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2 July 1999

Vol. III, No. 1

In the News

A recent BU study cited in the June 17 Boston Herald suggests that resorting unthinkingly to pain relievers like aspirin can take a toll on the stomach. "Even someone who may take aspirin for something as simple as muscle pain is at high risk for gastric damage," says lead author Dr. Michael Wolfe, a gastroenterologist at the School of Medicine. "They're not as safe as candy," adds Wolfe, "but we don't want to create a panic either. Most are very safe, particularly those taken over the counter. But any person can develop a problem at any dose."

Evidence suggests that a prosperous economy is beginning to improve prospects for young black men in inner cities. But in the May 29 New York Times, Glenn Loury, UNI professor and director of BU's Institute on Race and Social Division, cites "two laws of economic nature": booms never last, and unemployment is always higher among black men. "Now is the time to invest in the education and job skills of the urban poor," he says. "Even a fast-rising tide won't lift the sunken boats."

The deaths of three Lawrence, Mass., teenagers in a car accident has drawn attention to the dangers of not using seat belts and to the paradox that seat belt use in Massachusetts has declined even after being legally enjoined. "It doesn't appear that most police officers consider lack of seat belt use an important secondary offense to cite," says SPH Professor Ralph Hingson in the June 12 Boston Globe. "Very few drivers are penalized for not wearing seat belts even if they are stopped for other reasons." Police are not allowed to stop drivers simply for not wearing seat belts.

"Plunging into your feelings may actually interfere with the natural healing process," says Bessel van der Kolk, MED professor of psychiatry, in a May 31 Boston Globe story on the increasing use of grief counselors in the wake of airline crashes and school shootings. "The critical thing after exposure to trauma is to get the body to calm down. Religious ceremonies get it: sit down, hold each other, mourn with each other. But don't immediately go into all the details of how painful it is."

Some people who scoff at the Book of Revelations as an almanac are nonetheless taking the Y2K bug seriously. "Y2K's cause is so mundane that it allows people who would never buy into any apocalyptic scenario to take notice," says David Kessler, executive director of BU's Center for Millennial Studies, in a June 11 Philadelphia Inquirer story about the growing popularity of preparedness fairs offering survival tips.

Andrew Bacevich, CAS professor of international relations, doubts the effectiveness of the nearly decade-long U.S. effort to reduce Iraq's military aggression in the Middle East. "The relationship between this impressive tactical success and the achievement of stated U.S. political objectives remains tenuous," he asserts in the June Jane's Intelligence Review. "If the present effort does not suffice, the United States retains the option of using some Iraqi transgression as a pretext to intensify the campaign."

"In the News" is compiled by Alexander Crouch in the Office of Public Relations.