children," says Dr. Flick. "Although alternatives to the use of these medications exist, they are limited. Certainly, performing surgery without appropriate use of anesthesia is unacceptable."

The children in the study were tested as a natural part of the educational process in the Rochester school system. They did not perform as well in reading, writing or math as their IQ tests indicated.

Other studies have linked anesthesia exposure in young children to behavioral problems. Dr. Flick says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of the possible problems with anesthesia. "They've been very proactive in trying to gather information as quickly and thoughtfully as possible," Dr. Flick says, "but much more research is needed before we could conclude that anesthesia itself causes problems." He also encourages families with questions to go to the Web sites of the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia.

The research team is working to obtain funding to extend the database for 10 more years (1982-1992), a period that would include the use of more modern anesthetics. They are also working with the FDA to complete a study that matches children who had an anesthetic with children who have a similar medical problem but did not receive an anesthetic.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Classifying concussions could help kids

It's estimated that more than a half million kids in the U.S. go to the hospital each year with a concussion.* That's an average of a kid per minute- every minute of every day. Some concussions are worse than others but it might surprise you to know that almost all of them are treated the same. New research is pointing toward a more sophisticated way of diagnosing and treating concussions in kids.

13 year old Dustin Edens had to work on his game by himself for a few days, after a recent run-in with a teammate during basketball practice.

"He drove right around the pick and came at me and hit me with his shoulder first, right into my chest, and my head bounced off the ground," says Dustin.

It was Dustin's third concussion in two months, although it might surprise you to know that it's often hard for doctors to tell where one concussion ends and another begins.

"We don't have tests that tell us when someone has recovered from their concussion," says Karl Klamar, MD at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Instead doctors have to rely mostly on patients to tell them when they feel better. Things like headaches, fatigue, and irritability can all be signs that the concussion is lingering, and in some cases they can linger a long time.

"There is this group of kids that are at risk and do seem to be able to continue to have these symptoms even up to a year after their injury," says Keith Yeates, PhD at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

To better understand which kids may be at risk Doctor Yeates, of Nationwide Children's Hospital followed nearly 200 children with concussions for a year. His study, published in Pediatrics, found that while most kids had few problems, one out of every four experiences significant post concussive symptoms, some of which never fully resolved. And those whose concussions resulted in a loss of consciousness, amnesia or an abnormal CT scan were more likely to have symptoms that persist.

"We do know that there are kids at risk, and we can begin to identify them, monitor them over time and provide appropriate intervention and assistance if they have these symptoms," says Dr. Yeates.

Doctor Yeates believes classifying concussions as high risk or low risk may help physicians determine which patients need special attention, which could give them a better "shot" at a faster recovery. So how do you know if your child has suffered a concussion? For tips and symptoms you should watch for, log on it www.NationwideChildrens.org, keyword "concussion."

*Longitudinal Trajectories of Postconcussive Symptoms in Children With Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries and Their Relationship to Acute Clinical Status, Pediatrics, Volume 123, Number 3, March, 2009.

Kids like vegetables w/catchy new names

Names turn preschoolers into vegetable lovers

Do you have a picky preschooler who's avoiding their vegetables? A new Cornell University study shows that giving vegetables catchy new names – like X-Ray Vision Carrots and Tomato Bursts – left preschoolers asking for more.

When 186 four-year olds were given carrots called "X-ray Vision Carrots" ate nearly twice as much as they did on the lunch days when they were simply labeled as "carrots." The Robert Wood Johnson-funded study also showed the influence of these names might persist. Children continued to eat about 50% more carrots even on the days when they were no longer labeled. The new findings were presented on Monday at the annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association in Washington DC.

"Cool names can make for cool foods," says lead author Brian Wansink. "Whether it be 'power peas' or 'dinosaur broccoli trees,' giving a food a fun name makes kids think it will be more fun to eat. And it seems to keep working – even the next day," said Wansink.

Similar results have been found with adults. A restaurant study showed that when the Seafood Filet was changed to "Succulent Italian Seafood Filet," sales increased by 28% and taste rating increased by 12%. "Same food, but different expectations, and a different experience," said Wansink, author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Eat More Than We Think."

Although the study was conducted in pre-schools, the researchers believe the same naming tricks can work with children. "I've been using this with my kids," said researcher Collin Payne, "Whatever sparks their imagination seems to spark their appetite."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Early childhood diet may influence future health

New kinesiology research shows early diet may have a profound influence on adult obesity, diabetes

If you have trouble keeping weight off and you're wondering why – the surprising answer may well be the cheeseburgers you ate – when you were a toddler.

Surprising new research by University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology researcher Dr. Raylene Reimer, published in an international journal, indicates a direct connection between an adult's propensity to put on weight and our early childhood diet.

Reimer is a leader in a growing field of study that examines the developmental origins of health and disease. Researchers in this area believe our pre-natal and early childhood environment influences our future risk of developing conditions like cardio vascular disease, obesity and diabetes.

"My research has shown that the food we eat changes how active certain genes in our body are – what we call genetic expression. In particular we believe that our diet has a direct influence on the genes that control how our bodies store and use nutrients," says Reimer. "There's a growing body of work that indicates a relationship between our health as adults and our early diet, and even our mother's diet. This research shows for the first time that our early childhood diet may have a huge impact on our health as adults."

Reimer's study published in the current Journal of Physiology (London,) compares three groups of rats. At a very young age the rats were weaned onto three separate diets. One group was fed a high protein diet; one group was fed a high fibre diet and a third group was fed a control diet. When the rats became adults, they were switched to a high fat, high sugar diet, which reflects the reality of the typical western diet.

The results were astonishing. The group of rats who were reared on the high protein diet as packed on much more weight and body fat than the rats who had 'grown up' eating the high-fibre diet, who put on the least amount of weight and body fat.

"I believe this study clearly shows that the composition of early childhood diet may have a direct lifelong impact on genes that control metabolism and obesity risk," says Reimer. "This study clearly indicates that diet composition alone can change the trajectory of circulating satiety hormones and metabolic pathways that influence how we gain weight or control blood sugar as adults."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vicks® VapoRub® Not Good Idea

New research out of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that Vicks® VapoRub®, the popular menthol compound used to relieve symptoms of cough and congestion, may instead create respiratory distress in infants and small children.

The study appears in this month’s issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, and reports that the product may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation, which can have severe effects on breathing infants or young children because of the small size of their airways.

“The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway,” said Bruce K. Rubin, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor in the department of pediatrics at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist. “Infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of adults, so any increase in mucus or inflammation can narrow them more severely.”

Vicks® VapoRub® was first compounded in 1891, in Greensboro. It was introduced in 1905 with the name Vick’s Magic Croup Salve. The flu epidemic of 1918 increased sales from $900,000 to $2.9 million in just one year and Procter & Gamble has since marketed the product as “The only thing more powerful than a mother’s touch.”

The salve is widely used to relieve symptoms of colds and congestion, but there are few data supporting an actual clinical benefit, according to Rubin. Vicks has been reported to cause inflammation in the eyes, mental status changes, lung inflammation, liver damage, constriction of airways and allergic reactions.

Interest in conducting the study developed after Rubin and colleagues treated an infant who was taken to the emergency room after developing severe respiratory distress following the application of Vicks directly under her nose. Researchers sought to determine the effect of the product on the respiratory system using ferrets, which have an airway anatomy and cellular composition similar to humans. The team conducted tests on healthy ferrets and ferrets that had tracheal inflammation (simulating a person with a chest infection) that measured the effects of Vicks on mucus secretion and buildup in the airways, and fluid buildup in the lungs.

Results showed that Vicks exposure increased mucus secretion in both normal and inflamed airways. In addition, the studies showed that exposure to the product decreased the rate by which mucus was cleared from the trachea.

The findings support current product labeling, which indicates the product should not be used on children under 2 years of age. However, many parents continue to use Vicks on their sick children, often rubbing the salve on the feet or chest, Rubin said.

“I recommend never putting Vicks in, or under, the nose of anybody—adult or child,” Rubin said. “I also would follow the directions and never use it at all on children under age 2.”

Even when directions are followed, Vicks will make people with congestion more comfortable, but it does nothing to increase airflow or actually relieve congestion, Rubin added.

“Some of the ingredients in Vicks, notably the menthol, trick the brain into thinking that it is easier to breathe by triggering a cold sensation, which is processed as indicating more airflow,” he said. “Vicks may make you feel better but it can’t help you breathe better.”

In addition to Vicks® VapoRub®, decongestants are not recommended for young children.

“Mucus is one of the most effective ways that our body protects our air passages like the nose and bronchial tubes,” Rubin said. “However, lots of mucus and inflammation can cause congestion, especially in little noses. Cough and cold medicines and decongestants are dangerous and neither effective nor safe for young children. Medications to dry up nasal passages also have problems,” Rubin said. “The best treatments for congestion are a bit of saline (salt water) and gentle rubber bulb suction, warm drinks or chicken soup, and, often, just letting the passage of time heal the child.”

Dr. Rubin also notes that if a child is struggling to breathe, it is a medical emergency and would require the child to be seen by a doctor as quickly as possible.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Danger of heavy toilet seats to male toddlers

Doctors issue warning about the danger of heavy toilet seats to male toddlers

Keep the seat up or change it say urologists after increase in penis crush injuries

Doctors have expressed considerable concerns about the growing trend for heavy wooden and ornamental toilet seats after a number of male toddlers were admitted with crush injuries to their penises.

Writing in the December issue of BJU International, Dr Joe Philip and his colleagues at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, report on four boys under the age of four, who were admitted with injuries serious enough to require an overnight stay.

"As Christmas approaches many families will be visiting relatives and friends and their recently toilet trained toddlers will be keen to show how grown up they are by going to the toilet on their own" he says.

"It is important that parents check out the toilet seats in advance, not to mention the ones they have in their own homes, and accompany their children if necessary.

"A recent market research report has suggested that there has been a worldwide increase in the number of wooden and ceramic toilet seats sold. We would not be surprised to hear that other colleagues have noticed an increase in penis crush injuries as a result of this."

The four boys, aged from two to four, all attended as urological emergencies.

All had been recently toilet trained and they were using the toilet on their own. They had lifted the toilet seats, which had then fallen back down, crushing their penises.

Three had a build up of fluid in their foreskin, but were still able to pass urine, and the fourth had glanular tenderness.

Luckily there were no urethal injuries or bleeding and the symptoms settled down with pain relief. All the children were able to go home the next day.

The authors have come up with four key recommendations:

1. Parents should consider fitting toilet seats that fall slowly and with reduced momentum, markedly reducing the risk and degree of injury.

2. Heavier toilet seats could be banned in houses with male infants.

3. Households with male infants should consider leaving the toilet seat up after use, even though it contradicts the social norm of putting it down.

4. Parents could educate their toddlers to hold the toilet seat up with one hand when they pass urine and keep an eye on them until they are confident that they are able to do it unsupervised.

"As any parent knows, toilet training can be a difficult time with any toddler" concludes Dr Philip. "We are concerned that the growing trend of heavy toilet seats poses a risk not only to their health, but to their confidence."