Link between air pollution and child brain development strengthened

Air pollution is not just a problem for lungs. Increasingly, research suggests air pollution can influence childhood behavioral problems and even IQ. A new study led by the University of Washington has added evidence showing that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution can harm kids.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that children whose mothers experienced higher nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure during pregnancy, particularly in the first and second trimester, were more likely to have behavioral problems.

Researchers also reported that higher exposures to small-particle air pollution (PM2.5) when children were 2 to 4 years old was associated with poorer child behavioral functioning and cognitive performance.

— source University of Washington | Jul 14, 2022

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Unchecked emissions could double heat-related child mortality

If carbon emissions are limited to slow temperature rise, up to an estimated 6,000 child deaths could be prevented in Africa each year, according to new research.

A team of international scientists, led by the University of Leeds in collaboration with researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), have shown that thousands of heat-related child deaths could be prevented if temperature increases are limited to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC target through to 2050.

However, heat-related child deaths could double in sub-Saharan Africa by mid-century if high emissions continue.

Their workpublished in the journal Environmental Research Letters, estimated the impact of climate change on annual heat-related deaths of children under five years old in sub-Saharan Africa, from 1995 — 2050.

The findings show that since roughly 2009, heat-related child mortality has been at least double what it would have been without climate change.

— source University of Leeds | Jul 5, 2022

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Parents got handcuffed, terrorist received time

Families in Uvalde, Texas, are beginning to make funeral arrangements following Tuesday’s massacre at the Robb Elementary School, where an 18-year-old gunman shot dead 19 fourth graders and their two teachers. The police in Uvalde are coming under mounting criticism for their handling of the shooting and for releasing misleading and often inaccurate information about what happened. Authorities now admit the gunman was able to enter the school unobstructed through a door that was apparently unlocked. He then remained in the school for over an hour before he was shot dead by an off-duty Border Patrol agent. During this time, local police blocked parents from trying to enter the school, in one case handcuffing a mother who drove 40 miles to the school to save her kids. One father was tasered.

The massacre in Uvalde is the 27th shooting at a school this year. The shooting also came just 10 days after an 18-year-old self-described white supremacist attacked a grocery store in the heart of Buffalo’s African American community, shooting dead 10 people, all of whom were Black. Three of the victims are being buried today.

— source | May 27, 2022

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Indian Boarding Schools Were Part of “Horrific Genocidal Process” Carried Out by the U.S.

A new report by the Interior Department has documented the deaths of 500 Indigenous children at Indian boarding schools run or supported by the federal government in the United States, but the actual death toll is believed to be far higher. The report also located 53 burial sites at former schools, which were run for over a century. The report marks the first time the Department of Interior has documented some of the horrific history at the schools, known for their brutal assimilation practices forcing students to change their clothing, language and culture.

And as you could hear in the voices of the people, Secretary Haaland, this is a very emotional experience for a lot of Indigenous people in this country. And it should be an emotional experience for non-Indigenous people in this country. This is quite a historic moment in time. Although it’s not new news to Indigenous people, it might be new news to those who are hearing this horrific genocidal process that has taken place.

I think, you know, there’s a reason why the forcibly transferring of children from one group to another group is an international legal definition of genocide. That’s what we’re talking about, because taking children, or the process of Indian child removal, has been one strategy for terrorizing Native families for centuries, from the mass removal of Native children from their communities into boarding schools, as this new report lays out, from their communities into their widespread adoption and fostering out to mostly white

— source | May 13, 2022

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Baby Formula Shortage & Monopolies in the Age of Corporate Power

The Biden administration has announced plans to alleviate the crisis of critical shortage of baby formula, as the Food and Drug Administration and Abbott Laboratories says it’s reached an agreement to allow Abbott to reopen the nation’s largest baby formula plant. The plant had been closed due to concerns over bacterial contamination, months after a whistleblower alerted the FDA to alleged safety lapses and then was fired. Multiple babies became sick after eating formula from that plant; two babies died.

Meanwhile, the FDA has eased import rules on baby formula made overseas. And the American Academy of Pediatrics has said babies as young as 6 months old can now be fed cow’s milk for a brief period of time due to the baby formula shortage. Until recently, pediatricians had recommended babies not be fed cow’s milk until they’re at least a year old.

