Headlines @ U.Va.
CATHOLIC LAITY STEPPING UP
The recent sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic church have led
to a new assertiveness among Catholic laypeople, who are increasingly
seeking a greater voice in church affairs. A New York Times article
paraphrases the U.Va. religious studies professor Rev. Gerald
Fogarty, who explained the movement in historical context. Father
said demographic changes help explain the assertiveness
of lay Catholics. The pews were once filled with immigrants who
knelt in reverence before men of the collar; today prosperous
Catholics with advanced degrees who resent clerical imperiousness
fill many churches. Now that the abuse crisis has exposed the
limitations of episcopal rule, the laity feels it has the skills
and stature to confront its bishops.
New York Times, Nov. 10
IT SAFE WITH HGH
A recently published study has found that human growth hormone
can reverse some symptoms of aging, but not without significant
side effects. In the wake of the report, doctors were urging further
study. Dr. Michael Thorner, chairman of U.Va.s department
of medicine, sees similarities to the prescription of hormone
replacement therapy for menopausal women, which recently was found
to cause increased risk for cancer. If you just advocate
that growth hormone be used because it might help, the next thing
you know, the whole world is on it. I think in medicine one should
tailor therapies based on evidence.
New York Times, Nov. 13
IT GETTING WARM IN HERE?
There is a raging debate in Canada these days over ratification
of the Kyoto accords on global warming. Patrick Michaels, a U.Va.
environmental sciences professor, weighing in against the treaties,
argues that forecasts of major climactic change are overblown,
with some computer models predicting relatively modest temperature
increases of 1.6 degrees Celsius over the next century. Half
of this amount, in the last 100 years, saw a doubling of life
span and a quintupling of crop yields where economic freedom reigned,
he says. There is no reason to expect a sudden turnaround;
rather, continued adaptation and prosperity are much more likely.
National Post (Don Mills,
Ontario), Nov. 14
JUDGMENT: BLAME IT ON THE BRAIN
Why do teens so often seem to lack the judgment we adults think
they should have? According to U.Va. neuropsychologist Jeffrey
T. Barth, some of the explanation is physical: the frontal lobe
of human brains, which influences judgment and critical thinking,
are the last parts to fully develop, taking until about age 25.
There are good reasons we dont give kids all the decision-making
responsibilities at an early age, he said. If you
dont have judgment, you dont have judgment about your
Daily Progress, Nov. 15