Its information-gathering abilities are no doubt impressive, but how good is Google at tracking cases of influenza? Pop Center faculty member Gary King, who recently co-authored a paper critiquing the accuracy of Google Flu Trends. A subsequent New York Times article discussed King’s paper and raised interesting questions about the strengths and limitations of big data.
We’ve long known that anxiety puts people at risk for coronary heart disease, but now a nationally representative longitudinal study of the US population has shown that anxiety also increases the risk of stroke. Pop Center faculty member Laura Kubzansky and RWJF alum Rebecca Thurston co-authored the study, which was published in Stroke.
And speaking of reducing anxiety, please join us for a cup of tea on April 28th, when we kick off our 50th Anniversary celebration with an Open House and Reception. All are welcome!
As reported in this HSPH release, an article in the Harvard Gazette and this NPR blog, a large study published in The Lancet Global Health, co-authored by Pop Center faculty member S V Subramanian and former PGDA Fellow Sebastian Vollmer, finds that, contrary to widely held beliefs, economic growth has little to no effect on the nutritional status of the world’s poorest children. “They [the findings] emphasize,” said Subramanian, “that focusing on improving economic growth does not necessarily translate to child health gains.” Pop Center research scientist and director of research core Jocelyn Finlay also contributed to the study.
A paper co-authored by Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, titled “Why Do Americans Have Shorter Life Expectancy and Worse Health Than Do People in Other High-Income Countries?” published in the Annual Review of Public Health examines whether crucial differences in social policy may play an important role in why US Americans lead shorter and less healthy lives than do people in other high-income countries.
Rohini Pande, Ph.D., Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Pop Center faculty member, was quoted in this article in The Times of India on the health worries associated with the air pollution being twice as high in the city of Ludhiana as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Given that health is improving at a greater rate among the better off than among those of lower socioeconomic status, will health inequities become greater over time? Pop Center faculty members Nancy Krieger and Jason Beckfield were part of a team that looked at 50 years of data on socioeconomic health inequities in the US. The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found that health inequities need not rise as population health improves.
Former Pop Center RWJF Scholar Summer Hawkins, PhD, has co-authored a paper indicating that nearly half of nonsmoking pregnant women studied in NYC had elevated cotinine levels despite living in a city with comprehensive tobacco control policies. Study results suggest that “health professionals need to assess sources of SHS exposure during pregnancy and promote smoke-free environments to improve maternal and fetal health.”
What’s the best age at which to retire? This question is certainly a current hot topic. David Canning, who co-directs the Pop Center, and David Bloom, head of the Program on the Global Demography of Aging, have developed a new model for predicting the optimal age of retirement and have published their work in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics. Their model predicts continuing declines in the optimal retirement age, despite rising life expectancy, provided the rate of real wage growth remains as high as in the last century.