Big Medicine is
Team EMS Inc.
Ghassan Michel Rubeiz
W. David Stephenson
News & Terrorism
Stop Violence Against Women & Girls
The views expressed here reflect the views of
the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any
of their organizations. In particular, the views expressed here do
not necessarily reflect those of Big Medicine, nor any member of
Team EMS Inc.
Juvenile Arthritis: The
Ultimate Teen Guide by Kelly Rouba [Updated Mar 21 New York
NY]--A self-help guide for youth, Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate
Teen Guide is also useful to family members, friends, and caregivers
of those suffering from the disease. Author Kelly Rouba has prepared
a truly comprehensive resource without making it overwhelming, in
order to help those who have the disease lead the best life
As someone diagnosed with a severe form of
juvenile arthritis at the age of two, Rouba is very familiar with
how difficult—physically and emotionally—it can be to live with this
Readers get an overview of juvenile arthritis from the point of view
of teenagers and their parents, and the book also includes
discussions related to diagnosis, symptoms of the disease, its
history, and various related conditions. Treatment options are also
provided, as well as tips on how to adapt to life with the disease
including exercise, diet and therapy. A list of applicable Web sites
and other helpful resources is included at the end of most chapters.
Kelly Rouba is an author, writer, and public relations professional,
who was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age two. She
is also a member of the Arthritis National Research Foundation's
THE SCARECROW PRESS, INC.
$40.00 • Cloth • 0-8108-6055-4 | 978-0-8108-6055-1 • March 2009 •
To order, visit
www.scarecrowpress.com call 1-800-462-6420
Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide
A word from the author
By Kelly Rouba
It was in December 2006 when I got the call asking if I’d be
interested in writing a book on juvenile arthritis. I still remember
the day well—probably because I’ve been told for years by so many
people that I should write a book and, well, here was my chance.
I’ve been a freelance writer for 10 years now. My work has been
published in a multitude of publications from local newspapers to
websites to big name magazines. I enjoy getting information out
there to the public, and I especially like writing inspirational
stories. But, to be honest, writing a book was something I never
really wanted to do. However, this was an opportunity I couldn’t
refuse as I was diagnosed with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
at the age of 2. To my own amazement, I accepted the challenge
quickly since the subject matter is one that is near and dear to my
heart, and I know that very little literature is out there for
people in need of information.
Perhaps what is even more ironic about the fact that I completed
writing this book and it is only days away from being released
(March 2009) is that it is something I never would have read in my
youth. This is not to say the book is not well written—in fact, it’s
been strongly endorsed by Seth Ginsberg, founder of
www.creakyjoints.org and the Global Healthy Living Foundation. But,
what I am saying is that I had a difficult time accepting the fact
that I had arthritis growing up. I can clearly remember throwing the
resource guides my doctors gave me into the back of my closet soon
after getting them and never looking back.
In my head, I refused to accept that I had arthritis. I didn’t want
to be different from my peers. I hated all the doctors’ visits,
constant blood tests, hospital stays, and the fact that I had to
sleep in leg and arm splints. But probably the worst part was when
the disease limited my ability so much that I needed a walker in
elementary school and eventually had to resort to a wheelchair to
get around not long after. To live “normally,” I believed that I had
to ignore the disease, including the physical and emotional pain.
This was how I lived my life for about 18 years.
It wasn’t until college that I finally began to embrace the fact
that my life was “unique” (and not just in a negative way) due to
this disease. This whole revelation began to come about after my
professor asked us to write a term paper on a subject of our
choosing. At the time, arthritis seemed to be one of the few
subjects I could write on at length. During the presentation I had
to give on the report, I realized the class seemed quite
intrigued—and that was mostly because it was a topic they had never
heard much about.
After that, my interest in creating awareness of the fact that
approximately 300,000 children and teens suffer from this disease
only grew. In fact, I even got involved with the Arthritis
Foundation’s annual Arthritis Walk when it was established in my
area, and I have now been a key organizer for several years. As a
child, I never wanted to take part in the foundation’s events, so I
guess I’ve come a long way.
At our local walk in Mercer County this May, I will be signing
copies of my book along with a few of the individuals who are
featured in it, including Ginsberg. I am honored to have this
opportunity and have high hopes that those with juvenile arthritis,
along with their family, friends, and caregivers, will find the book
to be a useful resource—if they don’t toss it into the bottom of
To provide an overview of the book, it is the latest in what I refer
to as a self-help series published by Scarecrow Press called “It
Happened to Me.” While the series is meant for teens, I tried to
write for a broader audience knowing that so few resources on
juvenile arthritis are out there. As noted on Scarecrow’s site:
“Readers get an overview of juvenile arthritis from the point of
view of teenagers and their parents, and the book also includes
discussions related to diagnosis, symptoms of the disease, its
history, and various related conditions. Treatment options are also
provided, as well as tips on how to adapt to life with the disease
including exercise, diet, and therapy. A list of applicable Web
sites and other helpful resources is included at the end of most
While there is no cure for juvenile arthritis, I am hoping this book
will help those living with the disease lead the best life
possible—even though it can be very difficult at times.
Aside from volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation, I am also an
advisory board member of the Arthritis National Research Foundation.
I have been very committed to raising funds and awareness for both
organizations. What keeps me going is the number of people who still
ask what my disability is and are shocked to hear the answer. Yes,
it’s not just your grandparents who get arthritis—kids get it too.
And until the day that children with juvenile arthritis are no
longer in pain or limited in terms of mobility, I will continue on
my mission to spread awareness.
For more information on Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide,
To read more about Kelly Rouba, visit:
Kelly Rouba works full-time with EAD &
Associates, an emergency management consultancy with a focus on
special needs populations and human services. Ms. Rouba is also a
DAE with FEMA Region II. Through this position, she has handled
emergency preparedness issues relating to special needs populations
and served as a key organizer of the regional special needs
conference in 2008. Ms. Rouba previously served on the NJ Special
Needs Advisory Panel, a task force led by NJ OEM.
A long-time disability rights advocate, Ms. Rouba is an avid public
speaker on topics ranging from disability awareness to employment to
emergency preparedness. From December 2006 through February 2008,
she held the title of Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey and also served as
state program coordinator. To date, Ms. Rouba has been featured in
numerous publications and television programs, from NJN News to
ABC’s Perspective New Jersey. Presently, Ms. Rouba is being filmed
by Agency New Jersey for a documentary on juvenile arthritis, and
she is co-hosting a television show called Breaking Barriers.
In 2008, Ms. Rouba became a member of the American Society of
Journalists and Authors. She writes for numerous publications,
including a number of disability magazines and websites. In
addition, she recently authored a book called Juvenile Arthritis:
The Ultimate Teen Guide, which is being released by Scarecrow Press
in March 2009.
In 2006, Ms. Rouba was honored by the State of New Jersey’s
Department of Labor for her outstanding work ethic and success in
the workplace as a local journalist and woman with a disability. In
2007, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein presented Ms. Rouba with a
proclamation recognizing her community service efforts and role as a
journalist. And, in 2008, she received the Governor’s Volunteerism
Award for her extensive community service. Presently, she volunteers
with several organizations, including as a member of the Arthritis
National Research Foundation’s Advisory Board and Project Freedom’s
Board of Trustees.
Ms. Rouba earned her BA from The College of New Jersey in 2002,
where she majored in Journalism/Professional Writing and minored in
Landmark textbook on strokes in
children and young adults updated in second edition [Feb
6 Maywood IL]--In 1994, a neurology textbook edited by Dr. Jose
Biller became the standard reference work for the treatment and
prevention of strokes in young people.
Now, Stroke in Children and Young Adults has been extensively
revised. In the Second Edition, the 14 original chapters have been
rewritten, and three new chapters have been added, Biller said.
Biller is chairman of the Department of Neurology at Loyola
University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
In the foreword, Dr. Mark Dyken wrote that in reading the book, "one
is struck by how much has been added to our knowledge." Dyken is
professor emeritus of neurology at Indiana University School of
Strokes can occur at any age -- even before birth. According to
conservative estimates, about 3,200 strokes occur each year in
youths under age 18. And more than 3,000 people under age 45 die of
strokes each year. This age group accounts for between 5 percent and
10 percent of all strokes. Survivors can experience lifelong
learning disabilities, seizures, movement disorders, language
problems, cognitive deficits and paralysis on one side of the body.
Between 6 percent and 20 percent of children who have strokes die,
and at least half are left with some disability.
"The impact of strokes in this age group is devastating to the child
or young adult, their families and society," Biller said.
Stroke in Children and Young Adults offers practical clinical
guidance on strokes and related issues. The Second Edition includes
new chapters on applied anatomy, pediatric central nervous system
vascular malformation and vascular disorders of the spinal cord. It
also has tips on how to prevent misdiagnosis, new developments in
therapy and rehabilitation and data from the latest American Heart
"Let us hope that the continued rapid acquirement of knowledge makes
it necessary for a third edition long before 14 years," Dyken wrote
in the foreword.
Biller has been treating young stroke patients for decades. He is a
co-author of the 2008 guidelines for prevention and treatment of
strokes in infants and children published in Stroke: Journal of the
American Heart Association.
The Second Edition is dedicated to the late Dr. William DeMyer, a
pediatric neurologist at Indiana University. Biller wrote that his
colleague was "known and loved by many as preeminent neuroanatomist,
erudite teacher, tireless advisor, compassionate caregiver,
gregarious sportsman and consummate family man."
On the front lines in the war
on terror [Feb 6 London England]--The emergence of terror
medicine as a distinctive discipline has been prompted by the global
proliferation of terrorism, especially since the end of the 20th
century. Examples abound - Oklahoma City, the London metro, Madrid,
The nature of terror attacks, such as anthrax
attacks or suicide bombings, and the effects on victims have
prompted novel approaches to rescue operations, diagnosis, treatment
and coordination of services. Yet most physicians and other health
providers, let alone members of the public, are still unfamiliar
with many of its features.
A new book, Essentials of Terror Medicine, focuses on the
constellation of medical issues uniquely related to terrorist
attacks: preparedness, incident management, injuries and responses,
and psychological consequences. The book provides insightful and
practical information for physicians, nurses, emergency responders
and other health professionals who may be called to service during
or after a terror incident.
Co-author Leonard Cole said, "Efforts to prevent terrorist assaults
should be among a society's highest priorities. No less important
are the requirements to prepare for, respond to and recover from
such events. Education, rehearsals and understanding the distinctive
challenges posed by terrorist attacks are vital. The more that
individuals and institutions become familiar with the issues
concerning terror medicine, the greater the protection they can
provide themselves and others."
Distinguished international authors have been brought together by
the three editors of this volume, who themselves are recognized
experts in relevant disciplines: Shmuel Shapira, epidemiology and
hospital administration; Jeffrey Hammond, trauma surgery and
emergency response; and Leonard Cole, bioterrorism and public
policy. Moreover, many of the book’s 35 contributors have had
immediate and extensive experience in the medical management of
Book examines health care
delivery in war-torn Africa [Feb 6 Milwaukee
WI]--Improving health care and addressing social justice issues in
war-torn African countries are subjects close to Aaron Buseh's
Buseh, an associate professor of nursing at the University of
Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) who grew up in Liberia, recently published
a book focused on improving health care delivery in war-torn African
"Empowering Resilience: Improving Health Care Delivery in
War-Impacted African Countries," is a case study of Buseh's home
country of Liberia, but has implications for other countries ripped
apart by war and civil violence, he says.
Buseh says he wrote the book to provide guidance for both
international supporters and, more importantly, the people of
African countries as they begin to build new health care systems out
of the destruction.
"I am a man living in two worlds," he says. "I am a Liberian and
African, and I am here in the U.S. studying and teaching about
health issues. This book is my way of helping my people without
being physically present."
He based the title of his work on what he sees as the best hope for
health care improvement in Africa – the resilience of African
peoples in the face of horrendous violence and painful loss.
An African model for health care
For example, he says, African countries can look at replacing old
European health care models – which spend huge amounts of money
building large hospitals and tertiary care medical complexes – with
a system that focuses on primary and preventive care. When it comes
to improving the health of people in Africa, Buseh says that
improved sanitation and health care education reaches many more
people and is more cost-effective than building huge medical
He adds that many of the diseases that affect millions in
sub-Saharan Africa are preventable through vaccination, or easily
treatable with inexpensive medications.
Improving health care can also be part of the peacemaking process.
"All of the warring factions need health care," says Buseh, who
suggests giving Africans incentives to collaborate on rebuilding
Looking at ways to decrease violence against women is a global
phenomenon, with implications in Milwaukee as well as in Africa.
"I strive every semester to help my students to think globally and
act locally about health care and social justice issues," says Buseh.
"There are vulnerable populations here in Milwaukee, too. If I can
get my students to feel outrage about the roughly 16 percent of
Americans who struggle to access health care without health
insurance, it becomes possible to elicit compassion from them for
sub-Saharan Africans in need of health care in conflict-ridden
countries such as Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and
Citizens worldwide should care about what is happening in these
nations, for both for humanitarian and economic reasons. "It's not
just groups of people who can't get along," says Buseh of the strife
in these nations. The fighting among warring factions in these areas
impacts access to valuable minerals and natural resources that are
an important part of the global economy.
Buseh's areas of research and expertise include factors associated
with HIV/AIDS prevention, social stigma, quality of life, and
structural barriers associated with health care delivery in
sub-Saharan Africa and the African American community in the United
While his book has implications for other regions of sub-Saharan
Africa, the destruction of Liberia became the inspiration for the
Buseh lost his two youngest brothers to the violence, as well as
several nursing colleagues and friends from a hospital where he once
"It was an agonizing process to watch your country – which in the
1970s and 1980s was seen as a shining beacon on the continent of
Africa, playing a major role in the African affairs and
international community – be torn apart," he explains. "Health is
one of those issues we can look at in rebuilding any country
emerging from civil strife."
Ex-terrorists may be key to
reducing militancy [Feb 6 Philadelphia PA]--The scourge
of modern terrorism can be tackled more effectively by understanding
how and why certain individuals give up their violent ways,
according to a counter-terrorism expert who says information gleaned
from ex-terrorists could provide clues to checking the growth of
"Individuals do not necessarily join extremist groups because they
hold extremist views," said John Horgan, director of Penn State's
International Center for the Study of Terrorism. "Instead, they
acquire extremist views after joining a militant group for other
Horgan is using his training in applied psychology to discover how
people become involved in and disengage from terrorist movements. He
is also interested in how terrorist networks learn, adapt and
evolve, both in response to societal responses to those movements as
well as in response to technological innovation.
In a new collection with his colleague Tore Bjorgo, "Leaving
Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement" (Routledge,
2009), Horgan argues that research into factors that make a person
disengage from terrorism could provide greater insight on how the
seed of terrorism takes root, and how it can potentially be stopped.
"Individuals who once shrouded every detail of their lives in
secrecy are willing to engage researchers on some of the thorniest
questions relating to their former terrorist lives," explained
Horgan, who is also associate professor of science, technology, and
society at Penn State.
According to the Penn State researcher, disengagement involves a
change in behavior by breaking off participation in violent groups
or changing the way in which they engage in political violence.
When such individuals leave or disengage from the extremist ideals
of the group, the reasons can range from disillusionment with the
tactics being pursued by the group, social tensions within it, to
the lure of economic support and amnesty for the terrorist.
However, attempts to accurately pin down the factors that trigger
withdrawal from terrorism remains elusive. That is because
researchers have been preoccupied with discovering how and why
individuals become involved in terrorism, and very little attention
has been paid to those who have given up terrorism or terrorist
movements that have become inactive.
"Addressing these gaping holes in our understanding could in the
long term better equip us to meet the challenges of terrorism and
will also equip us with a strategy for counter-radicalization," said
In one chapter, Horgan outlines some of the issues relevant to
constructing a psychological perspective on disengagement from
terrorism. "We have provided a series of starting points in trying
to understand why certain individuals give up terrorism, and the
various ways in which they reach that decision."
For starters, he seeks to narrow the discussion on individual
disengagement to a few core questions: whether disengagement means
leaving a group or simply assuming a new role; whether individuals
leave voluntarily or involuntarily; where do individuals go after
leaving terrorism and what do they do; and finally how to be sure
that a person has become disengaged from terrorism and will not
return to violent ways.
In addition to interviews with former terrorists of the IRA and
al-Qaeda, Horgan studies autobiographies by former terrorists,
communiqués, statements by movements, and discussions on Internet
bulletin board to answer some of these questions.
The Penn State researcher argues that for disengagement to be
successful, it will have to be tailor-made to not only the specific
terrorist movement but also to the specific role or individual being
targeted by the security forces.
The book is a collection of articles on counter-terrorism by leading
world experts on terrorist disengagement. The authors analyze case
studies of disengagement programmes in places such as Columbia,
northern Europe, Italy, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore
The insight gained from the strengths and weaknesses of these case
studies will be an invaluable guide to students, researchers and
policy makers in the field of counter-terrorism.
New book dissects statistics
for doctors and medical students [Nov 11 Cold Spring
Harbor NY]--The medical literature is chock full of risk ratios, P
values, numbers needed to treat, life tables, regressions, survival
analyses, and confidence intervals. But what do they mean?
A second edition of the book Medical Statistics Made Easy, recently
released by Scion Publishing, provides the easiest possible
explanations of statistical tests and descriptions used throughout
the medical literature. It will serve as an essential resource for
medical students and professionals who need to understand common
"Whether you love or hate statistics, you need to have some
understanding of the subject if you want to critically appraise a
paper. To do this, you do not need to know how to do a statistical
analysis. What you do need is to know why the test has been used and
how to interpret the resulting figures," explain the authors,
Michael Harris and Gordon Taylor, in the Preface to the book.
The "Statistics at work" section, which offers real-life examples
from published papers, has been completely updated in this new
edition. The new edition retains the user-friendly format of the
first edition, with examples to illustrate concepts and clear
explanations of how to interpret the results.
Each statistical test is presented with concise answers to the same
series of questions, such as "How important is it?" "When is it
used?" and "What does it mean?" To generate the answers to these
questions, the authors compiled 200 recently published, mainstream
medical papers and noted how frequently the statistical tests were
used in each. They then developed a star system (1-5 stars) to rate
the importance and usefulness of each statistical test or concept.
"Acquiring the skills to appraise medical research papers is a
daunting task," writes Bill Irish in the Foreword to the book. "I
commend this book to all healthcare professionals, general
practitioners and hospital specialists. It covers all ground
necessary to critically evaluate the statistical elements of
research papers, in a friendly and approachable way."
About the book: Medical Statistics Made Easy, 2nd edition (©2008,
Scion Publishing Ltd.) is 116 pp. in length and is available in
paperback (ISBN 9781904842552). It was written by M. Harris (General
Practitioner and Senior Lecturer in Medical Education, Bristol) and
G. Taylor (Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics, University of
Bath). For details about the book, see
New book provides unique view
into jihadist mind [Nov 11 Sacramento CA]--David Aaron, a
veteran U.S. diplomat and director of the RAND Center for Middle
East Public Policy, has compiled a wide range of writings by Islamic
terrorists that offer an unusual window into their mentality. The
book, "In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad," is a virtual
encyclopedia of jihadist rhetoric written by the terrorists
"Reading the texts of jihadi writings and speeches can help readers
develop deeper and more powerful insights into the thinking
motivating Islamic terrorists," said Aaron, also a senior fellow at
RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "I hope this book becomes a
resource for researchers, policymakers and others who want a deeper
understanding of jihadism."
Aaron points out that the appalling views of fanatical jihadists
presented in the book are the beliefs of only a small minority of
Muslims. The book should not be seen as providing a balanced or
representative picture of Muslim views.
Included in the book are translations of writings and speeches from
such widely known Islamic terrorists as Osama bin Laden and Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as other jihadis who are not so notorious.
The sources for the material include Internet postings, television
interviews and terrorist communiqués, and are listed in the book.
Readers are offered unfiltered access to a broad range of stories,
rationales, ideas and arguments of jihadi terrorists and those who
support their mission. Some quotations have been selected because
they are representative, others because they are contradictory, and
still others because they provide a unique insight into the jihadi
Aaron said the Internet has made jihadi material widely available.
By one count, the number of terrorist-related Web sites has grown
from 12 in 1997 to 4,500 by 2005.
"I hope the book, in essence, paints a self-portrait of jihadism,"
Aaron said. "Instead of describing what jihadis stand for, it
presents jahadis' as they see themselves. Jihadis' statements are
often more appalling and more profoundly revealing than the accounts
that have been written about jihadi terrorism."
Aaron writes that it may be more difficult for Americans to fathom
jihadism compared to earlier totalitarian movements, which
originated in Europe, because jihad comes out of a culture largely
unfamiliar to Americans and does not speak with a single voice.
The book begins with a concise history of Islam and the events that
led to the terrorist radicals of today.
Aaron has held senior positions under three presidents, most
recently as the Clinton administration's ambassador to the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and
Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade. Other highlights
of his government career includes serving as deputy national
security advisor to President Jimmy Carter and helping to organize
the negotiations for the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt
in 1978. Aaron also wrote two PBS documentaries, including "Lessons
of the 1991 Gulf War."
"In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad" is available at
The work was sponsored by RAND's continuing program of
self-initiated independent research. Support for this research is
provided by donors and by the independent research and development
provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S.
Department of Defense federally funded research and development
21st century could be the 'age
of paranoia,' warns leading scientist [Nov 11 London
England]--Paranoia is on the increase and could go unchecked unless
we take urgent action, claims a leading scientist. Dr Daniel
Freeman, a Wellcome Trust fellow, warns that changes in how we live
and work could mean that we are entering an "age of paranoia".
For a decade Dr Freeman has been conducting pioneering research into
paranoia at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and
recently developed the world's first laboratory method of testing
paranoia using virtual reality. The research has demonstrated that
levels of paranoia and mistrust are much higher in the general
public than previously suspected. One in four people in the general
public have regular paranoid thoughts.
Now, in a book entitled Paranoia: the 21st
Century Fear, published this week by Oxford University Press, Dr
Freeman and brother Jason argue that not only is paranoia incredibly
common, it is also on the increase.
"These days, we daren't let our children play outside. We're
suspicious of strangers. Security cameras are everywhere," says Dr
Freeman, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow. "We
seem to have entered an age of paranoia. And the indications are
that things may only get worse."
Dr Freeman believes that a combination of factors is fuelling this
new era of suspiciousness, including the increasing number of people
living in cities, the physical environment in which we live, growing
wealth inequalities and the over-reporting in the media of crime and
For the first time ever, 2008 has seen the
urban population of the world outnumber the rural. In 1800, only
five per cent of people lived in urban areas worldwide, but this
figure is set to rise to sixty-five per cent by 2030. This does not
bode well for our mental health: scientists have known for some time
that rates of paranoia are twice as high in cities compared to rural
"Social bonds are much looser in cities than in smaller, rural
communities where ready-made, relatively stable support networks
exist," says Dr Freeman. "Social isolation, a frequent drawback to
urban life, is closely associated with paranoid thoughts. In the UK
nearly four times as many people live alone than fifty years ago.
