Archive for April, 2012

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) report shows further progress needed

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) report shows further progress needed
Source: International Energy Agency

At the 2011 Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting in Abu Dhabi, the CEM Carbon Capture, Use and Storage Action Group (CCUS AG) presented seven recommendations on concrete, near-term actions to accelerate global carbon capture and storage deployment. This week, at the 2012 CEM meeting in London, the IEA and Global CCS Institute presented a report tracking progress made against the 2011 recommendations and focusing on key questions such as how Energy Ministers can continue to drive progress to enable CCS to fully contribute to climate change mitigation. It concludes that, despite developments in some areas, significant further work is required. CCS financing and industrial applications continue to represent a particularly serious challenge.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Associated Health Care Expenditures

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Associated Health Care Expenditures
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Context: Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome primarily caused by maternal opiate use. No national estimates are available for the incidence of maternal opiate use at the time of delivery or NAS.

Objectives: To determine the national incidence of NAS and antepartum maternal opiate use and to characterize trends in national health care expenditures associated with NAS between 2000 and 2009.

Design, Setting, and Patients: A retrospective, serial, cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of newborns with NAS. The Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) was used to identify newborns with NAS by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) was used to identify mothers using diagnosis related groups for vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Clinical conditions were identified using ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes. NAS and maternal opiate use were described as an annual frequency per 1000 hospital births. Missing hospital charges (<5% of cases) were estimated using multiple imputation. Trends in health care utilization outcomes over time were evaluated using variance-weighted regression. All hospital charges were adjusted for inflation to 2009 US dollars.

Main Outcome Measures: Incidence of NAS and maternal opiate use, and related hospital charges.

Results: The separate years (2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009) of national discharge data included 2920 to 9674 unweighted discharges with NAS and 987 to 4563 unweighted discharges for mothers diagnosed with antepartum opiate use, within data sets including 784 191 to 1.1 million discharges for children (KID) and 816 554 to 879 910 discharges for all ages of delivering mothers (NIS). Between 2000 and 2009, the incidence of NAS among newborns increased from 1.20 (95% CI, 1.04-1.37) to 3.39 (95% CI, 3.12-3.67) per 1000 hospital births per year (P for trend < .001). Antepartum maternal opiate use also increased from 1.19 (95% CI, 1.01-1.35) to 5.63 (95% CI, 4.40-6.71) per 1000 hospital births per year (P for trend < .001). In 2009, newborns with NAS were more likely than all other hospital births to have low birthweight (19.1%; SE, 0.5%; vs 7.0%; SE, 0.2%), have respiratory complications (30.9%; SE, 0.7%; vs 8.9%; SE, 0.1%), and be covered by Medicaid (78.1%; SE, 0.8%; vs 45.5%; SE, 0.7%; all P < .001). Mean hospital charges for discharges with NAS increased from $39 400 (95% CI, $33 400-$45 400) in 2000 to $53 400 (95% CI, $49 000-$57 700) in 2009 (P for trend < .001). By 2009, 77.6% of charges for NAS were attributed to state Medicaid programs.

Conclusion: Between 2000 and 2009, a substantial increase in the incidence of NAS and maternal opiate use in the United States was observed, as well as hospital charges related to NAS.

See: About One Baby Born Each Hour Addicted to Opiate Drugs in U.S. (Science Daily)

Newspaper Multiplatform Usage

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Newspaper Multiplatform Usage
Source: Newspaper Association of America
From press release:

A new study shows that in an average week, 74 percent of all Internet users rely on local newspaper media – digital as well as print – as key sources of news and information, and are engaging with their local newspaper across multiple platforms.

Major findings of the survey show that among the large base of Internet users who engage with newspaper media, 54 percent are using more than one platform to access newspaper content in an average week. Sixty-seven percent use at least one of three common digital platforms – computers, smartphones or tablets – and they use each at multiple times over the course of the day for newspaper content. The study was conducted for the Newspaper Association of America by Frank N. Magid Associates of Minneapolis.

