Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

May 5, 2004
Study Finds Widespread Problem of Inadequate Health Care

Americans get substandard care for their ailments about half the time, even if they live near a major teaching hospital, the first comprehensive study of health care provided in metropolitan areas has found.

The inadequate treatment leads to "thousands of needless deaths each year," said Dr. Elizabeth A. McGlynn, a researcher at the RAND Corporation and an author of the study, being published today in the journal Health Affairs.

Only a fundamental redesign of the health system will improve the situation, Dr. McGlynn said, adding, "It's a tremendous cultural shift we're asking for."

The study's conclusions were based chiefly on a review of the medical records of nearly 7,000 people in 12 metropolitan areas, including Newark, Miami and Orange County, Calif. On average, the authors found, patients received substandard care, as defined by leading medical groups, 50 percent to 60 percent of the time. There was little variation among the metropolitan areas, randomly selected from 60 with populations of at least 200,000. The areas included cities and their suburbs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/05/health/05CARE.htm (Free subscription required)
[St. Paul] City Council Member Dave Thune will announce plans today to propose a ban on smoking in all of the city's bars and restaurants. If it's adopted, St. Paul will become the largest city in Minnesota to become smoke-free.
http://startribune.com/stories/462/4759272.html (Free subscription required)

Thune is a smoker. The one council member who's certain he'll oppose it is a nonsmoker.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php
Public Release: 4-May-2004
Cognitive Psychology
Human brain works heavy statistics learning language
A team at the University of Rochester has found that the human brain makes much more extensive use of highly complex statistics when learning a language than scientists ever realized. The research, appearing in a recent issue of Cognitive Psychology, shows that the human brain is wired to quickly grasp certain relationships between spoken sounds even though those relationships may be so complicated they're beyond our ability to consciously comprehend.
National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation

Public Release: 5-May-2004
History Today
Janet Jackson's 'accidental' exposing of her breast was the height of fashion in the 1600s
New research from the University of Warwick reveals that Queens and prostitutes bared their breasts in the media of the 1600s to titillate the public, and that the exposure of a single breast in portraits and prints was common in portrayals of court ladies. While Janet Jackson's action of baring her right breast at the Super Bowl was considered outrageous, such exposure in 17th century media wouldn't have raised so much as an eyebrow.

Public Release: 4-May-2004
Nature Biotechnology
Fat cells heal skull defects in mice, Stanford research shows
Certain types of cells from fat tissue can repair skull defects in mice, say researchers at Stanford University Medical Center. Because this type of healing process does not depend on the use of embryonic stem cells or gene therapy, it may one day allow doctors to use a patient's own unmodified cells as building blocks to heal fractures, replace joints, treat osteoporosis or correct defects in bone growth or healing.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a study of dual-career couples with one child, researchers at Brown University have determined that the division of household labor affects the couple’s decision to have a second child.

Eighty-one percent of couples in which the husband does at least half of the housework will have a second child. For couples in which the wife does most or all of the housework, the figure is 74 percent. But when the wife does between 54 and 84 percent of the housework, the likelihood of the couple having a second child is 55 percent.

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