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November 01, 2009|Shari Roan; David Ng; Austin Knoblauch; Todd Martens


Lack of health coverage deadly

An analysis of 23 million hospital records from 37 states shows that a lack of health insurance likely played a role in the deaths of nearly 17,000 U.S. children over a 17-year period.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center examined records from 1988 to 2005. They compared the risk of death in hospitalized children who were covered by health insurance with those who did not, and found that uninsured kids were 60% more likely to die, regardless of their medical condition.

This does not mean that the children received less aggressive care at the hospital but that they were probably in poorer health before they arrived, researchers said. Insurance status did not affect how long a child spent in the hospital, according to the study.

The study did not count children who died outside the hospital or after leaving the hospital, which means that deaths among uninsured children are probably even higher.

"Can we say with absolute certainty that 17,000 children would have been saved if they had health insurance? Of course not," a co-author of the study report, David Chang, said in a news release. "The point here is that a substantial number of children may be saved by health coverage. From a scientific perspective, we are confident in our findings that thousands of children likely did die because they lacked insurance or because of factors directly related to lack of insurance."

"In a country as wealthy as ours, the need to provide health insurance to the millions of children who lack it is a moral, not an economic issue," Dr. Peter Pronovost, a co-author of the study, said in a news release.

-- Shari Roan

From Booster Shots: Oddities, musings and news from the world of health

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Johansson's debut on Broadway

Let the ticket frenzy commence. Scarlett Johansson is coming to Broadway this winter in a revival production of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge," which is scheduled to open Jan. 14 at the Cort Theatre.

Johansson will be making her Broadway debut in the intense 1955 drama, which will also star Tony winner Liev Schreiber. The production, which will be directed by Gregory Mosher, is scheduled for a limited 14-week run.

Tickets are set to go on sale Nov. 21 online and by telephone. The production begins preview performances Dec. 28.

Set in an Italian-American neighborhood in New York, "A View from the Bridge" tells the story of Eddie Carbone (Schreiber), a married dock worker who harbors an incestuous desire for his 17-year-old niece, Catherine (Johansson). But Catherine becomes involved with another man and the saga ultimately ends in tragedy.

-- David Ng

From Culture Monster: All the arts, all the time

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Shaquille wants to be a deputy

It looks as if Shaquille O'Neal is no longer satisfied with just being LeBron James' bodyguard.

The world's tallest purveyor of law enforcement has submitted an application to become a special sheriff's deputy in Ohio.

Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office spokesman John O'Brien confirmed to the Associated Press that Shaq, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has submitted a formal request to become a special deputy.

If approved, Shaq would have the right to make arrests and carry a weapon even though he wouldn't be a paid employee. First, though, he would need 36 hours of police training and to pass a police exam.

Of course, this isn't Shaq's first foray into the world of law enforcement. He's worked in similar roles for other local agencies in the past.

I wonder if Shaq has a plan for detaining the Lakers' hopes of a second consecutive NBA title?

-- Austin Knoblauch

From The Fabulous Forum: The who, what, where, when, why -- and why not -- of L.A. sports

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U2 + YouTube = 10 million streams

For a band that has its own 3-D film and is performing under a giant spaceship-like contraption on its current tour, an Internet stream may not seem all that fancy. Yet it certainly proved to be a powerful promotional device.

U2's live broadcast last Sunday night of the Pasadena stop on its 360 Tour generated 10 million streams across seven continents, according to a YouTube spokesman. What's more, since being archived on YouTube on Monday, the concert has tallied more than 1 million streams.

Information, however, on the average length of time viewers watched the nearly 2 1/2 -hour concert was not readily available.

YouTube has also not yet broken the numbers out into individual users.

Pop & Hiss is being purely speculative here, but it's probably a safe bet that the latter number was a few million fewer than 10 million, considering the U2 channel on YouTube had generated about 8.4 million views, as of Wednesday evening.

Nevertheless, there's no doubting U2's live draw, both online and in the flesh.

The Rose Bowl concert had a crowd of more than 100,000 people, including Rose Bowl staff.

The stream was also the largest event in YouTube's history, according to a statement from the company.

Liked what you saw and missed the Rose Bowl concert? U2 will be back in Southern California on June 6, performing at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

Ticket information has not yet been released.

-- Todd Martens

From Pop & Hiss: The L.A. Times music blog

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