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Confronting The “Empty Cradles” Of Infant Mortality

empty_cradles_logo.jpgI have gushed praise for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a long time. (Disclosure: I cut my teeth in journalism as a Journal Company employee way back in 1973. No ties since 1976.) As a mid-market newspaper facing all of the same hurdles as other newspapers, it consistently demonstrates tenacity and creativity in tackling vital healthcare issues in this country. The latest: A project called “Empty Cradles: Confronting Our Infant Mortality Crisis.”

While there is a great health/medicine/science team in place at the Journal Sentinel, I believe that much of the credit goes to the top — to editor Marty Kaiser, who clearly understands that healthcare issues are among the most important his paper can report on in serving public needs. Kaiser writes:

“The Journal Sentinel today takes on an issue we have too long ignored — the death of children before their first birthday. Infant mortality is a crisis not just of public health, but of ethics and morality. The rate at which infants die in our city is unacceptable. In 2011 we will examine the problem and point to solutions.”

The project is off to a great start, taking a global picture and focusing it locally. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Should Mom Share Her Bed With Baby?

I’ve watched the pendulum swing back and forth on the wisdom of mom sharing her bed with a baby. The American Pediatric Society has come out against the practice, because of a higher incidence of sudden infant death. But nearly half of all British moms sleep with their baby at times, and one-fifth share a bed regularly during the first year.

According to a British study published in [the October 2010 issue of] Pediatrics, the value of breastfeeding should be considered before advising mothers not to share  beds with their infants. The results showed that mothers who shared a bed with their newborns were better educated and of a higher socioeconomic status, and that those whose children routinely slept in their beds during the first 15 months of life reported a significantly greater incidence of breastfeeding.

“Both cross-sectional epidemiological and sleep laboratory studies showed close links between the frequency and duration of breastfeeding and the practice of bed sharing,” writes Peter Blair, PhD, Community-Based Medicine and Social Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, the author of the study. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

An App For Baby-Related Emergencies

RN Tara Summers was inspired to make an iPhone app after a frightening episode where she saw her infant child choking. Because she was a nurse, she sprang into action and gave the Heimlich maneuver, but worried about parents (or babysitters) without the same training.

So, along with her emergency medicine physician husband, she created MedBasics — a readily-accessible information packet for the home about things to do in an emergency. Now they’re announcing an iPhone app called BabyMedBasics for emergencies when you’re not at home.

More from MedBasics

iTunes link to the iOS app…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Baby-Monitor Bracelets Connect Mommy And Baby

It’s only a concept, but the Sikker (Danish for “safety”) baby monitor is a great idea by designers Jessica Mendoza and Henoc Monte that will likely have both parents and babies alike going gaga.

The bracelets, charged on a docking station during the day, would allow two-way communication between mother and child, as well as the ability for the mother to monitor the baby’s temperature and heart rate. It would also allow the mother to play .mp3 lullabies to the baby.

If built, they’d probably have to ditch the idea of monitoring temperature, since any readings at the wrist would be poor indicators of core body temperature, but connecting parent and child via bracelet is a good idea that has promise, and it’d be great to see this built.

More from Yanko Design: Sikker is for Safety

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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