Posted February 20, 2014

Highlights from recent stories about Temple in the media

Itch research by new Dermatology chairman on front page of NYT's "Science Times"
Why does it feel so good to scratch an itch? “It’s quite intriguing to see how many brain centers are activated,” said Gil Yosipovitch, chairman of Dermatology at Temple's School of Medicine and director of the Temple Center for Itch. “There is no one itch center. Everyone wants that target, but it doesn’t work in real life like that.” Within the last decade, there has been a flurry of research into what causes itching and how to stop it. For the first time in the U.S., itching research and treatment centers have opened: Temple’s in September, and Washington University’s in 2011.
New York Times | Feb. 17, 2014

Fox School team takes "scientific look" at responses to Super Bowl ads
You may think you know which Super Bowl ad you liked most. But through the efforts of Temple scholars, the picture has been clarified with the tools of hard science. Boston-based Innerscope Research measured physiological characteristics of people watching the commercials, including heart rates and breathing patterns. The company invited the Temple team to put ad-watchers in an MRI machine, measuring brain activity with a type of scan called a functional MRI. "We used the fMRI data to open the black box of the brain," said Angelika Dimoka, director of the Fox School's Center for Neural Decision Making.
Philadelphia Inquirer | Feb. 20, 2014

Temple sociologist Levine discusses single mothers and her new book on MSNBC
Sociologist Judith Levine joined a panel on MSNBC's "The Melissa Harris-Perry Show" to discuss issues of trust facing single mothers from low-income backgrounds, the subject of her new book, Ain't No Trust. Why does trust matter? "Distrust undermines policy goals. If you don't believe the policy is actually going to be delivered as promised, the incentive effect is gone," Levine said. "Secondly, trust is really a form of inequality that goes along with income inequality. When you're at the bottom of the income distribution and the bottom of the power structure, you don't feel you can rely on others."
MSNBC | Jan. 12, 2014

Temple substance abuse research expert discusses heroin use surge
As the number of people who fatally overdose on heroin has skyrocketed, authorities are seeing the return of heroin that, often unbeknownst to the user, is spiked with fentanyl, a narcotic that is typically administered to people in chronic pain. It is considered 80 times more powerful than morphine and can kill by inhibiting breathing. "The dealers push this as being a super high, which it is, but it's also lethal," said Ellen Unterwald, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at Temple's School of Medicine, in widely distributed AP and UPI stories.
CBS News, ABC News, NBC News, Fox News, Yahoo! News,,, Bloomberg/Businessweek, Daily Mail (U.K.), Charlotte Observer, Minneapolis StarTribune, many more | Feb. 16-17, 2014

Scientific American: Temple surgeon on the state of robotic surgery
For much of its brief history, robot-assisted surgery has been synonymous with the da Vinci system. But some researchers are hoping to develop an alternative system based on hardware and software that are freely available. Surgeons would be better served by having multiple robotic surgery systems to choose from, says Temple surgeon and chief of robotics T. Sloane Guy, who has used da Vinci to perform numerous cardiac operations. “In general, I’m a big believer in open source," Guy said. But the open-source model is largely unproved when it comes to developing medical technology that requires “little to no tolerance for problems,” he added.
Scientific American | Feb. 11, 2014

CLA linguist on Philadelphia's unique dialects
Youse guys sure have an interesting way of talking. What is the Philly dialect, really? And what, exactly, is a "jawn"? That word has proved surprisingly durable, yet resolutely local. "A lot of my students who grew up in Philadelphia don't know that others don't know that word," said Muffy Siegel, a Temple linguist who has written academic papers on the usage of "like" and "dude." "Students have gotten into big fights about what jawn means," she added. "Men will tell you, 'Of course, you can use jawn to refer to a woman.' A lot of women would say, 'You'd better not.' And I certainly wouldn't, because it does sort of mean 'a thing.'"
Philadelphia Inquirer | Feb. 19, 2014

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