News highlights for November 1, 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.

Associated Press
Contraception could be free under health care law

Fifty years after the pill, another birth control revolution may be on the horizon: free contraception for women in the U.S., thanks to the new health care law. But first, look for a fight over social mores, suggests the Associated Press in a story picked up by 100s of media outlets nationwide. The story includes a web link to the WUSTL Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a three-year study providing free contraceptives to about 10,000 St. Louis-area women in an effort to gauge patient satisfaction, discontinuation rates and the effectiveness of several forms of birth control. Link to Article Related news release
Washington People: Jeffrey Peipert

National Public Radio

MD group says specialist should review concussions


Athletes of all ages who are suspected of suffering a concussion should be evaluated by a specialist before they return to sports, the American Academy of Neurology said in a statement Monday. The statement follows rules already adopted in college sports and pro football aimed at preventing and better treating blows to the head in competition. Doctors want to get the message “to the athletes, their parents and their coaches that a concussion is not just a ding, or getting your bell rung, but it is an injury to the brain,” said Dr. Mark Halstead of Washington University. Link to Article See also Sports Illustrated, Huffington Post

New York Times

Leigh Van Valen, evolutionary biologist, dies at 76

The evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen’s eccentricities were legend far beyond the University of Chicago, where brilliant and idiosyncratic professors rule. Dr. Van Valen, who died in Chicago on Oct. 16 at the age of 76, changed the conversation about how life works in 1973 when he put forward “a new evolutionary law.” Allan Larson, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, called “A New Evolutionary Law,” Dr. Van Valen’s paper on the subject, “one of the most influential and controversial works published in evolutionary biology.” Link to Article

The Huffington Post

Beware of financial firms bearing advice on social security

Just in time for Halloween, the financial services firm Standard and Poor’s offers a “study” designed to scare us into raising the Social Security retirement age. “Global Aging 2010: An Irreversible Truth”, warns that age-related public spending is “Unsustainable without policy change.” The S&P report takes scant account of the damage trimming social insurance benefits and the purchasing power they provide would inflict on national economies, according to a commentary co-written by WUSTL emeritus law professor Merton Bernstein and his wife Joan. Link to Article

The Boston Globe

Giving back: Volunteering can improve the lives of others

Legions of seniors are using retirement to give back to their communities, finding new satisfaction by helping schools, churches and food banks. As the first Baby Boomers turn 65 next year, more organizations are expected to mine the growing population of retirees. Those seniors who volunteer are likely to benefit, too, according to a study from Washington University in St. Louis, which found that volunteers gain improved physical and emotional health, expanded social networks, and increased self-esteem. Link to Article

Cardiology Today

Meet the board: Douglas L. Mann, MD, leader, scholar and innovator in HF therapeutics

When Douglas L. Mann, MD, is not working to further his understanding of the failing heart, he keeps his own going by incorporating a daily dose of music, art and exercise. Mann is the Lewin Chair and professor of medicine, cell biology and physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine and cardiologist in chief at Barnes Jewish Hospital. His research into the molecular level of HF continues to broaden and improve understanding of the disease. Link to Article

Minnesota Public Radio

Congressional expert shines light on national elections

WUSTL congressional expert Steven Smith highlights the interesting races for congress and governor around the country. Will the GOP gain control of Congress, and what changes will we see if they do? Link to Article / Audio Podcast

The Scientist

Boris Igić : A fertile mind

In 1997, Boris Igić, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, took a course on evolution that prompted him to switch his major from history to biology. A few months later, Igić handed in the first science term paper, an analysis of the genetic basis of plant self-incompatibility — plant’s ability to recognize and reject its own pollen. Now 33, Igić is an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago and his research is published in top journals. “That first term paper is what I’ve been doing for 13 years,” he says. Link to Article

WDAF-TV (Kansas City MO)
Fox 4 News – Pollutants in some urban areas increase Parkinson’s disease risk

Washington University researchers out of St. Louis looked at data on five million people. Those people hadn’t moved between counties in eight years. In counties with little or no pollution from the metal manganese – 274 out of every 100,000 people ended up with Parkinson’s Disease. Link to Broadcast Related news release

News 11 remembers: William Bixby’s house

At the turn of the 20th century, railroad man William Bixby was the richest man in St. Louis and owner of a 45-room Victorian mansion on grounds now occupied by the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. After retiring, Bixby served as president of Washington University, which own some of his many private collections: rare books, artwork and an autograph collection. Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times

For exposure, universities put courses on the web

M.I.T.’s announcement in 2001 that it was going to put its entire course catalog online gave a jump-start to what has now become a global Open Educational Resources Movement whose goal, said Susan D’Antoni of Athabasca University, in Canada, is “to try to share the world’s knowledge.” Harvard, Yale, Stanford and the University of Michigan all now offer substantial portions of their courses online. Link to Article

New York Times

US says genes should not be eligible for patenting

Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on Friday that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. Link to Article

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed
University Business

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