News highlights for December 20, 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 (Calcutta, India)

Share credit call to Bihar non-residents


Hundreds of delegates participated in a two-day conclave to discuss the challenges of change in Bihar, India. M.J. Warsi, a professor in linguistics and culture of South Asia, Washington University, said, “I have a commitment towards my state. I want to open an institute of linguistic and cultural studies in Nalanda University. The matter is still under consideration. Secondly, I want all universities in Bihar to include linguistic studies in their subjects. If linguistics are included, it can create jobs for the people here.” Link to Article


C-Sections on the rise, especially for black moms

Nearly one of every three births in 2008 was a C-section, according to an annual report that tallies trends in births and deaths. Black mothers were most likely to deliver their babies that way. Since 1996, the cesarean rate has soared a whopping 56%, according to the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics. “I personally don’t think it’s a good thing,” says George Macones, vice chairman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and an obstetrician at Washington University in St. Louis. “The rate is going up but we are not really improving the health of babies or moms.” Link to Article

US News & World Report

Female chimps play with ‘dolls’

A new study finds that young females in one group of African chimpanzees use sticks as dolls more than their male peers do, often treating pieces of wood like a mother chimp caring for an infant. Researchers have not reported regular stick play in any other chimp community. “If these behaviors are socially transmitted between playmates, then it’s not unlikely that one could find local traditions of toy use in different chimp groups,” remarks anthropologist Crickette Sanz of Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article

The New York Times

Letters: Getting to the heart of health costs

Barbara Geller, emeritus professor of psychiatry, Washington University, writes that “there is one strategy for cost-cutting that neither of the two bipartisan deficit-reduction commissions focused on: a public health blitzkrieg aimed at prevention. Until we combat excess weight, tobacco use and sedentary lifestyle, there is little possibility of controlling wildly escalating health spending.” Link to Article

The New York Times

The vanishing mind: Early tests for Alzheimer’s pose diagnosis dilemma

New medical tests make it possible for Alzheimer’s patients to learn of their diagnosis long before dementia sets in. Some doctors, like Dr. John C. Morris of Washington University in St. Louis, say they will not offer the new diagnostic tests for Alzheimers (like M.R.I.s and spinal taps) to patients because it is not yet clear how to interpret them. He uses them in research studies but does not tell subjects the results.
 Link to Article See alsoUPI, Tapei Times, The Ledger, Seattle Times

Chronicle of Higher Education

Strive for college


One of the critical ways to achieve greater socioeconomic diversity is for colleges to provide affirmative action for economically disadvantaged students. Founded by Michael J. Carter, a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Strive for College seeks to tap the enthusiasm and experience of college students to guide low-income pupils in nearby high schools through the admissions and financial-aid maze. The program started at Wash U, where students partnered with pupils at Eskridge High School in Wellston, Mo. Link to Article

The Wired Classroom

HEC-TV Live! Presents The Giver

“The Giver: From Page to Stage.” This free, interactive videoconference will give your students a chance to talk in depth with the director, designers, actors, and technical staff from Metro Theater Company on how they are translating the world of Lois Lowry’s novel to the stage for their upcoming production at Edison Theatre on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. In this final of a series of four HEC-TV Live! programs focusing on the novel, students will have the unique opportunity to join us live from the stage of the Edison Theatre where Eric Coble’s adaptation is being staged. Link to Article

An inside look: Startup demos

Mobisante wants to change the way ultrasound is delivered. And the Redmond startup, created by a former Microsoft mobile executive and a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, has secured funding from WRF Capital to deliver on that mission. Mobisante is developing a low-cost system that utilizes cellular phones and existing wireless networks to transmit ultrasound images from patients in remote areas to hospitals. Link to Article

Legal Theory Blog

Flagg on judicial race activism

Washington University School of Law Professor Barbara Flagg has posted an article titled ‘And Grace Will Lead Me Home’: The Case for Judicial Race Activism. We’ve come a long way since the era of Jim Crow, writes Flagg, but whites remain attached to a subtle and culture-borne sense of superiority vis-a-vis people of color. The law, and the judges who interpret it, have an important part to play in effectuating racial progress, she argues. Link to Article

The Hill on the Web

Legal fight expected over healthcare reform is only beginning

Both sides in the legal battle over healthcare have found reason to claim victory recently, but experts suggest that recent lower court decisions have little impact on how the Supreme Court decides. “Nobody’s really right,” said Gregory P. Magarian, a Washington University School of Law professor. “We’re sitting at Round 1,” Magarian said. “To say anything about how this is going to shake out in the final reckoning is pretty much impossible.” The Supreme Court will have the final word. Link to Article

The Dallas Morning News

DMN Investigates: Lax supervision of residents at U.S. teaching hospitals puts patients at risk

