Stories about: gun violence

New study finds gun laws save lives: Q & A with lead author


Firearm legislation is a contentious issue in this country. But researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital hope their new study may help shed some light on the topic. The narrative review, published in the November 14 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine found that stronger firearm laws are associated with reductions in firearm homicide rates.

Notes sat down with lead author Lois Lee, MD, MPH, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Emergency Medicine and Harvard Medical School to discuss the study’s findings and the implications of firearm safety on pediatric practice.

Q: What was the main takeaway of your study?

Lee: Overall, we found evidence that stronger firearm laws are associated with decreased homicides due to firearms. We grouped the laws into five general categories:

  • Laws that strengthened background checks
  • Laws that curbed firearm trafficking
  • Laws that improved child safety, including child access laws, laws requiring trigger mechanisms, and laws that imposed age restrictions for gun purchases and use
  • Laws banning military-style assault weapons
  • Laws restricting firearms in public places

Specifically, the laws that seemed to have the most effect were those that strengthened background checks and those that required a permit to purchase a firearm. …Read More

Health care news roundup

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Amish rarely get asthma. Why?

U.S. News & World Report: Asthma researchers were puzzled to find that the condition is extremely rare in Amish communities, where children are exposed to more dust and allergens than children in typical American communities. A new study dives into this phenomenon and the results suggest some unconventional ways to prevent asthma.

N.I.H. may fund human-animal stem cell research

New York Times: Implanting human stem cells into animal embryos is an ethically complicated scenario that sounds right out of science fiction. But the National Institutes of Health plans to lift its ban on these experiments in the not-too-distant future. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Two-thirds of Americans OK if doctors ask about guns

Reuters: The framing of gun violence as a public health issue is becoming less and less controversial. According to a recent survey, most Americans think it’s OK for doctors to talk with patients about guns: 30 percent said it should be saved for specific situations, while 23 percent said the conversation is appropriate any time.

Related reading: A Pediatrician’s View on Gun Violence and Children, a New York Times op-ed featuring Dr. Eric Fleegler, a pediatric emergency physician and health services researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Learn more about Asthma, Allergy and Immunology research at Boston Children’s.