Content starts here

The Takeway: Half of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana; Would You Trust a Robo-Surgeon?

The Times They Are a-Changin': When Gallup first asked about marijuana legalization, in 1969,  just 12 percent of Americans favored it. Now 50 percent do,  according to a new Gallup poll.

In fact, the percentage of Americans who favor legalizing marijuana has now reached a record-oh, there's no way around this- high, up from 46 percent last year. Gallup-which asked about marijuana legalization in general, not medical marijuana-found 46 percent of respondents this year say the drug should remain illegal. Support for marijuana legalization only hit 30 percent for the first time eleven years ago, in 2000; it reached 40 percent in 2009.

Those least in favor of legalizing marijuana remain Americans 65 and older, with only 31 percent supporting legalization. Adults in Generation Y-those 18-29-are twice as likely to favor legalizing pot than adults in the pre-Boomer generations. Support for legalization in the boomer demographic (ages 50-64) was 49 percent.

Funding Future Care: What's next for long-term care insurance, now that  the CLASS Act has been declared dead?

"After the shouting subsidies, we're still left with an inadequate, patchwork system for funding long-term care in the U.S.," Mark Miller at Reuters writes.

About one-third of Americans turning 65 this year will need at least three months of nursing home care at some point., according to the Center for Retirement Research.

Robo-Surgeries Rising:  According to the Los Angeles Times, the use of a robotic surgery assistant (called the Da Vinci Surgical System) has quadrupled over the past four years, with the machine now used by 2,000 hospitals across the United States. If the popular television series  Grey's Anatomy were real, it seems Seattle Grace's whining, bed-hopping interns and residents might face some serious robotic competition. Who needs surgical interns when a robotic surgery assistant can take care of incisions and sutures just fine (all well managing-at least one really hopes-not to wind up in bed with the boss)?

But the Da Vinci wasn't designed to take the place of novice surgeons; rather, it's used as a tool by experienced surgeons on complicated surgeries. It works by mirroring the movements of a surgeon's hands on joystick-like controllers. Because it's tiny, and nimble (Da Vinci tools have 'wrists' at their tips), surgeons can insert it into small slits, saving them from making large incisions to access patients' internal organs, and pivot and twist the robot's arms.  Dr. Hyung Kim, a urologist who uses a Da Vinci system at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says

... he would never go back to performing prostate surgery by hand. Sitting comfortably at the ergonomic Da Vinci console, he can see the operating field better via a 3-D camera on one of the robot's arms and maneuver his tools, held by other arms, more easily than if he were performing a traditional laparoscopic operation, he says. Surgery is less of a slog and a strain.

Would you trust a robo-surgeon?

Tuesday Quick Hits: 

See "In the News" for more on current events, entertainment and how it all relates to you. 

(Photo: CBS New York)

Search AARP Blogs