Increasing paranoia is certainly one more challenge posed by
Poverty, deprivation and wealth inequality are also linked to poor
health and to increased levels of mental illness. Research conducted
in the US has shown that the people in the states with the widest
income inequalities also displayed the lowest levels of trust – and
higher rates of mortality. Mistrust is associated with higher rates
of death from cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Paranoia isn't confined to Western nations, but it does appear that
societies in which people are divided by huge differences in income
and where the emphasis is on individual economic success run the
risk of breeding conflict, unhappiness and distrust, argues Dr
Freeman. An increasingly flexible employment market, with more
reliance on short-term contracts, breeds uncertainty, stress and
fuels competition in the workplace, encouraging us to see our
colleagues as rivals and potential threats.
Dr Freeman also explores the potentially harmful consequences of
media over-reporting of crime and terrorism, encapsulated in the
newsroom cliché "if it bleeds, it leads", which he believes instils
in us exaggerated fears.
"Every age has its bogeymen, and ours includes terrorists, hoodies
and paedophiles, but the amount of coverage they receive in both
tabloids and broadsheets greatly outweighs coverage of our real
killers, such as heart disease, cancer, and road accidents.
"Over-reporting of dangers fosters a culture of paranoia. After all,
it's hard to stay cool when everyone else is panicking. The way we
reason makes us particularly susceptible to the power of the media.
The more something is repeated, and the more graphic and emotional
it is, the greater the impression it makes upon us."
Much needs to be done to help stem the rise in paranoia, at both a
societal and individual level, concludes Dr Freeman.
"Dealing with paranoia at an individual level is relatively
straightforward through techniques such as cognitive behavioural
therapy," he says. "But if we are really to get to the root of the
problem, we need urgent action at a wider level. We need a range of
policies to raise public awareness of paranoia, to train therapists
and tackle the effects of potentially damaging social and economic
Protecting your business in a
pandemic [Nov 10 Chicago IL]--A pandemic is an epidemic
that covers a huge swath of the country or even the world. And it's
just as scary as it sounds: For example, it's estimated that up to a
third of the U.S. population could fall ill in an Avian flu
pandemic, costing the U.S. economy alone up to $675 billion.
Worse, pandemics shatter lives and businesses
and tend to rock society to its foundations. But humanity has been
through pandemics before. As disaster-management and
business-continuity expert Geary Sikich shows in this book, there
are ways to make the best of a bad situation.
These methods improve the chance that
businesses will remain resilient, and people healthy, employed, and
productive--even in the darkest days of an international disaster.
Protecting Your Business in a Pandemic helps managers and owners
understand the threat pandemics pose to society, the overall
economy, and their businesses.
Using illustrative examples, it offers readers
a practical guide for assessing the threat of pandemics to their own
organizations and help in developing business-continuity plans to
deal with the economic and medical consequences.
-The Initial Response, which investigates
possible pandemic scenarios and outcomes. - Global Reaction, which
compares each scenario with previous pandemics and projects
real-time reactions from all sectors of society.
-The Danger of Reassortment, which introduces
the reader to the resources they will need to respond to the
long-term and/or possibly permanent changes to the economy.
-After the Shock: Potential Risks for the
Global Economy outlines important aspects of how business operations
and society could be altered--forever--by the pandemic.
Practical and hands on, the book provides
step-by-step guidance in the form of evaluation and assessment
tools, exercises, and detailed examples.
Special tools include an easy-to-use roadmap
for developing and maintaining a comprehensive business-continuity
Experts agree--it's only a matter of time
before another pandemic strikes. That's why every business needs to
keep a copy of this book handy, before a global nightmare comes
Table of Contents:
* Foreword by Charles P. Carey
* Chapter 1: A Call to Action: The Danger of HN51
* Chapter 2: Pandemic Surprise
* Chapter 3: The Pandemic Settles In
* Chapter 4: Global Reaction to a Pandemic
* Chapter 5: The Danger of Reassortment
* Chapter 6: After the Shock: Potential Risks for the Global Economy
* Chapter 7: Paradigm Shifts: Socioeconomic and Market Ramifications
* Chapter 8: Tick, Tick, TickGeopolitical Impacts of a Pandemic
* About the Author
LC Card Number: 2008009952
LCC Class: HD49
Dewey Class: 658
From cloudy to clear: New book
explores the modern history of meteorology [Oct 6
Tallahassee FL]--For much of the first half of the 20th century,
meteorology was more art than science, relying heavily on an
individual forecaster’s lifetime of local experience. Now, a Florida
State University researcher has written a book that tells the story
of the field’s transformation from a “guessing science” into a
sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and
“Weather by the Numbers: The Genesis of Modern Meteorology” was
written by Kristine Harper, an assistant professor of history at
FSU, and was just published by the MIT Press. In her book, Harper
says that the greatest factor making the transformation of
meteorology possible was the development of the electronic digital
computer. Earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had
foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations
quickly enough for timely forecasting.
“A weather forecast is of little use if it is made several weeks
after the weather has come and gone,” Harper noted.
After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation
network developed for military purposes, newly trained
meteorologists savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital
computer all came together to create a new way of approaching
atmospheric theory and weather forecasting, Harper writes.
In “Weather by the Numbers,” Harper also examines the efforts of
meteorologists to professionalize their discipline during the
interwar years and the rapid expansion of personnel and
observational assets during World War II. She describes how, by the
1950s, academic, Weather Bureau and military meteorologists had
moved atmospheric modeling from research subject to operational
“Not only did they have to contend with barely effective models and
balky computers, they faced having to convince their colleagues that
numerical modeling techniques would lead to better and more timely
predictions,” Harper said.
Challenging previous accounts that give sole credit for the
development of numerical weather prediction to digital-computer
inventor John von Neumann, Harper points to the crucial
contributions of Carl-Gustav Rossby, founder of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s meteorology program and a member of the
renowned “Scandinavian tag team” of meteorologists who worked with
von Neumann. (In 1945, von Neumann had settled on weather prediction
as a suitably difficult scientific problem amenable to a numerical
solution to showcase the capabilities of his proposed computer.) The
team’s transformation of the discipline, Harper writes, was the most
important intellectual achievement of 20th-century meteorology and
paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all of
“Having spent many years working with these models as a
meteorologist, discovering their history was a fascinating
experience,” she said.
While “Weather by the Numbers” is Harper’s first academic book, it
promises not to be her last. She is currently writing another book
on the use of weather control as a tool of the state in
mid-20th-century America. Like “Weather by the Numbers,” it will
address issues related to the history of science and technology, and
“Because of my background in meteorology and oceanography,” Harper
said, “I continue to be drawn to historical topics that draw on my
scientific expertise and have the potential to inform policy
decisions in the 21st century.”
In addition to her writing, Harper also will be teaching with
FSU-Teach -- a program recently created to recruit more FSU math and
science majors into the teaching profession.
Historian faces fears,
fantasies about NYC's destruction [Sep 23 Amherst
MA]--There’s a reason New York is the “City That Never Sleeps”: from
Godzilla to tidal waves, asteroids to zombies, America’s premier
metropolis has been ravaged time and time again in films, novels,
pulp fiction, television and cartoons.
In a new book, Max Page, associate professor of architecture and
history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explores how
visions of New York’s destruction were a part of the country’s
collective imagination long before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks turned fiction to grim reality.
“The City’s End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions
of New York’s Destruction” (Yale University Press) catalogues the
countless ways American writers and artists have imagined the city’s
demise since the 1800s. Through text and many color and
black-and-white illustrations, Page plumbs the evolution of a
“central theme in American culture.”
“The theme traces back to the 19th century when New York became the
greatest American city,” says Page. Time and 9/11 have done little
to diminish the powerful image of the city’s downfall, as
illustrated by last year’s release of the movie “I Am Legend,” which
pits New York’s last human occupant against an army of mutants
spawned by a plague.
According to Page, depictions of New York’s destruction reflect the
prevailing issues of each historic period. In the 19th century, such
stories were shaped by worries over racial and ethnic violence and
class warfare. By the 1950s, the prospect of nuclear war cast a long
shadow over the city, says Page, but now the city faces the
fictional onslaught of environmental threats, terrorism and
technology gone awry. “These stories play out our fears and social
problems,” he says.
Page says the city’s role as a perennial fictional victim reflects
its unique role in the national mindset. “New York stands for
America in a lot of the stories,” he says. “The fact that we want to
destroy it shows how important it is. … In some ways, it’s a
The character and familiarity of the city also give it a prominent
place in the disaster genre, says Page. “There was a time when
one-fifth of Americans could trace a connection to the city,” he
says. “The shape of the city—located on an island—and its iconic
buildings mean that no place looks better destroyed than New York.”
The idea for the book emerged years ago when Page was researching
another work, “The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940,”
which examined the history of real estate development, slum
clearance and the tearing down and rebuilding of the city.
“I kept coming across movies, stories and other fictional accounts
of New York’s destruction,” says Page, who collected the materials
for a “campy” exhibit titled “Destroying New York.” He finalized the
exhibit proposal to the New-York Historical Society the day before
the 9/11 attacks. “I put it aside for awhile, but 8 to 9 months
after the attacks, I revived the idea as an actual topic for
In the seven years since the World Trade Center was obliterated from
the New York skyline, Page says artists, writers and filmmakers have
cautiously added new chapters to the canon of fictional devastation,
proof that the city retains its mythic power in the American psyche.
“By repeating the image of the city’s destruction, the end result is
one long love song,” he says. “If New York is no longer the setting
of our worst fears, it may not be the home of our greatest hopes.
And that would be the beginning of the city’s end.”
International researchers and clinicians share
their insights and experience with blast related injuries
[Aug 18 Baltimore MD]--There has been a rise in global terrorism
against nonmilitary targets. Recent events in Oklahoma City, New
York City, Madrid, London, and Mumbai have demonstrated that mass
casualties are more likely from explosive devices than from
biological, chemical, radioactive, or nuclear weapons. Editors Nabil
M. Elsayed, James L. Atkins and Nikolai Gorbunov have assembled an
impressive list of international experts in the mechanisms and
treatment of blast related injuries in this timely book.
This authoritative text begins with a section on the epidemiology of
blast and explosion injuries which details issues of triage,
morbidity and mortality, as well as clinical experiences treating
casualties at combat support hospitals. The next section covers the
pathology and pathophysiology of blast injuries on the lungs and
nervous system as well as quaternary blast effects resulting in
burns. In a section devoted to primary research on the mechanisms of
primary blast injuries, there are chapters devoted to computational
modeling of lung blast injuries and the biochemical mechanisms
primary blast injuries to include the role of free radicals and
oxidative stress and the inflammatory response in primary blast
injuries. The final section of the book relates global experiences
of blast injuries and their mass casualty management.
Other than the physicians who have treated trauma victims in
settings such as Iraq and Afghanistan, few physicians in the United
States have been trained in the care of the injured blast victim or
have taken care of patients who have sustained injuries from
explosions. The assessment of acute injuries from blast is still
poorly understood and no reliable prognosticators of blast injuries
currently exist. While this text is not meant to serve as a text for
the treatment of blast-related injuries, it is meant to provide a
better understanding of explosion blast injury mechanism which will
in turn help in the design of better protective armor and improve
Co-Editor Colonel (retired) James L. Atkins, M.D., PhD stated he was
"thrilled we were able to assemble such a qualified international
group of contributors for the book. This shows this is a worldwide
problem, not just a military problem" Dr. Atkins also added that
"These threats are constantly changing and it is important that
medical professional recognize the patterns of blast related
injuries and the inflammatory response precipitated by blast
injuries that may take up to 48 hours to manifest." He hopes this
book "helps clinicians and researchers understand what is already
known about blast injuries" and that in turns "helps to guide the
treatment of mass casualties resulting in blast related injuries".
Dr. Nabil Elsayed is currently Senior Manager of Toxicology,
Department of Early Drug Development with Celgene Corporation in
Summit NJ. Dr. Elsayed received his Ph.D. from the School of Public
Health, UCLA, Environmental Health and Toxicology and is a Fellow
with the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Elsayed received a
Department of the Army Commendation for Special Services in 1988 for
developing a new method for quantitative determination of
Physostigmine in human blood. During his time with Walter Reed Army
Institute of Research (WRAIR), Dr Elsayed served as Senior
Toxicologist and Section Chief, Pulmonary Biochemistry Section,
Department of Respiratory Research, Division of Medicine. While at
WRAIR, Dr. Elsayed supervised and provided technical advice to
civilian and military investigators in the areas of oxidative
stress, chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic gases,
ischemia/reperfusion injury, dietary and non-dietary antioxidant
therapy, blast overpressure and non-lethal weapon injury assessment
and treatment. Email:
Dr. Atkins received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of
Maryland and performed his post-doctoral work at NIH. Prior to his
retirement from the Army in July of 2005, Colonel (ret) Atkins was
the Director of the Division of Military Casualty Research at WRAIR
and Task Area Manager for the Resuscitation program of the U.S. Army
Medical Research and Materiel Command, Combat Casualty Care Research
Program. In 2003 Dr. Atkins received a Lifetime Achievement Award at
the Resuscitation Scientific Symposium of the American Heart
Association. He received the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel
Command, Combat Casualty Care Research Program Lifetime Achievement
Award in 2005. Dr. Atkins has been studying the role of iron in
blast related lung injury since 2004, under a grant from the Peer
Reviewed Medical Research Program. He in now focusing his efforts on
the emerging problem of blast induced brain injury and he was
recently appointed as Director of the newly established Division of
Brain Dysfunction and Blast Injury at WRAIR. Email:
Dr. Nikolai V. Gorbunov is currently Research Associate Professor
with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda,
Maryland. Dr. Gorbunov received his Ph.D. from the Russian Academy
Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia. He then completed a two-year
postdoctoral training in Biomedicine at the Research Center of the
Consorzio "Mario Negri" Sud (Italy) and a two-year DOE postdoctoral
training program in Radiation Sciences at the University of
Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. In 1994 and 2000 Dr. Gorbunov was a recipient of the
National Research Council Fellowship Awards to pursue the NRC Senior
Research Associateship at WRAIR. Working on models of blast-related
injury he and co-authors have introduced a mechanism of the
inflammatory response to shock wave induced pulmonary trauma and
described the role of cell redox signaling in the related pulmonary
microvascular remodeling. In this book, Dr. Gorbunov and Dr. Elsayed
have presented the redox metabolic machinery balanced by
antioxidants as an "interface module" which mediates systemic
response to the blast-induced oxidative stress. Email:
Explosions and Blast Related Injuries derive from the expertise of
numerous international researchers and clinicians. It is
through Academic Press (Elsevier) publishers.
New publication addresses safety of imported
foods [Aug 18 Washington DC]--As the proportion of
imported foods in the food supply continues to increase, Americans
are putting themselves at a potentially greater risk for foodborne
disease as some countries may not have the same sanitary standards
as the U.S. Imported Foods: Microbiological Issues and Challenges,
the latest book in the ASM Press series Emerging Issues in Food
Safety, thoroughly explains one of the greatest weaknesses in the
U.S. food safety system and outlines steps necessary to remedy it.
"Food safety concerns have become a crucial public health issue.
Perhaps most alarming of these is the questionable safety of many
imported foods. As the market for food becomes increasingly global
and our population clamors for more fresh produce and uncooked
ready-to-eat foods, the microbiological risks of imported food have
dramatically increased," says Michael Doyle of the University of
Georgia Center for Food Safety who edited the book with colleague
Imported Foods: Microbiological Issues and Challenges brings
together the most up-to-date and in-depth information on
microbiological food safety. This volume not only describes the
problems with imported foods but also suggests specific programs and
steps to improve the monitoring and safety of imported foods.
Authors explain the systematic risks inherent in food production in
developing countries, the current U.S. food safety system, newly
acquired foodborne pathogens, and recommendations for systematic
changes to the monitoring of imported food. Throughout this volume,
the authors emphasize proven concepts of microbial risk analysis and
practical methods to address this growing public health concern.
"If the U.S. food safety system is allowed to continue unchanged,
there are likely to be major increases in the occurrence and size of
foodborne outbreaks as U.S. food imports increase from countries in
which risky food production, harvesting and processing practices
exist. This issue is among the most serious of food safety concerns
confronting Americans for the foreseeable future. This book is the
first to provide a comprehensive treatment of the microbiological
food safety issues facing the United States from imported foods, and
provides the justification for changes in the U.S. food safety net,"
Imported Foods: Microbiological Issues and Challenges has a list
price of $99.95 and can be purchased through
ASM Press online or through
other online retailers.
'Dire Predictions' book offers easy guide to
global warming science [Aug 18 Philadelphia PA]--Global
warming, increasing greenhouse gases and melting ice sheets are all
dire predictions by the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC), but understanding the scientific
assessments, future impacts on our lives, and the things we can do
to mitigate the situation is not easy. Now, in a new book, two Penn
State climate scientists present the information from the most
recent IPCC reports in easily understood, sometimes amusing
explanations and illustrations.
"Dire Predictions, Understanding Global Warming: The Illustrated Guide to
the Findings of the IPCC" has the answers to all your questions about global
warming with the graphs, images and layout expected from international
publisher DK, which specializes in popular illustrated reference books such
as "The Way the Universe Works." The authors of "Dire Predictions" are
Michael E. Mann, associate professor of meteorology and director of the
Earth System Science Center, and Lee R. Kump, professor of geosciences, both
at Penn State.
"It was gratifying to see how the DK folks helped us take the scientific
information and make it leap off the page," says Mann.
And leap it does, from various images of the Earth and a multitude of
maps to a page of mosquitoes emphasizing the increase in infectious diseases
with global warming, with something in nearly every page that will stop you
to read the text.
"Working with the DK artists -- what they call their 'information
architects' -- translating the information-packed diagrams produced for a
more scientifically literate audience by the IPCC into more accessible
visuals for the general public was very interesting," says Kump.
The book is very successful from the point of view of the reader. Dynamic
images outline topics such as an undersea diver and coral reefs pointing to
"How Human Activity Has Changed the Rules of the Game," or polar bears and a
golden toad illustrating the "Highway to Extinction?"
The authors divide the book into five parts beginning with "Climate
Change Basics." Here, specific questions like "What are the important
greenhouse gases, and where do they come from?" and "How does modern warming
differ from past warming trends?" open several articles. The second part,
"Climate Change Projections," presents "Fossil Fuel Emissions Scenarios,"
"Future Changes in Extreme Weather" and "The Geographic Pattern of Future
The third section, "The Impacts of Climate Change," asks, "Is it Time to
Sell the Beach House?" and includes discussion of "War," "Famine,"
"Pestilence and Death," to be followed by "Earth, Wind and Fire."
The final two chapters deal with "Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate
Change" and "Solving Global Warming." Articles such as "It's the Economy,
Stupid!" show the costs of climate damage, mitigation and the benefits
reaped. Other topics are "Keeping the Power Turned On," "Forests" and
"I came in, knowing a great deal about the basic science so that part of
the book was easier," says Mann. "I knew less about the projected impacts of
climate change or the issue of climate change mitigation, so I had to study
up on those areas."
The book covers not just the work of the IPCC Working Group One which
covered "The Physical Science Basis," but also the work of Working Group
Two, "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability," and Working Group Three,
"Mitigation of Climate Change." While the three reports of the latest IPCC
efforts are available online, each is well over 700 pages plus appendices
for a total of over 2,000 pages.
In the book "Dire Predictions," Mann and Kump have boiled the essence
down to five parts, with mostly two-page articles full of colorful graphics,
for a total of just over 200 pages of engaging science. A key element is
accurate information debunking the most commonly held misinformation about
"The most fun for me was collecting the misinformation out there and
debunking the myths surrounding global warming," says Kump. Mann also
thought finding and debunking the myths was fun.
These myths include the idea that carbon dioxide is causing the holes in
the ozone, that the increase in carbon dioxide is the result of natural
cycles, and the possibility that our atmosphere is not warming at all. The
authors consider each myth or misunderstanding and explain any kernel of
truth within and why the myths are untrue.
While the book is perfect for people interested in global climate change,
it is also a good beginning for an introductory course in climate change for
students not majoring in science. College, high student and middle school
students and most adults would find the book an easy roadmap to
understanding the global warming debate.
Watercooler rumors -- what's truth got to do
with it? [Aug 18 Rochester NY]--Rumors and dirty
politics go hand in hand to sway public opinion. Sweeping up the
mess left behind requires a savvy and credible communicator who
knows how to manage the rumor mill and squelch the mongering.
Rumor expert Nicholas DiFonzo credits Democratic presidential hopeful
Sen. Barack Obama for aggressively refuting rumors on camera but gives his
website--only a B.
"He's doing some things really well, but I think he could do better,"
says DiFonzo, professor of psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology
and author of The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the
Extraordinary Power of Rumors (Avery) due out Sept. 11.
DiFonzo—who also operates the
Professor Nick website
about all things rumor-related—prescribes the clout of a trusted, neutral
third party to debunk rumors, especially for those eager to believe them;
and the benefit of answering those lingering unexplained questions that
bother some potential voters about the origin of Obama's middle name
(Hussein) and his family's religious beliefs.
Conversely, Sen. John McCain's campaign adroitly used a neutral third
party—in this case McCain's lawyer, a Democrat—to stamp out the rumor of an
inappropriate relationship with an attractive lobbyist, DiFonzo says.
In The Watercooler Effect, DiFonzo shares with a general audience
other ideas about rumors, those unverified statements of doubtful
information that circulate around office watercoolers and coffee pots, and
anywhere people congregate. An overview, excerpts and a reading guide may be
"This book explores why people believe rumors, what they are, how people
spread them, where they spread them and why the spread them, and other
questions related to the phenomenon of rumor—such as how they change over
time," DiFonzo says.
Using colorful stories and examples, DiFonzo differentiates rumor from
its "close cousins"—urban legend and gossip—and provides useful tools for
spotting and deflating rumors.
"For the longest time I've wanted to give away the nuggets of knowledge
that have been building up about rumor," DiFonzo says. "The Watercooler
Effect communicates the latest and most thorough sets of ideas about
rumors that exist. I think people will find it helpful and useful."
The role of giving explored [Jun 20 Indianapolis IN]--We Make A Life By What We Give is
the title of a new book that will nudge readers to think about their
lives and how they can share what they have to improve their lives
and the lives of others. Indiana University and Riley Hospital for
Children physician-philosopher Richard B. Gunderman, M.D., Ph.D.
guides readers through reflection on and discussion of the role of
giving in their lives.
In the book, Dr. Gunderman expands on the adage, "We make a living by
what we get, but we make a life by what we give." In 22 essays, Dr.
Gunderman explores the ethics of philanthropy and examines the importance of
sharing to those who give and to those who receive.
Dr. Gunderman's inclusive view of giving reflects upon the needs and
opportunities of donors as well as recipients. Much of what we have, things
such as compassion or understanding or merely the capacity to listen, can be
shared, increasing their worth to both the giver and the recipient, says Dr.
