“Health Notes” column for July 2, 2013

New screening for newborns required

A new state law now requires a simple, noninvasive test for newborns in Louisiana that will help physicians diagnose potentially life-threatening heart conditions.

Many Louisiana hospitals already perform the screening, called a pulse oximetry, but now all hospitals in the state where babies are born will provide it, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.

In the screening, a monitor is placed on the baby’s right hand and on either foot to check for low oxygen levels in the blood stream.

Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of death for infants with birth defects. The screening will allow for detection and treatment, often times before symptoms become life threatening.

Gum disease a factor in diabetes cases

Women with a history of gestational diabetes and gum disease are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life, according to research undertaken at Tulane University School of Public Health and the research department of Woman’s Hospital.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry. Dr. Xu Xiong of Tulane was the lead researcher, according to a news release from Woman’s Hospital.

The researchers called for more examination of the possible link between gestational diabetes, gum disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes affects approximately 4 percent to 10 percent of pregnancies; an estimated 35 percent to 60 percent of those affected women develop Type 2 diabetes.

Music, art and more brought to Woman’s

Woman’s Hospital has launched a therapeutic arts program designed to comfort patients and enhance the healing process.

Its multimedia Healing Arts Program includes performing arts, music, writing, painting, crafts and gardening, with the help of hospital employees and members of the community.

“Voices of Woman’s Chorale,” a concert series of one or more singing groups of Woman’s employees, will begin performing in August.

A musical concert of unamplified instrument and/or voice is held monthly throughout the Woman’s campus. Music can also be taken to patients’ rooms.

Compiled by Ellyn Couvillion

Advocate staff writer