Archive for the 'Health' Category

Indoor or outdoor play area?

How important would it be to you, to have an indoor and outdoor play area for your children, in the development that you live in? Well it seems that a Dubai doctor is trying to get Abu Dhabi government to introduce guidelines, that would require every new development to have these spaces. Read more at The National.

Dr Rajeshree Singhania, a neuro-development doctor in Dubai, urged the Government to recognise the value of play and introduce guidelines that would reserve space in future developments for indoor and outdoor recreation zones.“It’s an appeal to policymakers to accept the concept of play for what it is,” she said. “It is extremely important for a child’s social, physical and mental development and research has shown that free play helps with their emotional development as well.”

Developers should be obliged to include play areas in high rise buildings, in the same way that zoning laws dictate some land-use regulations, she said.

“When you plan a city there are certain laws requiring ‘X’ amounts of green areas per inhabitant. Well, I am of the opinion that all high-rise buildings should have at least some dedicated play areas so kids can have a place to go and play without going out to the roads, where there’s a lot of traffic.”

Dr Singhania is already putting the plan into practice at Dubai’s City of Arabia property project.

Children Watching TV, Good or Bad?

Do you let your baby or toddler watch TV, and just what shows are they watching?  A study in the US says that children under two should not watch any TV, and if they do, it should be educational. Read more at

The research involved children younger than 3, so TV is mostly a no-no anyway, according to the experts. But if TV is allowed, it should be of the educational variety, the researchers said.

Every hour per day that kids under 3 watched violent child-oriented entertainment their risk doubled for attention problems five years later, the study found. Even nonviolent kids’ shows like “Rugrats” and “The Flintstones” carried a still substantial risk for attention problems, though slightly lower.

On the other hand, educational shows, including “Arthur,” “Barney” and “Sesame Street” had no association with future attention problems.

Interestingly, the risks only occurred in children younger than age 3, perhaps because that is a particularly crucial period of brain development. Those results echo a different study last month that suggested TV watching has less impact on older children’s behavior than on toddlers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children younger than 2 and limited TV for older children.

Car Seats have Expiration Dates

Did you know that car seats have an expiration date on them?  You may want to check that date, and have your car seat inspected.

And, just like milk and eggs, car seats can expire. The date can be found on the back of the seat.

Inspector Ashley Marchese says there are a couple of reasons why manufacturers put expiration dates on their car seats.

One is the effect that heat can have on the plastic.

“There could be a breakdown to the plastic that you don’t know,” said Ashley Marchese. That can affect the stability and durability of the seat.

Second, car seats continue to evolve.

There is no research that connects the dots between expired car seats and injuries, but the trauma program director at All Children’s Hospital says anything that affects a car seat’s performance could be dangerous.

If you can’t find the expiration date on the car seat, call the manufacturer with the model number.

Breastfeeding makes Children, smarter.

Did you know that if your baby has a FADS2 gene, and if you breastfeed your baby, they may score 7 points higher on their IQ test.  But the best thing is that 90% of children of children, have this gene, so there is just another reason to breastfeed.

Crocs, kids and escalators a bad combination?

It is not something you would think about, Crocs are cute and kids love them.  So why would Crocs be dangrous for your children?  It seems like they can get caught in escalators along with your child’s toes and feet.

Read the full story at CNN.

At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.

One of the nation’s largest subway systems — the Washington Metro — has even posted ads warning riders about wearing such shoes on its moving stairways. The ads feature a photo of a crocodile, though they don’t mention Crocs by name.

Four-year-old Rory McDermott got a Croc-clad foot caught in an escalator last month at a mall in northern Virginia. His mother managed to yank him free, but the nail on his big toe was almost completely ripped off, causing heavy bleeding.

At first, Rory’s mother had no idea what caused the boy’s foot to get caught. It was only later, when someone at the hospital remarked on Rory’s shoes, that she began to suspect theCrocs and did an Internet search.

“I came home and typed in ‘Croc’ and ‘escalator,’ and all these stories came up,” said Jodi McDermott, of Vienna, Virginia. “If I had known, those would never have been worn.”

According to reports appearing across the United States and as far away as Singapore and Japan, entrapments occur because of two of the biggest selling points of shoes like Crocs: their flexibility and grip. Some report the shoes get caught in the “teeth” at the bottom or top of the escalator, or in the crack between the steps and the side of the escalator.

