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Safety First When Stringing Holiday Lights

TUESDAY, Dec. 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Stringing up lights is a holiday tradition for many families, but it's important to use these and other electric decorations safely to prevent accidents and injuries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Before putting lights on a Christmas tree, inspect each strand for frayed or exposed wires, broken sockets or loose connections -- even if they are brand-new, the AAP advises. The group also makes the following safety recommendations:

  • Never put lights on a metallic tree. Anyone who touches a metallic tree with faulty lights could be electrocuted.
  • Lights should be kept out of children's reach. The wire coating and bulb sockets of some strands may contain a significant amount of lead. Those handling lights should also wash their hands afterwards.
  • Use outdoor lights that have been certified for outdoor use. This should be indicated on their label. Never use nails or tacks to secure outdoor lights. They can be strung through hooks or insulated staples. Outdoor lights should also be removed carefully. Do not pull or tug on them.
  • All outdoor electric decorations should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent shocks.
  • Never leave the house or go to bed with lights on. Electric holiday decorations could short out and start a fire.
  • When hanging lights indoors, make sure wires aren't pinched by furniture. Cords should also not run beneath rugs.
  • Avoid overloading extension cords. Do not plug more than three strands of lights into one extension cord.
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HealthCare News

Mom's Genes May Play Part in How Children Age

THURSDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A mother's genes can affect the aging process in her children, a new study in mice suggests.

One of the major factors in aging is the accumulation of various kinds of changes that occur in mitochondria, which are the so-called power plants of cells.

Mitochondria have their own DNA, which changes more than the DNA in the nucleus, and this has a significant impact on the aging process. Many mutations in the mitochondria gradually disable the cell's energy production, the researchers explained.

Their experiments with mice showed that the aging process is influenced not only by the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA damage during an individual's lifetime, but also by the mitochondrial DNA inherited from their mothers. The findings suggest that people who inherit mitochondrial DNA with mutations from their mother may age more quickly.

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