News highlights for December 15, 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.

Scientific American

Hydrogen production comes naturally to ocean microbe


A seemingly unremarkable ocean microbe turns out to be a multi-tasker — not only can it photosynthesize, but it can also produce large amounts of hydrogen, opening up a potential way to make the gas cheaply for fuel. 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 Communications.
 Link to Article See also Green Congress, Der Spiegel (Germany), Chemistry World
Related news release

Open Society Foundations

Kyrgyz social work fellows bring it home


Watching the violent clashes in the Kyrgyz city of Osh unfold from 4,000 miles away was difficult for Kyrgyz Open Society Social Work Fellowship scholars Bermet Ubaidillaeva and Janyl Moldalieva. The distance from the calm confines of Washington University in St Louis, where the fellows are currently undertaking a master’s in social work, was made all the more painful for Bermet, knowing that her five-year-old daughter resided in the chaos. Link to Article

Psychology Today

Religious beliefs and psychiatry

Should physicians be concerned about the religious or spiritual lives of their patients? Is such information relevant to medical care? It is difficult for psychiatrists to ignore the intersection of religion and medicine. Psychiatrists learn quickly about the belief systems that motivate an individual and work with these belief systems in order to assist a person in recovering from psychiatric illness, writes Eugene Rubin, professor and vice-chair for education in the department of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis – School of Medicine. Link to Article


Federal guidance on WikiLeaks raises legal questions

The government might not have the right to restrict federal employees and contractors from viewing on their personal home computers the classified material WikiLeaks posted, said Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law with expertise in whistleblower protections and national security. “It seems to be fear-mongering,” Clark said. Link to Article

Neurology Today

Off-Label use of Factor VII for bleeding may raise risk of arterial clots in older patients, study finds

Investigators report that older patients treated with recombinant Factor VIIa had almost three times the risk of arterial thrombosis. Michael N. Diringer, MD, professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, describes the results as accurate, but “not a major issue.” He noted, however, that the drug’s manufacturer has “bailed out” of any further research on it. “Because the risk of thromboembolic events is higher in older patients it should also raise concern about its use in patients taking coumadin, who also tend to be older,” he said. Link to Article

The Bellingham Herald
(Bellingham, WA)
Price, stigma, health worries steer smokers to smokeless tobacco

With smoking bans in place, many are looking for a replacement that can give them the oral sensation they get from smoking. Smokeless products also help adhere to smoking policies. Douglas Luke, director of the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University in St. Louis, said, “The smoke-free policies tend to be around protecting people from exposure to secondhand smoke. So, since smokeless products don’t have that, the gold standards are silent on that.” Link to Article

St. Louis Beacon

Analysis: Virginia ruling on health-care reform revives debate on national power, states’ rights 12/13/2010

A leading constitutional law expert at Washington University called Monday’s court decision striking down a key provision of the health-care law “embarrassing” and “anachronistic.” U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that Congress did not have the power to require people to buy health insurance, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act considered essential to its workability. Bruce La Pierre, a constitutional law professor at Washington University Law School, said the decision was “right out of the 1930s,” a throwback to pre-Depression era law when the courts voided child-labor laws. The “decision is an anachronism,” he wrote in an email. Link to Article

St. Louis Beacon

Labadie environmentalists protest zoning change to allow coal-ash landfill


Environmentalists urged the Franklin County Commission on Tuesday to hold off on a proposed zoning change that would pave the way for Ameren Missouri to build a controversial coal-ash landfill near its Labadie coal power plant. The Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO) brought in experts from Washington U. and Denver to argue that toxins leaking from a landfill could pose risks to human health. “Do you, the governing board of Franklin County, want to get in under the wire so you have have a substandard coal-ash landfill in your county?” Maxine Lipeles, senior lecturer and co-director of Washington University’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, asked the commission on behalf of LEO. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WU study on baby teeth here gets boost

A study that used a rediscovered stash of St. Louis baby teeth to research the health impact of atom bomb testing in the 1950s got a boost this month when it was published in an international science journal. The authors found that the level of strontium 90 was 122 percent higher in teeth of 50-year-old men who had cancer than those without. The study got its start in 2001 when Washington University rediscovered 85,000 baby teeth stored in its Tyson Research Center since the 1970s. Those teeth were originally part of the St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey, in which nearly 300,000 area children sent their teeth to local researchers who then determined that children were absorbing radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb tests. Link to Article

Lindenwood University president moves into new campus house

Lindenwood University President James Evans recently moved into a new 9,000 square-foot house on the school’s St. Charles campus. A university spokesman wouldn’t release the exact cost of the home, but said it was to be built for no more than $3 million by board member T.R. Hughes. “The president needs to be on campus and involved in our campus life,” he said. It’s common for university chief executives to live on campus in the St. Louis area. Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton lives in Harbison House on Forsyth Boulevard. Link to Article

St. Louis Science Center names new VP of Finance and CFO


Barbara Boyle has been named VP of finance and chief financial officer for the St. Louis Science Center. Boyle is a graduate of the Olin School of Business at Washington University. She started her career as an auditor and financial consultant with Deloitte & Touche. She left a job as Director of Finance and Human Relations and Interim Chief Financial Officer at Boys & Girls Town-Edgewood Children’s Center. At the Science Center, she will supervise the financial and information systems administrative functions. Link to Article

St. Louis Magazine

A St. Louis kind of love – 50 reason’s we’re happy to call this city home

“Someone Nearby Could Be Discovering the Cure for Cancer.” Scan news about the latest in cancer research, and there’s a good chance you’ll find mention of St. Louis. At Washington University’s Genome Center, scientists are analyzing entire DNA sequences to pinpoint potentially cancer-causing genetic flaws. But genomics is just one field of research at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. More than 350 researchers and doctors there are studying everything from proteomics (the study of proteins within cells) to neuro-oncology, and as part of BioMed 21, a multidisciplinary initiative launched at Wash. U. in 2003, the $235 million BJC Institute of Health will soon expand its research. Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times

At N.Y.U., Britain’s Gordon Brown pursues global vision

Gordon Brown, named a “distinguished global leader in residence,” sees the potential for “a global network university where barriers are broken down.” Link to Article

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Study finds undergrads hitting the books less often

Undergraduates these days aren’t studying much — at least compared to their predecessors. That is the conclusion of two University of California economics professors who analyzed student survey data spanning five decades. They say the average study time for full-time undergraduates nationally at four-year colleges has fallen dramatically, from 24 hours a week in 1961 to 14 now. Link to Article


‘Filthy book’ attack spotlights date-rape novel

A Missouri State University professor’s bid to ban a young-adult novel about date rape, among other “filthy books,” from the school district’s English courses is spurring young-adult authors and teachers to speak out against censorship. Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of business management at Missouri State University in Springfield and a fundamentalist Christian, is demanding that “Speak” and two other books be banned from public high school English coursework in Republic, Mo. 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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