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December 2012

Simple measures lead to safer seasontmarch

As shorter, cooler days herald the arrival of the winter season, ECU emergency medicine professor Dr. Juan March, chief of emergency medical services at the Brody School of Medicine, shared some thoughts with ECU News Services about safety for winter activities. To prevent frostbite, hypothermia and serious injury, March recommended the following:

 
Staying warm


When the weather is cold outside, limit time outdoors. Remember to use several layers of warm and dry clothing: an undershirt, shirt, sweater and then a coat. More than 20 percent of body heat is lost through the head, so use a hat, cover those ears and do not forget to use waterproof footwear. Also remember that the young and old are especially sensitive to the cold. When in the cold or headed outdoors, do not use alcohol or tobacco products because they promote heat loss from the body, reduce circulation and may cloud judgment.

 
Treating frostbite


Frostbite is tissue damaged caused by the cold and is very similar to a burn. Signs and symptoms of frostbite include red skin that feels cool to the touch, the sensation of pins and needles, numbness, mild swelling and pain. If frostbite occurs, do not thaw if there is a risk of refreezing. To relieve frostbite, do not rub, massage or soak the frostbitten body part. Move the affected person into a warm environment and out of any wind drafts. Remove all jewelry. Once in a warmer environment, remove all wet clothing. Give an awake and alert person a warm non-alcoholic beverage. Never use alcoholic beverages or tobacco. Seek medical care for anything more than very minor frostbite, because like a burn the depth or the size of the injury may not be apparent.

 
Helmets and winter sports


Although controversial, a recent study reviewed all the current literature and made the following recommendation: All recreational skiers and snowboarders should wear safety helmets to reduce the incidence and severity of head injury. The review noted that helmets do not seem to increase risk-compensation behavior, neck injuries or cervical spine injuries among skiers and snowboarders. Policies and interventions to increase helmet use should be promoted to reduce mortality and head injury among skiers and snowboarders.


Fractures


Winter is also associated with an increased rate of fractures, specifically distal forearms, proximal humerus (broken shoulder) and ankles. Those at highest risk are males between the ages of 65 and 80 living in warmer states. There are many potential causal relationships, but none has been proven.


Note to Media: To arrange an interview with March, contact Doug Boyd at 252-744-2482 or boydd@ecu.edu.



Crisis response for Newtown shootingstebnicki

The Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. stunned the nation, stirring questions about how to respond. ECU rehabilitation counseling professor Dr. Mark Stebnicki is an expert on crisis response for mass shootings. He served on the response team for Westside Middle School shootings in Jonesboro, Arksansas in 1998. He is available for media interviews through ECU News Services at 252-328-6481. Read more about Stebnicki.

Damaged Hwy. 12 set for rebuildriggs

Following severe damage from Hurricane Sandy, the N.C. DOT is making plans to rebuild sections of Hwy. 12 on the Outer Banks. ECU geologist Stan Riggs has researched coastal rebuilding. In a Nov. 27 article in the News and Observer, Rigss said the DOT has no more room to build the highway, since the narrow strip of land continues to decrease in size. Read the N&O story. Read more about Riggs' research on coastal rebuilding. Contact Riggs.

November 2012

ECU experts offer tips for healthier holidaystpumpkinpie

According to the American Council on Exercise, the average American consumes 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat in one Thanksgiving meal. Between breakfast, lunch and leftovers, a full day’s worth of eating could amount to 4,500 calories. In a state and region plagued by skyrocketing obesity rates and diabetes, most individuals could stand to be a little more mindful of holiday gluttony. Now through Nov. 22, ECU health sciences faculty will provide daily smart meal tips and healthy recipes to use year round on the Health Beat blog.

Check back regularly or follow us on Twitter (@ECUNewsServices) to get insightful ideas from professionals at the Brody School of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the School of Dental Medicine and the College of Allied Health Sciences.

Reader comments or tips on healthier holidays are welcomed on the blog or through Twitter.

Media Availability: For experts on topics related to healthy holidays, contact ECU News Services - Doug Boyd at (252) 744-2481, boydd@ecu.edu or Crystal Baity, (252) 744-3764, baityc@ecu.edu.

October 2012

Oral health awareness critical as holidays approachTCORN

From candy corn to candy canes, the season for sticky temptation has begun and is likely to continue through the winter holidays. With all the treats available for children, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentristry and Ad Council is urging parents and caregivers to be especially watchful of their children’s oral health. Among their recommendations: watch over children’s tooth brushing until they are at least 8 years old and brush children’s teeth for two minutes, twice a day.

