Nanotechnology project aims to provide miniature
wearable air monitor
Zellers, professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Public Health, and his fellow researchers are trying to miniaturize a gas chromatograph—a powerful analytical instrument capable of measuring complex mixtures of volatile organic chemicals at trace concentrations in a matter of minutes.
If the project is successful, workers in high-risk occupations ultimately will be able to wear this "MicroGC" as a means of monitoring and protecting them against chemical, and even microbial, exposures. The device also has important implications for homeland security, Zellers says.
It is one of several research projects currently being conducted under
the auspices of the Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems, an Engineering
Research Center funded by the National Science Foundation and a consortium
of companies. The center was launched in 2000 and is directed by Prof.
Ken D. Wise of the College of Engineering. U-M is the center's lead university;
Michigan State and Michigan Technological universities are partners.
"Children have lost their voice," says Kathleen Coulborn Faller, a professor in the School of Social Work and director of the Family Assessment Clinic. "Although publicity about priest cases helps some, it has not turned the tide in favor of children."
Children who report sexual abuse must continue to meet a high threshold by
providing a detailed account to authorities in order to be believed, she
says. Only about 10 percent of the cases ever reach the criminal courts
and about half are lost at trial, she says. Faller provides comprehensive
coverage of child sexual abuse in her new book, "Understanding and
Assessing Child Sexual Maltreatment" (Sage Publications Inc.).
This is your heart on drugs
The study's results, published in the Feb. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are important because the number of cocaine-related heart complications has been increasing in recent years as cocaine use has become more widespread. But many patients whose cocaine use sends them to the ER with chest pain don't tell their doctors about their drug use, putting them at risk if they receive conventional emergency heart treatments that actually can worsen the effects caused by cocaine.
The lead author is Dr. Jim Edward Weber, a U-M emergency medicine physician and an assistant professor of emergency medicine, who led the study of patients at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. The study was made possible by cooperation between Hurley and the U-M Department of Emergency Medicine, whose physicians and residents staff the Hurley ER. Dr. Judd Hollander, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, was the senior author. The principal investigator was Brenda Booth of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. In addition to Weber and Hollander, the paper's authors include Dr. Amit Kalaria, a former Michigan State University medical student now doing a residency in emergency medicine at Northwestern University; Dr. Greg Larkin of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Francis Shofer of the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to Weber and Booth, the follow-up study research team includes
Dr. Rebecca Cunningham and Dr. Ronald Maio of the U-M Department of Emergency
Medicine; and others from the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences.
FDA approves psoriasis treatment developed at
Alefacept traces its roots to research done at U-M in the mid-1990s by a team led by former dermatology faculty member Dr. Kevin Cooper. The University and Biogen share the patent on the engineered molecule with Cooper, who now is chair of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University. The U-M Health System (UMHS) played a major role in the advanced-phase clinical trials that demonstrated alefacept's ability to ease or clear the painful symptoms of psoriasisrelief that continues even after treatment stops.
Dermatologist Dr. Charles Ellis, who has no financial connection to the patent, was selected to help design and lead the Phase II and III studies because of his long experience studying and treating the immune response in psoriasis. Ellis is associate chair of dermatology at UMHS and chief of dermatology at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
Ellis shared leadership of the study with Dr. Gerald Krueger, a professor
of dermatology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Low libido? New patch may help bring relief to
Although there currently are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of low female libido, women experiencing a decreased sexual desire shouldn't give up hope.
A new one-year study being conducted by the U-M Health System's Women's Health Program, as well as at other sites throughout the United States, Canada and Australia, may help bring relief to women experiencing low libido. The study will examine whether or not a testosterone patch can improve low libido in post-menopausal women who have experienced a decline in their sexual well-being and use hormone therapy. This new investigational therapy, developed by Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, is a thin, nearly transparent patch worn on the abdomen.
The U-M study's principal investigator is registered nurse Nancy Reame,
professor in the School of Nursing and a research scientist in the U-M
Reproductive Sciences Program.
Employees with high health risks take more time
away from work
A HMRC study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine confirms that high-risk individuals take more time off from work, adding lost productivity to their already higher share of health care costs. "We believe this is the first study to evaluate the combined costs of scattered hours of absence, short-term disability and workers' compensation into a single measure of total time away from work cost," says Douglas Wright, HMRC research associate and the study's author.
Wright examined the relationships between health risks, health status
and time away from work costs of 6,220 employees of Steelcase Inc., a
manufacturing company based in Grand Rapids.
