All Articles Tagged "research"
Angelina Jolie is a siren, a vixen. Exotic and curvy by Hollywood standards, she made a name for herself slinking across red carpets and film sets as the walking embodiment of sex. She’s the dark-haired beauty who stole the sexiest man in America from America’s blond sweetheart.
She’s the stuff of Hollywood legend. Making her announcement that she recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy all the more jarring.
In a New York Times op-ed, Jolie describes her decision-making and treatment process following the discovery that she carried a “faulty” gene, BRCA1. The presence of which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer (her mother passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 56 after battling the disease for a decade).
“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman,” she writes. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in now way diminishes my femininity.”
Jolie didn’t have to go public. Not even a whisper of her condition had leaked to the press. She could have had reconstructive surgery, walked the red carpet and rolled her eyes as blogs wondered if she had a boob job. Instead she used her personal struggle and celebrity to give a platform to a serious issue.
This approach falls in line with the humanitarian Jolie has become. An evolution that began when she started working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees after being exposed to humanitarian crises while filming the Lara Croft franchise.
“She’s the biggest name of all, and I think given her prominence and her visibility not only as a famous person but also a beautiful actress, it’s going to carry a lot of weight for women,” said Barron H. Lerner, a medical historian and the author of “The Breast Cancer Wars” told the New York Times.
The cost of testing for mutations of BRCA genes comes in at more than $3,000. Why the high price tag? The biotech company that discovered the gene filed a patent for it in 1995, giving them a monopoly on products that can test for mutations. The Supreme Court is still deciding whether a corporation can file a patent based on a gene invented by Mother Nature and present in every single cell in every single person on earth.
Jolie’s situation is seen as special and high-risk by the medical community. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are estimated to cause only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers and 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers among white women in the United States. But statistics for other racial and ethnic groups are not available. Odd, given that African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than their White counterparts.
Studies show that few Black women younger than 50, a population disproportionately afflicted with and dying from early-onset breast cancer, undergo genetic testing. Only one third of Black women aged 50 or younger who met national guidelines for genetic testing for breast cancer had been referred for such testing.
Moreover, the high cost of healthcare in this country — and the fact that many still lack coverage — make it cost-prohibitive for many to take basic tests, like a mammogram, let alone receive treatment.
Family history and financial status are thought to influence their treatment choices. “Through our study, we determined that 34 participants met national guidelines for BRCA testing,” study co-author Tuya Pal, M.D. said. “But only 13 reported that their health care providers referred them for genetic counseling and/or testing.”
Now that Jolie has the world talking, maybe the issues surrounding breast and ovarian cancer will get more attention.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Education is key, but some states are failing the next generation.
CollegeStats.org has published an infographic — State of Education: State of Policy Report Card 2013 — that grades each of the 50 states on the job their doing in education. The three criteria evaluated were “elevate teaching,” “empower parents,” and “spend wisely and govern well.” It’s worth noting that no state got an “A.” And moreover, two-thirds of the states got a “D” or an “F” overall.
Just yesterday, Yahoo! published a commentary suggesting that parents need to be more involved with the system in order to improve it.
“Approximately $270 million in additional funding is allocated to the Department of Education for use directly related to involving parents in student education programs and activities,” the story says, highlighting the President’s emphasis on the important role that parents play in the education process.
How do you think your state does? And do you think parents need to take a more active role?
New findings published Monday by CardHub.com suggest that six of the best ten U.S. cities for “wallet wellness” are in the Midwest, and that the same number of the worst cities — Las Vegas and Los Angeles among them — are out West.
Minneapolis, St. Louis, Cleveland, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Chicago were all listed among the ten cities where Americans live with the least amount of financial stress, according to the study titled Best & Worst Cities for Wallet Wellness.
For more on this study about Midwesterners and their relative lack of financial concerns, click through to Black Enterprise.
New Safety Numbers Show Hundreds Of Thousands Of People Are Texting While Driving “At Any Given Moment”
The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association show that, if you pick any time of day, there will be 660,000 people in the US texting while driving. That’s five percent of the total driving population. Half choose to answer calls while 25 percent are initiating contact.
“The administration also reported that one in two drivers will answer calls, and one in four drivers will initiate calls while driving,” writes Ars Tecnica. And younger drivers are the ones most likely to be on their mobiles while behind the wheel. The article notes that many states have laws against texting while driving because of safety concerns.
“The NHTSA reports that ‘in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010.’ Of those 3,331 people, 12 percent were reported to have been using cellphones, and over half of the drivers in those crashes were between 15 and 29 years old,” the story says.
Despite the fact that many people are flouting the law, states continue to enact measures to try to curb the practice. Just few days ago, California passed a law that prohibits checking your GPS on your phone while driving. TechCrunch says these laws do, in fact, have a positive effect, causing a decrease in the number of accidents, in some places with the strictest laws, even reducing fatalities by eight percent.
Are you feeling good about the economy? Has President Obama boosted your confidence in the current social condition? If so, you are not alone. According to a new poll, African Americans feel secure about the direction America is taking under Obama.
