The Huffington Post <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/65313147″>Caine Stands Up</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/thebullyproject”>The Bully Project</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p> This bullied 11-year-old has a powerful message for his school board: “You have the power to make the changes.” In recently promoted footage from 2011’s “The Bully … Continue reading
by MARIA GODOY
Hannah Robertson, 9, and her mom, blogger Kia Robertson — with the makings for kale chips, of course.
Jamie Robertson/Courtesy Jamie Robertson
It’s not everyday that a 9-year-old girl chastises the CEO of one of the world’s biggest fast-food chains.
Yet that’s exactly what young Hannah Robertson did Thursday morning at McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting in Chicago. When the meeting opened up to questions, Hannah was first up at the mic with a pointed criticism.
“It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time,” she told McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson.
Hannah, a native of Kelowna, British Columbia, didn’t get to Chicago on her own, of course. She and her mother, Kia Robertson, who blogs about how parents can help kids make healthful food choices, showed up as part of a contingent from the watchdog group Corporate Accountability International.
“We want them to stop their predatory marketing to kids,” says Sriram Madhusoodanan, a national campaign organizer with the group.
Corporate Accountability has been pushing McDonald’s to change its ways for years. Two years ago, it launched a so-far-unsuccessful bid urging McDonald’s to retire Ronald, its famous clown mascot. Its latest social media campaign involves harnessing the power of mpm bloggers like Robertson to tell McDonald’s that they’re “not lovin’” the company’s efforts targeting kids, such as including toys in Happy Meals.
Ironically, as we previously reported on The Salt, mom bloggers are a demographic that McDonald’s actively courted as it revamped its Happy Meals — downsizing french fries and adding apples to every meal — in response to pressure from parents and public health officials.
CEO Thompson pointed to those efforts in defending his company’s marketing practices. “We sell a lot of fruits and veggies and are trying to sell even more,” he said in his reply to Hannah.
But Madhusoodanan wants to see the company do far more. His group put forth a shareholders’ proposal to get McDonald’s to assess its nutritional initiatives and their impact on childhood obesity to prevent eroding sales, in the face of growing public concern about the health impacts of fast food. It failed, attracting just 6.3 percent of shareholders’ votes.
Thompson — who Hannah says called her “brave” in a brief exchange after the meeting — challenged her mother Kia’s assertion that McDonald’s does an end run around parents. “We’re not marketing to schools,” he said point blank. “We don’t do that.”
“We are not the cause of obesity,” Thompson said. “We are not marketing unjustly to kids. Ronald is not a bad guy. … He’s about fun.” (Unless, of course, you’ve got afear of clowns.)
And just as the question period began with a young opponent for Thompson, it wrapped up with another child rushing to the mic in the CEO’s defense.
The young boy listed the many ways he thinks McDonald’s helps kids. He cited theRonald McDonald House Charities and events like McCare Nights, in which McDonald’s donates a portion of sales at a particular franchise to a school it has partnered with. Schools often urge parents and students to eat at McDonald’s on these nights to raise money for school activities. But that sort of soft marketing, says Madhusoodanan, is part of the problem.
“That’s exactly,” he says, “how they build brand loyalty.”
The Girl Effect is a solution to poverty. If we do our part, 600 million girls in the developing world will do the rest.
HERE ARE THREE SOLID REASONS WHY WE WANT YOU TO INVEST YOUR TIME, ENERGY AND CAPITAL IN AN ADOLESCENT GIRL
1. GIRLS ARE AGENTS OF CHANGE
They play a crucial role in solving the most persistent development problems facing the world today. By investing in their economic potential through education and by delaying child marriage and teen pregnancy, issues such as HIV and AIDS can be resolved and the cycle of poverty can be broken. To learn how a girl’s success is the world’s success, watch the girl effect films above.
2. PEOPLE ASSUME GIRLS ARE BEING REACHED
They’re not. The reality is that children’s programmes focus on 0-5 year-olds, youth programmes tend to focus on males and older groups, and women’s programmes don’t typically capture adolescent girls. Programmes that do reach girls rarely address the ones most at risk. To break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, programmes must be designed for, and measure the impact on, girls.
3. THE COST OF EXCLUDING GIRLS IS HIGH
In India, adolescent pregnancy results in nearly $10billion in lost potential income. In Uganda, 85 per cent of girls leave school early, resulting in $10billion in lost potential earnings. By delaying child marriage and early birth for one million girls, Bangladesh could potentially add $69billion to the national income over these girls’ lifetimes.
THE QUESTION ISN’T: ‘WHY GIRLS?’
THE QUESTION IS: ‘WHY WAIT?’
- Kaiba Gionfriddo stopped breathing daily and had to receive CPR
- Doctors tried the equivalent of a “Hail Mary” pass
- They created a splint on a 3-D printer to enable him to breathe
Editor’s note: “Life’s Work” features innovators and pioneers who are making a difference in the world of medicine.
(CNN) — When he was 6 weeks old, Kaiba Gionfriddo lay flat on a restaurant table, his skin turning blue. He had stopped breathing.
His father, Bryan, was furiously pumping his chest, trying to get air into his son’s lungs.
