Boy Shot In Highland Park

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Police on Sunday were investigating a shooting in Highland Park, where a 13-year-old boy was shot twice in the face a sergeant said.

The shooting at Meridian and Figueroa streets occurred about 11:15 p,m, Saturday, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Wayne Guillary of the Northeast Station.

The boy was taken to County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights in critical condition, he said. The boy was in a building at the time of the shooting, but it remains unclear where the shots came from, Guillary said.

Police are searching for a red Ford F-150 pickup.

LAPD Investigating Murder in Glassell Park’s Troubled Drew Street Area

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The killing of a Los Angeles man found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest in Glassell Park may have been gang-related, police said Monday.

The body of Ilario Perez, 43, was discovered about 7:15 a.m. Sunday in the 3400 block of Drew Street, about a block away from Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Glendale, said Los Angeles police Officer Ed Ortiz of the Northeast Station.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Detectives Carrillo or Lim at (213) 847-4261. During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).

Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

AARP: ‘Busting the Myths’ On Health Care Reform

August 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Talk of “socialized medicine,” of “rationing” of health care, and of “death panels” – all scare tactics, according to AARP California. The organization’s state president, Jeannine English, says those are some of the “myths” about health care reform legislation now pending in Congress.

In California, there are more than one million people between the ages of 50 and 64 who are uninsured, with many more under-insured. English says that’s why Washington needs to take action for all Americans.

“Health care in this country just really costs way too much, it wastes way too much money, and it makes too many mistakes and returns too little value. And that’s why it’s crucial that we have health care reform.”

English also disputes claims of a so-called “death panel” in the legislation.

“There’s nothing in the legislation that provides for anything like that. What it does provide is funding so that you can consult with your doctor about end-of-life choices.”

Another “myth,” according to English, is that Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase out-of-pocket costs.

English says AARP would never support legislation that would weaken current health benefits, and that the final health care reform package must include ideas from both parties.

This week, the AARP Health Action Now van is going on the road to help Californians understand the health care reform proposals.

Opponents cite concerns about cost and say the plans being considered do nothing to control rising medical expenses.

There’s more information at

Officials Say H1N1 ‘Swine Flu’ Uptick Probable

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Vaccinations against the swine flu will be available by late October and health officials predict an upswing in cases as school sessions begin, it was announced last week.

Since the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, first surfaced in Los Angeles county, 157 people have been hospitalized and 25 have died from it, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s director of public health.

The swine flu vaccine will require two shots over a three-week period, he said.

Fielding said schools would likely not be primary distribution locations.

Groups of people especially sensitive to the swine flu virus include pregnant women, those under the age of 24 and health care workers, Fielding said yesterday.

Fielding advised members of that group — which he said represented about half the population of the county— to get vaccinated.

Fielding said seniors are typically less susceptible to the swine flu virus, due to various immunities built up over the years, Fielding said.

The doctor said that, while it was not possible to predict how widespread the virus may become, “it is roughly no more severe at this point as seasonal flu (is) in terms of overall impact.”

Fielding also urged members of the public to stay home from work or school if they have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.

To avoid getting or spreading the bug, he suggested keeping clean hands, covering your mouth when you cough and avoiding close contact with those known to be infected.

Prescription ‘Sharing’ Among Teens Widespread, Dangerous

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

What if a teenager with acne who is taking Accutane — a drug linked to birth defects — gives some to her friend, who is pregnant but does not yet realize it? Unfortunately, this is a realistic scenario.

A new study shows that one in five U.S. adolescents “lends” or “borrows” diverse prescriptions, with consequences that are sometimes dangerous or even deadly.

Earlier research had established that almost 40 percent of U.S. adults “lend” or “borrow” prescription drugs.

“However, prior to our study, no one had asked adolescents how often they shared prescription medications, which meds they shared and what some of the outcomes were,” said lead study author Richard Goldsworthy, Ph.D., director for research and development at Academic Edge, Inc.
The study appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

In urban and suburban settings nationwide, Goldsworthy’s team interviewed 592 English- and Spanish-speaking youngsters, ages 12 to 17, both black and white. Researchers asked whether the youngsters had ever “borrowed” or “loaned” a prescription drug and, if so, what kind. They also asked whether they gave or received any warnings or instructions with the medication and about outcomes. For example, did the person taking the drugs visit a doctor anyway? Did side effects or allergic reactions occur?

In addition to the danger of unforeseen side effects, prescription sharing can lead to delayed or suboptimal care, when teens postpone or skip needed appointments thinking they have addressed a problem. Misuse of “shared” antibiotics aggravates the growing problem of antibiotic drug resistance.

Additionally, the 32.4 percent of youth who did eventually see a physician often did not reveal having taken a “borrowed” medication. This can lead to unforeseen drug interactions.

