Archive for the ‘National Academy of Sciences’ Category

Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives

May 4, 2012 Comments off
Source:  National Academy of the Sciences
In Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives, a new compilation of peer-reviewed papers, researchers discuss emerging data about the various aspects of aging in Asia. The papers were presented at conferences held in Beijing and New Delhi during 2011 as part of a collaborative effort by NAS, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Indonesian Academy of Sciences, and the Science Council of Japan to prepare for the challenges of population aging.

Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1 (2012)

April 4, 2012 Comments off

Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1 (2012)

Source:  National Academy of Sciences
The question of whether there are cancer risks associated with living near a nuclear facility is of great interest to the public, especially those living closest to the facilities. Airborne and waterborne emissions of radioactive materials from the facilities’ normal operations (called effluents) can expose nearby populations to ionizing radiation, which could elevate the risk of cancer in the exposed populations. The first phase of a two-phase project, this report identifies scientific approaches for carrying out an assessment of cancer risks for populations near the 104 nuclear reactors and 13 fuel cycle facilities that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses across the United States, as well as for people who have lived close to former sites.
Studies of health effects in populations (epidemiologic studies) could provide clues for a potential association between living near nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities and risk of cancer. However, such studies are challenging because of incomplete data on occurrences of cancer and cancer deaths in geographic areas of interest (i.e., smaller than the county level), incomplete information on radioactive releases from nuclear facilities during early years of operation, and other factors. Moreover, because radioactive releases are generally low, any risks would be expected to be small and difficult to detect with statistical certainty. This report identifies two health study designs deemed suitable for assessing cancer risks in populations near nuclear facilities, having both scientific merit and the ability to address some public concerns. A pilot study would be needed to determine whether either or both of the two recommended study designs are feasible to implement on a large scale and to assess the required time and resources. Communicating with and involving the public and other stakeholders is an essential element in the study process.

Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors

July 30, 2011 Comments off

Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors
Source: National Academy of Sciences

In the United States, health care devices, technologies, and practices are rapidly moving into the home. The factors driving this migration include the costs of health care, the growing numbers of older adults, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and diseases and improved survival rates for people with those conditions and diseases, and a wide range of technological innovations. The health care that results varies considerably in its safety, effectiveness, and efficiency, as well as in its quality and cost.

Health Care Comes Home reviews the state of current knowledge and practice about many aspects of health care in residential settings and explores the short- and long-term effects of emerging trends and technologies. By evaluating existing systems, the book identifies design problems and imbalances between technological system demands and the capabilities of users. Health Care Comes Home recommends critical steps to improve health care in the home. The book’s recommendations cover the regulation of health care technologies, proper training and preparation for people who provide in-home care, and how existing housing can be modified and new accessible housing can be better designed for residential health care. The book also identifies knowledge gaps in the field and how these can be addressed through research and development initiatives.

Health Care Comes Home lays the foundation for the integration of human health factors with the design and implementation of home health care devices, technologies, and practices. The book describes ways in which the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and federal housing agencies can collaborate to improve the quality of health care at home. It is also a valuable resource for residential health care providers and caregivers.

Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science

February 8, 2011 Comments off

Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Explanations for women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields of science often focus on sex discrimination in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Claims that women scientists suffer discrimination in these arenas rest on a set of studies undergirding policies and programs aimed at remediation. More recent and robust empiricism, however, fails to support assertions of discrimination in these domains. To better understand women’s underrepresentation in math-intensive fields and its causes, we reprise claims of discrimination and their evidentiary bases. Based on a review of the past 20 y of data, we suggest that some of these claims are no longer valid and, if uncritically accepted as current causes of women’s lack of progress, can delay or prevent understanding of contemporary determinants of women’s underrepresentation. We conclude that differential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today. Addressing today’s causes of underrepresentation requires focusing on education and policy changes that will make institutions responsive to differing biological realities of the sexes. Finally, we suggest potential avenues of intervention to increase gender fairness that accord with current, as opposed to historical, findings.

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