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The Baby Won’t Take a Bow

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

“If a baby is helped to stand up too soon, the legs will bow.”

“An old wives’ tale,” says Dr. P. Colin Kelly, a pediatrician at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and a UC Irvine clinical associate professor of pediatrics.

But the tale did have some legitimate basis, he says, in the days when many children suffered from rickets--caused by Vitamin D deficiency. If a baby had rickets, “standing up too soon might cause micro-fractures in the legs and bow them,” Kelly says.

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But rickets is now rare in the United States, “and particularly in sunny Southern California,” he says. His advice: “You can help your child stand up without worrying about bowing.”

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“A chemical peel is a cheaper, easier alternative to a face lift.”

“Not true,” says Dr. Jane Norton, a Palm Desert and Newport Beach plastic and reconstructive surgeon specializing in aesthetic surgery. Each procedure improves different problems.

“A face lift gets rid of deep wrinkles,” says Norton, who performs both procedures. “It tightens redundant skin in the face and the neck.

“A peel gets rid of the fine lines such as crows’ feet, and tightens the skin minimally, but doesn’t do anything for the neck. (Peels, available in various strengths, involve the application of an acid that exfoliates the outermost skin layers.) A face lift redrapes the skin,” Norton says. “A peel refines it.”

A peel is recommended if patients have many fine lines. A lift is recommended if there is excess facial or neck skin. “A lot of people need both,” Norton says. In that case, the face lift should be done first, allowing an interval of at least four weeks before the peel is done.

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“One calcium supplement is as good as another.”

Not according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Some supplements disintegrate better than others and therefore are absorbed better.

The best bets? “Choose a chewable (either name brand or not) or a name-brand supplement tablet,” advises Dr. Robert P. Heaney, professor of medicine on staff at the Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University in Omaha, who has researched supplements. House-brand tablets, while often cheaper, often do not dissolve well, he says. Liquid calcium supplements are generally no better absorbed than tablets, his preliminary research shows.

To test how well a calcium tablet disintegrates, place it in six ounces of vinegar at room temperature and stir occasionally over half an hour. If the tablet has not broken down in 30 minutes, it will probably not be well-absorbed.

* Doheny cannot answer mail personally but will attempt to respond in this column to questions of general interest. Please do not telephone. Write to Mythbusters, Life & Style, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053.


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