The research, presented last week at NAA mediaXchange 2012 in Washington, D.C., also looks at what motivates consumers to turn to newspaper media for their news needs. Top answers to the question “Why Newspapers?” illustrate core newspaper brand values, including convenience, the extensive range and depth of news and information, and the amount of local news…

+ Full Report (PDF)

New From the GAO

April 30, 2012 Comments off

New GAO ReportsSource: Government Accountability Office

1. Electronic Health Records: First Year of CMS’s Incentive Programs Shows Opportunities to Improve Processes to Verify Providers Met Requirements. GAO-12-481, April 30.
Highlights –

2. Border Security: Opportunities Exist to Ensure More Effective Use of DHS’s Air and Marine Assets. GAO-12-518, March 30.
Highlights –

3. Medicare: Implementation of Financial Incentive Programs under Federal Fraud and Abuse Laws. GAO-12-355, March 30.
Highlights –

4. Prescription Drugs: FDA Has Met Most Performance Goals for Reviewing Applications. GAO-12-500, March 30.
Highlights –

5. Group Purchasing Organizations: Federal Oversight and Self-Regulation. GAO-12-399R, March 30.

New Ceres/Sustainalytics Report Shows Most U.S. Companies Falling Short on Sustainability

April 30, 2012 Comments off

New Ceres/Sustainalytics Report Shows Most U.S. Companies Falling Short on Sustainability
Source: Ceres

In the first major assessment of progress on a unique Ceres Roadmap to corporate sustainability released two years ago, Ceres and global research and analysis firm Sustainalytics today released The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability.

The findings – based on an assessment of how 600 U.S. companies are responding to environmental and social challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and supply chain conditions – show individual examples of leadership but significant need for overall improvement.

“While there are encouraging pockets of sustainability leadership in the U.S. business community, far too many companies are only taking small, incremental steps,” said Ceres president Mindy Lubber, in announcing the report at the opening of the Ceres annual conference today in Boston. “Sustainability has yet to gain traction at anywhere near the scale and speed required given the global threats we face.”

+ Full Report

Short Sleep Duration Among Workers — United States, 2010

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Short Sleep Duration Among Workers — United States, 2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for fatigued workers and others around them (1–3). For example, an estimated 20% of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving (3). The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep 7–9 hours per day. To assess the prevalence of short sleep duration among workers, CDC analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The analysis compared sleep duration by age group, race/ethnicity, sex, marital status, education, and employment characteristics. Overall, 30.0% of civilian employed U.S. adults (approximately 40.6 million workers) reported an average sleep duration of ≤6 hours per day. The prevalence of short sleep duration (≤6 hours per day) varied by industry of employment (range: 24.1%–41.6%), with a significantly higher rate of short sleep duration among workers in manufacturing (34.1%) compared with all workers combined. Among all workers, those who usually worked the night shift had a much higher prevalence of short sleep duration (44.0%, representing approximately 2.2 million night shift workers) than those who worked the day shift (28.8%, representing approximately 28.3 million day shift workers). An especially high prevalence of short sleep duration was reported by night shift workers in the transportation and warehousing (69.7%) and health-care and social assistance (52.3%) industries. Targeted interventions, such as evidence-based shift system designs that improve sleep opportunities and evidence-based training programs on sleep and working hours tailored for managers and employees (4), should be implemented to protect the health and safety of workers, their coworkers, and the public.

Affirmative action is needed to get the best candidates, Stanford psychologist says

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Affirmative action is needed to get the best candidates, Stanford psychologist says
Source: Social Issues and Policy Review, forthcoming (via Stanford University)

When it comes to affirmative action, the argument usually focuses on diversity. Promoting diversity, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003, can justify taking race into account.

But some people say this leads to the admission of less qualified candidates over better ones and creates a devil’s choice between diversity and merit.

Not so, says Stanford psychologist Greg Walton. Diversity and meritocracy are not always at odds.

In fact, sometimes it is only by taking race and gender into account that schools and employers can admit and hire the best candidates, Walton argues in a paper slated for publication in the journal Social Issues and Policy Review with co-authors Steven J. Spencer of the University of Waterloo and Sam Erman of Harvard University.

Walton, an assistant professor of psychology, and Spencer plan to present their findings to the Supreme Court in an amicus brief in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case the justices are scheduled to hear next fall and that many court watchers believe threatens to upend affirmative action. (Supreme Court rules bar Erman, who was a recent Supreme Court clerk, from participating in the brief.)

“People have argued that affirmative action is consistent or is not consistent with meritocracy,” Walton said. “Our argument is not that it’s consistent or inconsistent. Our argument is that you need affirmative action to make meritocratic decisions – to get the best candidates.”