The poll results were announced by Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). He commissioned a national poll conducted by from Zogby Analytics. The findings reveal African-American sentiment on a range of issues that include the state of national affairs, race relations, employment, and a variety of current political and social issues, reports Target Market News.
Looking at the data, 30 percent of African Americans felt they are better off financially than four years ago. Forty-eight percent said they were financially the same. Only 19 percent said they were worse off financially.
The poll also found that a majority—48 percent—said things were unchanged as far as the racial attitudes among non-African Americans toward African Americans. Meanwhile 19 percent said they were better off in this catagory, while 25 percent said things were worse.
“I commissioned this poll for a number of reasons,” said Johnson in a press statement. “First, for African Americans, this country has experienced the most historic political event and that is the election and re-election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. Because of this, I wanted to find out how African Americans today feel about Obama’s presidency and equally important, if they feel that their lives are better off having lived under the first four years of Obama and the prospect of an Obama Administration for the next four years.” Unemployment numbers released today show that there has been a drop in black unemployment figures, but it’s been matched by a drop in participation.
Despite the hardships economic setbacks and increased nationwide violence, African Americans are happy with Obama’s performance, discovered the poll. In fact, Obama received a 91 percent favorable rating by African Americans. Seventy-two percent believe that President Obama’s election has helped them while only four percent believe his election has hurt them.
Johnson also said he wanted to gauge the response by African Americans having experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, during which African Americans have been the hardest hit. “Today, African Americans continue to have double the rate of unemployment and less access to capital, and whereas, African Americans were once the largest ethnic minority group and the dominant minority political voice, they are now confronted with the growing political influence of the Hispanic population, which may directly impact competition for jobs and minority business opportunities,” he continued.
A new study found that Facebook users from time to time just need a break. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center‘s Internet and American Life Project, found that 61 percent of current Facebook users divulged that they had taken breaks from the site, for up to several weeks at a time for various reasons.
Attempting to manage your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other social media site on a daily basis can feel like a second job and make an the average person want to hire an intern to manage their social media presence. Which is why it’s not surprising that one of the top reasons survey takers were going on Facebook fasts was a lack of time time to maintain their profiles. Other reasons include general disinterest and the feeling that Facebook was a waste of time.
Surprisingly only four percent of those surveyed mentioned privacy or security concerns. Based on all the complaints and lawsuits, that would be a more than legitimate reason to walk away from the site.
Ultimately, although people are taking beaks not many are deleting their accounts. The New York Times noted that 92 percent of social network users maintain a profile on Facebook. Proving that although sometimes you might get frustrated with all the uselessness on your timeline, not many are going a step further and hitting the deactivation button. Let’s not get hasty, right?
One point noted by CNN is that 20 percent of adults online, who currently don’t use Facebook, did previously hold a profile on the site. So there are a few who are weaning themselves away from the social media giant. But with over one billion users, even with a growing number of users taking breaks, Facebook is far from being broken.
Work, money and relationships are stressing out millennials so much that many of them are suffering from depression, according to a new study. While rates are falling for the rest of Americans, the Millennial generation, ages 18 to 33, are reporting more stress, depression and anxiety.
An online “Stress in America” survey of 2,020 U.S. adults 18 and older conducted in 2012 by Harris Interactive for American Psychological Association found that millennials are also more likely to be told by a health care provider they have depression or an anxiety disorder. In the survey, 39 percent of millennials said their stress level increased in the past year and 52 percent say stress has kept them awake at night in the past month. “On a 10-point scale, where 1 means ‘little or no stress’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of stress,’ the 2012 average is 4.9. But for millennials, it’s 5.4,” reports USA Today. Top stress sources for millennials are work (cited by 76 percent), money (73 percent) and relationships (59 percent), family responsibilities (56 percent) and the economy (55 percent).
“Millennials are growing up at a tough time. They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you’re an important person and expected to achieve,” Mike Hais of Arcadia, CA, a market researcher and co-author of two books on that generation, including 2011′s Millennial Momentum, told USA Today. “Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault — the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age — that does lead to a greater sense of stress,” he says.
Depression has been diagnosed for 19 percent of millennials, compared with 14 percent of Generation X (ages 34 to 47); 12 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 48 to 66) and 11 percent of those ages 67 and older. Anxiety disorder has also been cited in millennials more than other generations, 12 percent, compared with eight percent of Gen X, seven percent of Boomers and four percent of seniors.
Millennials often try to cope with stress on their own, with more than a third saying they eat, play video games, or surf the Web. “But the most common coping mechanism is listening to music, cited by 59% of young adults; 51% exercise or walk, about the same as the national average (52%),” reports the newspaper.
Although you may not be paying attention to the advertisements that come up during your Google search, one professor over at Harvard University have been studying them. And according to the scholars, when people type in names typically associated with black people during a Google search, the ads that pop up are more likely to be related to criminal activity. All the data has been collected by the Harvard University paper of Professor Latanya Sweeney.