Gunderman, who is vice chair and a professor of radiology at the IU School
of Medicine, director of pediatric radiology at Riley Hospital for Children
and a professor of philosophy and philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue
University Indianapolis' School of Liberal Arts.
"…medicine calls us to an even higher standard. If we find ourselves
doing things to patients, we have lost our way. Even doing things with
patients does not capture the full range of our calling.
In medicine, we are called to do things not to patients, and not only
with patients, but for patients. The wholeness of the patient is medicine's
reason for being. That wholeness encompasses not only the wholeness of the
body, but also the wholeness of the person. In diagnosing and healing the
body, we should never lose sight of the whole human being of which the body
is a part," writes Dr. Gunderman in an essay entitled The Golden Rule.
"This book is an invitation for individuals of all professions, for those
of all religions, and for current and future generations to enter into a
conversation on giving. It's an important conversation that everyone can
benefit from," says Dr. Gunderman.
Dr. Gunderman is an affiliated investigator of the Indiana University
Center for Bioethics. We Make A Life By What We Give is published by Indiana
New book explores value of
'emotional labour' [Jun 14 Chicago IL]--Emergency
dispatchers, caseworkers and other public service workers perform
"emotional" labor that should be valued in the same manner as mental
and physical labor, according to a new book co-written by a
University of Illinois at Chicago researcher.
Emotional labor is face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact, often with
clients under stress, that is essential to a job, said Sharon Mastracci, UIC
assistant professor of public administration and co-author of "Emotional
Labor: Putting the Service in Public Service" (M.E. Sharpe, 2008).
"Public service workers must understand, engage and channel the emotions
of their clients to be effective," Mastracci said.
"For instance, if your bus is running behind, the driver can calmly
explain the reasons why, which are often beyond the driver's control, or act
defensive about riders' complaints and lash out," she said. "Both responses
affect riders' perceptions of that particular trip, which they might
generalize to bus service overall, fairly or not."
Mastracci and co-authors Meredith Newman of Florida International
University and Mary Guy of the University of Colorado at Denver gathered
workers' stories through interviews, focus groups and surveys. They found
parallels between emotional labor and cognitive work. Among their findings:
-Workers can express the amount of emotional labor they do and describe
the activities involved.
-Workers report varying levels of ability and effectiveness.
-Differences in ability and effectiveness vary with the individual, not
with the work environment.
-Emotional labor can contribute to job satisfaction.
-Emotional labor contributes to "burnout" only when workers must suppress
their own emotions and pretend to feel a different emotion.
The researchers conclude that the value of emotional labor should be
acknowledged in job descriptions, applicant screening, training and
development and retention strategies.
The book addresses inequities in the pay and status of workers who do
emotional labor, trends in occupations requiring emotional labor, and gaps
between theory and practice in public service.
Managing risk in an
increasingly hazardous world [May 31 Nashville TN]--If
you have a nagging feeling that life is getting increasingly
hazardous, you may be interested in the new book, “Operational Risk
Management,” by Mark D. Abkowitz, professor of civil and
environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University.
The book contains 15 case studies of major disasters, including
September 11, Hurricane Katrina and the losses of the Challenger and
Columbia space shuttles. It also includes two success stories where
major disasters were averted through careful planning, extraordinary
communication and teamwork.
Through a detailed analysis of this combination of natural
disasters, man-made accidents and terrorist acts, Abkowitz asks the
question “Why did it happen"” and answers it by identifying ten
basic risk factors that underlie various catastrophes, even those
that are as different as major oil spills and devastating tsunamis.
Finally, the risk management expert points out a number of “lessons
learned” that individuals, companies and governments can apply to
prevent many disasters from occurring and to better control the
consequences of those that are unavoidable.
“Risks can be managed. It is just a matter of doing it the right
way,” Abkowitz said. “When you take a step back and take a holistic
view, you see that there are a number of simple things that we can
do that would substantially increase our safety and sense of well
The case studies investigate individual disasters in detail and
often reveal surprising but little known details. For example, did
you know that:
Several members of Al Qaeda who carried out the September 11 attack
on the Trade Center were detained at security checkpoints yet still
allowed to proceed with their operation;
Officials of the Soviet Union purposely kept the news of the nuclear
reactor explosion at Chernobyl secret from the local population for
36 hours, exposing more than 100,000 people to high levels of
radiation without their knowledge;
NASA officials allowed history to repeat itself when the space
shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry because they did not
accept the recommendations made following the Challenge disaster
when the shuttle broke up less than two minutes after launch;
Japanese officials allowed a terrorist group to operate under the
guise of a religious organization, leading to an attack on the Tokyo
subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000
In 1989, on United Airlines flight 232, due to extraordinary
communication and teamwork, the majority of the passengers and crew
survived a crash so severe that they should all have perished.
The motivation for the book came from a course on risk management
that Abkowitz has taught for the last six years at Vanderbilt. In
the class, students research and analyze specific disasters. They
attempt to determine the factors that cause each catastrophe and
identify steps that could have been taken to prevent or mitigate it.
As a result of this applied hindsight, Abkowitz has concluded that
we can do a significantly better job of managing risk if we take an
“all hazards” approach and focus on controlling the ten basic risk
factors that he has identified.
“Today, we have overly compartmentalized the risks that we face,” he
said. “We have given responsibility for man-made accidents,
intentional acts and natural disasters to different organizations.
Each group has its own resources and priorities with only limited
coordination despite the fact that these different categories of
risk share many of the same risk factors and outcomes.”
Although Abkowitz concluded that we can do a much better job of
managing the risks that we face, he cautioned that it is impossible
to create a risk-free society so we must also change our
expectations. “We can do a much better job of prioritizing where to
place our attention and resources, but this does not guarantee that
those risks will be completely eliminated, nor does it mean that
other risks considered less important will not cause occasional
problems. So we need to accept that bad things can sometimes happen,
learn from the experience and move on.”
Finding God with biocomplexity
[May 31 Calgary AB]--After centuries of trying to uncover the
fundamental laws of the universe, science is still no closer to
answering some of humanity’s biggest questions about the meaning of
life, the existence of God and the evolution of the human mind and
societies. Is that because science is not sufficiently advanced to
tackle such problems" Or is it because the traditional approach to
science is incapable of answering humanity’s deepest wonders"
It is the latter, according to University of Calgary physicist,
biologist and philosopher Stuart Kauffman, who argues in his
forthcoming book that nature’s infinite creativity should become the
basis for a new worldview and a global spiritual awakening.
“We are at the point where we are realizing that there are some
things we are never going to fully understand because there are no
natural laws that can fully explain the evolution of a species, the
biosphere or the human economy,” says Kauffman, a pioneer of
complexity theory and founder of the U of C’s Institute for
Biocomplexity and Informatics. “This means that reason alone is an
insufficient guide for living our lives. I believe we can reinvent
what we hold sacred as a view of God that is not a supernatural
Creator, but the ceaseless and unforeseeable creativity of the
universe that surrounds us.”
Kauffman’s newest book Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of
Science, Reason, and Religion (Basic Books, New York) will be
released in Canada on May 19. “Radical,” “brilliant,” and
“comprehensive,” are words being used by colleagues and reviewers to
describe the book, which Kauffman hopes will provide a middle-ground
between the destructive tendencies of religious fundamentalism and
the anti-spiritual attitudes presented recently in popular books
such as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion “ and
journalist Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great.
“Words like ‘God’ and ‘sacred’ are scary to many of us who live in
modern, secular society because they have been used to start wars
and kill millions of people, and we just don’t need any more of
that,” Kauffman says. “What we do need is for humanity to become
reunited under a common global ethic based on the idea that we are
all part of nature, and we will never be the master of it because it
is not entirely knowable.”
Reinventing the Sacred argues that Reductionism – the philosophy
based on the work of Galileo, Descartes, Newton and their followers
that everything can ultimately be understood by reducing it to laws
of chemistry and physics – has been the basis of our scientific
worldview for nearly 400 years and is the foundation of modern
secular society. Using arguments grounded in complexity theory, he
argues that it is time to break this “Galilean spell,” since the
reductionist approach is inadequate to explain the infinite
possibilities of evolution and human history. Instead, Kauffman
argues that the highest levels of organization are the result of the
unpredictable process of emergence.
“It’s not that we lack sufficient knowledge or wisdom to predict the
future evolution of the biosphere or human culture. It’s that these
things are inherently unpredictable because we can never prestate
what all the possibilities might be,” he says. “Can a couple walking
in love along the banks of the Siene really be reduced to the
interactions of fundamental particles" No, they cannot.”
The book then argues that the process of emergence can provide the
platform for reinventing what humankind considers most sacred. It
also discusses why arguments for intelligent design fail in the
scientific realm and how complexity theory can build a bridge
between the traditionally opposed views of science and religion.
“God is the most powerful symbol we have and it has always been up
to us to choose what we deem to be sacred,” Kauffman said. “To me,
the idea that we are the product of 3.8 billion years of
unpredictable evolution is more awe-inspiring than the idea than the
idea that everything was created in six days by an all-knowing
An essay outlining Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred thesis is
contained in a new series of 13 essays by distinguished thinkers on
the topic “Does science make belief in God obsolete"” currently
published on the
John Templeton Foundation website. The preface and
first chapter of the book are currently published as an essay titled
the Galilean Spell” on Edge.org:
An essay by Kauffman titled “Reinventing the Sacred” is also
scheduled to be published in the May 10 issue of New Scientist
About the Author:
Stuart A. Kauffman is well-known for his research in theoretical
biology and as a pioneer in the field of complexity theory. He
joined the University of Calgary in February, 2005 as the founding
director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics, which
conducts leading-edge interdisciplinary research in systems biology.
Originally a medical doctor, Kauffman was a seminal member of the
Santa Fe Institute, where he is currently External Professor. He is
Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at the University of
Pennsylvania, a MacArthur Fellow and a Trotter Prize winner.
Kauffman’s previous books include The Origins of Order, At Home in
the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and
Complexity and Investigations.
Forgotten diseases key to
lifting developing world from poverty, destitution and despair
[Apr 12 Washington DC]--One of the main obstacles towards progress
in the developing world is the litany of tropical diseases affecting
residents that have not been seriously addressed by the public
health community. This is the message of a new book, Forgotten
People, Forgotten Diseases, published by ASM Press.
“Some of the worst tropical diseases in the world have too long been
ignored. Parasitic and bacterial diseases such as hookworm, snail
fever, river blindness, guinea worm, elephantiasis, sleeping
sickness and leprosy are the most common infections of third-world
populations. These neglected tropical diseases represent one of the
most important reasons why populations living in Africa, Asia and
Central and South America remain caught in a vicious cycle of
poverty, stigma and despair,” says author Peter Hotez of the George
With a lifetime devoted to the subject of tropical diseases, Hotez
provides a comprehensive view of these forgotten diseases. Written
in accessible, straightforward language, Forgotten People, Forgotten
Diseases thoroughly explains the most significant NTDs, including
social and economic aspects, public health concerns, and
The book is intended to raise public awareness about these forgotten
diseases and their enormous physical, social, and economic costs to
individuals and nations alike, and advocates for the largely
voiceless victims living in remote and rural regions. Hotez also
provides a roadmap to coordinate global advocacy and mobilization of
resources to combat these conditions and addresses unique
opportunities to fight the neglected tropical diseases through
low-cost and highly cost-effective control measures.
“Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases summarizes in mostly
non-technical language the major concepts about neglected tropical
diseases and how they cause human suffering, as well as their global
importance and the unique and unusual opportunity we now have to
lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty through low-cost and
highly cost-effective control measures,” says Hotez.
le, Forgotten Diseases has a list price of $39.95 and can be
purchased through ASM Press online at
http://estore.asm.org or through
other online retailers.
New book gives a human face to
children with congenital heart disease [Mar 30 Cold
Spring Harbor NY USA]--Despite the fact that congenital heart
disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect in the United States,
pediatric cardiology receives relatively little attention compared
to adult cardiology.
But a new photodocumentary volume entitled My Heart vs. the Real
World gives a human face to children with CHD. Through striking
black-and-white photographs and interviews with CHD patients and
their families, it shows how these children cope with day-to-day
struggles and go on to lead fulfilling lives.
The author of the book, Max Gerber, is a CHD patient himself. “I
remember going to the doctor’s office when I was 8 or 9...and nobody
ever looked like me, so it was a very isolating experience,” Gerber
says. He hopes that the images in his book will help CHD patients
and their families realize that they are not alone.
Ten chapters each spotlight a single child. The photographs show the
children engaging in day-to-day activities, visiting the doctor, and
participating in special festivities such as birthday parties,
weddings, vacations, graduations, and holiday celebrations. The
images are accompanied by personal accounts from the children and
With structural and developmental abnormalities that include heart
valve defects and cardiac muscle deformities, children with CHD face
their own mortality at a young age. They often struggle to fit in
with other children while protecting their health. “These photos
reveal what our vision might fail to see: the remarkable persons
behind the external scars,” says Dr. Peter Guzy, a cardiologist and
Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA.
In the introduction to the book, the author writes about his
experiences growing up and living with CHD. An additional chapter
focuses on Gerber’s life and includes stories from his parents. A
12-minute slideshow and commentary by Gerber is at
The Web site for My Heart vs. the Real World (www.heartkidsproject.org)
is a blog/message forum for families and children with CHD. It also
includes images and excerpts from the book to increase awareness of
CHD in the general public.
“Max Gerber gives us an as-yet-unseen glimpse into the hearts and
minds of children and young adults who are growing up with
congenital heart defects,” explains Mona Barmash, President of the
Congenital Heart Information Network. “The hauntingly beautiful
photography accurately portrays the thought provoking reality of
The author intends to donate a portion of his proceeds from the sale
of the book to charities serving pediatric heart patients.
About the book: My Heart vs. the Real World: Children with Heart
Disease, In Photographs & Interviews (ISBN 978-087969782-2) is
published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. It is 203 pp. in
length, includes 109 photographs, and is available in hardcover. For
more information, see
About the author: Max S. Gerber is a professional photographer. Born
three months premature with bradycardia (an abnormally low heart
rate), he has had a pacemaker since the age of eight. His pictures
have been published in more than a dozen countries, and in prominent
periodicals such as Time, Newsweek, The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly,
The Sunday Telegraph Review, DoubleTake Magazine, and Los Angeles
Priming scientists for
successful media interviews [Mar 30 Washington DC
USA]--Evolution, climate change, stem cell research–Scientists are
frequently called upon to provide expert information on hot button
issues that pervade the daily news headlines, yet most find
themselves woefully unprepared for the bright lights of the
television studio or leading questions from a newspaper journalist.
new publication from the American Institute of Biological
Sciences (AIBS), "Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with
the Media," by Holly Menninger and Robert Gropp, will prepare
scientists for successful and effective media interviews.
Recognizing that many scientists are reluctant to engage in media
outreach, the Primer outlines compelling reasons for scientists to interact
with the media and describes key differences between journalism and science
that may not be apparent to practicing scientists. Step-by-step, Menninger
and Gropp walk scientists through the entire interview process–from
appropriate questions to ask when a reporter calls to practical advice for
looking and sounding one’s best on-air or on-camera.
The information and advice in the Primer is presented in eight
easy-to-read chapters that provide vital information for scientists new to
media outreach, as well as a quick refresher for seasoned experts–an ideal
text for a graduate course on science communication or a professional
development course for students and faculty. The Primer’s authors speak from
their own experiences as PhD scientists in the biological sciences with
years of experience in media outreach.
The concise, user-friendly volume has several unique features that set it
apart from other media guides for scientists. The Primer includes
first-person interviews with nearly a dozen scientists who have successfully
navigated print, radio, and television interviews. The scientists–including
the “Island Snake Lady,” Kristin Stanford, recently featured on the
Discovery Channel show, "Dirty Jobs"–share advice and experiences on a
number of topics, including safely speaking on behalf of an organization,
avoiding trouble when discussing socially or politically controversial
topics, and reflections on first interviews.
The Primer also provides worksheets to assist readers with interview
preparation: building a message framework with talking points and transition
phrases, developing analogies, and using illustrative props or images. It
includes pages for readers to organize contact information of journalists
with whom they have worked directly and those who have reported on stories
related to their own research to keep as potential contacts for future story
"Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media" is available
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Holly Menninger is a public policy associate at the American Institute of
Biological Sciences, where she works on science policy and to improve
communication among scientists, policymakers, and the general public. She
has a PhD in behavior, ecology, evolution, and systematics from the
University of Maryland. Before joining AIBS, Menninger frequently fielded
entomological questions from journalists representing local, national, and
international media outlets. She now writes regularly for the AIBS Public
Policy Report, the Washington Watch column in BioScience, and on the blog of
the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.
Robert Gropp is the director of public policy at AIBS, where he has led
the effort to increase AIBS media relations and activities to better
articulate and communicate public policy positions to and through the media.
He earned a PhD in botany from the University of Oklahoma. With over 10
years in public affairs, Gropp has worked with many media outlets ranging
from trade publications to national newspapers. He also edits the Washington
Watch column in BioScience as well as the AIBS Public Policy Report and
Natural Science Collections Alliance Washington Report.
Title: Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media
Authors: Holly Menninger and Robert Gropp
Publisher: American Institute of Biological Sciences
5.5x7.5 paperback, 54pp., $12.95
Supportive devices or
unnecessary surveillance? New book warns of threats posed
by ambient intelligence, calls for safeguards [Mar 30 London
England]--In the near future, every manufactured product – our
clothes, money, appliances, the paint on our walls, the carpets on
our floors, our cars – will be embedded with intelligence, networks
of tiny sensors and actuators, which some have termed “smart dust”
or an “Internet of Things”. The world of ambient intelligence (AmI)
is not far off. We already have surveillance systems, biometrics,
personal communicators, machine learning and more. Ambient
intelligence will provide personalised services − and know more
about us − on a scale dwarfing anything hitherto available.
Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence, a new book written by a
European consortium of researchers, serves as a warning. It aims to warn
policymakers, industry, academia, civil society organisations, the media and
the public about the threats and vulnerabilities facing our privacy,
identity, trust, security and inclusion in the rapidly approaching world of
In the AmI vision, ubiquitous computing, communications and interfaces
converge and adapt to the user. AmI promises greater user-friendliness in an
environment capable of recognising and responding to the presence of
different individuals in a seamless, unobtrusive and often invisible way.
While most stakeholders paint the promise of AmI in sunny colours, there is
a dark side to AmI as well.
This book illustrates the threats and vulnerabilities by means of four
“dark scenarios” and then identifies safeguards to counter the foreseen
threats and vulnerabilities. The authors make recommendations to
policymakers and other stakeholders about what they can do to maximise the
benefits from ambient intelligence and minimise the negative consequences.
Emile Aarts, Vice President of Research at Philips, said, “This book is
mandatory reading for anyone who is professionally active in the field of
ambient intelligence, as it can be seen as a landmark contribution to the
discussion on AmI. After almost ten years of development, ambient
intelligence can now live up to its expectation that it can change peoples’
lives for the better through its novel user-centric technology. In the end,
however, this will only work if we can settle the ethical issues that are
connected to it.”
Gary Marx, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, said, “The book is the most informative and comprehensive policy
analysis of new information and surveillance technologies seen in recent
decades. Those wishing to praise a book often say, ‘essential reading for
anyone concerned with …’ But I would go beyond that strong endorsement to
say Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence should be required reading
for anyone concerned with public policy involving new communications and
Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence has been prepared by a
consortium of partners from five European countries following several years
of research on the emerging brave new world of ambient intelligence. It is
based on a project sponsored by the European Commission, although the views
expressed in the book are those of the authors alone and are not intended to
reflect those of the Commission.
The principal editors and authors of the book are David Wright,
Trilateral Research & Consulting, UK; Serge Gutwirth, Vrije Universiteit
Brussel, Belgium; Michael Friedewald, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and
Innovation Research (ISI), Germany; Elena Vildjiounaite, VTT Technical
Research Centre of Finland; and Yves Punie, Institute for Prospective
Technological Studies (IPTS), European Commission JRC, Spain.
Global: Women and disasters
[Mar 20 Los Angeles CA USA]--The International Research Committee on
Disasters is pleased to announce the newest publication in its book
series, "Women and Disasters: From Theory to Practice" Edited by
Brenda D. Phillips and Betty Hearn Morrow.
FORWARD -- Joe Scanlon
1 WHAT’S GENDER GOT TO DO WITH IT? -- Brenda D. Phillips, Betty
2 INVITATION TO A NEW FEMINIST DISASTER SOCIOLOGY:
Integrating feminist theory and methods -- Elaine Enarson, Brenda D.
3 THE INTERSECTION OF GENDER AND SOCIAL CLASS IN DISASTER:
Balancing resilience and vulnerability -- Maureen Fordham
4 GENDER AND DISASTER: A synthesis of flood research in Bangladesh,
William E. Lovekamp
5 WOMEN, AGING AND POST-DISASTER STRESS:
Risk factors for psychological morbidity -- Jane C. Ollenburger,
6 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AFTER DISASTER: Voices from the 1997 Grand Forks
flood, Alice Fothergill
7 WOMEN AND HOUSING ISSUES IN TWO U.S. DISASTERS:
Case studies from Hurricane Andrew and the Red River Valley flood --
8 ELDERLY FEMALE-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS IN THE DISASTER LOAN PROCESS
Cheryl D. Childers
9 PROFESSIONALIZATION AND GENDER IN LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Jennifer Wilson, Arthur Oyola-Yemaiel
10 BUT SHE’S A WOMAN AND THIS IS A MAN’S JOB: Lessons for
participatory research and participatory recovery -- Richard L.
Krajeski and Kristina J. Peterson
Women and Disasters: From Theory to Practice can be purchased
directly from Xlibris Corporation by visiting:
All Royalties benefit the International Research Committee on
Disasters (IRCD). The IRCD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to
social science inquiry on various aspects of disasters. As an
official research committee of the International Sociological
Association, the IRCD strives to promote interdisciplinary work
worldwide. With members in over 30 nations, the IRCD represents the
world’s most significant body of researchers involved in the study
of socio-behavioral and organizational related to mass emergencies.
The IRCD publishes the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and
Disasters, the world’s longest-published journal in the field. For
more information, visit
http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/ijmed/about.php. Previous issues
of the journal (except for the last three years which require a
membership) may be accessed freely at
Dedication: this book has been dedicated to Verta Taylor and Mary
Fran Myers, whose bodies of work have inspired considerable
examination of the issues of gender in disaster contexts and
prompted change designed to improve life safety for women and
Brenda D. Phillips, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events
Oklahoma State University
536 Math Sciences Building
Stillwater, OK 74078
405-744-5298; Fax 405-744-6534
USA: Coal-fires science: Ready
to ignite around the world
[Jan 24 Boulder CO]--In spite of the human suffering and
environmental dangers they cause around the world, naturally burning
coal fires and coal fires ignited by human activities receive little
attention from the media, compared to other environmental
Unfortunately, few university geoscience curricula devote time
to the study of these fires. A new volume published by the
Geological Society of America may help change that.
