What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Early daycare leads to smarter teens

Teenagers who receive better child care during early years fair slightly higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement compared to their counterparts who don’t, a new research indicates.

A long-running study funded by the National Institutes of Health shows that teens who had spent the most hours in child care in their first four and a half years reported a slightly greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking at 15 than did peers who spent less time in child care.

The study is the first to track children for a full decade after they left childcare.

“Previous findings from the study indicate that parents appear to have far more influence on their child’s growth and development than the type of child care they receive,” said James A Griffin, deputy chief of the Child Development and Behaviour Branch, at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NIH institute that funded the study. “The current findings reveal that the modest association between early child care and subsequent academic achievement and Behaviour seen in earlier study findings persists through childhood and into the teen years.”

Asthma patients must keep away from high-fat meals

Asthma patients should keep their hands away from heavy, high-fat meals, suggests a new study.

People with asthma who consumed a high-fat meal showed increased airway inflammation just hours after the binge, according to Australian researchers who conducted the study.

The high fat meal also appeared to inhibit the response to the asthma reliever medication Ventolin (albuterol).

“Subjects who had consumed the high-fat meal had an increase in airway neutrophils and TLR4 mRNA gene expression from sputum cells, that didn’t occur following the low fat meal. The high fat meal impaired the asthmatic response to albuterol. In subjects who had consumed a high fat meal, the post-albuterol improvement in lung function at three and four hours was suppressed,” said Dr Lisa Wood, research fellow of the University of Newcastle.

Asthma prevalence has increased dramatically in western countries in recent decades, which indicates that environmental factors such as dietary intake may play a role in the onset and development of the disease.

Westernised diets are known to be relatively higher in fat than more traditional diets.
High dietary fat intake has previously been shown to activate the immune response, leading to an increase in blood markers of inflammation.

However, the effect of a high fat meal on airway inflammation, which contributes to asthma, had not been investigated.

False diagnosis of TB in HIV patients is fatal

A new study conducted by researchers at University of California-San Francisco and Makerere University-Kampala has shown that HIV-infected patients who are falsely diagnosed as having tuberculosis (TB) have higher rates of mortality than those who are correctly diagnosed with the disease.

“Among HIV-infected persons with suspected TB, falsely diagnosing persons with TB was associated with increased mortality when compared with the group of patients who received the correct diagnosis,” said Robert Blount, UCSF’s School of Medicine.

The diagnosis of TB in HIV patients is particularly important, because of their increased susceptibility to the disease and the time that the standard sputum culture test takes to reveal results.

In this study, Dr Blount and his colleagues evaluated the outcomes of 600 HIV-infected patients who were treated at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, including patients who were incorrectly diagnosed with tuberculosis following rapid testing.