Tag Archives: Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Drinking Tea ‘Reduces Stroke Risk’

Here’s some good news for tea-lovers: having three or more cups of the drink everyday can cut the risk of stroke, says a new study.

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According to Lenore Arab, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, drinking the beverage can reduce the threat by as much as 21%.

UCLA boffins observed that the result was obtained in tea made from the plant Camellia sinensis and not from herbs. It was contemplated that anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate or the amino acid Theanine in teas may be what leads to the reduced risks.

“By drinking three cups of tea a day, the risk of a stroke was reduced 21%,” the New York Daily News quoted Arab as saying. “That’s why these findings are so exciting. If we can find a way to prevent the stroke, or prevent the damage, that is simple and not toxic, that would be a great advance,” he added.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Leukaemia Cell Culprit Discovered

A study of four-year-old twin girls has identified a rogue cell that is the root cause of childhood leukaemia.The finding could mean more specific and less intensive treatments for all children with the blood cancer.

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..Isabella (l) and Olivia both have the pre-leukaemic stem cells

Both twins were found to have the “pre-leukaemic” cells in their bone marrow, although to date only one has developed leukaemia.

UK researchers reported in Science that a second genetic mutation is needed for full-blown disease to develop.

Leukaemia occurs when large numbers of white blood cells take over the bone marrow leaving the body unable to produce enough normal blood cells.

Along with lymphoma it accounts for almost half of childhood cancers.

Olivia Murphy, from Bromley in Kent, developed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was two-years old – but so far her twin sister, Isabella, is healthy.

Researchers found they both have “pre-leukaemic stem cells” containing a mutated gene, which forms when the DNA is broken and rejoined at another point.

The pre-leukaemic cells are transferred from one twin to the other in the womb through their shared blood supply.

But it takes another genetic mutation in early childhood for the cells to cause disease.

This second mutation, which may be caused by infection, occurred in Olivia but not Isabella.

Doctors do regular tests on Isabella to look for signs of the cancer but once she reaches adolescence it is thought the rogue cells will disappear.
Achilles heel

About 1% of the population is thought to be born with pre-leukaemia cells. Of these, 1% receive the second “hit” that leads to cancer.

Current treatments are far too aggressive to justify eliminating the rogue cells before cancer develops, which also means screening is unlikely.

But attacking the pre-leukaemic cells in children with leukaemia would be a better way of treating the disease and ensuring it does not come back, the researchers said.

Study leader Professor Tariq Enver, from the Medical Research Council Molecular Haematology Unit in Oxford, said: “These are the cells which drive and maintain the disease.

“Now we know about the cell, hopefully we can find an Achilles heel we can target.”

Professor Mel Greaves, from the Institute of Cancer Research and co-author on the study, said he suspected that the stem cells could escape conventional chemotherapy and cause relapse.

He said the study in the twins had been unique.

“There is an element of chance, we still have to work out why it happens in one child and not the other.

“We’re pretty certain it’s triggered by common childhood infection.”

Dr Phil Ancliff, consultant in paediatric haematology at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said 90% of children now survived leukaemia because of intensive chemotherapy, but that it came at a price.

Now we know about the cell, hopefully we can find an Achilles heel we can target” said Professor Tariq Enver
‘We were lucky’

Olivia lost the sight in one eye after she was unable to fight an infection due to her cancer treatment.

“A significant number of children are now being over-treated but we don’t know which children,” he said.

In the future, he added, children could be tested to see if the stem cells had been killed off after the first few weeks of chemotherapy with some being able to stop treatment earlier, sparing them harmful side-effects.

Dr Bruce Morland, consultant paediatric oncologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and chairman of the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, said: “The identification of the leukaemic stem cell has been one of the ‘Holy Grails’ for cancer biologists and this study certainly brings us one step closer.”

Professor Vaskar Saha, professor of paediatric oncology at Cancer Research UK, said: “This important paper shows how leukaemia develops, and how it can persist even after therapy.

“By identifying the cells involved, it raises the hope that we will be able to identify children at risk of relapse, and develop new, targeted drugs to treat the disease.”

Click to read :Childhood Leukaemia

“We know we have been lucky’

‘Stem cell find for child cancer

Children’s drug treatment boost

Sticky DNA helps spot leukaemia

Richer areas ‘child cancer risk’

Child cancer ‘three gene screen’

Sources: BBC NEWS 17TH. JAN’08


Child Feverish? Keep cool

Even in an age of medical sophistication, there still exists fear and misunderstanding about fever in children. “Fever phobia” makes it difficult for parents to know when to be worried and when to stay calm when the thermometer starts to climb. Take the following true/false quiz; knowing the facts will help take the worry about caring for a feverish child.

