BAD NEWS FOR OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DETECTIVE ADRIAN MONK -- AND FOR PARENTS WHO RELY ON WIPES TO ERADICATE ALL THE COOTIES THEIR KIDS PICK UP AT THE PETTING ZOO

In the battle to disinfect your child's hands, soap and water has it all over wipes and waterless rubs, because, when you think about it, with the other guys, the germs don't really go anywhere. Sleep well.

THIS IS BASED ON A STUDY OF MOSTLY WHITE CHILDREN FROM THE BOSTON SUBURBS. FREELANCE DAD IS A MOSTLY WHITE CHILD FROM THE BOSTON SUBURBS. FREELANCE DAD NEEDS A COOKIE.

According to Scary Study of the Day #2, kids who are in the higher ranges of normal weight as teens are far more likely to become obese adults than skinny kids.

“... we show that even children in the high normal weight range have an elevated risk of becoming overweight or obese as adults," said study leader Alison Field, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston ....

“These findings underscore that even children who are in the high normal weight range may have adverse outcomes later in life, and our challenge may be even greater than we thought,” said Matthew Gillman, who also worked on the study.

So, what does it all mean? Well, if you're keeping score at home:

-- Obese kids are likely to become obese adults. -- Normal weight kids are likely to become obese adults. -- YOU may already be an obese adult.

But, hey, a toast from FD to all the crazy parents who deny their kids birthday cake, pizza, and cookies in an all-out attempt to keep them skinny: You were right all along. Well done. Keep up the good work. In the future, only the truly skinny child will not be doomed to a life of obesity.

JUST KEEP CLINT EASTWOOD OFF THE COMMITTEE, PLEASE.

A pair of Dutch doctors have developed "the Groningen protocol," which is not, as you might think, the title of Michael Crichton's next novel, but a set of guidelines for authorized euthanasia by doctors in cases of "infants with disorders associated with severe and sustained suffering ... when their suffering cannot be adequately reduced."

The doctors tell the New York Times that they are trying to bring a measure of accountability to acts that go on every day around the world. "Given the fact that it is already happening," [Dr. Eduard Verhagen] said, "we find it unacceptable that it is happening in silence."

First off, we're not sure that these intensely private acts need or ought to be brought out of silence and put into the public sphere. It seems entirely appropriate that these acts, if and when they occur, are done in quiet, away from any sets of formal guidelines. If the protocol was in place, how many more people - parents and physicians - would it deter even as it strives for a patina of public acceptance? One could imagine parents emotionally unable or unwilling to face the "subsequent review of each case by 'an outside legal body,'" as prescribed in the protocol. And while the protocol establishes a triage of sorts for profoundly suffering infants, how does any family locate their own situation on the provided continuum?

It's a challenging bioethical question, but not one that will be coming to an OB/GYN ward anywhere near you. The Dutch may be ready to put these issues up for public debate, but in the US, this car won't get out of the garage.

Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said he could not imagine such guidelines and practices becoming the norm in the United States. "It's not acceptable to the culture," he said.

The doctors in the Netherlands appeared to agree. "This approach suits our legal and social culture," they wrote, "but it is unclear to what extent it would be transferable to other countries."

And we're not sure that's a bad thing.

March 11, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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