How the U.S. Government Botched Its Multibillion-Dollar Plan to Beat Childhood Disease
In the late 1990s, scientists studying children's health pondered crucial questions they couldn’t answer: Conditions as diverse as asthma and autism were increasing in prevalence, with no clear reason why. Many suspected that a child’s early environment—even exposures in the womb—were connected to medical problems that manifested years later. For example, is risk of asthma influenced by the stress a mother experiences during pregnancy? What role does air pollution play? What about diet? Those links proved difficult to study because by the time a child shows signs of asthma, it's too late to take a blood sample during pregnancy, or analyze the air the newborn breathed.
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