Will Soda Taxes Curb Obesity?

Soda TaxSugar-sweetened beverages have become the focus of intense debate in the US as public health advocates and policy makers argue that these drinks are driving the obesity epidemic which is, in turn, driving huge health care costs. Therefore, many argue that soda is subject to a sin tax. This analysis looks at each element of the soda tax debate and asks whether the data adds up to a compelling case for either position. It also looks at whether the media has provided the public with the relevant information it needs to reach an informed decision on this issue.

pessimistic or optimistic?Genetic Literacy Project

The Genetic Literacy Project, directed by award winning journalist and author Jon Entine, will foster a dialogue about the scientific, social and ethical implications of genetic technologies, human and agricultural. It is designed to help journalists, scientists and policymakers navigate the increasingly politicized arena of biotechnology, genetic engineering, medical genomics and related sciences, such as nanotechnology.

pessimistic or optimistic?The Statistics on Alcohol Abuse

Underage drinking is a serious problem for our society.  From reports in the media, one gets the impression that it is getting worse ever year and that even casual teenage drinking carries with it devastating implications for our youth, including increasing the alcoholism rate of those who drink early and even death.  Do the statistics support these stories?  Find out the facts at STATS


The Myth of the Declining Middle Class
Are Two-Income Families Doing Worse Today Than 20 Years Ago?
Two widely-cited studies have created the impression that the typical middle class family is worse off now than it was 20 years ago. But just how “typical” are the simulated families in these economic analyses? Economist Stephen Rose takes a look at the model families in Middle Class Progress? by Christian Weller and the Two-Income Trap by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi and finds out what's making them so unhappy.

Part two of our series on the Myth of the Declining Middle Class -
How realistic are the model families used in widely-cited economic analyses of middle class decline?

Part three - How a flawed study based on IRS data, since corrected, continues to generate the idea that only the top one percent of Americans saw gains in income over the past 30 years, while 90 percent of Americans saw their incomes decline.

How Bad Are Payday Loans?
Do payday loans sink people into inescapable debt, forcing them to pay many times more the original borrowed amount in interest? The media has reported numerous claims about punishing annual percentage rates and crippling interest payments, and how payday lending is devastating those who already are the most disadvantaged in society. We look at whether the data used to frame this problem is telling the whole story.

Global Warming
earthSTATS/Harris Interactive Survey: Climate Scientists Agree on Warming, Disagree on Dangers, and Don’t Trust the Media’s Coverage of Climate Change.
Eighty-four percent say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence... more

Can We Trust Climate Models?
To perform the experiments they’d like,  climate scientists would need a few million Earths, billions of years, and omnipotence. Then they could pump extra greenhouse gases into the atmosphere of one Earth, prod volcanoes into mad eruptions on another, summon up sunspots to stream extra radiation to the third. They could stop the oceans from circulating, cover the sky with clouds, melt the polar ice. Then they’d sit back and watch what happened, deducing from the consequences how climate works... instead, they have to try and build models accounting for all these factors. How reliable can they be?

How to Evaluate Health Risks
Every day, it seems there's a new study in the media telling you what to be afraid of. Don't panic! Read our guide before you rush to change your life.

10 Ways We Get the Odds Wrong
"Our brains are terrible at assessing modern risks," says STATS' Maia Szalavitz in Psychology Today. "Here's how to think straight about dangers in your midst."

What's Your Risk For...

falling pianoAnd just what are your odds of getting injured or dying from everyday activities such as grilling, lawn mowing, and watching TV? Can Pyrex dishes spontaneously explode? We analyze the statistics and the science.

We also examine the latest health scares on mattresses, the iPhone, Avandia, Teflon, new car smell, nail polish, saran wrap, plastic bottles, and phthalates.

What Does Science Really Tell Us About the Benefits of Breast Feeding?
When a newspaper compared cigarette smoking to using infant formula,we suspected that there's got to be something screwy with the science, which is, in fact, the case.

We also look at the connection between diabetes and nursing, and whether using formula increases anteat infant's risk of developing leukemia.Will an epidural make breast feeding more difficult? Is it better for HIV mothers to breastfeed or not breastfeed – and does it depend on where they live?

What are the risks of light to moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy - what does the reasearch really say? And just how much coffee can you drink when you are pregnant? And is there a link between coffee and miscarriage?

The Dos and Don'ts for Kicking Addiction and Treating Alcoholism
Did you know that at least 50 percent of people with these addictions have an additional mental illness? So why do many states not even require addiction counselors to have a high school diploma? STATS' Maia Szalavitz investigates all on on MSN Health and Fitness.