Sunday, May 6, 2012

Amish farm kids remarkably immune to allergies

Source: Reuters

Dr. Mark Holbreich, an allergist in Indianapolis, has been treating Amish communities in Indiana for two decades, but he noticed that very few Amish actually had any allergies.

He teamed up with European colleagues to compare Swiss farming children and non-farming children to Amish kids in Indiana.

Among 138 Amish kids given a skin-prick test to determine whether they were predisposed to having allergies, only 10 kids -- or seven percent -- had a positive response.

In comparison, 25 percent of the farm-raised Swiss kids and 44 percent of Swiss children who were not raised on a farm had a positive test.

The going theory is this early exposure to the diverse potential allergens and pathogens on a farm trains the immune system to recognize them, but not overreact to the harmless ones. Drinking raw cow's milk also seems to be involved, Holbreich said.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Reuters.

Ritalin use soars fourfold as child psychologists warn of untested drug cocktails

Source: The Observer

Ritalin use for ADHD soars fourfold as child psychologists warn of untested drug cocktails. Pupils as young as three are at risk, warn experts as prescriptions soar. More youngsters are being prescribed Ritalin for ADHD despite clinical guidelines to the contrary, say child psychologists .

Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt, who until recently sat on the education select committee, said there were natural alternatives that could help combat ADHD. She highlighted a report commissioned by the RSPB that suggested activities in a natural environment appear to improve children's symptoms by 30% compared with urban outdoor activities, and threefold compared to playing indoors. But Munt said many young people were prevented from enjoying the outdoors because of reasons such as lack of school playing fields and the distractions posed by video games, smartphones and social networking.

"It is extremely alarming that in the decade up to 2010, prescriptions for Ritalin quadrupled," she said. "Statistics show that 90% of prescriptions for this powerful drug in 2004 were used to combat behavioural problems in school-age children. I am shocked that there has been such a huge explosion in use."

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Observer