News highlights for January 5, 2011

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.

New York Times

Is overeating an addiction?

Many people tend to think that all obese people have to do to solve their problems is eat less and move more. Alcoholics, on the other hand, need treatment. But are the two disorders really all that different? A study published this week is not the first to examine the neurobiological similarities between behaviors that drive obesity and those that drive substance abuse. The researchers, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, examined two large surveys of nationally representative samples of American adults questioned about alcoholism in their families. Link to Article

New York Times

Eye specialists question Nintendo’s warning on 3-D technology and children

Nintendo said several days ago that children under 6 should not look at the 3-D screen on its new 3DS handheld device because it could harm eye development. Some of the world’s elite pediatric ophthalmologists said the Nintendo announcement surprises them because it seems to have little basis in science. “The fact you’d watch 3-D in a theater or a video game should have zero deleterious impact whatsoever,” said Dr. Lawrence Tychsen, a professor of pediatrics and ophthalmology at Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article

Bloomberg Businessweek

Looking for a new career

Unemployed Americans may want to consider pursuing careers in physical therapy. A new study of U.S. occupations in greatest demand, ranked physical therapist in the Top 3 in 29 out of 40 metro areas. The American Physical Therapy Assn. (APTA) declines to rate physical therapy programs, but among the leading accredited ones include the University of Southern California, University of Pittsburgh, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Delaware Newark, and U.S. Army-Baylor University. Link to Article

Media Matters

Coming right-wing smear: Common legislative procedure Is “chicanery”

Right-wing media figures are characterizing a proposal for Senate Democrats to extend the first legislative day of the session in order to build support for filibuster reform as them using “chicanery” to “change the definition of a day.” Steven Smith, a congressional expert and political science professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says both parties have used the procedure with great frequency. “It has been done hundreds of times,” he says. “It is not improper.” Link to Article

Scientific Computing

For the insanely curious…

There is no known cure for the insanely curious, but there is a site on the Internet expressly designed to address it and to help assuage this curiosity and prevent the exponential growth of frustration among those affected. Created by Dr. Lynn Bry and known as The MadSci Network, it debuted as a segment of Washington University’s Young Scientist Program in September of 1995. Originally targeting the improvement of science literacy among St. Louis K-12 students, this goal has significantly broadened to the point that it now has a global reach, and you’ll frequently find questions posted by graduate students and professionals as well. Link to Article

Mother Nature Network / MNN News

New research shows evidence of mental time travel

Mental time travel, or chronesthesia, is the brain’s use of memory to think about the past, present, and future. Recent movies such as Inception follow the mind as it works in different levels of consciousness. In it, people travel through various levels of imagined reality. Chronesthesia was first defined by Dr. Endel Tulving, a University of Toronto professor emeritus and visiting professor in cognitive neuroscience at Washington University. Dr. Tulving has extensively researched memory since the 1950s. He comments on a recent study suggesting that some brain regions are more active in the (imagined) past and the (imagined) future than they are in the (imagined) present. Link to Article See also

WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids, MI)

Fox 17 News at Ten

A new study out of Washington University revealed those with a family history of alcoholism may turn to foods high in calories instead of alcohol. The study shows alcohol and binging on junk foods stimulate the same part of the brain. In fact, the researchers found this to be even more true for women. The study’s findings were reported on dozens of local television stations across the Fox News national network. Link to Broadcast

Health Imaging & IT

Study: fMRI shows genetic pre-indicators of Alzheimer’s

Cognitively normal adults in their early 60s carrying the e4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE4), which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, showed brain connectivity disruptions in functional MRI prior to the onset of any clinical symptoms, suggesting that fMRI might play an important role in early identification of Alzheimer’s, according to a study by Yvette I. Sheline, MD, and co-authors from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Link to Article

The Jewish Week

Promoting university study in Israel

Study abroad has become a major vehicle for cross-cultural and language-skill building. To promote study abroad in Israel, Masa Israel Journey recently awarded seven top universities with $350,000 in seed grants to launch satellite campuses in Israel. These universities include the Olin Business School of Washington University in St. Louis at IDC Herzliya; Barnard College at Hebrew University and Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland at the University of Haifa. Link to Article

