Science Education & Policy

The United States of America has the best medical treatment in the world, but like most things with quality it is not cheap. Advocacy groups like the Commonwealth Fund focus on high average cost in their cultural efforts to nationalize the health care system, but they rarely cover the real reason health care coverage is high - too much is included and hospitals and doctors have a defensive medicine culture due to a hyperactive malpractice system.

If you don't cover every possible test, and something goes wrong, you will get sued. And now, with greater government involvement, even more doctors will be trained in a 'teach to the protocol' environment and run down a checklist of things they know are not relevant.


A child's illness and hospitalization is stressful for children and their parents and also clinicians. 

20 years ago, the Four Habits Model of Highly Effective Clinicians, a core set of communication skills developed to help physicians communicate with patients, was co-created by Regenstrief Institute sociologist Richard Frankel, Ph.D. A new study reports that the Four Habits Model can successfully prepare inexperienced nurses for emotionally difficult conversations with parents of pediatric patients. 


Residents of England claim their health care is the best in the world - and some in America agree. While America clearly leads the world in medical treatment, everyone with the money from almost every country quickly abandons their health care for US shores, it is only burden-free for the rich and the poor. In between, many might not go to the doctor.

But in England plenty of people want to go to a doctor because it is free. They just can't get an appointment so they go to an emergency room which costs far more, which makes the burden on taxpayers even greater.


Girls and boys learn to use language differently, according to a new study which found that girls were more likely to remember words while boys were more likely to create words and sentences in ‘real-time’.

Language scholars believe language uses both a mental dictionary and a mental grammar. The mental ‘dictionary’ stores sounds, words and common phrases, while mental ‘grammar’ involves the real-time composition of longer words and sentences. For example, making a longer word ‘walked’ from a smaller one ‘walk’. Most research into understanding how these processes work has been carried out with adults.

American business schools, R.I.P.

The United States of America hasn't been interested in building big new physics collaborations, such as the Large Hadron Collider, in the last 20 years, since the Clinton administration canceled the Superconducting Super Collider. The James Webb Space Telescope overruns and President Obama canceling NASA's Constellation program confirm why America has a crisis of confidence about building big and there is a belief that maybe we should stick to small experiments like cute robots on Mars.
It's no secret that politicians have always favored corporations that are involved in their pet causes - and it's no secret that wind turbines are killing endangered birds and forcing a giant migration of more.

What is less well known is that if you are a wind energy corporation, not only have you been stuffed with government subsidies for the last five years, you are not going to be prosecuted no how many eagles you kill. Unless you are also a fossil fuel company, like Duke Energy, they got prosecuted. Otherwise, you pay a token fine and that is that.

In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about a potential danger for young people taking antidepressants. The warnings drew intense and outright exaggerated media coverage.

Result: A sudden, steep decline in the number of prescriptions for antidepressants and an increase in suicide attempts by teens and young adults.

Writing in BMJ, researchers at Harvard Medical School's Department of Population Medicine and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute report that in the year following the warnings, when antidepressant prescriptions fell by more than a fifth among young people, there was a relative increase of 21.7 percent in suicide attempts by overdose with psychotropic drugs, and 33.7 percent among young adults.


American children learn the meanings of number words gradually: First they understand "one," then they add "two, "three," and "four," in sequence. At that point, however, a dramatic shift in understanding takes place, and children grasp the meanings of not only "five" and "six," but all of the number words they know.


Since 1990 organic food has been allowed to exist independently of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the one federal agency responsible for food safety and quality. Sure, organic food still gets recalls, lots of them - using feces as fertilizer and having customers who think food doesn't need to be washed will do that - but the definition of 'organic' is not determined by the USDA.

Those dozens and dozens of synthetic additives allowed on the organic food National List? That is because of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which was created by Congress in 1990. The reason there is no quality assurance for organic food and no surprise spot testing to make sure organic farming is actually organic ? Also thanks to the NOSB.