Geology of Coal Fires: Case Studies from Around the World, GSA
Reviews in Engineering Geology Volume XVIII, offers a comprehensive
overview of coal-fires science, an interdisciplinary area of
research that is gaining international attention.
According to volume editor Professor Glenn B. Stracher of the
Division of Natural Science and Mathematics at East Georgia College
in Swainsboro, Georgia, coal fires are responsible for coronary and
respiratory diseases and arsenic, fluorine, and carbon monoxide
poisoning in humans, often culminating in death. The heat energy,
toxic fumes, and solid by-products associated with coal combustion,
both at the surface and underground, destroy floral and faunal
habitats while polluting the air, water, and soil.
"In addition to addressing these pressing problems, coal-fires
science may lead to an understanding of the role played by ancient
and modern fires in global warming and Earth's carbon cycle. The
affect of coal fires on the chemistry of Earth's atmosphere and life
on our planet is unknown," said Stracher. "Coal-fires science is an
exciting and critically important field of interdisciplinary
research ripe for expansion."
The volume is the first such GSA publication of its kind. It
includes the recent research of the world's leading coal-fires
scientists, grouped into five sections:
* Spontaneous combustion and greenhouse gases
* Mineralogy and petrology
* Geophysics – modeling
* Geophysics – remote sensing
* Coal fires and public policy
Areas of the world studied include China, Russia, India, South
Africa, New Zealand, Israel, and the United States.
Individual copies may be purchased through the Geological Society of
America online bookstore or by contacting GSA Sales and Service
Geology of Coal Fires: Case Studies from Around the World
Glenn B. Stracher (editor)
Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology XVIII
2007, 278 pages plus index, US$80.00, GSA member price US$56.00
USA: New book by UCR biologist
discusses 12 diseases that impacted humanity
[Nov 15 Riverside CA]--Understanding past outbreaks of
diseases can better prepare us for diseases in our future. This, in
a nutshell, is the message of a new book by a professor emeritus of
biology at the University of California, Riverside.
Irwin W. Sherman’s Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World
(American Society for Microbiology Press, 2007), which is written for the
general reader, focuses on a dozen diseases that greatly influenced society,
politics and culture.
Sherman selected the diseases based on how humans have survived the
onslaught of “plagues,” many of which led to the introduction of public
health measures and other interventions aimed at stemming the spread of
“The recent pandemics of SARS and HIV/AIDS clearly show that our lives,
as well as the political and economic fortunes of the developed world and
that of emerging nations, can be influenced by the appearance of a
contagious disease,” Sherman said. “My purpose in writing this book is to
show that, despite the challenges which an unanticipated illness may place
before us, the future is not without hope or remedy.”
book, Sherman argues that the following dozen diseases shaped history
and illuminated the paths taken in finding measures to control them:
- Porphyria and hemophilia, which influenced the
political fortunes of England, Germany, Russia and the United States
- Late blight, which spawned a wave of immigration that changed
the politics of the United States
- Cholera, which stimulated sanitary measures, promoted nursing
and led to the discovery of oral rehydration therapy
- Smallpox, which led to a vaccine that ultimately eradicated
- Plague, which promoted quarantine measures
- Syphilis, which provided the impetus for cure through
- Tuberculosis, which resulted in attenuated vaccines
- Malaria and yellow fever, which provided the basis for
- Influenza and HIV/AIDS, two pandemics that continue to
“The book is about the lessons we have – or should have – learned from
our past encounters with unanticipated disease, and how such understanding
can be put to use when future outbreaks of disease occur,” Sherman said.
“Unanticipated outbreaks of disease – epidemics – provoke questions: What is
needed to curtail the transmission of a disease" What will it take to
contain a disease so that protective measures can be instituted" These are
perplexing and complex questions that need answers.”
Sherman joined UCR in 1962 and retired in 2006. During his tenure, he
served as chair of the Department of Biology (1973-1978); dean of the
College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (1981-1988); acting executive
vice chancellor (1993-1994); and chair of the Academic Senate (1997-2004).
The author or coauthor of more than 150 scholarly papers and four books,
Sherman also has edited two books on malaria. His previous book, The
Power of Plagues (American Society for Microbiology Press, 2006),
examined the interrelationship between plagues and culture.
He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern
University, Ill., where his lifelong research on the biochemistry of malaria
USA: Handbook helps parents
deal with childhood infections
[Oct 30 Denver CO USA]--A new book designed for parents helps
them better understand the diseases their children could face and
the weapons to fight them, while offering practical advice for
preventing infections in their kids without going overboard.
Germ Proof Your Kids: The Complete Guide to Protecting (without
Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections, released this week by
ASM Press, is the inside source on germ defense – from antibiotics
and vaccines to health foods and home remedies. Written by
internationally respected pediatrician and infectious disease
specialist Dr. Harley Rotbart, the book offers an accessible,
comprehensive handbook for parents and physicians.
“Parents feel incredible anxiety about their children contracting
nasty germs and untreatable diseases. News sources are increasingly
filled with stories of contaminated hamburger, Bird flu, common
colds, and the West Nile virus. In a world seemingly full of
microscopic danger, where can concerned parents turn to protect
their kids" Germ Proof Your Kids guides them in protecting, without
overprotecting, the ones they love from the invisible enemies all
around them,” says Rotbart, who is Professor and Vice Chairman of
Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and The
Children’s Hospital of Denver.
By combining the latest scientific findings on disease prevention
and treatment with the ages-old wisdom of Mom and Grandma, Rotbart
demystifies childhood infections in four parts:
* “Part One: Worthy Enemies” introduces the germs by name and
reputation, as well as to the ways in which they travel in and out
of children. Rather than present them in alphabetical order, though,
they are organized into the diseases that parents most hate, those
that they most fear, and those that they used to hate and fear but
are now mostly gone.
* “Part Two: Weapons in the War” is the good news to counter all the
bad news in Part One. These chapters describe kids’ natural immunity
to infections, as well as the armamentarium doctors and scientists
have amassed to combat germs.
* “Part Three: Wear your Boots in the Rain” contains the
reconciliation chapters – how do mom’s ideas of infection prevention
jive with those we have been taught by modern medicine"
* “Part 4: Wisdom of the Ages” contains a single but important
chapter that puts it all in perspective. How should parents balance
phobia with prudence in protecting their kids" How much prevention
is too much"
While written for parents, this volume also serves as a perfect
office manual for physicians, providing the up-to-date, concise
information that doctors need to educate parents about germs and the
best available treatment options.
More information on the book, including Rotbart’s GERMBlog™, can be
found online at
Germ Proof Your Kids has a list price of $29.95 and can be purchased
through ASM Press online at
or through other online retailers.
USA: Sports-related injuries
most common cause of visits to the doctor's office for young
athletes creating a need for increasing knowledge of diagnosis and
[Oct 30 New York NY USA]--A new and innovative book for
pediatricians is taking a different approach in helping to increase
knowledge and understanding in the field of sports medicine. The
book applies written information on sports medicine along with video
case-based teaching to fully demonstrate the proper ways of
diagnosing and treating sports related injuries in young athletes.
With more than 30 million children playing sports in the United
States, sports injuries are the most common cause of visits to
pediatricians for people under 18. Yet less than six hours of
training during a pediatrician’s residency is related to
musculoskeletal and sports medicine. Recognizing the need for
improving knowledge and clinical skills in this area, the American
Academy of Pediatrics (APP) teamed up with Jordan D. Metzl, M.D.,
FAAP, sports medicine physician and nationally recognized pediatric
sports medicine specialist at New York City’s Hospital for Special
Surgery to come up with a solution.
The result is a trendsetting book, Sports Medicine in the Pediatric
Office: Multimedia Case-Based Text with Video, a book and DVD which
explain and show how to examine specific sports injuries, how to
differentiate between different types of injuries, how to evaluate
x-rays, and provides prevention exercises for patients and handouts
that pediatricians can share with patients.
“From my experience people learn best through hands-on teaching,”
said Dr. Metzl. “That’s why we decided to include case studies and a
DVD along with the written text. It allows pediatricians to see how
they should assess, diagnose and treat common sports injuries. Most
importantly it’s a resource to help them provide quality patient
Sports Medicine in the Pediatric Office has come out to many
accolades from the medical community. “In many ways, this volume is
the informational ‘strength training’ we have all been waiting for
when it comes to improving our knowledge and clinical skills in the
field of sports medicine,” said Lewis R. First, M.D., FAAP,
professor and chair of the department of pediatrics at University of
Vermont College of Medicine and chief of pediatrics at Vermont
Children’s Hospital in the foreword of the book.
In commenting about the book to fellow pediatricians, Andrew
Gregory, M.D., FAAP from Vanderbilt University said, “This is a
must-have reference for every pediatrician’s office. The videos walk
you through everything you need to know about sports medicine
injuries in children. This is like the musculoskeletal rotation that
you never got in residency.”
Increasing knowledge among pediatricians about sports injuries is
not limited to the United States. “The lack of training during
residency is a worldwide issue,” said Dr. Metzl. “That’s why this
multimedia resource is also being translated into several other
languages; so that pediatricians throughout the world can benefit
The selection of Dr. Metzl and Hospital for Special Surgery for this
project further demonstrates the hospital’s leadership in education.
“With quality patient care at the center of the sports medicine
service, our physicians and residents remain committed to being a
source for outstanding initiatives in education, training, research
and information for local, national and international communities,”
said Russell F. Warren, M.D., attending orthopedic surgeon at HSS.
Contributors to the book from Hospital for Special Surgery include
Robert G. Marx, M.D., MSc, FRCSC, attending orthopedic surgeon; Ben
Heyworth, M.D., resident physician in orthopedic surgery; Drago
Novkovic, ATC, athletic trainer; Amanda Sparrow, PT, advanced
clinician in pediatrics; James Voos, M.D., resident physician in
To view sample chapters from Sports Medicine in the Pediatric
Office: Multimedia Case-Based Text with Video that demonstrate how
the book takes a comprehensive approach to improving pediatricians’
knowledge log on to
USA: Civil defense researcher
finds what's old is new again
[Oct 13 Chicago IL]--A book exploring modern civil defense
through the lens of performance suggests today's all-too-familiar
security efforts -- metal detectors in federal buildings, shoe
removal at airports and suggestions to scrutinize those around us in
response to terrorism alerts -- were foreshadowed by civil defense
practices of the 1950s and 1960s.
"Civil defense is no longer merely an arcane by-product of the Cold War
characterized by memories of ducking under school desks, kitsch artifacts or
the dispensing of ID tags to children," says Tracy C. Davis, Northwestern
University Barber Professor of Performing Arts, professor of English and
author of "Stages of Emergency" (Duke University Press).
"Since 9/11, civil defense has been resurrected as homeland security,"
In the 1950s, U.S. schoolchildren learned to protect themselves from
disaster with the help of Bert the Turtle in "Duck and Cover," a film
produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration. Its aim was to teach
youngsters what to do in the event of unexpected nuclear attack.
"Bert would go under his shell whenever a mischievous monkey
unsuspectingly dropped a firecracker," says Davis, whose book compares civil
defense efforts in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. "Today FEMA uses
Herman, a crab with 'disaster-proof' armor, to guide children around their
homes to collect potentially vital materials in the case of emergency,
including terrorism," says Davis.
"What's old is new again," says Davis, who began her research prior to
the dark events of September 2001. In "Stages of Emergency," she shows how
different national priorities, contingencies and social policies in the
U.S., Canada and Great Britain influenced those nations' rehearsals of
Raised in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s, Davis recalls growing up "amid
the futility of civil defense efforts" that convinced her "the world could
be blown up and destroyed at any moment." She had "constant fears about
being on the frontline" between U.S. and Soviet missile paths.
A theatre scholar investigating the theatrical nature of Cold War civil
defense exercises, Davis dug deep into the national archives of the
countries she was studying. In the process she uncovered information
classified in the Cold War.
"Stages of Emergency" analyzes public exercises involving private
citizens -- Boys Scouts serving as mock casualties, housewives arranging
home protection, clergy trained as fallout shelter managers - as well as
covert exercises by civil servants.
While the three countries constantly exchanged information about the
science underlying civil defense practices, "the very different ethos of the
three nations resulted in very different civil defense rehearsals," she
In the U.S., civil defense government guidelines permeated all levels of
the school curriculum. Civil defense activities in the U.S. involved
millions of people at a time in rehearsal evacuations, and architects and
engineers were offered incentives to build public fallout shelters.
"The civil defense activities people recall from their school days are a
micro-version of rehearsals that occurred in U.S. cities nationwide," Davis
says. "In 'Operation Alert,' an event that occurred annually from the
mid-1950s to early 1960s, at least a quarter of the population would tune
into their radios for instructions "as if a nuclear attack already had
While school children hid under their desks and city office workers
scrambled to basement shelters, President Eisenhower was airlifted to a safe
facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the federal government apparatus
went underground or headed to relocation facilities.
In Great Britain, a cash-strapped government in need of funds to replace
housing destroyed in the Blitz was in no position to build public fallout
shelters. With their more communal national ethos, the British instead built
upon efforts they had developed during World War II and created a civil
"This unarmed force at its height had 350,000 volunteers conducting
elaborate rehearsals on weekends," Davis says. They included medical triage
efforts connecting the National Health Service with block-by-block
organizations training people in rescue and first aid.
In the early 1950s, Canadians followed suit and developed a rudimentary
civil defense corps. But Canadian officials soon encountered resistance from
their citizens, who were enjoying an unprecedented, booming post-war
"In a short time, Canadians simply refused to build fallout shelters in
their homes or show up for disaster rehearsals," Davis says. As a result,
the government became the focus of Canadian civil defense activity, and
civil service exercises practiced linking all echelons of the federal
government to provincial, regional and local governments.
In the U.S., such coordination of all governmental levels was illusory.
The federal government refused to fund the effort properly, and state
governments were unable to keep up with federal mandates for either civilian
or civil service measures.
"We remember the Cuban Missile Crisis as the epitome of anxiety," Davis
says, "but papers in the Kennedy administration's archive reveal that even
in those dark days the government never ordered civil defense measures to
protect the public." And, even if it had, the action would have been
hopelessly short of stipulated goals, she adds.
Ultimately the U.S. government made the decision to spend the fruits of
post-war prosperity on an interstate highway network that could serve in
both war and peacetime as opposed to blast-proof bunkers that were useful
only in war. It decided it was cheaper to take the civil defense message
home via school children trained by Bert the Turtle.
As the Cold War ended, so did civil defense exercises. But as governments
struggle with 21st century fears of sleeper cells, dirty bombs, rogue states
and terrorism, some strikingly familiar civil defense efforts have been
Late last month (September 2007), emergency planners in the Alabama city
of Huntsville (population 158,000) announced they were planning the nation's
most ambitious fallout shelter plan, including the conversion of an
abandoned mine that could provide underground protection for 20,000. What's
old is new again.
American College of Physicians
publishes 'The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health'
[Sep 18 Philadelphia PA USA]--In October the American College
of Physicians (ACP) will publish "The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health."
Edited by Dr. Harvey Makadon, Dr. Ken Mayer, and Hilary Goldhammer
of The Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health, and Dr. Jennifer
Potter of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the textbook is
designed to teach current and future medical providers about the
unique health care needs of sexual and gender minorities.
"The American College of Physicians is pleased to present this
outstanding text, which fulfills an important but currently unmet
educational need for a broad range of health care providers," said
Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, Senior Vice President, Medical
Education and Publishing at ACP.
LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Americans, in addition
to having the same basic health needs as the general population,
also experience health disparities because of continuing
discrimination and ignorance related to sexual orientation or gender
identity. For example:
* LGBT people as a whole are 40 to 70 percent more likely to smoke
than non-LGBT people;
* Gay and bisexual men continue to be at increased risk for HIV and
other STD acquisition and transmission;
* Many providers have little knowledge of transgender people and
their specialized medical and mental health needs;
* LGBT youth are often isolated and at higher risk for depression
and attempted suicide;
* Lesbians may be at greater risk than other women for certain kinds
Despite these disparities, many medical providers are unaware of
specific health issues impacting LGBT people or are unskilled in
making their practices welcoming and inclusive of LGBT patients.
"The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health" draws on Fenway Community Health's
more than 35 years providing medical and mental health care to the
LGBT community to address this common disconnect between doctor and
"We as medical providers need to be as knowledgeable as possible
about health issues impacting all of our patients, especially groups
with unique health disparities, like LGBT people," said Dr. Makadon,
Director of Training & Education at The Fenway Institute and
associate professor at Harvard School of Medicine. "We also need to
be comfortable talking to sexual and gender minorities in a
non-judgmental way about behaviors and situations that result in
these disparities so that they are comfortable being honest and open
with us. Doctor-patient communication is an essential component of
providing quality health care."
"The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health" contains chapters on subjects as
diverse as adolescence and coming out; LGBT couples and families
with children; health promotion and disease prevention; mental
health and substance abuse; transgender health; and patient
communication and creating a more welcoming office environment.
An ACP Press title, "The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health" will be
distributed by all major distributors and medical book sellers,
including Ingram Book Group. It is also available to readers at
or by calling ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600, or
The American College of Physicians
www.acponline.org is the
largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest
physician group in the United States. ACP members include 124,000
internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists,
and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention,
detection, and treatment of illness in adults.
For more than thirty-five years, Fenway Community Health has been
working to improve the physical and mental health of our community,
especially those who are traditionally underserved like lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender people, women, those living with
HIV/AIDS, and people from communities of color. Fenway Community
Health is one of only seven LGBT-specific health centers in the U.S.
The Fenway Institute at Fenway Community Health works to increase
the health of the larger community through research and evaluation,
education, outreach and health policy advocacy. For more
Toxic food trend continues
to worry US public [Sep 2 Amherst NY USA]--August 1,
2007, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning, urging
consumers to avoid certain brands of French Cut Green Beans in
14.5-ounce cans manufactured by Lakeside Foods Inc, in Manitowoc,
Wisconsin because the product may not have been processed
sufficiently to eliminate the potential for botulism toxin.
A month earlier in July 2007 there was a recall of canned meat
products and dog food due to the same poisonous substance, botulism,
which according to the FDA can produce such symptoms as general
weakness, dizziness, difficulty breathing and double vision.
While statistics deny there's been an actual increase, the public
perception of a “trend” in food recalls may have started in 2006
when traces of the E. coli virus were found in packaged spinach.
These recent instances in food recalls due to poisonous chemicals
make U.S. consumers wonder, ‘Why does this keep happening"’ and
‘What can be done to prevent it from happening again"’
Interestingly, this is not just a new issue resulting from a more
global economy and mass-produced, processed foods.
Internationally renowned food expert Morton Satin shows how these
outbreaks because of unclean, adulterated food have affected society
throughout history. In the engrossing new book DEATH IN THE POT: THE
IMPACT OF FOOD POISONING ON HISTORY (Prometheus Books, $24), Satin
documents events both tragic and bizarre in regards to food
poisoning and how it affects us all.
Satin first takes his readers back in time to explore some of the
most interesting and well-documented health threats of all time. In
the fifth century B.C.E., the great plague of Athens, probably
caused by contaminated cereals, led to the defeat of the Athenians
in the Peloponnesian War. In the prescientific Middle Ages,
illnesses resulting from contaminated food were often attributed to
the wrath of God or malevolent spirits. Heavily infectious ergot
induced a spasmodic muscle condition, which the Church named “St.
Anthony’s Fire” and interpreted as retribution by God on heretics.
Similarly, in seventeenth-century America the hallucinogenic
symptoms of moldy grain were thought by Puritans to be signs of
witchcraft. Even the madness of King George III, which played a role
in the American Revolution, may have been induced by accidental
In the twentieth century, Satin recounts the efforts of modern
industrial societies to make food safer; in some cases these efforts
were heroic. For example, in the early days of the Food and Drug
Administration a “Poison Squad” was formed, consisting of young
scientists who willingly acted as guinea pigs to test the toxic
effects of chemical additives. Today, the government has focused on
the hazards of food bioterrorism. He also details one of the first
events to make E. coli a term that everyone now associates with food
poisoning and disease. In 1993 the food chain Jack in the Box
decided to cook their hamburgers at a lower temperature, resulting
in meat contaminated with E. coli. More recently in 2006, the
bacteria was found in packaged spinach which in turn initiated
numerous food-safety programs that are continually working to ensure
that the food eaten by millions of people is healthy and safe.
Satin ends by describing measures taken to protect the public from
intentional and unintentional poisoning, and recounting recent
poisoning incidents. A fascinating glimpse into history from a
unique angle and an authoritative reference work on food safety,
DEATH IN THE POT is entertaining and informative reading for
laypersons and experts in food technology and public health.
Doctors share joys and
frustrations in 'On Being a Doctor 3' [Sep 2 Philadelphia
PA USA]--Doctors' observations of their patients and everyday
experiences in medicine can be inspiring, tragic, infuriating,
funny, or poignant. The American College of Physicians, the nation's
largest medical specialty organization, has published a compilation
of stories, essays, and poems by doctors and their patients, "On
Being a Doctor 3."
"Doctors tell of the often dysfunctional, sometimes wonderful, world
we live in," write co-editors Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP, and
Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, in their introduction. "Reading these
stories will help you see why, despite these challenges, most
doctors would not dream of doing anything else."
Some stories depict particular patients (whose identities are
protected) and others portray characters that are composites of
people whom physicians have encountered in medical training, in
practice, or in their daily lives. Other stores are written by
The writings first appeared in the On Being a Doctor section of the
ACP journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Drs. Laine and LaCombe, who
select and edit works for the section, chose 111 pieces for this
third On Being a Doctor compilation. (The first two volumes were
published in 1995 and 1999.)
The works are arranged into eight chapters: On Society and the World
Around Us; On Becoming a Doctor; On Being a Patient; Balancing the
Personal and Professional; Those Who Are Our Patients; On Aging; On
Death and Dying; and Hospital, Health Systems, Contentions.
The patient in an Indian slum hospital who won't leave when
discharged. The doctor can't understand why, until he sees the man's
two children hidden under the bed, feasting on hospital food
The physician hugging her children and crying at the end of a
workday that included being stuck by the needle of an HIV-positive
patient. She instinctively pulls back, fearing a chance the virus
could be transmitted through her tears
The closeted gay medical student who can't let on that he recognizes
the AIDS patient on whom he and his colleagues are making hospital
The doctor witnessing an epidemic of drug abuse who writes in the
poem "OxyContin": "Top of her class / with nothing but promise ahead
/ until hi-jacked by / the torment of needle and spoon."; and
The "trouble with medical students," according to the poem of a
mentoring physician, is "...they are young... full of possibility,
full of questions you have stopped asking..."
In commenting on the continuing popularity of the On Being a Doctor
section in Annals of Internal Medicine, Drs. Laine and LaCombe
write, "Why is it that stories about illness and physicians attract
such an eager audience" One reason is that diagnosing and treating
disease often contains elements of high drama. Second, an aura of
mystery often surrounds the medical profession. Lastly, many doctors
themselves are wonderful storytellers."