“Other researchers have studied people selling prescription drugs, but we looked at people with good intentions, trying, for instance, to help a friend who lacked money or transportation for a doctor’s visit,” said study co-author Chris Mayhorn, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University.

Melissa Haddow, executive director of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, said that the findings are especially important “for physicians, prevention coalitions, school counselors, parents and the youth themselves.”

She said that past research has explored adolescent “sharing” of pain and anti-anxiety medications, but that sharing of antibiotics, birth control pills and allergy medications has not been well studied. “This work adds to our knowledge about a growing problem….and highlights the diversity of medications being abused this way, which had not been recognized.”

Following Backpack Safety Tips, Can Save Your Child’s Back

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

It is that time of year again; time to buy new school shoes, pencils and pens, and for many, a new backpack.

But whether a new backpack is on your list or your child will be using the same one they used last year, experts say following a few simple safety tips can help your child avoid lower back pain and injury this school year

When fully loaded, your child’s backpack should weigh less than 15 percent of his or her body weight. To help your child know what this weight feels like, use your bathroom scale to measure the right backpack load.

Buy a backpack with two wide, padded straps that go over the shoulders — and make sure your child uses both straps at all times, says David Marshall, M.D., Director, Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Choose a backpack with a padded waist or chest belt. This distributes weight more evenly across the body. Multiple compartments also help distribute the weight.

Marshall says your child’s backpack should not be wider than his body, and backpacks with a metal frame (like hikers use) or on wheels (like a flight attendant’s bag) are best, but you should check with your child’s school first to see if these types of bags are allowed.

Make sure your child isn’t toting unnecessary items like laptops, CD players and video games that can add a lot of pounds to a backpack. Heavier items should be placed closer to the back of the backpack, next to the body, recommends Marshall.

Picking up the backpack properly is also important, and as with any heavy object, remind your child to bend at the knees and grab the pack with both hands when lifting it to his shoulders.

Encourage your child to develop stronger lower back and abdominal muscles — this will help avoid back injury, says Marshall. Weight training and yoga are two activities that  can help strengthen these core muscles.

Adolescent Athletes Enjoy Better Sleep

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Teens who exercise vigorously have a better quality of sleep than their couch-potato peers, according to a new Swiss study.

Four hundred thirty-four adolescents participated, including 258 students who were part of the “Swiss Olympic Classes,” a program that offers a high level of athletic training. The other group involved 176 typical high school students who were not in training. The athletes exercised about 17.5 hours a week while the other teens spent a little more than 4.5 hours exercising.

Each group of teens — whose average age was 17 — kept a sleep and daily functioning log for seven consecutive days. The researchers looked at how often the adolescents woke during the night, their level of tiredness and their ability to concentrate during the day.

The study, led by Serge Brand, Ph.D., of the Depression and Sleep Research Unit at the Basel Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Adolescent athletes functioned better psychologically at home and at school, the study found.

Another comparison looked at whether females had worse sleep patterns than males, but this was not the case. “Our data did not confirm this prediction,” the researchers wrote. They did find that “males with low exercise levels are at risk for increased sleep complaints and poorer psychological functioning.”

“This study shows that, in adolescents, being an athlete is predictive of high sleep quality, low daytime tiredness and high concentration during the day,” said David Rapoport, M.D., director of the Sleep Medicine Program at the NYU School of Medicine. “While it is entirely possible that the good sleep and the favorable daytime profile is caused by exercise, the data do not allow us to conclude this directly.”

Rapoport said that there may be other reasons why athletes sleep well. “As the authors pointed out, several alternate interpretations are possible. There are other factors such having a favorable psychological profile or predisposition, and that there may be something about athletes other than exercise, such as self-discipline, which leads to their ability to sleep well.”

He added, “Nevertheless, an important, but not surprising finding is that good sleep is associated with good daytime performance, and that athletes have this relationship. We cannot — at least from this study — conclude that exercising will improve problems with sleep, although this is certainly possible.”

Osteoporosis-Linked Fractures Rise Dramatically

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The hospitalization rate of patients admitted for the treatment of hip, pelvis and other fractures associated with osteoporosis increased by 55 percent between 1995 and 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, a disease causing bones to become brittle and weak. Fractures associated with osteoporosis can be slow to heal, and can cause debilitating pain, disability, deformities, and occasionally death.

The Federal agency’s study also found that fractures associated with osteoporosis:

—Accounted for one-fourth of the roughly 1 million hospitalizations in 2006 of patients with osteoporosis.
—Cost hospitals $2.4 billion in 2006.
—Caused women to be 6 times more likely to be hospitalized than men.
—Involved mostly older patients: 90 percent of hospitalizations were for age 65 and older and 37 percent for patients age 85 and older.
—Were highest in the Midwest (107 per 100,000 people) and lowest in the West (68 per 100,000 people).

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in U.S. Hospitalizations Involving Osteoporosis and Injury, 2006.