The reports of serious injuries have all involved young children. Crocs are commonly worn by children as young as 2. The company introduced shoes in its smallest size, 4/5, this past spring.

Niwot, Colorado-based Crocs Inc. said it does not keep records of the reasons for customer-service calls. But the company said it is aware of “very few” problems relating to accidents involving the shoes, which are made of a soft, synthetic resin.

“Thankfully, escalator accidents like the one in Virginia are rare,” the company said in a statement.

After junk food, children fall prey to junk sleep

Does your child or teenager get enough sleep, or does electronics keep them from getting the sleep they need?

Read more at Gulf News.

UAE health experts warn that gadgets, such as television, computers and musical devices, in the bedroom distract teenagers from getting enough sleep, backed up by a UK survey on 1,000 teenagers.

The survey found that a third of the 12 to 16-year-olds slept between four to seven hours a night, suffering from ‘junk sleep’.

The average recommended sleep time for teenagers and adults is seven to eight hours, according to Dr Maxwell Kayed, clinical neurophysiologist who specialises in sleep disorders at British Medical Consulting Centre.

“The amount of sleep depends on the person, but most people need eight hours,” he said.

“(But) I think lots of kids are sleep-deprived. When they come in with headaches to our clinic, parents bring up the point that they are staying up late, surfing the internet and playing games,” he said.

He told Gulf News that sleep was very important for teenagers because it consolidated their memories and helped them organise their thoughts. It also refreshes their mind.

If a teenager is deprived of sleep, he or she becomes drowsy during the day, making them less attentive and unable to concentrate in class, which in turn will affect their studies.

Dr Kayed laid the blame of junk sleep mainly at parents’ door, saying that they did not view the issue seriously enough and disregarded the effect of electronic gadgets on their teenagers’ sleeping habits.

“They treat it as a secondary problem, rather than a primary problem. Nowadays, parents work and as long their kids are in their bedroom then they are not bothered what the kids do in it,” he said.

UAE orders withdrawal of Mattel toys

The Ministry of Economy has ordered the removal of all Mattel toys from the market.  If you have purchased a Mattel toy you can reimbursement for it.  The article does not state just how you go about this reimbursement.  The ordered withdraw comes of the heels of the major US recall of toys that have dangerous toxins like lead.  Please take a look and if you have any of these toys that my have dangerous toxins, removal them at once from your children.

Read more about the recall at Gulf News.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Economy on Tuesday ordered the withdrawal of Mattel toys from the market.

A senior official on Tuesday said the ministry reached an agreement with Al Shula General Trading, distributor of the Mattel toys in the UAE, committing it to withdraw the hazardous products from the market, and to reimburse the consumers who hold valid receipts.

“The distributor has agreed to withdraw all products from the UAE market, and to make a public announcement requesting buyers to come forward with their receipts for refund,” Abdullah Al Saleh, first undersecretary of the ministry, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

Mattel Inc., an American company, is the largest toy manufacturer worldwide based on revenues. Its products include Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, Barbie dolls, and board games.

This month they recalled 20 million toys produced in China because of health concerns, including the presence of poisonous lead and cancer causing substances, as well as poorly-fitted magnetic parts, with the Chinese blaming 85 per cent of the defects on the poor design.

“The toys have already been withdrawn, and the ministry told the authorities to monitor the markets and withdraw any existing products,” he added.

The ministry has also briefed the Gulf Cooperation Council general secretariat on the developments.

The distributor, which advertised the recall, has committed to continue its campaign.

“All the affected items have been removed from the market and we will refund the customers or exchange it for a product of a similar value regardless of the condition of the recalled product,” Dinu Philip, Al Shula’s marketing manager, said.

Southborough autism center to help build school in UAE

The MetroWest Daily News:

Southborough –

The New England Center for Children has been recruited by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi to establish a school for autistic children in the United Arab Emirates’ capital.

The 10-year agreement, signed last week at the Sea Palace in Abu Dhabi by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and New England Center for Children CEO Vincent Strully Jr., will not only bring the center’s programs to the Arab nation, but it will also bring funding for new research, administration and treatment programs to the Rte. 9 school.

“It’s an incredible recognition of our work,” said Strully as he addressed the staff yesterday. “We should feel honored and flattered that when they shopped the world for autism services, they chose us.”