About the Editors
Christine Laine, MD, MPH, Senior Deputy Editor of Annals of Internal
Medicine, is a clinician, researcher, and medical educator who has
worked in medical journalism for more than a decade. After receiving
an undergraduate degree in writing at Hamilton College, she
completed medical school at State University of New York at Stony
Brook, internal medicine residency training at New York Hospital
Cornell University Medical College, and fellowship training in
general internal medicine and clinical epidemiology at Beth Israel
Hospital Harvard Medical School. She is a clinical associate
professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, has developed a career that blends
writing with practicing medicine. He is a graduate of Harvard
Medical School, has practiced medicine for over 30 years in rural
Maine, and is former director of cardiology at Maine General Medical
Center in Augusta. He is the author of "Medicine Made Clear: House
Calls from a Maine Country Doctor" (Dirigo Press, 1989). Dr. LaCombe
is working on two anthologies -- one of poetry, one of prose -- to
be published in 2008.
To order "On Being a Doctor 3," visit the ACP Web site:
List price is $29.95; ACP Members pay $25.95. The hardcover book has
It's time to look at
health risks in a new light [Sep 2 Baltimore MD USA]--How
solid is the link between high cholesterol and heart disease" Do
regular screening tests for breast and prostate cancer lead to far
fewer deaths from these diseases" How safe is the water we drink and
the air we breathe" How should we interpret the daily flood of news
reports on sometimes contradictory medical studies"
A new book, co-written by a Johns Hopkins University professor and
an outside colleague, seeks to examine health questions like these
in a new light. Authors Erik Rifkin and Edward Bouwer are not
physicians; both are environmental scientists with decades of
experience in analyzing health risks connected with air, water and
soil pollution. By directing this expertise at data from mainstream
medical studies, the researchers believe they have found a fresh way
to help the average reader assess common health risks.
Their findings are described in a new book published by Springer and
titled "The Illusion of Certainty: Health Benefits and Risks."
Bouwer is a professor and chair of the Department of Geography and
Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins. Rifkin is president of
an environmental consulting firm in Baltimore. The book includes a
chapter on “The Physician’s and Patient’s Perspective,” written by
Bob Sheff, a radiologist who trained at UCLA and Johns Hopkins.
The researchers said they wrote the book because they believe that
the average person, who must make critical decisions about health
risks, is not getting a complete picture. They discovered that
health-related choices that sometimes sound straightforward and
obvious are often much more uncertain and controversial when the
risk statistics are viewed in a different way.
“I’ve been involved in human health and environmental risk
assessment for more than 30 years,” Rifkin said. “It became clear to
me during this time that the uncertainty in health risk assessment
had gotten lost, and the numbers had taken on a life of their own”
He had collaborated with Bouwer on projects for 20 years, and the
two decided to train their science skills on data from medical
studies. “I can read scientific articles, and I’ve had experience
handling epidemiological data,” Bouwer said. “You can look at the
data in medical studies the same way you look at environmental data.
We did, and we found that the there was a lot of uncertainly in
these studies, but it often wasn’t being communicated to people.”
Much of this misinformation, the researchers said, comes from the
way risks are explained to a patient or described in a news story.
One measure, called absolute risk reduction, looks at the difference
in death rates between two groups, such as one group that received a
medication and one that did not. If one person died among 100 people
who took medication, the death rate would be 1 percent. If two
people died among 100 people who did not take medication, that death
rate for that group would be 2 percent. The difference between these
death rates, found by subtracting 1 percent from 2 percent, would
yield the absolute risk reduction: 1 percentage point.
But the authors learned that drugs companies, journalists and some
medical professionals often rely on a different measure: relative
risk reduction. This term compares only the raw numbers of people
who died in each instance. In the above example, because half as
many people (one versus two) died in the group that took the
medication, the relative risk reduction is 50 percent. By this
measure, the patient can be told that his or her chance of dying is
cut in half by taking the drug, instead of being told that there was
only a 1 percentage point difference in the treated group.
“It’s as if, in hearing about a baseball game between the Orioles
and the Yankees, you’re told that the Orioles scored twice as many
runs as the Yankees,” Rifkin said. “But if you don’t know the actual
numbers involved, you don’t know whether this was a close 2-1 game
or a 20-10 rout. If you don’t know where you’re starting from, the
relative risks figures will not be helpful.”
In their book, Bouwer and Rifkin argue that, although relative risk
is a useful yardstick for research scientists, “it should not be
used by the public to assess the risks and benefits of screening
tests. Far more weight should be given to absolute risk reduction
In their book, Rifkin and Bouwer give readers an easy way to
visualize the absolute risk numbers through a graphic called the
Risk Characterization Theater. This diagram is patterned after a
seating chart for a theater with space for 1,000 people. The authors
darken the “seats” that represent the number of people who are
likely to benefit from a screening test or a medication or who may
be at increased risk from exposure to an environmental contaminant.
“These theater charts make it easier for people to see what the case
studies are referring to,” Bouwer said. “We’re trying to give people
some new tools to help them make better informed decisions about
Various chapters in the book focus on topics such as environmental
contaminants, prostate screening, cholesterol, statin drugs,
smoking, chlorinated drinking water and exposure to residential
radon. The authors said their intent is not to offer medical advice
but to show readers another way to evaluate health risks.
In the book’s foreword, Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon
University, says Rifkin and Bouwer have been “courageous in writing
this book. In going to the heart of what’s been lacking in risk
communications and management, they have taken on established
thinking. As a result, this book may be controversial. In my view, a
book like this is long overdue, and we all will be better for the
reflection and debate it is likely to stimulate among scientists and
CDC travel health book
advises travelers on hazards both ordinary and extraordinary
[Jul 17 Atlanta GA USA]--The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has released an updated version of the "Yellow Book," the
definitive guide to healthy international travel. The newest edition
of the "Yellow Book" provides information on a range of health risks
from the ordinary — sunburns, auto accidents and travelers′ diarrhea
— to the extraordinary — avian flu and natural disasters. New
features include an expanded section on preventing injuries and
life-threatening blood clots that develop while sitting for hours on
a plane, as well as the latest recommendations for immunizations and
malaria prevention. The biennial health guide, named for its yellow
cover, is officially titled "Health Information for International
Travel" and serves as the authoritative guide for travel health
"More than 63 million Americans travel abroad each year. This book
can help prepare travelers for their trips, or help them learn how
to stay safe and healthy while overseas," said Dr. Christie Reed,
team lead for CDC′s travelers′ health group. "The Yellow Book serves
as the gold standard of travel health recommendations. We want
travelers, health care providers and those in the travel industry to
have the best information and health care recommendations for
New features include an expanded section on injuries and auto
accidents and tips for avoiding deep vein thrombosis on long
Because injuries and auto accidents are the greatest risk to
travelers, the Yellow Book stresses the importance of wearing
seatbelts when driving in foreign countries.
The book also advises people to make efforts to stretch their legs
and arms on long international flights to help prevent deep vein
thrombosis. And it has information that can help the more than 10
million people who take cruise vacations each year protect
themselves against norovirus (a highly contagious gastrointestinal
illness) and motion sickness.
Additional new features in the 2007-2008 Yellow Book include:
* Recommendations on traveling to countries that have experienced
limited, non-pandemic human avian influenza cases
* Updated immunization guidelines
* New developments in the prevention and treatment of malaria
* Detailed information of skin problems travelers may experience
* Health risks and recommendations for humanitarian workers
Popular recurring features include recommendations for:
* Pre- and post- travel health care
* Managing underlying and chronic conditions while traveling
* Jet lag
* Cruise ship travel
* Travelers with disabilities
* Recent immigrants returning home to visit friends and relatives
* Traveling with infants and children
* International adoptions
"This book contains must-have information for the traveling public
including families, students, missionaries and volunteers,
multinational corporations, the travel industry, as well as for
doctors, nurses and pharmacists," Reed said.
The Yellow Book, offered by major health publisher Elsevier, is now
available at bookstores, through Internet book sellers or by
contacting Elsevier at 1-800-545-2522 or online at
The Yellow book also is available free online. To access the Yellow
Book online, or to find additional information on travelers′ health,
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/. The companion Web site lets
travelers look up specific information by travel destination and
view or print custom reports based on individual travel plans. The
site is one of CDC′s most-visited Web sites. It is updated
constantly as travel health threats emerge and new information
Shopping for healthcare
overseas: An economist's view [Jul 17 Philadelphia
PA USA]--The exploding cost of healthcare in the
United States has many Americans traveling overseas for treatment.
With the aid of the Internet, patients can find international
providers who will administer the healthcare they need at a fraction
of the cost. Medical tourism, as this trend is called, has the
potential to dramatically impact the economies of developing
countries and has serious implications for healthcare around the
Medical Tourism in Developing Countries explores this
international trade in medical services and discusses its potential as an
economic growth strategy. The book, to be released on August 7, is
co-authored by Saint Joseph’s University Economist Milica Z. Bookman, Ph.D.,
and her daughter, an intellectual property attorney, Karla R. Bookman.
The United States is the only industrialized nation without free,
universal healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there
are currently 43.6 million people in the United States without health
insurance. These individuals, however, are not the largest consumers of
“Not all uninsured individuals have the internet savvy and wherewithal to
research something like medical tourism. Some do, and they would be good
candidates for treatment abroad,” explains Dr. Bookman. “It’s more likely
for the insured, facing huge deductibles, to take advantage of medical
This exodus of Americans to developing countries in search of quality
medical care raises questions about the limitations of the United States
healthcare system, the flaws of which have recently been brought into the
spotlight through Michael Moore’s latest movie, SiCKO. “Some of the
procedures these patients are seeking are not available in the United
States,” Dr. Bookman explains. “It takes a long time to wait for FDA
approval, and many people don’t have that time.”
Choosing to receive medical, dental, cosmetic, surgical, or wellness
treatments overseas requires some research. In the book, Dr. Bookman advises
consumers to do an intensive Internet search and only choose hospitals with
JCI accreditation – an international standard measuring the quality of
medical care outside of the United States.
According to Dr. Bookman, “the most popular procedure Americans go
overseas for is dental work. The most popular countries for medical tourism
include Thailand, India and Costa Rica.” Their reputation as developing
countries may invoke images of botched surgeries and crude operating
equipment. But Dr. Bookman explains that the level of care patients receive
is just as good, and sometimes better, than care offered in the United
It is also not uncommon for patients receiving international medical care
to bring their spouses and their families. “Many of these individuals use
this as an opportunity to vacation as well,” notes Dr. Bookman. “Hospitals
often offer courses and programs for families to take advantage of during
In the book, Dr. Bookman looks at the potential for medical tourism to
improve the health outcomes of these developing countries. “A successful
medical tourism industry, when coupled with cooperation between the private
and public sectors, may lead to public health improvements in developing
countries,” Dr. Bookman says. “But at this point, we are still searching for
a model to follow.”
Book helps to cope with the death of a baby
[Jul 1 Wellington NZ]--A New Zealand picture book aimed at
helping children to understand the death of a baby in their family/whanau
will be launched in Wellington by Mayor Kerry Prendergast on Monday
or by contacting skylight on ph 0800 299 100 or
It will also be available through a number of bookstores and
What’s Happened to Baby? features illustrations by renowned
Wellington illustrator Ali Teo, and helps parents and caregivers to
guide young children through the experience of this difficult loss.
The book has been produced by skylight – the national support
organisation aimed at building resilient young New Zealanders – in
association with SIDS Wellington (Sudden Infant Death Support) and
SANDS Wellington (Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support).
skylight’s resource manager, Tricia Irving, said What’s Happened to
Baby? had been carefully designed to match a wide range of
bereavement situations including miscarriage, stillbirth, cot death,
and accidental or natural deaths of an infant or toddler.
“In this way it has been developed as a book that can serve and
support a large number of bereaved New Zealand families/whanau,” she
“The death of an unborn or newborn child is extremely difficult for
parents themselves to comprehend, let alone for their other children
to understand. This book helps families/whanau to cope and deal with
the grieving process together,” she said.
The book also features information to assist adults in supporting
their bereaved children.
skylight provides resources, support and training nationwide to help
young New Zealanders and their families/whanau deal with change,
loss and grief.
skylight’s Chief Executive, Bice Awan, said revenue from the book’s
sale would assist the organisation to continue providing young
people and their carers with tools and support to deal with life
issues and build their resilience so they could move forward.
She said skylight supported more than 5,000 individuals every year
through its counselling services in Wellington, and many more
through resources and education services nationwide.
Mayor Prendergast - a patron of skylight, trained midwife and author
of a book on baby death – will launch What’s Happened to Baby? at a
function in her Mayoral Chambers at 2pm on Monday.
What’s Happened to Baby? is available from skylight’s website
New book presents latest research on
intimate partner violence [Jun 30 07 Durham NH
USA]--Recent news stories have reported the deadly consequences of
intimate partner violence. Now a new book presents the latest
research about the nature, causes and impact of intimate partner
violence and how this new information can be used to aid victims and
“Intimate Partner Violence” is edited by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a
health psychologist at the University of New Hampshire and researcher at the
UNH Family Research Lab. The book is co-edited by Sarah Giacomoni.
According to Kendall-Tackett, knowledge in the field of intimate partner
violence is increasing at a dramatic rate, creating tremendous opportunities
for repairing lives and families damaged by abuse.
“We felt it was important to bring together all the current research in
one place. The field is advancing at such a rapid rate that it can be
difficult for practitioners or policymakers to apply what researchers have
learned. We were fortunate to have many of the leaders in the field
contribute chapters to this book,” Kendall-Tackett said.
“High-profile domestic violence cases, such as the stories currently in
the news, bring attention to this important problem. We’d like to make sure
that our responses to cases like these are evidence-based so that they will
be the most effective,” she said.
The new book — a master reference — synthesizes current research on
intimate partner violence and provides specific, evidence-supported ideas
that can be put into active practice to protect those at risk. Specifically,
the book presents:
-- Practice-proven approaches to risk assessment, risk management, and
-- Specific steps primary care health professionals can take to identify IPV
— and to empower and protect survivors.
-- The latest information on femicide and pregnancy-related violence.
-- A spotlight on how the criminal justice system works to help and support
victims—and where it must do more.
-- Innovative new approaches the military is taking to prevent IPV in
-- Guidance on the ethnic/cultural issues that impact IPV, and how they
should shape our approaches to survivors from African-American, Hispanic,
and Asian communities.
-- The responses of faith communities to partner violence.
-- Field-tested prevention programs for high school and college-age
-- Policies and practices child protection agencies can institute when
dealing with IPV in clients’ homes.
-- The safest ways to help victims leave abusive relationships.
Guidelines for handling decedents
contaminated with radioactive materials [May 7 07 Atlanta
GA USA]--Detonation of a nuclear weapon or activation of a
radiological dispersal device could cause radioactively contaminated
decedents. These guidelines address how medical examiners and
funeral home personnel should handle decedents in both of these
In a moment's notice: Surge capacity in
terrorist bombings [May 7 07 Atlanta GA USA]--Explosive
devices and high-velocity firearms are the terrorists’ weapons of
choice. The devastation wrought in two European capitals, Madrid and
London, demonstrate the impact that can be achieved by detonating
explosives among densely packed civilians. In an instant, an
explosion can wreak havoc—producing numerous casualties with
complex, technically challenging injuries not commonly seen after
natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes.
Because many patients self-evacuate after a terrorist attack, and
prehospital care may be difficult to coordinate, hospitals near the
scene can expect to receive a large influx—or surge—of
victims after a terrorist strike. This rapid surge of victims
typically occurs within minutes, exemplified by the Madrid bombings
where the closest hospital received 272 patients in 2.5 hours. In
addition, injuries to workers involved in recovery procedures can
lead to a secondary wave in surge.
To address the challenges posed by such an event, CDC’s National Center
for Injury Prevention and Control convened an expert panel in October 2005
and January 2006. The panel included experts in the areas of emergency
medical services, emergency medicine, trauma surgery, burn surgery,
pediatrics, otolaryngology, intensive care medicine, hospital medicine,
radiology, pharmacology, nursing, hospital administration, laboratory
medicine (blood bank), and public health. The panel was charged with
identifying creative strategies that could be adopted in a timely manner to
address surge issues from terrorism.
This document, which is the result of the expert panel meetings, reflects
the opinions and recommendations of the experts. It includes a description
of system-wide and discipline-specific challenges as well as recommended
solutions to address these challenges. The proposed solutions for the
discipline-specific challenges have been incorporated into easy to use
templates that can assist various disciplines in managing surge needs for
PDF formatted for print
(6.95 MB/57 pages)
Gang signs: Book examines the life and
lessons of girls and gangs [Apr 17 07 Houston TX
USA]--They take drugs. They are sexually active. They are involved
in violence. They are girls who are associated with gangs, and the
perception from schools, state agencies and even families is that
they are beyond help. Avelardo Valdez, University of Houston social
work and sociology professor and director of the Office for Drug and
Social Policy Research at the Graduate College of Social Work, makes
the assertion in his latest book, “Mexican American Girls and Gang
Violence: Beyond Risk” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
“These girls are now an underclass-second or third generation of
marginalized women who don’t know any other kind of life and,
without intervention from new policies or programs, are not going to
break that cycle,” Valdez said. “These girls need help. If they
don’t rise to the top, they are discarded.”
Valdez and his research team spent two years identifying and
interviewing 150 girls associated with 26 gangs in San Antonio. Boys
from those gangs assisted in identifying the girls who were
approached with the consent of their parents or guardians. The ODSPR
maintains a research office in San Antonio.
“These girls are not necessarily gang members. They are friends,
girlfriends, sisters or neighbors of gang members,” Valdez said.
His book examines conditions that create a sub-culture where the
accepted norm to young Mexican American girls on San Antonio’s west
side is drug use, violence (intimate partner and other physical
violence), delinquency and pregnancy. The life is reinforced by
others in gangs or those associated with gangs. He is hopeful that
his research adds to an arena that is lacking in such literature.
Much of the current research focuses on men and boys in gangs, he
Among the findings in his book:
* Multiple sex partners, pregnancies and childbirth, crime and
multiple drug use are all common among these beyond risk girls,
* Girls affiliated with delinquent youth gangs show significant
early childhood physical, emotional and sexual trauma,
* Among this street-based culture, women are expected to adhere to
traditional gender roles, often resulting in victimization if these
roles are violated,
* Positive family relationships, especially the mother-daughter
relationship, were shown to have a protective function for these
“My aim is to provide first-hand experiences of the social, cultural
and contextual dynamics that are affecting poor, urban, Mexican
American, adolescent females living in an era of gangs,” Valdez
said. “I’m looking at how each girl’s level of delinquency is
related to the quality of their relationships with their parents,
siblings, boyfriends, common-law husbands and friends.”
Valdez says the existence of these issues represents a failure of
schools, government and extended families that have resulted in a
socially disorganized community, creating a climate ripe for gang
life and a perception that solutions are too far out of reach to
make a difference. One finding from the research indicates that
services to nurture mother-daughter relationships may go a long way
in preventing risk behaviors in the adolescent girls. In addition,
services or training that conveys traditional gender roles without
the traditional patriarchal system may also be valuable in stemming
the tide of gang association.
The Office for Drug and Social Policy Research (ODSPR) was
established in 2001 as a commitment to move the UH Graduate College
of Social Work towards a drug research agenda. The ODSPR
collaborates with many entities including the National Institute on
Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA). The effort also serves as a clearinghouse
for publications and papers on drug research.
For more information on the Office for Drug and Social Policy
Research, please visit
For more information on the UH Graduate College of Social Work,
Disease can be our ally, not just our
enemy, says new book by UCR evolutionary biologist [Apr 5
07 Riverside CA USA]--In a time when we worry about bird flu and
contaminated spinach, Marlene Zuk, an evolutionary biologist at UC
Riverside, offers a fresh perspective on disease and the role it
plays in our lives. Her new book, Riddled with Life: Friendly Worms,
Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites that Make Us Who We Are (Harcourt,
2007), argues that disease is not always our foe; it can be a vital
partner and friend.
"Disease can be natural, normal, and sometimes even essential," said
Zuk, a professor of biology. "Certainly the experience of being sick
isn’t pleasant, and of course illness causes a lot of harm, but we –
and all other living things – evolved with disease, and if you take
it away, there are unforeseen consequences."
In the book, Zuk explains how disease influences everything in our
lives, from the evolution of two sexes, to our personalities, to how
we choose our mate. It also answers questions such as: Why do men
die younger than women? Why do we – and lots of other animals – get
sexually transmitted diseases? Why do we have sex at all, rather
than simply splitting off copies of ourselves like certain geckoes?
And how is our obsession with cleanliness making us sicker?
She offers in her book the example of children who grow up with
antibacterial products from soap to cutting boards and computer
keyboards, and sanitary wipes for grocery cart handles. "They run
the risk of chronic health problems like asthma and allergies," she
According to Zuk, the role of disease, once seen as a whole, is not
always scary. "Disease is like the constant companion humans have
had since the beginning of time, evolving right along with us,
shaping us as much as we shape it," she said. "We need disease to
To underscore her point, Zuk advises that we understand the
importance of disease in our lives by considering how gravity has
shaped our evolution. "Gravity makes us break our bones when we fall
and our body parts droop with age, but in a weightless environment
we don’t function very well either," she said. "Like it or not, we
evolved with gravity, and we evolved with disease."
At UCR, Zuk studies parasites and behavior in a variety of animals.
Her research centers on sexual selection and the effects of
parasites on mate choice and the evolution of secondary sex
characters. Her popular writings include contributions to the Los
Angeles Times, Natural History, and The Chronicle of Higher
A native of Los Angeles, Zuk is also the author of Sexual
Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn about Sex From Animals
(University of California Press, 2002), which argued that while
animals display considerable and interesting variation, not all of
it can be extrapolated to explain human behavior. In addition, she
is coeditor, with Jenella E. Loye, of Bird-Parasite Interactions:
Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour (Oxford University Press, 1991).
Zuk got her undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and her Ph.D.
from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. After a postdoctoral
appointment at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, she joined
UCR as a faculty member in 1989.
Q & A with Marlene Zuk:
Q: Your last book was about sex – why did you turn to disease?
A: Sex is all about disease, so they aren’t as different as you
might think. For one thing, disease may be responsible for why we
and most other animals have sexual reproduction at all, instead of
just cloning ourselves. It’s much more efficient to just have a
female produce Xerox copies of herself. But the parasites and
pathogens are always evolving back at us, so a copy of even the most
resistant set of genes will become outdated and useless in a matter
of generations. A sexually produced baby, however, has an entirely
new set of genes to outwit the diseases that surround us.
Q: We keep hearing about new and scary diseases: bird flu, West Nile
virus, E. coli. Which should we be worried about the most?
A: None of these. Although it’s important to keep an eye on new
epidemics, and keep them from growing, a far more urgent problem is
antibiotic resistance in many of the most dangerous diseases, like
infections with formerly easily conquered bacteria. Nearly a third
of infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria that
causes a form of pneumonia, meningitis, and ear infections, are
resistant to penicillin. Tuberculosis, syphilis, typhoid, gonorrhea
– all have antibiotic-resistant strains in some parts of the world.
