Health briefs: Peanuts are OK for pregnant women

  • Updated: December 28, 2013 - 4:21 PM
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Peanuts OK for pregnant women

Pregnant peanut lovers can celebrate, perhaps with a PB&J snack: A study out Monday shows an association between pregnant women who ate the most peanuts and tree nuts and children with a decreased risk of allergy.

Women had been advised to avoid peanuts and tree nuts, as well as other highly allergic foods, during pregnancy and until the child turned 3, as a way to try to reduce the chances of an allergy. But those recommendations were rescinded after researchers found that the effort didn’t work.

In the current study — from Boston Children’s Hospital and published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics — found that women who ate nuts more than five times a month had the lowest incidence of allergic children.

Popular knee surgery may be unnecessary

A popular surgical procedure worked no better than fake operations in helping people with one type of common knee problem, suggesting that thousands of people may be undergoing unnecessary surgery, a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports.

The unusual study involved people with a torn meniscus, crescent-shaped cartilage that helps cushion and stabilize knees. Arthroscopic surgery on the meniscus is the most common orthopedic procedure in the United States, performed, the study said, about 700,000 times a year at an estimated cost of $4 billion.

The study, conducted in Finland, involved a small subset of meniscal tears. But experts, including some orthopedic surgeons, said the study added to other recent research suggesting that meniscal surgery should be aimed at a narrower group of patients and that, for many, options like physical therapy may be as good.

Living with both parents good for you

A new study of black men suggests that living with both parents in childhood reduces the risk for high blood pressure in adulthood.

Previous studies have found an association of hypertension with childhood poverty, but this analysis, published online in Hypertension, is the first to find a link between high blood pressure and a childhood spent in a single-parent household.

Researchers studied 515 black men older than 20 between 2001 and 2008. More than half of the men had high blood pressure, and about a third never lived with both parents.

After adjusting for age, family history of hypertension and other variables, the scientists found that, compared with men who never lived with both parents, men who had lived with both parents at any time in their lives had an average systolic blood pressure that was 4.9 millimeters of mercury lower. Among those who had lived with both parents for one to 12 years, the average was 6.5 millimeters of mercury lower.

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