Within 30 minutes, Kaiba was admitted to a local hospital. Doctors concluded that he had probably breathed food or liquid into his lungs and eventually released him.
But two days later, it happened again. It was the beginning of an ordeal for the Youngstown, Ohio, family that continued day after agonizing day.
“They had to do CPR on him every day,” said April Gionfriddo, Kaiba’s mother, who later found out her son had a rare obstruction in his lungs called bronchial malacia. “I didn’t think he was going to leave the hospital alive.”
With hopes dimming that Kaiba would survive, doctors tried the medical equivalent of a “Hail Mary” pass. Using an experimental technique never before tried on a human, they created a splint made out of biological material that effectively carved a path through Kaiba’s blocked airway.
What makes this a medical feat straight out of science fiction: The splint was created on a three-dimensional printer.
“It’s magical to me,” said Dr. Glenn Green, an associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan who implanted the splint in Kaiba. “We’re talking about taking dust and using it to build body parts.”
Kaiba’s procedure was described in a letter published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“It was pretty nifty that (doctors) were able to make something for Kaiba on a printer like that,” April Gionfriddo said. “But we really weren’t so worried about that. We were more worried about our son.”
Green, who has been practicing for two decades, and a UM colleague, biomedical engineer Scott Hollister, had been working for years toward a clinical trial to test the splint in children with pulmonary issues when they got a phone call from a physician in Ohio who was aware of their research.
“He said, ‘I’ve got a child who needs (a splint) now,’ ” referring to Kaiba, said Green. “He said that this child is not going to live unless something is done.”
Green and Hollister got emergency clearance from their hospital and the Food and Drug Administration to try the experimental treatment — which had been used only on animals — on Kaiba. The child was airlifted from Akron Children’s Hospital to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at UM.
“It was a mixture of elation and, for lack of a better word, terror,” said Hollister, a professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering who has been studying tissue regeneration for more than 15 years. “When someone drops something like this in your lap and says, ‘Look, this might be this kid’s only chance’ … it’s a big step.”
The next big step was getting a CT scan of Kaiba’s lungs so that the splint could be fitted to his organs’ exact dimensions. Hollister used the results of the scan to generate a computer model of the splint.
The model was fed into a 3-D printer that can engineer structures using a powder called polycaprolactone, or PCL.
PCL is malleable; it can be fashioned into all kinds of intricate structures. When a splint is created using PCL, it becomes a sort of biological placeholder, propping up structures while the body heals around it.
PCL has been used for years to fill holes left behind in the skull after brain surgery, according to Hollister. As time passes, PCL degrades and is excreted out of the body, hopefully leaving behind a healed organ.
What followed in Kaiba’s case was a painstaking process of creating the splint on the printer in layers. Information about each layer is transmitted from the computer to a laser beam, which melts the PCL into a 3-D structure.
“We can put together a complete copy of a body part on the 3-D printer within a day,” Green said. “So we can make something very specific for a patient very quickly.”
Green then took the splint, measuring just a few centimeters long and 8 millimeters wide, and surgically attached it to Kaiba’s collapsed bronchus. It was only moments before he saw the results.
“When the stitches were put in, we started seeing the lung inflate and deflate,” Green said. “It was so fabulous. There were people in the operating room cheering.”
“This case is a wonderful example that regenerative technologies are no longer science fiction,” said Dr. Andre Terzic, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, who was not involved in Kaiba’s case. “We are increasingly … finding new solutions that we didn’t have before.”
The technique used by Green and Hollister is part of a burgeoning field called regenerative medicine, which involves engineering therapies — using things like stem cells, or “body parts” constructed out of biological material — to harness the body’s ability to heal itself.
Creating a part that is specific to a patient’s organ takes on even more importance with diseases like bronchial malacia, in which conventional intervention is risky and often the alternative is life on a ventilator.
But while cases like Kaiba’s are a medical boon, both Terzic and the UM researchers stress that this and other regenerative procedures must be replicated in a wider patient population.
“This gives us the opportunity to really do patient-specific and individualized medicine,” Hollister said. “So we don’t have to do one-size-fits-all. But there is still a lot of work to be done.”
While that work is being done, Kaiba’s family remains grateful that, 15 months post-surgery and at age 18 months, he is still able to breathe on his own.
“I’m just so happy he’s still here, that he was able to make it through,” April Gionfriddo said. “Hopefully (soon) he’ll be able to run around and be an even happier child.”
The splint will take three years to degrade, and in the meantime, Kaiba’s lung should continue to develop normally, said Green.
Green and Hollister hope to begin clinical trials in a larger patient population this year or next.
- Schools across the country are sending out letters advising pupils not to use Ask.fm
- Site lets anyone see details of boys and girls as young as 13, then post comments or questions
- There is no way to report offensive comments
- Has become linked to a number of recent teen suicides
PUBLISHED: 21:03 EST, 12 January 2013
Pupils and parents are being warned by head teachers about the dangers of a rapidly growing social networking site that puts teenagers at risk of vicious anonymous abuse.
Schools across the country are sending out letters advising pupils not to use Ask.fm, which has more than 30 million users around the world and has been linked to suicides and serious bullying.
The website lets anyone see the names, photographs and personal details of boys and girls as young as 13, then post comments or questions on their profile pages that range from insults to sexual advances and threats of violence.
Unlike other services such as Facebook and Twitter, there is no way to report offensive comments, increase privacy settings or find out who is behind anonymous bullying.
The website is based in Latvia, making it even more difficult for police to take action, while its owners dismiss any problems with the site as the result of British and Irish children being more cruel than those from other countries.
Jim Gamble, head of security consultancy Ineqe, said: ‘Ask.fm has become associated with some of the worst forms of cyberbullying and has been linked to a number of recent teen suicides in Ireland and the US.
‘It is almost a stalker’s paradise. In cases like this young people need protection from those who exploit internet anonymity to intimidate, isolate and bully.’
Richard Piggin, deputy chief executive of the charity BeatBullying, said: ‘The tool that enables it to be anonymous can facilitate young people to say things that they might not say face to face or if their names were attached to it. So it releases their inhibitions, which can be very dangerous.
‘Sites like Ask.fm lack even the most basic child safety mechanisms or reporting protocols. They are of huge concern to us and the young people we work with.’
Founder Mark Terebin said: ‘We only have this situation in Ireland and the UK most of all. It seems that children are more cruel in these countries.’
Brain, Interrupted, The New York Times
By Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson | New York Times – Tue, May 7, 2013
- Yahoo! Finance/Getty Images –
Technology has given us many gifts, among them dozens of new ways to grab our attention. It’s hard to talk to a friend without your phone buzzing at least once. Odds are high you will check your Twitter feed or Facebook wall while reading this article. Just try to type a memo at work without having an e-mail pop up that ruins your train of thought.
But what constitutes distraction? Does the mere possibility that a phone call or e-mail will soon arrive drain your brain power? And does distraction matter — do interruptions make us dumber? Quite a bit, according to new research by Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab.
There’s a lot of debate among brain researchers about the impact of gadgets on our brains. Most discussion has focused on the deleterious effect of multitasking. Early results show what most of us know implicitly: if you do two things at once, both efforts suffer.
In fact, multitasking is a misnomer. In most situations, the person juggling e-mail, text messaging, Facebook and a meeting is really doing something called “rapid toggling between tasks,” and is engaged in constant context switching.
As economics students know, switching involves costs. But how much? When a consumer switches banks, or a company switches suppliers, it’s relatively easy to count the added expense of the hassle of change. When your brain is switching tasks, the cost is harder to quantify.
There have been a few efforts to do so: Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, foundthat a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. But there has been scant research on the quality of work done during these periods of rapid toggling.
We decided to investigate further, and asked Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology, and the psychologist Eyal Peer at Carnegie Mellon to design an experiment to measure the brain power lost when someone is interrupted.
To simulate the pull of an expected cellphone call or e-mail, we had subjects sit in a lab and perform a standard cognitive skill test. In the experiment, 136 subjects were asked to read a short passage and answer questions about it. There were three groups of subjects; one merely completed the test. The other two were told they “might be contacted for further instructions” at any moment via instant message.
During an initial test, the second and third groups were interrupted twice. Then a second test was administered, but this time, only the second group was interrupted. The third group awaited an interruption that never came. Let’s call the three groups Control, Interrupted and On High Alert.
We expected the Interrupted group to make some mistakes, but the results were truly dismal, especially for those who think of themselves as multitaskers: during this first test, both interrupted groups answered correctly 20 percent less often than members of the control group.
In other words, the distraction of an interruption, combined with the brain drain of preparing for that interruption, made our test takers 20 percent dumber. That’s enough to turn a B-minus student (80 percent) into a failure (62 percent).
But in Part 2 of the experiment, the results were not as bleak. This time, part of the group was told they would be interrupted again, but they were actually left alone to focus on the questions.
Again, the Interrupted group underperformed the control group, but this time they closed the gap significantly, to a respectable 14 percent. Dr. Peer said this suggested that people who experience an interruption, and expect another, can learn to improve how they deal with it.
But among the On High Alert group, there was a twist. Those who were warned of an interruption that never came improved by a whopping 43 percent, and even outperformed the control test takers who were left alone. This unexpected, counterintuitive finding requires further research, but Dr. Peer thinks there’s a simple explanation: participants learned from their experience, and their brains adapted.
Somehow, it seems, they marshaled extra brain power to steel themselves against interruption, or perhaps the potential for interruptions served as a kind of deadline that helped them focus even better.
Clifford Nass, a Stanford sociologist who conducted some of the first tests on multitasking, has said that those who can’t resist the lure of doing two things at once are “suckers for irrelevancy.” There is some evidence that we’re not just suckers for that new text message, or addicted to it; it’s actually robbing us of brain power, too. Tweet about this at your own risk.
What the Carnegie Mellon study shows, however, is that it is possible to train yourself for distractions, even if you don’t know when they’ll hit.
Bob Sullivan, a journalist at NBC News, and Hugh Thompson, a computer scientist and entrepreneur, are the authors of “The Plateau Effect: Getting From Stuck to Success.”