Because of the frequent use of antibiotics in hospitals, infections
acquired there are particularly problematic; more than 70% of the
bacteria causing infections in people while they are patients in
hospitals are resistant to at least one of the drugs commonly used
to fight them. It’s a problem we’ve caused, and it’s not going away
any time soon.
Q: So what can we do to be healthier, if diseases are always going
to be around?
A: For one thing, we can ease up on the siege mentality that tells
us we have to scrub every surface we touch. Children growing up with
more siblings and pets, and those that get more colds, end up with
fewer allergies and a lower incidence of asthma, and scientists
increasingly think that is because their immune systems are exposed
to the normal barrage of particles that stimulate appropriate
Q: If disease is so natural, does that mean we should let our bodies
heal themselves and not try and interfere with modern medicine?
A: Absolutely not. Disease symptoms can be either produced by the
body to help get rid of a disease agent, or they can be produced by
the agent itself as part of an effort to spread to other hosts. You
want to encourage the former and squelch the latter. Take fever, for
instance. Animals allowed to raise their body temperatures through
fever recover more quickly than those given fever-reducing drugs.
Children in particular are given fever reducers far more often than
necessary. On the other hand, sneezing and sniffling likely helps
the organism that causes them to spread, so reducing their frequency
probably won’t harm us.
One in five people will face a ‘shameful’
death [Apr 5 07 Bath England]--Most people are unprepared
for the shameful reality of how they could die, warns the author of
a new book charting the social history of dying.
Although the majority of people imagine they will grow old and die
in their sleep, surrounded by friends and family, one in five people
will die what previous generations would consider a ‘shameful’ death
- alone, ravaged by dementia and without dignity.
The deaths of more than half of the population will be ‘managed’ by
medical professionals following serious injury or ill-health, with a
small proportion dying suddenly, and often unexpectedly.
The rapid increase of the shameful death is being fuelled by an
ageing population and a lack of foresight over how to deal with the
ultimate consequences of the medical advances which keep people
alive for longer.
“Most people think only fleetingly about how they will die, and
usually it surrounds some romantic notion of dying in our sleep at
home,” said Allan Kellehear, Professor of Sociology at the
University of Bath and author of the new book, A social history of
“This notion couldn’t be further from the truth; we are
significantly more likely to die a lonely prolonged death in a
nursing home or hospital, preceded by multiple organ failure,
pneumonia or dementia.
“As we live longer, there is every chance that we will outlive those
friends and family who would have traditionally seen us through our
last years. It is also likely that we will have exhausted the
financial means by which we would pay professionals to look after us
“Dying today is becoming increasingly tragic and antisocial. The way
we die is important because it is the last act of life, and plays an
important role in how our friends and relatives will remember us.
“Some people spend years dying, and for many of the one in four of
us who currently end our days in a nursing home, those last years
can be like a living death. The way we care for our dying is a true
reflection on how a society cares for its people; and it has to be
said that the way we treat our dying in developed countries around
the world is truly shocking.”
A social history of dying charts the experience of death from the
remains of the early humans through to the experiences of people
today. Kellehear has used on his own research on the topic and has
drawn on human and clinical sciences literature of dying from around
“The early humans mostly died of predation, but as soon as
settlements sprang up, we started living longer but dying of the
diseases that affect our farmed animals,” said Kellehear. “From then
on we see the emergence of two main kinds of death: the ‘good’
peasant death surrounded by friends and family and the
‘well-managed’ death overseen by shamans and later medical
“Today, although people still expect these kinds of death, medical
advances and a growing dementia epidemic mean that we experience a
prolonged death. Taking so long to die when you are so old that you
become confused, unmanageable and unrecognisable to friends, makes
the way we are likely to die uncertain.
“For governments and policy makers the best solution to this problem
has been to build nursing homes - some people describe this as the
“When we interview nursing home residents through our research, they
tell us that they feel they lead useless lives, are a burden to
others, have no future, and suffer psychologically and physically.
“The care people receive in nursing homes continues to receive major
criticism, not just in the UK but around the world. The most common
concerns surround lack of attention to the cultural needs and
cognitive status of the residents; their former lives are all but
“The fear of abandonment expressed by so many elderly people is
frequently realised in full at many of these institutions. After two
million years of dying characterised by well-patterned and
well-understood partnerships with community, family and specialist
health workers – the act of dying now appears to be disintegrating.”
For Kellehear, it is no surprise that some people take control of
the only component of their dying over which they have any measure
of control – the timing of their death.
He believes that increasing numbers of elderly and terminally ill
people will turn to suicide in order to take control and manage
their own death.
“There are approximately one million suicides per year world wide,
and the largest age-related grouping is for those over 80 years of
age,” said Kellehear.
“Old people intent on suicide seem very serious about their decision
to die; they are less likely to give a warning, and are far more
likely to complete a suicide than other ages. (50 per cent of over
65s who try to kill themselves through suicide succeed in doing so,
compared to 25 per cent in younger age groups.)
“This is not about the well-publicised individuals who insist on
their right to die, this is about ordinary older people who do not
want to face disability, pain, cognitive impairment, and loss of
bodily and social autonomy and dignity that old age can bring.
“When asked, respondents to a survey on why they might not want to
live to 100 said that being a burden to others, losing the ability
to be active and useful, losing the ability to think and reason
clearly and the desire to avoid prolonged suffering, were the key
reasons offered as to why finding the right timing for death was
Kellehear believes that governments and individuals need to tackle
the issue of how we care for the dying before it becomes a major
“Whether it is introducing more liberal policies that enable people
to better manage how they die, a closer examination of medical
ethics, better training for nursing homes or support for people who
care for elderly – something needs to happen,” said Kellehear.
“We need to tackle the subject of dying head on. Talking about
dying, let alone our own death, is not a popular theme for
politicians or public debate, but there is no escape from the
tragedy that will befall many of us when we die.”
A social history of dying (ISBN 978-0-52169-429-2) by Allan
Kellehear is published by Cambridge University Press and is
available in bookstores.
Kellehear is part of the University's Centre for Death and Society (CDAS),
the UK’s only centre devoted to the study and research of social
aspects of death, dying and bereavement. Established in September
2005, CDAS is an interdisciplinary centre of regional, national and
international importance. It provides a centre for the social study
of death, dying and bereavement and acts as a catalyst and
facilitator for research, education and training, policy
development, media, and community awareness.
'Post Mortem' diagnosis: Present-day
ailments plagued some of history's great figures [Apr 5
07 Philadelphia PA USA]--Medical science has made great leaps in the
last several decades, but -- as “Post Mortem: Solving History’s
Great Medical Mysteries” by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, MBA, FACP,
reveals -- some of our “modern” illnesses have been around for
www.acponline.org/postmortem or by calling ACP Customer Service
at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600, or 215-351-2600.
Published by the American College of Physicians (ACP), “Post Mortem”
endeavors to solve 12 of history’s most perplexing medical
* Whether Alexander the Great was a victim of West Nile virus.
* What Edgar Allan Poe really died of.
* The cause of Pharaoh Akhenaten's bizarre appearance - the father
of King Tut was described as a "humanoid praying mantis."
* The cause of Booker T. Washington’s abrupt decline.
* The shocking cause of Beethoven's deafness.
* The disease responsible for Christopher Columbus' crippling
* The microbe that ended Greece's Golden Age.
* What contemporary physicians could have done to save Mozart from
his final illness.
* Whether Roman Emperor Claudius was poisoned or died of natural
* Joan of Arc’s mental state during her heresy trial.
* Why Florence Nightingale took to her bed for nearly three decades.
* The gruesome details of King Herod’s terminal illness.
“Dr. Mackowiak is one of today’s most creative and accomplished
medical historians,” said John Tooker, MD, MBA, FACP, Executive Vice
President/CEO, ACP. “His clinical expertise and entertaining writing
style make ‘Post Mortem’ appealing to the general public,
physicians, and medical students.”
Part medical mystery book, “Post Mortem” traces 3,500 years of the
history of medicine from the perspective of what contemporary
physicians thought about the diseases of these 12 famous patients
and how they might have treated them. The medical histories
presented are the most comprehensive ever compiled for these 12
titans of history.
"’Post Mortem’ looks at the medical conditions of important
historical figures as something more than footnotes to their lives,”
Mackowiak said. “In many instances their illnesses profoundly
affected their legacies.”
Each case is organized according to the standard format used by
physicians in clinical practice today. The history of the present
illness (i.e., the illness in question) is given first, followed by
the subject’s past medical history, social history, family history,
and physical examination (based on historical records).
To heighten the reader’s suspense, the identity of the patient is
not revealed until the end of the case history, when Dr. Mackowiak
leads the reader through a list of diagnostic possibilities to the
one diagnosis most consistent with the illness described in
Although “Post Mortem” is the work of an eminent clinician and
medical educator, the book is written for both the general public
and the medical community. It covers a novel area of history,
inspired by the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference
hosted by Dr. Mackowiak since 1995 for the VA Maryland Health Care
System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The conference attracts a broad range of attendees: the general
public, historians, physicians, physicians-in-training, and high
“Post Mortem” will be available at bookstores everywhere on April 6
or directly from the American College of Physicians at
Dr. Mackowiak is Director of Medical Care at the VA Maryland Health
Care System and Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of
Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has
studied and taught the art of clinical diagnosis to medical students
and graduate physicians for over three decades.
Think herbal supplements are safe? Think
again, book by Saint Louis University doctor says [Apr 5
07 St Louis MO USA]--People are mixing supplements, herbs and
over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs to cure
themselves of ills, unaware that they could be making themselves
sicker, says George Grossberg, M.D., director of the division of
geriatric psychiatry at Saint Louis University.
Dr. Grossberg is about to change all that. He is the co-author of a
new book, "The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide," which
is a comprehensive listing of what various herbs and supplements do,
possible side effects and how they might interact with other
medications and foods.
"People think if it doesn't require a prescription, it's got to be
safe, and that's not true. There could be life-threatening effects."
Dr. Grossberg first became interested in the topic after a routine
six-month visit with a patient he had successfully treated for
depression. He had been seeing the patient for four or five years,
and asked if the man was dealing with any new health problems.
The patient mentioned that he was scheduled to go in for cystoscopy
in a couple weeks because there had been blood in his urine. The
procedure involves inserting the pencil-thin tip of a probe through
the urethra, up to the bladder to detect the cause of the problem.
The patient had undergone thousands of dollars of MRIs and CAT scans
of his lower abdomen and pelvis, which had not revealed the reason
for the bleeding, and the test was the next diagnostic step.
Dr. Grossberg asked if the patient had changed anything – perhaps
had started taking a new medication.
No new medicine. Then the patient's wife pulled from her purse a
vial containing a supplement she had purchased from the health food
store to enhance memory. Both husband and wife had started taking
the herbal memory enhancer, which largely contained ginkgo biloba
"One of the side effects of ginkgo biloba is an increased risk of
bleeding. He had no awareness of this. I told him to stop taking the
herb and get rechecked before having cystoscopy. The bleeding
stopped, and he didn't need the test."
Dr. Grossberg ticks off other common herbs that people take without
realizing their side effects or how they might interact with
St. John's wort sometimes is taken for anxiety and depression. Those
who also are taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications,
such as Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil, should beware. Mixing St. John's
wort with these medicines can cause serotonin syndrome -- with
symptoms that may include agitation, rapid heart beat, flushing and
heavy sweating -- that may be fatal.
Dong quai, which some women take for menstrual disorders and to ease
symptoms of menopause, has been linked to cardiovascular problems,
such as irregular heart rhythm and low blood pressure. If a patient
takes the herb along with an antihypertensive drug, her blood
pressure could plummet, putting her at risk of stroke.
Some people take echinacea, which enhances the immune system, for
the common cold. However, those who also take Lipitor, Celebrex and
Aleve face an increased risk of liver damage. Echinacea also can be
harmful for those who have multiple sclerosis, diabetes, HIV
infections or allergies.
Dr. Grossberg and his co-author Barry Fox make it clear that they're
not anti-herb or anti-medicine.
"There just are a lot of things people can take that have a lot of
bad interactions. And on some level it makes sense for them to think
that what they're doing is safe. They associate natural remedies
with nature and think if the supplement wasn't safe, they couldn't
pick it up without a prescription.
"Hopefully this will get them to think more about it so they look
before they leap. People can look up what they're thinking of taking
and see if there's efficacy. And they should always talk to their
doctor about everything they're taking."
Many doctors don't know much about herbal remedies, which have been
used as medications for thousands of years.
"When I trained, there was nothing like this in our medical
education," says Dr. Grossberg, who graduated from medical school in
1975. "The younger doctors are more likely to know this than older
Elderly people, he says, use herbal remedies and don't always tell
their doctors and pharmacists. They should.
"A lot of our older patients are buying herbals and botanicals. In
addition, while those over 65 represent about 14 percent of the
population, they consumer 40 percent of over-the-counter
medications," he says.
The book, published by Broadway Books, a subsidiary of Random House,
is being released in mid-April.
Latest outdoor-related treatments detailed
in new wilderness medicine book [Mar 26 07 Philadelphia
PA USA]--Dr. Paul Auerbach's clinical reference book is the leading
source of expert advice on handling health problems that occur in
remote areas, extreme environments and the great outdoors
Elsevier, the world-leading science and medical publisher, today
introduced the 5th edition of Wilderness Medicine, the definitive
clinical reference on its unique subject. Wilderness Medicine
explains how to manage everything from frostbite to infection by
marine microbes and situations stemming from natural disasters to
diverse everyday injuries, such as bites, stings, poisonous plant
exposures and animal attacks.
"Wilderness Medicine is the only book that covers the entire field,"
said Dr. Auerbach, MD, MS, editor of the book and Clinical Professor
of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine, Stanford University
School of Medicine. "It includes vital, comprehensive treatment
information that you won't normally find in standard medical texts
but will absolutely need during a medical crisis."
Each year, more and more people venture outdoors, including
wilderness and rugged environments, and many suffer from injuries or
illnesses while in the mountains, deserts, forests, jungles, or
oceans. Wilderness Medicine presents expert detailed guidance on
responding to these emergencies, both in the field and within
emergency department and hospital settings.
In addition to coverage of topics such as hypothermia, reptile
bites, poisonous plant exposures, and other essential wilderness
medicine topics, this book includes new information on volcanic
eruptions, extreme sports, wilderness cardiology, aerospace
medicine, mental health in the wilderness, and tactical combat
casualty care, among others. The book also describes how to meet the
unique needs of specific patient populations, such as children,
women, elders, the disabled, and people with chronic medical
conditions. In addition, it addresses vital aspects of search and
rescue, gear, navigation, nutrition, and survival.
Dr. Auerbach is a founder of the Wilderness Medical Society and
among the world's most respected authorities in this field. One
hundred fifty-seven experts from medicine, government, education,
research, industry, and the military, among other fields,
Persons who will find Wilderness Medicine essential include
physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, outdoor-enthusiasts and
adventure travelers, wilderness expedition leaders, the military,
firefighters, search-and-rescuers, explorers in all environments
(such as divers, alpinists, backpackers, etc.), and anyone
interested in health care issues related to the outdoors. The
coverage spans the globe with detailed descriptions of the
environment, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Wilderness Medicine, 5th Edition (ISBN: 978-0-323-03228-5) is 2336
pages long with 2100 illustrations, 1950 in full color. It is
Online book helps children understand the
effects of stroke [Mar 17 07 St Louis MO USA]--Speedy
treatment is essential to saving lives and preventing brain damage
during a stroke. But the rapid pace of events also can leave
patients and family members confused about what has happened and
what to expect.
That's especially true for children whose parents or grandparents have a
stroke, according to Mark P. Goldberg, M.D., professor of neurology and
director of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Caring for a recuperating family
member can make it challenging to find time to explain to kids the causes
and effects of a stroke, which adults may only partially understand
"For kids, this can be very frightening," Goldberg comments. "The stroke
patient's changes in mood and ability to communicate are scary to a child
who doesn't understand that this is a manifestation of the stroke that often
will get better. We looked, but there was very little available in the way
of kid-friendly books or websites that could help."
Now a new resource is available for children through the Internet Stroke
Center at Washington University School of Medicine, a stroke information web
site founded and directed by Goldberg.
"When Grandpa Comes Home: A Story About Stroke" is an illustrated online
book. The narrator, a young girl named Janie, describes her experiences when
her grandfather moves in with the family after a stroke. Included are brief,
child-friendly explanations of what causes stroke; why stroke can lead to
changes in mood, verbal and physical ability and behavior; and what can be
done to reduce the risk of stroke.
As Janie watches her grandfather and her parents struggle with new
limitations imposed by the stroke, she moves beyond her initial resentment
of those changes and develops her own ways of helping her grandfather
celebrate and cope with the ups and downs of recovery.
Ami Wilson, a student at Maryville University, wrote the story during an
internship at the Internet Stroke Center under the mentorship of David
Murray, editor of the Stroke Center internet site. Another intern and
student at Maryville, Christine Warner, provided the watercolor
illustrations that accompany the text. Jing Shi, a web designer for the
center, combined the text and illustrations in a format that simulates the
turning pages of a book.
In addition to "When Grandpa Comes Home…," the Internet Stroke Center
contains a national registry of clinical stroke trials and extensive
information for adult family members and patients on the causes of stroke,
what to expect after a stroke and how to help patients during the recovery
"Adult caregivers need a tremendous amount of support too," Goldberg
says. "For them, it's a huge amount of stress and change. And with 750,000
strokes occurring each year in the United States, there is an urgent need to
make important information — such as how to prepare your home for the
arrival of a recovering stroke patient — available in an easily accessible
The center is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health,
the American Heart Association and the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain
Illuminating the dark side of plants
[Feb 15 07 New York NY USA]--Plant poisoning is a significant
problem around the world. In the United States, exposures to plant
toxins account for approximately ten percent of the annual calls to
the nation’s Poison Control Centers. Responding to the need for a
useful guide to the harmful potential of plants, Handbook of
Poisonous and Injurious Plants provides portable, comprehensive
information to the toxic plants encountered everywhere, both inside
and outside the home.
This clearly structured and colorfully illustrated guidebook,
co-published by The New York Botanical Garden Press and Springer, is
an indispensable resource for hikers, gardeners, parents of small
children, pet owners, physicians, nurses, and veterinarians. Its
handsome and information-packed presentation will also appeal to
everyone who loves plants or collects books about plants.
Lewis R. Goldfrank, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, New
York University School of Medicine, comments, “This second edition
of the Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants is a remarkable
improvement to a great book. New graphics and formal structure
increase its value for the lay person and the clinician.”
Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants presents clear
information on hundreds of plants. It is lavishly illustrated,
elegantly highlighting each plant’s distinguishing characteristics.
The images include 398 full-color photographs as well as color
plates from the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical
The book contains vital information on a broad variety of poisonous
and injurious temperate and tropical plants such as holly,
poinsettia, and philodendron. It also includes common names,
descriptions, species distribution, and information on the toxic
part of each plant, and provides the latest medical information
along with scientific references. An easy-to-use glossary of
botanical terms helps guide the non-specialist through this
fascinating and multidisciplinary field.
The authors of this completely revised edition (first published by
the American Medical Association in 1985) include two physicians in
active practice in medical toxicology and emergency medicine: Lewis
S. Nelson, M.D., New York University School of Medicine, and Richard
D. Shih, M.D., Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey.
They teamed with Michael J. Balick, Ph.D., a noted ethnobotanist and
authority on toxic plants and Director of the Institute of Economic
Botany at The New York Botanical Garden.
Lewis S. Nelson, Richard D. Shih, Michael J. Balick
Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants
Co-published with the New York Botanical Garden
Springer, 2nd edition, 2007, 340 pp., 434 illus., 398 in color.
Softcover, EUR 39.95, £30.50, $39.95, sFr 65.50
Ways to guard against top eight threats to
today's children [Feb 14 07 Boston MA USA]--In an age
when parents and children are bombarded with images and stories of
natural disasters, terrorist attacks, child abductions and school
violence, it's no surprise that heightened efforts to protect the
family are often accompanied by increased levels of anxiety and
Parents and caregivers seeking to safeguard their children from the
dangers of the modern world -- without burning out in the process --
can find a practical, comprehensive and easy-to-use resource in "The
Safe Child Handbook: How to Protect Your Family and Cope with
Anxiety in a Threat-Filled World "(John Wiley, New York).
Written by John S. Dacey of Boston College and his former BC
doctoral student Lisa B. Fiore, now of Lesley University, the book
outlines the top eight threats to children and parents -- which
include kidnapping, terrorism, child abuse, school violence, drug
and alcohol abuse, weather emergencies, home safety and
inappropriate media influence -- and shows how families can be ready
to face the most drastic situations with confidence.
A step-by-step guide filled with practical advice, helpful
techniques and fun activities for children, "The Safe Child
Handbook" is an invaluable tool for families seeking to prepare and
protect their loved ones from realistic threats and risks without
getting stressed out.
"It can be as dangerous to over-protect your children as it is to do
too little," says Dacey, a noted developmental psychologist and
originator of the nationally acclaimed four-step "COPE" method that
teaches children to use self-control to reduce anxiety. "If you try
to protect your children from every imaginable threat, you'll only
succeed in fraying and exhausting your nervous system -- and theirs.
"Safeguarding against severe weather, school violence, terrorism and
other dangers can evoke powerful anxieties that are potentially more
injurious to children than the threats themselves," he says, "so you
have to be prepared to deal with their fears as well as their
Coping with a threat-filled world takes its toll on parents, as
well. "Nearly 20 percent of today's mothers are estimated to be
suffering from serious levels of anxiety," Dacey says. "We want to
help readers avoid membership in this group."
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
John S. Dacey, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist and has been a
professor of educational psychology at Boston College's Lynch School
of Education for forty years. In addition to "Your Anxious Child" (Jossey-Bass),
a best seller written with co-author Fiore that has been translated
into Spanish, Italian and Korean, Dacey is the author of numerous
other publications on parenting, creativity, adolescent psychology
and human development, notably the books "The Nurturing Parent: How
to Raise Creative, Loving, Responsible Children" (Simon & Schuster),
and "The Joyful Family" (Conari Press), written with Lynne Weygint.
He has served as a resource for print and broadcast media around the
Lisa B. Fiore, Ph.D., is a professor of child development and
educational psychology at Lesley University. Her current research
focuses on how teachers can assist anxious children in the classroom
context. She began her work with Dacey when he was her advisor
during her time as graduate student at Boston College's Lynch School
of Education, where she received a doctoral degree in 2000.
First complete history of SA's 4000 floods
[Posted 07:52 Dec 13 Adelaide SA Australia]--The most
comprehensive book produced on South Australia's 4000 floods since
European settlement will be officially released in Adelaide today.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and
Heritage, Greg Hunt, launched the Bureau of Meteorology’s Floods in
South Australia: 1836-2005.
“Amid the bushfires and furnace-like conditions of recent days, it
seems almost hard to believe it will flood again,” Mr Hunt said.
