Insight News

Thursday
Dec 18th

Health

Coming to America: high speed rail

Coming to America: high speed railDear EarthTalk: Vice-President Joe Biden just announced a commitment by the Obama administration of $53 billion to high speed rail. Isn’t it about time? Why is the U.S. so far behind other nations in developing environmentally friendly public transportation? -- Diane A., Boston, MA

There are many reasons why public transit hasn’t taken off in the U.S. as it has in parts of Asia, Europe and elsewhere. For one, ever since the Model T first rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line, Americans have had a love affair with cars. Also, a successful plot by General Motors and several partner companies in the 1930 and 1940s bought up and shut down rail transit lines across 45 American cities, replacing them with bus routes driven on GM buses. Meanwhile, the U.S. government embarked on a plan to link the nation’s metro areas via interstate highways, further encouraging car travel. The sexy new car designs of the 1950s then drove the final nail in the coffin, relegating public transportation to an afterthought.
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Participation in a Medical Clinical Trial - One Man’s Story

For Marvin Jackson, getting advanced treatment for prostate cancer was a matter of life and death.  Jackson (not his real name) was just 52-years-old when the sore shoulder he had been nursing for months turned out to be prostate cancer that had metastasized to his bones.  “I really wasn’t having any symptoms except for my shoulder, which kept getting more and more sore,” he said, describing the pain that eventually got him to visit a doctor.  “The doctor and I thought it was a golf injury or at worst arthritis. He was just as surprised as I was.” 
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American Cancer Society Recognizes Firm for Cancer-fighting Efforts

A stroll through the campuses of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota in Eagan and Virginia, Minnesota (Blue Cross) show they are designed to improve the health—and in turn, reduce cancer risk for its 3500 employees.

The facilities feature a tobacco-free campus and/or; walking meetings and paths; healthy cafeterias and vending machines—often at discounted prices; onsite fitness centers with reduced rate fitness classes and personal trainers; an employee-led Wellness Council to seek new ways to improve employee health; and onsite doctor visits via webcams.
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Restoring family planning

Restoring family planningDear EarthTalk: Global population numbers continue to rise, as does the poverty, suffering and environmental degradation that goes with it. Has the U.S., under Obama, increased or at least restored its family planning aid to developing countries that was cut when the Bush Administration first took office? -- T. Healy, via e-mail

The short answer is yes. President Obama is much more interested in family planning around the world than his predecessor ever was. One of Obama’s first acts upon assuming office in 2009 was the restoration of funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). George W. Bush had withheld some $244 million in aid to the UNFPA over the previous seven years. UNFPA works with developing countries around the world to “reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”
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National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) will be held Feb. 7 to draw attention to the devastating toll HIV/AIDS has on African-American communities.

Over 6% African-American men will be diagnosed with HIV infection some time in their lives, as will over 3% African-American women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost half of the one million Americans currently living with HIV are African-American.
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Nordstrom announces Black History Month initiative

Be The Match® is a movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor.

Nordstrom, Inc. announced today that it is recognizing Black History Month in 2011 by teaming up with Be The Match® to help raise awareness of the critical need for more African American marrow and umbilical cord blood donors.
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Stopping Diabetes: Test makes it quick and easy

Avoiding diabetes is easier than many people might think.

According to Indiana University researchers, a simple blood test can help stop the onset of diabetes and reduce long-term medical costs.

The hemoglobin A1c test, which can be administered quickly in a physician’s office during a routine visit, can accurately and easily determine if a patient is pre-diabetic, or at significant risk of developing diabetes.
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