In Brief

May 08, 2008

Asthma

Kids breathe easier around more trees Young children who live in neighborhoods with lots of trees have lower rates of asthma than children who reside in areas with fewer trees, a new study finds. Researchers looked at asthma rates among children ages 4 to 5 in New York City. Asthma rates decreased by almost one-quarter for every standard deviation increase in tree density, equivalent to 343 trees per square kilometer, the study found.

The researchers said trees may help reduce asthma rates by encouraging children to play outdoors more or by improving air quality. The study was published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Chicago Tribune

Nursing

More U.S. babies being breast-fed in first month

About 77 percent of new mothers breast-feed their infants at least briefly, the highest rate seen in the United States in more than a decade, according to a government survey released last week.

In 1993 and 1994, just 60 percent of new mothers breast-fed their babies, but rates have been gradually rising ever since, according to regular surveys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The report shows that the initiation of breast-feeding is at an all-time high," said Karen Hunter of the CDC.

New York Times News Service

Preparedness

List advises who lives in event of pandemic

Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won't get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die.

Now, an influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn't be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.

The suggested list was compiled by a task force whose members come from prestigious universities, medical groups, the military and government agencies. They include the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won't get lifesaving care, the task force wrote. Those out of luck are the people with a slim chance of long-term survival.

But the recommendations get much more specific, and include: people older than 85; those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings; severely burned patients older than 60; those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer's disease; and those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.

The recommendations appear in a report in this month's edition of Chest, the medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Associated Press

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