Parents’ views on toy guns vary by gender and race

Race, gender and other social factors may explain why some parents allow their children to play with toy guns, while others shudder at the thought, according to a report in the January issue of Pediatrics. Almost 70 percent of parents surveyed felt it was “never OK” for a parent to let a child play with toy guns. The parents who allowed their children to play with toy guns were more likely to be male, with male children, and Caucasian. Families with younger children and mothers were more likely to limit toy gun play. In general, researchers found the gender and age of the child, gender of the parent, and race of the family factored significantly into parents’ attitudes about allowing their children to play with toy guns.

Patient Safety Study Documents Medication Errors in Hospitals

According to a new national report issued today by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)’s Center for the Advancement of Patient Safety (CAPS), administering drugs using incorrect techniques continues to be a serious cause of injury to hospital patients, increasing costs to insurers. The study collected reported medication errors voluntarily provided by 368 health care facilities nationwide, including community, government, and teaching institutions. Of the 105,603 errors documented, the vast majority were corrected before causing harm to the patient. But 2.4 percent of the total errors were more serious, resulting in patient injury, prolonged hospitalization and even death.

No Cases of HIV Transmission from Receptive Oral Sex

No cases of HIV transmission through unprotected receptive oral sex were found by researchers at UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in a new study. The study looked at men who have sex with men and who exclusively practice oral sex as the receptive partner. “HIV infection through receptive oral sex is a very rare event?statistically our study showed a probability of zero?and is rarer than HIV infection through receptive anal intercourse using a condom,” said the study’s lead author Kimberly Page Shafer, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF’s CAPS. The findings are being published in the November 22, 2002 issue of AIDS.

Findings Reconfirm Toxicity of Pfiesteria

Well, it's not exactly helping...You’d think everyone could agree that something as grimly named as Pfiesteria would be toxic. It sure sounds toxic. But a researcher in North Carolina has been at the center of controversy for the last several years because of her claim that the organism does in fact harm fish and is responsible for periodic massive kills. A team at her own school, in fact, refuted her claims, saying when they repeated the experiments they were unable to observe the dinoflagellate microbe forming some of its previously reported toxic life-stages. The ball’s back in Dr. JoAnn Burkholder’s court today, with a new study that her team says refutes the findings published last summer stating that Pfiesteria is not toxic to fish or humans.