Friday Links: C-Sections and Asthma Risk, Second Smog Lawsuit, New Cancer Treatment, Shopping Camp for Girls
C-Sections Increase Childhood Asthma Risk by 50%
Research has suggested the connection between Caesarean birth and asthma before, but this is the clearest link yet. The Norwegian study looked at 1.7 million births over 30 or so years, and emergency C-sections upped the risk even further. And asthma risk during vaginal birth increased with vacuum or forceps use. There are two main theories bouncing around right now, but neither explains why higher emergency C-section risk.
I sure hope this finding doesn’t bring out the small but vocal minority that likes to play the blame game and point fingers at parents over their children’s health issues, but I also hope it’s taken seriously in light of the recent years’ upswing in voluntary C-sections for non-essential, non-medical reasons.
Sputum and Nitric Oxide Breath Tests for Kids Cut Oral Steroid Courses by 29%
If you’ve experienced the joy of a little kid on prednisone–and since you’re reading this, you probably have–then I don’t need to explain the implications here. This research is aimed at severe asthmatic children, but any progress in better diagnostic measures for asthma are generally okay in my book.
Remember to Say “Thanks” for Good Asthma Care
Severe asthmatic Steve, who’s been in the ICU more than anyone I’ve ever known, tells you why.
Second Lawsuit Over the Lame Smog Restriction
Thirteen states are suing the EPA this time, hoping to overturn it. Check it out:
“The EPA is charged with protecting the environment, yet the Bush administration has repeatedly used it as a tool for facilitating pollution instead of combating it,” New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a release.
Read about the other lawsuit, too.
Man Beat Advanced Cancer After Injections Of Own Immune Cells
UK doctors used immunotherapy, or the process of cloning a patient’s defense cells that fight cancer and then injecting them back into the patient, on a man with skin cancer that had already spread to his lymph nodes and a lung. In just eight weeks, the tumors disappeared and he’s still cancer-free two years later.
The next step is more trials for the treatment and there’s the question of financial feasibility, but still. Science can be a wonderful thing, can’t it?
Teaching Young Girls How to Shop. For Self-Confidence
I am not even kidding, but I wish I were. Via Jezebel, a Kentucky shopping center runs one-day “fashion camps” for girls aged 6 to 12, in which they visit stores to learn how to create outfits and accessorize. There’s so, so much that horrifies me, so let’s just wade right in:
1. The camps start at age six? SIX!?! Does your six year-old need fashion camp?
2. So the camp coordinator/leader says these shopping camps can instill “personal development” and “self-confidence,” but if you read further you’ll discover the sessions are really the brainchild of Becky Norton, property manager of the center. According to the article, she “wanted to do something special for customers.”
3. They’re called fashion camps but apparently also teach organization, finding information, and etiquette in stores like Office Depot and Barnes & Noble.
4. At the retail clothing stores like Limited Too, the girls learn “fashion terminology” and then learn public speaking by talking about the clothes in this stores. Anyone think this age group will practice public speaking beyond this?
“This is pretty. I like this skirt because it sparkles, and I like sparkly things. And purple’s cool. I like purple.”
5. This “something special for customers” costs $60 a day. For that price, the girls get a goody bag with a $40 gift certificate to the center, and of course they’ve basically just spent the entire day window shopping for the stuff they want to buy.
Look, I don’t have a problem with fashion, and I recognize it’s a genuine interest for some children. I mean, I’d be shocked if my own 9 year-old didn’t end up in some kind of theatre/fashion/costume design situation when she gets older. I do, however, want to throw up a little bit at the thought of packaging *consumerism* as *education.* And then marketing it directly to kids under the age of 12.
This quote (I saved the best one for last) doesn’t inspire confidence in the worth of the “camps,” either:
“This is something different,” Ross said. “Not everybody can be a cheerleader or football player, so this is something for someone with different interests … the most important thing I tell the girls is to have fun.”
So that’s it, I guess. Cheerleading, football, or–um–shopping. That’s it? How about art class? Science camp? Soccer? Piano lessons?
You get the picture.
The U.S. Mortgage Crisis and Its Benefits for Land Conservation
From my latest Celsias article, pretty much the only positive spin on the story of family foreclosures, mortgage company abuses, and basement-dwelling home values:
The U.S. housing market is in such decline that foreclosures have even reached some of the wealthiest, most exclusive neighborhoods in the country, places that are normally immune to real estate shifts. In a remarkable turn-around, conservation groups suddenly have so much buying power that more U.S. land was protected than developed in 2007.
Here’s how it’s happening. As homeowners try to ride out the burst real estate bubble in their current homes rather than upgrade or move, and scores of Americans become renters after losing their homes in foreclosure, developers are stuck with large, prime tracts of land they can’t build on since no one will buy.
(Read the whole article through the link above.)