Teaching hospitals treat about half of the nation’s hospital patients, but their reliance on resident doctors-in-training, often with little supervision, is raising concerns about patient safety. Doctors are divided on the question of resident supervision vs. autonomy. “It’s an elusive line,” said Dr. Kenneth Ludmerer, a medical historian at Washington University in St. Louis. “Too much supervision is bad because you cannot avoid the day of reckoning when the physician for the first time practices medicine independently.” Read Full Text

St. Louis Beacon

Income taxes decrease economic growth, prosperity

According to a new report by Americans for Tax Reform, Missouri shares a feature with the other nine states likely to lose representatives: relatively high state income tax rates and government spending. Show-Me Institute Chief Economist and University of Missouri Columbia professor Joseph Haslag, along with Washington University economics doctoral student Grant Casteel, argue in a new essay that replacing Missouri’s income tax with a sales tax will lead to a higher growth rate and therefore higher lifetime consumption than we would have under the current system. Link to Article See also Fired Up Missouri, Springfield (Mo.) News Leader

St. Louis Globe-Democrat

H1n1 vaccine safe for those with asthma, study shows

A single dose of inactivated 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in people with asthma is safe, according to results from a national clinical trial with a site at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings suggest that individuals over age 60 who have severe asthma may require a larger dose of vaccine. “This study demonstrates that the use of H1N1 flu vaccine is safe for all patients with asthma,” says Mario Castro, MD, professor of medicine and of pediatrics and principal investigator at the Washington University site. “Patients with asthma who are concerned about the flu vaccine should be reassured. Furthermore, elderly patients with severe asthma should talk to their doctor about receiving high dose flu vaccine.” Link to Article

The St. Louis American

Blacks are still not getting enough vitamin D (16)

Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, an associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, discusses the science behind often-confusing guidelines on recommended daily intake of Vitamin D. The risk of having a low vitamin D is more common in African Americans, since people with darker skin have more melanin, which blocks UV light and reduces the amount of vitamin D made. Link to Article
UConn takes aim at long-held UCLA streak


The University of Connecticut Huskies play Ohio State and try to match UCLA’s NCAA record 88-game win streak. If No. 1 UConn gets past the No. 11 Buckeyes at Madison Square Garden, it will go for No. 89 Tuesday night against No. 15 Florida State in Hartford, Conn. This season they broke the NCAA women’s record of 81 consecutive wins set by Division III Washington University between February 1998 and January 2001. Link to Article

Officer believed to have committed suicide

Sgt. William Vize, a 16-year veteran of the St. Louis police department, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday morning near his patrol car, the police department said. In addition to his regular duties, Vize did composite sketches of suspects for the department. His work is on display at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University. Link to Article
Clayton tech firm born at WU rarer than it should be

Seven years ago, Global Velocity’s data security technology was an interesting invention in Washington University’s Advanced Research Lab. Now it’s the basis of a company with 17 employees, $21 million in funding from investors and the beginnings of a commercial customer base. The company builds and sells network security products for companies and institutions. Link to Article

St. Louis Globe-Democrat
Drug may make PSA test more reliable

Even a slight rise in prostate-specific antigen levels in men taking dutasteride may indicate prostate cancer, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine. Elevated PSA levels not only increase with cancer, but also increase in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia — a progressive enlargement of the prostate. Researchers found that in men taking dutasteride to shrink an enlarged prostate gland, the PSA was lowered by half within six months. Link to Article

News in higher education

Bloomberg News

Yale business school Gets $50 million for construction

Yale University received a $50 million commitment to help construct a new building for its School of Management from Edward P. Evans, a former publishing executive. Link to Article

New York Times

Is going to an elite college worth the cost?

The sluggish economy and rising costs of college have only intensified questions about whether expensive, prestigious colleges make any difference. Economists and sociologists have tried to tackle the question. Their research, however hedged, does suggest that elite schools can make a difference in income and graduate school placement. Link to Article

New York Times

Serious mental health needs seen growing at colleges

Surveys show that nearly half of students who visit counseling centers have serious mental illness. The need to help this troubled population has forced campus mental health centers whose staffs, on average, have not grown in proportion to student enrollment in 15 years to take extraordinary measures to make do. Some have hospital-style triage units to rank the acuity of students who cross their thresholds. Others have waiting lists for treatment sometimes weeks long and limit the number of therapy sessions. Link to Article

New York Times

Massachusetts: Guilty plea for lying way into Harvard

A man who authorities said falsified his academic record to get into Harvard University pleaded guilty Thursday to larceny, identity fraud and other charges. Adam Wheeler, 24, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, 10 years of probation and $45,000 in restitution. Wheeler was charged after forging his transcripts and receiving more than $50,000 in scholarships and grants from Harvard. Mr. Wheeler applied to the university as a transfer student, sending fabricated records from M.I.T. and Philips Academy. In reality, Mr. Wheeler attended a public high school in Delaware and Bowdoin College. 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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