Answer the three discussion points below:

1. Malformations in the lymphatic system, called lymphangiomas, are overgrowths of the one-way cause deformity or death if the overgrowth chokes off a child’s airway or interferes with other aspects of heart and lung function. The deformity tends to grow with the child, worsening over time and is difficult to treat.

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Physicians at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford discovered, essentially by accident, that a common drug – sildenafil, aka Viagra – appears to shrink the overgrown vessels. They gave sildenafil to a child with severe lymphangioma to treat another condition, pulmonary hypertension, and noticed that the lymph malformation shrank significantly. Unfortunately, the child’s underlying condition was so severe that she later died; however, two subsequent patients have done well on the medication.

“There has been no medical treatment for lymphangiomas; now all of a sudden there may be one,” said Al Lane, MD, a co-author on the NEJM letter published January 2012 and an investigator on the lymphangioma research now being conducted. The mechanism by which the drug could resolve the malformations is not known, however there’s a possibility that sildenafil may help to open and drain the channels,” Lane said.

The drug (Viagra) has been used to treat pulmonary hypertension in children. Its typical side effects in children are nausea, headaches, and cold-like symptoms such as runny nose or fever, Lane said. Spontaneous erections are possible but are an infrequent side effect. Discuss your thoughts on studying and utilizing Viagra as treatment for lymphangioma and its side effects in children.


2. There have always been discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of vaccinations. Discuss some of the pros and cons for ‘to vaccinate or not to vaccinate’ as it relates to humans of all ages.

3. Some 126 million nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke. US Surgeon General Richard Carmona repeatedly calls this “involuntary smoking” and it puts people at increased risk of death from lung cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Moreover, he states that there is “no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure”, a conclusion that’s sure to fuel already growing efforts at public smoking bans nationwide.

Yet, there is a concern about young children who can’t escape their parents’ addiction in search of cleaner air – just over one in five children is exposed to secondhand smoke at home, where workplace bans don’t reach. Those children are at increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome); lung infections such as pneumonia; ear infections; and more severe asthma.

What are your thoughts on public smoking bans and what about bans on private smoking? Be sure to back up your thoughts with solid scientific evidence and cite any outside references in your post.

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