News highlights for September 3, 2010

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding.

Inside School Research
How about teaching with the test, rather than to it?

The Department of Education just handed out $330 million in grants to two state coalitions to design the “next-generation” tests of students’ readiness for college and careers. In the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, a study out of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. suggests students can learn better by teaching with the test, rather than to it. Psychologist Andrew C. Butler, author of the study, found that repeated and varied testing helped students transfer their learning to new tasks better than simply studying the information. Link to Article

The Huffington Post
Rebecca Ye: Speeding up detection to protect our water

Washington University in St. Louis freshman Rebecca Ye is heading off to Stockholm, along with students from over 30 other countries, for the international leg of the competition during World Water Week (September 5- 11). Ye won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her research on E. coli water decontamination. “As a result of this research,” she writes, “I have become more interested in the environmental sciences — and may consider pursuing additional studies in that direction. After all, the environment is our most precious resource.” Link to Article

Cancer Consultants
All women are equal. all breast cancers are not
Black women in the United States and Africa are at higher risk of developing a more aggressive form of breast cancer, but cultural, economic, and social factors prevent many from getting the care they need. Health behavior researcher Donna Jeffe and colleagues at Washington University’s Siteman Cancer Center are exploring ways to reach out to the Black community. The group launched a study in January that provides African-American breast cancer patients with recorded testimonials in which survivors describe coping mechanisms, relationships, experiences with the health care system, follow-up care, and quality-of-life issues. Link to Article

Finding the number

Raphael Kopan and his colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis write in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols about a pyrosequencing-based method to determine the copy number of any allele from any genome. Their approach, called reference query pyrosequencing, takes “advantage of the fact that pyrosequencing can accurately measure the molar ratio of DNA fragments in a mixture that differ by a single nucleotide,” they write. At Bench Marks, the Executive Editor of CSH Protocols David Crotty adds that “RQPS is rapid, inexpensive, sensitive, and adaptable to high-throughput approaches.” Link to Article

Phoenix New Times
Dog Beat Dog: To pull off the biggest pit bull fighting bust in U.S. history, investigators and their dogs went undercover
In a story about a dog-fighting investigation, Peter Joy, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at Washington University’s School of Law, says the boundaries for undercover agents are typically determined on a case-by-case basis. Still, he notes that “they have to have limits to what they can do” and points to several instances in which undercover officers blurred the lines. “There’s an almost psychological, sociological dimension to this,” Joy says. “When you embed an officer deep in certain kinds of criminal activity, does that somehow change the character of the officer?” Link to Article

Scholar explores vaudeville circuits and regional architecture
Paula Lupkin, a professor in the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis, recently spent time as a fellow working in the Hoblitzelle-Interstate collection at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research yielded some surprises and insights into the regional vaudeville circuits in the Southwest, which she shares here. Link to Article

News in higher education

The Forward

A Jewish stake in stem cell ruling

Jewish groups across a wide spectrum are voicing outrage against a judge’s surprise halting of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research and are asserting a crucial Jewish stake in reversing the ruling.

“Diseases prevalent in the Jewish community are waiting for cures,” said Sheila Decter, executive director of Boston’s Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action. “This particular decision seems more out of specific religious tradition than careful analysis.”

Link to Article

New York Times

Public hospitals look to overhaul affiliations with medical schools

New York City’s public hospital system is embarking on a long-term attempt to gain more control over running its 11 hospitals by renegotiating longstanding affiliation contracts with some of the city’s most powerful medical schools.

Link to Article

New York Times

Fewer young voters see themselves as Democrats

The college vote is up for grabs this year — to an extent that would have seemed unlikely two years ago, when a generation of young people seemed to swoon over Barack Obama. Though many students are liberals on social issues, the economic reality of a weak job market has taken a toll on their loyalties: far fewer 18- to 29-year-olds now identify themselves as Democrats compared with 2008.

Link to Article / Online Video

Smartplanet /

Why iPads are taking off in hospitals

Stanford medical school is giving iPads to all its new incoming students this fall in order to cut down on paper costs. Stanford leaders expect that the iPads will offer other advantages, such as helping future doctors explain to patients what medical conditions or surgeries look like.

Link to Article

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
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