News highlights for October 28, 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.
Metal pollution tied to Parkinson’s disease

People living near a steel factory or another source of high manganese emissions are at higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, suggests a new study by WUSTL School of Medicine researcher Dr. Brad A. Racette. “Environmental risk factors for Parkinson’s disease have been relatively under-studied, especially in urban areas where the overwhelming majority of Parkinson’s disease patients reside,” Racette said. “If our findings are confirmed, our data would suggest that reducing industrial metal emissions may result in a substantial reduction in the number of new cases.” Link to Article See also

The Hill

The Hill’s Midterm Poll: Likely voters throw a wrench into GOP budget plans

Republican voters want Congress to cut spending, but they are not willing to slash expensive programs, presenting a conundrum for GOP leaders next year, according to an article in The Hill, a DC political news outlet. WUSTL congressional expert Steven Smith suggests that weighing budgetary issues against eliminating popular programs may prove to be a tough balancing act for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Link to Article

EHS Today
Changes in the American work force puts role of National Labor Relations Act into question

The NLRA rose out of the Depression. Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, the act guaranteed workers the right to organize unions; to bargain collectively with their employer through representatives of their choosing; and to participate in other concerted activities for mutual aid or protection, including strikes. Few statutes evoke stronger emotion on the part of management, workers and organized labor, said Marion Crain, JD, the Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article

Las Vegas Sun

Why a win for Sharron Angle could be a victory for liberals

Pundits suggest that efforts by conservatives to oust Democratic Senator Harry Reid might result in more liberal action on weighty Nevada issues. If Democrats maintain control of the Senate, a loss for Reid could set up a battle for his replacement as Senate Majority Leader. WUSTL congressional expert Steven Smith comments on what we might expect from two Democrats who would be in line to take Reid’s leadership position: Illinois’ Dick Durbin, who ranks No. 2, or New York’s Chuck Schumer, who is No. 3. Link to Article

Knoxville News Sentinel

Super-sized pumpkins push nature and science to the limit

A new world record was set this month for the heaviest pumpkin ever grown—this Sasquatch of squashes weighed in at just over 1,810 pounds. These super-sized pumpkins have also attracted the attention of university scientists, who are helping growers to better understand how their pumpkins get so large and how to make them even larger. WUSTL biomedical engineer Larry Taber comments on a couple scientific theories now driving the quest for the perfect mega-pumpkin. Link to Article
Ductoscopies allow a closer look for breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time to drive home the message that early diagnosis equals better outcome. And ductal endoscopy (or mammary ductoscopy, as it’s also called) can detect cancer as early as stage 0, when it’s fully contained in the duct. Though the procedure has been around for nearly a decade, only three area doctors perform it. All three studied the technique under Dr. Jill Dietz, former program director for the breast surgical fellowship at Washington U. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Researchers target cancer screenings among blacks

WUSTL’s Siteman Cancer Center is expanding a program aimed at reducing disparities in cancer care among African-Americans. Researchers there recently received a $4.27 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to extend its community outreach, research and training programs to southeastern Missouri and East St. Louis. Dr. Graham Colditz, associate director of prevention and control at Siteman, said one priority will be getting African-American men to participate in prostate cancer research projects. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Colleges get windfalls from marketing agreements with credit-card companies

College students and graduates are struggling from high credit-card debt, but universities and their alumni groups are going to the bank. A new report suggests that last year alone, credit-card companies paid American colleges and alumni groups more than $83 million in return for access to student and alumni mailing lists and the right to peddle their cards on campus and through marketing tie-ins. Washington University received $68,093 in payments last year from a Bank of America subsidiary. Link to Article

St. Louis Globe-Democrat

Shapiro elected chair of academic health centers association

Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). Shapiro, also the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and president of the Washington University Medical Center, was elected to the one-year term at the association’s annual meeting in Dallas. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Opinion Page

Don’t be tricked by Halloween treats

Charita L. Castro, an assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and Jialan Wang, an assistant professor at the Olin Business School at Washington University, call for parents to boycott chocolate treats from companies that exploit child labor. “As consumers, our dollars are our voice in the globe. Take back Halloween from the gruesome grips of exploitative child labor by buying responsible chocolate, not treating the bottom line of Big Chocolate,” they conclude. Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times

As college fees climb, aid does too

College Board reports said that rising tuition had been accompanied by an increase in federal financial aid, which has helped keep down the actual amount students pay. At private nonprofit colleges and universities, tuition rose 4.5 percent to an average of $27,293, or $36,993 with room and board. Link to Article See also Wall Street Journal

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
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