Spring Science Fairs and Statistical Awareness Month: A Perfect Match

Spring Science Fairs and Statistical Awareness Month: A Perfect Match nevin manimala

Spring Science Fairs and Statistical Awareness Month: A Perfect Match nevin manimalaStephanie Strakbein earned her MS in biostatistics from Oregon Health and Science University in September. Last year, she helped establish the Portland ASA Student Chapter and served as its first president. Currently, she works as a senior statistician in clinical trials at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. She plans to continue working with students as they pursue education in statistics and science.

Last April, I participated as a statistics “special awards” judge at the Intel Northwest Science Expo (NWSE) for middle- and high-school students in Portland, Oregon. At the time, I was a graduate student in biostatistics at the Oregon Health and Science University / Portland State University Joint School of Public Health (OHSU-PSU SoPH).

The Oregon Chapter of the ASA has been sponsoring a special award for statistics at the NWSE for 27 years and many faculty members have participated as judges. A couple of my professors sent out emails recruiting judges around the same time the students at the OHSU-PSU SoPH formed an ASA student chapter. This seemed like a great opportunity for our student members to give back and do something together to launch our chapter’s presence in the statistical community. Conveniently, the science expo/fair was held on the PSU campus in April, which is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. The combination couldn’t have been better.

The way the statistics awards work at our science fair is that the volunteer team of statistics judges circulates throughout the projects. These projects are classified into one of many areas: biology, physics, chemistry, computer science, etc. However, there is no special designation for statistics. The judges attempt to identify any project that uses statistics in a meaningful way.

The next step is for the judges to interview the students and ask questions about their use of statistics. You may be surprised by how many students who used statistics were not really aware of it; it was just one tool of many in their project. We sought to determine whether they truly understood the purpose of the statistical tool applied and why statistics are necessary when interpreting results. Moreover, our goal was to encourage these students to recognize the importance of the statistical component to their work and science generally and to open them up to the possibility of pursuing statistics more formally in college and beyond.

The young people we talked to were all impressive, and many of their projects were quite sophisticated. Yet these bright, college-bound students had never considered statistics as a degree or a career. I genuinely think the conversations we had opened a few minds to the greater potential of studying and using statistics in their futures.

This experience was personally rewarding and surprisingly fun, although I was hesitant to volunteer. As a graduate student, I have to juggle course work, work, family, and personal commitments in addition to overcoming imposter syndrome. However, I ultimately found that the time commitment was minimal, I was paired with experienced judges who made me feel welcome and valued, and volunteering reinforced the joy I felt in the subject I was studying.

I encourage everyone in the statistical profession to get involved in their local science fair. If there isn’t already a “special award” or statistics category offered, see if your local chapter can’t establish one. Or see if perhaps a science fair would be open to you circulating and having encouraging conversations with the students involved. You’ll be glad you did.

Indiana Student Chapter

Indiana Student Chapter nevin manimala
Indiana Student Chapter nevin manimala

From left: Aida Yazdanparast (chapter officer), Alex White (chapter officer), Vahid Andalib (chapter officer), and Maggie Christy (student volunteer)

Members of the Indiana University Student Chapter worked with the ASA’s Central Indiana Chapter at the 2018 Celebrate Science Indiana in early October.

Professor publishes statistics textbook – Ironcountytoday

Professor publishes statistics textbook - Ironcountytoday nevin manimala

Professor publishes statistics textbook - Ironcountytoday nevin manimala

CEDAR CITY–Southern Utah University Psychology Professor Lynn White recently published her first book, Statistics Straight Up: The Essential Guide to Understanding and Using Statistics. In addition to teaching a variety of psychology courses, White is also the director of the department’s Behavioral Neuroscience Lab.

Professor White previously self-published an earlier version of this book, originally titled Statistics for Psychology: A Survival Guide. Thanks to the encouragement of her students, she found publisher Linus Learning, and took about 18 months to write and revise before publishing at last.

“There wasn’t a text that simplified statistics, presented the concepts in a casual, conversational manner, and steered away from hand calculations,” said White. “I genuinely believe that this book uses a one of a kind approach to teaching statistics. My students helped shape the book and the system I’ve developed for teaching statistics. I cannot thank them enough.”

The book focuses on the importance of knowing how to use statistics as a tool for understanding data, rather than stressing hand calculations, theorems, and derivation formulas. White described how she wrote with a casual, storybook approach using characters like Winnie the Pooh and Tom and Jerry to illustrate concepts.