Additional recommendations from the AAPD’s website at http://www.aapd.org and from the Partnership for Oral Health site at http://2min2x.org include the following:

  • Children should use a soft toothbrush that allows them to reach all areas of their mouth.
  • Replace toothbrushes every three to four months and even sooner if the bristles are worn out, or if children have been sick.
  • Children should also clean between their teeth once a day, every day, with floss to remove plaque and food where a toothbrush can’t reach. Children’s teeth can be flossed as soon as two of their teeth touch each other.
  • Keep babies’ gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth.
  • A balanced diet helps children’s teeth and gums to be healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place children at extra risk for tooth decay.
  • A sugary or starchy food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Chewing during a meal helps produce saliva which helps wash away sugar and starch.
  • Sticky foods…are not easily washed away from children’s teeth by saliva, water or milk, so they have more cavity-causing potential.

tjosellMEDIA AVAILABILITY:  Dr. Stuart D. Josell, chair of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics at the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine, is available to speak with the media about children’s oral health. To arrange an interview with Dr. Josell, contact Peggy Novotny, director of External Affairs, School of Dental Medicine, at (252) 737-7031 or by e-mail at novotnym@ecu.edu.  
 

O’DOR: Romney comes across as 'boardroom boss' o'dor

ANALYSIS FOR MEDIA USE: Nonverbal signs undercut Mitt Romney's appearance in the final presidential debate held Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla., according to ECU debate expert Richard O'Dor. In his analysis of the final debate, "Foreign Policy Fight: Boardroom Boss versus World Leader," O'Dor said that Romney's persona during the debate was more similar to a boardroom boss than an experienced world leader.

O’Dor has written four additional articles on the debates. He discussed the contest between vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in “Signs of nervousness impact debate performance.”  In "The Debate Brawl - Boardroom Boss vs. President," he spoke of the power of Obama's 47% remarks near the end of the debate. In “Style beats Substance in First Presidential Debate,” he wrote about how use of power words like jobs, taxes and economy helped add substance to Mitt Romney’s debate presence. In “Debate Gaffes Provide a Window into a Candidate’s Thinking,” O’Dor explained how errors made in a debate can be seen as insights into how a candidate would make decisions.

O’Dor is director of the ECU College of Business Communication Center. He has served as consultant to the Emir of the State of Qatar and coached debate at Duke University for 18 years. He has analyzed and developed communication strategies regarding high profile media events, such as the United Nation’s Alliance of Civilizations, World Telecommunication Development Conference and The Clinton Global Initiative. His expertise includes debate, communication coaching, non-verbal communication, media training, and communication strategies.

Links to his analyses are below. Media outlets are welcomed to pull direct quotations. For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact O’Dor at bcc@ecu.edu or by telephone at (252) 737-2759.


Read the analysis on debate gaffes.

Read the first presidential debate analysis.

Read the analysis of the vice presidential debate.

Read the analysis of the second presidential debate.

Read the analysis of the final presidential debate.

September 2012

Comics come up short with electiontbaumgartner

ECU political science professor Jody Baumgartner said that the 2012 presidential election provides less fodder for comedy than the election in 2008. An expert on the influence of comedy on U.S. politics, Baumgartner was quoted in the Vancouver Sun. "There's less raw material to work with in terms of the targets of the jokes," he said.  Read the article.  Contact Baumgartner.

Money drives med students from primary caretnewton

A study published this week in Medical Education found that anticipated debt was a significant factor in drawing medical students away from selecting a career as a primary care physician. ECU professor Dale Newton was a co-author in the study and can talk about its ramifications in the health care industry. Read more about the study. To arrange an interview with Newton, contact Doug Boyd at boydd@ecu.edu or at 744-2482.

Turmoil in Libya over American filmTROSHANDEL

Libyan militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya Sept. 11 in reaction to an American-made movie that presented Islam's prophet Mohammad in a negative light. In the attack, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Additional unrest in the area is expected. ECU political science professor Jalil Roshandel is an expert on Middle East studies. He is available to speak with the media about the attack. Contact Roshandel at roshandelj@ecu.edu or by phone at 252-328-1062.

ECU poli sci major is DNC delegatetward

ECU junior Uriah Ward is attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week as the youngest delegate from North Carolina's 3rd District. Ward is working toward a bachelor's in political science at ECU, where he also serves as president of the College Democrats. While he's not seen many Pirates at the convention yet, he expects to be joined by several other ECU College Democrats on Thursday to hear President Barack Obama accept the Democratic Party nomination. Ward is available for media interviews. Contact Ward.

August 2012

Convention reporter is ECU graduatetlauten

ECU graduate Elizabeth Lauten has been reporting as a CNN iReporter from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Lauten was one of six winners of CNN's "Your Political Ticket" iReport Convention Contest, providing an all-expense paid trip to the convention. She has covered the convention with first-person video commentary and on-air reporting, photography and interviews. Lauten can speak to the media about her experience. Contact Lauten.  View Lauten's CNN reporting page. Read more about Lauten's experience.

Fragrance-free best bet for sensitive individuals

Idyllic promises such as "Calgon, take me away!" are often the focus of advertising for soaps and fragrances. But for individuals with chemical sensitivity, the results are not so pleasant. Fragrant products can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness and even trigger asthma attacks in individuals sensitive to chemicals, according to the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation.tvanwilligen
 
In a workplace where dozens may gather in office spaces or classrooms, chemical sensitivity can make daily tasks unbearable. A new policy in East Carolina University’s Department of Sociology promotes a voluntary fragrance free policy, requesting students, faculty, staff and visitors to refrain from using fragrant personal care and cleaning products and from keeping scented products in the workplace.tschacht
 
ECU professor DD Schacht suffers from chemical sensitivity and can speak about its effect on her profession as an educator. Contact Schacht.  Sociology professor and interim chair of the Sociology Department Marieke Van Willigen can speak about the new policy and how it came about. Contact Van Willigen.

