Children, who are learning what’s appropriate social interaction, can be affected more than adults by the human-computer relationship that’s becoming more commonplace in homes. In other public health news: early menopause, the shingles vaccine, fatty liver disease, racism, and gun safety.
NPR: Parenting in the age of Alexa, are artificial intelligence devices safe for kids?
Earlier this month, the toy-giant Mattel announced it had pulled the plug on plans to sell an interactive gadget for children. The device, called Aristotle, looked similar to a baby monitor with a camera. Critics called it creepy. Powered by artificial intelligence, Aristotle could get to know your child — at least that was how the device was being pitched. (Doucleff and Aubrey, 10/30)
The New York Times: Underweight women at risk of early menopause
Underweight women are at increased risk for early menopause, a new study has found. This study, in Human Reproduction, followed 78,759 premenopausal women ages 25 to 42 beginning in 1989. Over the following 22 years, 2,804 of them reported natural menopause before age 45. (Bakalar, 10/26)
The Washington Post: Who should get the shingrix shingles vaccine
Barbara Campbell has twice had shingles. Each time, one side of her body was covered in “thousands of these horrid blisters.” She could only wear the lightest silk blouse. Anything else touching her skin hurt too much. “I’m in terror of having it happen again,” said Campbell, 79, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., describing the painful rash that will affect almost 1 out of 3 people in their lifetime. Because of allergies, she couldn’t get the Zostavax vaccine, which is made with live, albeit weakened virus. (Sun, 10/28)
The Washington Post: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease if fast-growing reason for liver failure–and transplants–in young people.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its more aggressive form, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, have become the fastest-growing reasons for liver transplants in young Americans, according to a recent study. Typically, older adults experience the slow progression of fatty liver disease that is not related to alcohol but can lead ultimately to liver cirrhosis. As a result of increasing childhood obesity, hypertension and diabetes, however, more young adults are reaching end-stage liver disease early in life, researchers say. (Crist, 10/29)
WBUR: Racism is literally bad for your health
A new survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health asked members of different ethnic and racial groups about their experiences with discrimination. Ninety-two percent of African-American respondents said they felt discrimination against African-Americans exists in the United States today, and at least half said they have experienced it themselves at work or when interacting with police. (Martin, 10/28)
Columbus Dispatch: Here’s why your kid’s doctors might ask you if you own a gun
Like Fuller, physicians across the country are viewing firearms violence as a public-health threat and asking patients about guns as they would any other safety issue, said Dr. Michael Munger, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. These conversations aren’t new, but Munger said the topic is being brought to the forefront by mass shootings. (Viviano, 10/29)