The whistleblower first alerted the company internally and then alerted the FDA. This was way back last October. This facility, in Sturgis, Michigan, produces about 20% of the nation’s supply of formula. So, obviously, you take that offline, you’re going to have a problem. It’s magnified even more by the market structure and the way that formula is sold. But just alone, if you take one out of every five boxes of formula off the shelves while this is investigated, you’re going to have a problem of getting supply into the places that you need.

— source | May 17, 2022

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Spanking may affect the brain development of a child

Spanking may affect a child’s brain development in similar ways to more severe forms of violence, according to a new study led by Harvard researchers. The group found that children who had been spanked had a greater neural response in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), including in regions that are part of the salience network. These areas of the brain respond to cues in the environment that tend to be consequential, such as a threat, and may affect decision-making and processing of situations.

corporal punishment has been linked to the development of mental health issues, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, and substance use disorders. And recent studies show that approximately half of parents in U.S. studies reported spanking their children in the past year and one-third in the past week.

— source Harvard University | Apr 12, 2021

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1.1 Million Children Could Die as Pandemic Interrupts Access to Food & Medical Care

As more than three-quarters of the world’s children live under stay-at-home orders amidst the pandemic, a shocking new report finds the child mortality rate could increase for the first time in more than 60 years. More than a million children under 5 could die over the next six months, according to researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who studied the secondary impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, the disruptions to health services and access to food. More than 60,000 mothers could also die. The report was published in The Lancet Global Health and looked at 118 low- and middle-income countries.

we know from past experience and research that in outbreak situations, people have health issues because of the virus, but also more people have health issues and complications because of the secondary effects of the outbreak. So, in the current pandemic, people are dying because of coronavirus itself. But if the pandemic and the response to the pandemic lead to the disruption of health services, then more people are going to die from other causes, as well.

So, in our study, we looked at the potential for additional deaths among pregnant women and young children. And we modeled three different scenarios, looking forward, of different severity. So, in our least severe scenario, over a period of just six months, we could see around 12,000 maternal deaths — so women dying in childbirth — and around 250,000 child deaths. These are children under the age of 5. That would represent a 39% increase in child mortality above what is currently occurring. But in our worst-case scenario, we saw that

— source | May 21, 2020

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Over 173,000 children infected and 22 killed by COVID-19 in the US last week

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its weekly report on COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths among children across the US. The results are once again horrific, with 173,469 children testing positive for COVID-19 and 22 dying from the virus last week. In total, some 5.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 and 520 have died in the US since the start of the pandemic. Since schools began reopening throughout the US in late July, more than 1,772,578 children have officially tested positive and 171 have died from COVID-19, as the highly transmissible Delta variant has spread rapidly in poorly-ventilated, overcrowded classrooms across the country.

Across the US and internationally, opposition is building among parents, educators and students to the homicidal school reopening policies that have infected millions of children and killed thousands worldwide. This was sharply expressed in the October 1 global school strike, with the central hashtag #SchoolStrike2021 trending for hours that day and used over 26,000 times in the week leading up to and including the strike.

— source | 5 Oct 2021

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Facebook’s Algorithms Spread Hate & Harmed Children

a massive leak of tens of thousands of internal Facebook documents that show the social media’s own research indicates its algorithm helps boost disinformation, hate speech and political unrest around the world and that Facebook executives knew about it but kept the damning information hidden from the public. The leak also implicates Facebook in issues of child safety and human trafficking, while it prioritized profits over people’s welfare.

The documents were behind a sweeping investigation by The Wall Street Journal and were unveiled by whistleblower and former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen. She secretly copied the pages before leaving her job at the company’s Civic Integrity unit in May. Haugen spoke publicly for the first time Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes with reporter Scott Pelley.

When we live in an information environment that is full of angry, hateful, polarizing content, it erodes our civic trust. It erodes our faith in each other. It erodes our ability to want to care for each other. The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world.

— source | Oct 05, 2021

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More than 200,000 children have been infected with COVID-19 in US

Hundreds of thousands of children are being infected with COVID-19 every week in the United States, driven by the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant and the reopening of schools to in-person learning throughout the country. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as of the week ending September 23, 2021, over 5.7 million children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. The number of pediatric cases exceeded 200,000 for the fifth consecutive week.

— source | 28 Sep 2021

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