Are Your Child’s Eyes Ready for the Classroom?

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Good vision can be directly correlated with a child’s learning ability. As much as 80 percent of the learning a child does occurs through his eyes and approximately one in four school-age children have some type of vision impairment.

Does your child have normal, healthy vision needed for classroom learning, or is there a problem that requires treatment by a pediatric ophthalmologist, optometrist or pediatrician?

“Generally, the earlier we diagnose vision issues, the better the outcome for the child,” said Dr. Mark Borchert, a pediatric ophthalmologist and the director of The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and associate professor of ophthalmology and neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “Professional eye examination tests not only measure distance of vision, but also how accurately the eyes focus and how well the eye muscles are working,” he said.
Below are four suggestions from The Vision Center for parents concerned about their child’s eyesight.

1. Don’t wait until your child enters kindergarten for his first complete eye exam. Pediatricians should perform a dilated eye exam to detect any serious eye problems within the first two months of life. Children are often more responsive to treatment when diagnosed early, so every child should have a comprehensive eye exam by age three. Some of the more serious eye diseases like amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eyes) are correctable with eye patches or surgery if caught early. Once a child is seven or eight years old, the opportunity to correct the problem may have been lost, resulting in permanent vision problems.

2. Children that avoid books or reading may have a vision problem. Generally, preschoolers are eager to look at books and try to figure out words. Most children are reading by first grade. In general, most reading problems are not caused by vision problems. For instance, the child may have dyslexia, ADHD, or other learning differences and this may not be the result of poor vision. In these cases glasses, while helpful, will not fully solve the problem. However, if a child is having trouble learning to read, a comprehensive vision examination by a pediatric ophthalmologist or optometrist should be one of the tools used in making a diagnosis.

3. If your child is resistant to wearing glasses, point out those with familiar faces who also wear them. Defeating the stereotype that glasses are “dorky” is half the battle with school-aged children. Getting your child to wear glasses, without tearing them apart is the other. When children see relatives, cartoons or classmates wearing glasses, they are typically drawn to the attractiveness of someone they admire wearing them. If your child needs to wear glasses, you should allow the child to pick out the frames as it gives them a sense of ownership and pride.

4. Children age 10 and above can usually manage contact lenses. Children of all ages, even infants, can be fitted with contact lenses if their vision requires it. Under the age of 10, an adult will usually need to insert, remove and clean the lens. Many children over 10 can handle wearing and cleaning the contact lenses themselves.

The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is an international referral center known for its family friendly environment of children afflicted with all forms of eye disease and provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient services.

Supervisor Order Review of E-Verify for County Contracts

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The Board of Supervisors directed staffers Tuesday to investigate the feasibility of requiring county contractors to use a federal database system to check employees’ immigration status.

The federal government will require its contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify, a free Internet-based tool, beginning Sept. 8. The system is operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.

Contractor that could be required to use the E-Verify system should the County make such a policy mandatory, would include day care centers, food service providers, construction companies and health clinics to name a few.

“Determining an employee’s eligibility to legally work in the United States is vital in our effort to reduce the economic impact of illegal immigration on our county taxpayers and protect workers from unscrupulous employers who exploit them,” said Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who regularly releases statements estimating the cost of County services to undocumented immigrants and their children.

Federal regulations include exceptions for contracts less than $100,000 and subcontracts less than $3,000.

The board voted 5-0 in favor of Antonovich’s motion to have the county’s chief executive officer and the Internal Services Department review the E-Verify system and report back to the board in two weeks.

Supervisor Gloria Molina voted in favor of the motion but cautioned that the system is not without flaws. Molina also questioned whether the cash-strapped County should be involved in enforcing compliance.

The system, intended to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants, is the subject of a legal challenge in federal court by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups that claim the database is error-ridden. Immigrant advocacy groups have also objected, saying errors could result in legal workers being wrongly fired.

Homeland security officials, in turn, have said that improvements to E- Verify have reduced the error rate to less than 1 percent in millions of checks.

Additional improvements are being implemented and considered, including adding biometric identifiers, such as photographs and fingerprints.

Recently, a number of businesses, including Overhill Farms in the city of Vernon have come under fire by immigrant rights groups and unions for the firing of workers after E-Verify detected “discrepancies with their Social Security numbers.” In some cases, the dismissed employees had worked for the companies for more than 20 years. Activist claim that the businesses are unfairly using the system to get rid of higher paid workers with seniority, as well as union members and sympathizers.

“The County Board of Supervisors’ motion prescribes a poisonous pill that will sicken our local economy by denying employment to qualified workers and lending itself to racial profiling of immigrant workers,” said Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), in response to the Board’s vote.

“In these difficult economic times, neither businesses nor workers should be placed in disadvantage because of the use of a flawed system,” states Salas.

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