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Washington University

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: President Bill Clinton is no stranger to Washington University.

The private university was home to the first presidential debate in 1992, when the then-Arkansas governor squared off in a rhetorical showdown with incumbent President George H.W. Bush and Texas businessman Ross Perot. Less than a month later, Clinton would defeat both men to become the nation’s 42nd president.

(via Flickr/Rhubarble)

For many years, it’s been thought that Stonehenge, the ancient monolith in southwestern England, was created by Druids around 460 B.C.  

New research shows that is incorrect.  “Even today, a lot of people think Stonehenge is connected to Druids.  We are very certain from radon carbon dating that it happened before,” said British archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson, Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and leader of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Washington University plans to spend $30 million on sustainability efforts over the next five years, a push that comes as the institution gears up to host a big meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

The university announced on Wednesday afternoon that it plans to spend $30 million over the next five or six years on energy conservation projects.

(via Flickr/e-MagineArt.com)

Medication is often a routine treatment for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

A recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control shows nearly 9 percent of Missouri’s children are diagnosed with ADHD and that about 80 percent of them receive prescription medication for the behavioral disorder, a rate second only to Mississippi.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Another study has shown a link between disrupted sleep patterns and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at Washington University looked at 32 people who have what’s known as “preclinical” Alzheimer’s disease. They have a marker in their spinal fluid associated with Alzheimer’s, but they still don’t have any symptoms of dementia.

Wash U neurologist and sleep specialist Yo-El Ju says when she and her colleagues compared those people to 110 healthy controls, they found the two groups slept about the same amount.

Credit: Adam Schultz / Clinton Global Initiative

Former President Bill Clinton will be in St. Louis next month as part of his Clinton Global Initiative.

The sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative University will be April 5-7 at Washington University. Among the featured speakers will be Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, and comedian Stephen Colbert.
 
The event is expected to include more than 1,000 college students and celebrities discussing things such as education, the environment, human rights and climate change.
 

D. Barch, M. Harms, G. Burgess for the WU-Minn HCP consortium.

An international brain mapping project led by Washington University has released its first set of results.

The Human Connectome Project is a five-year effort to study brain circuits and how the wiring of the brain relates to human behavior.

Project researchers are working to obtain high-resolution brain scans of 1,200 healthy adults, along with information about their cognitive abilities, personalities, and other characteristics.

Julie Stapen

In 2009, Susannah Cahalan, a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, was a healthy 24-year old journalist at the New York Post.

One day that year, she found herself alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to speak.

Cahalan had no memory, at the time, of her month long hospital stay, hallucinations and violent actions.

“(The doctors) became convinced I had bi-polar disorder,” she told host Don Marsh.

National Cancer Institute/Sriram Subramaniam

The American Cancer Society is launching a nationwide study to try to better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that contribute to causing cancer.

(via Flickr/Teemu008)

Nearly 60 years ago this week, Washington University launched a 3-year, $20 million capital campaign – at the time, the second-largest by an American university.         

The fundraising effort included a short film called "The Second Century." Its director was Charles Guggenheim, who would later gain fame as a documentarian.

(via Flickr/kennedy22)

The chancellor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill is leaving to become provost of Washington University in St. Louis.

Holden Thorp said in an email Monday to students, faculty and staff, that the new job would allow him to teach and do research while serving as chief academic officer of Washington University.

Forty-eight-year-old Thorp announced in September he would step down as chancellor at the end of the academic year. He said he would return to the classroom.

Kelsey Proud / St. Louis Public Radio

Is it Missour-ee or Missour-uh?

Those two pronunciations of the state, according to linguist John Baugh of Washington University in St. Louis, peacefully co-exist and are “indicative of all of the linguistic collisions from the rest of the country that happen in our wonderful city.”

Baugh and linguist Cindy Brantmeier of Washington University joined host Don Marsh to talk about how language forms, evolves, and is spoken differently throughout the United States.

(via Washington University in St. Louis/Shyam Kavuri, Ph. D.)

The findings of new breast cancer research from Washington University could result in effective treatment for 4,000 additional patients in the United States each year. Scientists made the discovery after analyzing DNA sequencing data from 1,500 patients.

The research appears in the latest edition of Cancer Discovery.

So what does this research mean?

Washington University School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine has received a $50 million federal grant aimed at turning research findings into improvements in human health.

The grant is the renewal of an award from the National Institutes of Health. It will support Wash U's Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS), one of 60 such centers in the U.S.

Jane Ades, NHGRI

An international consortium of researchers has sequenced the genomes of more than 1000 people, creating the largest catalog yet of human genetic variation.

Richard Wilson directs the Washington University Genome Institute, one of four major research institutions involved in the 1000 Genomes Project.

He says researchers identified rare genetic variants that may eventually explain why some people are more susceptible to certain diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s.

