2011 July

USA Today Health News


Blood Stored Too Long May Threaten Patient Safety: Better storage methods might prevent dangerous breakdown of red blood cells, researchers say. “Transfusion of stored blood is one of the most common medical therapies,” said study senior author Daniel B. Kim-Shapiro, professor of physics and director of the Translational Science Center at Wake Forest University, in the news release. “For example, perhaps we can restore nitric oxide activity that is lost upon transfusion, use preservation solutions that better limit the degradation of blood cells, or develop agents that scavenge free hemoglobin.”

Washington Post


Aging America: Baby boomers worry about cancer, memory loss, but weight is a big threat too: It takes physical activity, not just dieting, to shed pounds. That’s especially important as people start to age and dieting alone could cost them precious muscle in addition to fat, says Jack Rejeski of Wake Forest University, a specialist in exercise and aging. Whether you’re overweight or just the right size, physical activity can help stave off the mobility problems that too often sneak up on the sedentary as they age. Muscles gradually become flabbier until people can find themselves on the verge of disability and loss of independence, like a canoe that floats peacefully until it gets too near a waterfall to pull back, Rejeski says. He led a study that found a modest weight loss plus walking 2 1/2 hours a week helped people 60 and older significantly improve their mobility. Even those who didn’t walk that much got some benefit.

The Washington Post


Parents, schools can help ease children’s anxieties about moving to a new school: Moving to a new school can be traumatic for children of any age, but there are things parents can do to help. “Talk about it,” said Donna Henderson, a professor of counseling at Wake Forest University. “Talk about both sides of it.”A move means trading the known for the unknown, and with that can come grieving for the friends, school and neighborhood left behind, she said. “There are going to be some parts of it that are really scary and that you can’t figure out immediately, and that’s OK. You’re going to figure it out eventually,” said Henderson, a self-described “Army brat” who moved frequently growing up.

Winston-Salem Journal


Victorian home holds art treasures, history lessons: Jan Detter’s home has become part of the syllabus she uses for the creative-thinking course she teaches at Wake Forest University. She uses artistic treasures she has collected to demonstrate how people express themselves creatively across the globe and through the ages. Although her collection is an eclectic blend of treasures in textiles and folk art, her passion for visual literacy is evident. Twin swan planters greet visitors at local artist’s home in downtown Winston-Salem. “We had lived in a regular neighborhood in Clemmons for 10 years and needed a smaller space” Detter said. “I fell in love with the house the moment I walked in and saw the backyard.”

The Plain Dealer


Retailers already gearing up for back-to-school shoppers: Just because retailers are feeling more optimistic doesn’t mean that consumers are, said Sherry Jarrell, finance and economics professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Home values, an important factor in how a family perceives their personal wealth, are at historic lows. The average U.S. family just doesn’t feel as wealthy as it once did,” she said. “There still is this spector of ‘I may become unemployed,’ or ‘There may be another recession,’ or ‘I don’t have the buying power that I used to.’ I don’t remember my neighbors being quite so pessimistic and so risk-averse as I’ve seen them over the last several months. . . Add to this persistent high levels of unemployment and fears of unemployment, and it’s unlikely parents will loosen their belts for extra items or expensive brands. The old back-to-school buying barometer is less predictable than ever,” she said.

Rocket News


Weight Loss Surgery May Cut Inflammation, Disease Risk (HealthDay): “We’re amassing evidence that weight loss is a very important part of changing the way the body’s systems work in people with high-risk diseases like diabetes and heart disease,” chief investigator Gary D. Miller, an associate professor at Wake Forest University, said in a university news release. “It can be encouraging for people who have these diseases and need to lose weight. We’re proving that the benefits of dropping the weight are excellent,” he added. A previous study by Miller and colleagues found that gastric bypass surgery followed by a healthy diet and exercise reduces abdominal fat known to increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. “I’m hoping this research will help us show people that weight loss isnot just about dropping the pounds or about looking different. It’s about changing your body’s disease-fighting power, too,” Miller said.

BBC News


Casey Anthony: The case that gripped the U.S.: The fact it’s a woman on trial has heightened interest, says Robin Simon, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, because the allegation breaks the maternal bond society expects women to have with their children.”The media attention this has generated would not be as significant if it was a father murdering a child.”But the way this tragic case has become a “show” like any other is a sad reflection on modern America, she adds.