“But the flash flooding which hit Gawler two weeks after Ash
Wednesday in 1983 is a sharp reminder of the weather extremes in
“And just over 12 months ago, Adelaide experienced floods that
damaged infrastructure and caused price rises in local produce.”
Mr Hunt congratulated a team of 89 Work for the Dole participants
and 27 volunteers, including students from University SA, who put in
more than 30,000 hours over four years to complete this project.
“Researchers checked more than 600,000 microfilmed newspaper pages
to produce a 240-page book covering some of the State’s most
dramatic events,” Mr Hunt said. “Here we have a composite record
which includes over 2000 articles and photographs, together with DVD
footage of floods which swept through South Australia.
“This has been a mammoth effort to sift through all these records to
produce what is an outstanding history and reference guide. I am
advised that the book is expected to be used by emergency services
to help plan mitigation strategies for future floods,” Mr Hunt said.
“It is a unique and comprehensive tool of considerable public
interest and of great use to engineers, hydrologists and
researchers. Students will also find it useful and fascinating.”
Medical text takes on an Aussie style
[Posted 13:45 Dec 12 Brisbane QLD Australia]--You say tomato,
I say tomahto and to most of us it wouldn't make any difference, but
when it comes to the language of medicine getting it right is vital.
Authored by two Queensland University of Technology academics,
Australia's first medical terminology textbook will be launched today
(December 6) and aims to advance the understanding of medical terms.
Sue Walker and Jenny Nicol, from QUT's School of Public Health, have
spent two years turning the American spelling, terminology, descriptions and
definitions of a medical text into Australian style.
The Language of Medicine is specifically aimed at the Australian
and New Zealand health sector but is suitable for any country that uses
British spelling conventions.
"The book has been completely updated to suit Australia and is aimed at
allied health and medical professionals, as well as anybody who needs to
have understanding of medical terminology," Ms Nicol said.
"All spelling has been changed from American to Australian style and
descriptions have been modified to illustrate clinical practice in Australia
and New Zealand. Drug names now reflect the terminology used in Australia."
Ms Nicol said there were many critical differences between American and
Australian medical terminology.
"For example epinephrine is widely referred to as adrenaline outside of
the United States. In Australia we call it adrenaline, so you can imagine
the problems that can arise when people are trying to understand the
different medical terms," she said.
Mrs Walker said the text provided practical applications of medical
terminology through case studies, actual medical records and discharge
"All terms, definitions and clinical information have been reviewed and
rewritten as necessary to match Australian health system practices with
inappropriate terminology removed," she said.
"It is also possible for readers to work out the meanings of words by
their spelling and the way the words are made up of prefixes, suffixes and
"For example gastroenterology can be broken up into gastr- meaning
stomach, enter- meaning intestines, -logy meaning study of ... so the whole
word refers to the study of the stomach and intestines."
Mrs Walker said the community had been calling out for an Australian
version of a medical terminology text book, and The Language of Medicine
would meet this demand.
"It demystifies the medical language. It will help health professionals
communicate more effectively with other health professionals, clinical
students better understand medical terms, and medical reports and
correspondence be more accurately transcribed and understood," she said.
Jenny Nicol is a QUT lecturer in health information management and Sue
Walker is the associate director of QUT's National Centre for Classification
in Health. The Language of Medicine is available at bookstores and
also online at
PAHO launches 'Advances in Immunization'
book [Dec 4 Washington DC USA]--The
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today issued a new
publication, "Recent Advances in Immunization 2nd edition,"
that "provides the strategies and tactics to help us reach the goals
of sustaining our immunization achievements and reaching the people
who have not benefited from existing and new vaccines," according to
Dr. Jon K. Andrus, PAHO's lead technical advisor on immunization and
one of the book's two editors.
The editors of "Recent Advances in Immunization 2nd edition,"
Dr. Jon K. Andrus (left,) and Dr. Ciro de Quadros.
Dr. Ciro de Quadros, director of international
programs at the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the other editor of the new
publication, said "This is a very timely book with details on some new
vaccines that haven't been introduced yet. We are witnessing great advances
in science and technology but not all mankind is benefiting from them. We
hope this book will help make these new technologies available."
The publication covers topics of adolescent and
adult immunization, combination vaccines for children, vaccination safety,
measles and rubella, new and under-used vaccines, the HPV vaccine against
cervical cancer, and preparations for the influenza pandemic.
PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses, in a preface to the
book, notes that in the Americas, immunization has been responsible for a
fourth of the reduction in childhood mortality since 1990. "Immunization,
already regarded as a 'best buy' public health intervention, is now believed
to have even more far-reaching economic impact, such as in better education
outcomes and more years of productive life."
The book is aimed at national immunization managers
and public health professionals, including students, epidemiologists,
disease control specialists, surveillance personnel, and others.
Dr. Orin Levine, Director of the Pneumococcal
Vaccine Development and Introduction Project funded by the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation, said at the book's launching, "Now that we have this book,
I hope we will be able to further accelerate the uptake of new vaccines like
HiB, pneumococcal vaccine, and influenza."
Levine, author of the combination vaccines chapter,
said the number of new vaccines is increasing and even more are in the
pipeline, noting that the U.S. childhood vaccination schedule now covers 12
vaccines requiring between 18 and 21 separate injections to complete the
required doses. New combination vaccines can reduce the number of shots
needed but, he writes, "The great variety of available combination vaccine
options poses a challenge for the clinician who must keep current with new
knowledge about the antigens in the combinations, let alone the commercial
Drs. Andrus and de Quadros noted in the book's
introduction, "Thanks to the work of immunization programs throughout the
Region's countries, the peoples of the Americas now live free of indigenous
polio and measles; neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis have been
well controlled; and new vaccines have been added to national immunization
programs and their application has been sustained."
While "progress has been extraordinary-diseases
have been eradicated or eliminated and the public health infrastructure has
been strengthened-but progress has been uneven. Some countries still have a
significant proportion of their populations living in districts where
coverage remains below 95 percent. Sporadic outbreaks of diphtheria and
pertussis still occur because of an accumulation of susceptibles missed by
routine national programs. This accumulation also puts countries at risk for
large measles outbreaks when importations of measles virus occur, as has
recently happened in Mexico (2003-2004), Venezuela (2001-2002), and Colombia
"Reaching children and families who live in
low-coverage areas will be essential for sustaining the success of measles
elimination and for achieving the targets to eliminate rubella and
congenital rubella syndrome," Andrus and de Quadros say, adding that to
reach immunization targets "some countries will need to seriously consider
the introduction of new or underutilized life-saving vaccines. Vaccines
targeting diseases caused by pneumococcus, rotavirus, human papilloma virus,
and influenza may greatly help in reaching the Millennium Developing Goals
and the targets outlined in World Health Organization's Global Immunization
Vision and Strategy."
Reaching these targets, the editors note, will
require that immunization programs evolve from targeting just children to
including the whole family "to enable countries to attain higher vaccination
coverage of adolescents and adults for influenza and human papilloma virus,
as well as for human immunodeficiency virus and other diseases when future
vaccines against them become available."
Launched today in English, Recent Advances in
Immunization also will be published in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. For
more information on how to obtain the new book,
please visit PAHO Publications
New book tells untold story of global
campaign to eradicate polio [Nov 30
Washington DC USA]--In 1988, the year health
organizations around the world moved to eradicate polio, the disease
paralyzed at least 350,000 children at a rate of nearly 1,000 each day
around the globe. By 2005, 17 years after a comprehensive campaign was
launched to administer the polio vaccine, only 2,000 children were struck by
Authors Tim Brookes and Omar A. Khan, M.D., M.H.S., give an on-the-ground
look inside the worldwide effort to eradicate polio in countries from
Pakistan to Nigeria in "The End of Polio? Behind the Scenes of the Campaign
to Vaccinate Every Child on the Planet," published by APHA Press, the
publishing unit of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The book
explores the work of international health organizations and workers in
administering vaccines to men, women and children.
The campaign's stakes are frighteningly high: If the eradication program
fails or misses a few infected children, the entire world could be
re-infected with the disease within five years.
Brookes and Khan traveled to Pakistan to accompany polio eradication team
members in the field to give an inside view into the successes of and
obstacles to one of the world's last vaccination campaigns. The vaccinations
in Pakistan are part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI),
arguably the largest and most ambitious public health project in history,
costing an estimated $4 billion. The four core partners in the GPEI -- the
World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Rotary International -- set a
goal of eradicating polio worldwide by the year 2000. Although many nations
were polio-free by that year, polio cases persist in various parts of the
"The book goes back and forth between the big story of polio and the
progress against polio," said Brookes, a leading health author and director
of the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt.
"(It) alternates between the big picture chapters and the tight focus micro
picture of how a vaccination campaign actually takes place on the ground,
what kinds of struggles and obstacles and what kinds of heroism are
Brookes and Khan interviewed dozens of people who have been on the front
lines of the global vaccination effort. The authors tell the stories of
planners who map the areas where vaccinations must be provided, health
workers who identify where children are being paralyzed and laboratories
that confirm where the poliovirus is circulating. The book includes an
8-page insert of color photos of vaccination campaigns in various parts of
The End of Polio explores the problems that still face vaccination
efforts in Nigeria, India, Afghanistan and other countries, wrote David L.
Heymann, M.D., acting assistant director-general for communicable diseases
for the World Health Organization, in the book's foreword.
"Tim Brookes tells the story of these challenges in a readable and
accessible narrative, clearly showing the scope of the eradication program,
the challenges that remain, and the consequences of failure," Heymann wrote.
Donald A. Henderson, M.D., M.P.H., dean emeritus of the Johns Hopkins
University School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., called The End of
Polio "one of the best books that I have read which so vividly documents the
excitement, the drama, the frustrations and the realities of field work for
dedicated individuals doing their best under unbelievably difficult
"Finally, a book that captures the spirit and courage of the countless
day-to-day individual efforts which together make up the extraordinary,
largely untold story of the global polio eradication initiative, the largest
internationally coordinated health effort in history," wrote Bruce Aylward,
M.D., M.P.H., director of the global polio eradication initiative at the
World Health Organization.
Brookes has written books on the 2004 U.S. influenza vaccine shortage,
the SARS outbreak, asthma and hospice care, including Behind the Mask: How
the World Survived SARS and A Warning Shot: Influenza and the 2004 Flu
Vaccine Shortage, both published by APHA. He was born in London, England,
and educated at Oxford University. Khan has written extensively on topics in
global health. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania,
University of Vermont and the Johns Hopkins University School of Public
Health. He holds a faculty appointment at the University of Vermont and is
board certified in family medicine.
Ordering Information: Published by the American Public Health
Association, 2006, ISBN: 9780875531861, 206 pages, cost is $39.95 ($35 for
APHA members), plus shipping and handling. To order, call toll free
888-320-APHA; fax 888-361-APHA; e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit APHA's Web site:
Send request for a review copy on letterhead to APHA Publications
Marketing, 800 I Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001- 3710, or fax to
'Deserving Poor' or 'Greedy Geezers'? New
book debunks aging crisis [Nov 18
Waltham MA USA]--Despite the impending retirement of 76 million baby
boomers, huge government deficits, and unrelenting battles over
Social Security, the United States is not facing a demographic
tsunami, according to a new book by two leading experts on the
economics and politics of aging.
Aging Nation: The Economics and Politics of Growing Older in
America, addresses contentious issues ranging from the mushrooming
market in "fountain of youth" anti-aging products to the ongoing
battle over "saving" Social Security and other entitlement programs.
Brandeis economist James H. Schulz and Case Western Reserve
political scientist Robert H. Binstock agree there is considerable
cause for concern. But they argue that with sound policies and
programs in place and smart individual choices, the elderly can
prosper -- averting a future characterized by poor health, poor
finances, and employer age discrimination.
"Many reform proposals today unwisely call for individuals to take
major responsibility for their own economic security in old age.
This will expose them to many new uncertainties and risks, risks
that were minimized in the past by collective pension and health
insurance programs sponsored by business and government," says
In his press conference following the mid-term elections, President
Bush again cited entitlements as one of the biggest issues facing
the country. However, Aging Nation debunks the aging crises put
forth by the 'merchants of doom,' who predict huge dependency
burdens, Social Security bankruptcy, and inter-generational
"Our book offers a new aging policy framework based on the fact that
the lives of Americans of all ages are inextricably linked with the
fate of today's and tomorrow's elderly," say the authors.
The authors analyze the impact of an aging nation on evolving
private and public retirement policies, faltering employer pensions,
skyrocketing health care costs, and the debate over entitlement
programs. They argue that the threat to our future economic growth
and economic welfare is not so much "population aging" as it is the
old fashioned issues of promoting quality education, technological
change, and business investment (historically, the key factors
responsible for the impressive rise in our living standards).
James H. Schulz is the author of numerous books on aging policy,
including the internationally acclaimed textbook, The Economics of
Aging, now in its seventh edition. Robert H. Binstock has published
six editions of the Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences and is
a leading authority on the politics of aging. Both Schulz and
Binstock are past presidents of the Gerontological Society of
Moral clarity espoused in debate over
healthcare reform [Nov 16 Rochester
NY USA]--When the Clinton health care reform initiative died in
1994, the problems it promised to address didn’t disappear with it;
they grew worse.
More than a decade later, the United States’ population has reached
300 million, a large percentage lacking adequate—or any—health care.
Figures vary, but approximately 45 million Americans have no health
insurance at all and another 20 to 30 million are underinsured,
while many more are at risk of losing what little they have.
A new collection of essays, Health Care Reform: Ethics and Politics
(University of Rochester Press), questions the ethics of having so
many citizens without basic health care—the middle aged who have
lost their jobs and benefits, children of uninsured parents—and
proposes ways of moving beyond the standard ideological roadblocks.
The anthology, edited by Timothy Engström and Wade Robison,
professors of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, calls
for a renewed national dialogue committed to revamping the U.S.
health care model guided by moral principles in balance with
political and economical realities.
Health Care Reform grew from a conference held at RIT in 1995 and
shows how little has improved since the failed Clinton initiative.
Essayists include Howard Brody, a former consultant with the Clinton
administration’s Health Care Reform Task Force; Norman Daniels, from
Harvard School of Public Health; and Uwe Reinhardt, who sat on the
National Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, among others.
“The message throughout the book is that moral clarity comes first
and that clear policies can and must follow,” says Robison.
The escalating costs of health care force companies to cut benefits
and transfer costs to employees to remain profitable or,
paradoxically, to move abroad to countries with a national health
care system—all decisions that compromise individuals’ and the
nation’s economic health.
“What is ironic about outsourcing health care costs by moving whole
industries abroad is that we are the only industrialized country
that doesn’t have some kind of national health care,” Engström says.
“We cling tenaciously to what doesn’t work and ignore solutions that
have been shown to work well in other countries. If we would learn
from the countries to whom we send our industries, we would not have
a health care system in crisis.”
As more companies transfer costs to employees and more workers find
themselves with increased costs, diminishing benefits, or no health
care benefits at all, the crisis will only deepen, the editors say.
Often overlooked is the cost of not meeting citizens’ health needs,
potentially laying the foundation for new strains of communicable
diseases such as tuberculosis that could spread and infect the
population indiscriminately and hurt the economy in unforeseen ways.
“We can let things proceed, letting individual companies solve their
problems as best they can, or we can, provide examples of how clear
moral argument and economic and political comparisons can foster
consensus regarding the universal principles needed to reform health
care,” Engström says.
Combating terrorism: How prepared are state
and local response organizations
[Nov 15 Sacramento CA USA]-- By: Lois M. Davis, Louis T. Mariano,
Jennifer E. Pace, Sarah K. Cotton, Paul Steinberg
This book presents the results of the third and final wave of a
national survey to elicit assessments of state and local response
agencies of the activities they have undertaken after 9/11 to
respond to terrorist-related incidents and of federal programs
intended to improve preparedness and readiness for terrorism. The
survey also sought information on how state and local agencies are
resourcing these activities. The survey results indicate that:
* In response to the 9/11 attacks, state and local response
organizations took a number of steps to improve preparedness, e.g.,
updating mutual-aid agreements for emergencies and response plans
for chemical, biological, and radiological incidents and conducting
* Response organizations that perceived a higher threat of terrorism
for their jurisdiction were more likely to take action to improve
response capabilities than organizations that perceived a lower
threat, regardless of whether they had received external funding to
support these activities.
* Organizations varied in how they financed these efforts — some
increased internal spending or reallocated resources — and in
receipt of external funding.
* State public health agencies and emergency management services
received federal support early in 2002, but first responders did not
receive federal support until spring 2003.
* Organizations varied in their expectations about the role of the
military and the National Guard in a large-scale terrorist incident,
suggesting variation in the planning assumptions they are using.
* Participation with the private sector in joint preparedness
activities needs improvement, as does coordination between public
health agencies and emergency responders.
* Organizations have high expectations for the Department of
Homeland Security, particularly for funding support and for
information about terrorist threats. However, appropriations for
federal homeland security assistance have been steadily decreasing.
In light of the catastrophic impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
controversy has arisen over whether state and local organizations
have overemphasized preparedness for terrorism at the expense of
emergency preparedness for natural disasters. Our survey results
suggest that the events of 9/11 spurred response organizations not
only to undertake preparedness activities for terrorism-related
incidents, but also to make general improvements in emergency
response. All these activities support overall preparedness for any
Paperback Cover Price: $27.50
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New asthma book updates treatment
[Nov 15 Canberra ACT Australia]--The
latest medical and clinical research on treatment and diagnosis of
asthma will be made available free of charge to doctors, pharmacists
and other professionals who deal with asthma patients, via a new
The 6th edition of the Asthma Management Handbook, launched today by
the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing,
Christopher Pyne, updates the previous guidelines issued to
Australian medical and health professionals.
Changes in the new edition include:
* new drug therapies and their changing role, especially combination
therapy with inhaled corticosteroids and a long-acting beta agonists
* the Global Initiative Against Asthma classifications of asthma
severity have been adopted, stressing the importance of recognising
patterns of asthma
* emphasis is placed on practical interventions that work, including
quitting smoking, weight reduction and matching inhaler devices to
the patient’s capability
* diagnosis and treatment of other illnesses often suffered by
asthma patients (co-morbidities), including other lung and bronchial
conditions, depression, sleep apnoea and allergic conditions such as
Mr Pyne said National Asthma Council Australia compiled the first
management handbook in 1990, as part of its role to ensure a
national approach to the illness, and had since kept it up to date.
“More than 60 experts in this field have created this new edition by
reviewing the latest research, assigning levels of evidence,
writing, re-writing and editing - all in their ‘spare’ time,” Mr
“This very generous collaboration has made Australia an
international model in terms of our approach to asthma. It has
ensured that our asthma management guidelines are not only
authoritative, but they are being used by GPs, in particular.
“The results can be seen in our success in treating asthma. Although
it remains a very real problem for this country, asthma deaths have
dropped from a peak of 964 in 1989 to the latest statistic of 311,
recorded in 2004.”
Mr Pyne said approximately 2.2 million Australians were affected by
asthma. Up to 16 per cent of children and 12 per cent of adults had
a current diagnosis of asthma.
The Government provided $103,000 under the Asthma Management Program
to fund the printing of 60,000 copies of the new edition, which will
be distributed principally to respiratory, paediatric and general
physicians, allergists, general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses,
asthma foundations, asthma educators, students and other allied
It is also distributed in National Asthma Council information kits,
nationally and internationally.
American College of Physicians publishes
'Stroke' [Nov 13 Philadelphia PA
USA]--Stroke, by its very nature, breeds medical fragmentation.
While knowledge has increased dramatically among the many
specialties involved in its prevention and treatment, unification is
critical for improving patient care. “Stroke,” the ninth book in the
American College of Physicians’ Key Diseases series, brings together
physicians and surgeons so that all are on the same page when it
comes to stroke prevention, treatment and recovery.
Co-edited by Robert J. Wityk, MD, and Rafael H.
Llinas, MD, both of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Stroke”
delivers concise, practice-oriented overviews and practical recommendations
to guide decision-making for the non-neurologist. “Stroke” answers questions
that are frequently asked by internists, neurologists in-training, medical
students, stroke patients, caregivers, and the general population.
“Stroke” is “a clearly written modern manual of
stroke diagnosis and treatment,” according to Martin A. Samuels, MD, FANN,
FACP, Chairman and Neurologist-in-Chief, Brigham and Women’s Hospital,
Boston, writing in the book’s Foreword. The book is a guide to the clinical
management of patients -- from clinical and laboratory assessment, to
prognosis, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention.
“Stroke” includes cutting-edge information on acute
stroke treatment, primary stroke prevention, and the newest therapies for
stroke-related symptoms and disorders. Drs. Wityk and Llinas worked with 26
book contributors, many from Johns Hopkins affiliated institutions, who are
professors, medical directors and researchers in the fields of neurology,
neurosurgery, and radiology.
The book’s 18 chapters include: “Overview of the
Approach to the Stroke Patient,” “Antithrombolytic Therapy,” “Carotid Artery
Disease,” “Stroke in Young Patients,” “Aneurysms and Subarachnoid
Hemorrhage,” and “Effect of Oral Contraceptives and Hormone Replacement on
Stroke Risk in Women.”
The ACP Key Diseases Series provides the crucial
information physicians need to understand and treat the most commonly
encountered illnesses found in the practice of internal medicine. Concise
descriptions of symptoms and treatments are given throughout the text; Key
Points summarize chapter information; and Case Studies provide analysis of
commonly encountered clinical dilemmas. Eight other books in the ACP Key
Diseases Series are: “Asthma,” “Back Pain,” “Depression,” “Dyspepsia,”
“Headache,” “Hypertension,” “Lyme Disease,” and “Obesity.”
“Stroke” can be ordered via the
ACP Web site
or by calling the ACP Customer Service Department at 800-523-1546, extension
2600, or 215-351-2600 (M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET). The ACP product number is
#330361000; ISBN is 1-930513-69-0. List price is $40.00; ACP Members pay
$36.00. The softcover book has 400 pages.
Risk in social science [Nov 8 London England]--A new book by
Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby and Dr Jens Zinn explains how the
break-neck speed of technological innovation, coupled with a
collapse of confidence in public authorities, "experts" and
corporations has pushed 'risk' to the top of the research agenda.
Risk in Social Science, which is intended primarily as a text-book
for students of sociology, psychology and social psychology, brings
together the work of major researchers in the Economic and Social
Research Council Social Context and Responses to Risk Network (SCARR)
at the University of Kent. It is designed as an introduction to the
field of risk research and includes contributions from a wide range
of academic disciplines, drawing on international research
literature as well as UK material from the leading authorities in
Academic research is increasingly inter-disciplinary, and there has
been a shift in focus to trying to understand how ordinary people
perceive and respond to risk and including these aspects when
modelling risk scenarios. 'Research shows that extreme responses may
lead to a "culture of fear" in which anything new is suspect, or
"edgework", where people deliberately take risks in extreme sports,
sexual behaviour and relationships,' they say.
