January 18, 2011 [Volume 5, Issue 2]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Musculoskeletal Injuries in Kids
Why You Need Enzymes
Antibiotics and Childhood IBD

Musculoskeletal Injuries in Kids

Children's musculoskeletal systems are different from adults. To understand pediatric injuries that involve the musculoskeletal system, it's important to be aware of the differences between children and adults in this regard. The main difference is that children's bones are growing; adults' bones have stopped growing. This bone growth happens in two ways - by growing lengthwise and widthwise. The bone grows lengthwise in an area at the ends of the bones called the epiphyseal plate or growth plate, in the region known as the metaphysis. The widthwise growth occurs on the surface of the bone.

Growing bone has inherent areas of weakness due to the growth process. In fact, children's tendons and ligaments are relatively stronger than the growth plate; therefore, with severe trauma the growth plate will give way before the ligament. On the other hand, children's bones and muscles are more elastic and heal faster compared to adults.

Due to the differences in growing bone, the patterns of injuries are different from mature bone. There are two main types of bone injuries: one is an acute injury in which violent forces are applied at one time; the second is from chronic, recurring stresses applied to the bone over a prolonged period of time. Growth plate injuries can cause cessation (stoppage) of growth of the bone, resulting in limb-length discrepancy, angular deformity or altered joint mechanics; possibly causing permanent disabilities. The chronic recurring stresses are often termed overuse syndromes, but also include stress fractures, which can lead to changes that affect the joints, causing early arthritic changes. Stress fractures, if not managed correctly, can result in complete fracture.

Adolescents who are in the peak period of linear growth - often termed a growth spurt - are most vulnerable because of imbalances in strength and flexibility and changes in the biomechanical properties of bone. Sports involving contact and jumping have the greatest injury risk. Most chiropractors who treat pediatric patients are aware of these injuries and the potential causes related to the growing musculoskeletal system. They have been uniquely trained to understand the musculoskeletal system, making them excellent resources for the management of sports-injuries.

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Why You Need Enzymes

You're undoubtedly aware of the role a balanced diet can play in healthy aging and disease prevention, but do you know there is a non-nutritive element that can also exert a profound positive influence on your health? Proper function of the human body is dependent on the continuous activity of thousands of different enzymes. These essential biological molecules are the catalysts in all of the body's biochemical reactions.

Here are three important health benefits attributable to enzymes. Talk to your doctor for more information about enzymes and their value in maintaining health and wellness.

1. Digestion: Digestive enzymes, which are secreted in saliva and pancreatic juices, are responsible for the breakdown of food. This process helps facilitate proper nutrient absorption. In patients with pancreatic insufficiency or with food allergies, supplementation with a mild digestive enzyme blend can enhance nutrient uptake as well as gastrointestinal comfort. In addition, anyone who consumes a diet high in processed foods may benefit from enzyme supplementation.
2. Inflammation: Another known benefit of enzyme supplementation is the treatment of inflammatory and immune mediated conditions. Proteolytic enzymes, such as trypsin, chymotrypsin, bromelain, and papain, have the ability to neutralize inflammatory chemicals to aid in the healing of damaged tissues. It is believed that proteolytic enzymes have the ability to promote healing by decreasing capillary permeability, improving circulation, and dissolving fibrin clot deposits. Enzymes have also been shown to have positive effects on natural killer cells and macrophages, thus enhancing the overall immune response and body's defense against infection.
3. Cancer: The use of enzymes in cancer therapy was first proposed by the embryologist Dr. John Beard in the early 1900s. In his research, The Enzyme Therapy of Cancer, published in 1911, Dr. Beard discussed his theory on injection of pancreatic proteolytic enzymes as a form of cancer therapy. Cancer cells, as well as nearly all pathogens, are often protected by a thick, protein-based, fibrin coating. Proteolytic enzymes have the ability to assist in the breakdown of this fibrin coating, allowing the body's immune functions to take action against proliferating cancer cells. Although the original research was conducted almost a century ago, proteolytic enzymes are being used as a new and innovative way to combat cancer.

One of the simplest ways to enhance your enzyme levels is to increase your intake of raw foods. Uncooked, unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables contain natural enzymes that support digestion and overall enzymatic activity. However, since many Americans consume inadequate amounts of these foods, supplementation may be necessary to ensure enzyme activity is supported. Increasing your intake of enzymes can help support every mode of cellular activity as well as improve overall body communication.

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Antibiotics and Childhood IBD

Antibiotics are medications that fight bacterial infections. That means if your medical doctor ever prescribes an antibiotic to fight your child's cold, flu, cough (in most cases) sore throat (unless strep) and even bronchitis - all of which are caused by viruses - the antibiotic won't do any good and will be exposing your child to an unnecessary drug with potential side effects.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that doctors do prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, and that sometimes, it's to appease the parent, who doesn't want to hear that their child's malaise will improve on its own in a few days or so.

Between unnecessary prescribing for viral infections and appropriate prescribing for bacterial infections, children can end up taking several courses of antibiotics in their early years. That can be a problem for several reasons, not the least of which is that, as a recent study suggests, they can end up with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) later in life.

While researchers did not find a clear cause-and-effect relationship between antibiotic use in year one and IBD in childhood, they did notice that children diagnosed with the condition were more likely to have taken antibiotics (one or more courses) in their first year compared to children without IBD.

Your doctor can tell you more about IBD and the dangers of antibiotic use in infancy, childhood or any age.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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