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News to Live By - Spring 2011

By Jackie Powder

Highway Congestion

Living near busy roadways increases the odds of developing allergies and asthma, according to a January report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In a study of teens living next to a busy road in Lima, Peru, William Checkley, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and International Health, and colleagues found that the youths showed a 30 percent greater chance for allergies to dust, pet hair and mold and potentially twice the risk of having asthma symptoms and/or requiring medications than those who lived a quarter mile away.


Kids, Parents and Food

Contrary to popular belief, parents may have a limited influence as role models on their children’s eating behaviors, writes International Health and Epidemiology associate professor Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, MS, lead author of a study in the December 2010 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The analysis of research from different countries published since 1980 found weak parent-child resemblance in dietary intakes. This indicates that factors such as schools, peers and the local food environment may have a greater influence on children’s diets.


A Troubling Trend

Baltimore’s persistently high rates of HIV prevalence and unrecognized HIV infection among African-American men who have sex with men (MSM) indicate an urgent need for increased prevention strategies, according to a February study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Lead author Danielle German, PhD ’09, MPH, assistant scientist in Health, Behavior and Society, reports that in 2008, 45 percent of black MSM were HIV positive—making them 2.5 times more likely than white MSM to be infected—and of this group, 77 percent were not aware of their HIV status.