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Sep 30, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- CHILDREN SHOULD GET FLU SHOT

Winter is the biggest illness time of the year for U.S. children, but flu vaccinations can help prevent flu infection and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend all children between 6 months and 23 months get flu vaccines, according to Dr. Ken Haller, at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Children age 5 years or older can get the FluMist vaccine, which is inhaled, however, those under the age of 5 must get a flu shot. Haller adds it is important for all children with chronic illnesses, such as asthma, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis and heart disease to get a flu vaccine.

'COOL LASER' HELPS THOSE WITH PAD

CLiRpath -- for Cool Laser Revascularization for Peripheral Artery Therapy may help those afflicted with Peripheral Arterial Disease in the United States. The "cool" laser procedure helps clear the blockages in leg arteries that can lead to amputation. PAD impacts 8 million to 12 million Americans each year. About 100,000 with its most severe form, Critical Limb Ischemia, face toe, foot or leg amputations. The laser procedure usually takes one to two hours followed by one to two days of recovery for most patients and is significantly less expensive compared to other treatments for blocked leg arteries.

LOW BIRTH WEIGHT, TEEN MOM RISK FOR SUICIDE

A study in Sweden finds low birth weight and being born to a teenage mother are independent risk factors for suicide later in life. Low birth weight of 4.4 pounds or less and children born to teenage mothers were more than twice as likely to commit suicide than the reference population, finds Danuta Wasserman of the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm. The researchers followed up on 700,000 young adults born in Sweden from 1973 to 1980 who attempted or committed suicide between 10 and 26 years of age. The study, published in the Lancet, finds an increased risk of attempted suicide for individuals of short birth length, born fourth or more in birth order and born to mothers with a low educational level.

WOMEN MAY BE AT DISADVANTAGE LOSING WEIGHT

Researchers at Florida State University find when a sweet diet is freely available, women are at a disadvantage -- at least female rats. The study finds that when a sweet diet is freely available, female rats consumed more calories per day than male rats. The study also finds when given a chance to exercise, overeating was reduced in both sexes of rats, but the caloric intake reduction associated with the exercise was much less dramatic in the female rats. The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology, suggests female rats are more susceptible than male rats to consume a palatable, sweetened diet, and that female rats are less likely than male rats to use exercise as a means to control appetite in the presence of such a diet.

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(EDITORS: For more information on FLU SHOT, contact Kenneth A. Haller at (314) 577-5643 4242 or hallerka@slu.edu. For LASER, call (720) 314-6188, or janet@praco.com. For WEIGHT, Stacy Brooks at (301) 634-7253 or sbrooks@the-aps.org.)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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