Wednesday November 13, 2019

Richer Countries Show Lower Trust in Vaccines

A global survey by the British health research charity Wellcome found that about 8 in 10 people

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vaccine preventable diseases
WHO reports Nigeria, India and Pakistan have the lowest vaccination rates. VOA

The majority of people worldwide think vaccines are safe but the doubters make it impossible to win the war on preventable illnesses.

A global survey by the British health research charity Wellcome found that about 8 in 10 people, or 79%, agreed that vaccines are safe, and 9 in 10 worldwide say their children have been vaccinated.

But in order to protect whole populations, immunization coverage rates must generally be above 90% or 95%, according to the World Health Organization.

The survey asked more than 140,000 people in 140 countries about their attitudes toward science and medicine.

Vaccines, Worldwide, Safe
The majority of people worldwide think vaccines are safe but the doubters make it impossible to win the war. Pixabay

It found that in wealthier nations, where rates of infectious diseases are low, people tend to be more skeptical about the safety of vaccines. While in poorer countries people believe vaccines to be safe, effective and important for children.

France led the list of countries with the most skeptics. A third of French people do not agree that immunization is safe, by contrast 98% of those in Bangladesh believe that vaccines are both safe and effective.

“And in some of these regions, greater scientific knowledge or levels of education is actually associated with less confidence in vaccines,” the report says. “This suggests that putting out more scientific information, or trying to educate more people, will not be enough to change minds on this issue.”

In North America, just 72% of those surveyed said vaccines were safe. The numbers were even lower in Europe — 59% in Western Europe and 40% in Eastern Europe.

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“Anxieties and public concerns about the safety of vaccines have always existed, but the rise of social media has allowed the spread of what UNICEF calls the ‘real infection of misinformation’ to much wider audiences,” the report says.

Vaccines have been credited for completely ridding the world of small pox and coming close to eliminating other diseases, such as polio.

But other illnesses are making a resurgence. In the U.S. alone, the number of measles cases this year has exceeded a thousand.

“I guess you could call it the ‘complacency effect,'” said Wellcome’s Imran Khan, who led the study. (VOA)

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Many Commercial Films Worldwide Continue to Express Womanhood in Stereotypical Manner than Men

For the findings, the research team proposed an advanced system that used computer vision technology to automatically analyses

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Commercial, Films, Worldwide
Our research confirmed that many commercial films depict women from a stereotypical perspective. Pixabay

Many commercial films worldwide continue to express womanhood in a stereotypical manner than men, said a new study.

According to the researchers, women were found be more prone to expressing passive emotions, such as sadness, fear and surprise.

In contrast, male characters in the same films were more likely to demonstrate active emotions, such as anger and hatred.

“Our research confirmed that many commercial films depict women from a stereotypical perspective,” said the study’s author Byungjoo Lee, a professor at the KAIST College in South Korea.

Commercial, Films, Worldwide
According to the researchers, women were found be more prone to expressing passive emotions, such as sadness, fear and surprise. Pixabay

For the findings, the research team proposed an advanced system that used computer vision technology to automatically analyses the visual information of each frame of a film.

This allowed the system to more accurately and practically evaluate the degrees to which female and male characters were discriminatingly depicted in a film in quantitative terms and further enabled the revealing of gender bias that conventional analysis methods could not yet detect.

The researchers analysed 40 films from Hollywood and South Korea released between 2017 and 2018.

They downsampled the films from 24 to 3 frames per second and used Microsoft’s Face API facial recognition technology and object detection technology YOLO9000 to verify the details of the characters and their surrounding objects in the scenes.

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Using the new system, the team computed eight quantitative indices that described the representation of a particular gender in the films.

They were: Emotional diversity, spatial staticity, spatial occupancy, temporal occupancy, mean age, intellectual image, emphasis on appearance, and type and frequency of surrounding objects.

The type and frequency of surrounding objects index revealed that female characters and automobiles were tracked together only 55.7 per cent as much as that of male characters, while they were more likely to appear with furniture and in a household, with 123.9 per cent probability.

In cases of temporal occupancy and mean age, female characters appeared less frequently in films than male at the rate of 56 per cent, and were on an average younger in 79.1 per cent of the cases.

Commercial, Films, Worldwide
In contrast, male characters in the same films were more likely to demonstrate active emotions, such as anger and hatred. Pixabay

These two indices were especially conspicuous in Korean films.

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The study is scheduled to be presented at the 22nd ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) in Texas on November 11. (IANS)