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We aim to bring you interesting and helpful information about osteopathy and complementary medicine within Bristol and beyond.......

Monday 17 March 2014

Safety When Swaddling: A guide for Parents

Parents should be aware that injuries, including deaths, have occurred with swaddling, including some incidents where no improper use of swaddling or unsafe sleep practice could be identified. An insecurely applied swaddle wrap or wearable blanket can unravel during sleep, and (as demonstrated by the infant deaths in a recent study by McDonnell and Moon), can end up obstructing the infant's airway or even strangling the infant. The plain truth is that the safety of these products, even when used as correctly as humanly possible, has not been established, and people who use them do so at their own risk.

Considering the resurging popularity of swaddling, parents need to ensure that they use swaddling as safely as we know how, within the context of a safe sleep environment. This includes the following:

• Learn about safe swaddling and the alternatives to swaddling (eg, standard infant sleepers/clothing of appropriate weight for the ambient temperature that can be worn without the need for additional wrapping).

• Ask health care professionals about appropriate layering and thermoregulation; some parents believe that infants need more layers than they really do. It would also be good practice to bring in what you plan to use at home for swaddling, and be tought how to swaddle properly to prevent damage to hips.

• Discuss with your health care professional when to discontinue swaddling. Although some physicians disagree about how long swaddling can safely continue, Dr. Rachel Moon, who is also lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep guidelines and chair of the Task Force on SIDS, believes that babies should not be swaddled past 2 months of age.

• If you are taking your infant to day care or a babysitter, you  need to ensure that these caregivers know how to swaddle properly (if swaddling is permitted at all) and follow all other rules of safe sleep. If you have stopped swaddling, caregivers should be instructed to stop swaddling as well.

• If you continue to use a wearable blanket or wrap beyond the recommended age (2 months), you must carefully watch for signs that the infant is close to being able to roll over, in either direction. You should observe the infant's movements during supine and prone play; an infant who seems close to rolling in either direction (a "partial roll") or who can roll from prone to supine should no longer be swaddled using any method. Even if the infant can't accomplish a roll by him- or herself, the movements that the infant makes in attempting to roll could unravel the swaddling wrap or blanket.

• Reinforce the other elements of the safe sleep environment.

The study by McDonnell and Moon illustrates a couple of very important points. First, it shows how very far we are from achieving the kind of consistent, safe sleep environments for infants that we hoped would exist by now in homes across the country, with or without swaddling. Second, it shows that swaddling has introduced another variable to this environment that poses risks for at least some infants, although we might not yet have a handle on who those infants are. Despite criticism from those who believe that swaddling is no riskier than hugging and singing lullabies, we have to treat swaddling with the caution that it has shown it deserves, as another element in the already overcrowded message about safe sleep that healthcare providers must repeat to all new parents before they leave the hospital and again at every well-baby visit.

More information on safe swaddling:

Read the full research findings here:


Thursday 13 March 2014

The Brain Has It's Reasons

By Xavier Decup

Days are decreasing, as is the sunlight now that winter has come. During this time of the year, it is common to feel less happy, to feel less energy in our body and in our mind. The cold weather perturbs our health and we struggle to fight the tiredness and bugs. We start to have more soreness in different parts of the body. Sleep and other main functions of the body are affected. The usual explanation is the lack of sunlight during winter time affecs the level of serotonin. This molecule affects the mood and is one of the four main elements of the brain’s biochemistry.

What if the brain is the key? We usually forget that it is the mastermind of the body. The rest of the body is literally connected to the brain by the spinal cord. Everything starts from the brain and spreads through the nerves in the whole body. It is like a computer dealing with different software. The ability of this software to run depends on the heart of the computer. Having a good computer means having a high speed processor (the heart of the computer), that allows very fast exchange of information. Our body is the same. We need the brain to exchange information with the rest of the body in an easy and fast way in order to process the millions of functions. 

The brain is made of billions of neuron cells. They communicate with each other by electricity and chemicals called neurotransmitters. The four main chemicals in the brain are serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine and GABA. The more balanced these chemicals are, the more the brain is able to maintain the health in the body. Unfortunately, stress, poor food and age are aggravating factors of unbalanced levels of neurotransmitters. Optimising the capacity and use of these chemicals is key for protecting our body from all these little disorders we suffer from in winter time. There are different ways to improve the function of the brain, such as medication, diet and supplements. 

The brain biochemistry defines the personality! 
Our natural dominant neurotransmitter is one of the components which make up our personality. The more our natural neurotransmitters are missing, the more our body struggles to fit with our way of life. Sometimes we can have a lack of other neurotransmitters (not the dominant one), that shows a different pattern of disorders. The treatment must be adequate to the symptoms and the personality. 

If you want to have a better idea of your nature, try the Dr Braverman Test (you can  find it on internet)

Monday 10 March 2014

More Sleep for NICU Newborns

Sleeping like a baby is an oft-used cliche. But while sleep is crucial for sick and premature babies to grow and recover, it can be difficult in a bright, noisy hospital.

However those in a specially-designed ward in Bath can be confident of getting plenty of rest.

When we try to soothe a baby at home we keep the bedroom dark and quiet. Yet many sick babies are cared for in hospital wards that are neither particularly restful, dark nor quiet.

"There's not usually any controllable light in a hospital, it's very brightly lit and noisy - a technical environment," says Bernie Marden, a consultant neonatologist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

The new neonatal ward he runs has been designed with the needs of the families, babies and clinicians in mind - resulting in a fifth more sleep for the infants. A senor on the baby’s nappy recorded movement to determine how much each baby slept.

The nappy sensor

The parents appear to benefit also from the light and space in the new unit - the bar stools they used to sit on have been replaced with reclining comfortable chairs.

"I used to get called down to parents in a panic - as if they'd had 17 espresso coffees. Now they're less anxious and tense and I sometimes have to wake them up to talk to them."

Breastfeeding rates have gone up - in the new unit 90% of the babies go home breastfeeding, compared with 64% in the old unit.

Source: BBC News