Impact: Paul Ryan as running matetbaumgartner

During a Norfolk, Va. campaign stop this weekend, United States Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his vice presidential running mate for 2012, introducing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Pundits immediately began a critical assessment of Romney's choice and its impact on the presidential campaign. ECU political science professor Jody Baumgartner is an expert on American vice presidents and their political power. Baumgartner can speak on Romney's selection of Ryan as a running mate and how Ryan might affect the campaign. Contact Baumgartner.

Olympics spur club sports interesttjustin

As the 2012 Olympics wind down in London, numerous Olympic sports will start up at ECU as students return this fall. Aside from traditional sports like basketball, soccer and swimming, ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness is home to badminton, judo, field hockey, equestrian, boxing and fencing clubs. Assistant Director of Club Sports Justin Waters says coverage of the Olympics helps raise the profile of these non-traditional sports, and aids in recruiting new players. Learn more about club sports at ECU at http://www.ecu.edu/studentlife/crw/programs/clubsports. Contact Waters at watersj@ecu.edu.


July
2012

Crisis response to Colorado shootingstebnicki1

A mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo. movie theatre July 19 left a nation shocked. Initial reports indicate 12 dead and at least 50 injured. ECU rehabilitation counseling professor Dr. Mark Stebnicki is an expert on crisis response for mass shootings and violence. He served on the response team for Westside Middle School shootings in Jonesboro, Arksansas in 1998 and has completed many stress debriefings with organizations in the wake of workplace violence. He is available for media interviews and can be reached by e-mail at stebnickim@ecu.edu. Read more about Stebnicki.

Is fracking safe?tmontz

The North Carolina legislature has overrided Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of fracking, a drilling method used to extract gas by injecting pressurized water, sand and chemicals deep underground. Critics are concerned that toxic chemicals released in the process may negatively affect the state’s environment and groundwater, suggesting that more study of the effects of fracking is needed before moving forward. East Carolina University geography professor and department chair Burrell Montz has studied impacts of fracking in Pennsylvania and can speak on on the topic. Contact Montz.


June
2012

Supreme Court issues ruling on health care reform lawtvanriper

The nation’s highest court announced its ruling June 28 on the Affordable Care Act, the name of the national health care reform law.
 
Janice VanRiper is an attorney and health care reform expert in the department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. She is also director of the medical school’s health care reform initiative.
 
Before the ruling, VanRiper said the following about the Affordable Care Act:
 
“The ACA contains many provisions designed to move the health care system toward what is known as the Triple Aim. Those three goals are increasing the population's access to health care; improving the quality of health care; and lowering costs.
 
If the court upholds the entire ACA, the Brody School of Medicine will continue and increase efforts to prepare to care for the many previously uninsured residents in the region who will be able to afford health insurance coverage through Medicaid and as a result of qualifying for federal subsidies.
 
It is also possible that court will strike down just the individual mandate to buy insurance and/or the Medicaid provisions under which thousands of eastern North Carolina residents would qualify for Medicaid coverage. In that event, efforts to increase access to health care in the region will become considerably more challenging.
 
Regardless of the Supreme Court's decision, the Brody School of Medicine will continue its efforts to meet these goals. We have already embarked on changing medical education so students are prepared to practice in the health care system of the future and are exploring new ways of improving health care throughout the region in ways that meet the Triple Aim.”
 
To schedule an interview with VanRiper, call Doug Boyd at 252-744-2482 or email boydd@ecu.edu.

Beating the summer heat treeder

Summer has officially arrived and weather experts are predicting temperatures in the high 90s this weekend. Dr. Timothy Reeder, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, has the following advice for people dealing with the heat:   

  • Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, generally 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 
  • If you must be outdoors, wear protective clothing to keep the sun off your skin, seek shade when needed and drink plenty of fluids. Water is best. 
  • If you begin to feel dizzy or weak, get someplace cooler and drink fluids immediately.
  • Seek medical help if symptoms persist. While sweating is normal in the summer, if people in the heat stop sweating and begin to get chills, they should seek medical help for heat illness. 

The very young and the elderly are most at risk for heat illness. They overheat more quickly than teens and adults. Read more about Reeder. To schedule an interview with Reeder, contact Doug Boyd at 252-744-2482.

Avoid smoke exposure if at riskbowling

ECU professor of medicine Dr. Mark Bowling is an expert in chronic lung diseases. With the wildfire in the Croatan National Forest, Bowling advised, “The big message is if you have a chronic lung disease like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma, smoke exposure can make these conditions acutely worse and lead to immediate breathing problems. So these individuals at the highest risk for developing problems should avoid exposure.” Read more about Bowling. To schedule an interview, contact Doug Boyd at 252-744-2482.

