Friday, er, Monday Links – California Whooping Cough, Lung Taste Buds

Let me tell you something: Colorado takes Halloween seriously, you guys.

There were parties. There were dances and haunted houses. There was trick or treating last night with a whole bunch of other people until after 9:00 and, unlike the Deep South where I used to live, there were hordes and hordes of neighbors still up and passing out candy that late.

Hence today’s links and Friday’s absence.

CA Whooping Cough Epidemic Worsening
Ten babies have died, and health officials now recommend senior citizens get vaccinations as well.

British Historian Pleads for More Asthma Research
In this personal account of lifelong asthma and one particularly terrifying attack in Marrakech, Alistair Horne compares recent heart disease and cancer treatment breakthroughs to the relative lack of major headway in your favorite lung disease and mine:

Why is there not more effort to find a cure? As a recent article in The Lancet pointed out, research on lung diseases including asthma is still poorly funded, in comparison to other areas. A GP friend put it succinctly: ‘Heart disease and cancer are sexy; asthma is not .’

Your Lungs Have Taste Buds, and They Could Help You Breathe Someday
Scientists were surprised to find bitter taste receptors in the smooth muscle tissue of human lungs, and they were even more shocked to discover that exposing bitter compounds to airways appears to open them up better than any asthma or COPD treatment on the market now.

Just don’t go eating lots of bitter foods to ease your attacks because it won’t have the same effect.

11 responses to “Friday, er, Monday Links – California Whooping Cough, Lung Taste Buds”

  1. Sara C. says:

    I’ll give you my very jaded opinion on why there are so many diseases that are not “on the list” for a cure. It all comes down to the almighty dollar. Asthma is a CASH COW for big pharma. If a “cure” for asthma were to happen…imagine the influx of cash that would stop for multiple pharmaceutical companies. (and asthma isn’t the only disease that suffers from this issue) However…take my opinion for what it’s worth…basically nothing.

    Whooping cough is scary as heck…and so many people are NOT fully vaccinated for it…and then pass it on to unvaccinated babies…yet one more reason to GET YOUR VACCINATIONS….it’s not always about YOU…it’s about those you protect with your immunity!

    AND, I’m watching the taste bud research with interest.

  2. Sarah says:

    Whooping cough scares the crap out of me. A kid in my class had it when I was in elementary school (his parents were anti-vaxers until that happened because they bought into the “these diseases are mild and vaccines are dangerous!” bunk). He was out of school for three months, lost way more weight than a six-year-old should (and he wasn’t a heavy kid to begin with), and broke a couple ribs with the force of his coughing. The kids in class could barely recognize him when he came back because he was so thin and pale and had these huge bags under his eyes. Plus, he had permanent lung damage.

    I don’t get why some poeple don’t vaccinate. If your kid gets whooping cough, statistically, one in 200, the kid is dead. If your kid gets a pertussis shot, one in ten thousand, the kid has an adverse reaction (fever, etc). The risk of a serious reaction is even lower.

    I’d take the shot.

  3. Amy says:

    Sara–I think the CDC and state health departments should adopt that as their vaccine campaign slogan: “It’s not always about you!”

    Sarah–Totally agreed, and as lots of articles have pointed out, the amount of medication you have to take (or give to your child) if you catch a vaccine-preventable disease FAR outweighs the tiny amount of preservatives/chemicals/etc. in the actual shot.

  4. Sarah says:

    With my own history of vaccine-preventable disease (chickenpox, influenza and pneumonia), I definitely understand how bad these things are.. Chickenpox saw me hospitalized for severe dehydration because my mouth and throat were too raw and painful to swallow. Pneumonia was, well, pneumonia. It sucked (and it was a secondary infection to the flu, which itself is vaccine-preventable). The flu saw me in the ER every year, until I was seven or so, and gave me pneumonia one year.

    Incidentally, if you haven’t read it before, Why We Immunize is a great read and an excellent resource on vaccine-preventable diseases.

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