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Archive for April, 2012

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) report shows further progress needed

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) report shows further progress needed
Source: International Energy Agency

At the 2011 Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting in Abu Dhabi, the CEM Carbon Capture, Use and Storage Action Group (CCUS AG) presented seven recommendations on concrete, near-term actions to accelerate global carbon capture and storage deployment. This week, at the 2012 CEM meeting in London, the IEA and Global CCS Institute presented a report tracking progress made against the 2011 recommendations and focusing on key questions such as how Energy Ministers can continue to drive progress to enable CCS to fully contribute to climate change mitigation. It concludes that, despite developments in some areas, significant further work is required. CCS financing and industrial applications continue to represent a particularly serious challenge.

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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Associated Health Care Expenditures

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Associated Health Care Expenditures
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Context: Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome primarily caused by maternal opiate use. No national estimates are available for the incidence of maternal opiate use at the time of delivery or NAS.

Objectives: To determine the national incidence of NAS and antepartum maternal opiate use and to characterize trends in national health care expenditures associated with NAS between 2000 and 2009.

Design, Setting, and Patients: A retrospective, serial, cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of newborns with NAS. The Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) was used to identify newborns with NAS by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) was used to identify mothers using diagnosis related groups for vaginal and cesarean deliveries. Clinical conditions were identified using ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes. NAS and maternal opiate use were described as an annual frequency per 1000 hospital births. Missing hospital charges (<5% of cases) were estimated using multiple imputation. Trends in health care utilization outcomes over time were evaluated using variance-weighted regression. All hospital charges were adjusted for inflation to 2009 US dollars.

Main Outcome Measures: Incidence of NAS and maternal opiate use, and related hospital charges.

Results: The separate years (2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009) of national discharge data included 2920 to 9674 unweighted discharges with NAS and 987 to 4563 unweighted discharges for mothers diagnosed with antepartum opiate use, within data sets including 784 191 to 1.1 million discharges for children (KID) and 816 554 to 879 910 discharges for all ages of delivering mothers (NIS). Between 2000 and 2009, the incidence of NAS among newborns increased from 1.20 (95% CI, 1.04-1.37) to 3.39 (95% CI, 3.12-3.67) per 1000 hospital births per year (P for trend < .001). Antepartum maternal opiate use also increased from 1.19 (95% CI, 1.01-1.35) to 5.63 (95% CI, 4.40-6.71) per 1000 hospital births per year (P for trend < .001). In 2009, newborns with NAS were more likely than all other hospital births to have low birthweight (19.1%; SE, 0.5%; vs 7.0%; SE, 0.2%), have respiratory complications (30.9%; SE, 0.7%; vs 8.9%; SE, 0.1%), and be covered by Medicaid (78.1%; SE, 0.8%; vs 45.5%; SE, 0.7%; all P < .001). Mean hospital charges for discharges with NAS increased from $39 400 (95% CI, $33 400-$45 400) in 2000 to $53 400 (95% CI, $49 000-$57 700) in 2009 (P for trend < .001). By 2009, 77.6% of charges for NAS were attributed to state Medicaid programs.

Conclusion: Between 2000 and 2009, a substantial increase in the incidence of NAS and maternal opiate use in the United States was observed, as well as hospital charges related to NAS.

See: About One Baby Born Each Hour Addicted to Opiate Drugs in U.S. (Science Daily)

Newspaper Multiplatform Usage

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Newspaper Multiplatform Usage
Source: Newspaper Association of America
From press release:

A new study shows that in an average week, 74 percent of all Internet users rely on local newspaper media – digital as well as print – as key sources of news and information, and are engaging with their local newspaper across multiple platforms.

Major findings of the survey show that among the large base of Internet users who engage with newspaper media, 54 percent are using more than one platform to access newspaper content in an average week. Sixty-seven percent use at least one of three common digital platforms – computers, smartphones or tablets – and they use each at multiple times over the course of the day for newspaper content. The study was conducted for the Newspaper Association of America by Frank N. Magid Associates of Minneapolis.

The research, presented last week at NAA mediaXchange 2012 in Washington, D.C., also looks at what motivates consumers to turn to newspaper media for their news needs. Top answers to the question “Why Newspapers?” illustrate core newspaper brand values, including convenience, the extensive range and depth of news and information, and the amount of local news…

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New From the GAO

April 30, 2012 Comments off

New GAO ReportsSource: Government Accountability Office

1. Electronic Health Records: First Year of CMS’s Incentive Programs Shows Opportunities to Improve Processes to Verify Providers Met Requirements. GAO-12-481, April 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-481
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590539.pdf

2. Border Security: Opportunities Exist to Ensure More Effective Use of DHS’s Air and Marine Assets. GAO-12-518, March 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-518
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589798.pdf

3. Medicare: Implementation of Financial Incentive Programs under Federal Fraud and Abuse Laws. GAO-12-355, March 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-355
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589794.pdf

4. Prescription Drugs: FDA Has Met Most Performance Goals for Reviewing Applications. GAO-12-500, March 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-500
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589763.pdf

5. Group Purchasing Organizations: Federal Oversight and Self-Regulation. GAO-12-399R, March 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-399R

New Ceres/Sustainalytics Report Shows Most U.S. Companies Falling Short on Sustainability

April 30, 2012 Comments off

New Ceres/Sustainalytics Report Shows Most U.S. Companies Falling Short on Sustainability
Source: Ceres

In the first major assessment of progress on a unique Ceres Roadmap to corporate sustainability released two years ago, Ceres and global research and analysis firm Sustainalytics today released The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability.

The findings – based on an assessment of how 600 U.S. companies are responding to environmental and social challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and supply chain conditions – show individual examples of leadership but significant need for overall improvement.

“While there are encouraging pockets of sustainability leadership in the U.S. business community, far too many companies are only taking small, incremental steps,” said Ceres president Mindy Lubber, in announcing the report at the opening of the Ceres annual conference today in Boston. “Sustainability has yet to gain traction at anywhere near the scale and speed required given the global threats we face.”

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Short Sleep Duration Among Workers — United States, 2010

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Short Sleep Duration Among Workers — United States, 2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for fatigued workers and others around them (1–3). For example, an estimated 20% of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving (3). The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep 7–9 hours per day. To assess the prevalence of short sleep duration among workers, CDC analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The analysis compared sleep duration by age group, race/ethnicity, sex, marital status, education, and employment characteristics. Overall, 30.0% of civilian employed U.S. adults (approximately 40.6 million workers) reported an average sleep duration of ≤6 hours per day. The prevalence of short sleep duration (≤6 hours per day) varied by industry of employment (range: 24.1%–41.6%), with a significantly higher rate of short sleep duration among workers in manufacturing (34.1%) compared with all workers combined. Among all workers, those who usually worked the night shift had a much higher prevalence of short sleep duration (44.0%, representing approximately 2.2 million night shift workers) than those who worked the day shift (28.8%, representing approximately 28.3 million day shift workers). An especially high prevalence of short sleep duration was reported by night shift workers in the transportation and warehousing (69.7%) and health-care and social assistance (52.3%) industries. Targeted interventions, such as evidence-based shift system designs that improve sleep opportunities and evidence-based training programs on sleep and working hours tailored for managers and employees (4), should be implemented to protect the health and safety of workers, their coworkers, and the public.

Affirmative action is needed to get the best candidates, Stanford psychologist says

April 30, 2012 Comments off

Affirmative action is needed to get the best candidates, Stanford psychologist says
Source: Social Issues and Policy Review, forthcoming (via Stanford University)

When it comes to affirmative action, the argument usually focuses on diversity. Promoting diversity, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003, can justify taking race into account.

But some people say this leads to the admission of less qualified candidates over better ones and creates a devil’s choice between diversity and merit.

Not so, says Stanford psychologist Greg Walton. Diversity and meritocracy are not always at odds.

In fact, sometimes it is only by taking race and gender into account that schools and employers can admit and hire the best candidates, Walton argues in a paper slated for publication in the journal Social Issues and Policy Review with co-authors Steven J. Spencer of the University of Waterloo and Sam Erman of Harvard University.

Walton, an assistant professor of psychology, and Spencer plan to present their findings to the Supreme Court in an amicus brief in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case the justices are scheduled to hear next fall and that many court watchers believe threatens to upend affirmative action. (Supreme Court rules bar Erman, who was a recent Supreme Court clerk, from participating in the brief.)

“People have argued that affirmative action is consistent or is not consistent with meritocracy,” Walton said. “Our argument is not that it’s consistent or inconsistent. Our argument is that you need affirmative action to make meritocratic decisions – to get the best candidates.”

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