The case for helmets when skiing, snowboarding – Health Capsules
The case for helmets when skiing, snowboarding
‘Tis the season for skiing and snowboarding, and according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, wearing a helmet on the slopes reduces the risk of head injuries, saves lives and does not give people a heightened sense of security that might lead to more dangerous behavior.
That is the conclusion reached by Adil H. Haider, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who led a team of researchers in the review of 16 published studies on injury among recreational skiers and snowboarders.
“There really is a great case to be made for wearing helmets,” Haider said in a news release. “By increasing awareness and giving people scientific proof, we hope behavior changes will follow.”
According to information provided by Johns Hopkins, about 10 million Americans ski or snowboard each year, and about 600,000 injuries are reported annually. As many as one in five of those injuries is a head injury, most of which occurs when the athlete hits an inanimate object, like a tree or the ground.
Haider said traumatic head injuries are the No. 1 cause of death among skiers and snowboarders. He said some athletes have wrongly argued that helmets lower visibility, encourage risky behavior or increase the likelihood of neck and spinal injury.
“These are all just excuses,” Haider said. “Our research shows none of those theories hold water.”
In the U.S., recreational skiers and snowboarders are not required by law to wear helmets, but ski helmet use is on the rise in America. According to a National Ski Areas Association study involving more than 130,000 interviews, roughly 57 percent of skiers and snowboarders wore helmets during the 2009-2010 ski season, compared to 25 percent in 2002-2003.
A list of safety tips for skiers and snowboarders, plus answers to questions about helmet use, can be found on the National Ski Areas Association website, nsaa.org.
Siteman Fund grants $2 million to fight cancer
Five scientists at Washington University School of Medicine and Siteman Cancer Center have received a combined $2 million in grants for their innovative approaches to fighting cancer. The awards from the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Research Fund are meant to further promising early-stage science that because of its unconventional approach might not receive funding from elsewhere.
Alvin J. Siteman, an emeritus Washington University trustee, established the $25 million fund in 2010.
An external review panel recommended the funded projects. The grant recipients include:
• Dr. Kenneth Murphy, who received $900,000 for research aimed at using a rare immune cell to fight infection and possibly tumors. Murphy is working to find ways to improve the effectiveness of cancer vaccines and is collaborating with Dr. William Gillanders, a Siteman Cancer Center surgeon.
• Dr. Barry Sleckman, who received a grant in the amount of $894,000 for his work to develop a screening process to identify compounds that don’t harm normal tissues but can make malignant tumors more vulnerable to radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
• Dr. David Curiel, director of the Division of Cancer Biology and of the Biologic Therapeutics Center; Dr. Mark Watson, associate professor of pathology and immunology and director of the Tissue Procurement and Multiplexed Gene Analysis Laboratories; and Kyunghee Choi, associate professor of pathology and immunology, each of whom received $75,000 to help advance cancer research in their laboratories.
Mercy’s meals receive national attention
The Daily Meal (thedailymeal.com), a website that says it produces more culinary content than any other resource, has named Mercy among nine hospitals in the nation that serves food that “would fit right in at a fine dining restaurant.”
Mercy was praised for its food offerings and also for offering recipes for some of its dishes on its website.
Holiday food poisoning prevention
Food-borne illness is possible any time of the year, but the holidays bring additional opportunities for trouble.
To make sure food poisoning doesn’t spoil your holiday party, follow these tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods:
• When shopping for food, keep raw meat, poultry and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods, including produce and breads.
• Use two cutting boards when prepping foods: one for raw meats and seafood and another for ready-to-eat foods.
• Do not buy bruised or damaged produce or canned goods that are dented, rusted, leaking or bulging.
• When baking, make sure no one eats raw cookie dough or brownie batter containing raw eggs.
• Keep track of how long food is left on a buffet table or sitting unrefrigerated on a countertop. Throw away all perishables, including meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles, that have been left at room temperature for longer than two hours.
• Refrigerate leftovers in shallow, air-tight containers, and label them with an expiration date. To determine how long leftovers can be safely kept, refer to the free Is My Food Safe? application, available for Apple and Android devices, or the Keep it Cool Home Food Safety Chart, available at homefoodsafety.org/downloads/food-storage-chart.
• Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees F.
Better health in 52 weeks
Women who are resolving to improve their health in 2013 might want to check out “A Primer for Women’s Health: Learn about Your Body in 52 Weeks.”
Provided by the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, the resource offers weekly health information and is available online and as a mobile application. It offers guidelines and strategies women can use every day to reduce the risk of developing illnesses and conditions that can affect quality of life.
To learn more, visit 52weeks4women.nih.gov/sample-page.
Coffee and cancer risk
Results of a long-term, large-scale study by the American Cancer Society point to a link between coffee consumption and a lower risk of death from some oral cancers.
Authors of the study reported that people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death from oral/pharyngeal cancer than those who only occasionally or never drank coffee.
“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers,” lead author Janet Hildebrand said. “Although it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in the world.”
The study was published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Study authors say more research is needed to explain the biology behind the findings.
On the calendar
An Alzheimer’s support group will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Jan. 17 at Parc Provence, 605 Coeur De Ville Drive in Creve Coeur. The Alzheimer’s Association sanctions the group. Call (314) 542-2500 to RSVP.
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“Home Alone,” a program designed for children ages 9-11, will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28 at St. Luke’s Hospital’s Institute for Health Education, 222 S. Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield. The class is for kids who may be staying home alone for the first time or who need to learn more skills in order for their parents to feel comfortable leaving them home alone. Topics include handling the unexpected, stranger danger, simple first aid, dealing with loneliness and boredom, storm safety, trust and honesty. The fee is $15. For more information or to register, call (314) 542-4848, or visit stlukes-stl.com.
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“Healthy Resolutions for 2013” will be held from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Jan. 12 at The Lodge Des Peres. The event will feature group exercise classes, health screenings, an American Red Cross blood drive, tips for leading a healthier lifestyle and community wellness vendors. Des Peres Hospital will offer glucose and cholesterol screenings and body mass index (BMI) testing, and Premier Medical Specialists will offer walk-up blood pressure checks. Admission is free. To register for testing, call (888) 457-5203.