News highlights for February 2, 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.

Two Washington U students are safely out of Egypt

As political unrest erupted in Egypt last week, Washington University student Allegra Skurka found herself holed up in an apartment in Cairo with 20 other college students, all there for a study-abroad program. Skurka, 20, was one of two Washington University students who were studying abroad in Egypt this semester. The other student, who was in Alexandria, is now in Prague. As of Tuesday night, Skurka was in Athens, Greece. Link to Article

CNN Headline News

Bristol Palin controversy rages on…

Kate Walsh joined a twitter protest by students at Washington University rallying against Bristol Palin’s scheduled speech on campus. Washington University tells Showbiz Tonight that the university student group and Palin mutually agreed to cancel the talk because the growing controversy had overshadowed her message. The decision is being debated on national talk shows, including by Joyce Behar on ABC’s The View. Link to Broadcast See also Washington Monthly, Big Journalism, Radar Online

Spreading the netiquette gospel at work

Companies should consider putting e-behavior policies in writing. Poor netiquette skills are both annoying and a potential drain on productivity. Research from Washington University in St. Louis found that a ring tone blaring mid-class hampered students’ recall of the material covered by about 25 percent. In a conference room, that might mean your brilliant idea will be completely overlooked. Link to Article
Related news release

The New York Times

Consumer agency tightens scrutiny of baby sleep products

Three years ago, Dr. Bradley Thach, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis, published findings that had the potential to upend nurseries across the nation, and perhaps save some lives too. Dr. Bradley Thach’s findings about the dangers of crib bumpers are now getting a second look by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Dr. Thach’s review concluded that crib bumpers — the padding wrapped around the inside of a crib that often matches the bedding — were killing babies.
 Link to Article See also St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MIT Tech, News Inferno, Parenting

Washington Post
Slowly, bipartisan plans emerge for cutting spending

In Congress, lawmakers from both parties have begun pushing bipartisan plans aimed at cutting federal spending. “This is a period in which legislators are struggling with procedural fixes to a policy problem,” said Steven Smith, who teaches political science at Washington University in St. Louis. “The cynic would say, “Why don’t you just pass a budget instead of putting in procedural fixes?’ But the response is: ‘We need to discipline ourselves and future Congresses. Let’s put in place procedures that will be difficult to overcome by the next Congress and the next, and the next president.'” Link to Article See also McClatchy News Service, Washington Post, Des Moines Register, Wichita Eagle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee

AARP The Magazine

Want a memory like hers?

Despite the popularity of playing “brain games” to build mental muscle, games tend to strengthen only the specific skills used in that particular game, recent studies have found. Testing yourself, on the other hand, will help you remember information longer, according to Henry Roediger III of Washington University and Andrew Butler of Duke University, in an article in the Jan. 15 issue of Trends in Cognitive Science. Experiments have shown that taking a test can more than triple a person’s recall, relative to only studying the material. Link to Article


NIH’s $12.2M Facebook recruits new partners

Before the project’s $12.2 million grant expires this summer, the National Institutes of Health’s scientific social network project is enlisting new support for the network. Last year, developers linked isolated VIVO networks at the seven founding institutions, including Washington University in St. Louis. Faculties at these universities can connect with members in a cross-institutional manner through their institution’s hosted VIVO network. Link to Article

Highlights for Children

The song of the mouse: like birds and whales mice can carry a tune

It’s not easy to hear a mouse’s voice. Men have low-pitched voices and kids have high-pitched voices. But mice make ultrasounds, which are too high-pitched for human ears to hear. When Dr. Tim Holy figured out how to listen to male mice, he made an amazing discovery: they sing! Holy is a scientist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Read Full Text

Fast Company

Can cornstarch contain future oil disasters?

