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San Jose Police Crack Down On Violence

The San Jose Police Department is cracking down on violent crime after the city's 25th homicide this year.

KQED Launches Affordable Care Act Guide

Are you confused about Obamacare? KQED and The California Report created a guide to help answer your questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Tobacco Ban Proposed for All California Baseball Fields

Baseball and tobacco have long been linked. But this relationship might soon be a thing of the past, at least in California's five Major League Baseball parks. This week, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond proposed a statewide ban on smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes at all baseball venues. In San Francisco, a supervisor proposed a similar citywide ban.

Study: Exposing Infants to Peanuts May Prevent Peanut Allergies

Early exposure to peanuts may reduce an infant's likelihood of developing a peanut allergy, according to a major new medical study. The research is expected to change the way doctors advise parents. We'll discuss the study and learn how "exposure therapy" is used to treat food allergies.

PBS NewsHour

Obama celebrates Black History Month ahead of Selma visit

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures next to First Lady Michelle Obama at a reception celebrating African American History
         Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington February 26, 2015. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures next to First Lady Michelle Obama at a reception celebrating African American History Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington February 26, 2015. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is celebrating what he calls “the central role that African Americans have played in every aspect of American life.”

Obama was joined by his wife Michelle as they hosted a White House reception Thursday for Black History Month.

The president said his family, including daughters Sasha and Malia will visit Selma, Alabama next week to honor the 50th anniversary of historic civil rights marches across the state. He said the trip will also note the upcoming 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act.

Obama said the visit is to pay tribute to civil rights legends who participated in the march like Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis — now a congressman from Georgia — as well as “countless American heroes whose names aren’t in the history books, that aren’t etched on marble somewhere— ordinary men and women.”

The president said the trip will also remind his daughters of their own obligations “because there are going to be marches for them to march, and struggles for them to fight. And if we’ve done our job, then that next generation is going to be picking up the torch as well.”

The Black History Month celebration fell on the third anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death. The unarmed 17-year-old was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer during a 2012 confrontation. Obama thanked Martin’s parents for attending on the difficult day, and said part of all parent’s task is to show their children “every single day that their lives matter.”

Guests at the reception included House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Mattie Atkins, who participated in the violent Selma marches in the 1960s.

The post Obama celebrates Black History Month ahead of Selma visit appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Feeding infants peanuts could reverse dramatic allergy rise, study finds

PEANUTS ALLERGIES monitor

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GWEN IFILL: For years, doctors had routinely recommended children at risk of food allergies should avoid peanuts until they turn 3. But a new study challenges that medical wisdom, suggesting the opposite, that more infants should be introduced to diets with peanut products as a way of inoculating against allergies later.

Jeffrey Brown has the story.

JEFFREY BROWN: Peanut allergies are one of the most common forms of food allergy among American children. And the last two decades have seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases. It’s estimated that today 2 percent of all children are allergic to peanuts, four times the number as recently as 1997. And it’s the leading cause of death from food allergies.

For parents, of course, a key question, how to avoid the risk to their children. And now comes a new twist. A study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine,” it finds that exposing higher-risk infants to peanut products greatly reduced the risk of developing an allergy later on.

The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the Allergy and Infectious Diseases Institute, joins me now.

Dr. Fauci, what was generally thought up to now, that exposure to peanuts early on was a bad thing, that was wrong?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, National Institute of Health: Indeed.

As we have seen from this case, this study that you just mentioned, is that earlier exposure of a child does what we call tolerizing the child, so you can get less of an incident of later-on peanut allergies. So if you’re predetermined to get peanut allergy and you try avoid getting the child to be exposed, you find out the contrary. If you take the child and expose them early on and compare them to people in which you have tried to avoid exposure, there was a highly significant difference, in the sense of less later-on peanut allergies among the children who had the early exposure, as opposed to the avoidance.

JEFFREY BROWN: Tell us about a little bit about this study, briefly. Is it really aimed at infants who already had a predilection or a higher risk for allergies? How is that defined?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, what you did is you take children who, for a variety of reasons, either children who have a history of egg allergy, milk allergy, asthma, family history of allergic diathesis, as we call it, namely, a predisposed tendency to develop allergic reactions.

Those are the children who would most likely to develop peanut allergies compared to a control population. And if you take those children and divide them into two groups, children who you’re going to completely avoid peanuts for a certain period of time vs. those that you expose early, and that’s where we got the results.