Breast cancer drug shows promisetraab

Clinical trials of T-DM1, a new experimental drug for aggressive breast cancer, have shown great promise in shrinking cancer without the debilitating efforts of traditional cancer treatments. East Carolina University physician Rachel Raab, an an assistant professor of medicine and breast cancer specialist, can speak about the drug and the clinical trial results. Contact Raab. Read more about Raab's work at ECU. Read an ABC news story about T-DM1. 


May
2012

Ticks and more ticks in N.C.tanderson2

Tick season has arrived in full force in eastern North Carolina, fueled this year by a warm winter and early onset of tropical moisture. Two new varieties of ticks have appeared this year, according to a recent article in the News & Observer. ECU environmental health sciences professor Alice Anderson, an expert in ticks and tick-borne diseases, can speak on tick varieties, weather and tick population, and prevention of tick-borne diseases. Contact Anderson.

Fat Forecast: Obesity rates risingheidel1t

A new report released May 8 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that up to 42 percent of Americans will suffer from obesity by 2030, with an increase as well in the number of citizens who are severely obese. ECU professor Kimberly Heidal in the Department of Nutrition Science is an expert on obesity and can speak on its effects. Contact Heidal.  Read ABC news story that outlines the CDC Obesity report.


April
2012

Amendment One drawing large numbers of voterstkane

Record numbers of voters are already streaming to the polls for early voting in North Carolina's May 8 election, which includes the controversial Amendment One. If approved, the amendment would add to the state constitution a measure defining marriage between one man and one woman as the only legally valid domestic union in the state. ECU sociology professor Dr. Melinda Kane is an expert on gay and lesbian politics and social movements. Kane spoke with ECU News Services about the proposed amendment.

What is Amendment One?

Amendment One is a proposed amendment to the North Carolina state constitution that will be included on the May primary ballot.  Voters will get to vote “for” or “against” the amendment.
 
According to Senate Bill 514, voting “for” the amendment means that you agree with adding the following language to the North Carolina constitution:

“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
Voting against the amendment means you do not want to add that language to the state constitution. 

How would passage of Amendment One change the laws that are already in place in North Carolina?

Amendment One, whether it passes or not, will have no affect on the ability of same-sex couples to marry within the state of North Carolina or to have same-sex marriages performed in other states recognized by the state of North Carolina.  North Carolina already has a law that says marriages between people of the same “gender” are not valid in North Carolina.  This law remains in effect whether Amendment One is passed or not. 

However, the passage of Amendment One would have implications for several city and county laws.  A handful of local governments in North Carolina, including Mecklenberg County and the City of Durham, provide employment benefits such health care to employees and their domestic partners, including same-sex partners.  The passage of Amendment One would likely invalidate these local laws, regardless of the local governments’ desire to provide these benefits to their employees.

There is also some concern that the amendment, if passed, will have legal implications for unmarried heterosexual couples.  Because the amendment uses the language “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized…,” legal scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill argue that protections currently extended to people in unmarried, heterosexual relationships, including child custody claims and domestic violence protection, would no longer be granted since the couples are not married.

Why did the North Carolina legislature include Amendment One on the May ballot if a state law already exists prohibiting same-sex marriage?

Some North Carolina legislators and residents are concerned that the existing state law could be challenged in state court.  By changing the constitution to explicitly limit marriage to “one man and one woman,” state courts would be unable to rule the existing law unconstitutional.  

What efforts are under way to fight against or for the Amendment?

There are significant efforts on both sides of the Amendment debate. An umbrella organization called The Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families includes a range of North Carolina businesses, student associations, political groups, religious organizations and citizens groups that oppose Amendment One. There are also several organizations working in support of Amendment One, including the North Carolina Family Policy Council and Vote for Marriage NC.   

For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact Kane.


 

Vampires: Drawn to Dark Shadows?tdarkshadows

The long-popular vampire will again rise to the big screen with the May 11 release of "Dark Shadows," starring Johnny Depp (pictured). The film draws on the late '60s daytime soap opera by the same name, which starred Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins. Frid died last week at the age of 87. ECU English professor James Holte is a vampire expert. He can speak on the popularity, origination and attractiveness of the vampire in popular culture. Contact Holte.

N.C. ranks high on pre-K educationthegde

A national report released April 10 listed North Carolina as one of only five states that met all quality benchmarks in its state-run pre-kindergarten program last year, although the program for at-risk 4-year-olds was cut by 20 percent. ECU early childhood education professor Dr. Archana Hegde is an expert on early childhood care and education. She can speak on the importance of early childhood education in the overall development of the child. Contact Hegde.

Obesity surgery reverses diabetespories

A USA Today article last week announced that weight loss surgery can put diabetes into remission. ECU professor Dr. Walter Pories has identified similar results with the "Greenville Gastric Bypass" weight-loss surgery he developed at the Brody School of Medicine. That surgery results in durable weight loss and long-term remission of type 2 diabetes in patients. Pories is a recent recipient of a lifetime achievement award at ECU. Read more about his work.  Contact Pories.


