Kids in the News
A fertility clinic with branches in New York and Los Angeles is allegedly offering its patients the “ability to choose their unborn baby’s eye color, hair color, and skin color,” according to news agencies. The clinic has been allowing parents to choose the gender of their child for some time, according to its primary practitioner, and now he predicts that very soon, his patients will be able to customize their kid’s physical traits – a situation that draws parallels to eugenics experiments of days past and young Frankenstein.
A Shot at the Flu?
Just in time for high-hacking season here in Beijing, scientists may have found a new way to fight the flu, according to a report in the New York Times. Researchers have apparently “engineered antibodies” that can protect against many strains of the virus, including the dreaded “bird flu” – a development which could potentially lead to a “one-off” flu vaccine (much like the one for polio) that does not have to be administered on an annual basis.
But before you discard that old box of tissues, clinical trials in humans would only begin with the next three years and some researchers express doubts that if flu viruses indeed had an “Achilles heel” in a certain spot (as this new discovery suggests), humans should have been able to naturally eliminate the virus long ago.
Nonetheless, if the research pans out, it will be interesting to see the findings can be applied to other types of viruses …
A new wrinkle in the widening milk powder scandal has cast some doubt on the widely accepted culprit for infant kidney stones – Dumex milk powder (a subsidiary of French owned Group Danone SA) and Wyeth were recently found to contain no melamine by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, however scores of babies who had been fed the milk powder since birth have still been diagnosed with kidney stones. To make matters even more confusing, a “survey conducted in Gansu province recently showed that 5.6% of the kids with kidney ailments had never taken any milk powder.” The victims’ parents are demanding further tests, but these new developments may point to a much wider problem with melamine in the general food and water supply.
Time magazine’s website has a blog entry about the military boot camp style “China Youth Mental Health Center” in Daxing county outside of Beijing where beleaguered parents have sent over 3,000 kids with internet addictions and other behavioral problems to shape up. The camp is similar to other treatment facilities around the country that have been featured in the press and in documentaries like Brat Camp China. The “tough love” approach (consisting of intense regimens of drills, exercise and spartan conditions) of such camps is lauded by some, but criticized as excessive by others.