Pass the kung pao chicken
Researchers in the US have announced a new method of treating peanut allergies based on experiments in which microscopic amounts of peanuts were given daily to a group of “33 severely allergic children” for two years. Doctors surmise that the experimental treatment works by desensitizing the body to the reactions over time and they claim that five of the test subjects showed “no sign of any remaining allergy.” This is welcome news for the growing number of kids who, for reasons unknown, develop this allergy – though it may be too late for epipen-taking adults who have had to forgo peanuts their whole lives.
Big Mamas beware
If you’re pregnant and piling on the weight be forewarned: new research suggests that “excessive weight gain in pregnancy hurts both the mother and her fetus, raising the risk of complications during pregnancy and putting the child at risk for obesity and diabetes later in life” – a finding that seems to indicate that the bad eating habits of some mothers-to-be may adversely affect the physiological environment in the mother’s womb and influence a child’s genetic propensity to put on weight. You might want to think twice about those midnight cravings for burgers and ice cream…
The madness continues
After months of bureaucratic wrangling, Chinese courts will finally begin accepting lawsuits “from families of children sickened in last year’s massive tainted milk scandal” who have heretofore not accepted the terms of a government sponsored compensation plan. Meanwhile officials are warning that domestic food and drug makers may be tempted to “cut corners and ignore quality standards” in the wake of the ongoing financial crisis with calls for tighter safety supervision.
Domestic products are not the only ones under fire – a non-profit US organization claims it has “found formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in ‘dozens of top-selling children’s bath products,’ including products from Johnson’s and Procter & Gamble.” The allegedly tainted products are not sold in China, but Shanghai’s food and drug administration has announced that it will begin testing baby products from Johnson & Johnson, which in its defense has “issued a statement saying that the trace levels of the compounds found by the organization were within safety limits.”
One can surmise that there may be a bit of tit-for-tat finger pointing between China and the US going on here, but politics aside, that we really are all in this mess together – for better or worse – is becoming increasingly clear.