March
2012

Plenty of Pirates peeved by pollentfirnhaber

Few residents of eastern North Carolina can escape the springtime affliction that accompanies rising levels of pollen. The yellow dust collects on nearly every outdoor surface, triggering seasonal allergies that leave many residents suffering. East Carolina University assistant professor of family medicine Dr. Jonathan Firnhaber spoke with ECU News Services about pollen and springtime allergies.

Q: What is the primary source of the pollen?

A:  Most springtime pollen comes from trees, with oak, juniper/cedar and maple/box elder topping the pollen count list this week. While pine pollen is one of the most obvious contributors, pollen grains from pines are generally too large to trigger seasonal allergies. It can act as a nasal irritant and further aggravate existing nasal symptoms.

Q:  Can allergy sufferers expect to see more pollen than usual this year?

A. Pollen levels are increasing across the nation, particularly in the Southeast. Pollen counts are only slightly higher than usual at this time of year, largely due to warmer weather.

Q:  What are the best medications that allergy sufferers may use to control their responses to pollen?

A.  Over-the-counter allergy medication options continue to improve, with Allegra (fexofenadine) now available. Allegra offers the lowest risk of drowsiness of all the available antihistamines. Zyrtec (cetirizine) is also highly effective but it does pose a low risk of drowsiness. Claritin (loratadine) is less likely to cause drowsiness, but may not be effective for all patients. The older antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine) are effective but can cause sedation, dry mouth, dry eyes and difficulty with urination.

For additional information, contact Jonathan Firnhaber, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University.


 

Controversial Amendment One coming up for votetkane

A recent march in Raleigh and a statement issued by President Barack Obama are headlining the opposition to Amendment One, scheduled to appear on North Carolina’s ballot May 8. If approved, the amendment would add to the state constitution a measure defining marriage between one man and one woman as the only legally valid domestic union in the state. ECU sociology professor Dr. Melinda Kane is an expert on gay and lesbian politics and social movements. Kane spoke with ECU News Services about the proposed amendment.

What is Amendment One?

Amendment One is a proposed amendment to the North Carolina state constitution that will be included on the May primary ballot.  Voters will get to vote “for” or “against” the amendment.
 
According to Senate Bill 514, voting “for” the amendment means that you agree with adding the following language to the North Carolina constitution:

“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
Voting against the amendment means you do not want to add that language to the state constitution. 

How would passage of Amendment One change the laws that are already in place in North Carolina?

Amendment One, whether it passes or not, will have no affect on the ability of same-sex couples to marry within the state of North Carolina or to have same-sex marriages performed in other states recognized by the state of North Carolina.  North Carolina already has a law that says marriages between people of the same “gender” are not valid in North Carolina.  This law remains in effect whether Amendment One is passed or not. 

However, the passage of Amendment One would have implications for several city and county laws.  A handful of local governments in North Carolina, including Mecklenberg County and the City of Durham, provide employment benefits such health care to employees and their domestic partners, including same-sex partners.  The passage of Amendment One would likely invalidate these local laws, regardless of the local governments’ desire to provide these benefits to their employees.

There is also some concern that the amendment, if passed, will have legal implications for unmarried heterosexual couples.  Because the amendment uses the language “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized…,” legal scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill argue that protections currently extended to people in unmarried, heterosexual relationships, including child custody claims and domestic violence protection, would no longer be granted since the couples are not married.

Why did the North Carolina legislature include Amendment One on the May ballot if a state law already exists prohibiting same-sex marriage?

Some North Carolina legislators and residents are concerned that the existing state law could be challenged in state court.  By changing the constitution to explicitly limit marriage to “one man and one woman,” state courts would be unable to rule the existing law unconstitutional.  

What efforts are under way to fight against or for the Amendment?

There are significant efforts on both sides of the Amendment debate. An umbrella organization called The Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families includes a range of North Carolina businesses, student associations, political groups, religious organizations and citizens groups that oppose Amendment One. There are also several organizations working in support of Amendment One, including the North Carolina Family Policy Council and Vote for Marriage NC.   

For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact Kane.


 

ECU professors study “Tina Fey effect”
tfeyeffect

With the U.S. presidential race ramping up, politicians are spending millions to enhance their image and affect voters’ choices. At the same time, political humorists lampoon the candidates nightly on popular television shows. ECU political science professors Dr. Jody Baumgartner and Dr. Jonathan Morris, along with ECU undergraduate Natasha L. Walth, have determined that humorous portrayals and caricatures of political figures are an important factor in how political figures are perceived among young adults.

The researchers examined young voters’ perceptions of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin following impersonations of her by comedian Tina Fey on the popular television program, Saturday Night Live. Their study, “The Fey Effect: Young Adults, Political Humor, and Perceptions of Sarah Palin in the 2008 Presidential Election Campaign,” was published in the spring 2012 issue of Public Opinion Quarterly.  Read the article.

To arrange an interview, contact Morris at http://www.ecu.edu/polsci/faculty/morris.html.



