Minerva Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7306.242 (Published 28 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:242

One hypothesis behind rising asthma rates in Australia implicates increased consumption of polyunsaturated fats. This is supported by a questionnaire survey of 1583 parents of preschool children in two Australian cities (Thorax 2001;56:589-95). The prevalence of asthma was 22% and 18% in the two cities, and a high dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats was associated with almost double the risk of asthma.

Still on asthma, a randomised trial of the effect of cutting down the exposure of infants at risk of allergic disease to environmental allergens found that this reduced the incidence of severe wheeze and shortness of breath (Lancet 2001;358:188-93). Parents were provided with special cot mattresses and high powered vacuum cleaners and persuaded to replace carpets with vinyl flooring.

The eleventh hour agreement on the Kyoto climate change protocol has been welcomed by the Centre on Globalisation, Environmental Change and Health (www.lshtm.ac.uk/centres/cgech). “It's a beginning,” emphasised director Professor Andy Haines, “if only the first step. The agreed cuts in CO2 emissions are well below those needed to tackle climate change, and vastly more resourses are needed to help developing countries (who will bear the main health burden …

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