In the state with the highest measles outbreak this year, a new law prevents religious exemptions. More than 25,000 New York children had religious exemptions in 2018. One parent says “our only option is home schooling.” While hundreds of parents are joining Facebook groups and going to seminars to learn how to homeschool their children, public health officials push for vaccinations and better public health eduction. In other public health news: inaccessible technology for blind and deaf people, genetic testing for newborns, dangers of giving reflux drugs to children, green ways to lowering carbon, being pregnant during the “sober-curious” movement, lessons for safe swimming, pets enriching teens emotional lives, and hunger’s twisted impact on one family, as well.
The Wall Street Journal: Antivaccination Groups In New York Push Home Schooling
Antivaccination groups in New York have been promoting home schooling as a way to circumvent a new state law that eliminates religious-belief exemptions for school vaccination requirements. The New York Alliance of Vaccine Rights last week hosted a four-hour workshop called Homeschooling 101 in a hotel ballroom in Melville, N.Y., on Long Island. Hundreds of parents attended the event, where the hosts explained academic course requirements, individual home-instruction plans and extracurricular activities for home-schooled students. (St. John and West, 7/4)
The New York Times: At Banks And Fund Firms, Access Is Too Often Denied, Blind And Deaf Investors Say
Albert Rizzi gave up on trying to manage his nest egg because as a blind person, he encountered digital barriers constantly. Many of the websites, mobile apps, PDFs and software programs he needed were not accessible. Sometimes, they just didn’t work. So Mr. Rizzi, 55, the founder of My Blind Spot, an accessibility advocacy group in New York, filed a federal lawsuit in April 2018 against Morgan Stanley, the firm he uses to manage his personal retirement accounts. (Brockman, 7/5)
NPR: Why Genome Sequencing For Newborns Is Not Yet Mainstream
Sequencing a person’s DNA is now a routine task. That reality has left doctors looking for ways to put the technology to work. A decade ago, a top federal scientist said, “Whether you like it or not, a complete sequencing of newborns is not far away.” Dr. Francis Collins, who made that statement, has been head of the National Institutes of Health for the intervening decade. But his prophecy hasn’t come to pass, for both scientific and practical reasons. (Harris, 7/8)
The New York Times: Reflux Drugs Tied To Bone Fractures In Children
Infants are sometimes treated for gastroesophageal reflux with acid-suppressing medicines, but a new study suggests that they may increase the risk for bone fracture later in childhood. Researchers studied records of more than 850,000 children up to 14 years old. About 97,000 had received acid suppression medicines in their first year of life — 8,000 were prescribed proton pump inhibitors like Nexium; 71,000 took histamine-2 receptor antagonists like Pepcid; and 18,000 got both. The study is in Pediatrics. (Bakalar, 7/5)
Los Angeles Times: Trees Could Reduce Carbon In The Atmosphere To Levels Not Seen In Nearly 100 Years
By removing carbon dioxide from the air, trees are one of our strongest allies in the fight against climate change. And if we planted a whole lot more of them in just the right places, they could reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to levels not seen in nearly 100 years, researchers say. After examining more than 70,000 high-quality satellite photos of trees from all over the planet, ecologists concluded that the Earth could support 900 million additional hectares of tree cover. Those trees would eliminate about two-thirds of the carbon that’s in the atmosphere today as a result of human activities, according to a study in Friday’s edition of the journal Science. (DeMarco, 7/5)
The Washington Post: The Sober-Curious Movement Challenges ‘Wine Mom’ Culture At A Time When Mothers Are Drinking More Than Ever.
The turning point came at an evening soiree in the middle of December, when Mai Trinh spotted a friend’s luminous face amid a crowd of cocktail-quaffing partygoers. “She stood out — she looked absolutely radiant,” recalls Trinh, 44, a corporate wellness consultant and mom of three in Alexandria. “So I asked her, ‘What’s your secret, what are you doing?’ ” The secret, it turned out, was what she wasn’t doing: Trinh’s friend had decided to temporarily bail on booze, after signing up for an alcohol-free challenge through an online program. (Gibson, 7/7)
Kaiser Health News: Sobering Up: In An Alcohol-Soaked Nation, More Seek Booze-Free Social Spaces
Not far from the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Joshua Grigaitis fills a cooler with bottles and cans in one of the city’s oldest bars. It’s Saturday night, and the lights are low. Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice fills the air, along with the aroma of incense. The place has all the makings of a swank boozy hangout. Except for the booze. (Ungar and O’Donnell, 7/8)
The Washington Post: Pool Safety Tips Aim To Reduce Child Drownings
With summer in full swing, pools beckon children who are eager to jump in, cool off and have fun. Brain injury or death are far from the minds of most families who own or use pools. But they shouldn’t be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children between 1 and 4 years old. For every child who drowns, another five visit the emergency department for a nonfatal injury associated with submersion. (Blakemore, 7/6)
The New York Times: What Do Teenagers Need? Ask The Family Dog
People of all ages become deeply connected to their pets, but in the lives of teenagers, animals often play a special role. Indeed, pets provide comforts that seem to be tailor-made for the stresses of normal adolescent development. To start, animals don’t judge — and teenagers are generally subjected to a great deal of judgment. Adults tend to harbor negative stereotypes about adolescents, and even those who feel neutral or positive about young people often engage them with the aim of cultivating their growth in one way or another. (Damour, 7/4)
The New York Times: The Ripples Of My Mother’s Hunger
At the age of 16, my mother spent hours waiting in bread lines in communist Poland, biting at her nails. The year was 1972. The line was mostly women. Their bellies rattled with hunger, anticipation of food burning in their throats. My mother has said that waiting in a bread line was not much different from a time later in her life when she had moved to America and stood in line for hours for an Eric Clapton concert. “It’s all about wanting something. You want something, you wait for it,” she recited with a tone so deadpan that it reminded me that my mom was once a teenage girl. (Connors, 7/5)
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