News highlights for October 1, 2010

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {margin:0in 0in 0.0001pt;font-size:12pt;font-family:'Times New Roman';} div.Section1 {page:Section1;}  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.  

The Daily Telegraph
Sleepless birth risks — Mums’ blood pressure up

Newly pregnant women who get less than five hours sleep a night are more likely to suffer from problems, research shows. Lack of sleep puts them at 10 times higher risk of pre-eclampsia, which causes high blood pressure, leading to organ damage and even the death of the unborn baby. Washington University scientists believe that even though this increase in blood pressure is fairly small, it affects the way the heart functions throughout pregnancy. Link to Article See also Daily Mail (UK)

MSN Health & Fitness
Family, friends seem best at spotting early dementia

When it comes to the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease, a person’s family and close friends are better able to spot the initial signs of trouble than traditional screening by doctors, new research suggests. Answers given by family and friends to the questionnaire, which cane completed in two minutes, appear to correlate accurately with biological indicators of Alzheimer’s disease more often than standard physician testing, said study co-author Dr. John C. Morris, director of the Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Washington University School of Medicine. Link to Article See also St. Louis Riverfront Times, Business Week / Bloomberg News, Yahoo News

The legacy of the 111th Congress

The 111th Congress roared out of the starting gate in January 2009 only to gasp to a pre-election halt this week after to an uncertain lame-duck finale. Congressional scholar Steven Smith criticizes Democratic leaders for acting more boldly than warranted and not considering the long-term ramifications. “They should have focused more on ways to limit the number of seats they would lose in both the House and Senate. They should have asked themselves how they could show more fiscal discipline,” said Smith, a political science professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article
News: The House’s seven senators

As the sole House members from their states, the at-large representatives of Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Alaska and Wyoming must balance the diverse needs of their constituents and find a middle ground. Furthering their states’ goals and building coalitions can be challenging. “The most natural basis for coalition-building are same-state partisans,” said Steven S. Smith, a professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis. “These at-large representatives are in an extremely weak position.” Link to Article

Yahoo! News
Physical therapists urge families to prevent and fight obesity with physical activity

Washington University physical therapist Susan Deusinger says preventing or combating obesity is a complex and long-term challenge: “Physical therapists address how obesity affects the way the body moves and functions. This is accomplished through individual and group exercises to restore flexibility, increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, reduce pain, and address postural stability and balance. These help the individual to better perform activities of daily living while decreasing disability associated with long term obesity.” Link to Article
Cynthia Enloe, who speaks at WUSTL Oct. 8, to receive peace studies award

Cynthia Enloe, who will give an Assembly Series lecture at Washington University on Oct. 8, is the subject of an extensive profile. Enloe, who teaches at Clark University, exposes the human side of what it means to be female in a global economy. This weekend, she will be presented with the Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement in Peace Studies Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association at its annual meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Link to Article

Nuts and Bolts
Surge in biomedical engineering

Biomedical engineering degrees have increased more than any other field over the past decade. Respectively, they’ve grown by 215 percent, 193 percent and 256 percent at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels since 2000. Washington University awarded 75 biomedical engineering degrees in 2009, the 11th highest number among universities nationwide. Duke led the list with 141 biomedical engineering degrees in 2009. Link to Article

Daily RFT
Wash U. students want university to come clean on coal research

For many environmentalists, the phrase “clean coal” is a contradiction in terms on par with military intelligence and jumbo shrimp. But to the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, clean coal is hardly an oxymoron. In fact, it is one of the focal points of their research. Today, the school kicks off the Symposium on Global Energy Future. Top researchers from 25 universities around globe will be in town to discuss all kinds new and innovative eco-friendly technology. Students and environmental groups are questioning the ties between the corporations and the school’s research, particularly Wash U’s willingness to embrace the term, “Clean Coal.” Link to Article

KTBS-TV (Shreveport, LA)
Exercise reduces age-related heart deterioration

If you keep saying you’re going to start that exercise routine, but never get around to it, here’s some motivation. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine found one hour of brisk walking or cycling five days a week reverses age- related heart deterioration in just seven months. Link to Broadcast

Jewish Light
Hadassah honors Danforth for stem cell advocacy

The vast potential for embryonic stem cell research to lead to advances in the treatment of such diseases as diabetes and macular degeneration was the focus of the St. Louis Chapter of Hadassah’s “Framing the Future” event, which honored Dr. William Danforth, former Chancellor of Washington University, for his strong advocacy of protecting the legality of stem cell research in Missouri More than 230 people turned out for the event Sunday night at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Link to Article

Jewish Light
Artists come of age

A new invitational exhibit opening Friday (Oct. 1) at the Sheldon Art Galleries attempts to explore the link between creativity and positive, productive aging. Called “Maturity and Its Muse,” it celebrates the work of 40 St. Louis artists over the age of 70 who continue to create new work and have an active professional life. From 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 12, Brian Carpenter, associate professor of psychology at Washington University, will speak on “The Science (and Art) of Studying Later Life Creativity.” Link to Article

News in higher education

DIVERSE Issues in Higher Education

National Academies committee recommends measures to boost minority STEM participation

Citing the relatively low levels of minority representation in science and engineering, leaders of a National Academies committee working to increase diversity in those fields released a new report Thursday that shows the extent of the problem and makes recommendations on how to solve it. The report—titled “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads”—shows that underrepresented minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans) represent 28.5 percent of the U.S. population but only 9.1 percent of college-educated Americans in the science and engineering workforce.

Link to Article Related NAS news release


Investigators say dean made students do housework for scholarships

Investigators say a former vice president and dean at a New York university forced students to cook, clean, wash clothes and chauffeur her family — and threatened that their scholarships would be revoked if they refused. An arrest affidavit unsealed by federal prosecutors this week alleges that Cecilia Chang required scholarship students at St. John’s University to take out the garbage, shovel snow and cook food at her home in Queens, New York. Link to Article

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
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