Oak Harbor Library Blog

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can kids' social contacts prevent leukemia?

Children who participate in play groups may be less likely to develop leukemia according to new research by Patricia Buffler, PhD, of the University of California at Berkeley. She and her colleagues reviewed 14 studies on leukemia and kids' social contacts with other children, including at day care and in play groups such as library story times. The findings show that early social contacts may reduce risk of developing childhood leukemia as much as 40%. Exposure to other kids at day care and in play groups provides opportunity for common childhood infections, which may help the immune system respond more effectively. It appears that the earlier the child is exposed to a variety of infectious agents, the better the immune system is primed.
According to Buffler, the earlier the child is exposed, the better. All types of social contact were found to be protective, although the pattern was weaker for kids with many siblings because those kids had plenty of contact with other children even if they didn't go to play groups or storytimes.

Leukemia is rare among kids. It occurs in about one of every 29,000 U.S. children per year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Though a 30% or 40% drop in the relative risk of leukemia may sound large, the overall risk of developing leukemia is still low. Even so, "the epidemiological data are fairly consistent and hopefully will stimulate more research on what mechanisms might be involved," says Buffler. Social contact for young children beginning as early as three months can benefit kids in many ways - and it is great for caregivers, too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Six word wonders

I love the concept of the book, Not quite what I was planning : six-word memoirs by writers famous and obscure, edited by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith (HarperPerennial 2008). Amazon.com has provided access to a most enjoyable video version web site. I challenge you to write your story in six words. Here's mine: Trust, faith, love and books endure.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Readers' Theatre - Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

Always wanted to join a book club but didn't think you had anything to say? We'll do the talking for you! Join us as Oak Harbor actress Candice Baker plays Connie Danforth, the daughter of midwife Sibyl Danforth, in a dramatic reading from Chris Bohjalian's Midwives at Whidbey Playhouse Theatre on Tuesday April 15 at 7pm. This free event, suitable for adults and mature teens, is co-hosted by Whidbey Reads 2008 and Whidbey Playhouse Theatre, located at 730 SE Midway Blvd in Oak Harbor. The theatre is ADA accessible. Visit www.sno-isle.org/whidbeyreads or call 360-675-5115 x 6020 for more information.

The program is sponsored by Whidbey Reads 2008 with funding from Washington State Library, Humanities Washington and Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.