Health Tips #70 ~ [Issue 0505-2]
May 12, 2005 08:32 PDT
* Shuffled Children Pay Mental Costs
Foster children moved repeatedly are more likely to incur higher
mental health and medical costs than are children in more stable
placements. Researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
say their study of more than 1,600 Pennsylvania children in the
foster care system, reported in Pediatrics, may help policymakers
better target scarce healthcare resources to the most needy
youngsters, such as those in their first year of placement. "A child
with medical problems, developmental problems or mental health
problems is more likely to drift from placement to placement and
spend considerable time in the foster care system," says general
pediatrician Dr. David Rubin.
* Feeling Sad? Pet a Puppy
Researchers have found petting a puppy can put people in a good mood
and help fight depression. The scientists from the University of
Missouri, Columbia, found interacting with animals creates a hormonal
response in humans that can boost mood. "Our preliminary results
indicate that levels of serotonin, a hormone in humans that helps
fight depression, rise dramatically after interaction with live
animals, specifically dogs," said Rebecca Johnson, professor of
nursing and veterinary medicine, who presented the findings at a
conference in Barcelona. "This hormone is critical in the
psychological well-being of an individual. In addition, we have
discovered that there is no substitute for the real thing."
* Spring and Summertime Allergies
This is the time of year that most people are looking forward to
being outside more bike rides, picnics, outdoor activities. But for
many, this is also the time of year that allergies start kicking into
high gear. Here are some symptoms to look for related to allergies. A
helpful reminder, they all start with F. In a Fog, their head feels
Full, their thinking is Fuzzy, they are always Fatigued - those are
general symptoms that people will put up with. If someone has a cold
for more than two weeks, it is usually not a cold. And that is when
they would go see a doctor.
Sometimes the doctor will do allergy tests to see what might be
causing the symptoms. What that involves is just wiping off the skin
and introducing - with a needle - a small amount of the proteins from
the specific grass and trees from that particular area where a person
lives. And you look to see if there is what doctors call a "wheal and
flare" response. If there is a little red bump that develops ten or
fifteen minutes after the allergen is introduced underneath the skin.
If there is a reaction like that, then that is consistent with
allergy. Once diagnosed, a person with allergies can help themselves
by becoming more aware of their surroundings -- like keeping track of
the pollen count.
And while there is no changing what is in the air, there are ways to
change how much it affects you. The environment you are in, if you
have springtime allergies, is absolutely critical. First the obvious,
if you are inside versus outside, inside will have far less pollen
assuming that it is tree pollen in the springtime. You are better off
sleeping in an air-conditioned room. If you are taking a long car
ride, keep the window shut and put the air conditioner on. If you are
outside and exposed to the allergen you should come inside and change
your clothing. You might even consider taking a shower to wash off
the allergen from your body - you will feel much better.
* When to Eat
Calories consumed at dinner and later are more likely to be stored as
fat than those consumed in the morning or mid-day, simply because in
general, we are less active at night. It is therefore very important
that you eat the right balance of fat, carbs, and protein at the
right times and that you do not overeat.
In addition to eating smaller meals more frequently, try to plan so
that you do not eat your largest meal late at night. The body's
metabolic rate has a natural cycle of highs and lows, peaking late in
the day and dropping to its lowest level during sleep. It makes sense
to avoid putting a large meal into your system after 8pm (in general
- this really depends on when you go to bed) when your metabolic rate
is beginning to slow down.
If you do feel hungry after this time, you do not need to go to bed
hungry; just eat something especially healthy and in a small portion.
Remember: you may want to try drinking a large glass of water to see
if that helps control your hunger/cravings.
If it is not possible to avoid a late dinner, eat a small snack prior
to the meal so that you do not lose control and overeat later. By
sitting down to dinner pleasantly hungry rather than famished, you
will make wiser food choices and likely stop eating when you are
Also pay attention to the quality of the foods you eat at dinner and
afterward. Since the foods you eat in the evening are less likely to
be used as energy and more likely to be stored as fat, eat a
well-balanced meal low in fat and low in simple carbs (sugars and
processed foods) and higher in protein.
Remember that it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to realize you
are full. Eat slowly and take a break before deciding to go back for
seconds; this gives your brain time to catch up with your stomach.
Then decide if you really want more.