Currently, Statistics in Psychology is utilizing the textbook for the class (PSY 3010) and lab (PSY 3015). It is also a recommended text for Research Design (PSY 3410) and Independent Research I (PSY 4930).

“Professor White’s book has earnestly eased my transition into psychology stats,” said senior Sofie Scaletta who is majoring in psychology and sociology. “I was pretty nervous to take this course, but the witty and informative nature of her writing has really helped me understand that statistics can actually be fun, and much more easily applied to real-life situations than we think. I’ll definitely take it with me to grad school!”

Lynn White has a Ph.D. in Physiological and Comparative Psychology. She attended Bishop’s University and McGill University, and has been teaching at SUU since Fall 1997.

SUU’s psychology program offers an academic major and minor. Students majoring in psychology may choose a research-focused course of study or the clinical/counseling focused option. Psychology professors are deeply involved in helping students choose courses that support their career goals and form strong mentoring relationships with students in classes. Learn more about SUU’s psychology program.

Cal Advanced Statistics: 2nd 121st Big Game – California Golden Blogs

Cal Advanced Statistics: 2nd 121st Big Game - California Golden Blogs nevin manimala

Cal Advanced Statistics: 2nd 121st Big Game - California Golden Blogs nevin manimala

I was close in predicting that the Cal defense will outscore both of the offenses. However, it was close with defense scoring 14 points to the 19 by the offense. However, 10 of those points were scored after two fumbles by the Colorado special teams unit after Steven Coutts punts.

Since 2015, there were 148 CFB games that had one team with no turnovers and the opponent with four or more. 138 teams won the game—10 lost it—with the average point differential at 26.26 points (the avg. point differential for the winning teams is 28.7). Cal outscored Colorado by 12 points, putting us at 114th out of 138 teams by point differential. That’s quite the indictment that the offense generated half a standard deviation (18.13 standard deviation) less points than the expected value.

Turnovers are not counted in the S&P+ win expectancy formula. Thus, with standard turnover luck, the Cal team wins this game 27% of the time with the statistical profile. That’s not good, K.J. Costello will probably not throw two pick-6s before the Cal offense sees the field, Trenton Irwin will probably not drop two punts in his own redzone to set up 10 points for Cal. We got lucky in this game to win it—and as Frank Sinatra once sang:

You’re on this date with me

The pickins have been lush

And yet before the evening is over

You might give me the brush

Cal Week 13

Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Success Rate* 40.10% 92 37.20% 22
Marginal Efficiency* -5.70% 92 -8.40% 18
IsoPPP* 0.97 126 1.01 10
Marginal Explosiveness* -0.12 126 -0.11 9
Avg. FP 30.9 42 26.6 11
Pts. Per Scoring Opp. 3.59 127 4.34 48
Expected TO Margin -2.7 94
Actual TO Margin 0 71

Simple: Cal defense turns the opposing offenses into the Cal offense (sans the points per drive in the 40). Good note: the Cal special teams gives the defense a very good opposing starting position around the opposing 27-yard line.

Cal on Offense, Furd on Defense

Category Cal Offense Cal Rk Stanfurd Defense Stanfurd Rk
Category Cal Offense Cal Rk Stanfurd Defense Stanfurd Rk
RUSHING S&P+ 94.4 96 102.6 62
Rushing marginal efficiency* -6.10% 61 -7.40% 63
Rushing marginal explosiveness* -0.2 119 -0.09 71
Opportunity rate* 48.90% 48 49.10% 91
Stuff rate* 17.90% 45 16.20% 108
PASSING S&P+ 86.8 121 95.9 97
Passing marginal efficiency* -5.40% 109 3.30% 108
Passing marginal explosiveness* -2.70% 122 0.1 34
Passing completion rate* 61.30% 51 62.80% 102
Sack rate* 6.80% 78 7.20% 41

Statistically, Furd’s defense is worse than the SC, WSU, Washington, and BYU defenses that Cal has faced during the season. Despite the relatively weaker pass D, I think Cal has to lean on Patrick Laird and Christopher Brown Jr. on the ground. Early in the SC game, Cal had both in the backfield (whether it was by design or the lack of WRs with Wharton’s one-quarter absence); I think this can help Cal run the ball inside and outside with Laird being a good swing/wheel/angle pass target.

