Kim Vo

Kim Vo

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New York City’s 2007 ban on trans fats in restaurants and bakeries stirred cries of nanny-state overreach. But a study in JAMA Cardiology shows that the Big Apple was on the right public health track. Yale cardiovascular medicine fellow Eric Brandt and his team reported that, three or more years after the ban, hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes were 6.2 percent lower in the city, and in nearby areas that also mandated trans fats removal, than similar places without the restrictions. The work, says Brandt, “highlights the power of public policy to impact the cardiovascular health of a population.”


The wrestling match between the urge to do good and the lure of doing well starts young. In a study of 160 five- and six-year-olds, former psychology graduate student Arber Tasimi ’17PhD (currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford) and his colleagues presented kindergartners with a moral dilemma: would they accept gifts from wrongdoers? In the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, the researchers write that when kids had to decide whether to take two stickers from a bad character or just one from a neutral character, they had trouble with the decision—but mostly rejected the better deal. Says Tasimi: “There seems to be a cost-benefit analysis going on as they grapple with moral dilemmas.” 

A Yale study in the Journal of the American Medical Association casts doubt on the wisdom of rushing new drugs to market—even as many politicians call for faster approval rates. Associate professor of medicine and public health Joseph S. Ross ’06MHS and his team analyzed 222 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration between 2001 and 2010 and found that, during post-market follow-up, 32 percent were flagged for a safety issue. There were three withdrawals. Ross says the study “highlights the need for continuous monitoring of the safety of novel therapeutics throughout their life cycle.”

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