A Rhinovirus, courtesy of wikipedia. I think they magnified it a time or two.
There is a large and growing body of scientific research about how things like inequality, class and social status engrave themselves into our bodies. Generally speaking, people in higher social positions are less likely to develop conditions like heart disease or diabetes than those in lower positions. The same affect seems to apply to infectious diseases as well.
In a fascinating study, healthy adults first answered questions about their socio-economic status (SES) and that of their parents when they were growing up. They were then exposed to one of two forms of rhinovirus (aka common cold viruses) and kept in quarantine to monitor the symptoms.
Here's a surprising finding:
For both viruses, susceptibility to colds decreased with the number of childhood years during which their parents owned their home...This decreased risk was attributable to both lower risk of infection and lower risk of illness in infected subjects. Moreover, those whose parents did not own their home during their early life but did during adolescence were at the same increased risk as those whose parents never owned their home. These associations were independent of parent education level, adult education and home ownership, and personality characteristics.
The researchers concluded that "A marker of low income and wealth during early childhood is associated with decreased resistance to upper respiratory infections in adulthood. Higher risk is not ameliorated by higher SES during adolescence and is independent of adult SES."
In other words, poverty or relative deprivation during early childhood can have negative health affects throughout a lifetime. That's something to think about now, as the recession has driven more families on a downward economic spiral.
SIGN OF THE TIMES. Half of all US children and 90 percent of African American young people do or will receive food stamps, according to a new study.
THIS NEEDS FIXED. The House version of health care reform would phase out the Children's Health Insurance Program. Senator Rockefeller is not amused. Nor is El Cabrero. This needs to be fixed in conference.
A FAMOUS UNREADABLE (FOR ME ANYWAY) ANTHROPOLOGIST has died at the age of 100.
HOW SMART ARE DOGS anyway?
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED