Science & Society

During discussions of the Affordable Care Act, there was concern that some procedures would be harder to obtain. There was even worry about 'death panels' such as in the United Kingdom National Health Service.

It will be just the opposite in the short term, based on how utilization changed after earlier insurance reform in Massachusetts, according to an article by Chandy Ellimoottil, M.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues.

By looking at insurance expansion and utilization of discretionary and non-discretionary surgical procedures in one state, they project that surgery will go up - at least until taxpayers start getting the bill.


How do you shape your hopes, ambitions and expectations when growing up in an environment devastated by HIV/AIDS?

For her doctoral thesis, epidemiologist Ellen Blommaert looked for answers in Winam, a rural area of western Kenya where HIV/AIDS wreaked havoc among the population but where sexuality is very important.   She found that young people between 16 and 25 do modify their approach to sexual risks - but not in ways the western world understands. Sexuality plays an important role in their quest for a better future but because of the instability of social networks due to HIV and other factors, some of the youngsters increase their sexual networks, including, sometimes, sexual liaisons with multiple, concurrent partners. 

The gay marriage movement may seem like a modern development but it had its roots in World War II culture. By having homosexual characters in comedies, the concept was less threatening and still passed the censorship of film boards.

An article in the journal Zer by 
Carlos III University of Madrid professor in journalism Alejandro Melero studied the presence and visibility of the gay world in Spanish cinema between 1940 and 1975 - the era of fascist dictator Ferdinand Franco. It shows that there were genres that homosexuality appeared in more frequently. One such genre is comedy, in which it was common to portray gays as funny characters.


Unwed parents are becoming more common - some estimates are that more children will be born out of wedlock than in it by 2016. Unwed parents may eventually get married, though perhaps not to the person they first had children with.


Advocates for subsidized health care insist we face a black and white issue - the rich have health care and the poor do not.

Yet poor people in developing nations are healthier than wealthier countries. 

Hans Rosling,  Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is giving a presentation at
the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting where he intends to underscore the fact that false assumptions regarding the reality of life for people throughout the world are an impediment to the urgently needed potential solutions to the rising global demand for health care. 

That the world of health is divided between rich and poor is more cliché


Surveys of 20 homeless, alcohol-dependent patients who had four or more annual visits to Bellevue Hospital's emergency department for two consecutive years determined that all began drinking in childhood or adolescence, and 13 reported having alcoholic parents. 13 patients reported abuse in their childhood homes and 19 left home by age 18. Only one was married and none of the subjects was employed. The three who were military veterans said that military life amplified their alcohol use. 


A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down but apparently the public will also happily accept movie tickets, cell phone minutes and discounts on air travel.

A private South African health plan, Discovery Health, increased patient use of preventive care using a program that incentivized healthy behavior using discounts on retail goods and travel. 

"Even though most people know that preventive care is important, too few people take advantage of it," said Ateev Mehrotra, associate professor of health care policy at  Harvard Medical School. "Incentive plans like this try to reinforce those long-term gains with more immediate rewards." 


Facebook has more than 1.23 billion active users. Most of them are not actually friends with each other and because they are not friends with each other, they feel pushy recommending products or services. They're fine hammering on politics and religion, but endorsing a car looks too corporate.

That's bad news for Facebook's business model, which has so far convinced advertisers they need to spend money. Facebook has tinkered with everything from forcing contributors to pay to have their posts seen by people on their list to pushing ads more aggressively based on everything from browser cookies to media use on the PCs of members.


The land known as Israel today was once pretty bleak. Mark Twain spoke of the barren landscape and lack of people when it was owned by colonial European powers. Nothing much was there.

But then Jews began buying it up. They planted crops and modernized irrigation. After World War II, the United Nations made it a country and now the land is considered so valuable the Arab states insist they should own it instead.


Generally speaking, when a politician goes on television and says he is creating a special task force to look at a product, you know what happened; someone wrote about it in the New York Times and someone did a poll and someone else told him it would look presidential to be bold.