April 27, 2009

Double Dose: How Effective is Your Treatment?; History of Women, in Four Volumes; High Cost of Insurance Scares Off Buyers; Tips for Writing About Violence Against Women …

Being “Maddy”: Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote a beautiful piece about her relationship with her sons as she transitioned from male to female. Published as a New York Times “Modern Love” column, the essay was adapted from “The Book of Dads,” to be published in May by Ecco.

Determining Which Medical Therapies Work: “Good luck trying to learn what medical treatment works best to relieve low back pain, alleviate depression or prevent the spread of prostate cancer. The information isn’t available — to you or your doctor — because studies comparing potential treatments and how effective they are haven’t been done,” writes Judith Graham at the Chicago Tribune.

The story looks at the government’s plan to invest $1.1 billion in “comparative effectiveness” research and evaluate potential therapies head-to-head. Four medical experts weigh in on conditions they consider most deserving of research on comparative effectiveness. Rachel previously wrote about public input sought on research priorities.

marilyn_french_history_of_wThe War Against Women: Writing at The New York Review of Books, Hilary Mantel discusses the four volumes of “From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World,” by Marilyn French. The collection is published by Feminist Press.

Words Matter: Feminist Peace Network has posted useful tips for reporting about domestic violence and sexual assault. It’s a good resource for bloggers, journalists and anyone writing about these issues.

Sticker Shock: “A new national poll, conducted by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that what most uninsured people are willing to pay is a long way from what insurance really costs,” reports NPR’s “Morning Edition.”  “Two out of three uninsured Americans say they’d be willing to pay no more than $100 a month for coverage. But, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average individual health plan costs about $400 a month, and a family policy costs more than $1,000.”

When Accidents Happen: According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than half the pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended; poor women are four times as likely to have an unplanned pregnancy compared with higher-income women. NPR’s “Morning Edition” looks at the use of and access to contraceptives. Reporter Brenda Wilson notes that “the health system often throws up barriers to contraception, especially for young women who are the most vulnerable.” The story, however, focuses more on one woman’s situation.

Call for More Family Planning Aid: Dominique Soguel writes at Women’s eNews about a report released Tuesday calling for aggressive investment in family planning to curb population growth, poverty and maternal mortality. Five former directors of the population and reproductive health program of the U.S. Agency for International Development recommend the United States increase its spending to $1.2 billion in the next year’s funding round from $475 million in 2008.

Also from Women’s eNews: Five women will be recognized this week for their scientific discoveries.

“There is still a very big glass ceiling for women in science,” said Milbry Polk, director of Wings WorldQuest, which runs the awards. “You don’t find them in the history books. Women are left out. Their projects aren’t.”

Search Me: One of my favorite reads last week was Dahlia Lithwick explaining how Supreme Court justices can act like total dingbats:

When constitutional historians sit down someday to compile the definitive Supreme Court Concordance of Not Getting It, the entry directly next to Lilly Ledbetter (“Court fails utterly to understand realities of gender pay discrimination”) will be Savana Redding (“Court compares strip searches of 13-year-old girls to American Pie-style locker-room hijinks”). After today’s argument, it’s plain the court will overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion finding a school’s decision to strip-search a 13-year-old girl unconstitutional. That the school in question was looking for a prescription pill with the mind-altering force of a pair of Advil — and couldn’t be bothered to call the child’s mother first — hardly matters.

Read the rest.


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