Archive for December, 2009

Yes on Measures 66 & 67

December 15, 2009

For all you Oregon voters- we have an election coming up on January 26th with important Measures 66 and 67. Right now, more than two-thirds of corporations doing business in Oregon pay just $10 a year in the corporate minimum income tax. We have one of the lowest corporate taxes on the west coast. That’s absurd! The plan: Increase the $10 corporate minimum income tax for the first time since 1931. The new minimum will start at $150. Increase the marginal tax rate on corporate profits above $250,000 by 1.3% (above $10 million in 2013). Increase the marginal tax rate on personal income above $250,000 for couples by 1.8%. These reforms protect nearly $1 billion in vital services like education, health care and public safety.

Pledge to vote YES:
http://voteyesfororegon.org/getinvolved.html

Health Care Coverage for Oregon Kids

December 15, 2009

I went to an event tonight for Children First for Oregon. I was impressed to learn about the notable achievements we have made in expanding health insurance coverage to an additional 80,000 children under the Healthy Kids Plan and Kids Connect. Oregon is committed to covering 95% of uninsured kids in our state. Check out Children First and all the great work they’re doing to ensure children have access to health services.

People FREAKING About Mammograms!

December 15, 2009

I like the way this New York Times article explains that there is such a thing as too much screening. A nugget:

Much of our discomfort with the panel’s findings stems from a basic intuition: since earlier and more frequent screening increases the likelihood of detecting a possibly fatal cancer, it is always desirable. But is this really so? Consider the technique mathematicians call a reductio ad absurdum, taking a statement to an extreme in order to refute it. Applying it to the contention that more screening is always better leads us to note that if screening catches the breast cancers of some asymptomatic women in their 40s, then it would also catch those of some asymptomatic women in their 30s. But why stop there? Why not monthly mammograms beginning at age 15?

Stick with him through the math, because he makes a good point. Basically, false positives can have a big effect on whether or not a screening program really works. I also like how he talks about survival measurements:

Another concern is measurement. Since we calculate the length of survival from the time of diagnosis, ever more sensitive screening starts the clock ticking sooner. As a result, survival times can appear to be longer even if the earlier diagnosis has no real effect on survival.

So… we need to consider some pretty nerdtastic factors when we’re talking about screening, including probabilities, sensitivity, specificity, and measurement. I GD love epidemiology!

UK Pilot Program Provides Over-The-Counter Oral Contraception

December 15, 2009

A pilot program to give teenage girls OTC birth control pills is being launched in London.

Pharmacists have been trained to do general checks and provide oral contraception in two inner-city London areas, both with high teenage pregnancy rates (one, Southwark, has twice the national average). I am sooooo interested to see the findings.

Apparently the UK government’s goal to reduce teenage pregnancy by 50% by 2010 is not even close to being reached. Thus the program. Of course opponents go with the old stand-by: promiscuity.

What are your thoughts? Possible increases in promiscuity? OTC birth control for teens a good idea? I’m personally pretty jazzed, but we’ll see how things proceed.

And Another Thing

December 1, 2009

Today is World AIDS Day. I hope everyone’s wearing red and considering the impact AIDS has had on the world. And figuring out ways to stop it.

Missin’ You

December 1, 2009

I realize it’s been ages since the last post. The end of the term will do that to ya. We’ll be back up and running in just a few days, but in the mean time check out this video. It’s a British anti-cocaine ad that is kinda funny, kinda scary, and kinda poignant. I personally think it seems like a fabulous way to reach out to people, but I don’t do cocaine so I have no idea if cocaine users would respond well to it.

Thoughts?