News & Views - Jan, 2002 Issue (page
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STUDY: PLACEBO ALTERS BRAIN FUNCTION
(January 3, 2002) Health – Medlinda T. Willis, for ABCNEWS.com
reports about a new study that shows that placebos cause changes in brain function. The study, published in the American Journal of
Psychiatry, is the “first of its kind to suggest that patients with major depression who receive placebos experience changes in brain
function similar to changes caused by medication.”
SOLITUDE IN WILDERNESS GETS OLYMPIC HOPEFUL BACK ON TRACK
(January 6, 2002) Paul Newberry wrote for Associated Press that U.S. Olympic short
track speedskater, Apolo Anton Ohno, had been a struggling teen. After “flopping” at the Olympic trials at age 15, overweight and
undisciplined from partying and “hanging out with the wrong crowd, he locked himself in a secluded cabin to do some soul searching.
After spending a week of solitude “just thinking about the whole year and what I could have done, he had “his skating epiphany”, deciding
then and there that he wanted to remain a short- track speedskater. “That week was definitely the hardest week ever. It was just so
emotional for me.” Three years later, he finished first overall and No. 1 in all three individual events on the World Cup circuit.
Now at age 19, he thoroughly dominated the U.S. Olympic trails last month, winning eight of nine races.
NEW STRATEGIES FOR FINANCING HIGHER EDUCATION
(January 6, 2002) Aaron Donovan reported for The New
York Times that a Manhattan company, Iempower, has developed an alternative method of paying for college. Through its Web site,
www.MyRichUncle.com, empower matches students with a network of well-heeled
investors who provide money to pay for undergraduate or graduate degrees. Students agree to pay a fixed percentage of income for a
set period after graduation. Repayments rates vary and are capped so that no one pays more than 15% of future earnings, though the
actual repayment is not known until graduates are well into their careers.
COURTS FROWN ON ONLINE BAD-MOUTHING
(January 7, 2002) USA
Today reports that employers are winning key legal victories against former workers who criticize them online. While civil libertarians
claim this will chill free speech, employers are saying this simply “to stop people from spreading vicious lies.” This information
was brought to our attention by those who felt it relates to some of the controversies on the StrugglingTeens
NEW THEORIES PUSH END OF ADOLESENCE INTO THE 30s
(January 8, 2002) The Washington Post reported that the Society for Adolescent
Medicine, a physicians’ organization, now says on its Web site that it cares for persons 10 to 26 years of age. A National Academy
of Sciences committee, surveying programs for adolescents, discussed extending its review to age 30. The MacArthur Foundation has
funded a $3.4 million project called Transitions to Adulthood, which pegs the end of that transition at 34.
EDUCATION BILL EMPHASIZES PHONICS?
(January 9, 2002) Diana Jean Schemo reported for the New York Times that the education
bill signed into law by President Bush on Jan 8 includes an ambitious federal commitment to teaching reading, which is expected to
emphasize phonics over other methods of early reading instruction. The administration is requiring schools to adopt “scientifically
based” ways to teach reading, a phrase education officials interpret as referring to systematic phonics. Congressional National Reading
Panel findings have highlighted the success of phonics in giving children the building blocks for reading. Critics complain only reading
studies based on laboratory models were studied, thereby ignoring the vast majority of more qualitative studies on whole language
approaches to reading.
PARENTS: PRIVATE SCHOOLS ARE NECESSARY
(January 10, 2002) The New
York Times reporter Yilu Zhao, investigated how numerous parents struggling
with reduced income are still paying for private schools for their children, many of which charge more than $20,000 a year in tuition
for a single child. One school has received 190 applications — a quarter more than last year — for 15 openings in its kindergarten.
Though the terrorist attacks left some parents less able to afford them, it also created an uncertain atmosphere that made the security
and intimacy of private schools more attractive to parents.