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Employment Characteristics of Families — 2011

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Employment Characteristics of Families — 2011
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

In 2011, 11.5 percent of families included an unemployed person, falling from a peak of 12.4 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Of the nation’s 78.4 million families, 79.8 percent had at least one employed member in 2011.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. Families are classified either as married-couple families or as families maintained by women or men without spouses present.

Report: U.S. Media Trends by Demographic

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Report: U.S. Media Trends by Demographic
Source: Nielsen

From Millenials to Boomers, males to females, and a variety of racial/ethnic groups, part two of Nielsen’s State of the Media: Advertising & Audiences Report presents an in-depth look at usage by demographic. According to Nielsen, white TV viewers use their DVR twice as much as any other group on a daily basis, yet Asians watch the most timeshifted content as a share of overall TV time. Among popular online destinations for TV content – Hulu, Netflix and YouTube – Hispanics were most likely to watch video on Netflix, while Asians were most likely to watch on Hulu and black viewers on YouTube.

Other findings include:

  • Teens used a game console for eight minutes a night, on average, during primetime – more than twice as much as the general TV population.
  • When watching TV and using their tablet simultaneously, male tablet users were more likely to look up information related to a TV program while females were more likely to up look info related to a TV ad.
  • Females spend 61.2 percent of their timeshifted viewing during primetime watching Dramas.
  • Online adults aged 25-54 are 23 percent more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to follow a brand via social networking and 29 percent more likely to purchase a product online that was featured on TV.

Free registration require to download full reports — State of the Media: Advertising & Audiences Part 1: Primetime by Genre and ate of the Media: Advertising & Audiences Part 2: By Demographic.

More Americans Entering Poverty as They Age

April 30, 2012 Comments off

More Americans Entering Poverty as They Age (PDF)
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

Between 2005–2009, the rate of poverty among American seniors rose as they aged, as did the number of new entrants into poverty, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The EBRI report found that poverty rates fell in the first half of the last decade for almost all age groups of older Americans (age 50 or older), though they increased since 2005 for every age group.

Poverty rates, as defined by U.S. Census poverty thresholds, were highest for the oldest of the elderly. Almost 15 percent of those older than age 85 were in poverty in 2009, compared with approximately 10.5 percent of those older than 65, EBRI found. Additionally, in 2009, 6 percent of those age 85 older were new entrants in poverty.

Several factors account for the growing rate of poverty among the elderly, according to Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the report. “As people age, personal savings and pension account balances are depleted, and as people age, their medical expenditures tend to increase,” Banerjee said.

“Also, the rising poverty rates noted correspond to the two economic recessions that occurred during the last decade.”

+ Full Report (PDF)

It’s All In the Mix: Maximizing Return on Brand Investment

April 30, 2012 Comments off
Marketers commonly assume that investment in branding and advertising will increase sales, profits and brand loyalty, but a recent Nielsen study suggests that marketing dollars spent do not necessarily mean revenue realized.
The study, conducted in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, shows that products supported by above the line – that is, mass media – advertising cost an average of 16 percent more and command an average of 31 percent higher share of category spending. Still, some above-the-line investments can actually hurt profitability and brand value, and internet-based marketing and that which generates buzz among consumers can often be more valuable than traditional marketing models.
In the quest for market share, companies often offer discounts as a short-term strategy. Price discounting is tempting as it typically yields a positive revenue return that is higher compared to other marketing activities. However, it is not a panacea. A study of 26 failing FMCG items revealed that 19 out of 20 items that used price discounting as a strategy to hold their market positions once their loyal buyer base had been eroded, exited the market within 16-20 weeks.  Only 1 item managed to save its position with a relaunch.  The remaining 6 items exited the market within 4 -8 weeks.
Advertisers looking to spend on advertising and promotions should consider how they can consistently generate a positive, balanced return on investment (ROI).  Using tangible metrics will help focus the investments and ensure maximum efficiency.

Free registration required to download full report.

