Digging up trouble on the beach

 Children are at higher risk of developing illnesses from sand.

Swimming in water that contains too much bacteria from sewage and other sources is a well-known risk for getting sick. But playing in sand next to that water may be even riskier.

Writing in The American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers said that the sand could also contain high levels of fecal bacteria, and that people who dig in it could develop gastrointestinal illnesses. For the study, researchers got contact information for more than 25,000 people visiting seven beaches within seven miles of sewage treatment plants.

About 10 days later, the researchers called and asked how they had spent their day at the beach and whether they had experienced problems like vomiting or diarrhoea since then. Those who dug in the sand were significantly more likely to report having been sick — with those who had allowed themselves to be buried in the sand most affected. Children were at extra risk.

Attention football players

A new study finds that high school football players experience greater acceleration forces to their heads when they collide with other players than college players do, possibly increasing the danger of injuries like concussions.

Researchers described the results of a study in which 35 members of a high school varsity football team wore devices in their helmets for one season that measured the forces they were subjected to. They then compared the forces with those measured in the helmets of college football players looked at in an earlier study. They found that not only did the high school players experience greater acceleration at impact than the older players did, but that the forces were not distributed the same way.

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