Any temperature over 98.6 degrees is a fever………..CLICK & SEE

FALSE. Most doctors feel that a temperature is not considered a fever until it is at least 100.4 degrees F. taken twice, thirty minutes apart, and the child is unbundled, quiet, and in a normally cooled room. Many body variables determine a child’s “normal” temperature. For example, temperatures up to 101 degrees F can be caused by exercise, excessive clothing, a hot bath, or hot weather. Warm foods or drinks can also raise an oral temperature. In addition, a child’s temperature may vary depending on the time of day it is taken (higher at night) and the age of the child (younger children generally have somewhat higher temperatures than school-age children.) A young child’s thermostat is far more sensitive than an adult’s; consequently a 1040F temperature in a 9 month old is equivalent to about 1010F in an adult.

Placing a hand on a child’s forehead is an accurate way to read a fever.

FALSE. Studies have shown that most parents could tell if their child did not have a fever by touch, but could not tell how high body temperature was if their child did have a fever. Fever makes the child’s face hot and a 101 degree temperature might feel the same as a 103 degree F temperature.

High fever can cause brain damage.

FALSE. There have been numerous scientific studies done to show that fever is not harmful at levels seen with most infections. Temperatures reaching 104 degrees F are commonly found in athletes during strenuous exercise. Therefore, it is not true that fever causes brain or any other organ damage. Certain infections, such as meningitis and encephalitis, may damage the brain, but it is the infection and not the fever that caused the problem.

Fevers can trigger seizures

TRUE Actually it is not the height of the fever that causes febrile convulsions but how fast it goes up or down. Only 20% of youngsters are susceptible to this type of seizure which occurs more frequently if there is a family history of seizures with fever. They are unusual after the age of three years.

Any fever in a child under two months is important

TRUE. Because of their immature immune system, a young infant will not handle infections well and may not show any other signs of a serious illness other than the fever. Therefore, when a little one has a temperature over 100 degrees, the youngster’s physician will want to know what other symptoms are present (poor feeding, vomiting, pale color, lethargy, etc.) and may want to examine the infant to determine the source of the fever.

All fevers should be treated

FALSE.
Remember, fever is not an illness but a symptom and almost never harms a child. The only reason to lower a youngster’s temperature is to make the child more comfortable or avoid a febrile seizure (in the seizure prone child). New research has shown that fever may actually be beneficial. Elevated body temperature increases metabolism and produces infection fighting cells. Viruses have been seen to explode under a microscope in 104 degree F heat. Some antibiotics work better in the presence of a fever. Therefore, lowering body temperature may prolong the illness!The best advice when dealing with fever is to “treat the child, not the thermometer.”

The higher the temperature, the more serious the illness.

FALSE. The numbers on the thermometer do not indicate the severity of the disease. A youngster could have walking pneumonia or an ear infection with no temperature and meningitis with 101 degrees F. On the other hand, pediatricians see children many times a day with fevers over 104 degrees F caused by a viral infection that will run its course without treatment. The general condition of the child is the main determining factor between a “very sick” and a “somewhat ill” youngster, not the youngster’s temperature.

A child’s behavior is a better indicator of sickness than temperature.

TRUE Probably the best indicator of a child’s illness is their level of activity and behavior. A youngster whose temperature is 104 degrees F but seems active and normal is probably healthier than a child who is listless, refuses food or drink, and has a body temperature of 101 degrees F. Fever is one sign of illness but it is certainly not the only or the best one.

Teething causes fever.

FALSE
Sorry grandma, but there is very little scientific evidence to prove that teething causes a fever. Although some physicians feel that the baby’s inflamed gums can cause a low grade fever, the temperature is probably caused by a mild viral infection modified by maternal antibody’s passed on to the baby during the pregnancy.

An alcohol rub is a safe way to reduce a fever

FALSE
The alcohol rub is now considered dangerous since alcohol can be absorbed through the skin and cause intoxication. The best ways to lower temperature include:

* Pushing fluids. Babies should continue drinking breast milk or formula; older children can have water, juice, Jell-O, ice cubes, Popsicles, or flat 7UP.

* Keeping them cool by removing heavy clothing and blankets and by turning on a fan.

* Giving medication to lover fever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

* Trying a sponge bath that contains an inch or two of lukewarm water.

One medication to avoid is in lowering body temperature is aspirin (including children’s aspirin), which has been linked with Reye’s syndrome in children and teens. This serious viral illness develops as flulike symptoms and can cause brain damage and, in some cases, death.

A child with a fever should not receive a routine immunization.

FALSE Immunizations are only contraindicated when the illness causing the fever is severe. A mild illness (such as an ear infection) is not a reason to withhold a vaccine, even if the child has a fever.

It is difficult to eliminate all the myths regarding fever. Nevertheless, it is important for parents to realize that they should not panic when their youngster develops a temperature. The only time to worry about fever is if the child is less than two months old.

Source:KidsGrowth.com