The center’s relationship with Abu Dhabi actually began a decade ago, when the parents of an Abu Dhabi 3-year-old were referred by a Boston hospital. Services for special needs children in the emirate are limited and the school was asked to supply a teacher for the child, according to Daniel Gould, the director for the Abu Dhabi program.

Gould does not expect to have difficulty recruiting teachers for the new program, since he has always had to turn away eager applicants for the existing position in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s a great opportunity for our teachers to do great things for a country that hasn’t had these services previously,” Gould said. Abu Dhabi “is really at a point when they’re focusing on the infrastructure for their entire country.”

This is not the first time the emirate has shopped stateside for services. Johns Hopkins Medicine has been contracted to manage Tawam Hospital, Abu Dhabi’s largest hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic earlier this month was tapped to manage Shaikh Khalifa Medical City. Earlier this year it struck a deal with France to build a Louvre Museum.

The financial details of the agreement are confidential, Strully said, but he anticipates the deal will go a long way in helping the school further delve into the needs of children with autism.

“These children and their families deserve the best and the most professional attention we can provide for them and, thanks to this agreement, this will soon be available here at home in Abu Dhabi,” Prince Nahyan said in a statement. “This is a major step toward implementing the vision of his Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, to establish world-class facilities and services for all children with special needs within our country.”

In November, the center will open the first of eight planned classrooms where each child will receive intensive behavioral instruction based on applied behavior analysis. Over the next two years, it will gradually add the full spectrum of services, including early assessment and intervention, preschool programming, residential services for severe cases, family support services, professional training and development and a research center.

Staff members recruited for the work will earn their regular salary as well as an annual bonus, likely under $10,000. They will live rent-free and receive a monthly living allowance of $500, six or seven weeks of vacation and a health/beach club membership.

English is a commonly used language in Abu Dhabi but staff will be also be training Arabic-speaking personnel there, Gould said.

Autism cases are on the rise in the United Arab Emirates, just as they are in the United States, Strully said. Autism affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans of which 600,000 are children.

“It’s the same around the world,” Strully said. “All races, creeds and classes. There’s clearly a genetic origin – all the signs point to that. What is abundantly clear is that it is not caused by vaccines. That’s been proven by science, again and again. It’s such a distraction. There is money that is being wasted (studying the vaccine link to autism) when we have these kids who need to be treated now.

“I can’t understand why (most autism funding) is being spent on finding a cause,” he added. “We need to find a cause, but that’s 30, 40 years down the line. This generation of children, the next generation of children, need to be treated now.”

In addition to Abu Dhabi, the center has staff treating children in Qatar, Bermuda and Vancouver and has ongoing relationships with institutions in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand and Uganda.
“This situation changes everything for us,” Strully said. “We’ve always wanted to be a little Mayo Clinic for autism. This just gets us closer.”

Strully hopes the partnership will not only allow the school to expand its services but also to complete and publish what he termed an online “encyclopedia” detailing the principles of applied behavior analysis for parents and educators.

“Here at the center, we have had to turn away hundreds of families from around the world,” Strully said. “We’re just not big enough to serve everyone, and there’s a substantial need. We want to be able to expand the knowledge that is out there.”

(Jennifer Lord can be contacted at 508-626-3880 or

Rickets in Children

With the study by UAE University, I thought we should look at what happens when children are deficient in Vitamin D. This what the Mayo Clinic has to say about Rickets (name for children’s deficiency in Vitamin D).

Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is essential in promoting absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract, which children need to build strong bones. A deficiency of vitamin D makes it difficult to maintain proper calcium and phosphorus levels in your bones.

Your body senses an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in your bloodstream and reacts by taking calcium and phosphorus from your bones to raise blood levels to where they need to be. This softens or weakens the bone structure, resulting most commonly in skeletal deformities such as bowlegs or improper curvature of the spine. Osteomalacia is the adult version of rickets.

If a vitamin D or calcium deficiency causes rickets, adding vitamin D or calcium to the diet generally corrects any resulting bone problems for the child. Rickets due to a genetic condition may require additional medications or specialized treatment. Some skeletal deformities caused by rickets may need corrective surgery.

