Gimme 5: Stories parents should hear this week

Need a refresher of the news this week? Here are some stories that parents should hear about.

Terminally ill baby allowed to die against parents’ wishes

Great Ormond Street Hospital

Courts ruled this week that Charlie Gard, a 10-month-old infant with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, may be taken off treatment, despite the wishes of Charlie’s parents. Charlie struggled to raise his head and didn’t gain any weight just weeks after he was born. When he was 2 months old, he became lethargic and was breathing shallowly. This week European courts ruled that Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is on life support, should be allowed to remove the support keeping Charlie alive. Charlie’s parents wished to take him to the US for experimental treatment, stating that he had nothing to lose. Doctors say the treatment would only cause Charlie harm and he already cannot move, see, hear, cry, or swallow. Justice Nicholas Francis said it was, “with the heaviest of hearts but with complete conviction for Charlie’s best interests,” that Charlie could be removed from treatment on the recommendation of the hospital. (Washington Post)

New study shows geeky sons probably have older dads

Do you wear thick, dark-rimmed glasses? Love video games? Know how to code? You may be able to thank your dad for these attributes. A new study from Translational Psychiatry shows that characteristics like a higher IQ, stronger focus level, and a disregard for “fitting in” appeared in male children with older fathers. The study examined 7,781 twins, and learned that “geeky” attributes were 57% likely to be inherited from parents. Female subjects of the study were less likely to display the geeky traits. Researcher Magdalena Janecka said this could be because of a number of reasons — perhaps girls display geeky qualities in other ways, or perhaps they are more resistant to these characteristics. (CNN)

Dear Abby angers parents over firearm response

The Dear Abby column caught some heat this week after responding to a reader’s letter that asked about inquiring parents about firearms before a playdate. The letter-writer, who signed as, “First-time Mom in New Jersey,” said she was an anxious mother of a toddler who was unsure about asking a potential playdate’s parents if they had guns in the home. She said she was “having trouble finding the balance on gun safety and awareness in other people’s homes.” Abby responded, “If you start asking other parents whether they have guns in their homes and how they store them, your questions may be off-putting.” She advised the mother to host playdates in her own home, where she knew her child would be safe. Readers responded with disappointment, saying Abby’s response was a step back for gun-safety advocates. Groups like Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America and Everytown for Gun Safety asked Abby to revise her response, which she eventually did. (Huffington Post)


Colleges and universities struggle with enrollment rates

Enrollment rates have dropped dramatically in colleges across the country, according to a recent report. While birth rates fall over the years, the number of students decreases, forcing schools to find new ways to attract students. Colleges offer up internship opportunities, financial aid, and graduate school choices for prospective students. Enrollment has declined steadily for the past 5 years. Schools are struggling because they see fewer students as a loss of revenue that they may not be able to recover from. Colleges and universities that are cutting tuition costs have seen increased enrollment rates. (Hechinger Report)

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