In the run game, the OL needs to make sure to get to the LBs with the guards being key in sealing away the active Bobby Okereke and Sean Barton, lest Okereke find his way into the backfield for TFLs. However dangerous the Furd ILBs are, they are still miles away from the Cal IL duo. With the Cal OL having practiced against Evan Weaver and JordanKunaszyk, they will not face the same caliber of players on Saturday. The hobbled O-line, Laird and co., and Baldwin/Greatwood will need to find a way to find yards on the ground.

In the passing game, we might see a lot of fresh faces with Ben Skinner and even Monroe Young, who was injured in fall camp. However, I expect the passing game to often complement the rushing offense, by using either quick-strike play-action or screens. Patrick Laird is second in targets and catches behind Vic Wharton.

Cal’s hopes to win the game will live and die by how Patrick Laird plays the game. With 11 games in this season, Patrick Laird is 14th in touches in FBS and looks to add more this game; he’s on pace to end the season 8th.

Cal on Defense, Furd on Offense

Category Cal Defense Cal Rk Stanfurd Offense Stanfurd Rk
Category Cal Defense Cal Rk Stanfurd Offense Stanfurd Rk
RUSHING S&P+ 109.3 32 94.3 98
Rushing marginal efficiency* -10.10% 29 -10.30% 109
Rushing marginal explosiveness* -0.25 7 -0.04 45
Opportunity rate* 48.40% 85 42.60% 108
Stuff rate* 18.00% 81 25.90% 127
PASSING S&P+ 114.1 11 116.6 8
Passing marginal efficiency* -6.60% 19 6.90% 9
Passing marginal explosiveness* 0.07 26 21.60% 65
Passing completion rate* 58.50% 57 65.30% 22
Sack rate* 6.70% 53 3.90% 21

Cal was able to contain the Furd rushing game last year with 101 yards on 14 carries (57 yards coming from one rushing TD, resulting in just 3.4 YPC if this run is taken away). I think with Weaver/Kunaszyk in the mix, the sputtering Furd run game will stay the same. None of the top four rushers for Furd have been efficient or explosive.

This lack of production by the Furd backfield is reflected in the lack of run game usage by the Furd. The Standard and Pass run rates for the team rank in the bottom 30 in the nation—long gone are the days of Furd’s run, run, and run again offenses of yesteryear. This pass-heavy offense still maintains a slow tempo (129th in adjusted tempo where the run-pass ratio’s tempo is compared to the expected tempo of such a run-pass ratio)

The struggle will be the super-sized WRs/TEs lead by J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Kaden Smith. Utah was successful in defending the large WRs/TEs in the red-zone; in this video by former USC/Pitt QB Max Browne, he breaks-down the red-zone pass defense against the fade to those large players.

[embedded content]

Per Max Browne, the DBs need to use the safeties/LBs to watch the inside, but the DBs need to play the ball rather than the receiver. We might see some Chibuzo Nwokocha in the redzone in the place of Josh Drayden, Elijah Hicks, or Traveon Beck.

He also talked about utilizing blitzes by the Utes against Furd and that it could be another avenue to kill the Furd offense. Like the Utes, Cal can go man on man against the DBs and run full steam ahead towards KJ Costello.

This game is going to hinge on how well we can cover the Furd WRs/TEs and how well Cal can run the ball. Simple right?

As good as the Furd TEs/WRs have been in the past, I will take the TAKERS over any WR corps in the nation and this will be no different. It will be tough to cover if KJ Costello can hit the rebound-type passes consistently, but if the Cal pass-rush can force him to make off-platform throws, then it gives Cal a chance to fight for the ball and take away the ball.

Cal needs to run the ball and scheme ways to get Laird in and outside with the ball. Greatwood’s OL will be the stars for the Cal offense in the case of a win. However, this means the first-down run cannot be negative or stuffed—it has to yield a 4–5 yards at a time, which puts the onus on the offense to make a key play the first moment on the field.

Cal can win. Cal has a very good chance to win with this defense, which will drag any team to the level of the average 2018 Cal offense.

OSD PRIDE Survey Reveals Drug, Alcohol, Suicide Statistics – HottyToddy.com

OSD PRIDE Survey Reveals Drug, Alcohol, Suicide Statistics - HottyToddy.com nevin manimala

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The number of students who contemplate suicide at Oxford Middle School is slightly above the national average, according to the results of a recent survey taken by students in the sixth, eight and tenth grades.

OSD PRIDE Survey Reveals Drug, Alcohol, Suicide Statistics - HottyToddy.com nevin manimalaThe PRIDE Survey polled middle school and high school students in the Oxford School District. Photo via the report.

The results of the 2017-2018 PRIDE Survey were released Monday during the Oxford School District’s regular meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Of the 217 eighth graders surveyed, 6.9 percent said they have thought of suicide. The national average is 6.3 percent. The 295 sixth-grade students surveyed said 4.4 percent had considered suicide. Of the 175 10th-grade students surveyed 5.3 percent said they had thought about a suicide.

The survey also asked students about alcohol and drug use. Students answered the survey anonymously.

Alcohol was the most commonly used drug by all three grades. At OIS, 5.4 percent said they had used alcohol within the last 30 days. OMS eighth-graders indicated that 3.5 percent had used alcohol and 18.6 percent of the 10th graders surveyed said they had used alcohol in the past 30 days.

Nationally, 3.1 percent of the sixth graders, 6.7 percent of eighth graders and 18 percent of 10th-graders admitted to using alcohol 30 days before the survey.

Most of the OIS students surveyed believe cigarettes are the greatest health risk compared to alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs, while both OMS and OHS students believe cigarettes and prescription drugs are the greatest health risks.

As far as marijuana use, 0.7 percent of sixth-graders, 2.5 percent of eight graders and 9.3 percent of 10th graders said they have tried marijuana at least once. All three grades were under the national averages of 1.7, 3.9 and 11.4, respectfully.

Also, in the survey, 21.8 percent of surveyed 10th graders said they felt unsafe at times on the school bus, 18.1 felt unsafe in the halls at school, 17.1 felt unsafe in the cafeteria, 15.9 felt unsafe in the gym and 14.6 felt unsafe in the parking lot.

Board President Gray Edmondson said he was surprised by some of the information in the report.

“I was very surprised about the number of students who said they felt unsafe in certain areas,” he said. “I hope we’re using this information to make some changes.”

SuzAnne Liddell, Ph.D., director of Federal Programs and Student Registration, said principals and school staff use the survey to see issues going on at school.

“It helps with forming our Wellness Plan and drug and alcohol and tobacco educational programs,” she said Monday.

To view PRIDE statistics in their entirety, please follow this link. 

Statistics after 11 games | Sports | heraldstandard.com – Uniontown Herald Standard

Statistics after 11 games | Sports | heraldstandard.com - Uniontown Herald Standard nevin manimala
Statistics after 11 games | Sports | heraldstandard.com - Uniontown Herald Standard nevin manimala
Rosen 247 137 55.5 1521 6.16 10 4.0 11 4.5 75t 68.9
Bradford 80 50 62.5 400 5.00 2 2.5 4 5.0 35t 62.5
TEAM 327 187 57.2 1921 5.87 12 3.7 15 4.6 75t 67.0
OPPONENTS 352 243 69.0 2662 7.56 16 4.5 6 1.7 64t 99.0
D.Johnson 185 692 3.7 53 6
Edmonds 34 85 2.5 9 0
Rosen 13 46 3.5 14 0
Kirk 2 12 6.0 7 0
Bradford 2 7 3.5 8 0
Nelson 3 5 1.7 8 0
Coleman 2 3 1.5 2 0
TEAM 241 850 3.5 53 6
OPPONENTS 354 1593 4.5 34 16
Fitzgerald 44 460 10.5 37 5
Kirk 40 536 13.4 75t 3
D.Johnson 34 325 9.6 30 2
Seals-Jones 26 277 10.7 40 1
Edmonds 13 63 4.8 12 0
C.Williams 11 113 10.3 22t 1
Gresham 8 78 9.8 26 0
Nelson 4 21 5.2 9 0
Logan 3 19 6.3 10 0
Coleman 2 17 8.5 12 0
Sherfield 2 12 6.0 6 0
TEAM 187 1921 10.3 75t 12
OPPONENTS 243 2662 11.0 64t 16
Boston 3 9 3.0 9 0
Peterson 2 0 0.0 0 0
Benwikere 1 21 21.0 21 0
TEAM 6 30 5.0 21 0
OPPONENTS 15 190 12.7 53t 2
Cha.Jones 11.0
Nkemdiche 4.5
Mayowa 3.0
Moore 3.0
Gunter 2.5
Baker 2.0
Bethea 2.0
Bynes 2.0
Peters 2.0
Reddick 2.0
Golden 1.5
Peterson 1.0
Benwikere 0.5
TEAM 37.0
Lee 65 3171 48.8 41.8 17 61 0
TEAM 65 3171 48.8 41.8 17 61 0
OPPONENTS 50 2283 45.7 39.7 20 61 0
Kirk 18 17 150 8.3 44 0
Peterson 1 0 7 7.0 7 0
TEAM 19 17 157 8.3 44 0
OPPONENTS 35 13 351 10.0 60 0
Logan 12 296 24.7 36 0
B.Williams 10 192 19.2 29 0
Edmonds 1 13 13.0 13 0
TEAM 23 501 21.8 36 0
OPPONENTS 20 441 22.0 40 0
Baker 0 1 0
Boston 0 1 0
Bradford 3 0 0
Bynes 0 1 0
Cole 2 0 1
Gresham 1 0 0
D.Johnson 2 0 1
Cha.Jones 0 1 0
Mayowa 0 1 0
Peters 0 1 0
Peterson 0 1 0
Rosen 6 0 5
TEAM 14 7 7
TEAM 58 27 14 56 0 155
OPPONENTS 63 108 76 46 0 293
D.Johnson 8 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 48
Fitzgerald 5 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 32
Dawson 0 0 0 0 15 15 5 8 43 0 30
Kirk 3 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
Baker 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
Bynes 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
Seals-Jones 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
C.Williams 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
McCrane 0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 3
Rosen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
TEAM 20 6 12 2 18 18 5 8 43 0 155
OPPONENTS 34 16 16 2 27 27 18 22 52 1 293
FIELD GOALS 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+
Phil Dawson 0/ 0 2/ 2 2/ 2 1/ 3 0/ 1
TEAM 0/ 0 2/ 2 2/ 2 1/ 3 0/ 1
OPPONENTS 0/ 0 5/ 5 4/ 5 8/10 1/ 2

New US Life Expectancy Statistics Are ‘Sobering’ – Newser

New US Life Expectancy Statistics Are 'Sobering' - Newser nevin manimala
New US Life Expectancy Statistics Are 'Sobering' - Newser nevin manimala

(Newser) – In 1918, the double whammy of World War I and the worldwide flu pandemic drove down American life expectancy for a third year in a row. A century later, another triple-year decline has been recorded—and this time, suicide and drug overdoses are major causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual report, US life expectancy dropped to 78 years and 7 months in 2017, down around a month from the year before, the AP reports. Men could expect to live 76.1 years, and women 81.1. Public health experts called the statistics alarming, noting that early deaths among middle-aged people did the most to bring life expectancy down. After 22 years of steady rises, life expectancy dropped in 2015 and again in 2016, though it will need to drop a lot more to reach the level of 1918, when life expectancy was 39.

“These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. Another CDC report found that the number of drug overdose deaths rose almost 6,600 in 2017 to 70,237, CNN reports. The suicide rate rose to its highest in at least 50 years, with rates much higher in rural counties than in urban ones. Another factor was a harsh flu season. Experts say they find it worrying that in the US, life expectancy is going in a different direction than in most developed nations. “Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world. It shouldn’t be declining in the United States,” Joshua Sharfstein at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tells the Washington Post. (A recent study predicted that by 2040, there will be 63 countries with higher life expectancy than the US.)

Facts and Statistics About Your Period – Healthline

Facts and Statistics About Your Period - Healthline nevin manimala
Facts and Statistics About Your Period - Healthline nevin manimala

A menstrual period is vaginal bleeding that occurs at the end of the menstrual cycle. Each month, the female body prepares itself for a possible pregnancy. The uterus develops a thicker lining, and the ovaries release an egg that can be fertilized by sperm.

If the egg isn’t fertilized, pregnancy won’t occur during that cycle. The body then sheds the built-up uterine lining. The result is a period, or menstruation.

The average female will have their first period between ages 11 and 14. Periods will continue regularly (usually monthly) until menopause, or about age 51.

Learn more about the facts and statistics of menstruation below.

Menstrual health and complications

The average menstrual cycle is 24 to 38 days. The typical period lasts four to eight days.

Monthly or regular periods are a sign your cycle is normal. Your body is working to prepare for a possible pregnancy.

In addition to bleeding, 90 percent of people who menstruate say they experience various symptoms. Food cravings are one common symptom. In fact, one study found that almost half of American women crave chocolate at the start of their period.