The recognition of the complex nature of risk, as well as its high
profile in public debate and in the media has led to richer
approaches and more hybrid methods of social science research and
analysis, as well as more interaction between government, academia
and business. 'Risk reduction is now a policy objective in a number
of areas, but risk is also recognised as an important ingredient
within policy, as the management of continuing risks replaces risk
elimination as the major important policy concern,' say Peter
Taylor-Gooby and Jens Zinn.
In their introduction, Peter Taylor-Gooby and Jens Zinn explain how
failures of technology and innovation, such as the Thalidomide
tragedy, the BSE outbreak and Chernobyl, increased public distrust
of institutions. 'When risk issues become politicised they are
difficult to resolve by technical means alone,' the authors state.
'A whole range of innovations, including nuclear power, GM food,
motorway building and the Ilisu, Namarda and Yangtse dam projects
all provoke vigorous and determined political protest and we know
that political pressures can prevent the diffusion of new
technologies, despite a lack of scientific evidence,' they say.
The book looks at the topic of risk from many different angles, with
chapters on Crime, the Environment and Technical Development,
Everyday Life and Leisure Time, Family and Partnerships, Health and
Illness, Lifecourse, Youth and Old Age, Media, Social and Public
Policy, Risk Regulation and Social Inequality (Gender, Ethnicity,
Disability and Class).
Risk in Social Science Edited by Peter Taylor-Gooby and Jens
Zinn. Published by Oxford University Press. The authors include,
Professor Hazel Kemshall, De Monfort University, Professor Nick
Pidgeon, Cardiff University, Professor John Tullock, Brunel
University, Professor Jane Lewis, London School of Economics,
Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent, Professor Sarah
Vickerstaff, University of Kent, Professor Jenny Kitzinger,
University of Cardiff, Professor Andy Alaszweski, University of
Kent, Professor Bridget Hutter, London School of Economics and Dr
David Abbott, University of Bristol.
New disaster preparedness
resource provides valuable information for pediatricians and
emergency response planners
[Oct 27 Washington DC USA]--HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality (AHRQ), in partnership with the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP), today released Pediatric Terrorism and Disaster
Preparedness: A Resource for Pediatricians. The resource is intended
to increase awareness about the unique needs of children and
encourage collaboration among pediatricians, state and local
emergency response planners, health care systems, and others
involved in planning and response efforts for natural disasters and
"This resource provides critical information about
how pediatricians and other physicians caring for children can work with
other entities involved in public health planning," said AHRQ Director
Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Based on their well- established role in the
community, pediatricians are in an ideal position to assist in the
development and implementation of plans that address the needs of our most
"With the publication of this new resource, our
nation's planning and response efforts are strengthened by bringing needed
focus on children in disasters," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Public
Health Emergency Preparedness Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D. "Not
only pediatricians will benefit, but also state and community response
planners, who will be better able to address our children's special needs in
all types of disasters."
Children have increased vulnerability to injury
from catastrophic events because of their unique anatomic, physiologic,
immunologic, and developmental characteristics. Local, state, regional, and
federal emergency response plans that recognize and address these
differences can reduce harm and even save lives, according to the resource.
The publication provides an overview of the role of
national, regional, and local emergency response systems before, during, and
after disasters and terrorism events. The pediatrician's role in
collaborating with this infrastructure and local emergency departments,
schools, and day care facilities is highlighted. Individual chapters provide
detailed information on the triage, supportive care, and referral of
children affected by natural, biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear,
and blast events. Children's emotional and mental health needs are also
described, including the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder,
depression, and behavioral problems that often result from these incidents.
In addition to advice on integrating the information into emergency response
plans, the resource also contains an extensive list of suggested references
and a discussion of lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.
"Pediatricians already have the knowledge to
identify and manage the physical and psychological symptoms children
experience as a result of illness and trauma," said AAP President Eileen M.
Ouellette, M.D., J.D. "This resource gives them the necessary tools to
extend that expertise to the management of widespread or catastrophic
Development of the resource, which is available
was funded by AHRQ, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness,
and the Health Resources and Services Administration. AHRQ has several
related resources to help clinicians, policy makers, and the public address
the special needs of children in emergency situations, including the report
Pediatric Anthrax: Implications for Bioterrorism Preparedness (go to
and the video Decontamination of Children: Preparedness and Response for
Hospital Emergency Departments (for information about the video and to see a
clip, go to
To learn more about all AHRQ-supported research,
tools, and activities related to bioterrorism and public health emergency
preparedness, visit the AHRQ Web site at
For more information about the American Academy of Pediatrics' terrorism
RAND toolkit identifies
programs for long-term recovery among children exposed to
significant traumatic events
Alexandria VA USA]--The RAND Corporation today issued the first
guide that shows how to provide school-based mental health programs
for students exposed to violence, natural disasters and other
The guide, called a toolkit, was developed by RAND Health for the
RAND Gulf States Policy Institute (RGSPI) to enable schools to help
students displaced by natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and
“We found that following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, schools were
in a unique position to help the displaced students they enrolled,
but had limited information about how to help,” said Lisa Jaycox, a
RAND senior behavioral scientist who is the lead author of the
guide. “This toolkit should be used as a step toward closing the
“Ensuring that children receive long-lasting help for the emotional
effects of traumatic events requires critical planning ahead of
time,” Jaycox added. “If this waits until a large-scale disaster
strikes, there are few resources for developing new programs or
training staff. It is essential that schools know what is out there,
so that they can choose the program that best fits their students'
needs and for which they have the appropriate resources.”
Titled “How Schools Can Help Students Recover From Traumatic
Experiences: A Tool-Kit for Supporting Long-Term Recovery,” the
guide moves beyond the short-term responses typically taken by
schools after disasters strikes.
Although schools have developed good capacity as “early responders”
to support communities in the aftermath of disasters or crises, they
have much less experience in how to support the longer term mental
health issues of students and staff members.
Originally developed a few months after the hurricanes, the toolkit
has now been expanded to include national and international mental
health programs for treating other experiences such as sexual abuse
and assault, the sudden death of family members, terrorism
incidents, and trauma experienced by refugees.
The guide was issued as RAND President and CEO James A. Thomson and
RGSPI Director George Penick were meeting with leaders in business
and government in Mississippi and in Louisiana this week to discuss
rebuilding in the Gulf States.
“The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute will play an important part
in helping Gulf Coast states and communities find effective
solutions to many of the problems they face,” Thomson said.
RGSPI works to develop a long-term vision and strategy to help build
a better future for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the wake
of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
RAND, a nonprofit research organization, joined with seven
universities to create RGSPI in late 2005. The seven are: Jackson
State University and the University of Southern Mississippi in
Mississippi; Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and
Xavier University in Louisiana; and Tuskegee University and the
University of South Alabama in Alabama.
RGSPI seeks funding from nonprofit institutions, other donors,
government and the private sector to conduct a broad range of
studies. It is the first organization of its kind in the region to
conduct a full spectrum of policy research on pressing challenges
facing the three states, including problems that existed even before
the hurricanes struck.
The toolkit compares 24 trauma-focused programs that have been
developed and used by schools across the United States and countries
that have experienced ongoing wars and acts of terror. The guide
assesses these programs based upon the potential needs of students
and provides school officials with estimates of the time, funding,
training, and other resources needed to put the programs into place.
Researchers note that exposure to traumatic events can have
significant long-term consequences, leading to reactions of anxiety
and depression and causing some students to act out in school, at
home and among their peers.
Trauma-focused programs that have been developed specifically for
use in schools can reduce emotional and behavioral problems while
also fostering students' resilience for future events.
Among the programs that the report describes are:
* A program by RAND, the University of California at Los Angeles
(UCLA), and the Los Angeles Unified School District called
Cognitive-Behavior Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), which
was developed to treat students exposed to multiple acts of
violence. Students showed emotional and behavioral improvements six
months following initial therapy. The program has since been
implemented in other states including Maryland, Wisconsin and
* The UCLA Trauma/Grief Program for Adolescents, which has been used
in New York City schools following the World Trade Center attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001 and in schools in post-war Bosnia. The program
targets middle and high school students following terrorism
incidents, community violence, man-made disasters and war. Program
participants have displayed reductions in depression and
improvements in academic performance and classroom behavior.
* The Friends & New Places program, which has been used to help
1,100 K-12 students who were displaced to the Dallas Independent
School District following Hurricane Katrina. Results have not been
formally evaluated, but the program is designed to reframe how
displaced children think about their traumatic experiences in
relation to their new environment and emphasizes making treatment
for traumatic events culturally acceptable.
In addition to evaluating programs for schools to choose from, the
toolkit also includes funding options for securing program materials
and training staff. However, RAND researchers note that information
on funding resources can change rapidly and schools should
thoroughly investigate which resources are available in their
Plans are underway to make the toolkit available as an
Internet-based search tool. Schools will be able to determine which
program best meets their needs based on a series of search criteria
– including the age of their students, the trauma experienced and
the related symptoms.
Development of the toolkit and selection of the programs were guided
by work from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
NCTSN is funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services
Other authors on the report include Lindsey Morse, Terri Tanielian,
and Bradley Stein of RAND.
As part of a partnership with Mercy Family Center in News Orleans
and Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, the report authors are
working on a study of children exposed to community level disasters
like Hurricane Katrina and will develop a risk profile of which
children are most in need of mental health treatment.
RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, is the nation's
largest independent health policy research program, with a broad
research portfolio that focuses on quality, costs and delivery,
among other topics.
Copies of “How Schools Can Help Students Recover From Traumatic
Experiences: A Tool-Kit for Supporting Long-Term Recovery” (ISBN:
0-8330-4037-5) can be ordered from RAND's Distribution Services
(email@example.com or call
toll-free in the U.S. 1-877-584-8642) or downloaded from the RAND
Gulf States Policy Institute at
American College of Physicians publishes
'Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students' textbook
[Oct 23 Philadelphia PA USA]--The American College of
Physicians (ACP), the nation’s largest medical-specialty society,
has released “Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students
2007-2008,” produced in collaboration with the Clerkship Directors
in Internal Medicine (CDIM). Based on a national curriculum, the
textbook is an authoritative educational resource to augment
learning during the third-year internal medicine clerkship.
“Internal Medicine Essentials” covers the common problems and disorders a
student is likely to see on the internal medicine rotation. The textbook has
a publicly accessible Web component with additional clinical photos, tables,
screening tools and other instruments.
“Internal Medicine Essentials” is unique in that it was created by
faculty who helped design the internal medicine clerkship curriculum and who
are actively involved in teaching and advising students on the internal
medicine clerkship. The textbook was written by 67 authors representing 49
different medical schools. The editor-in-chief is Patrick C. Alguire, MD,
FACP, director of education and career development for the American College
“Internal Medicine Essentials” helps students care for patients, prepare
for clinical rounds, and study for the end-of-rotation examination. It is
organized around the major training problems that are included in the
nationally recognized Core Medicine Clerkship Curriculum Guide. Content is
derived almost entirely from two evidence-based resources published and
managed by ACP: the Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP) and
the Physician Information and Education Resource (PIER).
“Learning about internal medicine -- the specialty providing
comprehensive care to adults -- in the third year of medical school is an
important experience, regardless of what specialty the medical student
ultimately pursues. Through publication of this book and other efforts on
behalf of students, ACP is promoting medical knowledge and professionalism
early in the medical career,” said Dr. Alguire. ACP also supports medical
student learning through complimentary Medical Student Membership,
sponsorship of a national clinical competition and residency fair, a Council
of Student Members, and study resources such as MKSAP for Students 3. ACP
also addresses public policy issues related to the concerns of medical
ACP (Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults.®) is the largest
medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the
United States. Membership includes more than 120,000 internists, related
subspecialists, and medical students. ACP works to enhance the quality and
effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in
the practice of medicine.
The Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (www.im.org/CDIM)
is the national organization of individuals responsible for teaching
internal medicine to medical students. Founded in 1989, CDIM promotes
excellence in the education of medical students and serves internal medicine
faculty and staff.
“Internal Medicine Essentials for Medical Students” can be
ordered via the ACP Web site; or
contact the ACP Customer Service Department at 215-351-2600 (M-F, 9 a.m. - 5
p.m. ET). The ACP product number is 330361030; ISBN is 1-930513-82-8. List
price is $49.95; ACP Medical Student Members receive a $10.00 discount. The
softcover book has 278 pages.
The truth about rumors and
why we believe them [Oct 19 Rochester NY USA]--A
flurry of rumor and gossip followed recent reports of a small plane
hitting a high-rise apartment building on New York's Upper East
Side. Was it a helicopter or a plane? Was it an accident or a
terrorist attack? The pilot's celebrity identity added another
strange twist as the rumor unraveled to substantiated fact.
The process of that unraveling, of people sorting out bits of fact
and fiction, fascinates Nicholas DiFonzo, professor of social and
organization psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology and one
of the leading experts on rumor and gossip research. He is currently
researching how rumors proliferate, spread and die over time as part
of a National Science Foundation-funded study.
In their recent book Rumor Psychology: Social and Organizational
Approaches published by APA Books, DiFonzo and co-author Prashant
Borida, associate professor of management at the University of South
Australia, present new research and ideas about rumors, which they
differentiate from gossip and urban legend.
"A rumor is what you do when you try to figure out the truth with
other people," DiFonzo says. "It's collective sense making. The
classic example is 'I heard that…'"
Gossip, on the other hand, is sharing information with an agenda, he
says. It could be for entertainment or to bond with another person
or to reinforce a social norm. Gossip, which may be true, tends to
have an edge.
"Gossip is more to do with social networks," DiFonzo says. "A strong
motivation we have as humans is to connect with a group."
The urban legend is a misnomer, he says. "'Modern legends' or
'contemporary legends' would be more accurate."
"How do people know what's true is true?" is the question that most
His research on rumor accuracy and the role of trust in rumor
transmission seeks to determine how successful people are at
figuring out the truth.
One of the studies included in Rumor Psychology surveyed public
relations professionals from Fortune 500 companies about the
veracity of organizational or workplace rumors from their own
experience. The authors found that most workplace rumors are 95
Rumor Psychology also includes new studies about rumor propagation
and why people believe them. The authors also recommend methods for
managing organizational rumors and present a research agenda for
future rumor research.
New guide to help
countries prevent violence against children [Oct 17
Geneva Switzerland]--The World Health Organization (WHO) is today
issuing a practical new guide to help countries prevent violence
against children. Children are the victims of startling levels of
violence, often at the hands of those who should be protecting them.
This new guide, published by WHO and the International Society for
Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), demonstrates that
violence against children can and must be prevented.
According to the recently released UN Secretary-General's Study on
Violence Against Children, much of the violence endured by children
aged 0-14 years occurs in the home at the hands of parents,
caregivers, and family members. The consequences of this violence
hinder children's health and development and can last well into
adulthood, negatively affecting health and increasing the risks of
further victimization and becoming a perpetrator of violence.
Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and
generating evidence is intended to assist countries to design and
deliver programmes for the prevention of child maltreatment by
parents and caregivers. The guide is a practical tool that will help
governments implement the recommendations of the UN Study on
Violence Against Children.
Country reports in the UN Study show that children under 10 years of
age are at significantly greater risk than older children of severe
violence perpetrated by family members and people closely associated
with the family. The Study also reports WHO estimates that in
children under 18 years of age the worldwide prevalence of sexual
violence involving forced intercourse and touch is 73 million for
boys and 150 million for girls.
Research shows that child maltreatment can be prevented. The need to
increase investment in prevention is urgent and global. Promising
strategies include reducing unintended pregnancies; improving access
to high-quality pre- and post-natal care; reducing harmful levels of
alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and by new parents;
providing home visitation services by nurses and social workers to
families at risk of maltreatment, and training parents on child
development, non-violent discipline and problem-solving skills. The
UN Study and the guide make it clear that responsibility for
implementing such strategies lies with governments, and should
involve other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), research councils and the international community.
"For too long now the response to child maltreatment has been
dominated by systems for reacting to cases once maltreatment has
already started. The scientific evidence for preventing physical,
sexual and psychological abuse from occurring in the first place is
already quite strong, and the time is ripe for a paradigm shift from
reaction to prevention," said Dr Anders Nordström, WHO Acting
The new WHO-ISPCAN guide provides technical advice for professionals
working in governments, research institutes and NGOs on how to
measure the extent of child maltreatment and its consequences and
how to design, implement and evaluate prevention programmes. The
guide also notes that the strong relationships between child
maltreatment, economic inequality and poverty mean that reducing
inequality and poverty are likely to make a significant contribution
to preventing child maltreatment.
"We welcome the WHO-ISPCAN guide on Preventing Child Maltreatment,"
said Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF. "This is an
important new tool for addressing violence against children."
A unique aspect of Preventing child maltreatment is its recognition
that child maltreatment and other childhood adversities are
associated with a broad range of risk-taking behaviours in later
life, including smoking, high-risk sexual behaviours, unintended
pregnancy and harmful alcohol and drug use.
According to a recent WHO study, the lifetime impacts of child
sexual abuse account for approximately six percent of cases of
depression; six percent of alcohol and or drug abuse/dependence;
eight percent of suicide attempts; 10 percent of panic disorders,
and 27 percent of post traumatic stress disorders. Such risk factors
and behaviours can lead to some of the principal causes of death,
disease and disability.
"What happens to people in childhood still has a major effect
thirty, forty and even fifty years later. One person might be driven
to chronic depression, or to alcoholism, another to suicide, another
to drug use leading to chronic hepatitis. But these linkages are
concealed by time, shame, secrecy, and by social taboos against
discussing these things," said Dr Vincent Felitti, Chief of
Preventive Medicine at the Kaiser Permanent Medical Care Program in
the USA, and a contributor to the guide. "These concealed life-long
consequences mean that governments everywhere are already spending a
substantial portion of their health budgets treating the
consequences of maltreatment, resources that would be far more
effectively spent on prevention".
"We have enough information to take preventive action. We cannot
delay. Children cannot wait. By following the recommendations
contained in this guide countries can immediately start to implement
child maltreatment prevention programmes while building the evidence
base further," said Professor Barbara Bonner, President of ISPCAN.
Social work director authors vital handbook
for mental health professionals [Oct 7 Cincinnati OH
USA]--They’re on the front lines of treatment, but they’re not
prescribing the medications. A new handbook by University of
Cincinnati Social Work director Sophia Dziegielewski holds valuable
information for social workers, family therapists and counselors who
work with clients who take medications for their mental health.
A new book for mental healthcare workers is billed as the
first of its kind in giving non- medically trained
professionals (NMTPs) a comprehensive look at the role of
medications in mental health treatment – not only how they
work, but also side effects, interactions, tolerance,
affects of expired medications, brand-name versus generics,
and the important role of the non-medically trained health
care provider in “gathering information that supports
understanding the whole person,” as is written by the
Sophia Dziegielewski, director of the School of Social Work
at the University of Cincinnati, is author of
Psycho-Pharmacology Handbook for the Non-Medically Trained,
published by W. W. Norton & Company. “It’s written in such
simplistic language that it is designed for all,” she says.
Now entering her second year as the director of the UC
School of Social Work, Dziegielewski has written dozens of
articles, three training manuals and several textbooks in
the areas of mental health. She explains that it’s often the
social worker, psychologist, family therapist or counselor
who is monitoring how a client is taking and adjusting to
prescription medications to treat mental health disorders.
She says the book has easy-to-understand information on what
professionals need to watch out for, once their client is
prescribed a medication. “A consumer will be prescribed a
medication and then may not meet with the doctor again for
six weeks. Well, for the most part, many of your side
effects from that medication are going to occur within the
first week or two,” says Dziegielewski.
The book is also filled with brief “quick tips” that
professionals can scan for information on the role of NMTPs
and treating depression, increasing compliance in taking
medications, helping to reduce prescription errors,
assessing tolerance and addiction, and other issues related
to medicinal treatment.
The second half of the book delves more deeply into
specific drugs and examines:
- Medications to treat depression
- Medications to treat bipolar disorders
- Medications to treat anxiety
- Medications for schizophrenia and other psychotic
- Alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies
The Psycho-Pharmacology Handbook for the Non-Medically
Trained has a retail price of $27.50 in the U.S.; $38.50 in
Canada, and can be
ordered online through Amazon.com
Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Kelly Rouba
[Feb 17 New York NY]
textbook on strokes in children and young adults updated in
second edition [Feb 6 Maywood IL]
the front lines in the war on terror [Feb
6 London England]
examines health care delivery in war-torn Africa
[Feb 6 Milwaukee WI]
may be key to reducing militancy [Feb 6
book dissects statistics for doctors and medical students
[Nov 11 Cold Spring Harbor NY]
book provides unique view into jihadist mind
[Nov 11 Sacramento CA]
century could be the 'age of paranoia,' warns leading scientist
[Nov 11 London England]
your business in a pandemic [Nov 10 Chicago IL]
cloudy to clear: New book explores the modern history of
meteorology [Oct 6 Tallahassee FL]
Historian faces fears,
fantasies about NYC's destruction [Sep 23
International researchers and clinicians share their
insights and experience with blast related injuries
[Aug 18 Baltimore MD]
publication addresses safety of imported foods
[Aug 18 Washington DC]
Predictions' book offers easy guide to global warming
science [Aug 18 Philadelphia PA]
Watercooler rumors -- what's truth got to do with it? [Aug 18 Rochester NY]
The role of giving explored [Jun 20 Indianapolis IN]
New book explores value of
[Jun 14 Chicago
Managing risk in an
increasingly hazardous world [May 31
Finding God with
biocomplexity [May 31 Calgary AB]
Forgotten diseases key to
lifting developing world from poverty, destitution and
despair [Apr 12 Washington DC]
New book gives a human face
to children with congenital heart disease
[Mar 30 Cold Spring Harbor NY USA]
Priming scientists for
successful media interviews [Mar 30
Washington DC USA]
Supportive devices or
unnecessary surveillance? New book warns
of threats posed by ambient intelligence, calls for
safeguards [Mar 30 London England]
Global: Women and disasters
[Mar 20 Los Angeles CA USA]
USA: Coal-fires science:
Ready to ignite around the world
[Jan 24 Boulder CO]
USA: New book by UCR
biologist discusses 12 diseases that impacted humanity
[Nov 15 Riverside CA]
USA: Handbook helps parents
deal with childhood infections
[Oct 30 Denver CO USA]
USA: Sports-related injuries
most common cause of visits to the doctor's office for young
athletes creating a need for increasing knowledge of
diagnosis and treatment
[Oct 30 New York NY USA]
USA: Civil defense researcher finds what's old is new again
[Oct 13 Chicago IL]
American College of Physicians publishes 'The Fenway Guide to LGBT
[Sep 18 Philadelphia PA USA]
Toxic food trend continues to worry
US public [Sep 2 Amherst NY USA]
Doctors share joys and frustrations
in 'On Being a Doctor 3' [Sep 2 Philadelphia PA
It's time to look at health risks in
a new light [Sep 2 Baltimore MD USA]
CDC travel health book advises
travelers on hazards both ordinary and extraordinary
[Jul 17 Atlanta GA USA]
Shopping for healthcare overseas: An
economist's view [Jul 17 Philadelphia PA