ScienceDaily: Number Of Indoor Swimming Pools Per Capita Linked To Rise In Childhood Asthma

The prevalence of childhood asthma
and wheeze rises around 2 to 3 per cent for every indoor swimming pool
per 100,000 of the population across Europe, indicates research
published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The researcher are indicating that the important factor here is inadequate ventilation for the pools, which leaves high levels of chlorine and chlorine by-products in the pool air.  They are calling for studies of the long-term effects of the compounds on children’s respiratory systems.


Wired Magazine

While the issue of what the Philosopher Kids see and do online is a few years away, this short article is an important reminder that we need to keep tabs on what our kids and teens do on the web.

Mr. Know-It-All remembers when all his parents had to worry about was his pen-and-paper diary. It would have been tough to read in any case – it was hidden under a stack of Green Lantern comics and written in secret code. But that was a gentler time.

Now things are more complicated. Odds are you’re worried about the public implications of your kid’s behavior online – such as whether your tween is passing herself off as a sultry 19-year-old on MySpace, or he’s nursing an outta-control Internet poker and porn habit. Or maybe you’re concerned that Google’s cache will cough up their explicit blog to a prospective employer in 2016. “In a teenage brain, impulse control is still under construction,” psychologist David Walsh says. “The job of the parent is to act as the surrogate prefrontal cortex.”

It is important to understand the technologies that kids are using to find information and to express themselves online.  Parents need to know how MySpace, Flickr and MSN Messenger work.  As with many things, the most important thing is to work at keeping an open dialogue with your kids.

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Science Daily 

To give your child an incentive to take out the garbage, you might offer to buy her a treat, or you might threaten to withhold her regular allowance. Does the child respond the same way to reward as it does to avoiding punishment? Psychologists have evidence from certain kinds of behavioral experiments to believe that avoiding punishment is itself a reward.

This one is tricky, but it seems as though the same part of the brain is activated when one earns a reward or avoids a punishment.

ScienceDaily: DDT In Mothers Linked To Developmental Delays In Children, UC Berkeley Study Finds

Since the 1970s, scientists have known that when DDT accumulates in a woman’s tissues it can be transmitted to her developing fetus across the placenta. Now, a new study led by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that such in utero exposure is associated with developmental delays in the young child.

The more we learn about how the environement affects our long term health and development, the scarier it gets. In some places, notably heavily industrialized areas and in the far North, the levels of dangerous compounds in some women’s breastmilk is so high that many are being actively discouraged from breastfeeding.


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News For

16 states are taking the EPA to court over mercury emissions trading. 

New Jersey’s attorney general filed a court petition Monday on behalf of 16 states challenging the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s new mercury pollution rules.

The petition asks a federal judge to reactivate a lawsuit filed last year challenging a rule known as ‘cap-and-trade.’

Cap-and-trade allows power plants to buy emissions reduction credits from plants whose emissions fall below target levels, rather than installing their own mercury emissions controls. It is to go into effect in 2010.

The lawsuit was put on hold in October after the EPA agreed to reconsider the rules, but on May 31, the agency’s announced revisions didn’t included cap-and-trade.

‘After six months of stalling, EPA not only failed to address the grave dangers posed to communities and children by its cap-and-trade program for mercury emissions, it made the program worse by further weakening standards,’ New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber said. The petition was filed in federal court in Washington.

At least someone is taking the initiative.

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ScienceDaily: Kids Who Blow Bubbles Find Language Is Child’s Play

This study looked at 120 children and cross referenced their vocabular at 21 months with different playing skills at the same age.  Not surprisingly children who could do things like blow bubbles were better with langauge.  Both require good oral-motor control.  The research also observed that children who were better at playing pretend were better at language as well, suggesting that there is an important link between imagination and langauge.
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A company in Austin, Texas has opened the first baby tooth stem cell bank. Scientists found stem cells in baby teeth in 2003.

Just in case you thought there was perhaps a similar effort somewhere else in the world, here’s what BioEden has to say about that:

BioEden , Inc. is the first company of its kind anywhere in the world open for business in response to overwhelming public interest in new source of stem cells.

Make no mistake and accept no cheap imitations! But also keep in mind that like umbilical cord banks, personal storage of stem cells has been called it a rip off because it’s unlikely you’ll ever need the cells. Also, public banks (similar to blood banks) will likely have you covered should the need arise.

P.S. The service is considerably cheaper than cord blood banking.

The actual likely hood of your child needing their own stem cells is about 1:200,000 and the chance that another direct family member will be a match are much small than that.

If you chose to bank cord blood, what were you reasons?

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