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Posthumously Conceived Children: An International and Human Rights Perspective

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Posthumously Conceived Children: An International and Human Rights Perspective
Source: Journal of Law & Health

This essay considers posthumous conception from an international and child-centered approach. After a sketch in Part I of the phenomenon of posthumous conception and the complexities it evokes, Part II examines the types of issues arising in court cases concerning posthumous conception. Part III considers how courts in their rulings have addressed the welfare and best interests of posthumously conceived children and analyzes the scope and meaning of relevant decisions. Part IV looks into children’s rights or interests raised in those judicial decisions: parental acknowledgement, family structures, identity harm, and inheritance and social benefits. This part draws on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a prime instrument to advance children’s rights on the international level, incorporating as much as possible the perspectives of children. I argue that the discourse must include concern for the rights and interests of posthumously conceived children and that a new special category of children who are “outcast” cannot stand the test of equality and non-discrimination, nor of the entrenched principles of child welfare and best interests. Moreover, I suggest that attending to children’s perspectives may illuminate the gaps in the current discourse and what needs to be addressed. Finally, Part V draws some conclusions and calls for a more relational approach to ensure that posthumously conceived children do not pay the price of their parents’ decisions and that their welfare and best interests are upheld.

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Web-Based Intervention Programs for Depression: A Scoping Review and Evaluation

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Web-Based Intervention Programs for Depression: A Scoping Review and Evaluation
Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Background:
Although depression is known to affect millions of people worldwide, individuals seeking aid from qualified health care professionals are faced with a number of barriers to treatment including a lack of treatment resources, limited number of qualified service providers, stigma associated with diagnosis and treatment, prolonged wait times, cost, and barriers to accessibility such as transportation and clinic locations. The delivery of depression interventions through the Internet may provide a practical solution to addressing some of these barriers.

Objective:
The purpose of this scoping review was to answer the following questions: (1) What Web-delivered programs are currently available that offer an interactive treatment component for depression?, (2) What are the contents, accessibility, and usability of each identified program?, and (3) What tools, supports, and research evidence are available for each identified program?

Methods:
Using the popular search engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing (Canadian platforms), two reviewers independently searched for interactive Web-based interventions targeting the treatment of depression. The Beacon website, an information portal for online health applications, was also consulted. For each identified program, accessibility, usability, tools, support, and research evidence were evaluated and programs were categorized as evidence-based versus non-evidence-based if they had been the subject of at least one randomized controlled trial. Programs were scored using a 28-point rating system, and evidence- versus non-evidence-based programs were compared and contrasted. Although this review included all programs meeting exclusion and inclusion criteria found using the described search method, only English language Web-delivered depression programs were awarded an evaluation score.

Results:
The review identified 32 programs meeting inclusion criteria. There was a great deal of variability among the programs captured in this evaluation. Many of the programs were developed for general adolescent or adult audiences, with few (n=2) focusing on special populations (eg, military personnel, older adults). Cognitive behavioral therapy was the most common therapeutic approach used in the programs described. Program interactive components included mood assessments and supplementary homework sheets such as activity planning and goal setting. Only 12 of the programs had published evidence in support of their efficacy and treatment of depressive symptoms.

Conclusions:
There are a number of interactive depression interventions available through the Internet. Recommendations for future programs, or the adaptation of existing programs include offering a greater selection of alternative languages, removing registration restrictions, free trial periods for programs requiring user fees, and amending programs to meet the needs of special populations (eg, those with cognitive and/or visual impairments). Furthermore, discussion of specific and relevant topics to the target audience while also enhancing overall user control would contribute to a more accessible intervention tool.

How Much (More) Should CEOs Make? A Universal Desire for More Equal Pay

October 22, 2014 Comments off

How Much (More) Should CEOs Make? A Universal Desire for More Equal Pay (PDF)
Source: Perspectives on Psychological Science (forthcoming)

Do people from different countries and different backgrounds have similar preferences for how much more the rich should earn than the poor? Using survey data from 40 countries (N = 55,238), we compare respondents’ estimates of the wages of people in different occupations – chief executive officers, cabinet ministers, and unskilled workers – to their ideals for what those wages should be. We show that ideal pay gaps between skilled and unskilled workers are significantly smaller than estimated pay gaps, and that there is consensus across countries, socioeconomic status, and political beliefs for ideal pay ratios. Moreover, data from 16 countries reveals that people dramatically underestimate actual pay inequality. In the United States – where underestimation was particularly pronounced – the actual pay ratio of CEOs to unskilled workers (354:1) far exceeded the estimated ratio (30:1) which in turn far exceeded the ideal ratio (7:1). In sum, respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps are even further from reality than those underestimates.

New From the GAO

October 22, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reissue

1. Individual Retirement Accounts: Preliminary Information on IRA Balances Accumulated as of 2011, by James R. McTigue, director, strategic issues, and Charles A. Jeszeck, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, to the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-14-878T, September 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-878T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665805.pdf

This statement was amended on October 22, 2014, to revise the estimated individual retirement account and defined contribution plan accumulations for our illustrative contribution scenarios with balances invested in an S&P 500 portfolio. The original estimates used a price index that did not include reinvested dividends. Table 2 and the text on page 8 have been updated to reflect total returns on the investments.

Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2013–14 School Year

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2013–14 School Year
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

State and local vaccination requirements for school entry are implemented to maintain high vaccination coverage and protect schoolchildren from vaccine-preventable diseases (1). Each year, to assess state and national vaccination coverage and exemption levels among kindergartners, CDC analyzes school vaccination data collected by federally funded state, local, and territorial immunization programs. This report describes vaccination coverage in 49 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and vaccination exemption rates in 46 states and DC for children enrolled in kindergarten during the 2013–14 school year. Median vaccination coverage was 94.7% for 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; 95.0% for varying local requirements for diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine; and 93.3% for 2 doses of varicella vaccine among those states with a 2-dose requirement. The median total exemption rate was 1.8%. High exemption levels and suboptimal vaccination coverage leave children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Although vaccination coverage among kindergartners for the majority of reporting states was at or near the 95% national Healthy People 2020 targets for 4 doses of DTaP, 2 doses of MMR, and 2 doses of varicella vaccine (2), low vaccination coverage and high exemption levels can cluster within communities.* Immunization programs might have access to school vaccination coverage and exemption rates at a local level for counties, school districts, or schools that can identify areas where children are more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Health promotion efforts in these local areas can be used to help parents understand the risks for vaccine-preventable diseases and the protection that vaccinations provide to their children.

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective (PDF)
Source: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Attribution of extreme events is a challenging science and one that is currently undergoing considerable evolution. In this paper, 20 different research groups explored the causes of 16 different events that occurred in 2013. The findings indicate that human-caused climate change greatly increased the risk for the extreme heat waves assessed in this report. How human influence affected other types of events such as droughts, heavy rain events, and storms was less clear, indicating that natural variability likely played a much larger role in these extremes. Multiple groups chose to look at both the Australian heat waves and the California drought, providing an opportunity to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies. There was considerable agreement about the role anthropogenic climate change played in the events between the different assessments. This year three analyses were of severe storms and none found an anthropogenic signal. However, attribution assessments of these types of events pose unique challenges due to the often limited observational record. When human-influence for an event is not identified with the scientific tools available to us today, this means that if there is a human contribution, it cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability.

World Wealth Rises at Fastest Rate Ever Recorded

October 22, 2014 Comments off

World Wealth Rises at Fastest Rate Ever Recorded
Source: Credit Suisse

Although the global economic environment has remained challenging, Credit Suisse’s 2014 Global Wealth Report reveals that total wealth grew to a new record high during the past year. It rose by 20.1 trillion US dollars between mid-2013 and mid-2014, an increase of 8.3 percent, to reach 263 trillion US dollars – more than twice the amount of 117 trillion US dollars recorded for the year 2000.

With an 11.4 percent year-on-year increase, wealth creation was particularly strong in North America, where it now stands at 91 trillion US dollars, or 34.7 percent of total wealth. Europe made the second largest contribution, with wealth increasing 10.6 percent to 85.2 trillion US dollars. In both regions, capital markets were a key source of wealth growth: equity market capitalization grew by 22.6 percent in the United States, while Canada, France and Germany all recorded gains close to 30 percent.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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