Archive for May, 2012

The Rise of Diabetes Prevalence in the Arab Region

May 31, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Open Journal of Epidemiology
Arab populations have many similarities and dissimilarities. They share culture, language and religion but they are also subject to economic, political and social differences. The purpose of this study is to understand the causes of the rising trend of diabetes prevalence in order to suggest efficient actions susceptible to reduce the burden of diabetes in the Arab world.
We use principal component analysis to illustrate similarities and differences between Arab countries according to four variables: 1) the prevalence of diabetes, 2) impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 3) diabetes related deaths and 4) diabetes related expenditure per person. A linear regression is also used to study the correlation between human development index and diabetes prevalence.
Arab countries are mainly classified into three groups according to the diabetes comparative prevalence (high, medium and low) but other differences are seen in terms of diabetes-related mortality and diabetes related expenditure per person. We also investigate the correlation between the human development index (HDI) and diabetes comparative prevalence (R = 0.81).
The alarming rising trend of diabetes prevalence in the Arab region constitutes a real challenge for heath decision makers. In order to alleviate the burden of diabetes, preventive strategies are needed, based essentially on sensitization for a more healthy diet with regular exercise but health authorities are also asked to provide populations with heath- care and early diagnosis to avoid the high burden caused by complications of diabetes.

New From the GAO

May 31, 2012 Comments off

New GAO ReportsSource: Government Accountability Office

1. DOD Strategic Communication: Integrating Foreign Audience Perceptions into Policy Making, Plans, and Operations. GAO-12-612R, May 24.

2. Inspectors General: HUD Office of Inspector General Resources and Results. GAO-12-618, May 31.
Highlights –

3. Managing for Results: GAO’s Work Related to the Interim Crosscutting Priority Goals under the GPRA Modernization Act. GAO-12-620R, May 31.

4. Mental Health and Substance Use: Treatment Exclusions in Employers’ Health Insurance Coverage. GAO-12-761R, May 31.

5. Human Rights: State Department Followed an Extensive Process to Prepare Annual Country Reports. GAO-12-561R, May 31.

6. Force Structure: Army and Marine Corps Efforts to Review Nonstandard Equipment for Future Usefulness. GAO-12-532R, May 31.

7. Observations on the Coast Guard’s and the Department of Homeland Security’s Fleet Studies. GAO-12-751R, May 31.

8. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: Agencies Can Enhance Evaluation Quality, Planning, and Dissemination. GAO-12-673, May 31.
Highlights –

Roughly two-thirds of labor force participation rate’s drop due to cyclical changes, new EPI paper finds

May 31, 2012 Comments off

Roughly two-thirds of labor force participation rate’s drop due to cyclical changes, new EPI paper finds
Source: Economic Policy Institute

The labor force participation rate – the share of working-age people who either have a job or are jobless but actively seeking work – has dropped more than two percentage points since 2007. Roughly two-thirds of this drop is due to the weak job opportunities in the Great Recession and its aftermath, a new Economic Policy Institute paper finds. The remainder is the result of long-run demographic trends. In other words, two-thirds of the labor force participation rate’s recent decline is cyclical, and one-third of it is structural.

In Labor force participation: Cyclical versus structural changes since the start of the Great Recession, EPI economist Heidi Shierholz explains that the cyclical decline in the labor force participation rate means that there are nearly four million workers “missing” from the labor force. These missing workers would be in the labor market if job prospects were strong.

AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers

May 31, 2012 Comments off

AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

s U.S. science test scores stagnate, a new report by AAAS shows how high-quality science and mathematics teachers can be recruited and trained to help reverse this trend.

The report describes the innovative strategies used by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, which trains science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate majors and STEM professionals to become K-12 teachers. The program has found new ways to recruit, prepare, and support these new teachers by offering them a chance to work in after-school programs, mentoring them with the help of local educators, and providing funding for research projects of their own.

Now a decade old, the program’s successes are being scrutinized as part of a national conversation on how to improve science education.

Improvements are urgently needed, education experts say. Results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test, which were released on 10 May, show that only a third of eighth-graders who took the test scored at or above the proficient level for their grade.

All Commercial Real Estate Sectors Continue to Improve, Multifamily Strong

May 31, 2012 Comments off

All Commercial Real Estate Sectors Continue to Improve, Multifamily Strong
Source: National Association of Realtors

Shaking off a prolonged impact from the recession, fundamentals are gradually improving in all of the major commercial real estate sectors, according to the National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast. The apartment rental sector has fully recovered and is growing.

The findings also are confirmed in NAR’s recent quarterly Commercial Real Estate Market Survey, which collects data from members about market activity.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said new jobs are the key. “Ongoing job creation, which is at a higher level this year, is fueling an underlying demand for commercial real estate space, assisted by a steady increase in consumer spending,” he said. “The pattern shows gradually declining commercial vacancy rates, with consequential but generally modest rent growth.”

Yun expects the economy to add 2 to 2.5 million jobs both this year and in 2013, on the heels of 1.7 million new jobs in 2011, assuming a new federal budget is passed before the end of the year. “Although we need even stronger job growth, by far the greatest impact of job creation is in multifamily housing, where newly formed households striking out on their own have increased demand for apartment rentals – this is the sector with the lowest vacancy rates and strongest rent growth, which is attracting many investors.”

Rising apartment rents also are having a positive impact on home sales because many long-time renters now view homeownership as a better long-term option, Yun noted.

An Overview of Court Challenges to Campaign Finance & Disclosure Laws Nationwide

May 31, 2012 Comments off

An Overview of Court Challenges to Campaign Finance & Disclosure Laws Nationwide
Source: Campaign Legal Center

The rush of litigation challenging campaign finance and disclosure laws continues nationwide in the wake of Citizens United. For your reference, the Campaign Legal Center has updated a summary document of recent cases of interest at the federal, state and municipal level. The summary provides a brief description of pending and recently decided cases, and the Legal Center’s involvement in those cases.

The most recent summary of litigation produced by the Legal Center is always available on our Court Cases of Interest page directly beneath the “Active Court Cases of Interest.”

The General Age of Leadership: Older-Looking Presidential Candidates Win Elections during War

May 31, 2012 Comments off
Source:  PLoS ONE
As nation-state leaders age they increasingly engage in inter-state militarized disputes yet in industrialized societies a steady decrease in testosterone associated with aging is observed – which suggests a decrease in dominance behavior. The current paper points out that from modern societies to Old World monkeys increasing both in age and social status encourages dominant strategies to maintain acquired rank. Moreover, it is argued this consistency has shaped an implicit prototype causing followers to associate older age with dominance leadership. It is shown that (i) faces of older leaders are preferred during intergroup conflict and (ii) morphing U.S. Presidential candidates to appear older or younger has an overriding effect on actual election outcomes. This indicates that democratic voting can be systematically adjusted by activating innate biases. These findings appear to create a new line of research regarding the biology of leadership and contextual cues of age.

See: Older-looking presidential candidates preferred during wartime (EurekAlert!)