Friday Links – Kids’ Flu Shots, Asthma Meds + Obama’s EPA Chief Shortlist?
Flu Shots Protect Kids Even Better Than Thought
New research of 2,500 kids found that even when the flu strains in the vaccine don’t match the flu viruses actually circulating that season, the shots cut doctor’s visits for flu symptoms in half.
Huge Spike in Kids’ Meds, Including for Asthma
The Pediatrics journal published the above study and this one, which reports an enormous increase in the number of kids taking regular medication between 2002 and 2005. Uptick in asthma meds? 46.5% While the results for behavioral and diabetes drugs are likely to continue and even ramp up the current conversation on possible over-prescription of behavioral meds and links between childhood obesity and Type II diabetes, this article quotes a doctor who stresses the positive nature of a rise in asthma meds, since the phenomenon points to better diagnostics and treatment.
It also highlights the need for a better energy policy that doesn’t rely on dirty coal-fired power plants and an oil-based, emissions-heavy car culture, both of which endanger air quality and therefore lung health. George W. Bush leaves office in January and not a moment too soon after spending eight years beating the EPA into submission.
Speaking of which:
Speculation on Candidates for Obama’s New EPA Head
Possibilities may include Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas powerhouse governor who famously stood up to Big Coal. I like the Kansas governor’s tenacity and Wired’s argument for Mary Nichols.
Whoever Obama picks will at least have the luxury (and how sad that it became a luxury during these eight years) of making regulatory decisions based on science and health rather than on the industry politics that determined the course of the Bush EPA. Especially since W. is even now ramming through last-minute legislation that will hand a free pass to industry polluters and ensure a shockingly shameful environmental and public health legacy.
Check out more Bush & Co. EPA fun here.