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  > > Citations
  > > Investigations


> >
The nitty gritty on grains

A team of U of C physicists including Heinrich Jaeger; Daniel Mueth; AB'94, SM'99; Greg Karczmar; Peter Eng; and Sidney Nagel have combined some cutting-edge technologies to further understand something as old as the hourglass-the behavior of granular molecules. Using techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and X-ray tomography, the team has tracked the velocities, positions, and packing densities of flowing mustard seeds and poppy seeds. A July 27 Nature article explains how the techniques allow researchers to trace the movements and interaction of individual grains with high resolution, and to detect the dynamics associated with different particle shapes. Jaeger says the study should help predict and control the behavior of granular materials under a variety of industrial, civil engineering, and scientific conditions.

> > More gun control
The 1999 National Gun Policy Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the U of C shows that the majority of Americans favor Congressional hearings and federal regulation of the design, manufacture, and selling of firearms. The survey found that 74.5 percent of Americans and 54 percent of gun owners want Congress to investigate the gun industry, while 94 percent of Americans and 91 percent of gun owners favor having U.S.-manufactured handguns meet the same quality and safety standards required of imported handguns.

> > Rigged wrestling by the numbers
Sumo wrestling-a 1,500-year-old sport with religious origins and traditions of honor and ritual-has been tainted by match-rigging, according to a detailed statistical analysis by U of C economists Steven Levitt and Mark Duggan. The researchers studied the outcomes of 32,000 matches at 67 tournaments over the past 11 years and found that up to 40 percent of bouts on the last day of sumo tournaments and 20 percent of bouts on the penultimate day are likely to be fixed. The motivation for collusion among the wrestlers, they report, stems from the wrestlers' mutual interest in collecting at least eight wins at a 15-bout tournament-which brings financial rewards and status.

> > The health of lonely hearts
People who suffer from loneliness can experience health consequences that may ultimately affect the body's immune system, reported psychology professor John Cacioppo at the August 6 meeting of the American Psychological Association. His paper, "Biological Costs of Social Stress in the Elderly," explains that individuals who feel isolated and disconnected because of a lack of close friends, or because they don't feel part of a larger social group, experience higher blood pressure and more sleep disruptions. The effects of a lifetime of loneliness, he says, are health risks comparable to obesity and smoking. The good news: they can be ameliorated "by reaching out to make friends and helping others."

> > Attention, doctors
A "Special Communication" in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association warned that physicians need to be particularly careful in prescribing treatment for patients with dementia. Co-authored by Daniel Brauner, associate professor in clinical medicine; Greg Sachs, AB'81, associate professor in medicine; and Cameron Muir, a palliative-care specialist at Northwestern University, the paper cites a number of treatments gone wrong-such as when a patient with Alzheimer's-type dementia died of severe damage to the esophagus caused by prescribed osteoporosis medication. Because many common medications have not been systematically tested for such patients, the authors urge that testing in clinical trials be extended to this population.

- Bora Chang, '01

  OCTOBER 2000

  > > Volume 93, Number 1

  > >
Déjà views
  > >
Women in white
  > >
Gay studies at Chicago
  > >
Reclamation project

  > > Class News

  > > Books
  > > Deaths

  > > Chicago Journal

  > > College Report

  > > Editor's Notes

  > > Letters
  > > From the President



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