It’s very interesting because it originated from an observation that, in Israel, where they expose children for nutritional reasons very early on to peanuts, these children have a much, much lower rate of peanut allergy compared to Jewish and Israeli children who actually are living in the U.K. And it turned out that that triggered the thought about doing the experiment in a controlled way to determine if deliberate exposure actually avoids the ultimate allergic reactions that you see later on. And it was a success.

JEFFREY BROWN: Translate this now for parents and for doctors. What should they do now?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, right now, since this study was just published literally today, what you need to do is to just wait a bit, because what we at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are going to do is going to convene and be the host of a convening of individual stakeholders, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the various allergy societies, to take a close look at the data and to come up with guidelines or recommendations.

You don’t want parents now, on the basis of this study, to go ahead and be challenging the children early on, because you have got to be careful that you don’t precipitate a reaction in a child who might actually have a reaction immediately. So you have got to be a bit careful about that. We don’t want parents on their own deciding what they’re going to do.

Let’s wait — and it won’t be very long — for some solid guidelines and recommendations.

JEFFREY BROWN: And there’s, in the meantime, still no cure for children who have this allergy? It’s still really all about avoidance?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Indeed.

Well, it’s avoidance if you have the allergy. What this study is all about, Jeff, is getting children to not develop the allergy. And it’s almost paradoxical, because the study says that if you give them early on in life peanuts, you dramatically lessen the likelihood that they will develop an allergy and then will subsequently have to avoid.

So you want to get away from having to avoid by exposing them early on.

JEFFREY BROWN: And very briefly, Dr. Fauci, is there potential application in all of this to other allergies?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Indeed.

The mechanism that allows for this tolerance to peanut very well might actually be applicable to other food allergies. And there are studies that are going to be planned and that are ongoing to see if you can replicate these exact mechanisms and results with other food allergies.

JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Dr. Anthony Fauci, thanks so much.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Good to be with you.

 

The post Feeding infants peanuts could reverse dramatic allergy rise, study finds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Administration: No quick fix if court kills health subsidies

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell speaks during a press conference on Open Enrollment in
         Washington February 18, 2015. Photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell speaks during a press conference on Open Enrollment in Washington February 18, 2015. On Tuesday, Burwell told Congress that there is no action the administrative could take to fix repercussions of the Supreme Court invalidating federal subsidies that help millions of Americans pay for health care coverage. Photo by REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s health secretary told Congress Tuesday that there is no administrative action that would fix the “massive damage to our health care system” that would result should the Supreme Court invalidate federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health care coverage.

The letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell continued the administration’s tough stance in its building confrontation with Republican lawmakers in advance of an expected Supreme Court decision in June.

In that case, conservatives and Republicans argue that Obama’s 2010 health care law only provides government subsidies for people buying health coverage through marketplaces established by the states. Just 13 states established their own marketplaces, while the remaining 37 use the federal government’s HealthCare.gov.

If the plaintiffs win, the 8.6 million people who have enrolled this year for policies through HealthCare.gov could not get subsidies.

In her letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Burwell reiterated her warnings that a victory for the plaintiffs would cause millions to lose health coverage because they could no longer afford it.

That, in turn, would mean that disproportionately high numbers of sick, lower-earning people would continue buying health coverage, driving up health insurance costs for everyone else.

“We know of no administrative actions that could, and therefore we have no plans that would, undo the massive damage to our health care system that would be caused by an adverse decision,” Burwell wrote.

For months, Burwell and other administration officials have angered GOP lawmakers by stating they have taken no steps in preparation for a Supreme Court victory by the plaintiffs.

“By admitting they have no contingency plan to assist the millions that may lose subsidies, the administration confirms how the misguided law is unworkable for the American people,” Hatch said in a written statement.

The post Administration: No quick fix if court kills health subsidies appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Avoid peanut allergy? New study says feed them to babies

Peanuts
         and shells by Bruno Crescia Photography Inc. via Getty Images

Peanuts and shells by Bruno Crescia Photography Inc. via Getty Images

Parents hoping to prevent a peanut allergy in their children have something new to chew on.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine says eating peanut products as a baby can reduce the risk of developing the sometimes fatal allergy by about 80 percent.

The study looked at 530 infants, who were given skin tests to determine they were at high risk of developing a peanut allergy. One group was given a dissolvable peanut snack and the other group told to avoid peanuts.

At age 5, the children were given a supervised dose of peanuts. Researchers found an overall 81 percent reduction in peanut allergic reactions in the group that had consumed the nuts at an early age.

Allergy experts still warn that high-risk infants should only be given peanut products after a medical assessment.

The post Avoid peanut allergy? New study says feed them to babies appeared first on PBS NewsHour.