Colonscopy cuts cancer risks in halftkandil

New research offers evidence that colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer deaths. The study showed that removing precancerous growths spotted during colonoscopy cut the risk of dying from colon cancer in half. ECU professor and gastroenterology specialist Dr. Hossam Kandil said that colon cancer is preventable because most occur in benign colon polyps that can be removed during colonoscopy. Compared to other screening tools, he said, colonoscopy can detect more colon polyps. He said the test is recommended for healthy individuals beginning at age 50. Read more about the study.  Contact Kandil.


February
2012

HPV shot recommended for boys tholder

The vaccine that protects girls from the virus that causes cervical cancer and other cancers is now being recommended for boys starting at age 11.

That's the message from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it's good advice, said Dr. David Holder, a clinical associate professor and adolescent health specialist at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

With the previous recommendation focusing on girls, doctors were giving the vaccine "all the while knowing 50 percent of the map was not being covered," Holder said. "In some settings, one in four or one in five kids have this disease and don't know they have it."

Human papillomaviruses cause a large number of cancers of the mouth and throat, cervix and genital organs, the AAP said. HPV are the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the United States, and the highest prevalence of HPV infection is found in sexually active adolescents and young adults.

The AAP on Monday published a revised policy statement that recommends routine vaccination against human papillomaviruses for males and females at 11 to 12 years of age. The vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity, and antibody responses to the vaccine are highest at ages 9 through 15, the academy said.

The recommendation is published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Holder said some parents might be opposed to their children receiving the vaccine, believing that it will encourage sexual activity.

"I've never heard of anything that substantiates that," he said. "Look at the facts and less at the fire."

Every year in the United States, approximately 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and almost 4,000 die from this disease, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most cases of cervical cancer and all cases of genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus.

Men can also contract cancer of the penis, anus and throat from HPV.

Estimates are that most sexually active people will contract genital HPV at some point, but in most it will not show any symptoms and go away on its own, according to the CDC. But certain types might cause genital warts and, in rare cases, cancer.

Holder recommended that parents talk with their children about the vaccine, sex and sexually transmitted diseases.

The vaccine is sold under two trade names, Gardasil, made by Merck, and Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline and not yet approved for boys. The three-shot regimen for Gardisil costs approximately $360. No serious side effects have been found other than soreness at the injection site.

"The take home message here is get it early, girls and boys," Holder said.


###

To arrange an interview with Dr. Holder, contact Doug Boyd at boydd@ecu.edu or at 252-744-2482.

 

 

Stebnicki speaks on Ohio high school shootingstebnicki

A high school shooting was reported today in suburban Ohio’s Chardon High School, with news reports indicating one killed and four students wounded.

East Carolina University rehabilitation counseling professor Dr. Mark Stebnicki is an expert on crisis response, and served on the crisis response team for the Westside Middle School shootings in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1998. Stebnicki spoke with ECU about today’s shootings:


Q:  News reports have indicated that the gunman is possibly a fellow student at the school. Is this the most likely scenario?

A:  The majority of shootings that take place in school and workplace settings are perpetrated by students who attend that school, or in the situations of workplace violence- perpetrated by either a current or former employee.

Q: What would lead a young person to commit this sort of crime? What kinds of thought processes go into this behavior?

A:  The vast majority of shooters have multiple mental health issues that are longstanding and have been either ignored or not recognized by parents, the schools, and others in the community. Researchers who study risk factors in adolescents at risk look at four primary domains: (a) the individual (e.g., interplay of personality and behavioral characteristics that show high pathology, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and those that show disorders of conduct/oppositional defiant) (b) the family (e.g., physical violence or sexual abuse within the family), (c) the community environment which they live (e.g, access to firearms, drugs, gangs), and (d) the school setting (e.g., kids that are bullied by others).
 
Q:   What will be the best course of action for school officials in dealing with the aftereffects for the surviving students?

A:  There have been significant advances in therapeutic strategies to help schools and communities cope with critical incidents such as school shootings. Immediate interventions such as critical incident stress debriefings and then later interventions such as individual, group, and family counseling has been successful. Communities pulling together through grieving the loss, making some meaning of the critical incident, spiritual support, and using multiple resources to heal have been important for long term successful healing.


Stebnicki is available for media interviews. He can be reached by e-mail at stebnickim@ecu.edu

Read more about Stebnicki.

###

 

Qnexa, new anti-obesity medicationtpories

The FDA has endorsed an anti-obesity medication, Qnexa, that in trials helped obese patients lose more than 10% of their body weight in the first year of use. Brody School of Medicine professor Dr. Walter Pories, a pioneer in weight-loss surgery, can speak about the medicine and its potential impact on the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Contact Pories. Read more about Qnexa.

ECU Career Fair reflects growing economytthompson

Employers are stepping up their presence at annual university career fairs such as the one scheduled Feb 21 at East Carolina University, a national trend experts say is indicative of an upsurge in employment.

