JHU Press Blog

The Politics of Defunding Women's Health

by cmt | Friday, February 3, 2012 - 12:06 PM

Guest post by Alexandra M. Lord Recently, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation pulled its financial support of breast cancer screening and education programs run by Planned Parenthood . The reasons for pulling their support? According to a spokesperson for the Komen Foundation, the organization has adopted a new rule that prohibits grants to organizations under investigation by local, state, or federal authorities. Planned Parenthood is the only organization funded by the Komen Foundation that is targeted by this new rule. Just before the new rule was announced, the staunchly anti-abortion Republican congressman Cliff Stearns had announced that he would be launching an investigation of Planned Parenthood, and the Komen Foundation had hired a new vice president for public policy, Karen Handel , a former politician who has been hostile to Planned Parenthood and contraception in general. As a historian, I read these kinds of stories and feel frustrated. Frustrated because this is a tactic that has been successfully used by the Far Right in the past. Under the Bush Administration, a similar tactic was used to undermine organizations promoting sex education. Aggressive—and multiple—audits were conducted of...Read More

Beating the winter blues

by cmt | Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest Post by Dinah Miller, M.D. Blah, Blah, Blah It's early February and for many people, it's not the best time of year. The nights are long, the days are cold and gray, and the sidewalks are icy. Here in Baltimore, football season ended with a devastating loss by the Ravens in the playoffs, and we’re left with Newt versus Mitt on the big screen. For some, it's a relief that the holidays are over. They may be laden with disappointment for those who have too little to do, exhaustion for those with too many obligations, and bittersweet memories of childhood and loved ones now gone. For others, there is a let down after all the holiday activities, and the winter hibernation begins a countdown until spring. For some people, the winter blahs are not simply a time of slowing down or being disappointed. The sadness can be profound and accompanied by changes in sleep and appetite, overall energy level, productivity, and even the ability to function at routine tasks—a condition psychiatrists call an episode of major depression. If it happens repeatedly and predictably, we think of these difficulties not only as clinical depression, but as a...Read More

How many senses do we have?

by cmt | Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by John M. Henshaw

Just how many senses does a human being have? If you Google this question you will find, as with just about anything else you might care to Google, a variety of answers. Some say we have seven senses, while others put the total at nine, ten, or twelve. What’s the right answer? It all depends on how you define things.

Let’s first observe that all of the numbers in the paragraph above are greater than five. It doesn’t take much reflection to figure out that humans possess more than the five “classical” senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

The idea of five classical senses dates back at least to Aristotle, himself a rather classy guy. In De Anima (Of the Soul) he argues that, for every sense, there is a sense organ. So far, he’s on reasonably solid ground. It’s when he goes on to say that there can be no sixth sense, because there are only five sense organs, that he gets himself into trouble.

It doesn’t take much reflection to figure out that humans possess more than the five...Read More

Monthly contest: share your sounds

by bjs | Friday, January 27, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Do you hear that? In September 2011, the journal American Quarterly released its annual special issue . This edition "Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies" gave authors a chance to study the role sound plays in American culture. Articles focused not only on music, but on noise pollution, CB radios, and telephone training films. A special web page was posted with supplementary content from a number of the articles. Show us how sound affects your life with our first monthly contest. Submit a sound clip (MP3 format, please) which best describes your American experience. Let us hear what your commute sounds like or the ambient sound of your favorite restaurant. Maybe the sound of children playing speaks to you or you get inspired by the everyday sounds in your office. We will collect these audio postcards and share selections here at a later date. Please submit your entry of one minute or less by February 17 to jhu.journals@gmail.com . The first 10 entries will receive a free copy of the American Quarterly special issue.Read More

The High Holy Days of Biology are here

by Anonymous (not verified) | Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by John L. Koprowski For many, the days of winter may seem endless. Perhaps the shininess of the New Year has begun to dull. But there is reason to celebrate! The "High Holy Days of Biology" are upon us. To the student and professional or lay biologist, the excitement of this festive season continues! I share with my students at the University of Arizona each year the "biologically important" days of winter.

Credit: Laura Perlick/USFWS.

January 21st got things rolling with " Squirrel Appreciation Day ." And just who cannot appreciate a squirrel? For some, we may marvel at their ability to raid the birdfeeder and utter the occasional curse word not quite loud enough for our neighbor to hear. But look again as that squirrel descends a tree and notice how it rotates its ankle 180 degrees from the normal forward position and tell me that that flexibility alone does not deserve a day of appreciation. And so, for the eastern gray squirrels and fox squirrels that have scatterhoarded the fall bounty of nuts or the red squirrel that has piled the winter’s supply of pine cones into a larder,...Read More

Q&A with Tintinologist Benoît Peeters

by cmt | Monday, January 23, 2012 - 8:00 AM

With Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin in American theaters for over a month now, in this country there is a renewed interest in all things Tintin, including the life and work of the creator of the comic, Georges Remi, better known as Hergé. Recent reviews in The New York Times , Washington Post , and elsewhere of the English-language translation of Benoît Peeters's seminal biography of the man, Hergé, Son of Tintin , brought a few question to mind, so we posed them to Mr. Peeters. (JHU Press manuscript editor Michele Callaghan translated Mr. Peeters's answers from the original French.)

