News highlights for December 22, 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.

E Science News
Cornstarch might have ended the Gulf spill agony sooner

When British Petroleum attempted to stop the Gulf oil spill by pouring heavy mud down the well bore, physicists watching the situation speculated that the top kill effort would fail due to an instability problem. Washington University in St. Louis physicist Jonathan Katz had suggested a simple solution to the problem: cornstarch. Experiments described in an article in press at Physical Review Letters suggest his solution might have worked.
 Link to Article

Related news release

Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists

Niemann-Pick type C

Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease, a genetic disorder that frequently takes years to diagnose, may soon be detectable with a simple blood test, researchers report. “NPC is a horrible disease that is easy to mistake for other conditions in its early stages because it’s so rare and has so many different manifestations,” said senior author Daniel Ory, MD, professor of medicine, cell biology and physiology at Washington University School of Medicine. Link to Article

Related news release

The Wall Street Journal

UConn sets a mark of excellence

With their 93-62 win over Florida State, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball Huskies broke the UCLA men’s team’s mark of 88 straight wins, which ended in 1974, and the Huskies now have the most consecutive wins in Division 1 basketball history. The Huskies already broke the women’s record, previously held by Division III Washington University of St. Louis, which won 81 straight games from 1998 through 2001. Link to Article


Baby tooth science

Some want to close the book on atomic bomb test studies, citing the age of the tests and the difficulty of understanding health risk. But measuring risk is possible, thanks to – of all things – baby teeth. The Greater St. Louis Citizens Committee for Nuclear Information, a combination of Washington University scientists and concerned local citizens, began the St. Louis tooth study in December 1958. Teeth donations were solicited by distributing forms to schools, libraries, churches, dentists, and dental clinics. The St. Louis tooth study, which had been largely forgotten for decades, experienced a rebirth in 2001. Washington University officials were startled to find hundreds of boxes of teeth not used in the study, stored in a remote ammunition bunker. Link to Article

More lawsuits filed over ERISA plan during recession

The amount of lawsuits associated with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) have increased significantly since the beginning of the recession. Lawsuits related to ERISA include a number of different issues ranging from retirement to healthcare plans. The recent increase in litigation, however, is a direct result of the market decline in 2008. “The dramatic decline in the share prices of many publicly traded corporations in 2007 and 2008 seems to have spawned a noticeable uptick in lawsuits against pension plans that invest in the stock of the sponsoring employers,” says Peter Wiedenbeck, a law professor at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times

Top colleges reconsider R.O.T.C. after ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ vote

The Senate vote to repeal the 17-year old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gay men and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces removes a reason that many elite colleges have cited for barring the Reserve Officers Training Corps from recruiting on their campuses. Already, the presidents of Harvard, Yale and Columbia have issued statements expressing interest in bringing back the R.O.T.C.. But it is not clear whether there will be enough student interest on those campuses to warrant its presence. 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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