Discovered: Cat ladies beware, the types of moms that make their kids fat, more good malaria news, and even little oil spills are horrible for animals.
The cat lady lifestyle has some real health risks. If the stigma against turning into a cat lady (or gentleman) wasn't enough of a deterrent against hoarding tabbies, research now finds that there are actual medical reasons not to turn into a feline obsessed recluse. Getting a cat in adulthood doubles a person's chances of developing animal-related allergies, according to research reported in the The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. It's not all bad news for cat lovers. Children who grow up with cats as pets have a much lower risk of developing sensitivity as adults. And, we also heard that if one has talented cats that do adorable things (see below), it's worth a runny nose, itchy-eyes, and social stigmatization. We hear. [MSNBC]
When moms make their kids fat. Children whose mothers neglect them are at higher risk of obesity, say researchers out of Ohio State. That makes sense to us, since overbearing mothers who use passive aggression as a dieting tactic often breed anorexic children. The point is, it's all about relationships. Rather than focus on dieting and exercise to fix obesity, this research suggests that mending these broken relationships will have a better impact on kids' health. "It is possible that childhood obesity could be influenced by interventions that try to improve the emotional bonds between mothers and children rather than focusing only on children's food intake and activity," said researcher Sarah Anderson. [Eureka]
Malaria is on the decline. After last week's malaria vaccine (almost) discovery, we get some more news for the unpleasant illness. The World Health Organization's yearly report indicates that malaria related deaths have fallen 25 percent in the last 10 years, with the biggest gains made in Africa. From our handy CDC Malaria Map below (red is bad news), Africa has a lot of high risk areas. Unfortunately, the report wasn't all good news. The progress might not last, as funding is scarce, those oh-so-helpful mosquito nets don't last and resistance to some cures has persisted. [The New York Times]
Oil spills are indeed bad for animals. Even the tiniest bit of sludge can have a lethal impact on a species. After the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill disaster in the San Francisco Bay, a team of researchers studied the impacts on embryonic fish, finding
that when the oil mixed with the embryos a reaction with the sun caused the fish to die. "Based on our previous understanding of the effects of oil on embryonic fish, we didn't think there was enough oil from the Cosco Busan spill to cause this much damage," explained research Gary Cherr. "And we didn't expect that the ultraviolet light would dramatically increase toxicity in the actual environment, as we might observe in controlled laboratory experiments." Considering that was just a baby spill, imagine all the fun things happening in the Gulf! That's why we're delighted to hear that BP has started drilling again.