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July 12, 2012

Office of Media Relations
Darlene Trew Crist, Director

Courtney Coelho, Editor
(401) 863-7287

Medical News Today   5 July 2012
Surgeons benefit from own views of laparoscopic procedures
What makes laparoscopic surgery "minimally invasive" - instruments enter the patient through narrow tubes - also makes it visually constraining. As they work on different tasks, surgeons all see the same view. What if each surgeon could control a separate view best suited to the specific task? In a new paper, Francois Luks, professor of surgery, and his team of co-authors report that in a small in vitro trial, surgeons with their own views performed faster and more accurately.

Scientific American   6 July 2012
The Higgs Boson and my mom
Poet Laura Jane Martin writes about the contributions her mother Jane Martin, an administrative assistant in the Department of Physics, made the the Higgs Boson discovery: “My mom does many things. She types and proofreads manuscripts with intricate technical formulas. She keeps tabs on research expenses. She publicizes visiting speakers. She organizes departmental events ... In sum, she helps professors attend to their research.”

Psych Central   10 July 2012
Training improves recognition of rapid-fire objects
“Attentional blink” is the term psychologists use to describe our inability to recognize a second important object if we see it less than half a second after a first one. It always seemed impossible to overcome, but in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Brown psychologists report they’ve found a way.

Voice of America   12 July 2012
Generic drugs key to U.S. overseas HIV relief
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPfAR) program has spent billions of dollars during the last nine years to provide HIV-related care to millions of people in 15 developing nations. Had the program not overcome a late start in adopting generic drugs, it would never have accomplished that scale of benefit, write Brown University researchers in the journal Health Affairs.

Associated Press   6 July 2012
Zip code plays a role in AIDS risk
More than 20,000 international HIV researchers and activists will gather in the nation’s capital later this month with a sense of optimism not seen in many years – hope that it finally may be possible to dramatically stem the spread of the AIDS virus. Amy Nunn, assistant professor of medicine, says that zip code is one of the factors in risk. “Maps tell the story. It’s not just what you do, it’s also where you live. There’s just a higher chance that you will come into contact with the virus,” she says.

The New York Times   7 July 2012
History finds place on campaign trail
It’s been common practice for the current presidential candidate to invoke opinions of the founding fathers while on the campaign trail. Ted Widmer, director of the John Carter Brown Library comments on candidates’ use of history in politics: “There is no doubt that a well-placed, strategic allusion to a beloved American can strengthen a thought – it sounds better if someone in a periwig said it’s O.K.”

Scientific American   6 July 2012
Maya calendar does not predict world’s end
While many believe that the Maya calendar predicts the world’s end on December 21, 2012, closer investigation reveals that much of the uproar rose out of a confusion between the Maya and Aztec cultures. “There’s a lot of conflation between these two cultures. It would almost be like comparing England at the time of the War of the Roses to the Romans or the Romans to the Greeks in the age of Pericles,” says Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology.

The Indian Express   7 July 2012
Group programs may aid teen weight loss
A new study led by Elissa Jelalian, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior, finds that group programs may help teens lose weight and keep some of it off. Teens involved in the study participated in four months of weekly group discussions and physical activity sessions. The teens lost an average of seven to eight pounds. The study program represents one of the few weight-loss strategies shown to be successful among adolescents.

The Chronicle of Higher Education   9 July 2012
AIDS Quilt goes digital
Researchers from Brown and other institutions are working to digitize the AIDS Quilt, a piece of public art containing the names of 48,000 people who have died from the disease that has been growing for the past 25 years. With the new digital database, users can search a name to view the block with the relevant panel, and then add comments, or see where the panel is being displayed.

Yahoo!   11 July 2012
Study to determine need for helmet in girls’ lacrosse
An upcoming study led by Joseph Crisco, Henry F. Lippitt Professor of Orthopedics, will try to determine whether helmets will help protect girls from concussions caused by stick-to-head contact in high school girls’ lacrosse games. The study will use crash-test dummies to measure the impact of a stick or ball hitting a player’s head, which will help determine if high school and college girls’ lacrosse players should indeed wear helmets.   10 July 2012
More businesses staying in U.S.A.
There’s a new crop of young companies seeking to be Made in the U.S.A. and using their location as a business strategy. One such company is Underbrella, a line of women’s undergarments made form high-tech fabrics that was borne out of a Brown entrepreneurship class in the Spring of 2008. The founders cite ease of communication and shorter turnaround times as two of the reasons they decided to keep production local.

WJAR   6 July 2012
How the jobs report will affect election campaign
Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, comments on the recently released jobs report for June, which showed no change in the 8.2 percent unemployment rate. Schiller says that while it’s good that the rate didn’t increase, it doesn’t bode well for President Obama’s re-election campaign and gives Mitt Romney some ammunition.
Full report online: