News highlights for October 6, 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.
Brain tumor disorder impairs chemical system responsible for attention

A genetic condition that increases risk of brain tumors may also impair development of the brain system that facilitates attention, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine. The findings, observed in a mouse model, help explain the attention deficits and learning disabilities sometimes seen in children with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1), an inherited disorder that increases risk of brain tumor formation. And they suggest drugs already approved by the FDA may be especially effective for treating learning and behavior problems in children with NF1. “Not only were we able to show that our mouse model of NF1 has attention deficits similar to patients, we also were able to treat them and restore attention to normal levels with Ritalin,” says David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor of Neurology. Link to Article

New America Foundation – Higher Ed Watch
Establishing college savings in kindergarten


There are benefits to owning a savings account dedicated for college that can occur long before a student enters university and receives financial aid. A recent study from the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis — New America’s partner on the College Savings Initiative – indicates that, among students who expect to attend college, those with accounts are about seven times more likely to attend college than similar youth who do not have accounts. Link to Article

Chicago Daily Herald

WUSTL women’s softball recognized for highest GPA
The WUSTL women’s softball team has been recognized by the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) for having the highest grade-point average among all NCAA Division III teams for the 2009-10 academic year. The team posted a cumulative GPA of 3.549 last year, to take the top spot among Division III programs. WUSTL was 37-11 in the 2010 season, placing third at the 2010 NCAA Division III central regional. “What a tremendous honor,” said WUSTL coach Leticia Pineda-Boutté. “…I am very proud of all the young ladies that have been a part of this softball program and their commitment to academic excellence while here at Washington University. This award is a true testament to the level of excellence that these young ladies have set for themselves.” Link to Article


Students protest speech by Peabody Energy CEO Greg Boyce at Wash U research symposium

Greg Boyce, CEO of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately held coal company, stepped to a podium Saturday afternoon at Washington University’s Symposium on Global Energy Future and launched into a PowerPoint presentation that featured slides titled “fossil fuels are here to stay.” A few minutes later, roughly two dozen students and environmental activists rose to their feet and started taking off their clothes. Link to Article

Rivane Neuenschwander: A day like any other

Very rarely does a museum invite you to stomp all over an artist’s work. But Walking in Circles, a piece in the midcareer survey Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other – opening at Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on October 8 – does just that. Various-size circles of clear adhesive are painted on the floor, gradually darkening as they collect the dirt and debris from patrons’ feet. Link to Article

KPLR 11 (St. Louis)
Venice residents worry about aftermath of explosion

The EPA, OSHA and Venice firefighters are investigating an explosive fire at the Magnesium Elektron plant. While a company spokesperson says it was primarily steam and a non-hazardous smoke that was sent into the atmosphere, the particulates falling and smell suggested otherwise to nearby residents. The smoke may have had Magnesium Oxide in it. “Magnesium Oxide is certainly something that you don’t want to be breathing,” says Washington University’s Vice Chancellor of Environmental Health & Safety, Bruce Backus. “People I would worry about are people who are sensitive, who may have asthma or breathing conditions that any type of fire would exacerbate their problems.” For others who caught a couple breaths, Backus says concern shouldn’t be that great. Link to Article and video

News in higher education

New York Times

Stem cells in court, scientists fear for careers

Perhaps more than any other field of science, the study of embryonic stem cells has been subject to ethical objections and shaped by political opinion. But only a year after the Obama administration lifted some of the limits imposed by President George W. Bush, a lawsuit challenging the use of public money for the research and a conservative shift in Congress could leave the field more sharply restricted than it has been since its inception a decade ago. At stake are about 1,300 jobs, as well as grants from the National Institutes of Health that this year total more than $200 million and support more than 200 projects. Link to Article

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