Universe Today

Opportunity photographed from Mars Orbit at crater precipice

NASA’s Opportunity rover was photographed from Mars Orbit on New Year’s Eve while perched at the precipice of Santa Maria crater. “We are driving the vehicle in a counterclockwise direction around Santa Maria to reach the very interesting hydrated sulfates on the other side,” according to Ray Arvidson, the deputy principal investigator for the rovers, in an interview from Washington University in St. Louis. “We’ll make 3 stops or more depending on what we see.” Link to Article

St. Louis County planners may promote living closer together

St. Louis County planners want to change the county’s zoning codes to encourage people to live closer together to save energy and the environment. One option being considered is transit-oriented development, where new development or redevelopment would be in easy walking distance to a transit hub. The county has one MetroLink station in the unincorporated area — North Hanley — and one partly so — the University City-Big Bend station that has an entrance on the Washington University Danforth campus, which is in the unincorporated area. Link to Article

St Louis Globe-Democrat

Former MO Goodwill exec pleads guilty to embezzlement

The US Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Ronald Partee admitted with his plea that he embezzled more than $1 million in funds from Goodwill. Partee convinced Goodwill to provide him with tuition reimbursement for law school. He did not enroll or attend law school, but provided Goodwill with false records indicating that he had enrolled at Saint Louis University, then transferred to Washington University and graduated. Partee often left work to reportedly attend to law school matters and even threw himself a graduation party. Link to Article See also Riverfront Times

St. Louis Beacon

If you’re going to drink heavily, do it after your childbearing years.

The new science of epigenetics, suggests that children inherit not only their parents’ genes but also the brain circuitry changes caused by alcohol consumption, says Theodore Cicero at Washington University School of Medicine: “Your children would be genetically different than they would have been had you not been drinking.” But at this point, epigenetics has little practical use in the field of addiction. That’s because “the way our medical system works is that it’s focused on treatment rather than prevention,” according to Washington University psychiatrist Laura Bierut. Link to Article

St. Louis Jewish Light

Kranzberg Foundation awards $50K to Jewish young adult programs

The Kranzberg Family Foundation has awarded $50,000 in grants to eight Jewish programs for teens and young adults in 2011. Another program receiving a grant for the first time is a St. Louis Hillel initiative at Washington University. “This grant will help underwrite our innovative Peer Network Engagement Internship, in which a cohort of seven St. Louis Hillel student interns are charged with reaching out to and fostering relationships with a total of more than 200 Jewish peers who are currently uninvolved in Jewish life at Washington University and Saint Louis University,” said Jacqueline Ulin Levey, Hillel executive director. Link to Article

News in Higher Education

New York Times

Keeping women in science on a tenure track

More women are obtaining Ph.D.’s in science than ever before, but those women — largely because of pressures from having a family — are far more likely than their male counterparts to “leak” out of the research science pipeline before obtaining tenure at a college or university. That’s the conclusion of a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, who warned that the loss of these scientists — together with the increased research capabilities of Asian and European countries — may threaten America’s pre-eminence in science. Link to Article

The Hill

President Obama signs COMPETES Act

President Obama signed the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010 on Tuesday, ending a year-long battle over extending research grants prized by the technology community. According to the White House the bill “reauthorizes various programs intended to strengthen research and education in the United States related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” The Act also distributes a significant portion of research funding through a series of contests, most of which will be posted on Link to Article

Boulder Daily Camera

Study: College students lie on faculty evaluations

A new study — the first of its kind — finds that college students lie on anonymous teacher evaluations, which are partly used to determine whether instructors should be re-hired and professors should earn tenure. A survey of 240 students by two marketing professors found that about one-third of those surveyed said they lied on the anonymous evaluations. And 56 percent responded that they know other students who have lied on the evaluations, which colleges typically circulate at the end of semesters. Sometimes the students lie to overpraise their favorite teachers. But he says that more often, the students lie to punish professors they don’t like. Link to Article

Arkansas News Bureau

Group wants permit holders allowed to carry guns on campus

A gun rights group behind legislation to allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry a gun openly likely will ask lawmakers to specifically authorize permit holders to carry a gun on a college campus, its chairman said today. 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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