Tuesday, September 18, 2018


[Please read the whole article, which I saw in the print edition.]
Sept. 13, 2018
'No money, no job': Poverty forces people in path of Hurricane Florence to ride out storm

Sept. 17, 2018
Multi-surface cleaners and other commonly used household disinfectants could be making children overweight by altering the bacteria found in their guts, a new study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests.
Infants living in households where antimicrobial disinfectants are used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the bacteria Lachnospiraceae at ages 3 to 4 months than children whose homes did not frequently use disinfectants, the Canadian researchers found. When those children with higher levels of Lachnospiraceae were 3 years old, their body mass index (BMI) was higher than children who do not live in homes that frequently use disinfectants, the study also showed.
The bacteria Lachnospiraceae are "a normal component of our gut microbiota," Anita Kozyrskyj, senior author of the study and a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, said in a CMAJ podcast.
However, she explained that it is known "from animal studies that higher levels of Lachnospiraceae have been associated with higher body fat and insulin resistance."

[Ah yes, those wonderful rich people, making money by hurting children.]
Sept. 17, 2018
Infant walkers, those wheeled contraptions that give babies who can’t yet walk the sudden ability to walk, are bad. This has been long established. But parents keep using them and so pediatricians are renewing the call for a ban.

Sept. 17, 2018
When researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life, the real revelation was how common those experiences were across all socioeconomic groups.
But the first major study to focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was limited to a single healthcare system in San Diego. Now a new study — the largest nationally representative study to date on ACEs — confirms that these experiences are universal, yet highlights some disparities among socioeconomic groups. People with low-income and educational attainment, people of color and people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual had significantly higher chance of having experienced adversity in childhood.

Donate to help hurricane victims who are disabled.

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Sept. 2018
The average retail price of a prescription drug taken to treat a chronic condition has reached $13,000 per year. That’s more than three times what it was when the landmark drug legislation was passed, and it’s about four-fifths of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit. How much a Medicare beneficiary has to pay out of pocket for that medication can vary greatly, depending on what drug plan he or she has. 

June 16, 2017
President Trump says he’s received tens of millions of dollars in income from the golf courses and resorts whose profile he boosted during frequent visits since taking office, according to filings released Friday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
Properties that Trump frequently visited as president saw the largest boost in income.

Sept. 17, 2018
I worked undercover as an order picker at one of the company’s warehouses for three weeks in 2016, in the small Staffordshire town of Rugeley in the United Kingdom. I took the job as part of the research for my book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low Wage Britain.
Before I started the job I had a relatively positive view of Amazon - admittedly derived from my use of the company’s website as a consumer. When I set out to write my book I was simply looking at low-paid, precarious work. I ended up working at Amazon by accident: my search for a low-paid job merely coincided with a recruitment drive on Amazon’s part.
Yet what I found while working for Amazon shocked me. I had done warehouse work previously when I was younger, along with a range of other poorly paid, manual jobs. In other words, my shock at the way workers were treated by Amazon was not a product of some wet-behind-the-ears naivety: I fully expected warehouse work to be tough. Yet what I witnessed at Amazon went far beyond that. This was a workplace environment in which decency, respect and dignity were absent.

Sept. 17, 2018
While Florence forced humans to evacuate or seek shelter last week, the storm's impacts required the rescue of hundreds of animals. Dozens of organizations, teams and families from around the country came to the rescue throughout the weekend, providing temporary homes and transportation to safer shelters.

Sept. 17, 2018
Honduras' supreme court indefinitely suspended the start of a trial Monday of eight men charged in the 2016 killing of prize-winning Honduran indigenous and environmental rights activist Berta Caceres.
Caceres was shot to death inside her home in La Esperanza in western Honduras on March 2, 2016, one year after winning the Goldman Environmental Prize for her leadership against a dam project.
Two of the accused worked at one time for Desarrollos Energeticos SA, the company behind the hydroelectric project that Caceres and her group Copinh had battled against for years. Caceres had reported death threats from both of them.
Another defendant was an active-duty military member, supporting assertions by Caceres' family that there was collusion between the company and state security forces.
Roberto David Castillo Mejia, who was executive president of DESA when Caceres was killed, was arrested last March in the killing, though he is not part of the suspended trial. Prosecutors allege he was in charge of handling logistics for the killing. The company said Castillo and its other employees were "totally unconnected" to the murder.
Last year, a team of lawyers published a report after studying the case. They said it was a carefully planned effort and "there is evidence to link high-level state and non-state officials to the murder."

Sept. 14, 2018
Parents, Stop Kids' Need for Tommy John Surgeries, Says Tommy John
the former Major League pitcher has an urgent message for parents.
Spare your still-developing teen the potential of a lifetime of pain and discomfort: Stop the focus on a single sport.
John is speaking up because he's alarmed by the number of teen athletes – not only pitchers, but youngsters in other sports – who are undergoing major surgery in ever-increasing numbers. While pitchers are playing baseball nearly year-round and therefore overworking their elbows at too young an age, John is just as concerned about far too many soccer players having to undergo reconstructive knee surgery for similar reasons. Their joints are not yet fully formed and the constant strain from dedicated, 11-month/year participation and travel teams frequently lead to ligament tears and painful ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operations.
"This is about more than just baseball and elbows. It’s about the way we are raising our children," writes the 75-year-old former lefthander, who won the majority of his 288 big-league games after his revolutionary surgery in 1974. "The nation’s youth-sports industry is a $15 billion business — and more and more, that business pushes children to make decisions early about which sport they want to play, and then to pursue that sport to the exclusion of all others," writes John, in an essay published in this month's AARP Bulletin. "And kids’ bodies are paying the price."

Aug. 16, 2018
Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.
Several countries have banned the pesticide DDT over concerns about its effects on the environment.Credit: Popperfoto/Getty
Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, one in 160 children has autism. Any case of autism is likely due to a number of factors, including genetics and other environmental exposures.
Although the authors stress that the findings do not prove that autism is caused by DDT — whose use has been banned in many countries for decades over concerns about its effects on wildlife— it is the first such association using a direct measure of exposure to the pesticide. Researchers who investigate links between environment and disease say that further studies are needed to determine the mechanism, if any, by which DDT exposure could trigger autism.
The study, published on 16 August in the American Journal of Psychiatry1, also examined mothers’ exposure to another set of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and found no association between these substances and autism. That finding deepens questions about whether or how DDT might be linked to autism.
DDT — which is still sometimes used in Africa to control mosquito populations — lingers in soil and water for decades, accumulating in plants and the animals that consume them. PCBs, which used to be common in building materials and electronics, tend to accumulate to high concentrations in certain fish.
Brown cautions that although there seems to be a link between autism and DDT exposure, the overall risk of having a child with the disorder is low — even among women with high DDT levels. His group plans to look at other organic chemicals in the Finnish database to determine whether they might affect fetuses by interacting with DDT.

January/February 2018
Despite America’s reputation for optimism, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults are pessimistic about the country’s future. [1] This may not be all bad, though. Decades of research have found that positive thinking isn’t always so positive. In some cases, pessimists fare better than those with a sunnier disposition.

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