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Archive for the ‘Disease/Illness’ Category

Secondhand Smoke

I have seen a lot of recent news articles about secondhand smoke and the effects it has on children’s health. We all know that secondhand smoke had bad health effects on people, but it should be no surprise that the effects are more serious on children than on adults.  There have been plenty of studies that links secondhand smoke with respiratory problems, SIDS, asthma, middle ear infections, and other physical problems.  But the link between secondhand smoke and mental problems have never been closely examined. .. until recently.

The study found that the kids that were exposed to secondhand smoke had  high levels of cotinine in their blood. On average they found that:

  • the kids had almost five symptoms of major depressive disorder
  • almost four symptoms of ADHD
  • almost three symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
  • more than one symptom of conduct disorder

It was determined that the higher levels of cotinine in the blood were strongly linked with ADHD symptoms, but weakly linked with the symptoms of major depressive disorder, conduct disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.  Overall, the positive links between cotinine and mental problems were greater for boys than girls.

Secondhand smoke exposure to children is a major public health problem.  As a public health major, this is something that bothers me, because it can be prevented, it doesn’t need to happen.  I think that there should be limitations as to where people can smoke (I know that there are many laws already restricting smoking in many public areas, but I think they should be more strict and make it so that they cannot smoke around children, especially parents).  I do not know how they would regulate this, but it would help end this problem.

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Cancer SUCKS

Cancer had always been one of those words I never really fully understood.  I knew what it was, how it happens, but I never knew how it truly affects thousands of lives.  Just by saying that one word, “cancer,” lives are changed forever.  I had also never really thought of children with cancer.  I had always thought of it as very rare, and did not know how prevalent and devastating it really is.  It just was not something I was not exposed to, and I was not as aware as I should be.  This was all until my beautiful little sister Natalee, at the age of 12 was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer).  And it was last summer, at the age of 13, that Natalee passed away.  This whole thing took our family by complete surprise. Why? How? What? SO many questions came into our minds, and still so many unanswered.  How could a young girl get an adult form of cancer that was most common in older obese/overweight men who smoke? She is the complete opposite of all of these things.  Cancer, especially cancer in children, is something I will never understand.  All I can hope for is that more people become aware of childhood cancer, and as cheesy as it may sound, I wish with all my heart that one day they find a cure for all cancers.  Because cancer SUCKS.

On the EPA’s website there is a section about childhood health protection, and specifically about childhood cancer.  Here are some overwhelming facts I found:

* Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children, second only to accidents.

* Cancer kills more children than all other diseases, COMBINED.

*Age-adjusted annual incidence of cancer in children increased from 130 to 150 cases per million children between 1975 and 1995. The incidence appears to have leveled off after 1990. Mortality decreased from 50 to 30 deaths per million children during the same period.

*Rates of cancer incidence vary by age. Rates are highest among infants, decline until age 9, and then rise again with increasing age. Between 1986 and 1995, children under 5 and those aged 15-19 experienced the highest incidence rates of cancer at approximately 200 cases per million. Children aged 5-9 and 10-14 had lower incidence rates at approximately 110 and 120 cases per million respectively.

I found this nice eye-opening video on YouTube that promotes childhood cancer awareness.   September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but that is too far away for me to wait to do this.  Plus, I think everyday we should promote awareness for something so devastating.

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