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January 13, 2011

Office of Media Relations
Darlene Trew Crist, Director

Courtney Coelho, Editor
(401) 863-7287

The Providence Journal    10 January 2012
Marisa Quinn: Brown wants to be part of the solution
In a letter to the editor, Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, writes to clarify a recent article titled “Brown scuttles agreement to pay more to Providence.” She says that Brown understands the fiscal challenges facing the city and that University officials “have sought opportunities to enhance the $4 million in voluntary and property-tax payments that Brown already makes to the city by offering an additional $10 million in support of the city schools.”

Bloomberg   12 January 2012
Gym benefits help Medicare plans recruit healthy seniors
Medicare Advantage plans are not allowed to exclude unhealthy (and costly) seniors. But new research by Amal Trivedi, assistant professor of health services policy and practice, and bio-med graduate student Alicia Cooper shows that such plans have effectively used gym memberships to bring healthier (and more profitable) members into their subscriber base.

The Christian Science Monitor   11 January 2012
Achebe voices support for protests in Nigeria
In an interview, Chinua Achebe, the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies, supports the current fuel-subsidy protests taking place in Nigeria and says the country’s unrest can be eased by better, less-corrupt leaders: “If the present government reduced its own bloated budget, curbed the outrageous salaries and perks of parliamentarians, state governors, and local government officials - that would yield an additional hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars a year.”   12 January 2012
Mind-controlled computing research continues to grow
While thought-controlled computing will still take many years of research before it becomes a part of everyday life, brain-computer interfaces have been around for several years. BrainGate, a project started by John Donoghue, director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, demonstrated how a quadriplegic could open and close a prosthetic hand and control a computer cursor using a single-unit interface implanted in his brain. BrainGate2 will attempt a similar demonstration.

U.S. News & World Report   10 January 2012
Bacteria may be important clue in autism
A study involving Christine Biron, professor of medical science, finds that children with autism have bacteria in their gut that is different from the bacteria seen in kids who do not have the disorder. Biron, who is editor of the study, says, "This paper is important because it starts to advance the question of how the resident microbes interact with a disorder that is poorly understood."

Medical Daily   10 January 2012
Cosmetic chemical hinders brain development in tadpoles
A new study, led by Carlos Aizenman, associate professor of neuroscience, finds that low concentrations of the chemical methylisothiazolinone has subtle but measurable negative effects on the neural development of tadpoles. The chemical is found in some cosmetics, although the study does not provide any evidence that cosmetics are unsafe for humans.

The Wall Street Journal    12 January 2012
Nonprofit preps students for the business world
A new nonprofit founded by Brown graduate Andrew Yang called Venture for America will connect recent college graduates with startups and early stage companies in economically challenged U.S. cities. This summer, the program will place its first cohort of about 50 fellows at small businesses throughout the country. Before moving to their assigned cities, the students will attend a five-week program at Brown that mimics training for consulting and investment banking.

The New York Times   10 January 2012
Growing tea company has Brown roots
Runa is a startup company peddling an obscure Amazonian tea leaf called guayusa that was started by former Brown classmates Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie. Runa’s first big boost came in 2009, when the pair won two contests in quick succession: a business plan competition at Brown’s Entrepreneurship Program and the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, bringing in more than $70,000 in cash and services. The company’s products are now available in more than 1,200 stores nationwide.

Nature   11 January 2012
Research ethics in China need to be taught early
Yang Wei, president of Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China, is leading a campaign to clean up China’s reputation for rife scientific misconduct. Sheila Bonde, professor of history or art and architecture, who is collaborating with ZJU to create an ethics course, says such efforts may not be enough to change deep-rooted behaviors: “There is a critical need for broader discussion of ethical choices across the spectrum of Chinese academic, political and economic issues, and this has to begin much earlier in students’ lives.”

Science   12 January 2012
Study may aid development of new sepsis treatments
A new study shows that immune cells known as B cells forestall sepsis in mice, a discovery that may help researchers devise better treatments. Steven Opal, professor of medicine, who was not involved in the study, says that despite antibiotics and other treatments, about 25 percent of sepsis patients die. "Sepsis is a huge problem that we’ve had great difficulty solving," he says.

Quad-City Times    12 January 2012
Many factors contribute to gender identification
Speaking to an audience at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., Anne Fausto-Sterling, professor of biology, said development of gender identity is not as easy as pointing to nature, nurture, or a combination of those factors. Instead, she said her research underscores human sensory development, particularly in U.S. culture, and how adults constantly are sending gender-related messages to children, whether they intend to or not.

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