Thursday, October 8, 2015

The racial achievement gap among New York City public-school students gets worse once they reach college, according to a new study

An analysis released by Families for Excellent Schools, a pro-charter group, says that only 12.7% of this year’s African-American high-school freshmen and only 12.1% of Hispanics will end up with four-year bachelor’s degrees. The organization, which said it based its conclusions on public data, put the comparable rate for whites at 37.5% and Asians at 40.4%. The sharp racial and ethnic gap was even more pronounced than in the city’s public schools. The Department of Education reported that 63.8% of blacks, 61.4% of Hispanics, 80.7% of whites and 82.6% of Asians graduated high schools in 2014. That put the achievement difference between whites and Hispanics, for instance, at 20 percentage points in high schools. In college it was 25 percentage points, according to the analysis.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What are the five worst countries to die in?

They are Iraq, Bangladesh, Philippines, Nigeria and Burma. Not exactly great places to live in either. The researchers looked at 80 countries and ranked them for "quality of death," looking at factors including the overall palliative care and healthcare environment, the availability and training of healthcare professionals, the affordability of care, and — most importantly — the quality of care. Britain is apparently the best place to die.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A caucus of the New York City Council’s 13 Jewish lawmakers is calling on the United States government to admit more Syrian refugees than currently allowed

“We believe that the United States has the opportunity and obligation to do much more to help relieve this crisis,” the caucus, chaired by Councilman Mark Levine, a Manhattan Democrat, said in a joint statement. “We therefore call on President Obama to accelerate the pace at which our nation is providing refuge to Syrian migrants, beyond the current modest target of only 10,000 over the next year.” They said that the migrant crisis has particularly poignancy for them. “Many of us grew up with or have family members who were forced to flee persecution. All of us are keenly aware of the countless times in history in which Jews have been refugees.” More than 4 million refugees have fled Syria following a brutal civil war there. Many observers say this migrant crisis is the worst since World War II, testing the foundations of the European Union. At least some right-leaning countries have shuttered their borders to refugees, while others like Germany have wrestled with massive influxes. The Obama administration announced recently that the United States will increase the number of worldwide refugees they accept each year to 100,000 by 2017, a boost from 70,000. The Jewish Caucus didn’t specify how much higher they would like to see the cap increased.

The genetic makeup of colon cancer tumors and survival rates for patients with the disease differ by race, according to a study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

“These findings put the issue of race more prominently on the radar of investigators that cancer biology may contribute to race-based disparities,” says the study’s co-lead author, Harry Yoon, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic. “While it is too early to change the way we treat these patients, our results indicate that future studies are needed to examine potential biological drivers of these differences more closely.” According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women with more than 93,000 cases estimated to be diagnosed in 2015. Researchers have long known that blacks develop colon cancer at an earlier age and blacks with colon cancer are at higher risk of dying than whites. However, it has been difficult to identify why the differences in survival exist. Researchers analyzed data from a large clinical trial of more than 3,000 patients with stage III colon cancer. The analysis revealed that tumors from whites, blacks, and Asians had different frequencies of mutations in two key cancer-related genes, BRAF and KRAS, which have been associated with worse outcomes. It also found that colon cancers were twice as likely to recur in black patients as in whites; however, the discrepancy was only evident in those under age 50. “The role of the biology of colon tumors according to race has not been examined as extensively,” says Dr. Yoon. “This biology can be reflected in the genetic makeup of tumors, as well as by whether and how quickly cancer returns after the patient has been treated.” Dr. Yoon and his colleagues focused their efforts on finding out if colon cancers are genetically different based on race, as well as if race-based differences exist in recurrence rates. To do this, they examined data from a large clinical trial – Alliance N0147 – which included patients with stage III colon cancer from many centers in North America who all underwent surgery to remove their cancer and chemotherapy after surgery. As part of the trial, the patients provided a self-description of their race as either white, Asian, or black or African-American. The researchers then evaluated the tumors from these participants to see if a mutation was present in the cancer-related genes BRAF and KRAS. They also noted if the cancer had returned after treatment. Analysis of the data showed that tumors from whites, blacks and Asians were different in terms of the frequency of mutations in the BRAF and KRAS genes. Tumors from whites were twice as likely to have BRAF mutations; whereas, tumors from blacks had the highest frequency of KRAS mutations. Tumors from Asians were the most likely to have normal copies of both genes. The analysis also indicated that the colon cancers among blacks had more than double the risk of cancer recurrence, compared to whites. However, this discrepancy was only visible among young patients – those under age 50. Almost half of younger black patients experienced colon cancer recurrence within five years, compared to only 22% to 35% of whites or Asian patients of any age. “In addition to published data indicating that a limited number of genes are preferentially mutated in colon cancers from black versus white patients, our study revealed differences in the mutation frequencies of BRAF and KRAS oncogenes that provide prognostic information in colon cancer patients,” says Frank Sinicrope, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic and co-lead author. “Our data provide further evidence that colon cancers from blacks are intrinsically different and are associated with more aggressive clinical behavior in young black patients.”

Is John Derbyshire the white Ta-Nehisi Coates?

Is it really racist to point out that any given black was almost fifteen times more likely to have killed a white in 2013 than any given white was to have killed a black?