News highlights for November 24, 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

The Telegraph (UK)

The July 7 bombings and heritability: carrying trauma to the next generation


A growing body of research now suggests that traumatic events can affect the genes, and lives, of children as yet unborn. Research by Professor Eric Richards at Washington University in St Louis shows that the way rats are nurtured affects the methylation of a crucial receptor in the hippocampus. After a positive nurturing experience, the appropriate gene gets turned on at a vital early stage; after a bad one, the gene remains unused. The same is found in humans. Link to Article

NBC Television Network
KARE 11 News Sunrise
Priya Mallika Sury of Washington University in St. Louis is one of two students from Twin Cities-suburban Roseville High School named as Rhodes Scholars this week. Both will study at the University of Oxford. Sury graduated from Washington University summa cum laude in anthropology and Spanish. She also worked on the HIV/AIDs educational initiative and as a tutor for underprivileged Hispanic students. Link to Broadcast

Discovery News
Spendthrifts, tightwads equally unhappy

Tightwads and spendthrifts alike will soon rush to the malls, but research suggests both groups will end up unhappy. Research by Cynthia Cryder, a consumer behavior expert at the Olin School of Business, suggests tightwads outnumber spendthrifts by a ratio of three to two. She says about half of all shoppers fall into an “unconflcted” middleground that’s relatively content with how much they spend. Research also shows people feel far less conflicted about buying for others than they do about buying for themselves. “When it comes to buying gifts, the two groups look exactly the same,” Cryder said. Link to Article
Researchers uncover HIV, insulin resistance link

A Washington University research team led by Paul Hruz, a professor of pediatrics and biology at the School of Medicine, has uncovered why so many people with the HIV virus develop a dangerous insulin resistance that leads to diabetes and heart disease. The culprit, they suggest, lies in the powerful drugs that prevent the development of AIDS and have extended the lives of many HIV patients. Researchers hope the discovery will allow development of safer antiviral drugs. Link to Article See also See also Reuters
Related news release

Fast Company

Why you should start a company in…St. Louis


Low cost of doing business and one of the lowest housing costs in the country are among the many reasons cited for why St. Louis is a great place for startup businesses. “The talent is very reasonable here,” notes the article. “We have world class universities with the biggest being Washington University, which is a top med school in the U.S. It was one of three places in the world to sequence the human genome. St. Louis is really a biotech and ag city. That’s where a lot of the growth is coming from. Link to Article

Power plants

Green, in nature, is the color of extravagant waste. “The light that chlorophyll doesn’t like is the color we see,” notes Robert Blankenship, a photosynthesis expert at Washington University in St. Louis. Blankenship has been working with a team of Australian biologists who recently discovered a type of chlorophyll that can gather energy from infrared light, which lies below human vision and, it was thought, photosynthetic capacity. As humankind strives to emulate the zero-cost, low-impact way in which plants harness sunlight, the sub-visible turns out, fortunately, to be illuminating. Link to Article

Art21 Blog
Neuenschwander and influence

Art historian Monica Amor lectured at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis on the topic of Neo-Concrete art in Brazil in the late 1950s and1960s. This talk was presented in coordination with the mid-career survey of work by contemporary Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander, organized by the New Museum in New York and currently on view at the Kemper. Amor’s lecture offered insight into the rich artistic legacy of Brazilian conceptualism, a legacy that Neuenschwander shares. Link to Article

Neurology Today
Heavier mid-life smoking may double dementia risk in later years

A new study adds to evidence that cigarette smoking may be associated with a significantly increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease (AD), vascular dementia, and possibly other dementias. John C. Morris, MD, Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, said the study is a further indication that vascular risk factors in midlife may be risk factors for dementia decades later. “Midlife vascular risk factors that have been associated with an increased risk for later dementia include hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and now smoking.” he told Neurology Today in an e-mail. Link to Article

Wired up: Tuned out

Today’s digital-media natives need a school environment that both challenges and channels their tech-savvy brains. A Washington University School of Medicine study, which examined brain scans of 200 subjects ages 7 to 31, found that children’s brains do behave differently from adults. Children were much more likely to have connections between brain regions close together while older subjects were more likely to feature links between parts of the brain that are physically farther apart. Link to Article

KSDK-TV (St. Louis MO)
Newschannel 5 at Six

A St. Louis high school student who discovered a new species of flower while on a humanitarian mission to his native China is interested in pursuing biology studies in college next year. His top choices are Washington University in St. Louis and Yale University. Link to Broadcast

ALIVE Magazine
Get involved: Making spirits bright

Three St. Louis-area toy drives hope to bring smiles to the faces of St. Louis youngsters during the season of giving. Here’s how you can help. Project ARK’s Holiday Gold for Kids, a division of the Washington University School of Medicine, provides services for children, young adults, women and families affected by HIV disease. For the holidays, it collects toys and funds for over 1,000 local children affected by HIV/AIDS. Link to Article
Ex-con Jeff Smith to Carnahan camp: Tell the truth

Former state Sen. Jeff Smith was given his full release from federal custody this week after spending most of the year in prison on charges that he lied to the FBI. Smith, a St. Louis Democrat, is making the media rounds to talk about his conviction, his upcoming book, and life after politics. He’s seeking jobs teaching political science at a university, which is what he did at Washington University before his conviction. Link to Article See also St. Louis Beacon

St. Louis Beacon

Public health workers place their bets on diabetes education


Hosting a free diabetes education program at a 5-diamond hotel may seem unusual, but it’s just one of the ways the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition is taking its message out of doctors’ offices and to the public. The group also is taking diabetes education to many community-gathering spots, such as churches and coffee shops. The coalition’s work with SLU’s Center for Outcome Research is financed by a $99,000 grant from the St. Louis Community/University Health Research Partnership. Set up in 2009, the partnership focuses on research into diabetes and other health problems. The partnership, assisted by the Regional Health Commission, is supported by $1.5 million in funds from SLU, Washington University, and BJC HealthCare. The Missouri Foundation for Health also helps to finance other area initiatives to fight diabetes. Link to Article

News in higher education

Chicago Tribune

Opinion: Make college cost more


Recent decisions by the California State University Board of Trustees and the University of California regents to increase student fees have been attacked by critics who insist that higher education subsidies are critical for California’s economic growth and prosperity. This is not true; the state’s prosperity rests on public policies that encourage economic activity, not on heavy subsidies to higher education. Link to Article

The Roanoke Times

Virginia Tech officials can be sued over ’07 shooting deaths


A judge ruled two wrongful death lawsuits filed in 2009 by the families of two students killed April 16, 2007, can proceed, rejecting the argument that Virginia Tech’s president has absolute immunity. A university spokesman said in a written statement that university officials believe the evidence will show that Tech acted appropriately in response to the shootings. Link to Article

For additional higher education news (subscription may be required):
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed
University Business

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