Saturday, 28 April 2012

Increase in breast-feeding could save lives and billions of dollars,0,2405524.story

Chicago— The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90% of U.S. mothers breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.

Those results, to be published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are only an estimate. But several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seemed sound.

"The healthcare system has got to be aware that breast-feeding makes a profound difference," said Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' breast-feeding section.

The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding could help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome and childhood leukemia.

The magnitude of health benefits linked to breast-feeding is vastly underappreciated, said lead author Dr. Melissa Bartick, an internist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Breast-feeding is sometimes considered a lifestyle choice, but Bartick calls it a public health issue.

Among the benefits: Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may mean breast-fed babies are less likely to develop diabetes and obesity.

The analysis studied the prevalence of 10 common childhood illnesses, costs of treating those diseases, including hospitalization, and the level of disease protection other studies have linked with breast-feeding.

About $13 billion in losses from the current breast-feeding rate includes a calculation by economists based partly on lost potential lifetime wages -- $10.56 million for each death.

The methods were similar to a widely cited 2001 government report that said $3.6 billion could be saved each year if 50% of mothers breast-fed their babies for six months. Medical costs have climbed since then, and breast-feeding rates have increased only slightly.

About 43% of U.S. mothers do at least some breast-feeding for six months, but only 12% follow government guidelines recommending that babies receive only breast milk for six months.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Demand Side Economics

There is an economics that works, that rescued the nation from the depths of the Great Depression, that organized the mobilization of World War II, that executed a successful transition from war to peace and prosperity, that explained the instability and decline, and that predicted the Great Financial Crisis. That economics points a way out of the current stagnation and embraces the challenges of world poverty and global climate change.

That economics was abandoned for the benefit of a corporate oligarchy and a casino capitalism. Demand Side Economics draws the history and explores the evidence of this school through the work of nine of its advocates, from the 1930's and John Maynard Keynes to the 2010's and Nouriel Roubini.

Economists included are John Maynard Keynes, Leon Keyserling, John Kenneth Galbraith, Hyman Minsky, Joseph Stiglitz, James K. Galbraith, George Soros, Steve Keen and Nouriel Roubini.

This is a cogent treatment of complex events and concepts that will lead the reader to an understanding of what has happened and why.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sheila's Planet

My matriarchal Science Fiction book about, three young men and a girl find themselves in a desperate situation when their aircraft crash lands in an Australian desert.  They are rescued by a woman in a flying saucer, who takes them to live on spaceship where women are the rulers.  The earthmen are then trained to obey women, but one earthman rebels and try to escape back to Earth.

The book compares the patriarchal world of Earth with a matriarchal planet.