News:recall, internet safety, placental health studies, free newsletter for young musicians

Big recall notice: A bunch of the red-painted Thomas the Tank Enginetrains have been recalled because they were manufactured using lead paint. Read about it here and scroll down to the bottom of the article to see the names and a photo of all the recalled toys. How many of them do you own? We have four of them at our house.

In an effort not to freak myself or anyone else out, I put Dr. Google to work and came up with a few facts about treating lead exposure:

  • The best way to deal with lead exposure is just to separate the kid from the lead. Get rid of the toys.
  • There's a treatment called chelation that a doctor can do in severe cases of lead poisoning, but chewing on a caboose probably hasn't caused severe lead poisoning.
  • It wouldn't hurt to use nutritional therapies to try to prevent the absorption of lead. Calcium, iron, and Vitamin C all help prevent the absorption of lead. The state of Missouri put out this cute PDF with info on foods to push to prevent lead absorption.

If I hear any more on this I'll keep you posted.

Also of note:

1. The 2 SMART 4U campaign is trying to get the word out to kids and parents to be smart about what they post and don't post online. Click here to get information about social networking sites (Myspace, Facebook, etc.) and best practices for being on the internet safely, and to order a free, groovy-looking stainless steel ring that reminds teens to be safe while typing.

2. Kate writes:

"My first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage.  My 2nd ended at 25 weeks with an extremely small-for-gestational-age baby girl (1 pound, 1 ounce).  She was in the hospital for 4 months.  She's now 2 and perfect & we're so incredibly lucky.  I had midwives (whom I loved) for both pregnancies.  I didn't have any tests after the first miscarriage, and I opted out of much testing during the second following the advice of my midwife.  I didn't want to do the Down screen because friends of mine had received false positives and had endured much difficulty because of it.

Anyway, it turns out that the miscarriage & the premature birth were caused by placental failure, which itself was caused by a genetic clash between my husband & myself.  This is surprisingly common.  In fact, a huge number of pregnancy problems are caused by placental abnormalities, and until recently not a lot could be done about it.

A doctor at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto, Dr. John Kingdom, has recently come out with a study showing that early testing can identify placental problems. One is a blood test (the PAPP A) which is done as part of the Down screen.  Ultrasounds are also part of the protocol.  If there seems to be a problem, women can receive heparin injections which will lessen the chance of premature birth.

I wish I had known about this very simple screen before enduring the trauma of such an early birth and long hospital stay.  Our story turned out well but I know how rare that is.  Not many doctors know yet about this new screen so women will need to ask about it.  I just want to get the word out so that other families don't have to experience what we went through.  I do understand why people are hesitant to go through testing - I'm now pregnant again and this heavily medicalized experience is a far cry from my lovely time with a midwife - but I think it's worth doing these tests, especially if you've had issues with recurrent miscarriages or preterm births.

Here's a link to some more info about the study:

http://www.nationalreviewofmedicine.com/issue/2007/04_30/4_patients_practice05_8.html"

Extremely interesting. Thanks, Kate.

3. Dan Meagher from the Oklahoma City University Performing Art Academy writes:

"We are the music outreach education department of OCU's Bass School
of Music, which for 80 years has inspired and educated students for
professional music careers - including Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winners.

As part of our education mission, we produce a free, monthly music
e-newsletter, which provides parents and students with helpful articles for
young performers and musicians of all ages on a wide variety of music
topics. We invite your members to receive our e-newsletter. Past newsletters
have included information about:

* Preparing for college music school auditions
* How to pay for a college music education
* How singers can avoid sore throats
* How instrumentalists can travel with their instruments
* How to introduce young children to music

Our newsletter is free and available to parents who want to help their child
reach their musical goals. Currently, over 3,000 parents and students from
around the nation and the world receive newsletter. Your members may sign-up
by visiting: http://www.okcu.edu/music/academy/newsletter.aspx. We are ad
free and our member list is not sold or used by anyone else. You may
unsubscribe at any time."

Sounds like a great resource for parents of young musicians. Thanks, Dan.