UA in the News: September 28, 2012
September 28, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
University of Alabama researcher focuses on low birth weight babies
Tuscaloosa News – Sept. 28
A University of Alabama researcher believes there is a strong correlation between a lack of prenatal care and low birth weight babies. She hopes to test her theory by developing prenatal clinics in several Alabama rural communities. Yasmin Neggers, a UA researcher and professor of human nutrition and hospitality management, has been studying the causes of low birth weight babies — those weighing less 5 pounds, 8 ounces — for 20 years. Low birth weight is one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality, or death before 28 days of age; these infants also are at increased risk of experiencing long-term disability or even death during the first year of life, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “It’s the best predictor of infant health,” Neggers said. “These infants are at an increased risk of developing respiratory tract infections, epilepsy and other childhood diseases.” In 2008, 8.2 percent of infants in the United States were born with low birth weight, and in Alabama the rate was 10.6 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the rate has decreased slightly over the past few years, to about 9 percent now, it is still relatively high, particularly in rural communities, Neggers said. “A lot of women in these communities do not get adequate prenatal care,” she said. “Some don’t get any prenatal care and come to the emergency room when they are in labor.”
UA researcher and Tuscaloosa surgeon work together to help people with pain
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Sept. 27
A surgeon and a scientist in Tuscaloosa just got approval to move forward with groundbreaking research that could offer long-awaited relief to people with chronic pain…Dr. William Pridgen has heard the complaints over the years from patient after patient who suffers with the painful condition known as fibromyalgia. The surgeon’s concern led to a theory on the root cause and then action to figure this out and bring relief to the hundreds of patients…Dr. Pridgen believes that both fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are all caused by a common widespread virus, the virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex virus. Dr. Carol Duffy is a virologist at the University of Alabama and has studied herpes viruses for many years. We asked her about Dr. Pridgen’s herpes virus theory and his combination therapy of an anti-viral plus an arthritis drug. “[We] have known for a while that it also has antiviral affects. The virus particle basically has a protein shell called a capsid and that encloses the genome and keeps it safe and protects it and when you use that other drug that protein shell is so unstable that so they’re not infectious anymore,” Duffy says.
UA researcher looks at whether Americans are over using their smart phones
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Sept. 27
A University of Alabama professor is getting national attention for his research. The topic reaches almost everyone: are Americans over using their smartphones? Dr. Christopher Lynn, an anthropology professor at the University of Alabama, investigated the issue. While Lynn does believe Americans use their smartphones a lot during their down time, he is quick to clarify that he doesn’t believe smartphones are replacing social interaction. Lynn says if you feel anxiety when you spend time away from your smartphone, it’s normal, and unplugging and relaxing away from technology is useful to practice.
Changes in Pell Grants set to impact Alabama Students
Birmingham Times – Sept. 27
The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) has commissioned the University of Alabama Education Policy Center to conduct a study of the impact on Alabama of the new rules dealing with recent changes in Pell Grant eligibility. The study will provide data pertinent to Alabama’s two- and four-year public institutions and the impact that the reduction in Pell funds will have on each school’s student population. Pell Grants are financial aid awarded by the federal government that do not need to be paid back by the student and are given out based on financial need.
Where the Workers Are
University Business – Sept. 21
The Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 gave community colleges, for the first time, a say in how funds for workforce development training are distributed locally. “The recession of the early 1980s—the last time unemployment rates exceeded 10 percent in many states—motivated an expanded role for community colleges in workforce training,” according to the 2012 study “Workforce Training in a Recovering Economy: Perceptions of State Community College Leaders” by The University of Alabama’s Education and Policy Center. Now, more employers are turning to community colleges for cost-efficient, customized, and flexible training, and the institutions are responding with programs that not only contribute to the local economy, but are self-sustaining.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.