Health Briefs

By Kevin Lamb
Copyright 1998 Dayton Daily News
September 1, 1998

* Foundation fights shaken baby syndrome. Information on shaken baby syndrome and other parenting tips are available from the National Exchange Club Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse at (800) 760-3413 or at on the Internet. An estimated 50,000 cases of shaken baby syndrome occur every year in this country, according to the foundation, which will spend this month distributing literature, magnets and T-shirts to educate parents day-care providers, baby sitters, business professionals and community health organizations that shaking a young child even briefly can cause permanent damage or death.

* Study finds fetus enzyme that fights mother's immune system. New research that suggests how a fetus avoids being attacked by its mother's immune system could open the door new methods for treating such disparate medical conditions as miscarriage, rejection of transplanted organs and diseases in which the immune system runs out of control, including diabetes, arthritis and lupus. The study of mice, reported in the journal Science , found an enzyme produced by the fetus that appears to disable the mother's immune system by destroying the critical amino acid tryptophan.

* Streamline food agencies, Congress told. The United States needs a single comprehensive and coordinated plan for ensuring food safety instead of the current 12 federal agencies involved in regulating the food supply, a committee of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council recommended last week in a report to Congress. The report emphasized that Congress should change federal statutes so that inspection, enforcement and research efforts can be based on scientifically supportable assessments of risks to public health. Estimates range to as many as 81 million illnesses and up to 9,000 deaths a year attributed to food-borne illnesses each year, with the cost of medical treatment and lost productivity ranging from $ 6.6 billion to $ 37.1 billion.

* HEALTH BRIEFS are compiled by Kevin Lamb. Contact Kevin at 225-2129 or e-mail at

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