United Nations World Youth Report

April 30, 2012 Comments off
Source:  United Nations
Chapter I introduces the status of young people in the labour market and youth employment trends. It provides a snapshot of key youth employment-related demographics, highlighting the critical role of youth employment in social development. The chapter also considers positive and negative trends across countries in various stages of development to illustrate the state of youth employment world-wide.
Chapter II explores education, as the foundation for working life, with focus on views regarding educational quality and utility. Vocational education, life skills and entrepreneurship are highlighted. The chapter examines what some schools are doing, and what more can be done, to help young people transition to work. It considers ways for educational systems to be more responsive to the changing needs of economies and societies, and labour markets in particular. It also looks at ways in which young people may hold policymakers and decision-makers accountable for fulfilling the right to quality education.
Chapter III focuses on the transition of young people into work, particularly the search for a first job. It examines the availability among youth of information on labour markets and job seeking, and explores various mechanisms and tools to inform and advise young people, from networking to subsidized employment programmes. The chapter also looks into potential emerging areas of opportunity for young people.
Chapter IV explores the quality and conditions of jobs held by youth, and how young people’s working situation interacts with their family and home lives. It addresses high rates among youth of underemployment, participation in the informal economy, vulnerable employment, wages and working conditions. The chapter also examines how a lack of decent work opportunities can influence family life, social processes such as marriage and fertility, as well as health and well-being.

UK — Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls

April 30, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Home Office
There were over 1 million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales in the last year. Over 300,000 women are sexually assaulted and 60,000 women are raped each year. Overall in the UK, more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, often with years of psychological abuse, Worldwide violence against women and girls can be a problem of pandemic proportions. This is unacceptable.
The vast majority of these violent acts are perpetrated by men on women. In 2009/10, women were the victim of over seven out of ten (73%) incidents of domestic violence. More than one third (36%) of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16 years of age. This is unacceptable.
Internationally, findings in a number of developing countries suggest that violence against women and girls is significant and is often endemic. Between 40% and 60% of women surveyed in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, Samoa, Thailand and Tanzania said that they had been physically and/ or sexually abused by their close partners. This is unacceptable.

Rethinking ‘Rational Imitation’ in 14-Month-Old Infants: A Perceptual Distraction Approach

April 29, 2012 Comments off

Rethinking ‘Rational Imitation’ in 14-Month-Old Infants: A Perceptual Distraction Approach
Source: PLoS ONE

In their widely noticed study, Gergely, Bekkering, and Király (2002) showed that 14-month-old infants imitated an unusual action only if the model freely chose to perform this action and not if the choice of the action could be ascribed to external constraints. They attributed this kind of selective imitation to the infants’ capacity of understanding the principle of rational action. In the current paper, we present evidence that a simpler approach of perceptual distraction may be more appropriate to explain their results. When we manipulated the saliency of context stimuli in the two original conditions, the results were exactly opposite to what rational imitation predicts. Based on these findings, we reject the claim that the notion of rational action plays a key role in selective imitation in 14-month-olds.

Facilitating Medicaid Enrollment for People with Serious Mental Illnesses Leaving Jail or Prison: Key Questions for Policymakers Committed to Improving Health and Policy Safety

April 29, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Council of State Governments Justice Center
This brief provides guidance for elected officials and corrections and mental health directors to understand what percentage of the corrections population is eligible for Medicaid and SSI/SSDI, how to identify eligible individuals at intake to the facility, and when to begin the application process for benefits program.

Experimental Study of Informal Rewards in Peer Production

April 29, 2012 Comments off

Experimental Study of Informal Rewards in Peer Production
Source: PLoS ONE

We test the effects of informal rewards in online peer production. Using a randomized, experimental design, we assigned editing awards or “barnstars” to a subset of the 1% most productive Wikipedia contributors. Comparison with the control group shows that receiving a barnstar increases productivity by 60% and makes contributors six times more likely to receive additional barnstars from other community members, revealing that informal rewards significantly impact individual effort.

See: Informal Awards Contribute to Higher Wikipedia Participation (Science Daily)

Vote With Your Purse: Lesson Learned: Women, Money, and Politics in the 2010 Election Cycle

April 29, 2012 Comments off
Source:  She Should Run
While women’s votes have been critical in deciding federal elections since the 1980’s,  women still face significant barriers towards realizing equality in politics and public life. In 2010, our nation experienced the first backslide in electing more women to office in over 30 years. In the same year, it also experienced a decrease in women’s political giving, after securing very marginal increases in past elections.
She Should Run, working with the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), found that women still lag drastically behind men in political giving. In 2010, women made up just 26% of recorded federal political contributions to candidates, political action committees (PACs), and party committees. More importantly, this is down from 31% in the 2008 cycle and down from 30% in the 2006 cycle.
This report reveals a probable correlation between women’s political giving and their representation in Congress. It is telling that women’s political giving went down during the same cycle that women’s representation in Congress decreased. Our nation cannot afford these declines, given that women make up approximately 17% of Congress, yet represent over 50% of the population.

