Thursday, 26 July 2012

Taking Care of Children

The best thing a pregnant woman can do for her unborn child is to make sure that she is not deficient in vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D is direct sunlight on the skin; all that is required is 15 minutes exposure daily. Food sources of this vitamin are fish oil, sardines, salmon and herring. Eggs and milk only contain small amounts. Failing to get a sufficient amount from sunlight or from food, then a vitamin D supplement should be taken as insurance against the child being born with brittle bones

From once a child is born, research by experts has shown that breast milk is the best option over the first year. If the mother is not producing enough milk, or has other problems, then formula milk can be substituted. As milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs, solids should be introduced gradually after 4 months in addition to milk. No attempt should be made before the baby is a year old to wean him/her off milk; some mothers do breast feed up to 18 months and beyond.
The foods fed to a baby after the first year need to do three things: promote growth; develop and consolidate bones; and produce red blood cells. Milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, fish, eggs, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are good foods to help achieve these objectives. Use the child’s appetite at any one sitting, to gauge how much food is required.
Vitamins A, C and D, as well as the minerals calcium and iron, are the most critical to help the child grow and develop properly. The aforementioned foods should provide these essential nutrients in sufficient amounts except for, possibly, vitamin D. Therefore kids should be encouraged in good weather to play outside in order to benefit from the main source of vitamin D: the sun. If you live in a part of the world that has long winters, consider giving your child a vitamin D supplement in order to make up for any deficiency in this regard.
Children need to drink water, for the same reason that adults do, to irrigate the whole body and to encourage the proper elimination of waste. After infants are weaned off breast or formula milk, they should be encouraged to drink water with the main meals of the day; and to drink it between meals if the weather is hot in order to prevent dehydration.

According to the medical authorities in many parts of the world, children need to be vaccinated against certain diseases. In some countries these vaccinations are “recommendations” made by the health authorities; in others, such as certain states in the USA, it is illegal not to have them done as a child cannot attend school without proof they have been carried out. In the UK at the present time, it is recommended that children are vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis, invasive pneumococcal disease, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. The balance of evidence would appear to support the view that the benefits of immunisation far outweigh any possible side effects.
In addition to the foregoing, children should be encouraged to do the following in order to aid their overall development: engage in play activities each day, and thereby get their daily quotient of exercise; interact with other children of roughly the same age; play and bond with a pet or pets; look at books appropriate to their age;  and construct or draw something from play materials provided.

If your 3 or 4 year old child is potty trained, there are advantages in sending him or her to a nursery school, if there is one near you. The main advantages are the interaction with other kids and teachers there in a secure environment. It is inadvisable to send your child to a  formal education  place (primary school) before the age of five.
I hope you have found this post on the needs of children useful. Any comments on it can be made in the box below provided for that purpose.   

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Fraudulent Practices by Global Pharmaceuticals

Last week in the UK, while most of the attention was on the banks for misquoting the Libor rate, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the UK’s biggest pharmaceutical company, was fined a record 3 billion dollars by the US’s  FDA ( Food & Drug Administration) in settlement of claims arising from three separate legal cases brought for fraud relating to sales and marketing of nine of their drugs including Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia.

The settlement of the dispute with the US authorities, prompted Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK, to make the following statement: ”In recent years, we have fundamentally changed our procedures for compliance, marketing and selling in the US to ensure that we operate with high standards of integrity and that we conduct our business openly and transparently."  Only time will tell if this statement is true.

GSK are not to only pharmaceutical company involved in this kind of thing. The US authorities have also in recent years fined Merck, Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories billions of dollars each in connection with their drugs.  It does not surprise me, or anyone who read my post in March titled  “ All Prescribed Drugs Have Side Effects “ , that pharmaceuticals are involved in misrepresentation, mis-selling or improper marketing techniques. It is common practice for them, for instance, to understate the side effects of a drug until such time as the numbers of people complaining about it bring it to the attention of the authorities.
Pharmaceutical companies have also been known to bombard doctors with literature about their drugs in order to have them prescribed on a regular basis; some have even gone so far as to offers doctors free holidays if certain targets are hit in the regularity with which their drugs are prescribed. The medical establishments in many countries have known for some time about the unhealthy relationship that exists between the manufacturers of drugs and the prescribers.    
The record fine of 3 billion dollars by the US authorities on GSK only represents a slap in the wrist as the money the company makes from prescription drugs is huge. It is estimated that the company has made more than 30 billion dollars from the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia alone. GSK are only fourth in the league table of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies; the table is topped by Pfizer. A more meaningful way of penalising a company found guilty of fraud would be to jail the senior executives, in addition to a fine linked to the profits they have made in the jurisdiction involved during the period cited in the legal action.   
Drug manufacturers will take fines lightly because they know they have got a monopoly in the market in the treatment of health problems, whereby the alternatives are rarely given an opportunity to be used. This situation is not going to change until such time as doctors are compelled by law to give a patient an opportunity to pursue an alternative course of treatment relating to a health problem, in the many situations where this is a viable option.

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