Food allergies used to be a relatively rare phenomenon; over the past two decades, however, childhood allergy rates have begun to creep up at an alarming rate. These days, nearly one in 20 kids under age 3 has a food allergy. Much as with rising rates of autism, there are many theories out there purporting to explain just what’s going on — some more science-based than others.
This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
The Preakness, the “middle jewel” in The Triple Crown is this Saturday at Pimlico. If you know nothing else about me know this: I am so allergic to horses that if I so much as pet one hair on the nose of a horse, I become one giant hive that weeps and sneezes and yet despite this — despite becoming a giant wheezing snot-hive — I pet them anyway, saying between labored breaths and puffs on my inhaler, “They’re so beautiful.” Snort. “So elegant.” Wheeze. “So fast.” Then I have to go take a cold shower and a prednisone.
Last week, a child with severe allergies was taken to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for an unusual — but disturbing — injury: peanut butter bullying. According to Hopkins’ director of pediatric allergy, Dr. Robert Wood, the bully who smeared peanut butter on another child’s face is part of a disturbing new trend, in which bullies use other children’s allergies against them.
In this series, we look at the newest findings coming out of our area’s top research universities. We’ve got some great minds in Baltimore — let’s learn what they’re learning!
Over the past fifteen years, the number of Americans undergoing bariatric surgery for obesity has skyrocketed; these days, nearly a quarter of a million people get the surgery each year. Although the operation itself is quite costly, doctors and scientists had hopes that it would reduce overall healthcare costs by helping treat chronic obesity. That, it turns out, may have been wishful thinking.
Something about this creeps me out: writing in theHartford Courant, Hopkins professor Nathaniel Comfort wonders whether a genetic analysis of the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza might identify a biological defect that would explain his shooting rampage.
Sometimes science explores things that are so high-level we amateurs have a hard time fitting them into our brains. But sometimes they use their science-power to answer a question we’ve all been idly wondering for a long time: in this case, what’s the fastest way to get from one side of the pool to the other? (No, the answer is not “get Michael Phelps to give you a piggy back ride.”)
As anyone who’s spent time splashing around in the deep end can tell you, there are two basic arm movements that can propel you through the water. One, the deep catch stroke, is akin to a boat paddle; the other, sculling, involves the swimmers’ bent arms whirring to the side, almost like a propeller. Both strokes are used in training by Olympic caliber athletes, and both have their advocates. The deep catch was the dominant technique until Doc Counsilman, coach of the U.S. men’s Olympic team and advocate of sculling, led his team to a combined 21 golds in the 1964 and 1976 games. But questions still remained as to which stroke was superior — until now when, thanks to fluid mechanics experts at Johns Hopkins, we finally know which swimming stroke is definitively better. “This is a result that is simple but sweet, which is something we usually struggle to arrive at in research,” according to Rajat Mittal, a professor of mechanical engineering at Hopkins.