Filled to capacity

Karen Thompson, director of the ECU Career Center, reported a 23 percent increase in the number of employers registered for ECU’s Feb. 21 fair. That event is filled to capacity, she said, with 160 employers registered — a significant increase from the 134 employers that participated in 2011.

Thompson said employers are flocking to university career fairs because these events offer a high return for a minimum of investment. Employers may send one or two recruiters to a career fair and in return receive broad exposure to a large and diverse population of students.

Seeking student interns

Employers scouting out student interns are on the rise as well. In her 26 years working in university career centers, Thompson said she has seen a huge increase in the internship trend.

“It makes good sense,” Thompson said. “With a one-semester investment in an intern, employers have the opportunity to evaluate the skills and strengths of a potential employee at a lower expense for salary and benefits” than hiring that person full time.


“The internship is where the future will be,” Thompson said.

ECU affiliation required

The Feb. 21 event will be held at the Greenville Convention Center from 9 a.m. to noon for education majors and from 10 am to 2 p.m. for others. It’s open to ECU students and graduates. Professional dress, along with proof of enrollment or graduation from ECU, is required for admittance.

For a list of employers attending, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentaffairs/career/students/career_fairs.cfm. For more information on the fair, visit www.ecu.edu/career.

Thompson is available for interviews about the student employment outlook. Contact her at 328-6050 or by e-mail, thompsonkar@ecu.edu.



'Bringing on the puppies'TracyTuten:
Good choices for Super Bowl advertising

Advertisers paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second television commercial slot during the Super Bowl game Feb. 5. East Carolina University marketing professor Tracy Tuten, an expert on advertising and consumer behavior, spoke with ECU News Services about the importance of Super Bowl time slots and the ads’ effectiveness.
 
Q.  Why are advertisers willing to pay so much for a time slot during the Super Bowl?
 
A.   Super Bowl is the most important night for advertising because it represents the one chance during the year when the advertiser can reach an audience via television akin to what they were able to reach back in television advertising’s heyday. Once upon a time, consumers tuned in to one of three big networks and television advertisers could reach a large audience with media buys during prime time on one or more of those networks.

Those days are long gone. Advertisers now vie for consumer attention and the entertainment market is fragmented with competition from hundreds of stations, on demand programming, internet programming, and  more. The Super Bowl is their one shot at the golden audience in any given year. No wonder then there is so much attention focused on the advertising.
 
Q.  Super Bowl ads are available on the Internet long before and after the actual spot is shown on television. What effect does this have on the decision to buy Super Bowl advertising time?
 
A.  The Internet has made Super Bowl advertising even more valuable by allowing brands to extend their exposure reach and time spent with the message well beyond the time purchased during the actual game with video posts online.
 
Q.  Super Bowl ads are usually discussed for weeks after the game, with television viewers comparing how effective and memorable the ads were. What makes for an effective Super Bowl ad?
 
A.  Some of the principles of effective advertising include the notions that advertising is more memorable if it is congruent with the programming alongside which it is shown, if it includes some novelty to catch attention, and if it utilizes peripheral cues to enhance attention even in low involvement products. And of course, there are the long held beliefs that consumers respond positively and emotionally to puppies and babies.
 
Anyone watching the Super Bowl on Sunday evening saw all of these principles reflected among the ads shown. The most likable ads were entertaining, surprising, novel (even shocking in some cases), and utilized the creative appeals of humor and sex, among others. Many were calling the advertising component “the puppy bowl.” That’s right – bring on the puppies to ensure success with audiences.
 
For more insights from Tuten, including additional comments about Super Bowl advertising, visit tracytuten.com.

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January
2012

Take blood pressure in both arms, study recommendststoner

A new study published in the medical journal The Lancet recommends that physicians take patients' blood pressure in both arms. The study demonstrated that a significant difference between the readings in a patient's right and left arm could be an indicator of serious vascular or heart disease.

Dr. Michael Stoner, a surgery professor and specialist in vascular surgery at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, spoke with ECU News Services about the recommendations. The key point brought out in the study, he said, is that "blood pressure differential is a marker of atherosclerosis and patients who need medical risk factor modification."

Stoner said that the different readings for most patients do not indicate a blockage that needs to be repaired but "rather the factors that caused the blockage (hypertension, hypercolesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking) need to be addressed."

Read the Lancet articleRead a New York Times story about the findings.

To arrange an interview with Stoner, contact Doug Boyd at boydd@ecu.edu or 252-744-2482.



Sidelined for Super Bowl?tniceler

With Super Bowl Sunday just around the corner, New England Patriots and New York Giants fans are abuzz about the health of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose high ankle sprain may affect the game.

Whether the game-breaking Gronkowski will be able to run, cut and jump with as much power as he has all season will depend on how well his ankle has healed.
 
Dr. Brock Niceler is a board-certified sports medicine specialist and clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. He spoke with ECU News Services about this common football injury.

High ankle sprain is different from a normal sprain




“With a regular ankle sprain the foot inverts and tears the ligaments on the outside of the ankle,” Niceler said.

“With a high ankle sprain, the foot is forced into flexion while the foot externally rotates. 

