Jo Seltzer | St. Louis Public Radio

Jo Seltzer

Jo Seltzer
Dr. Spinella consults with Dr. Ronald Jackups about the blood supply at St. Louis Children's Hospital
Washington University medical school

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dr. Philip Spinella served 12 years in the United States military, including a year treating traumatic injuries in the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. During his deployment, he was also part of a small group of physicians evaluating transfusion practices in treating hemorrhagic shock resulting from battlefield injuries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “There is writing on that blackboard!”

“Hey, those people on stage have features on their faces!”

“I don’t really have to read the newspaper from across the room!”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Inflammation is a major aspect of many chronic diseases, ranging from some heart conditions to epilepsy, scientists and researchers are discovering.  And as they have learned more, they have realized that inflammation causes much more damage than formerly thought.

What is inflammation? It is the body’s response to a noxious stimulus; picture that painful red swelling around a bacteria-laden splinter.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Caviar was the food of czars.

Caviar, and the money to be made from selling it, were behind a two-year undercover investigation and sting by conservation agencies. The operation ended on March 14 with more than 100 citations and arrests of suspects from Missouri. Eight men of eastern European descent, seven from out-of-state, were named in federal indictments for interstate trafficking of poached wildlife products. The wildlife in question is the paddlefish, native to Missouri and surrounding states.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 8, 2012 - When Rebecca Messbarger, the daughter of Irish-Catholic parents, announced to her family at the age of 19 that she was going to "become Italian," neither she nor they envisioned that she would one day organize an international conference on a little known pope who was a major influence on the Italian Enlightenment.

Why do some people have a high tolerance for pain, while others experience the slightest touch as painful? Why do some injured soldiers perform heroic feats and claim that they felt no pain at the time?

Nobody quite knows, but new findings by Meinhart Zenk and Toni Kutchan at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center offer some tantalizing possibilities.

Jesse Drapekin smiles in front of his final Power Point presentation.
Jo Seltzer | Beacon file photo

Lots of young people are into social networking these days. But another kind of networking has been going on for two decades in laboratories across the St. Louis area.

Each summer dozens of students participate in STARS (Students and Teachers as Research Scientists), a program sponsored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis. This year, more than 60 students spent their summer doing original research in top labs of academia and industry.

"These kids are the scientists and engineers of tomorrow," said Michael Anch of the Saint Louis University department of psychology.

Peter Raven at work in China
Provided by the Missouri Botanical Gardens

Descriptions of Peter Raven's tenure as president of the Missouri Botanical Garden range from superlative to superlative.

"Since he put down roots here in 1971, Dr. Raven has been one of St. Louis' favorite exotics. He is a generous civic leader, consummate showman, wise counsel and world expert on biodiversity. I expect him to continue in all those roles," said St. Louis mayor Francis Slay in a statement to the Beacon.

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may soon be helped by a discovery made in 1880 by Alexander Graham Bell.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2008 - Two-year old Maya Rideout is doing very nicely, thank you. But she wasn’t always a healthy child.

Because her mom, Reggi, developed severe eclampsia during pregnancy, Maya was born three-months early and weighed in at less than 2 pounds. She was on oxygen for 15 weeks after birth. Her muscles were weak, and she developed problems using her left hand, both from being in an incubator for so long. Thanks to physical and occupational therapy, she is fine now, but she has certainly seen her share of doctors and therapists.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2008 - Back in 1963, a collection of biological specimens from St. Louis played an important role in history. The annual increase in radioactivity in more than 300,000 baby teeth collected from local children, together with a sharp rise nationally in childhood cancers, convinced President John F. Kennedy to sign an agreement ending above-ground nuclear testing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 12, 2008 - High tech devices mimic real world medical maladies. Even the vomit smells real.

Pilots learn to avoid airplane crashes using flight simulators. These days, nurses learn to keep patients alive by using robotic human simulators.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 20, 2008 - Most people, including policy makers, spend very few waking moments thinking about science -- much to the consternation of many scientists. A very small number of people are involved in science policy. And the science "establishment" needs to rethink how to connect science and the public, according to Richard Borchelt, communications director for the Genetics and Public Policy Center of the Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 14, 2008 - Learning scientific principles can be a stodgy task for children, but not at SciFest where kids could apply those principles to roller coasters, robots and more.

In the program "Warning: Children at Play," small groups worked to engineer and build roller coasters, using everyday materials such as paper towel rolls, tape, tin cans, marbles and foam insulation tubes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 12, 2008 - Mark Lewney, Ph.D. and celebrity science presenter, greeted those taking their seats at his SciFest presentation Friday with fully amplified rock guitar licks.

But this was more than a rock concert. In an entertaining, fast-moving presentation, Lewney (pronounced loony) took his audience from listening to the electric guitar in all its versatility to an explanation of how guitar strings create their particular sounds. Explaining that a string anchored at each end has a fundamental vibration dependent upon its length, tension and thickness, he then showed how harmonics are created.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - Pia Luchini, a fashion design student at Washington University, used dryer lint to accent her high fashion creation and won the grand prize in SciFest's version of Project Runway this weekend.

Luchini was rewarded with $1,000 as she used the lint to create swirls of roses to embellish her silk organza slip dress. The judges found her entry the one that adhered best to the contest requirements for original, eco-friendly clothing design.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 8, 2008 - It kills more people annually than breast cancer, vehicular accidents, and AIDS combined. The killer is a pulmonary embolism. It's a blood clot in the lung that usually begins with a clot in an interior leg vein (known as deep vein thrombosis) that breaks off and enters the body's circulatory system. A pulmonary embolism often results in a death quick and unanticipated; it is a silent killer.

​This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 6, 2008 - Jingyue (Jimmy) Liu, Ph.D., director of the Center for Nanoscience at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, has focused much of his attention on making better chemical catalysts. His work embodies many of the principles important to nanoscience and nanotechnology

A catalyst increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself becoming changed. For instance, enzymes are biological catalysts; that pepsin in your stomach causes the breakdown of lots of proteins, but doesn't break down itself in the process.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 1, 2008 - Nano-this and nano-that. Recently, anyone who follows science news is seeing the prefix "nano" everywhere -- nano(ro)bots, nanotubes, nanotechnology. We are told that nanoscience holds great promise for the future, and that the future is beginning now.

Jo Seltzer

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 18, 2008 - Up to three centuries ago, at the time of Galileo, there was no clock worthy of the name. The most technically sophisticated instruments used to measure time were sundials.

Sundials date back to about 1500 BC. And today, most are out of sight and out of mind.

But they made a comeback of sorts here earlier this month when the North American Sundial Society (NASS), a group devoted to the study and creation of sundials, met in St. Louis for its 2008 Annual Conference.