Politics editor Christina Bellantoni and social media editor Colleen Shalby, who ran with the PBS NewsHour HatCam, pose before the start of the ACLI Capital Challenge race in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Christina Bellantoni/Twitter.
Fourteen PBS NewsHour road warriors gathered early Wednesday morning to hit the pavement in a charity race to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
We ran 3 miles for the annual ACLI Capital Challenge, which also included members of Congress, other branches of government and reporters from print, television and radio outlets.
Angelina Jolie announced that she has undergone a double mastectomy after she learned she was strongly predisposed to developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images
The news went viral right away.
Movie star Angelina Jolie announced Tuesday she has undergone a double preventative mastectomy. Jolie's mother died from breast cancer at age 56. She inherited the same gene, called BRCA1, which her mom had. Her doctors said that gave her a very good chance of developing breast and possibly ovarian cancer as well.
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, titled "My Medical Choice", Jolie described the procedures she underwent in graphic detail saying that at one point it "does feel like a scene out of a science fiction film."
The op-ed is striking in its honesty and bravery coming from a woman whose body has been celebrated all over the world, a woman who once was shown on the cover of a magazine joyfully breast feeding one of her newborn twins.
Jolie said she does not "feel any less of a woman" since having her breasts removed and urged women everywhere to be vigilant about assessing their risk for the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases result from inherited mutations, including those in the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. These mutations are present in far less than 1 percent of the general population. Women with BRCA1 mutations, like Jolie's, are estimated to have a 44 to 78 percent risk for developing breast cancer by age 70, though Jolie's doctors estimated that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
The 37-year old actress is not the first celebrity to go public with having had a double mastectomy. Actress Christina Applegate, Sharon Osbourne and a recent contestant in the Miss America Pageant have all spoken about their experiences.
But in this case, as one of the most famous women in the world, Jolie brings a new dimension to public understanding of breast cancer -- and its prevention -- which still kills more than 450,000 women around the world each year.
We wondered what experts in the breast cancer field were thinking about all of this today.
We talked with one of them, the President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Sandra Swain.
Sixteenth century Aztec drawing of smallpox victims. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
One of the most celebrated medical anniversaries concerns a country doctor named Edward Jenner (1749-1823) who lived in the tiny village of Berkeley in Gloucestershire, Great Britain. Like every general practitioner of his day, Dr. Jenner attended to too many patients struck down by smallpox. For millennia, it was humankind's deadliest foe -- that is, until Jenner figured out a means of preventing it entirely.
As with any great medical discovery, Jenner was hardly alone in his quest for a safe smallpox vaccine. For centuries, healers around the globe introduced their patients to a technique called inoculation (from the Latin inoculare, to graft; its other name was variolation, from the Latin for variola, the formal name of smallpox virus). The procedure entails lancing open a wound and implanting dried scabs or fresh pus containing variola under the skin of a healthy, uninfected person.
Dr. Edward Jenner. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Said to have originated in China, smallpox inoculation was commonly practiced across the Orient and Ottoman Empire. It typically caused a milder form of smallpox but conferred lifelong immunity. Still, inoculation had the power to make many people incredibly ill and a few died as a result of it. Fueling the debate were fears that those inoculated would infect and harm others.
What especially made Dr. Jenner the right man at the right moment was his passion for natural history. His acclaimed studies, ranging from the habitats of cuckoo birds to the dormouse, as well as a deep appreciation of the intersecting lives (and ills) of humans and animals, led him to contemplate how infectious diseases traveled among and between species.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield performs David Bowie's "Space Oddity" in microgravity.
Commander Chris Hadfield is a great many things: a photographer, an educator, a social media maven -- did I forget to mention astronaut? And it's with great delight that we add troubadour to the laundry list.
That his music video -- a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" -- has already scored 6.9 million hits is a testament to his success as a great popularizer of science and space. Complete with slow blinks, a floating guitar and some liberties taken with the lyrics, it is also the first music video ever made in zero gravity -- that's no small feat.
Lesser known, but just as fun to watch, is this song Hadfield performed with hundreds of students at Canada's Ontario Science Centre. It's called "Is Somebody Singing," a play on the International Space Station letters, and co-written by Hadfield and the Barenaked Ladies' front man Ed Robertson.
From the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield performs a song with students at the Ontario Science Center.
Early Tuesday, Hadfield emerged from a few days of rare Twitter silence to inform his 915,000 Twitter followers that he is now "back on Earth, happily readapting to the heavy pull of gravity," and we thought we'd use this opportunity to highlight some of his extracurricular activities in space.
He sent thousands of tweets, often multiple times a day. Many of them showcased various parts of the world from space -- "the southwest corner of Africa," "a mining town in northern China" or "Belfast, at the mouth of the River Lagan." And many many shots of his homeland: Canada.
He gave nearly hourly updates during this week's spacewalk to fix an ammonia leak. He posted photos of the station's "refrigerator art." And there was the time he "secretly" told his 900,000 Twitter followers that he'd ordered flowers for his mom. She wouldn't know, he said. She's not on Twitter.
On Monday, at 10:30 p.m. EDT, Hadfield and flight engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko landed safely in Kazakhstan after spending five months -- 146 days -- in space. You can watch the landing here:
As Hadfield has said, "time sure flies at 8 km a second."
Oregon and Idaho each had to shut down three water gauges due to automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration. Watch how Idaho relies on these water gauges, from tracking drought conditions to determining stream levels for salmon. Video by Seth Ogilvie/Idaho Public Television
BOISE, Idaho -- The government's automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, are taking down up to 150 of the nation's stream gauges -- devices that provide life-saving flood warnings and help scientists track drought conditions. The first round of nationwide closures started this month.
These streamside outbuildings shelter data-gathering equipment so it can be fed to satellites. They track temperature, stream flows and pollution levels.
Stream gauges aren't getting the same sequester-cut attention as airport control towers or Head Start classrooms. But for scientists, it stings to see them swept away by spending reductions.
"To lose a gauge would be like losing a member of the family, almost," said John Clemens of the U.S. Geological Survey.
In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees -- just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: I have been a debt collector for more than 14 years and have worked at the same law firm for five years. I was promoted to team leader with no increase in pay. The year after that I was promoted to supervisor with a 4.5 percent pay increase.
Fast forward to last Friday, when my manager accidentally sent out an email that showed everyone's pay. I am one of the lowest paid employees even though I have more experience in the industry than 90 percent of my co-workers.
My general manager said this is always the case in business, that new people hired with less experience get paid more. I'm always in the top 5 percent of money collected, and I spend five to six hours each week coaching, training, motivating, molding four to five people who all have minimal experience -- but they make more money than I do. I have my annual review in 30 days. I want to know how to handle the conversation without sounding angry or rude.
Nick Corcodilos: That's an interesting bit of double talk from your general manager, who has already told you what the problem is. The firm pays more to get new hires, and less to seasoned employees who train new employees. In other words, they're taking advantage of you. There's nothing illegal about it. This is how employers can lose their best workers.
Author Vali Nasr describes China's interest in the Middle East.
As the United States eases back from involvement in the Middle East, China's influence and economic dependence there grows, author Vali Nasr recently told PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Margaret Warner in a web exclusive interview.
"For China, the Middle East is a rising strategic interest," he said. In fact, he continued to say that the Chinese don't refer to it as the Middle East but as "West Asia."
The U.S. has announced it wants to "pivot to Asia" and focus attention on China and away from the Middle East, Nasr said, but "the problem is just as we are pivoting East, the Chinese are pivoting West."
President Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House Monday night after arriving from New York City where he attended two Democratic fundraisers. Photo by Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images.
"My intentions over the next three-and-a-half years are to govern."
That was President Barack Obama telling some of the Democratic Party's top donors how he is reflecting on a second term, barely a few months into the job.
"[Y]ou also start just thinking about history, and you start thinking in longer sweeps of time, and you start saying to yourself that the three-and-a-half years that I've got is not a lot, and so I've got to make sure that I use everything I've got to make as much of a difference as I can," he said.
It was, perhaps, Mr. Obama's way of letting his frustration over issues his administration has frequently dubbed "distractions" be known. Over the last few days, major dustups have surfaced over the handling of the September attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and the Internal Revenue Service putting additional requirements on conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
PBS NewsHour recently aired a report on prescription drug abuse that led viewers to ask many questions. We asked the CDC to answer them, below.
One in 20 people in the United States say they've used prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons in the last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many ended up addicted.
In fact, overdoses tied to common opioid or narcotic pain relievers -- like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone), and methadone -- killed more than 16,500 people in 2010. That's roughly 45 deaths per day -- quadruple the amount killed from those drugs in 1999.
Enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate each American adult every four hours for a month, CDC officials say. The quantity sold to pharmacies, hospitals and doctors offices in 2010 was four times higher than a decade earlier. And when doctors prescribe more than a patient needs, the drugs often make their way into the wrong hands.
Recently on the PBS NewsHour, health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser traveled to Oklahoma to profile the personal consequences of this addiction for people like University of Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box, who died suddenly after an accidental overdose in 2011. The Box family was stunned. They saw Austin regularly and had no idea he had a problem, let alone one that would kill him at age 22.
After the NewsHour story aired, we received dozens of questions about this growing problem. Below, CDC officials answer many of them.
Prescription Drug Abuse: CDC Answers Your Questions
Viewer Question 1: Many states have prescription limits. Are doctors simply ignoring these? Or do they prescribe more doses per patient than is required for relief?
CDC: Thirty-five states had some kind of prescription limit laws by August 2010. However, most such laws are restricted to certain schedules of drugs, to emergency prescriptions or to members of certain benefit plans (such as Medicaid). Very few states have laws requiring specific steps when exceeding daily dosage limits for all prescription painkillers (also called opioid pain relievers). The existing limits do not place major constraints on prescribing.
Viewer Question 2: Do physicians make any money when a patient fills his or her prescription for narcotics? Do they have other incentives or fears that may cause them to over-prescribe opiates?
When Dr. Kermit Gosnell was accused of multiple counts of murder relating to illegal late-term abortions, his six-week trial became a media frenzy, as abortion rights and anti-abortion advocates weighed in. Gosnell was found guilty Monday and may face the death penalty. Revisit PBS NewsHour's April 22 story on the trial and testimony.
A jury found Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for performing late-term abortions on three babies by delivering them alive and then deliberately severing their spinal cords.
Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks, but former employees at his now-closed clinic in West Philadelphia testified he regularly ignored the limit to perform illegal late-term abortions.
Prosecutors accused, and witnesses testified, that the three babies delivered by Gosnell were still moving, whimpering or breathing before they were killed. The doctor was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for an abortion patient who overdosed and died in his care. Gosnell was acquitted in a murder charge for a fourth baby.
Both abortion rights and anti-abortion organizations endorsed the verdict, saying it validates their positions on the issue. Anti-abortion organization United for Life's CEO Charmain Yoest told The Associated Press that the ruling was a "triumph for justice." Ilyse G. Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that Kermit Gosnell "will get what he deserves."
While anti-abortion activists said the case shows the real details of the procedure, abortion rights advocates argue that further restriction of abortions will only push the practice underground where it cannot be monitored for proper safety controls.