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Health Notes
Swedish researchers have found that using computed tomography scans to search for brain injuries in babies can lead to brain damage. The researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal, studied more than 3,000 men who had scans before they were 18 months old found many went on to develop learning problems. Because of the findings, the researchers called for new guidelines to warn doctors of the risk. CT or computed tomography scans use ionizing radiation to take pictures of the inside of the body.
They are more detailed than conventional X-rays and are used on patients with a wide range of suspected problems, from cancer to suspected brain injuries. In recent years, doctors have started to use CT scans on young infants and the researchers found that the higher the dose of radiation the more likely these men were to suffer learning problems later in life. They were also more likely to have dropped out of school.

Eardrops, a staple treatment for children's ear infections, can lead to an increase in resistant bacteria and fungi in the ear, doctors caution. Dr. Glenn Isaacson, professor and chair of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Temple University School of Medicine, told a medical meeting resistant bacteria develop when antibiotics are used inappropriately. In 1998 eardrops containing the broad-spectrum antibiotic fluoroquinolone were introduced, replacing the traditional oral antibiotics as treatment of choice for ear infections. Recently, experts have raised concerns about the drops' and the development of resistant bacteria. In the new study, the scientists discovered a significant increase in resistant bacteria and fungi in children who had used the eardrops, compared to those who had not. To combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, experts recommend prescribing antibiotics judiciously, targeting them specifically to individual types of bacteria.

Women should learn more about celiac disease -- an intolerance of gluten -- which doctors say is more common than first believed. Gluten is a protein in wheat and other grains, and researchers had thought intolerance to it was rare in the United States. A recent Mayo Clinic study, however, found a dramatic increase in the number of cases of this disorder and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s were most affected. Symptoms including sporadic diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and foul-smelling or grayish stools. It's not uncommon for people to have symptoms for many years before a diagnosis is made because of the wide range of symptoms and the belief the disease is rare. Celiac disease is diagnosed by a blood test and confirmed by taking a tissue sample from the small intestine. Once diagnosed, removing gluten from the diet and avoiding bread, pasta, cookies or anything containing wheat, barley or rye is essential. After a few weeks on a gluten-free diet, people typically see improvement in symptoms.

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