“There is connective tissue called a syndesmosis between the tibia and fibula which helps to holds the two bones together,” he said. “This connective tissue tears when the foot is forced into this movement.”
 


Recovery time varies with severity of the sprain



Athletes will usually complain of pain with walking, made worse with running and even worse with cutting, Niceler said. Recovery varies.



“Mild high ankle sprains can recover within a week; severe high ankle sprains may take months,” Niceler said.



“The majority of high ankle sprains recover in about four weeks. The severity of the high ankle sprain dictates the recovery and limitations of the athlete.



Sports participation will be painful



Most likely an athlete participating in sports two weeks after a high ankle sprain is still in pain. How much pain and how much limitation the athlete has depends on the severity of the injury.”
 


Treatment, Niceler said, consists of rest, ice and elevation, and when participating in sports the athlete will be taped for extra support.



Read more about Gronkowski’s injury.



To arrange an interview with Niceler, contact ECU News Services – Doug Boyd at 252-744-2482 or boydd@ecu.edu.



 

Gender, class attendancetcortright

ECU professor Dr. Ron Cortright found in his research that poor attendance caused female students' grades to drop more than those of their male counterparts. Read more...




SOPA protests leave Internet users in the darkwinstead

Many web users found their favorite web sites out of operation or hosting protest banners this week. Web sites such as  Wikipedia and Google joined in the protest of the SOPA/PIPA bills under consideration by lawmakers in Washington, D.C. ECU copyright officer Beth Winstead has studied the bills and their impact. SOPA has been indefinitely tabled by the House, she said, while in the Senate three co-sponsors have withdrawn their support. Here's her take on how passage of the bills might affect the average Internet user.

(For more details, contact her at  http://libguides.ecu.edu/profile.php?uid=19152)

Q:  Why are web sites like Wikipedia and Google protesting by going dark today?
 

A:  These sites have gone dark to protest the potential of Internet censorship in the SOPA/PIPA bills. Some sites are operating but have banners to bring awareness, while other sites like Wikipedia and Wordpress are totally down for the day.
 
Q:  What are the SOPA/PIPA bills and how will they affect the average Internet user?

A:  SOPA/PIPA could mean that sites like Google or Youtube themselves could be taken down without due process if one person published something that infringes on copyright.  In Youtube, frequently videos are posted to music without permission to use that music. Youtube takes those down and notifies the creator.  Under the proposed bills, the hosting site could be taken down and if anyone posts something knowingly or unknowingly that infringes on copyright they can be prosecuted as a federal criminal.
 
Q:  How might passage of the bills affect research on the Internet? Could it negatively affect tools that students and faculty use for learning?

A:  The purpose of copyright was originally in place to increase creativity but to protect the creator. The Internet makes breaking copyright law unintentionally easy. While many people realize they are breaking the law, many who are comment on a story while citing portions of it are in fact breaking the law.   Wikipedia has been found to be as accurate if not more accurate than Britannica, so many rely on that information daily.  However if someone posts an entry in Wikipedia that infringes on someone else’s copyright, Wikipedia could be shut down immediately for that post.  This would be true for other sites that students and scholars depend on for information.
 
Q: Are there any alternatives to prevent online piracy without such severe limitations?

A:  There has been another bill introduced in Congress OPEN (Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act) that seems to have more promise and would place the responsibility for enforcement in the International Trade Commission instead of the Justice Department.
This is a great way to sum this up – in our country we believe a person is innocent until proven guilty.  Both SOPA and PIPA do the opposite – they assume the entire website is guilty and the website could be removed immediately without due process.
 

Diabetes and cooking with Paula DeenPawlak

Celebrity Southern chef Paula Deen, famous for her high-fat, high-sugar recipes, announced Tuesday on the Today Show that she was diagnosed three years ago with type-2 diabetes, for which obesity and high caloric diets are a major risk factor. ECU professor of nutrition and dietetics Roman Pawlak is an expert on weight management and community-based approaches to reverse diabetes. He can speak on the impact of a healthy lifestyle on diabetes. Contact Pawlak. View the Today Show announcement.

The Year of the Dragon - 2012christine

The Chinese New Year, one of the most important and extensive celebrations in the Chinese calendar, begins this year on Jan. 23. Celebrations will usher in the Year of the Dragon. Popular elements for the festivities include the wearing of red clothing, giving children lucky money in red envelopes, enjoing family gatherings and fireworks. ECU anthropology professor Christine B. Avenarius is an expert on Asia and Asian culture and can speak in detail about the annual celebration. Contact Avenarius. Read more about the Chinese New Year.

Gas prices jump in 2012bays

Following a steady drop before the holiday season, gas prices jumped in North Carolina with the arrival of the new year. That increase was driven in part by changes in state and federal taxes. ECU economics professor Dr. Carson Bays is an expert on factors affecting the price at the pump. He discussed additional factors that affect the price of gas in a Dec. 27 interview on WNCT-TV News. Read and/or listen to Bays' WNCT interview.  For additional information, download Bays' research on the topic.    Contact Bays.