Local TV News Did A Really Bad Job Of Explaining Obamacare

(Reuters Health) - Local TV news coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called Obamacare, generally focused more on politics than on information consumers can use to help choose insurance, a recent study suggests.
Overall, less than half of ACA-related news coverage focused on health insurance products, while much of the rest of the spots concentrated on political disagreements over the law, researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health.
Just seven percent of stories covered policy changes designed to help make coverage more affordable for many consumers ― including expanded eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies to cover some of the cost of insurance premiums.
“We were surprised by the overall low frequency with which local TV news covered key components of the ACA ― the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies provided to help people earning less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level afford their Continue reading "Local TV News Did A Really Bad Job Of Explaining Obamacare"

Science Pinpoints Why People Fall For Fake News — And What We Can Do About It

“Fake news” — the kind of stories without even a kernel of truth, often made up by nefarious agents or cynical profiteers, appeared to play a major role in the 2016 presidential campaign.
There are no signs that these fictionalized articles, spread mostly on the internet via social media, are going away anytime soon. In fact, they’re a prominent feature of what some have dubbed the “post-truth era” ― a time when the general public (or even a certain leader of the free world) can’t seem to agree on basic facts, let alone reach consensus on tackling a problem. 
Unsurprisingly, scientists have a major stake in making sure that facts ― obectively derived from the scientific method, reasoning, or other principles of enlightenment ― don’t lose their relevance to the public. Not only does their livelihood depend on experimentation and scientific discovery, but many of today’s disputed Continue reading "Science Pinpoints Why People Fall For Fake News — And What We Can Do About It"

2016 Only Seems Like The Worst Year Ever For Celebrity Deaths

From David Bowie in January to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in the final days of the year, it seems as if there was an unusually high number of celebrity deaths in 2016. 
Surprisingly, there’s little information to indicate that 2016 was a particularly deadly year for artists and performers. For instance, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that organizes the Oscars and its famous “In Memoriam” segment, lists fewer Academy members’ deaths in 2016 than it has in past years, notes The Wrap. Snopes.com also conducted an analysis of “notable death” stories published in several news outlets from 2013 to 2016 and found that, in fact, 2016 did not have a high number of celebrity deaths compared to recent previous years.
Instead, the prevailing “Fuck you, 2016” sentiment is likely just a collective feeling, borne by social media, that this was Continue reading "2016 Only Seems Like The Worst Year Ever For Celebrity Deaths"

Gwen Ifill’s Death Shows We Need Better Endometrial Cancer Research

Venerated journalist and anchor Gwen Ifill died Monday at the age of 61. The cause of death was endometrial cancer, with which she was diagnosed less than a year ago
Endometrial cancer has a reputation for being one of the most treatable and least-lethal gynecological cancers that women face. But as Ifill’s case shows, a significant minority of cases can be aggressive and fast-paced ― and they’re more likely to be concentrated among black women.
For women who have recurrent endometrial cancer, doctors have few medications that can specifically target growth. 
“We don’t have as many tools as [we do with] other cancers,” said Dr. Ursula Matulonis, director of the gynecologic oncology program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. 
“This is a significant problem for women, and we need to do a better job treating our patients. We need Continue reading "Gwen Ifill’s Death Shows We Need Better Endometrial Cancer Research"

Bob Harper On That ‘Biggest Loser’ Study And Intermittent Fasting

A recent study on past contestants on the weight loss reality show "The Biggest Loser" revealed that due to metabolic and hormonal changes that persist after massive weight loss, participants were burning hundreds of calories less than would be expected for someone their age and body composition -- making weight re-gain almost inevitable.
Of the 14 former participants who were profiled in the study, all but one had re-gained at least some weight, and five of them were back within one percent of their starting weight from before the televised competition. 
Bob Harper, a personal trainer who hosts "The Biggest Loser," addressed the study's disturbing findings during a segment on the "Today" show last Friday (both shows air on NBC). He proposed there might be one effective way to address the slowed metabolism that can result from dramatic weight loss: intermittent fasting. 
For people who have lost weight Continue reading "Bob Harper On That ‘Biggest Loser’ Study And Intermittent Fasting"

Arianna Huffington And Evan Williams Get Real About Information Overload

Americans are struggling with information overload and the hidden costs of being perpetually “plugged in.” And there’s perhaps no one who feels this most acutely than the people who helped create the current tech and media ecosystem.
Dave Pell, a “news-obsessed” media curator who trawls dozens of sites every morning to deliver the most fascinating news of the day, is one of them. At the inaugural Near Future Summit in La Jolla, California on Wednesday, Pell wondered aloud whether knowing “all this stuff” is worth it compared to the real-life moments he misses out on when he glances at his phone. He shared the stage and a bit of this paradox with The Huffington Post's editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington and Evan Williams, who founded influential and popular publishing platforms like Blogger, Twitter and Medium.
"You get a notification on your phone about something that happens in another country,” Pell began. “Is
Continue reading "Arianna Huffington And Evan Williams Get Real About Information Overload"

Yes, TV Can Make You A Better Person

You might think your TV watching is a solitary act, but depending on the type of show, you could actually be learning about how to treat other people. 
According to a recent study of about 100 college students, some TV shows help viewers to become kinder and more generous toward people who are different from them -- even if the show itself doesn't directly address diversity. 
"After viewing meaningful entertainment, as opposed to more humorous entertainment, people were more likely to help in general, but also they were more likely to help someone who was different from them,” explained Erica Bailey, a mass communications doctoral student at Penn State and lead author of the study. 
By “meaningful entertainment,” Bailey means TV shows that depict something she calls “moral beauty," such as acts of charity, generosity and self-sacrifice.
For the study, she divided 106 participants, who were mostly
Continue reading "Yes, TV Can Make You A Better Person"