It took months for BP to figure out how to stop oil from spewing out of the Deepwater Horizon site during last year’s infamous disaster. Next time around, BP might want to try cornstarch. That’s because researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Washington University recently discovered that cornstarch may be the key to a new mud recipe that could plug up oil leaks when shot into leaky pipelines (the “top kill” method). Link to Article

Clinical Collaborations

Ann Gronowski, 2011 president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and associate professor of pathology and immunology and associate medical director of clinical chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, has promised to make collaboration with clinical societies a major focus for the future of the association, working to ensure that laboratorians are at the table in educational programming, guidelines development and research with colleagues in other areas of medicine. Link to Article

Drowsiness, staring and mmental Lapses may signal Alzheimer’s Disease

Seniors who feel drowsy much of the time, or who have periods when they stare into space or their thinking seems illogical or disorganized, may be at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study reports. “If you have these lapses, they don’t by themselves mean that you have Alzheimer’s,” said James Galvin, M.D., a Washington University neurologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and a senior author of the study. “Such lapses do occur in healthy older adults. But our results suggest that they are something your doctor needs to consider if he or she is evaluating you for problems with thinking and memory.” Link to Article

Harvard Magazine

The eugenic temptation

Successful genomic sequencing, new techniques for inserting modified genes into cells and new reproductive technologies (cloning, embryo modification) pose significant questions for ethical and social policy. A Boston Globe headline last September made the point nicely: “Manipulated Genes Produce Smart Mice, Tough Questions.” The report in Nature on the underlying research done by Joseph Z. Tsien and colleagues from Princeton, MIT, and Washington University in fact did not even mention humans. But by producing transgenic mice they had introduced changes that created mice with enhanced memory and better learning scores. Link to Article

Harvard Magazine

Deep cravings

New research on the brain and behavior clarifies the mysteries of addiction. Another fascinating finding is the well-known 1975 study, conducted by Lee Robins of Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, of U.S. servicemen who became heroin addicts in Vietnam. Thousands of men got hooked, and 80 percent of those who initially took heroin more than three times became regular users. Yet three years after these veterans returned to the States, more than 90 percent had quit. Link to Article

The Planetary Society

Mars exploration Rover update: Mission celebrates 7 years of exploration

Seven years ago this month, Spirit bounced down onto the surface of the Red Planet ready to explore. Spirit’s last communication to the MER team on Earth was on March 22, 2010. Now, some 10 months later, the rover sits perhaps trying to communicate, perhaps not. But if there’s one thing the MER team and its legion of followers have learned: Don’t bet against Spirit. “It’s wait and see,” said Ray Arvidson, deputy principal investigator, of Washington University St. Louis. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

HOUSE CALL: Take care of your heart this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. Hearts are everywhere, in the stores, on the television and in our minds. Unfortunately, not everyone’s heart is so healthy, writes Dr. Mark Levine, a Washington University emergency department physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Heart disease affects millions of people and is the leading cause of death for men and women. February is American Heart Month, and it’s a good time to remind people of their risk of heart disease, he argues. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Storm disrupts Metro service; Nixon declares emergency

A “potentially historic” winter storm is bearing down on the St. Louis region, with forecasters predicting a dangerous blend of ice, sleet, rain, high winds, bitter cold and perhaps 20 inches of snow. In a rare move, Washington University canceled classes. Link to Article

Jewish Light

Hadassah co-sponsors discussion on stem cells

Rarely is stem cell science explained in a way that is easily understood, but that’s the goal of a free public program on Feb. 13. Dr. Ben Borowsky, professor emeritus at Washington University School of Medicine, will review the different types of stem cells and the advantages and challenges of each. He’ll also discuss recent advances made against diabetes, spinal cord injury, macular degeneration and other afflictions. Link to Article

News in Higher Education

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Snow of 1982 buried much of metro area for days

The St. Louis “Blizzard of ’82” has been referenced often in the run-up to Tuesday’s snowstorm in St. Louis. After the big snow of Jan. 30-31, 1982, much of the St. Louis region lay beneath 18 inches or more of snow. Most schools didn’t even try to reopen until Monday, Feb. 8. Link to Article

Womens eNews

Obama may take big step against campus sex-assault

Momentum appears to be building to do more to prevent campus sex assault. One major sign: President Obama plans to issue an advisory guided by Title IX, the federal law that requires schools to adopt “prompt and equitable” policies to fairly and effectively redress sexual harassment (including sexual assault) complaints. Link to Article

New York Times

Slight rise in donations to colleges seen in 2010

The nation’s colleges and universities received charitable contributions of $28 billion in 2010, an increase of 0.5 percent from the previous year, according to the annual survey by the Council for Aid to Education. Link to Article

New York Times / International Herald Tribune

M.B.A. raises earnings by a third, survey finds

A survey of more than 2,000 business school alumni sought to weigh the effect of a degree on earning power. Link to Article

New York Times

Hong Kong’s universities decide bigger Is


The territory is making massive changes to its higher education system. 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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