Signs and symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency begins months before physical signs and symptoms of rickets appear. When rickets symptoms develop, they may include:

  • Skeletal deformities. -These include bowed legs, abnormal curvature of the spine, pelvic deformities and breastbone projection in the chest.
  • Fragile bones. -Children with rickets are more prone to bone fractures.
  • Impaired growth. -Delayed growth in height or limbs may be a result of rickets.
  • Dental problems. -These include defects in tooth structure, increased chance of cavities, poor enamel and delayed formation of teeth.
  • Bone pain. -This includes dull, aching pain or tenderness in the spine, pelvis and legs.
  • Muscle weakness. -Decreased muscle tone may make movement uncomfortable.


Vitamin D acts as a hormone to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in your bones. You absorb vitamin D from two sources:

Sunlight. Your skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. This is the most common way for most adolescents and adults to produce the vitamin.

Food. Your intestines absorb vitamin D from the foods you eat or from supplements or multivitamins you may take.

In the past, dietary vitamin D deficiency was the most common cause of rickets in the United States. Now, with the increased use of vitamin supplements and the variety of foods fortified with vitamin D (such as orange juice and breakfast cereals), vitamin D deficiency cases of rickets have fallen.

Currently in the United States, conditions that impair vitamin D absorption such as the surgical removal of all or part of the stomach (gastrectomy) and celiac disease, in which the small intestine doesn’t absorb certain nutrients from food, cause most cases of rickets.

Other causes of rickets include:

Hereditary rickets (X-linked hypophosphatemia), an inherited form of rickets caused by the inability of the kidneys to retain phosphorus, or a complication of renal tubular acidosis, a condition in which your kidneys are unable to excrete acids into urine.

Lack of exposure to sunlight, which stimulates the body to make vitamin D

Risk factors

Children 6 to 24 months old are most at risk of rickets because they’re growing rapidly, and vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus play a major role in the growth process.

Risk factors for rickets include:

Lack of vitamin D. Breast-fed infants who don’t receive supplemental vitamin D are at increased risk of developing rickets. While exposure to sunlight could produce the necessary amounts of vitamin D, sunburn and skin cancer are real dangers for young children. Sunscreens also markedly decrease vitamin D production.

Lack of calcium and phosphorus. Children who don’t get enough calcium and phosphorus in their diets are at increased risk of rickets. The availability of milk and other products that contain these minerals make this cause a rarity for rickets in the United States and other developed countries.

Screening and diagnosis

Your doctor or your child’s doctor may diagnose rickets by:

Physical examination. Your doctor will check if the pain or tenderness is coming directly from the bones, instead of the joints and muscles surrounding them.

Blood tests. These measure calcium and phosphorus levels to see if they’re normal.

X-rays. Your doctor may take images of affected bones to look for softening or weakness.

Medical history. Kidney problems, celiac disease or diagnosis of a sibling with rickets may help lead your doctor to a rickets diagnosis.


While easily treated once it’s diagnosed, rickets has a severe list of complications if left untreated. Untreated vitamin D deficiency rickets may lead to:

Delays in your child’s motor skills development

Failure to grow and develop normally

Increased susceptibility to serious infections

Skeletal deformities

Chronic growth problems that can result in short stature (adults measuring less than 5 feet tall)


Dental defects


The aim of treatment for rickets is to solve the underlying disorder. If deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus are at fault, replacing vitamin D and those minerals generally eliminates the signs and symptoms of rickets, such as bone tenderness and muscle weakness. Improvement may occur within weeks.

Your doctor may prescribe a vitamin D supplement or ask you to increase your intake of vitamin D-fortified foods, including fortified breakfast cereal, orange juice, fish and processed milk. Your doctor may also recommend that you get a little sun. Remember that moderate exposure is the safest, and don’t expose infants under 6 months to direct sunlight.

Getting a sufficient intake of calcium is crucial to maintaining healthy bones. Your doctor can suggest an appropriate level of calcium intake depending on your age and whether you have absorption problems. The combination of increased vitamin D intake with calcium may be enough to eliminate the effects of rickets entirely.

Treating complications

For some cases of bowlegs or spinal deformities, your doctor may suggest special bracing to position your child’s body appropriately as the bones grow. More severe skeletal deformities may require surgery.


Although most adolescents and adults receive much of their necessary vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, infants and young children need to avoid direct sun entirely or be especially careful by always wearing sunscreen.

Vitamin D supplements

In light of these factors, and because human milk contains only a small amount of vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breast-fed infants receive 200 international units (IU) of oral vitamin D daily beginning during the first two months of life and continuing until the daily consumption of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk is two to three glasses or 500 milliliters (mL).