Breast tenderness is another common period symptom. It can peak in the days just before menstruation starts. A surge in the hormones estrogen and progesterone leads to enlarged breast ducts and swollen milk glands. The result is soreness and swelling.

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Meanwhile, period pain (also called dysmenorrhea, aka “cramps”) is another common symptom. More than half of menstruating people experience some pain around their period, with some estimates saying as much as 84 percent.  

Prostaglandins are the cause of this pain. These are chemicals that trigger muscle contractions in your uterus. These hormones help the body shed the excess uterine lining, which can cause pain and cramping in the first days of your period.

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Some people don’t have regular periods. Intense exercise or certain medical conditions can lead to irregular periods. Irregular periods can also occur in people who are:

Painful, irregular, or heavy periods affect up to 14 percent of females in their childbearing years, estimates WomensHealth.gov. Moreover, a 2012 study found 32 to 40 percent of people who have periods report this pain is so severe they have to miss work or school.

The most common period-related health conditions include the following:


Endometriosis causes uterine tissue to grow outside the uterus. During your period, hormones make this misplaced tissue painful and inflamed. This can lead to severe pain, cramping, and heavy periods.

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 49, estimates the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. They note 30 to 50 percent of people with the disorder will experience infertility.

Uterine fibroid

These noncancerous tumors develop between the layers of tissue in your uterus. Many females will develop at least one fibroid during their lifetime. In fact, by age 50, 70 percent of white women and 80 percent of African-American women will develop one, reports the National Institutes of Health.


Menorrhagia is very heavy menstrual bleeding. Typical periods produce 2 to 3 tablespoons of menstrual blood. People with menorrhagia can produce more than twice that amount. More than 10 million American women have this condition, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

This is a series of symptoms that typically occur in the week or two before the start of a period. Symptoms can include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • bloating
  • irritability

PMS affects as many as 3 in 4 women, reports WomensHealth.gov.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

PMDD is similar to PMS, but is more severe. It can cause:

  • depression
  • tension
  • severe mood shifts
  • lasting anger or irritability

Experts estimate about 5 percent of women experience PMDD.

Poor menstrual hygiene

Poor menstrual hygiene is also a health concern during your period. Blood and tissue loss during a period can lead to bacterial issues. This can pose a serious health issue when or if menstrual products aren’t available or basic sanitation utilities aren’t accessible, such as clean water.


Each year in the United States, people spend upward of $2 billion on menstrual products. In their lifetime, the average menstruating person uses almost 17,000 tampons or pads.

This is both a personal cost to the individual and an environmental cost to the planet. Many of these products don’t easily degrade in landfills.

However, more than 16.9 million American women live in poverty and may struggle with access to menstrual products and medications that treat symptoms. There are also reports suggesting people in jail or prison often don’t have access to tampons or pads. These necessary products may be used as bargaining chips and traded for food or favor.

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In the United States, sales tax is frequently imposed on menstrual products. Currently, five states don’t charge sales tax:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon

Nine states have specifically exempted these products from the so-called “tampon tax”:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Lawmakers from other states have introduced measures to remove the taxes on these products.

Access to menstrual products can be complicated elsewhere as well. In Kenya, for example, half of all school-age females don’t have access to menstrual pads. Many also don’t have access to toilets and clean water. That frequently leads to missed school days, and some drop out of school entirely.

Menstruation throughout the ages

The stigma surrounding menstruation dates back centuries. References to menstruation are found in the Bible, Quran, and Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History.”

In these references, menstruation is referred to as “harm” and “unclean,” and a thing that can turn “new wine sour.”

Decades of faulty research did little to dispel the stigma that surrounds periods, too.

In 1920, Dr. Béla Schick coined the phrase “menotoxin” for a theory he had that women produce toxins during menstruation.

Schick reached this conclusion after a nurse who was menstruating handled a bouquet of flowers. Schick observed that those specific flowers wilted sooner than flowers the nurse didn’t touch. He decided her period was the cause.

In the 1950s, researchers injected menstrual blood in animals to test the toxic theory. The blood did, in fact, kill the animals. But it was proven years later that the death was a result of bacterial contamination in the blood, not a toxic effect.

By 1974, researchers had identified that menstruation taboos may be closely tied to how men participate in procreative activities. In other words, the less men are involved with childbirth and childrearing, the more distasteful a period is to them.

Period hygiene has also been an ever-evolving production.