Exploitative male mating strategies: Personality, mating orientation, and relationship status

April 29, 2012 Comments off

Exploitative male mating strategies: Personality, mating orientation, and relationship status (PDF)
Source: Personality and Individual Differences

Previous research suggests men are sexually attracted to women displaying cues to sexual exploitability. During human evolutionary history, men’s agreeableness, orientation towards casual sex, and relation- ship status may have been recurrently associated with greater net benefits of pursuing a sexually exploit- ative strategy. We hypothesized these three individual differences would predict men’s perceptions of women’s sexual exploitability. Seventy-two men viewed photographs of women and rated their sexual exploitability. Men’s agreeableness, sociosexual orientation, and current relationship status interacted to predict their perceptions of women’s sexual exploitability; among unmated men, the combination of low agreeableness and an orientation toward uncommitted sex was associated with higher perceptions of women’s sexual exploitability. This suggests mechanisms motivating sexually exploitative strategies may depend on an interaction between personality characteristics and situational variables.

Effect of a Text Messaging Intervention on Influenza Vaccination in an Urban, Low-Income Pediatric and Adolescent Population

April 28, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Journal of the American Medical Association
Influenza infection results in substantial costs, morbidity, and mortality. Vaccination against influenza is particularly important in children and adolescents who are a significant source of transmission to other high-risk populations, yet pediatric and adolescent vaccine coverage remains low. Traditional vaccine reminders have had a limited effect on low-income populations; however, text messaging is a novel, scalable approach to promote influenza vaccination.
To evaluate targeted text message reminders for low-income, urban parents to promote receipt of influenza vaccination among children and adolescents.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Randomized controlled trial of 9213 children and adolescents aged 6 months to 18 years receiving care at 4 community-based clinics in the United States during the 2010-2011 influenza season. Of the 9213 children and adolescents, 7574 had not received influenza vaccine prior to the intervention start date and were included in the primary analysis.
Parents of children assigned to the intervention received up to 5 weekly immunization registry–linked text messages providing educational information and instructions regarding Saturday clinics. Both the intervention and usual care groups received the usual care, an automated telephone reminder, and access to informational flyers posted at the study sites.
Main Outcome Measures
Receipt of an influenza vaccine dose recorded in the immunization registry via an electronic health record by March 31, 2011. Receipt was secondarily assessed at an earlier fall review date prior to typical widespread influenza activity.
Study children and adolescents were primarily minority, 88% were publicly insured, and 58% were from Spanish-speaking families. As of March 31, 2011, a higher proportion of children and adolescents in the intervention group (43.6%; n = 1653) compared with the usual care group (39.9%; n = 1509) had received influenza vaccine (difference, 3.7% [95% CI, 1.5%-5.9%]; relative rate ratio [RRR], 1.09 [95% CI, 1.04-1.15]; P = .001). At the fall review date, 27.1% (n = 1026) of the intervention group compared with 22.8% (n = 864) of the usual care group had received influenza vaccine (difference, 4.3% [95% CI, 2.3%-6.3%]; RRR, 1.19 [95% CI, 1.10-1.28]; P < .001).
Among children and adolescents in a low-income, urban population, a text messaging intervention compared with usual care was associated with an increased rate of influenza vaccination. However, the overall influenza vaccination rate remained low.

A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members’ Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists

April 28, 2012 Comments off
Source:  PLoS Medicine
Summary Points
+ The American Psychiatric Association (APA) instituted a financial conflict of interest disclosure policy for the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
+ The new disclosure policy has not been accompanied by a reduction in the financial conflicts of interest of DSM panel members.
+ Transparency alone cannot mitigate the potential for bias and is an insufficient solution for protecting the integrity of the revision process.
+ Gaps in APA’s disclosure policy are identified and recommendations for more stringent safeguards are offered.

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