Friday Links – Allergy Shot Vaccine, Asthma Racial Gap, Ice Cream

Allergy Shots Without the Shot?
I know a couple of you would love this. Research looks promising for a kind of immunotherapy vaccine, which would help prevent allergy triggers for asthmatics sans injections.

Minority Kids Have Higher Asthma Rates, Even with Insurance
We’ve known about the higher burden asthma places on black and Latin American communities for a long time, but this study suggests minority children aren’t receiving the same level of health care as Caucasian kids. Possible reasons are complicated and not fully understood and may not be as devastating as my first sentence suggests, but this issue obviously needs immediate further research and attention.

Asthma App Provides Personalized Treatment, Helps Self-Care
Sounds nice, huh? A computer program that gives you advice based on the symptoms you report through your computer or by text message?

Unfortunately, it was part of a Netherlands asthma study and isn’t available yet. This Guardian article goes into more detail about the results.

How Tibetans Breathe at Extreme Altitude
People like me, who live in higher altitudes, produce more hemoglobin than the norm in order to compensate for less oxygen in our air. Too much hemoglobin makes you sick, so scientists have wondered for a long time how Tibetans live and work at altitudes where others succumb.

And to take you into the weekend:

Fish and Chips-Flavored Ice Cream
Be honest, UK folks. Would you try this?

10 responses to “Friday Links – Allergy Shot Vaccine, Asthma Racial Gap, Ice Cream”

  1. Kelley says:

    Oh, if only they get those non-shot allergy vaccinations here & FDA approved soon!

    I read something else around the time my AG was diagnosed regarding the lower rates of successfully controlled asthma in minority groups in the US. My interpretation of that article, was that a lot of it is more related to the parents not being made to understand (possible language barrier with some cases) or did not really believe/trust the dr. that the contoller meds need to be taken even when they “are better.” I did a fair amount of research because my AG is 1/2 hispanic & wondered whether those genetics would increase the likelihood of difficult to control asthma, but the numbers of prevalence in those races elsewhere just doesn’t seem to indicate that. I think they need more outreach programs to asthma parents of different cultures, by people of their own community to break through any cultural differences that may be contributing to the problem.

  2. Sarah says:

    I agree with Kelley, but I’d also like to emphasize that perhaps paediatricians should be taking the initiative to refer their patients to asthma education programs. Perhaps part of the reason some children have persistently poorly controlled asthma is that their parents are maybe less aware of the fact that these programs exist and therefore less likely to ask about them (heck, my parents never knew asthma education existed). I’d go so far as to suggest that every child with persistent asthma of any severity should be referred to an asthma education program – and the sooner, the better.
    It’s proven that these programs improve patient outcomes by improving medication compliance and trigger management. It seems to me to make sense that if you refer a child to one earlier, you should be able to get their disease under control faster and better, and perhaps prevent flares before they happen.

    The issue with the current system is that most people won’t question the doctor about whether or not such-a-thing-I-heard-about is a good idea. I know my parents didn’t – and both of them were involved in the medical field at the time! They felt that if was necessary, the pedicatrician would make the referral. I think that’s a trap a lot of people fall into: They forget that their paediatrician doesn’t see their child’s health on a day-to-day basis and so may not know that Johnny or Janey coughs even when they’re “controlled” or that Mom and/or Dad isn’t -really- sure about how you use that spacer thing. So it could be that the doctor’s not making a referral that is necessary because the doctor doesn’t know it’s necessary. Or it could be that the doctor’s education on the child’s condition is out-of-date.

    The underlying point is that parents of children with chronic conditions can’t put all their trust in that the doctor will know all there is to know about the child’s condition. The doctor, often, doesn’t have time for that. It’s up to the parents to become experts in their child’s condition and be able to advocate for their child. Look at it this way: There are thousands of medical conditions, and your average GP is expected to know a little about all of them – and may need to. The GP will know more about the common ones and less about the uncommon ones, because that’s what they’re familiar with, but they still need to have a broad, general knowledge base over a huge number of conditions. As opposed to the parents of a child with a chronic condition (or a few chronic conditions) or a patient with a number of chronic conditions, who only need to know about a few problems. You see that it’s much easier, and more likely, for the parents and/or patient to become experts, than for the GP to do so.

    Or, that’s how I look at it, anyway.

  3. Amy says:

    I write about this a lot and was just talking to Mr. Asthma Mom about it last night. One of the biggest problems with uncontrolled childhood asthma and lack of med compliance (or knowledge) isn’t an absence of good information or even an issue of hard-to-find resources. The Internet, the library, and education programs like you mention, Sarah, are full of excellent information and guidelines.

    The problem is most parents simply don’t know they need to do much research on their own. Pediatricians should refer parents to education programs – although they aren’t as common in the U.S. as they seem to be in Canada – and I think they should also be referring parents to specialists and other resources.

    In hindsight I think, “My kid was diagnosed with a chronic condition. I shouldn’t have needed anyone to tell me to do some research.” In reality, though, I was young and inexperienced and overwhelmed by parenting in general, much less asthma parenting. It’s not an excuse, but I really did need someone to tell me. And it’s as you say, Sarah – we trust our doctors. We expect that, if they’re the one with medical degrees, then they’ll tell us what we need, or where to go to find what we need.

    Which comes back around to the old, “THIS is why I have an asthma blog” speech. Because if it’s not happening in doctor’s offices, this advice to educate and learn all you can, then I’ll do it. I feel like everything I write comes back to importance of online testimonials, patient/parent blogs, and health 2.0, but it’s so important. I can’t overstate the dramatic difference in my child’s life and health between the time I was undereducated about her condition and the time I learned to work actively to help her breathe better.

    That’s my long-winded way of saying, “Yes, I agree with you both. Good points.” :)

    Overall childhood asthma aside, nailing down the underlying causes and solving these racial disparities in care is crucial.

  4. Sara C. says:

    I definitely think I’m a rarity, in that I self-refer to specialists, on a fairly regular basis. I don’t believe that the pedi’s will refer out, unless they are asked to…and people DO put so much trust in the doctor, because, well…most parents HAVEN’T been to medical school, so they trust the person who has.

    I also wish asthma education programs were available in the US like they seem to be in Canada. I’ve never heard of one in this area at all…I don’t know if they exist at all in the US.

  5. Sarah says:

    I think the other problem is that a lot of people don’t know where to even begin with research and so don’t bother trying… I guess it must be incredibly overwhelming to have your child be diagnosed with asthma. And you might think, “Where do I even start? How do I know that what I’m getting is reliable?” And if you’re not a medical professional and you don’t have the advantage (like I had) of relatives in the field bringing you up to be able to spot scams and snake oil. You might hit Google and see 37 million hits. Of which, how do you know which ones are reliable and which ones aren’t? To make things worse, most of the first hits don’t get into great detail about the day-to-day management of the disease.

    That’s why I think referral to asthma education should be the default for asthma patients: if nothing else, it will give the patient (or the parents of the patient) the background they need.

  6. There are some attention-grabbing deadlines in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There may be some validity however I’ll take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as effectively

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