In 1897, Lister’s Towels were introduced by Johnson & Johnson as the first mass-produced and disposable menstrual pad. These were far from the period pads of today. They were thick pads of material worn inside undergarments.

The Hoosier Ladies’ Sanitary Belt came a few decades after the turn of the century. The belt was a series of straps meant to hold reusable sanitary pads in place.

A few short years later, in 1929, Dr. Earle Haas invented the first tampon. His idea came from a friend who mentioned using a sea sponge tucked into her vagina as a way to absorb period blood.

The adhesive sticky pads used today weren’t introduced until the 1980s. Since then, they’ve been honed and updated to meet changing lifestyle, flow, and shape needs.

Today’s period products seek to solve many of the issues menstruating individuals have dealt with for decades, from leaks and period tracking to cost. They’re also helping remove the stigma that often surrounds menstruation. Plus, they seek to solve environmental and financial concerns.

These products include reusable menstrual cups and period underwear. There are also many smartphone apps that can help people better understand how their body prepares for, and acts during, their period.

Periods around the world

Much has been done to remove the stigma of menstruation and to help people care for themselves during their period, but there’s still work to do.

In Britain, a 2017 survey from Plan International reports 1 in 7 girls say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual protection. More than 1 in 10 girls have had to improvise menstrual wear because they couldn’t afford proper products.

Though the United Kingdom was set to drop taxes on tampons and other menstrual products, Brexit talks had stalled the final removal of the levy. A Parliament vote in October 2018 moved the United Kingdom a step closer to eliminating the tampon tax.

In Nepal, a 21-year-old woman died from smoke inhalation after she lit a fire to keep warm during “chhaupadi.”

In this Nepalese practice, menstruating Hindu girls and women are forced from their home to sleep outside in huts or cattle sheds until their period ends. Temperatures can fall into the single digits or lower in winter, but the huts may not be heated or insulated enough to provide adequate warmth.

In parts of India, some women are forced to isolate themselves in much the same way.

Not every culture shuns women because of this natural cycle, though.

In some places in Africa, the onset of menstruation is viewed as a passage from one phase of life to the next. It’s a vaulted and valued experience. Specific huts or homes are set aside for women to stay in when they have their first period. They’re joined by their female family members and other women during this time.

Meanwhile, countries like Canada, which dropped taxes on tampons and other menstrual products in 2015, are looking to ease the financial concerns of getting a period.

In 2018, the United Nations (UN) reported that the shame, stigma, and misinformation that surround periods can lead to serious health and human rights concerns. That’s why they declared menstrual hygiene an issue that affects public health, gender equality, and human rights.

It’s also why the UN has added it to the 2030 Agenda. This is a 15-year plan for sustainable social and economic development that creators believe can help end poverty, hunger, and lack of access to healthcare.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock deletes ‘1,000 more GPs’ claim after statistics watchdog censure – The Independent

Health Secretary Matt Hancock deletes '1,000 more GPs' claim after statistics watchdog censure - The Independent nevin manimala
Health Secretary Matt Hancock deletes '1,000 more GPs' claim after statistics watchdog censure - The Independent nevin manimala

The health secretary has deleted claims of a “terrific” increase of 1,000 GPs joining the NHS in just three months, after being censured by the government statistics watchdog.

Matt Hancock made the claimed in a tweet last week and was widely criticised by doctors and health groups who said he was misleading the public, as the actual figures showed qualified doctor numbers fell.

Those figures were also drastically inflated by the new intake of junior doctors who started GP specialty training in August.

Even counting these doctors, who work under supervision but by third year are seeing patients largely unsupported, there were only an additional 41 doctors when compared to September 2017.

Martyn Williams was one of those to complain about the initial tweet and contacted the UKSA to ask them to review Mr Hancock’s claims and get a retraction.

In a response sent on Monday morning the watchdog said: “We have discussed this matter with the Secretary of State’s office, and they have removed the tweet.”

It is not clear when Mr Hancock removed the tweet and the Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment on two occasions when asked what numbers he was referring to in his claimed rise.

However Mr Williams said it was not acceptable that he had failed to set the record straight.

“It’s really not good enough to silently delete such a misleading tweet. Matt Hancock should tweet an apology for the error and give people the real figures,” he said.

In 2015 the government pledged to add an extra 5,000 doctors, including trainees, to the GP workforce by 2020 – based on the latest September data it still has 5,460 posts to go.

The Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment