• Drs. Maurice Sholas and Tony Gonzales have opened a specialized amputee clinic at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. The clinic will allow patients and their families to meet with physicians, therapists and prosthetic and orthotic vendors in one HEALTHBEATconvenient visit. “Amputees need experienced doctors, therapists and technicians to receive the most appropriate durable prosthetic system to maximize their daily function,” Sholas says. The innovative clinic, which opened in April and is open the second Wednesday of each month as scheduled, will help bring families sharing similar medical challenges together to help kids build confidence and a sense of community.

HEALTHBEAT• The St. Baldrick’s Foundation announced they have donated $50,000 to the Ochsner Cancer Institute to further children’s cancer research. The foundation even holds head-shaving events – complete with music, food and fun – to continue their fundraising efforts. 

• Recent studies in the U.S. and Great Britain suggest that even 15 minutes a day of moderate physical activity could prevent child obesity. 5,500 children wore motion sensor devices in the study and those who performed more activities, especially short bursts of intense activity, proved less likely to become obese. In the U.S., 60 percent of the population is obese. While experts are sure that obese people consume more calories than they burn, there is still speculation over whether diet or exercise is the most effective for weight loss. However one of the researchers notes, “We know that diet is important, but what this research tells us is that we mustn’t forget about activity. It’s been really surprising to us how even small amounts of exercise appear to have dramatic results.”

HEALTHBEAT• At the American Heart Association’s 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, researchers reported that numerous New Orleanians faced challenges with hypertension medications after Hurricane Katrina. After the hurricane and subsequent flooding, some residents did not evacuate with their prescriptions, others ran out of medication and many had trouble refilling prescriptions, all factors that can lead to incorrect use of mediation for hypertension.

The AHA encourages people to keep electronic records of prescriptions, often easier at national pharmacy chains, in addition to taking at least one month’s supply of prescriptions during an evacuation. 

• Families USA, a health advocacy group, recently reported that uninsured children are twice as likely to die during hospital treatment for basic injuries than insured children.