Friday Links: Hidden RSV & Early Asthma, Secondhand Smoke, Placebos, Junky Costumes

RSV Hides in Lungs, Asthma Develops
The possible implications of this research are pretty wonderful. While the link between RSV and asthma-like symptoms until around kindergarten age has long been recognized, and most babies and toddlers contract RSV with no complications, new research on mice from UT Southwestern indicates that RSV can hide in the lungs even after initial RSV symptoms disappear. Then, it shows up again later to cause wheezing and airway disease. Plus, the more of the virus found the mice’s lungs, the more severe the bronchospasms. Finally–and this is the best part–treating the RSV with an antibody appears not only to stop the asthma-like symptoms in the first place but also prevent any recurrences:

[The researchers] also found that infected mice treated with an anti-RSV antibody had less virus in the lungs and not only showed improvement during the acute disease, but also developed significantly less airway hyperreactivity and lung inflammation during the chronic phase of the disease.

Now researchers are treating children with an RSV-antibody to see if the same preventative effect holds true.

More Evidence that Parents Who Smoke Around Kids Need Their Heads Examined
Last Friday, I posted a link about the genetic/secondhand smoke combo tripling the risk of early-onset asthma. This link confirms that secondhand smoke hurts kids worse than adults since the amount of air they breathe according to their body weight is much higher than that of adults. Some kids exposed to secondhand smoke have levels of carbon monoxide in their blood comparable to adults who smoke.

Half of U.S. Doctors Say They Use Placebos Regularly
Of that half, only 5% tell their patients that’s what they’re doing, according to this new survey.

It’s called “benevolent deception” and it works on the mind over matter theory. Doctors may, for example, give harmless sugar pills to patients who then have better expectations for their eventual healing. And taking placebos may also inspire patients to follow accompanying fitness or dietary recommendations.

However, this survey shows doctors also prescribe things like sedatives and antibiotics as placebos, too. That last one is troubling, considering the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, a problem the American College of Physicians attributes to “improper use and abuse of antibiotics,” partly through doctors’ prescribing them for viral infections when the meds only work on bacterial ones.

A Halloween Tale: George W. Bush and the EPA
Okay, it’s not really about the holiday, but my newest Celsias article about EPA regulatory decisions under the Bush administration makes for a frightening read.

And a real Halloween link:

Creative Costumes from Junk
Check out #4.

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