Options For Trying To Prevent Disabling Injuries and Disease

We're compiling this directory to provide you with additional information and insights from various sources to help you make more informed choice for prevention of chronic conditions or injuries. While no one can predict whether certain options will be effective for each individual person, they can be a starting point for dialogue with your personal health professionals in trying to minimize the risk factors for injury and disease.

Please visit often as we add to what will be a growing database of information designed to help you make informed prevention choices.

Disabled Because Of A Texting Driver

Loretta Strong is living proof of the dangers of texting while driving. The Michigan woman and her husband Clarence were driving to Indiana for visit their daughter Tracy. But the trip was suddenly and tragically interrupted.

A teenage-girl who was texting while driving crossed the median and hit the Strong's Buick Rendezvous which flipped five times, leaving Loretta hanging from her seat belt. Clarence said he didn't even see the girl coming. A truck driver who had been traveling the same route narrowly avoid getting hit by the same girl.

The teen walked away from the accident and her only punishment was a fine and points on her license.


For Loretta, the consequences were much more serious. The teen's foolish actions left Loretta paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair with 24 hour care. She suffered fractures to her ribs, sternum and leg as well as a C2 spinal fracture.

Loretta has become another unnecessary statistic - a disability that didn't need to happen. 

She and her husband want to see stronger penalties for texting while driving and it may soon be outlawed in Michigan. However, word seems to be that the proposed legislation lacks any serious consequences because the texting while driving will be treated as a secondary offence.

Statistics show texting while driving has become a deadly problem. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study concluded that commercial truck drivers who text while behind the wheel raise their risk of crashing by 23 times, or 2,300 percent.

 Dontdriveandtext.org ranks the danger as high as drunken driving. The site adds that cell phone use is responsible for 2,600 fatalities and 300,000 collisions each year.

And now Oprah Winfrey is drawing national attention to the problem.

She has created Oprah's No Phone Zone and has come up with a pledge to make people promise they will not text while driving and will pull over to the side of the road to use their phones.

A special edition of the 'Oprah' TV program marks National No Phone Zone Day on Friday, April 30th.

Oprah.com is showcasing  a collection of video interviews and features that put the spotlight on what they are calling 'America's New Deadly Obsession'.

Oprah drives home the deadly consequences of texting while driving by featuring vignettes of the innocent lives that have been lost.

The No Phone Zone pledge can be downloaded @Oprah.com

Loretta Strong hopes all of it will make a difference. It's been a slow and painful process. She spent months in the hospital and in long-term care, much of it in a haze due to painkillers and multiple surgeries. Misoni recalls a day when her mother began to ask about rustling sounds she was hearing. It came from autumn leaves in the wind.

Loretta was shocked to realize she had lost so many months in the hospital.

As she endures therapy to regain mobility and independence, Loretta is bringing some fight to the game with a message: Don't text and drive.

"I don't want people to feel sorry for me," but "my life has been put on hold. I'm not happy with that. I'm doubly imprisoned," she said.

"If I can make a difference in this, then that's what I want to do."

  Read and Watch More About The Dangers Of Texting While Driving

@DailyTribune.com: Read more about Loretta Strong's disabling encounter with a texting driver

@MyFoxDetroit.com: Watch and read about Loretta Strong's story

@Oprah.com: Read more and watch videos about other people killed or disabled by texting drivers

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40% Of Child Blindness Is Preventable

 The data, statistics and narrative in this section are excerpted from the VISION 2020 Action Plan 2006-2010  © World Health Organization

It has been estimated that there are 1.4 million blind children in the world, 1 million of whom live in Asia and 300 000 in Africa. The prevalence ranges from 0.3/1000 children aged 0–15 years in affluent countries to 1.5/1000 children in very poor communities. Although the number of blind children is relatively low, they have a lifetime of blindness ahead, with an estimated 75 million blind-years (number blind × length of life), second only to cataract.

In developing countries, 60% of children die within a year of going blind

The same report showed that 500 000 children become blind each year (nearly one per minute). Many die in childhood from the underlying cause, such as measles, meningitis, rubella, prematurity, genetic diseases and head injuries.

Most blind children are either born blind or become blind before their fifth birthday. Owing to demographic differences, the number of children who are blind per 10 million population varies from approximately 600 in affluent countries to approximately 6000 in very poor communities.

About 40% of the causes of childhood blindness are preventable or treatable.

The causes of childhood blindness vary, but the main avoidable causes are:

  • corneal scarring in Africa and poorer countries in Asia;
  • cataract everywhere
  • glaucoma everywhere;
  • retinopathy of prematurity in high- and middle-income countries and some cities in Asia;
  • refractive errors everywhere, but particularly in South-East Asia; and
  • low vision, which encompasses visual impairment and blindness from untreatable causes, in all regions.