Robert Boston/Washington University

A popular supplement made from a component of red wine may not be beneficial after all – at least if you’re healthy to start with.

That’s according to a new study out of Washington University – the first to test the potential benefits of resveratrol in healthy people.

(via Flickr/kennedy22)

Clinical depression is called the world’s number one mental disorder and ranks only behind heart disease as the country’s most disabling condition.  It is also dangerous because it can all too often lead to suicide.  Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation have committed $20 million to Washington University to fund research on mental illness, with a sharp focus on depression.

(Courtesy Ian Nichols)

For more than a decade, Washington University anthropologist Crickette Sanz and Lincoln Park Zoo research conservationist David Morgan have lived and worked in a remote stretch of forest in Africa’s Congo Basin, studying chimpanzees and gorillas.

Together with local Congolese, they founded the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project, whose mission is to study and protect great apes and their habitat.

Sanz and Morgan are giving a talk about their work tonight at the St. Louis Zoo — they spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra.

Tammie Benzinger, MD, PhD, Tyler Blazey/Washington University

Washington University will soon lead a clinical trial aimed at preventing people with Alzheimer’s disease from developing dementia.

The international trial will involve 160 patients in the U.S., Europe, and Australia who have a very rare, inherited form of Alzheimer’s, which typically causes dementia before age 50.

Washington University neurologist and study lead Dr. Randall Bateman says this is one of the first clinical trials to try to treat Alzheimer’s patients before they have any symptoms.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Washington University is hosting a conference tomorrow afternoon on public health challenges in the 21st century.

Melissa Jonson-Reid directs Wash U's Brown Center for Violence and Injury Prevention.

She says one challenge the conference will take on is the problem of violence in St. Louis, and the role local public health professionals can play in addressing it.

Washington University School of Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine has received a $20 million donation to establish a new center for psychiatric research.

The Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research will focus on developing new and more effective therapies for psychiatric disorders. Researchers will start by studying neurosteroids, chemicals in the brain that help regulate thinking and emotion. Changes in levels of neurosteroids can be linked to mood disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy, or Alzheimer’s disease.

US National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

Finding effective treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is elusive.  While most of what we hear about the disease is depressing, we may be on the threshold of some exciting discoveries concerning prevention.  Washington University’s School of Medicine is in the middle of this new research and this hour, host Don Marsh is joined by Dr. John Morris, Director of Washington University’s Alzheimer’s Research Center, to talk about clinical trials aimed at preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

There's a local connection to this development - The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine says they "played an important role in this project by generating genome sequence data." Learn more via the link.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice (1485-90)

People are sometimes used as test subjects in scientific research – from clinical trials, to studies on the toxicity of pesticides.

The federal government is currently revising the regulation designed to protect human research subjects from harm.

Washington University law professor Rebecca Dresser wrote an article published in the journal Science, talking about some changes she’d like to see made. She spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra.

(Image courtesy of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Not long after midnight central time tonight, the rover known as Curiosity will land on Mars.

It will take the rover seven minutes to get from the Mars atmosphere to the planet's surface. But because it takes about twice that long for signals to travel from Mars to Earth, scientists won't know anything about the landing until after it's already over.

Scott Supplesa

Pediatric leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. There are about 3,000 new cases in the United States every year, typically in children between the ages of four and six.

With treatment, about three-quarters of affected children are able to beat the disease.

But for those with what’s known as “high risk” leukemia, the odds of survival are much worse.

Washington University pediatric oncologist Dr. Todd Druley has been trying to use genetics to understand why some leukemia is so hard to treat. He spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra.

The associate director of Washington University in St. Louis' Genome Institute, George Weinstock, was one of this project's lead researchers. He says we have about ten times more microbial cells in our body than we have human cells. He told our reporter Véronique LaCapra today: “...there’s probably a hundred times or more microbial genes in our body than there are genes in our human genome,” Weinstock said. “So the microbes, they’re not just a small little part of us, they’re really a very, very large, perhaps almost dominant part of our body.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Researchers have completed the first comprehensive census of the human “microbiome” — the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in and on our bodies.

The associate director of Washington University’s Genome Institute, George Weinstock, was one of the project’s lead researchers. He says we have about ten times more microbial cells in our body than we have human cells.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Finding from Washington University could hold key to more targeted breast cancer treatments

Researchers at Washington University have uncovered a genetic mutation that explains why some women don't respond to a common form of breast cancer treatment.

Before surgery, most women with breast cancer receive aromatase inhibitors, which reduce the production of estrogen to shrink the size of tumors. But it doesn't always work.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ameren, Westinghouse to give more details on nuclear partnership

Missouri regulators will learn more today about a proposal to build small nuclear reactors at Ameren Missouri's Callaway nuclear power plant.

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