1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

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Chernobyl, 20 years later. In a report analyzing the health effects of the nuclear power plant explosion in Ukraine in 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that almost 5,000 thyroid cancers have occurred among those who were children at the time of the disaster. Epidemiologic studies suggest that the large amounts of radioactive iodine that were deposited in the region and ingested in food after the nuclear accident contributed to the development of thyroid cancers; post-exposure iodine supplementation may have prevented many more cases. Millions still live in contaminated areas. Read more on the health effects of the disaster at


The WHO releases new child growth standards, the first that are based on diverse populations of healthy, well-nourished children. The WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study examined height and weight in breast-fed children of nonsmoking mothers living in affluent communities in Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman, and the United States from birth to five years of age to determine how children should grow, under optimal conditions, to live up to their full genetic potential. Only 3% of variation in growth was accounted for by the child's location; 70% was due to individual variation, suggesting that growth potential is similar around the world. The standards are available at


Money isn't the problem. Americans ranked their health care system number one in effectiveness, especially in providing preventive care and care for the chronically ill, but worst in safety, patient-centeredness, efficiency, equity, and overall quality, according to a report released by the Commonwealth Fund in April and based on two surveys of patients in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This country spends far more on health care per person than the other five nations studied but ranked "a clear last on all measures of equity."