Reuters: Centenarians have healthier offspring
A study based on 176 offspring of centenarians revealed a 26 percent incidence of high blood pressure and a 13 percent incidence of heart disease, compared to 52 percent and 27, respectively, for those whose parents did not live as long, reports Reuters on November 18. “Exceptional longevity runs in families but at this point it’s difficult to predict how much of this effect is genetic and how much is related to environment and lifestyle,” says Dellara Terry, a MED instructor in medicine who contributed to a report released at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association. “Our research suggests that children of centenarians have some cardiovascular health advantages over the rest of us but Americans can still improve their health and age more successfully by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.”
Boston Globe: Some asylum-seekers face abuse in U.S.
A November 18 Boston Globe article on the trials faced by Ann Nalawu, a Ugandan refugee who came to the United States on her own, contacted a fellow Ugandan woman, and ended up being treated like a slave, shows how easy it is for asylum-seekers to be exploited when they aren’t sponsored by the U.S. government, which connects them with a network of helpful agencies. “They’re incredibly isolated and vulnerable, and that’s a set-up situation for being exploited,” says Michael Grodin, an SPH professor of health law and codirector of MED’s Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. Last year, the center treated 240 refugees and asylum-seekers tortured in their homelands, about 80 percent from African countries. Grodin cites recent cases where a Kurd who worked construction under the table and a Ugandan woman who cleaned apartments weren’t paid. “They have no recourse,” he says. “They’re afraid to complain because they think it will lead to their deportation.”
New York Times: BU’s African Presidents Program looks for next fellow
Former Zambian ruler Kenneth Kaunda, the first fellow in the Lloyd G. Balfour African Presidents in Residence Program at BU, recommends the program to other African presidents, says the November 14 New York Times. “It helps Americans understand Africa and the other way around,” he says. Charles Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania who directs BU’s African Presidential Archives and Research Center, will travel to Africa in January 2003 to search for the second fellow. “There are more possibilities than most people imagine,” Stith says, “and it’s a group that is growing by the year.” Stith has been working with the Bush administration to make sure BU’s selections keep foreign policy interests in mind. He won’t speculate on Daniel arap Moi of Kenya or Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, but Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is on Stith’s short list. “The determination of eligibility can only really be made when one is a former president,” he says. “You can only make an assessment of leaders’ contributions to democracy after they are out of office.”
Boston Phoenix: A toast to BU’s wine course and program
In an article in the November 14 Boston Phoenix, David Valdes Greenwood praises BU’s Wine Certificate Course and Diploma Wine Program as more than something to whet the appetite. “Though your average wise guy might immediately begin a comic riff about [the program], that reaction is based on ignorance. Those who love wine know better.” Beginners should start with the certificate course, Greenwood recommends, which teaches basic tasting skills and moves on to classification, storage, and serving. The two-year commitment for the diploma program “intends to yield formidable experts” in wines and spirits of the world, including all the classical grape varieties and the distinctive character of each beverage, which students “prove not only in writing but also in tasting exams.”
GazetteNET: Staples to improve environmental policy
The office supply chain Staples has announced that it will sell paper products averaging 30 percent recycled content as part of a new procurement policy that environmentalists are praising as the best in the business, reports the November 13 GazetteNET. The announcement follows pressure by a consortium of groups working to force environmental policy changes at well-known companies. “One of the things that the environmental groups have demonstrated is that they can mobilize a segment of consumers to either favor or disfavor a particular company, and that creates incentives for companies,” says James Post, an SMG professor in the department of strategy and policy. Staples says it will not buy paper from endangered forests and will encourage customers to buy recycled products.