Friday Links: Parent Expectations, Race & Asthma Severity, Fact Checking & Politics, Halloween

New Research: If You Think You Can Attain Good Asthma Control In Your Kid, You Probably Will
Medical researchers at Harvard and Boston U. talked to 700 parents of persistent asthmatics between ages 2 and 12. They discovered that parents with high expectations for treatment results and a set routine for their kids’ asthma medication had children with well-controlled symptoms. (The implication here being that if you don’t believe your kid’s health can improve much, you’re probably not going to be as vigilant with the inhalers.) Kids also had worse symptoms if their parents didn’t fully understand the condition–no surprises there–or if their families experienced “competing” priorities.

Moral of the story: Your kid will probably live a normal, healthy life, even with asthma! Make sure you know how to accomplish this! Your child’s doctors should help you understand! (AG, btw, is a testament to all this.)

Analysis Points to Genetic Cause of Asthma Severity in Blacks
This is a pretty important piece of information, considering reprobates like Michael Savage who–in a typical shock-over-substance bid for higher ratings–pinned higher rates of asthma in black communities on a money racket scheme. In the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Dr. Tmirah Haselkorn and her research team explain that analyzing data from 1,885 white patients and 243 black patients revealed the black patients were more likely to have severe asthma than white patients and with no evidence of outside causes that explain away the difference. Outside causes could include when/where/how the patients received care and whether they followed their treatments correctly, socioeconomic status, knowledge of asthma, and the presence of outside diseases.

Since none of those were factors, the difference in severity points to a genetic cause and the need for more targeted treatment:

The investigators urge that these findings be used to develop more effective asthma treatments and educational strategies for black patients who are having problems controlling their disease. In addition, future clinical trials evaluating new therapies should be designed to also examine the potential impact of race and ethnicity on treatment response.

China Addressing Air Quality Even After the Olympics
Remember how China spent all that money on cleaning the Beijing air and there were questions whether the government would keep working on improving the air quality for its citizens even after the Games ended? According to this story, newspaper editorials have kept the heat on to extend the traffic initiatives past the Games, and it worked.

A Little Perspective on the Financial Crisis
This Money article covers some interesting points and ends on a vaguely reassuring note, if you’re thinking over the long term. On the other hand, there’s this bit of news.

Just the Facts, Please
I was writing an article about political fact-check organizations for a freelance client yesterday, and I remembered I’ve never talked about PolitiFact.com here yet. It’s a project maintained by the St. Petersburg Times (the paper where I used to live) and Congressional Quarterly. It runs on the same principles as FactCheck.org, but the gimmick here is the Truth-O-Meter on candidate claims and attacks and the Flip-O-Meter on candidates’ platforms.

Compare and contrast Truth-O-Meter profiles on Barack Obama and John McCain.

Daily Halloween Links

Flickr Gallery: Halloween in the Time of Cholera
Historical Halloween photos, one per day throughout October. (via Boing Boing)

DIY Halloween Costumes at Instructables
Check out the LED Jellyfish one towards the bottom. I’m wondering if I can talk my 6 year-old into a smaller version of this.

4 responses to “Friday Links: Parent Expectations, Race & Asthma Severity, Fact Checking & Politics, Halloween”

  1. freadom says:

    I finally read that book you recommended to me a while back “Mornings on Horseback.” I read the part about asthma anyway. Do you know of any other books that talk about asthma history. I’ve been finding very little on the subject..

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