Fatal car crashes involving prescription opioids climbs sevenfold

July 26, 2017

The percentage of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for prescription opioids rose sevenfold from 1 percent in 1995 to over 7 percent in 2015, according to a new study at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The findings appear online in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Prescription opioids as potent pain medications can cause drowsiness and impair cognitive functions. The 700 percent rise in the prevalence of prescription opioids detected in fatally injured drivers is cause for great concern,” said Guohua Li, MD, DrPH, professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and principal investigator.

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A Study on What do Trump’s tweets say about his personality?

July 25, 2017

The Twitter messages of Donald J. Trump, the entrepreneurial businessman turned US president, show that he is creative, competitive and a rule-breaker, but also has neurotic tendencies. An analysis of Trump’s tweets and what implications his personality traits have for political leadership are the focus of a study published in Springer’s journal Small Business Economics.

Since joining the social media platform Twitter in 2009 to May 2017, Trump has issued more than 35 000 messages. This amounts to about twelve tweets a day. With 30 million followers, he is the second most followed politician on Twitter after his predecessor, Barack Obama, who on average tweeted about four times a day.

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Republicans and Democrats follow news in similar ways

July 18, 2017

Republicans and Democrats are very much alike in the ways they follow the news despite their differing opinions of the media, according to a report released today by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

People on both ends of the political spectrum are equally likely to pay for news, to get news from social media, to seek news out actively rather than obtain it passively, and to get news multiple times a day. Democrats and Republicans are also equally likely to use local news sources, and they tend to follow similar topics, the report finds.

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Study says close failing banks before they cost US billions of dollars

June 19, 2017

Billions of dollars could be saved if Congress revises a law to allow regulators to be more aggressive in reducing losses from insolvent banks, according to a recent study co-authored by a faculty member from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business.

The paper, published in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of Banking & Finance, calls for the adoption of a new capital ratio that accounts for nonperforming loans and loan-loss reserves.

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New study shows important economic contributions of H-1B visas

June 8, 2017

A new study in the INFORMS journal Management Science shows that the U.S. economy is strengthened by H-1B visa holders who fill key roles in enhancing organizations and supplementing the work of their U.S. peers. This is particularly true for trades like the U.S. audit industry that employ a large number of individuals who hold H-1B visas, and who recruit highly skilled foreign workers for specialty occupations.

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Why do Americans own handguns? Fear of crime and a broader sense of danger

June 8, 2017

The motivation to own a handgun for self-protection is not just about fear of crime, according to the model proposed by Wolfgang Stroebe and Pontus Leander (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), and Arie W. Kruglanski (University of Maryland), it is also about a more general sense of threat emanating from “the belief that the world is an unpredictable and dangerous place and that society is at the brink of collapse.” These dual layers of threat also predict beliefs that people have the right to shoot and kill in self-defense and that people should have broad 2nd Amendment rights.

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Nearly 1 in 3 drugs found to have safety concerns after FDA approval

May 10, 2017

How often are safety concerns raised about a drug after it’s been approved by the FDA? Nicholas Downing, MD, of the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues have found that for drugs approved between 2001 and 2010, nearly 1 in 3 had a postmarket safety event. The team defines postmarket safety events as those that lead to either withdrawal from the market due to safety concerns, a boxed warning or FDA issuance of a safety communication. They found that of 222 novel therapeutics the FDA approved during this time period, three were withdrawn, 61 received boxed warnings and 59 elicited safety communications. The team’s findings are published in JAMA.

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US streams carry surprisingly extensive mixture of pollutants

April 14, 2017

Many U.S. waterways carry a variety of pollutants, but not much is known about the composition or health effects of these chemical combinations. A new in-depth study, however, is providing insight as it shows the mixtures are more complex than expected and contain compounds that could potentially harm aquatic species. They say the findings, reported this week in Environmental Science & Technology, could have implications for human health.

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Recent immigration policies have foreign graduate students and postdocs considering leaving the US

March 15, 2017

On March 6, President Donald Trump signed a second executive order to suspend immigration from six predominately Muslim countries, this time excluding Iraq from the list. According to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the move has prompted foreign graduate students and postdoctoral researchers currently in the U.S. to start looking elsewhere for educational, training and job opportunities.

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School vouchers bring more money to Catholic schools — but at a cost,

February 13, 2017

School voucher programs, which use government funds to support students attending private schools, are rising in popularity around the United States. Today, dozens of states offer this type of program to students, and that number is expected to increase. President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is a strong advocate for these programs.

These programs raise important questions about church-state issues. In the U.S., private schools are dominated by religious organizations. According to government data, more than 80 percent of all private school students attend religiously affiliated schools. By providing monetary support for enrollment in religious schools, vouchers have the potential to change the funding of religious activities in the U.S., at a time when many churches are already struggling financially.

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