Stories about: trauma

Swallowed magnets attract negative press

Most of us remember magnet sets as toy box and classroom staples when we were growing up. Their ability to engage and teach young users about polarity, electronic currents and positive and negative reactions made them educational as well as fun—a fantastic combination for toy makers looking to market the sets to children and their parents.

But just like those of us who played with them, magnets grew up over the years.

In the later half of the 2000s, a new breed of magnet hit the shelves. Marketed as “desk toys” for adults, these small, extremely powerful earth magnets could be arranged in any number of intricate or interesting sculptures. This new take on an old favorite proved to be a hit with the public, and the desk toys began selling like hotcakes. Even though these were meant for adults, the small, shiny and incredibly powerful magnets also were enticing to young children and quickly began finding their way into the hands of toddlers.

And as any parent will tell you, what finds its way into a toddler’s hand will eventually end up in his or her mouth.

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Leaving a child alone in a car can quickly turn deadly

In the past 15 years, more than 550 children across the United States have died from heatstroke after being left alone in a car. That’s an average of 37 lives—an entire classroom full of children—lost each year to a completely avoidable accident.

Most of the deaths occur when a parent simply forgets his or her child is in the back seat. It sounds hard to believe, but parenting is hard work, and sometimes when people get frazzled careless mistakes are made. Data show that heatstroke tragedies happen more often when there is an interruption to the parents’ daily routine.

For instance, imagine your alarm clock didn’t go off one morning and you’re running very late to work. Somewhere between merging in and out of traffic and checking your email on your phone, you completely forget to drop your child off at daycare. Already 10 minutes late for a meeting you jump out of the car and rush inside, too preoccupied to notice your child quietly sleeping in the backseat.

Considering vehicles heat up quickly—as much as 19 degrees in 10 minutes—a car can go from uncomfortable to dangerous in minutes, especially for young children whose body heat can spike up to five times faster than adults. Once their internal temperature hits 104 degrees, the major organs begin to shut down; when it reaches 107 degrees, the child could die.

And it doesn’t need to be the dog days of summer for this to occur. Even on a partially cloudy, 80-degree day, the inside of a closed car can quickly jump to 100 degrees.

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A magic pill to lesson PTSD before it even strikes?

opium-poppyby Glenn Saxe, MD, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Center for Refugee Trauma

“ Into the bowl in which their wine was mixed, she slipped a drug that had the power of robbing grief and anger of their sting and banishing all painful memories”
-Homer, the Odyssey

Morphine and other opiates have been used by humans since the earliest times. The poppy has been a powerful cultural symbol for hundreds or, even, thousands of years. When a chemical agent has ‘traveled’ with humans for such a long span of time it usually means it has strong evolutionary value. A fascinating study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests morphine has the power to blunt the emotional aftereffects of trauma in people who’ve been severely injured.

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This week on Thrive: Nov. 16 – 20

Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.

A son tells his story of how he got to know his father because of advances in epilepsy medication. More and more teens are infected with STDs. Uninsured trauma victims are more likely to die of their injuries. Is there a rise of violence in girls’ sports? Massachusetts takes action on school bullying. The HealthMap team gives its weekly H1N1 update. Children’s Claire McCarthy, MD, talks about how childhood stress can lead to adult depression. Our Mediatrician puts Michael Jackson’s dance moves in perspective and we get a firsthand account of how Thrive editor Matt Cyr and his family survived the swine flu.

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