Nov. 22-Dec. 5, 2002
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IN THIS ISSUE
Benefits reminders
Washington documents online
Digest -- Daily news about U.Va.
Headlines @ U.Va.

Waking up to learning

Brodie leaving legacy of accomplishment
Mayor brings architect’s tools to the table
Linking health, environment
Getting older & better
Gray gets gift of words
Here and there
Holiday happenings in ’Hooville
House builds ‘language precinct’

Headlines @ U.Va.

CATHOLIC LAITY STEPPING UP
The recent sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic church have led to a new assertiveness among Catholic laypeople, who are increasingly seeking a greater voice in church affairs. A New York Times article paraphrases the U.Va. religious studies professor Rev. Gerald Fogarty, who explained the movement in historical context. “Father Fogarty … said demographic changes help explain the assertiveness of lay Catholics. The pews were once filled with immigrants who knelt in reverence before men of the collar; today prosperous Catholics with advanced degrees who resent clerical imperiousness fill many churches. Now that the abuse crisis has exposed the limitations of episcopal rule, the laity feels it has the skills and stature to confront its bishops.”
— New York Times, Nov. 10

PLAYING IT SAFE WITH HGH
A recently published study has found that human growth hormone can reverse some symptoms of aging, but not without significant side effects. In the wake of the report, doctors were urging further study. Dr. Michael Thorner, chairman of U.Va.’s department of medicine, sees similarities to the prescription of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, which recently was found to cause increased risk for cancer. “If you just advocate that growth hormone be used because it might help, the next thing you know, the whole world is on it. I think in medicine one should tailor therapies based on evidence.”
— New York Times, Nov. 13

IS IT GETTING WARM IN HERE?
There is a raging debate in Canada these days over ratification of the Kyoto accords on global warming. Patrick Michaels, a U.Va. environmental sciences professor, weighing in against the treaties, argues that forecasts of major climactic change are overblown, with some computer models predicting relatively modest temperature increases of 1.6 degrees Celsius over the next century. “Half of this amount, in the last 100 years, saw a doubling of life span and a quintupling of crop yields where economic freedom reigned,” he says. “There is no reason to expect a sudden turnaround; rather, continued adaptation and prosperity are much more likely.”
— National Post (Don Mills,
Ontario), Nov. 14

TEEN JUDGMENT: BLAME IT ON THE BRAIN
Why do teens so often seem to lack the judgment we adults think they should have? According to U.Va. neuropsychologist Jeffrey T. Barth, some of the explanation is physical: the frontal lobe of human brains, which influences judgment and critical thinking, are the last parts to fully develop, taking until about age 25. “There are good reasons we don’t give kids all the decision-making responsibilities at an early age,” he said. “If you don’t have judgment, you don’t have judgment about your judgment.”
— Daily Progress, Nov. 15


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