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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific American

How to Revive the Promise of Better Health Care through IT

Four years ago the Obama administration offered up $19 billion in stimulus funds to help get health care IT (including electronic health records, or EHRs) in the pink—or at least in the black.Better information technology throughout the health care system would save money, improve care and bring the health care industry into the 21st century, proponents argued.But, as is obvious by the continuance of paper records, isolated institutional networks and clunky interfaces, health care IT is still in critical condition.A new report, assembled by the RAND Corporation, a non-profit, non-partisan research group, suggests that health care IT is not a hopeless case, however...

January 7, 2013 — Katherine Harmon

Top 10 Space Stories of 2012

Now that 2012 has really and truly been put to bed, let’s look at the year that was in space exploration and astronomy.My choice for #1 was a no-brainer: not only is spectacular science already rolling in, but the top space event of the year—the August landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars—also crossed over into mainstream news coverage in a big way...

January 4, 2013 — John Matson

Did Human Ancestors "Walk" Up Trees? [Video]

A new study suggests that we might be thinking about tree climbing in our recent ancestors all wrong.The traditional idea that our ancestors descended from the trees and gradually—and exclusively—began walking upright might be a gross over simplification...

December 31, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

Early Childhood Obesity Rates Might Be Slowing Nation-Wide

About one in three children in the U.S. are now overweight, and since the 1980s the number of children who are obese has more than tripled. But a new study of 26.7 million young children from low-income families shows that in this group of kids, the tidal wave of obesity might finally be receding.Being obese as a child not only increases the risk of early-life health problems, such as joint problems, pre-diabetes and social stigmatization, but it also dramatically increases the likelihood of being obese later in life, which can lead to chronic diseases, including cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease...

December 25, 2012 — Katherine Harmon

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