A Question of Health: Must I be on the wagon to get insurance? And are rear-facing buggies best for baby?
Tuesday 08 February 2005
I had an insurance medical exam two years ago that produced slightly abnormal liver-function tests. I was advised to stop drinking for six weeks, and the blood test returned to normal. This satisfied the insurance company that I was not an alcoholic, and I was offered life insurance at standard rates. I am now applying for another insurance policy and I don't want the same thing to happen again. I only drink wine, and rarely more than a glass or two a day. If I stop drinking altogether, how long do I need to be on the wagon before risking a blood test to check my liver function?
The fact that your blood tests returned to normal very quickly makes it unlikely that you were doing your liver any serious harm. You may be someone whose liver is unusually sensitive to small amounts of alcohol. Or it may even be that your previously abnormal liver-function tests were caused by a viral infection that had nothing to do with alcohol. If you stop drinking completely for about four weeks, I would expect any transient upsets in your liver function to return to normal. If, after four weeks of abstinence, you still have abnormal liver-function tests, you need to find out if there is any underlying problem.
I've read that rear-facing pushchairs are better for babies than front- facing ones (rear-facing meaning that the child faces the adult pushing the buggy). The main point being that rear-facing pushchairs encourage non-verbal communication in children, whereas front-facing ones isolate the child. How true or valid is this? As expectant grandparents, we would like to buy the pushchair, and our daughter is in the process of choosing one.
Babies like to look at human faces from the moment that they are born. In very early life, they can focus at a distance of about one foot, which makes it easy to see mum's face when the baby is feeding at the breast. But as the eyes mature, they can see faces that are further away. By the time babies are in a pushchair, they can see clearly things that are quite far away. I looked for psychological research on the subject of front- facing and rear-facing pushchairs, but in vain. I'm sure there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Of course, a rear-facing buggy allows the baby to keep an eye on his mum, or whoever is pushing the buggy. But looking backwards means that the baby is unable to watch the world go by. You could argue that babies spend plenty of time interacting with their parents at home, and a front-facing pram might teach them new social skills. Strangers often give passing babies a big smile, and this social interaction would be invisible to a baby who is facing backwards. The other issue to consider is safety. Babies who are not properly strapped in can go flying if a forward-facing buggy hits an obstruction. So a rear-facing buggy might be safer.
Send your questions and suggestions to A Question of Health, `The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; fax 020-7005 2182; or e- mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr Kavalier regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions
HAVE YOUR SAY: READERS WRITE
John Neate, chief executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity writes:
Thank you for highlighting prostate cancer in your column recently. I am only too aware of how many men have similar concerns about the PSA test and preventing cancer. Our specialist nurse-led helpline (0845 300 8383) takes over 1,000 calls a month from people worried about prostate cancer and who want to know about treatment options. Try our website: www.prostate-cancer.org.uk
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Enrique Iglesias injured trying to catch a drone mid concert
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, reveals new look on Annie Leibovitz shot Vanity Fair cover
- 3 Arsenal players boo chief-executive Ivan Gazidis after being told they would not get bonus for FA Cup triumph
- 4 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 5 UK weather: Temperatures set to soar making parts of Britain hotter than parts of the Mediterranean
The 1975 leave social-media after tweeting cryptic comic strip hinting at break up
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Winner Matisse had secret dog double, says owner Jules O'Dwyer
Top Gear to follow Have I Got News For You format with 'different host for each episode'
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: Ofcom receives 90 complaints about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing dresses'
Ed Sheeran debuts new love song 'Sweet Mary Jane' about relationship with weed
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history