Will increasing the number of US medical students translate into more practitioners?
Recently, there has been movement towards substantial growth in the number of medical schools and in the number of medical students training in the US. About 15-18 new schools may be added to the 131 current schools. Also, medical schools have been encouraged to increase their enrollment. Eventually, there may be up to a 30% increase in the number of medical students training in US medical schools or an increase of about 5,000 more graduating medical students per year. This growth should lead to more US doctors, especially primary care doctors, and improved access to health care …right? Not necessarily, suggests a column co-written by School of Medicine professors Charles Zorumski and Eugene Rubin. Link to Article
Defining normal in the brain
Researchers have created a growth curve for the brain, similar to the height and weight charts pediatricians use to monitor their patients development. Scientists came up with the new developmental milestones by aggregating the results of brain scans that reveal active connections throughout the organ. Led by Nico Dosenbach and Bradley Schlaggar, both of the Washington University School of Medicine, the study reveals how typical brains connections evolve with age, information that could help doctors detect disorders earlier. Link to Article
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Debate over mini-Ice Age rocks world of geology
The normally peaceable world of geology is currently alive with a fiery debate over the theory that deadly space rocks slammed into Northern Canada about 13,000 years ago, triggering a mini-Ice Age and the eventual extinction of the woolly mammoth and a host of other prehistoric species. That contentious hypothesis is under renewed attack based on new research by a team that includes Tyrone Daulton, a physicist at Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article
See also Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal
NSF: Time for an Internet do-over
The NSF has announced grants for the Named Data Networking (NDN) project – which focuses on the Internet’s central role in content creation and dissemination – and uses a “dramatically different” routing approach than IP routing, according to Patrick Crowley, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science. “It’s a radical shift, but one that we think enables a qualitatively better path to eliminating redundant network traffic, securing communications, and enabling very large numbers of wireless and mobile devices.” Link to Article
Saint Louis Beacon
Too much play, too little rest is prescription for sports injuries
Emily Isaacs loves playing soccer so much that it hurts. It isn’t natural for young athletes like her to play a particular sport for 10 months out of the year — although it’s all too common in our competitive culture, said Dr. Matthew Matava, co-chief of sports medicine for Washington University Orthopedics. It’s a message that bears repeating this month with local youngsters scattered across football fields, soccer pitches and softball diamonds as another fall sports season gets underway. “It’s the rule of ‘toos’ said Matava. “Too much play and too little rest.”
Ruling blocks ban on stem cell research funds
The NIH may temporarily resume funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells, an appeals court ruled Thursday. Steven Teitelbaum, professor of immunology and pathology at Washington University, called the decision “temporary good news” but warned if the appeals court upholds the original ruling, the outcome would be devastating to U.S. medical research. “It’s very frightening because we are really going to fall behind tremendously if this holds up,” he said. “There are lots of other countries investing in this technology, and this will leave us in the dust.” WUSTL currently has two federally funded research projects utilizing material from an existing line of 21stem cells that were approved for research under President George W. Bush’s administration. Link to Article Related story in Chronicle of Higher Education
Obama tax credits make good politics, mediocre policy
President Obama is aiming his latest stimulus plan at businesses. That’s probably a good idea, but results are likely to be underwhelming. The biggest piece of Obama’s new stimulus plan lasts only until the end of next year. We should have learned from the recent consumer experiments, with Cash for Clunkers and the home buyer’s tax credit, that temporary tax breaks aren’t very effective in boosting the economy. “Conventional wisdom on these tax cuts is that permanent would be better than temporary,” says Steven Fazzari, a professor of economics at Washington University. “It’s not going to be huge in terms of its effects.” Link to Article
Siteman expands to south St. Louis County
Siteman Cancer Center is expanding its operations into south St. Louis County, with plans to build a $17 million medical complex near the intersection of Interstate 55 and Butler Hill Road. Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine, the co-operators of Siteman Cancer Center, are developing the South County site in part because its operations have nearly reached capacity at the center’s primary facility on South Kingshighway. Link to Article
News in higher education
To skip or not to skip? New web site helps students decide
Online calculator designed to help students decide when to miss class produces mixed reactions in higher ed. The Skip Class Calculator, which launched in February and was revamped in August, gives students a 10-question formula that calculates the risk of skipping a class lecture.
National Public Radio / On Point with Tom Ashbrook
Shaking Up Higher Ed
American higher education – with its vigorous colleges and universities – has long been the pride of the nation, the engine of the economy, the envy of the world. Now, it’s got issues. Soaring costs, structural questions, competition abroad. We had a Wall Street bubble and bust. A housing bubble and bust. Is it time to remake American Higher Education? Columbia University’s Mark Taylor says it’s time to end tenure and bring on a revolution. Link to Article
San Diego Reader
Are All Degrees Created Equal?
Many people with college degrees would willingly trade their diplomas for ones bearing the names Harvard, Stanford, or Columbia University. Recruiters love “name” schools, even though education from a little-known school may be just as good. But the world is changing. Some less-traditional colleges don’t have ivy-covered campuses; some don’t have campuses at all. Through the miracle of technology, higher education is evolving. Some prominent universities now offer online classes for their students. It is ironic that the very companies that have benefited from university research to create a technological revolution over the past three decades are the same ones to discriminate against education that is done outside of the classroom because of that technology. Link to Article
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