Friday Links: Outside Pools and Asthma Risk, Drug Companies and Doctors, the Debate

It’s Not Just the Indoor Pools, Apparently
You already know indoor pools aren’t the healthiest places you could take an asthma kid, right? Now, a new Belgian study shows high rates of asthma for kids who swim in outdoor pools, too, and the write-up says chlorine gas remains right next to the surface of the water even outside.


In fact, the study also suggests a higher risk of developing asthma in outdoor pools, since kids tend to swim in them longer than indoor ones. And check this out:

Children with the highest pool attendance — one hour per week for 10 years — were five times more likely to be asthmatic than young people who had never swum in a pool, the study found.

So. We put AG in a pool for the first time when she was two months-old. Living in South Florida meant she pretty much lived in one pool or another from May through October (and in one memorably long summer, November) during her first six years, until we moved here. We still swim all the time in this part of Florida, but summers are shorter here and since this house (unlike our South Florida one) doesn’t have a pool, we’re usually at the beach or the river. Meaning her non-asthmatic younger sister has spent way, way less time exposed to chlorination. Of course, she wasn’t born almost six weeks early like AG, either.


Eli Lilly and Merck to Start Reporting Dr. Payments Next Year
The drug companies both say they’ll document online the speaking and consulting fees they’ve paid to doctors. What that means for you and me? A better chance at weeding out less-than-scrupulous docs since, according to this article, “Research has found that industry money can bias doctors’ interpretation of study findings and may alter their prescribing habits.” (Shocking, I know.)

Congress is working on the bipartisan Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a bill that would require payment reporting like this, only on the national level. . . . sometime in the future and maybe next year.

Possible Link Between COPD Inhalers and Heart Attacks, Death
Enormous emphasis on the *possible* and if you read the link, you’ll see why. Inconclusive results from new research suggests using the Spiriva Handihaler or Atrovent (tiotropium and ipratropium) could increase the risk of heart problems or even death.

Big Debate Tonight! Or Not.
If McCain decides to show up, here are six factors key to each candidate’s performance, according to this article by Hartford Courant’s Rinker Buck. In addition to having the most awesome name of any reporter ever, Buck quotes–among others–the assistant editor of a college newspaper, a political consultant, and an economist to define key issues the candidates will need to address and/or overcome.

Edited to read the following:

So, yes. Debate tonight!

20 responses to “Friday Links: Outside Pools and Asthma Risk, Drug Companies and Doctors, the Debate”

  1. Asthmagirl says:

    Will you be watching the debate?

  2. Amy says:

    Oh, definitely. Especially since he must have realized the transparency of his campaign suspension ploy, as he now plans to participate in the thing.

    Oops, I mean, he feels Congress has made enough progress on the bailout to allow him to show up

    Either way, yeah–there’s no way I’d miss this..

  3. Asthmagirl says:

    Sad isn’t it. The Chihuahuas did a newscast today. Trust them to be non partisan.

  4. AsthmaGramps says:

    I grew up in the northwest, where we actually did a lot of swimming, but predominately in lakes. I am also probably of the generation where swimming pools were relatively sparse. I can recall as a high school student driving 45 minutes to a pool (on much less congested roads), so I guess we were lucky!
    Although conservatish, I had to appreciate your artical on seeking answers yesterday. And though conservatish, have to agree with you sentiment there are no decent answers forthcoming.

  5. AsthmaGramps says:

    ok, so I can’t spell! … article …

  6. Corey says:

    Very thoughtful blog post, Amy.

    I don’t come to the same conclusions about chlorine in pools, however… and I think there are issues with the Belgian study.

    In the work I’ve done with the American Chemistry Council, what’s stood out the most is the risk associated with swimming in untreated or improperly treated pools. Of course chlorine is a powerful chemical– if it weren’t it wouldn’t be of any use– and thus it’s got to be used appropriately.

    The Centers for Disease Control is a great resource in determining whether a pool is safe to swim in. I’ve been looking at their healthyswimming page here:

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