Emory Report
MayNu 5, 2008
Volume 60, Number 30


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May 5, 2008

A way to change the health care debate
“Let’s start the political debate around health and not financing reform,” said Kenneth Thorpe, executive director of Emory’s Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions.

Speaking on health system reform April 29, Thorpe assembled some “unhealthy truths.” Among them: Patients with chronic disease account for about 75 percent of what’s spent on health care. “If obesity stayed at 1985 levels, we’d spend $200 billion less on health care than we do today,” he notes.

Most Americans don’t know how much chronic disease impacts our health and our wallets, he says. The health care delivery system and payment method need to be changed. The system, he says, “was designed for acutely, episodically ill patients, but that’s not … where the money is.”
— Leslie King

’Relos’ reshape U.S. landscape
“Vital young middle-aged families — all with kids, all into sports, all with late-model houses and late-model vans and SUVs — call themselves relos. Relo is a noun, a verb, an adjective,” said Peter Kilborn, affiliated fellow of Emory’s Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life, reading from his manuscript, “Rootless in Reloville: The New Mobile Homeless.”

U.S. companies move about 10 million employees and their families each year, he said. The influence of these serial relocatees exceeds their numbers — particularly when it comes to the architecture and atmosphere of subdivisions, contends Kilborn.

“A relo can give you directions to the airport, but ask the way to city hall and he won’t know,” he said.
— Carol Clark

Scientist probes decision-making
Advances in brain imaging techniques are allowing researchers to uncover the neural basis for many kinds of human interactions and decision-making, said Gregory Berns, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, during a recent talk to the economics department about his work in the emerging field of neuroeconomics.

“Where I’d like to go with this technology is actually take it to the next level, in understanding group decision-making, as well as how individuals make decisions in much larger contexts,” Berns said. “The decisions that people make in groups ultimately govern their reproductive choices, and ultimately influence the genome.”
— Carol Clark