I travel a lot for work. It’s the rare week when I’m not on the road or in the air to attend a conference, give a talk at some symposium, or serve on some panel or commission. In fact, if you’re listening to this commentary as it airs on the radio, I am likely on a plane cruising at 32,000 feet somewhere between Albany and Washington, DC. Given this grueling travel schedule, I was less than thrilled to hear that the federal budget sequester would affect air travel across the US.
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released startling new data on the incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in American kids. According to the CDC, over 6 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Despite coming on the heels of April Fool’s Day, those numbers are no joke.
Unbeknownst to most, mankind is at war with an invincible foe. Their numbers are legion and few if any of the weapons we have in our arsenal can stop them. I'm not talking about the rampaging zombie hordes shown on The Walking Dead or in trailers for the upcoming movie World War Z. Rather, I'm talking about antibiotic resistant bacteria.
As many of us expected, our leaders in Washington were unable to overcome their ideological differences long enough to actually do something about the looming and manufactured deadline for federal budget cuts known as the 'sequester'.
While being sworn in for a second term earlier this week, Barack Obama made history by being the first president to refer to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in an inaugural speech. In what that some pundits are calling ‘Lincoln’s third inaugural address,’ the President laid out a civil rights agenda that placed the fight over gay rights on equal footing as battles against racial, ethnic, religious and gender discrimination.
In Great Britain, where much of my family is from and still lives, there is an annual tradition known as the Royal Christmas Message. Begun in 1932 by then King George V as a radio broadcast, the tradition has evolved into an annual event in which the sovereign head of the British Empire delivers a speech on that year's events, as well as personal and national triumphs and tragedies.
Just in time for World AIDS Day -- held every year on December 1st to remember the nearly 30 million people who have died since the epidemic began in the late 1970s -- the US Preventative Services Task Force has released new guidance on routine HIV testing. This is first time since 2005 that the Task Force has updated its HIV testing recommendations.
Most pundits have been describing last week's elections as a victory for the status quo, with President Obama being reelected and Democrats retaining control of the Senate despite the timid economic recovery and despite SuperPACs spending nearly a billion dollars on largely negative campaign ads. From a health and science policy perspective, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
Last week marked the 11th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. That solemn occasion was marked by carefully scripted shows of bipartisan unity, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers honoring those who made great sacrifices on that day and in the years since, including the victims of 9/11, those who responded to the attacks, and soldiers and veterans of the subsequent war on terror.