A Recap of This Week’s Top News – February 16, 2024

Changes to policy, scientific discovery, and expert recommendations and opinions all have the power to rapidly influence the landscape of a sector. Whether you’re a leader at a non-profit, a member of a university’s marketing department, or a stakeholder for a public health agency, being informed about the latest industry happenings can be the difference between exceeding and falling short of organizational goals. At Hager Sharp, our experts vigorously scan media coverage to identify areas of opportunity. And now, with the introduction of the Sharp Round-Up, you too can review what we consider to be some of the top news of the week.

Below, you will find a compilation of news spanning the health and education, labor, and economy sectors. This list includes mainstream, DC-focused, and trade publication coverage from Saturday, February 10, to Friday, February 16. Let these clips serve as a resource when developing thoughtful strategies and use them to further foster organizational innovation and adaptability.

Here’s what you need to know.

Education News:

  • The Education Department’s launch of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has experienced numerous technical glitches, leading to some families being locked out of the form, while others who have completed the FAFSA likely have incorrect estimates of aid because the agency initially failed to update a crucial income formula. Additionally, colleges will not receive most data until March, meaning students will have to wait longer for financial aid awards and have less time to weigh offers.
  • A new analysis concluded that students from the lowest-income families are the most likely to attend schools that do not systematically vet their education technology, leaving their data privacy more vulnerable. The apps used in these schools are also the most likely to contain ads, with the schools three times more likely to recommend or require apps with behavioral ads, which use data collected on users to target personalized ads to them.
  • A new report shows that for nearly half of all families considering new school options, the main reason they’d make a switch is for their children’s mental health. Among parents who were “open-minded” about school choice, academic performance came in second as a motivating factor, consulting firm Tyton Partners found.

Health News:

  • A study conducted at a community testing site in Maryland suggests that patient-administered BinaxNow COVID-19 rapid antigen tests have similar accuracy as those performed by a clinician, although the results can be misinterpreted or falsely negative. The study authors noted that self-tests might exhibit a higher rate of false negatives due to inadequate sampling, false positives due to inadvertent sample contamination by untrained individuals, or misinterpretation of visual results.
  • Many types of exercise—including walking, jogging, yoga, tai chi, aerobic exercises, and strength training—showed benefits as strong as therapy when treating depression, according to the study published Wednesday in the BMJ. The study found that more exercise and a higher intensity of workout were better, but you don’t need to start training like a professional athlete, according to the data.
  • A study published this week concluded that smoking has harmful effects on the immune system for much longer than previously understood. People who smoked had increased inflammatory responses, but those higher levels were transient, dropping after smoking cessation. However, the effects on the adaptive response persisted for many years after quitting, changing the levels of cytokines released after infection or other immune challenges.