Q. Did you know Hergé

A. I knew Hergé a little in the last years of his life. My first meeting with him dates back to April 29, 1977, when Patrice Hamel and I interviewed him. He spent more than two hours answering all the exacting and bothersome questions—often naive and sometimes downright impertinent—that we asked him. I remember his ready availability, his curiosity about us, his bursts of laughter. I went on to write an...Read More

Writing our own story

by bjs | Friday, January 20, 2012 - 8:00 AM

By Brian Shea, Public Relations and Advertising Coordinator, Journals Division

I have lunch on occasion with a group of fellow employees who like to write. Even though we work with the words of other writers on a daily basis, a number of us have our own writing ambitions. Some of us blog on our own. Others dabble in poetry and fiction. A few even contribute to their local newspaper . (The work of the Press keeps us all busy and not all departments work together on a regular basis.)

At one of those lunches last year, we decided to throw down the gauntlet and have fun at the same time. We put out a challenge to the writers across the company: let's create a progressive story which may or may not make sense. Each staff member who signed up for the activity would contribute 100 words to the story with just one catch—they could only see the 100 words preceding their entry. Writing blind, so to speak. With creative people from every corner of the Press involved, we'd surely produce interesting results.

The three stories—one focused on Halloween and another...Read More

Personalized medicine: Are we there yet?

by Anonymous (not verified) | Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by Sue Friedman, DVM Recommendations in preventive care and screenings have long been based on average risks for the general population. Heart disease, for example, is on average a later-onset disease, so most children and young adults are not screened for it. The same is true for cancer. One look around any crowded room tells us that we are not all the same. Many factors, including our genetic makeup, help determine how we look, how we behave, and even when and what diseases we are likely and unlikely to develop. Scientists know from studying thousands of people that most women who are diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer will be postmenopausal. Averages aside, many of us know of people who were diagnosed with heart disease or cancer much earlier in life, too often with devastating outcomes. When breast cancer strikes at a young age, it is often more aggressive and already advanced before it is detected. Yet many of us also know people who lived their entire life to old age without developing either cancer or heart disease. In the past, recommendations for health screenings such as mammography and colonoscopy were the same for everyone, based...Read More

Do you have the right to tell your own story?

by bjs | Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by James M. DuBois, DSc, PhD Publishing shares something in common with roller coasters: The rewards are strongly and positively correlated with the capacity to instill fright. A group of us recently started a new journal, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research . While we publish some traditional types of articles, our hallmark is the “narrative symposium”—roughly 12 personal stories on a common theme followed by two commentary articles that draw out lessons from the stories and relate them to current debates. Our first volume (sample PDF) explored the experiences of a hospitalized psychiatric patient, a physician with conflicts of interest, and a nursing assistant providing care at the end of life. The stories we have published thus far are forthright and compelling, often moving, and always educational. It has been a rewarding endeavor. Nevertheless, the day before publishing our first call for papers, I woke up at 2 a.m. worried: What if a nursing assistant names an administrator who ignored reports of elder abuse? What if a physician discloses that a specific corporation offered to pay kickbacks for referrals? Eeek! Of course, we already had...Read More

Tea time?

by cmt | Monday, January 9, 2012 - 8:00 AM

With the Iowa caucuses behind us and the New Hampshire primary ahead, let’s take stock of one of the relative newcomers to Washington politics. The Tea Party rose to prominence with President Barack Obama's election and the ensuing fight over health insurance reform. Powered by right-wing grassroots passion and Astroturf big money, the collection of groups claiming the Tea Party label has surely changed the political landscape of what President Obama now calls the “do-nothing” Congress , but are they here to stay? The darling of the party, Michelle Bachmann, called it quits after her sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, leaving us questioning the staying power of this loosely organized group. The Tea Party, or at least its guiding principles, has been around for a long time. Of course, there are the movement’s historical precedent and patriotic values, but it has undoubtedly gained momentum in recent years. The late Kentucky politician Gatewood Galbraith, when welcomed into a Tea Party meeting not long ago, reportedly responded “What are you talking about? I've been here for 30 years. Where have you people been?” So, should we get used to the Tea Party or...Read More