Shootings Now The Third Leading Cause of Death for U.S. Children


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❝ Few stories are more heartbreaking than those involving children who are injured or killed by gunshots. It isn’t hard to find them: In June alone, a 6-year-old accidentally shot and killed a 4-year-old in South Carolina, a father accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old daughter in Indiana and an 8-year-old Mississippi boy was accidentally shot in the chest. His grandparents drove him to the hospital, but he died 45 minutes later. Sadly, the list of child gun deaths goes on.

❝ Though we constantly see examples in the news, child gun injuries and deaths may be even more prevalent in the United States than we realized. A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics showed that an average of 5,790 children in the United States receive emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries each year, and around 21 percent of those injuries are unintentional. The study also found that an average of 1,297 children die annually from gun-related injuries, making guns the third-leading cause of death for children in America…The number is based on data taken from 2012–2014 for children up to the age of 17…

❝ …53 percent of the gun-related deaths were homicides, while 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional and 3 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes. Of the injuries, 71 percent were assault, 21 percent were unintentional, 5 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes and around 3 percent were self-inflicted.

❝ In 2010, 91 percent of the children killed by guns around the world were American, where, according to the data, 19 children die from or are treated for gunshot wounds each day.

RTFA for more terrible statistics, anecdotal information, description of how amoral our society has become. The right to arm yourself out of fear or hatred wholly supersedes any intelligent, informed discussion of rights in a free society. Including the right to protect the lives of children.

Over a million kids in the US have lead poisoning — We’re only treating half of them


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❝ We’ve long known that despite all our efforts to clean up lead, we have a serious problem with lead poisoning in American children — it’s an egregious and preventable public health issue that just won’t go away.

And it seems the problem is even worse than we thought. Researchers at the Public Health Institute reported…in the journal Pediatrics that the overall number of children with elevated blood lead levels as of 1999-2000 in the US was 1.2 million, or double what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported. (The number is likely even higher now, since testing rates have…declined since 2000.) These kids who are never tested or reported to the CDC also aren’t receiving treatment.

❝ Some states are doing much worse than others, according to the researchers. In the 11 states in dark blue on the map below, including Arizona and Florida, more than 80 percent of children with lead poisoning were not tested by their pediatricians or local health departments. For the other 28 states with data (in medium and light blue), anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of lead-poisoned children weren’t tested.

As for the 12 states in gray, researchers were unable to determine how many cases of lead poisoning were missed, because these states don’t share any data with the CDC…

Perish the thought these turd-brains Americans persist in electing and re-electing actually do something modern about healthcare legislation. Like make it uniform and nationwide. Require states to participate and provide information.

❝ What researchers have learned in recent years is that no level of lead is safe for children. Studies have even shown lead concentration in the blood as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter of blood (μg/dL) can lower IQ in children. And once children have blood lead levels of 5 μg/dL and above (what’s now considered lead poisoning), they can suffer severe neurological damage in the form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

❝ How did the counting of lead-poisoned children get so bad? For one, testing for lead is not legally required in most of the US…And…public health departments aren’t asking if there’s missing data when they turn things over to the CDC…

❝ Civil engineers have estimated that overhauling America’s drinking water system and bringing it up to code will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, but if these investments aren’t made, we risk continuing to poison children with dangerous levels of lead.

Not that this is a priority for Congressional politicians whose single most pressing task — Republican or Democrat – is raising sufficient funds for re-election.

Trump’s EPA doesn’t care about protecting kids from lead paint


Noah Berger/Reuters

❝ Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems.

The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility for environmental and health protection to state and local governments.

Old housing stock is the biggest risk for lead exposure — and the EPA estimates that 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint.

❝ Environmental groups said the elimination of the two programs, which are focused on training workers in the safe removal of lead-based paint and public education about its risks, would make it harder for the EPA to address the environmental hazard…

❝ Lead is a potent neurotoxin, and particularly harmful to children and the elderly. Its dangers in gasoline, paint and drinking water have been scientifically documented over many decades, which has led to stronger regulatory protections.

Trump and his cohort in the Republican Party simply don’t give a damn about what happens to working class families. They belong to the 1% class. They owe their peronal political budgets to the 1% class. Establishment conservatives of either party consider the 1% class the only power worth listening to, worth emulating.

The rest of us – and our families – can fend for ourselves as best we can. Our elected officials bear no responsibility for the well-being of the nation.

Outbreak of extremely dangerous strain of E. coli linked to SoyNut butters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 23 people in nine states had been infected as of March 21 with a particularly dangerous strain of E. coli linked to I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butters and Granola products. Twenty of the reported victims are younger than 18, and 10 have been hospitalized. Seven have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome…

According to the company’s announcement, which is posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website, I.M. Healthy products from SoyNut Butter Co. in Glenview, Illinois, were distributed to child care centers and schools in multiple states. The CDC reports that four of those sickened attended centers where the products were served.

This outbreak is particularly alarming as young children exposed to E. coli are more likely to develop severe illness and HUS than are healthy adults, who can often recover relatively quickly. Children have less-developed immune systems with a limited ability to fight infections. In addition, children’s lower body weight reduces the amount of a pathogen needed to cause illness. There are many short-and long-term health consequences that can develop from infection with E. coli…and even death.

Please be careful out there, folks.

Pregnant women + insecticide exposure = kids with behavioral problems

❝ Young children whose mothers were exposed to pyrethroid insecticides while pregnant showed increased rates of behavioral difficulties, a small retrospective French cohort study found.

❝ After adjusting for certain potential confounders, there was a positive association between high prenatal concentrations in maternal urine of certain neurotoxic chemicals found in insecticides, on one hand, and on the other, internalizing behavioral difficulties at age 6 in offspring, reported Jean-François Viel…and colleagues.

Moreover, there was a positive association between high concentrations of certain chemicals in children’s urine and externalizing behavioral difficulties at the same age…

❝ Pyrethroids are a class of insecticides that were designed because of concerns about organophosphate insecticides — with pyrethroids “purportedly a safer alternative for humans and the environment.”

The authors had previously used the PELAGIE mother-child cohort to examine prenatal and childhood exposure to pyrethroid insecticides and neurocognitive abilities. They found a link between childhood exposure and poorer neurocognitive abilities, but there was no association between prenatal exposure and neurocognitive abilities in objective testing…

❝ The pyrethroid metabolite trans-dimethylcyclopronane carboxylic acid was found in nearly all mothers (99.9%) and children (96.5%), followed by cis-dibromonovinyl at 68.3% of mothers and 85.2% of children.

But it was high concentrations of prenatal cis-DCCA that were associated with internalizing difficulties in children, and high concentrations of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid in children that were linked with externalizing difficulties.

❝ The authors also found that there was a more than twofold increased risk of abnormal or borderline social behavior associated with children who had the highest 3-PBA levels…

They concluded that the results, along with the prior study that linked pyrethroid insecticides with cognitive disabilities, support a “potential risk to neurodevelopment from pyrethroid insecticides,” and that remediating the potential causes of these neurodevelopmental deficits is “of paramount public health importance.”

Yes, doctors aren’t always the most entertaining authors. Even when they discover that the latest solution to endangering human life and living – from chemicals that increase agricultural profits – seems to have produced a whole new batch of dangers.

After the fact, of course. Everything previously approved in tidy political fashion. Satisfying farmers and agri-chemical producers alike.

Millennials are moving less than preceding generations


How can you tolerate missing out on this?

Americans are moving at the lowest rate on record, and recently released Census Bureau data show that a primary reason is that Millennials are moving significantly less than earlier generations of young adults.

In 2016, only 20% of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds reported having lived at a different address one year earlier. One-year migration rates were much higher for older generations when they were the same age. For example, when members of the Silent Generation were ages 25 to 35 back in 1963, 26% reported moving within the prior year. And in 2000, when those in Generation X were the age that older Millennials are today, 26% of them reported having moved in the previous year…

It may seem counterintuitive that Millennials would be contributing to a trend toward less geographic mobility. After all, according to Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data, they are less likely than earlier generations to have three things that tend to be impediments to moving for a young adult:

A spouse…A house…A child…So, if Millennials are less hampered by spouses, houses and kids, why are they moving less than previous generations did at their age?

Labor market opportunities may be a factor. Millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession in terms of job-holding and wages. For many young adults who moved in the past year, job opportunities were a prime motivation for moving, and the modest jobs recovery may not be providing the impetus Millennials need.

RTFA. Interesting, provoking. To my mind – which still thinks it’s 26 years old and keys in on non-conformity to cultural traits and standards stuck into the past – all mostly positive developments.

Sugar pills work as well as leading prescribed drugs on juvenile migraine — and no side effects

❝ Sugar pills worked as well at preventing kids’ migraines as two commonly used headache medicines, but had fewer side effects, in a study that may lead doctors to rethink how they treat a common ailment in children and teens.

It’s the first rigorous head-to-head test in kids of two generic prescription drugs also used for adults’ migraines: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and amitriptyline, an anti-depressant. The idea was to see if either drug could reduce by half the number of days kids had migraines over a month’s time. Both drugs worked that well — but so did placebo sugar pills.

❝ The study was released online Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development paid for the research.

“The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement,” said Dr. Leon Epstein…He said it should lead neurologists to rely on other prevention strategies; he advises lifestyle changes including getting more sleep and reducing stress, which he said can help prevent migraines in teen patients…

❝ Side effects from the drugs were common, including fatigue, dry mouth and forgetfulness. Almost one-third of kids on topiramate also had tingling sensations in their hands, arms, legs or feet. There was one suicide attempt in the topiramate group, another known side-effect of that drug.

The side effects were not unexpected, but given the risks, the results suggest the drugs shouldn’t be “first-line prevention treatments” for kids’ migraines, study author Scott Powers said.

Sad commentary on much of American medicine: inadequate testing to determine effectiveness – lax IMHO. Drug manufacturers are essentially focused on achieving at least a minimal positive effect – while not killing the patient – and providing the highest possible profit margin.

Save the day

It was a big deal in the neighborhood where I grew up – to be a second generation American. My mom and dad, all their brothers and sisters, were the first generation in their respective families to be born in the USA.

It’s a shame how many Americans have forgotten what a good feeling that was. How it was available to all.