Kids have asthma? Invest in roach bait 

Families with children who suffer from asthma may want to consider investing in bait traps used to kill cockroaches, according to researchers from Tulane University.

In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the researchers found that using cockroach bait eliminated enough of the pests so that children with moderate to severe asthma had almost 50 fewer days with symptoms in a year.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess whether insecticidal bait alone works to reduce cockroach exposure in homes with any subsequent benefit in asthma outcomes,” said lead author Felicia Rabito, associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

“Once cockroaches were eliminated, children with substantial asthma symptoms before the intervention had fewer symptom days, improved lung function and less health care use.”

Asthma sufferers can be highly sensitive to cockroach saliva, skin and droppings, scientists have found.

Until recently, most experts had recommended using a combination of insecticide, bait and other means to keep the insects away from kids.

These approaches can be expensive for low-income families, however, so the Tulane researchers wanted to see if there was a simpler way to reduce kids' asthma.

For a year, the study followed 102 mostly low-income families with children diagnosed with asthma. A little more than half of the homes were treated with cockroach bait. After three months, researchers saw a "noticeable difference" in the number of bugs in houses with cockroach bait and those without it.

At 12 months, no homes treated with bait had a cockroach infestation, compared with 22 percent of homes that were not treated with bait.

Children in homes being treated had 47 fewer days with asthma symptoms over the course of a year, according to the study.

New provost takes office at UNO

Mahyar Amouzegar, the new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Orleans, assumed his leadership position earlier this month.

As provost, Amouzegar will be the chief academic officer and oversee a number of facets of the university beyond academic programs. Those include information technology, international education, service learning, student affairs, online instruction and the Earl K. Long Library.

He is also a tenured professor in the department of economics and finance.

Amouzegar was selected after a national search to identify a successor to John Nicklow, who was provost before becoming the school's president in April. UNO had an interim provost for the past nine months.

Amouzegar has more than 20 years of experience as an administrator, faculty member, researcher, national security policy analyst and fundraiser. He came to UNO from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he was dean of the College of Engineering for five years.

As dean, he oversaw more than 300 faculty and staff, 12 accredited programs and more than 5,000 students. 

Before that, he was associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering at California State University, Long Beach. He also served as a senior policy analyst for the RAND Corp., a nonpartisan global policy think tank in Santa Monica, California.

Amouzegar has a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from San Francisco State University, a master’s in electrical engineering from UCLA and a doctorate in operations research from UCLA.

LSU Health professor to be a senior dean

Dr. Richard DiCarlo, a professor at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has been promoted to senior associate dean of faculty and institutional affairs at the school.

He will oversee faculty recruitment, mentoring and advancement, leadership development and strategic planning. He was appointed by Dr. Steve Nelson, the dean of LSU Health.

DiCarlo moved to New Orleans after graduating from Haverford College. He graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in 1987 and completed a residency in internal medicine, served as chief resident and completed a fellowship in infectious diseases, all at LSU Health New Orleans. He joined the faculty in 1993.

He served as clinical director of the city's STD Clinic for five years, and his research interests included vaccination against HIV and STDs and the epidemiology of genital ulcer disease.

DiCarlo has won numerous teaching awards. He served as assistant dean for undergraduate medical education for 14 years and has overseen major curriculum renewals.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.