Saturday, July 23, 2011

Be alert to additives


Every day we consume food additives that could be harming us and our children, so what can we do about it?

A few months ago I wrote about how much we are exposed to chemicals in our day to day lives – in our food, our homes, in the products we buy, and the clothes we wear.
It’s no wonder rates of cancer, asthma, ADHD and other behavioural disorders have climbed to alarming rates.
To make things even more bleak, problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes are also adding to Australia’s health crisis.
While we can take steps to eliminate many of the chemicals we come into contact with, we should also be taking a much closer look at what we put in our mouths.
Obviously a healthy diet and regular exercise is a good start, but have you ever stopped to consider what food additives you are unknowingly putting into your body?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Being second in line


From hand-me-down clothes to half-finished baby books, does second child syndrome really exist? 

As the eldest of my siblings and the only girl, I’ve never really understood the concept of second child syndrome. 
But now that I have two children – and they are both girls – I have come to realise that daughter No.2 has not had the special extras daughter No.1 had. 
I describe this as “special extras” because it sounds really bad if you say they don’t get as much attention, or they are not spoiled as much, or they don’t get as many new clothes or toys. 
Another whack of mother guilt just hit me in the face. 
It really whacked me when I was looking through some photos I took at a recent family wedding and I realised I hadn’t taken one picture of our youngest child. 
I took plenty of photos of our firstborn because she was a flower girl and a star on the day, but I didn’t take any photos of our littlest one (thankfully other people did, and thank heavens for USB sticks). 
I never meant for this to happen to our second child. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Genetic mysteries


Cystic Fibrosis is just one of many genetic illnesses which bring heartbreak to many families, but new research could lead to a cure
I’ve had a persistent cough for almost two weeks now and it’s driving me (and my family) crazy.
But I cannot complain, because this week I’ve been reading about what it’s like to live with Cystic Fibrosis.
The reason I was reading about CF is because a news story caught my attention.
Recently an international team of scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast has developed a new drug to treat Cystic Fibrosis.
The drug specifically targets the so-called Celtic gene which is common in Ireland.
But the researchers believe the breakthrough will have significant implications for all CF sufferers.
The scientists from Europe, America and Australia developed a drug that significantly improved lung function, quality of life and a reduction in disease flare ups.
“This is a ground-breaking treatment because it treats the basic defect caused by the gene mutation in patients,” said Dr Judy Bradley from the University of Ulster.
“Correcting the cells with this mutation shows that treatments aimed at the basic mutation can work leading to improvements in lung function and symptoms.”
As a result of their work, the researchers have been selected to join the European Cystic Fibrosis Society Clinical Trials Network.
The new drug will be submitted for licensing and is expected to be available to patients by as early as next year.
To understand just how significant this research is, you first have to understand the disease.
Cystic Fibrosis is the most common life threatening recessive gene condition affecting Australian children.
CF affects a number of organs in the body, especially the lungs and pancreas, by clogging them with thick, sticky mucus (which is no doubt why a persistent cough is one of the symptoms).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sudden heartbreak


Be sure to adopt safe sleeping techniques with your baby
In case you missed it, Red Nose Day was held last week to raise awareness of SIDS and Kids - a non-profit group dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood, as well as supporting bereaved families.
Imagine putting your infant to bed one night, only to wake up in the morning to find them no longer breathing.
Or imagine nurturing your unborn baby for months only to give birth to a stillborn child. 
This is the horror that faces an average of 3500 families every year in Australia. 
SIDS and Kids CEO Leanne Raven says statistics show that about nine children under the age of four die suddenly and unexpectedly every day because they were either stillborn or from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or an unspecified cause or injury. 
“As an organisation that assists parents who lose a baby or child suddenly and unexpectedly we are dealing with the devastating consequences of this statistic every day,“ says Leanne. 
Having known about SIDS and Kids and its primary fundraising event Red Nose Day for many years, I browsed the website this week and was surprised by just how much the organisation has grown. 
Now with branches in each state, SIDS and Kids Queensland was formed in 1978 and in more recent years broadened its services to support people who have been affected by the death of a child from any cause – not just SIDS.
The support incorporates perinatal deaths (including stillbirth and neonatal deaths), drowning, car accidents, sudden onset illnesses and any other cause of death.