Science & Society

Previous expansions in Medicaid eligibility by states were not associated with an erosion of perceived access to care or an increase in emergency department use - so why are so many now complaining that no doctors will take Medicaid?

The problem is compounded by the fact that low-income uninsured adults in states that opted not to expand Medicaid eligibility as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act appear to have more health-related issues than those uninsured adults living in states that expanded public insurance coverage.

Sweden, the country with the second highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes in the world, could actually have 2-3 times more adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes than previously estimated, according to new findings in Diabetologia.

Current estimates in Sweden are based on the Diabetes Incidence Study in Sweden (DISS), which has been around since 1983. The DISS is one of very few registers to record data on adolescents and young adults and therefore findings from the DISS study have had implications for diabetes research and care in many countries.  Dr. Araz Rawshani of the Swedish National Diabetes Register, Gothenburg, and colleagues found that the DISS had very low coverage which discards previous findings.

When the second working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth report March 31, its unexpected emphasis on the positive may have been more than a reflection of better efforts to deal with the impacts of a warming planet. It may also have been smart marketing strategy.

Sometimes errors happen, sometimes fraud happens. Sometimes methodology is suspect.

The television docudrama Cosmos: A Space-time Odyssey is in free-fall, having dropped in the ratings for the third straight week after a somewhat tepid debut. TV By the Numbers reports that only 3.91 million people watched the fourth episode of the series, down from (an already mediocre) 5.77 million who watched the pilot.

A decade ago, a well-orchestrated political campaign against Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular turned everything into an anti-science issue. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which is run by a former Democratic staffer, was front and center in that effort, even drafting a popular 2004 petition saying Bush "has continued to distort and suppress science" which was dutifully signed by a bunch of people who were never going to vote for a Republican anyway. 

20 years ago there was widespread concern about the impact of video game violence. "Mortal Kombat" created a gore filter so parents could turn that off, "Postal" had, unsurprisingly, someone committing mass killings emulating the rash of government union workers shooting people, which gave birth to the 'going postal' idiom. "Night Trap" was banned due to its use of full-motion video related to the murders.

In what they are calling the most thorough analysis to date of studies on school bullying, the psychologists who authored a review on the topic in Annual Review of Psychology say that K-12 schools' efforts to curtail bullying are often disappointing and that, unlike public perception, bullying tactics like verbal aggression and exclusion are used by boys as often as girls

The authors say that the most comprehensive programs are effective but they require substantial commitment and school resources to be successful. An assembly once per year does nothing at all. Instead, other studies have found that school programs are teaching bullies how to avoid being caught.      

There are recurring calls to make scientists more social. Scientists have already accepted government control of academic research and now fellow academics and some in the bureaucracy want to task them with communications and outreach also. A few even want to make their science outreach rather than their science output a factor in promotion and tenure.

People who have worked in both academia and the corporate world claim that the bias in academia is worse - which sounds odd, given the nature of academia. But statistics bear that out. Undergraduate representation of political views and handicapped people, for example, matches the general population, but once you reach the graduate, staff and faculty levels in colleges, diversity for people who are outside the political super-majority or who are handicapped disappears.

But even if you are part of the in crowd, it seems being a parent can take you right back out.