Vitamin D supplements for infants generally come in droplet form. Use only supplements that contain up to 400 IU of vitamin D per mL or tablet. Avoid supplements containing a higher concentration of vitamin D (some forms come in levels of up to 8,000 IU/mL), because they’re unsafe for children.

Getting enough calcium

Calcium and phosphorus consumption are also important for bone formation in childhood. Breast milk is the best source of calcium during a child’s first year of life. Most commercially available formulas also meet calcium requirements. Because of these factors, infants in the United States generally achieve 100 percent of their recommended intake of calcium. Unfortunately, this trend stops as children grow into adolescents and adults, and many fail to take in enough calcium, an essential component of skeletal formation. This lack of calcium may lead to osteomalacia, a form of rickets in adults.

Recommended daily intake of calcium is as follows (serving sizes vary with age):

1 to 3 years of age. 500 milligrams (mg) (two servings of dairy products a day)

4 to 8 years of age. 800 mg (two to three servings of dairy products a day)

9 to 18 years of age. 1,300 mg (four servings of dairy products a day, as most bone mass production occurs during this period)

19 to 50 years of age. 1,000 mg a day (three servings of dairy products a day)

Milk accounts for three-fourths of the calcium in the food supply of the United States. If you’re not drinking milk, be sure to find another source. Remember that low-fat can still mean high-calcium. Other sources of calcium include leafy green vegetables (spinach), fortified orange juices, fortified breakfast cereals and calcium supplements.

Middle Eastern women may have vitamin D deficiency

I found this today, and it is not something that you would just think about, but this just goes to show us that we really need to make sure we get our vitamins when we are pregnant and breastfeeding.  But what women need to remember that it is just as important for their health, that they get enough vitamin D.  Vitamin D is needed to help keep our bones strong.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In certain Middle Eastern and other countries where conservative dress curtails exposure to sunlight, high levels of vitamin D supplementation may be needed to raise serum levels sufficiently in women, investigators report.

“When sunlight exposure — the main source for vitamin D in humans — is limited,” Dr. Hussein F. Saadi told Reuters Health, “much higher dietary intake of vitamin D is needed than currently recommended,” especially for women who are breast-feeding.

As reported in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Saadi and colleagues at the United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, studied vitamin D levels in 90 women who were breastfeeding and 88 women who had never given birth. Many dressed to cover their whole bodies, including their hands and faces, while outside of their homes.

Only two of the women, one in each group, were not vitamin D deficient at study. All the women were randomly assigned to receive 2000 IU of vitamin D2 daily or 60,000 IU in one dose each month. The investigators note that vitamin D2 is the only high-dose calciferol available in the UAE.

Although both monthly and daily dosing significantly and safely increased vitamin D levels, only 21 of the 71 women (30 percent) who completed the 3-month study reached the recommended blood levels.

Vitamin D2 doses “as high as 2000 IU per day were marginally effective in ensuring adequate vitamin D status,” Saadi commented. He and his colleagues suggest that “if the more potent vitamin D3 preparation is not available, higher doses of vitamin D2 than currently studied may be needed.”

Dr. Saadi added, “When compliance or adherence with a daily regimen of vitamin D supplementation is an issue, monthly dosing appears to be a safe and effective alternative in ensuring adequate vitamin D status in subjects at risk for vitamin D deficiency.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007.

More Vitamin D information from Wikipedia.

Vitamin D can also refer to Vitamin D (producer)

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones, the two major forms of which are vitamin D2 (or ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol).[1]The term vitamin D also refers to metabolites and other analogues of these substances. Vitamin D3 is produced in skin exposed to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B radiation.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the maintenance of organ systems.[2]

Vitamin D regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood by promoting their absorption from food in the intestines, and by promoting re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys.

It promotes bone formation and mineralization and is essential in the development of an intact and strong skeleton.

It inhibits parathyroid hormone secretion from the parathyroid gland.

Vitamin D affects the immune system by promoting immunosuppression, phagocytosis, and anti-tumor activity.

Vitamin D deficiency can result from inadequate intake coupled with inadequate sunlight exposure, disorders that limit its absorption, conditions that impair conversion of vitamin D into active metabolites, such as liver or kidney disorders, or, rarely, by a number of hereditary disorders.[2]

Deficiency results in impaired bone mineralization, and leads to bone softening diseases, rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, and possibly contributes to osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency may also be linked to many forms of cancer.