Science Education & Policy

Science can't tell us exactly when the rising oceans will swallow up the Maldives, but it can give us a good idea. Credit: Hiroyuki-H, CC BY-SA

By Richard Pancost, University of Bristol and Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol

Not enough tobacco company money is going into public health campaigns. Credit: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

By Nicholas Freudenberg, City University of New York

The #20 Million Memorial created earlier this month by the United States Centers for Disease Control, is an online tribute to honor the 20 million spouses, mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers, and friends who have died of tobacco-related diseases since 1964.

Eliminating subsidies that help low- and moderate-income people purchase coverage through government-run health insurance marketplaces would sharply boost costs for consumers and cause more than 11 million Americans to lose their health insurance, according to a new paper by the section of the RAND Corporation devoted to nationalizing health care.

Are awards and prizes in science a good thing or do they reward a tiny subpopulation of individuals at the expense of the community? 

On the whole I believe that the giving of awards is a positive thing for the scientific world. They draw attention to individuals that make a disproportionate positive difference. 

Credit: EPA

By Uli Beisel, Bayreuth University

Despite it being nearly six months after the Ebola outbreak was confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), we are still hearing stories of severe shortage of gloves in health facilities in West Africa. Many nurses have been asked to reuse them or merely rub their hands with chlorine after consultations.

If you've ever felt as though professors treat you with less than respect, you're probably not alone. Credit: Flickr, CC BY-SA

By Brian Martin, University of Wollongong and Majken Jul Sørensen, University of Wollongong

A female engineering student walked into her first lab class. One of the male students said, “The cookery class is in another room.”

Myths about the brain are common among teachers worldwide and are hampering teaching, according to new research which presented teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China with seven 'neuromyths' and then asked whether they believe them to be true.

Over 25% of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student's brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while 50% of those surveyed believe we only use  10% of our brains and that children are less attentive after sugary drinks and snacks.

Over 70% of teachers in all countries wrongly believe a student is either left-brained or right-brained, peaking at 91% in the UK.

There's just no substitute for a dead body.

Computer teaching is all the rage and simulation can do many things, but when it comes to anatomy, students learn much better through the traditional use of human cadavers.

Cary Roseth, psychologist at Michigan State University, said the paper suggests cadaver-based instruction should continue in undergraduate human anatomy, a gateway course to medical school, nursing and other health and medical fields.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, has a $29 billion per year budget, which dwarfs the National Science Foundation and NASA - combined.

You'd think for all that money they could have done a lot to create an Ebola vaccine before the crisis was all over the pages of The New York Times. But it seems they need just a little more. Dr. Collins says they have been working on a vaccine since 2001 but haven't been able to complete it because of a "10-year slide" in funding.

In America, the cost of health care is not high just because the medicine is the best in the world, it is also because of lawsuits.

Due to judgments in court cases that have earned tens of millions of dollars for lawyers - one aggressive lawyer demonized hospitals for not doing enough caesarian-sections and earned enough money to become a Senator and then a Vice-Presidential contender in 2004 - hospitals and offices have instituted a 'defense medicine' policy; even if there is no doubt, there is a protocol in place that says a number of tests must be run so that all of the boxes can be checked in case something goes wrong and attorneys swoop in. Coupled with malpractice costs, the costs of unnecessary testing can be quite high.