Double Dose: Genetic Risk of Breast Cancer, Dairy Council Ditches Weight Loss Campaign and the Relationship Between Gender Inequity and HIV/AIDS

By Christine Cupaiuolo — June 2, 2007

Human Genome Project Yields Important Results: “In a long-delayed harvest from the human genome project, researchers say they have found six new sites of variation in the genome that increase the risk of breast cancer,” reports The New York Times. “Together with already known genes, the discovery means that a sizable fraction of the overall genetic risk of breast cancer may now have been accounted for, researchers say, and much of the rest could be captured in a few years.”

Nicholas Wade continues: “The findings do not point to any new treatment and are too little understood to serve as the basis of a diagnostic test. But they are a critical step toward understanding the biology of breast cancer, scientists say, from which new treatments should emerge.”

Dairy Council to No Longer Promote Milk’s Link to Weight Loss: Also from the NYT: “A national advertising campaign that associates dairy products with weight loss will be curtailed because research does not support the claim, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The advertisements, conceived by the promotional arm of the dairy industry and overseen by the Agriculture Department, feature slogans like ‘Milk your diet. Lose weight!’ and suggest that three servings of dairy products a day can help people be slim.”

Report Links Discriminatory Beliefs Against Women with Vulnerability to AIDS: A new study released by Physicians for Human Rights connects “widespread discriminatory views against women in Botswana and Swaziland to sexual risk-taking and, in turn, to extremely high HIV prevalence.”

The study, Epidemic of Inequality: Women’s Rights and HIV/AIDS in Botswana & Swaziland: An Evidence-based Report on Gender Inequity, Stigma and Discrimination, reports that 75 percent of HIV-positive 15- to 25-year-olds in sub-Saharan Africa are female.

How Much More “Proof” is Needed?: A California district attorney is under fire for refusing to bring charges against members of the De Anza College baseball team involved in the rape of a 17-year-old girl who was nearly passed out from drinking during the time of the assault. Three young women pushed their way into the room where the girl was being assaulted by one man as seven other men looked on. The women took the victim to the hospital, but could not identify the person assaulting the girl.

California National Organization for Women and the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes have protested in front of the District Attorney Dolores Carr’s office in San Jose, demanding she reconsider, and the girl at the center of the case said this week that she wants her day in court. Carr insists that there’s not enough evidence to bring charges, in part because the team members are not cooperating and witnesses have provided different accounts of what took place. Read more at Broadsheet.

Foreign Correspondents and Sexual Abuse: “Women have risen to the top of war and foreign reportage. They run bureaus in dodgy places and do jobs that are just as dangerous as those that men do. But there is one area where they differ from the boys — sexual harassment and rape,” writes Judith Matloff at Columbia Journalism Review. “Female reporters are targets in lawless places where guns are common and punishment rare. Yet the compulsion to be part of the macho club is so fierce that women often don’t tell their bosses.”

Men Make More Money than Women on Kibbutzim: “Although the communal farms were once thought of as egalitarian communities, the current reality shows a different picture,” according to a study by professors at the University of Haifa’s Institute for Research on the Kibbutz. “Fifty-three percent of male kibbutz members earn more than the NIS 7,300 monthly average gross wage, while only 23% of women members do so. 66% of the men think their work provides a proper livelihood while only 47% of the women do.”

New York’s Schools for Pregnant Girls Will Close: “The schools’ demise, like their origins, may be a sign of changing times,” reports The New York Times. “Pregnancy schools across the country appear to be slowly fading away, partly stemming from the decade-long declining rate of teenage pregnancy and partly because of the idea that the girls should not be segregated from other students.”

Urban Theater Puts Teens Center Stage: “At a time when young women are often the silent subject of a cacophonous public debate — the scandal over radio host Don Imus, sex education in public schools, accusations of misogyny directed toward hip-hop culture — ViBe Theater Experience provides them the chance to speak for themselves,” Courtney Martin writes at Women’s eNews. The 5-year-old theater group has produced 15 full-length plays for more than 4,000 audience members and has worked with more than 100 urban teens between the ages of 13 and 19.

Wish List: “Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Mutants, Slayers and Freaks”: I just came across this review, though it looks like “Girls Who Bite Back” was first published a few years ago. Definitely a must for the summer-reading pile!

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