Book: Most women think too much
A new follow-up study building on her years of research, to appear in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, shows how overthinkers are more susceptible to alcoholism.
Overthinking—endless torrents of negative thoughts and emotions often triggered by something as fleeting as a sarcastic remark from a friend, relative or co-worker—is the focus of "Women Who Think Too Much: How To Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life" (2003, Henry Holt and Co.). Nolen-Hoeksema found that overthinking is a national epidemic among young and middle aged adults but is relatively rare among older adults, that overthinking contributes to severe depression and anxiety—especially in women and that women are significantly more likely than men to fall into overthinking and to be immobilized by it. —Joseph Serwach, News Service
Major trends in Michigan’s economy: Labor
shortages and high-skilled jobs
"Reports on employment don't usually start with population, but demographic trends are shaping employment in Michigan," says researcher Donald Grimes of the U-M Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations. "Michigan's population is both aging and growing slowly. If these trends continueand they are likely to do sothis will almost inevitably mean that for several decades new entrants into Michigan's labor market will fall short of employers' need for new workers."
In their study "Michigan Workers in the Boom Years: Employment and Employment
Earnings, 1991-2000," Grimes and Lou Glazer, president of Michigan
Future Inc., identify five major forces that will drive the Michigan economy
for years to come. They say the state will face structural labor shortages
for the foreseeable future; Michigan workers can expect a continuation
of the trend of high pay for high skills; employment increasingly will
become centered on office work rather than jobs at factories and stores;
an abundance of low-wage workers will continue to be employed; and the
state economy will remain heavily dependent on motor vehicle manufacturing,
which will continue to be the primary engine that drives the Michigan
When weight goes up, so do costs for employers
The study of 177,971 employees, retirees and adult dependents of General Motors Corp. showed a consistent relationship between medical costs and progressively higher categories of overweight and obesity, according to HMRC lead author Fei-Fei Wang and senior research analyst Shirley Musich.
The study, published in January's American Journal of Health Promotion, is
the first to examine the relationship between median medical costs and
the six weight groups defined by the National Heart, Lungs and Blood Institute
Diversity management hinges on firm’s learning
The answer, says Lynn Perry Wooten of the Business School, may depend upon a firm's corporate culture and its ability, or inability, to learn from experience and make appropriate changes in organizational behavior. "Despite the widespread focus on diversity issues from both scholars and practitioners and the frequency and notoriety of discrimination lawsuits, we are surprised at the difficulty some organizations continue to have with diversity management," says Wooten, assistant professor of corporate strategy and international business. "Firms seem to squander these learning opportunities and, as a result, remain susceptible to future discrimination lawsuits."
In an essay, "When Firms Fail to Learn: The Perpetuation of Discrimination
in the Workplace," in the Journal of Management Inquiry, Wooten and
co-author Erika Hayes James of the University of Virginia's Darden School
of Business analyze the widely publicized experiences of major companies
that have faced discrimination lawsuits.
Researcher helps resolve conflict between exotic
birds and eco-tourists
Bouton has published the results of her unique study of a wading bird colony in the Pantanal in the February issue of Conservation Biology. The article, co-authored with the University of Florida's Peter Frederick, is titled "Stakeholders' Perceptions of a Wading Bird Colony as a Community Resource in the Brazilian Pantanal." Unlike other research projects that consider only the biological effects of tourism, Bouton has combined her biological research with a study of how the colony serves as a resource for the local community.
Her practical suggestions for meeting the twin goals of managing and
developing tourism and conserving the colony have attracted the attention
of top government officials and diplomats in Brazil and have made her
study site at Porto da Fazenda a model for similar efforts in the region.
HR professionals add greater value to companies
The 2002 Human Resource Competency Study reports that HR competencies and practices now impact nearly 10 percent of business financial performance, more than double the influence five years ago. As the trend toward outsourcing and electronically processing transactional work continues, HR professionals increasingly will have the time and focus to be able to add greater strategic value, the study shows.
"We found that in high-performing firms, HR is becoming more of a strategic contributor," says Wayne Brockbank, professor and director of Human Resource Executive Programs at the Business School. "Strategic contributions include culture management, disciplines of fast change, mobilizing the organization for tightly integrated responses to competitive pressures and enhancing the quality of strategic decision-making."
The HR Competency Study has been conducted four times in the last 15 years
by Brockbank and Business School colleague David Ulrich. It has involved
more than 26,000 participants.