Cincinnati Children's Blog

This Week In Health News – May 21, 2010

A recap of this week’s news stories (in no particular order) that caught our eye … let us know what you think. Comment below or follow us on Twitter @CincyChildrens for more health news!

Oxygen Therapy May Help Preemies Avoid Ventilators
USA Today |

Pediatricians recently launched a study of 1,316 infants to see whether some could thrive on an approach called CPAP, for continuous positive airway pressure, in which babies get oxygen through prongs placed in the nose. The procedure is less invasive than other treatments.

Doctors randomly assigned half of babies to go automatically on a ventilator and the rest to try CPAP first.

Most of the preemies eventually needed a ventilator, even if they started out on CPAP. But the approach allowed 17 percent of babies to avoid the ventilator, according to a study published online in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Dramatic Surge Seen in Kids Hospitalized with MRSA
Associated Press | 5-17-10

A recent study found the number of children hospitalized with dangerous drug-resistant staph infections surged 10-fold from 1999 to 2008. Disease incidence increased from 2 cases to 21 cases per 1,000 hospital admissions. Most infections were caught in the community, not in the hospital.

The study involved methicillin-resistant staph infections, called MRSA. These used to occur mostly in hospitals and nursing homes but they are increasingly showing up in other settings in children and adults.

Can Dirt Do a Little Good?
Wall Street Journal |

The power of germ exposure to a variety of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms may prime the immune system and protect against certain diseases.

Children who grow up on farms have low rates of allergies and asthma. Having one of more older siblings also protects against hay fever, asthma, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Autoimmune diseases are rare in rural Africa and Asia, but rise sharply when immigrants from those countries come to the developed world.

College Bound, DNA Swab in Hand
The New York Times |

Instead of the usual required summer-reading book, this year’s incoming freshmen at the University of California, Berkeley, will get something quite different: a cotton swab on which they can, if they choose, send in a DNA sample.

The university said it would analyze the samples, from inside students’ cheeks, for three genes that help regulate the ability to metabolize alcohol, lactose and folates.

Berkeley’s program for the class of 2014 is the first mass genetic testing by a university.

Expert Panel to View Confidential Swine Flu Papers
Associated Press | 5-19-10

An expert panel investigating the World Health Organization’s response to last year’s swine flu outbreak said Wednesday it wants to see confidential exchanges between the U.N. body and drug companies.

The 29-member panel will seek WHO records and correspondence from before and after the H1N1 strain was declared a pandemic in June, said committee chairman Harvey Fineberg, who is also president of the Institute of Medicine in Washington.

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