The main causes of blindness in children change over time. As a consequence of child survival programs (for example, integrated management of childhood illness), corneal scarring due to measles and vitamin A deficiency is declining in many developing countries, so that the proportion due to cataract is increasing.

Retinopathy of prematurity is emerging as an important cause in the middle-income countries of Latin America and eastern Europe and is likely to become an important cause in Asia over the next decade. The prevalence of refractive errors, particularly myopia, is increasing in school-age children, especially in South-East Asia

@vision2020.org: Read more about what's being done to prevent child blindness

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Preventing Learning Disabilities

From helium.com by Dusty Summer

Can we prevent learning disabilities?

It seems a number of factors may contribute to the growing prevalence of learning disabilities. The problem is we are still not able to pinpoint exactly what has caused an otherwise healthy child to have a learning disability.

A variety of areas have been explored including genetics, prenatal influences, labor and delivery problems, chemicals within the environment of the child, the home environment as well as nutritional profiles. We know healthy prenatal care, including good nutrition and a healthy mother work together to minimize the chance for learning disabilities. The use of drugs or alcohol can have potentially devastating effects on the brain development of the fetus, this can lead to learning disabilities in the child. Maternal smoking can also lead to lower birth weight babies who also may be at risk for impairments in brain development and functioning.

Lower Your Risk Of A Disabling Stroke

From the National Stroke Foundation-Australia

It is important to understand that stroke is preventable.  There are many factors that can increase your chance of having a stroke. Some of these, such as age, gender and a family history of stroke, cannot be controlled. However, there are a number of risk factors for stroke which you can control. Taking steps to control these risk factors can lower your chance of having a stroke.
You can reduce you risk of stroke by managing the following risk factors:

Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, eating healthy and being physically active will also reduce your chances of having a stroke.  Diabetes is also a risk factor so if you are diabetic, talk to your doctor.

FAST is an easy way for everyone to recognise the signs of stroke:

Facial weakness - Check their face.  Has their mouth drooped?
Arm weakness - Can they lift both arms?
Speech difficulty - Is their speech slurred?  Do they understand you?
Time is critical.  If you see any of these signs call 000 now!

Recognising any of these signs and calling 000 immediately can be the difference between death or severe disability and making a good recovery.

@StrokeFoundation.com.au: Read more about how recognizing risk factors can help to prevent a stroke

Diabetes Prevention

A little sun may help to prevent Type 1 Diabetes

by Daniel H. Rasolt
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation
Topics: Childhood Physical Health , Childhood Diabetes

Sun light, which is a major source of vitamin D, appears to lower type 1 diabetes risk for children. This discovery was recently made at the University of San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Type 1 diabetes, often called juvenile diabetes, is a condition that is characterized by deficient insulin production by the pancreas. More than 1.5 million individuals in the United States suffer from the disease, with 15,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Vitamin D, especially from sun light, has been shown to reduce risk for certain forms of cancer as well, including breast cancer. Vitamin D is primarily available through sunlight, but can be consumed through food and dietary supplements as well.
According to the study, children living near the equator, which has a high abundance of sun light, are far less likely to develop type 1 diabetes than those living at more northerly or southerly points, which have much less sunlight. According to study author Dr. Cedric Garland,  "higher serum levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced incidence rates of type 1 diabetes worldwide."
By plotting the location (using latitude, with zero being the equator, negative being the southern hemisphere, and positive being the northern hemisphere) on the horizontal axis, versus type 1 diabetes incidence on the vertical axis, a parabola resulted. The parabolic association is strong and distinctive. 51 regions were accounted for. This association was present regardless of a locations economic and health care status, meaning that even poorer countries near the equator, with less developed health care systems, had a lower type 1 diabetes incidence rate.
The results of this study suggest that a moderate daily vitamin D consumption could be very effective in preventing type 1 diabetes. According to Dr. Garland, "childhood type 1 diabetes may be preventable with a modest intake of vitamin D3 (1000 IU/day) for children, ideally with 5 to 10 minutes of sunlight around noontime, when good weather allows." He goes on to say that "infants less than a year old should not be given more than 400 IU per day without consulting a doctor. Hats and dark glasses are a good idea to wear when in the sun at any age, and can be used if the child will tolerate them." While this study is the first to show the connection between lower type 1 diabetes incidence and vitamin D, it's been shown in addition to this study that moderate vitamin D consumption has very positive health benefits.


Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Garland, Frank. Edwards, Kim. Diebetologia news release. June 2008. Reprinted with the permission of the Defeat Diabetes Foundation.