July 2010

Safe Cosmetic Act of 2012

Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL), Ed Markey (MA) and Tammy Baldwin (WI) introduced legislation that would toughen safety standards for cosmetics and give the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to check personal care products for harmful ingredients.  Current law allows the FDA to defer decisions about ingredient safety to the cosmetic industry.  In other words, the cosmetic industry is regulating itself.  According to the Campaign for Safe cosmetics,  provisions in the legislation will:

Colorless Diet for Weight Loss?

I just received a FDA email about the safety of color additives in food.   What caught my eye was the subheading:  “Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green.”   I  wonder if colorless food could help reduce the obesity epidemic!!!   Seriously, to read the article, click here.

Barriers to Women’s Advancement in Science

I recently received a copy of an article written in 2007 by Molly Carnes, MD and Judyann Bigby, MD.   One of the obstacles to the advancement of women in academic medicine is discussed in terms of the Jennifers vs the Janets.   Jennifers refer to the younger women who are just coming out of medical school, who may be junior faculty and are starting their careers with great optimism.   Janets are the women who graduated in the 1980s and are at the pinnacles of their careers–experienced, competent, and who have earned the competence for leadership positions.

Obesity and Body Shape Linked to Poorer Brain Function in Women

CHICAGO — The more an older woman weighs, the worse her memory, according to new research from Northwestern Medicine. The effect is more pronounced in women who carry excess weight around their hips, known as pear shapes, than women who carry it around their waists, called apple shapes.  The study of 8,745 cognitively normal, post-menopausal women ages 65 to 79 from the Women’s Health Initiative hormone trials is the first in the United States to link obesity to poorer memory and brain function in women and to identify the body-shape connection.

Sex, Science, and Salaries

A recent post on the Oncofertility Consortium Blog discussed gender disparities in the senior levels of scientific research. Women receive 56% of science and engineering undergraduate degrees and are awarded more than 40% of graduate degrees in the sciences, often a PhD. However, they make up only 22% of senior academic faculty members in the United States.

The Journal Nature may have come across another reason for the gender gap in science. Salary differences. Nature just released the results of their first-ever salary and career survey of more than 10,000 scientists. In addition to examining salaries across countries, academic stages, and industry, the study also looked across genders.

Health Care Reform Navigation Tools

In March 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act–the new health care reform law.  It will take several years for all provisions of the Act to be implemented but there are a variety of tools becoming available to help guide the way as provisions are implements.   The Our Bodies, Ourselves Blog has posted one such tool.   To access it, click here