Here is one example: A Google search for a name such as “Tom Smith” may bring up personalized public records, such as “Looking for Tom Smith,” or may be suggestive of an arrest record, such as “Tom Smith, arrested?” reports the UK Telegraph. But plug in names that are more associated with black people, such as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, and ads with links to websites that offer criminal record checks are produced.
Professor Sweeney suggested that the Google results may expose a “racial bias in society.”
“Prof. Sweeney’s investigation suggests that names linked with black people — as defined by a previous study into racial discrimination in the workplace – were 25 percent more likely to have results that prompted the searcher to click on a link to search criminal record history,” writes the newspaper.
Google responded to the Harvard findings: “AdWords does not conduct any racial profiling. We also have an “anti” and violence policy which states that we will not allow ads that advocate against an organization, person or group of people. It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads.”
Have you ever noticed anything strange during a Google search?
There has been much talk about the gender wage gap — that women in the United States are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men on average. But what’s not discussed as much is the wage gap as it applies to minority women. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, African-American women earn just 70 cents for every dollar paid to men and just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, reports The Huffington Post. “What’s more: It’s happening in the 20 states with the largest number of African-American women working full-time and year round, studies show,” writes the site.
Some government officials and economists have been trying to find solution to the wage gap in general, and some experts have suggested that closing the gender wage gap would create a huge economic stimulus. But a report by the National Partnership for Women & Families says that pay equality is still a long way off — particularly for women of color, reports HuffPo.
“These new data show that the wage gap is costing women of color thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could be spent on food, rent, health care and on meeting other fundamental needs for their families,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, in a release. The Partnership study found that “closing the wage gap would afford a working African-American woman more than two years’ worth of food; almost 10 months’ worth of mortgage and utilities payments; more than 16 months of rent; more than three years’ worth of family health insurance premiums; or 4,549 additional gallons of gas, each year.”
Experts stress that policymakers must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and develop more ways “to either push women into higher-paying fields where the men are, or to make sure jobs women do hold are valued in the same way,” Heather Boushey, senior economist the Center for American Progress, told the Huffington Post last year.
It may be time to move if you live in one of these cities. Although the unemployment numbers are improving, there are some places where it is extremely difficult to get a job.
According to the latest data, the number of Americans requesting unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low of 330,000, reports financial news and opinion website 24/7 Wall St. The site reviewed the 10 metro areas with the highest unemployment rates in the country by using the latest figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Natural disaster played a part in the loss of jobs in two of the cities on the list — Atlantic City and Ocean City, New Jersey — both of which were in the path of Superstorm Sandy. “Unemployment skyrocketed in November in both cities. In Ocean City, the jobless rate jumped from 11.8% in October to 14.5% in November,” writes the website.
Southern and central California, and southern Arizona are other areas that had high unemployment rates. “These areas, unlike the New Jersey cities, have low income populations and extremely high poverty rates. In El Centro, California, which had the second-highest unemployment rate in the country of 27.5% in November, more than one quarter of the population is living below the poverty line,” found 24/7 Wall St.
When determining the 10 metropolitan statistical areas with the highest unemployment rates, 24/7 Wall St. also included U.S. Census Bureau data for poverty, income, high school and college attainment levels, and employment by sector, all from 2011.
Here are the top 5:
1. Yuma, Ariz.
12-month unemployment change: 1.2 percentage points
Percentage of population living below poverty line: 21.8%
More than 10 percent of the metro Yuma labor force works in agriculture, which are mostly seasonal jobs. 24/7 Wall St. found that the median household income was also quite low at $38,390 — more than $12,000 below the national median.
2. El Centro, Calif. (Alexis)
12-month unemployment change: -2.3 percentage points
Percentage below poverty line: 26.8%
Things haven’t gotten much better the El Centro. “In November 2011, El Centro had an unemployment rate of 28.9%, then the highest of any metropolitan area in the U.S. Twelve months later, El Centro’s unemployment rate was still the nation’s second-highest, at 26.6%,” writes 24/7 Wall St. Like Yuma, most of he jobs in this city are seasonal.
3. Yuba City, Calif.
12-month unemployment change: -0.8 percentage points
Pct. below poverty line: 16.3%
Like the top two cities, Yuba City’s economy is very dependent on agriculture. But things seem to be improving here because of an increase in construction work. Employment in this area actually rose 24 percent between August 2011 and August 2012, more than all metro areas in the country, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
4. Merced, Calif.
12-month unemployment change: -0.7 percentage points
Pct. below poverty line: 27.4%
Despite the high unemployment number, the rate had fallen by 0.7 percentage points over the twelve months ending in November. Seasonal agricultural work along with a lack of formal education are big problems here. “As of 2011, just 65.2% of the area’s residents had at least a high school diploma versus 85.9% for the U.S. as a whole,” says 24/7 Wall St.
5. Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J.
Unemployment: 14.5% (tied-5th lowest)
12-month unemployment change: 2.2 percentage points
Pct. below poverty line: 13.4%
Things could turn around a bit as construction work increases as they start to rebuild the city. Unfortunately, according to 24/7 Wall St., many of the construction workers will come in from out of the state.