News highlights for December 14, 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.

International Business Times HK
64 percent of elderly black Americans face risk of poverty

As many as 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 60 and 90 will face at least one year of poverty or near poverty going forward and that poverty will not be evenly distributed across the population, according to new research by Mark R. Rank, the Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. He found that the risk of black elderly Americans facing poverty was double that of white elderly Americans. Link to Article See also Reuters,, AsiaOne, Bangladesh News, Daily Mail (UK)

The New York Times
Threads of discovery, to weave a plan of attack
Alzheimers researchers are obsessed with a small, sticky protein fragment, beta amyloid, that clumps into barnacle-like balls in the brains of patients with this degenerative neurological disease. Now, a surprising new study led by WUSTL researcher Dr. Randall Bateman has found that most people with Alzheimers seem to make perfectly normal amounts of amyloid. They just can’t get rid of it. Bateman came up with the research idea in 2003 when he was a neurology resident at Washington University School of Medicine. Link to Article

The New York Times
Study of baby teeth sees radiation effects
Men who grew up in the St. Louis area in the early 1960s and died of cancer by middle age had more than twice as much radioactive strontium in their baby teeth as men born in the same area at the same time who are still living, according to a study based on teeth collected years ago by Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article

Hydrogen production comes naturally to ocean microbe

The single-celled cyanobacterium Cyanothece 51142 can make hydrogen in air, Himadri Pakrasi of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and his colleagues report in Nature Communications1. Until now, the only organisms known to make hydrogen could only produce it in an oxygen-free environment — making it a potentially expensive process to scale-up. Link to Article

The Wall Street Journal
Turn off the ringing sound
Brain-imaging studies are shedding new light on how some peoples’ brains are wired with unusual connections between the auditory cortex that governs hearing and the centers for attention, emotion and executive function. “We have always wondered why some people find tinnitus so distressing. Now we can see it,” says Jay Piccirillo, an otolaryngologist at Washington University in St. Louis who is studying a new treatment for tinnitus that targets magnetic pulses at patients’ brains to redirect. Link to Article


Explanation offered for ‘bizarre’ moon
U.S. scientists say they have a theory for the bizarre appearance of one of Saturn’s moons, where a huge ridge around its equator gives it a “walnut” shape. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis surmise a giant impact explains the ridge, up to 12 miles high and 60 miles wide, that almost completely encircles Iapetus, the ringed planet’s outermost moon, a university release said Monday. Link to Article See also Riverfront Times, St. Louis Globe Democrat,, United Press International

The Daily Beast
Healthcare law struck down
Health-care reform’s individual mandate, a core piece of Democrats’ crowning legislative achievement, is headed to a higher court now that it’s been found unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court. Some argue that the courts have become so politicized that constitutional arguments might not matter. “This is a very political Supreme Court right now,” says Merton Bernstein, a law professor at Washington University. “With this court, you can never say never.” Link to Article

MSN Health & Fitness
What’s good for heart may also be good for brain
Sticking to a heart-healthy lifestyle may also ward off Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study that suggests that raising “good” cholesterol levels can help prevent the brain disorder in older people. Catherine M. Roe of Washington University in St. Louis, said it was already known that “good” cholesterol benefits the heart, but this study shows “an additional reason to make sure we live a healthy lifestyle.” Link to Article

Las Vegas Review Journal

OBESITY: Teens turning to bariatric surgery to lose weight

In June, 18-year-old Brittany Lewis was the first patient to undergo the gastric banding procedure as part of a new bariatric surgery program for adolescents that opened in St. Louis. The program is the first of its kind in the area. “It is known that the obesity problem has increased not only for adults but for adolescents. Bariatric surgery is the most effective way known for weight loss,” said Washington University bariatric surgeon Esteban Varela, MD, who directs the program. Link to Article

St. Louis Business Journal
Emerson, AT&T give $7.5M to Siteman Cancer Center
Emerson plans to give $5 million and AT&T will donate $2.5 million to scientists at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. This commitment will generate an additional $15 million through matching support from Siteman, Washington University School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare. The first project supported by the grant will be Siteman’s research in endometrial cancer, the most common gynecologic cancer. Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times

Opinion: College, jobs and inequality

A college education does correlate with higher pay and better job prospects, but it isn’t a cure-all for joblessness and income inequality. Link to Article

New York Times

Opinion: How can a tongue-tied America be a global leader?


Responses to budget cuts in college language departments. Link to Article

Boston Globe

Veterans as leaders on campus

Although many military veterans are struggling with the transition to campus, here is how a growing number are transferring their experience in military leadership to take leadership positions on campus and organize groups to support and advance veteran students. Link to Article

Bloomberg News

Colleges add Shariah courses to plug shortage: Islamic finance

Universities are expanding Islamic finance courses as demand for professionals qualified in Shariah law outstrips supply in the $1 trillion industry. 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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