Stories this week at Wake Forest University

By Jacob McConnico
July 6, 2005

WILL BUSH WIN THE SUMMER SUPREME COURT BATTLE? — With liberals and conservatives gearing up for a fight over a Supreme Court replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor, members of the media can turn to John Dinan, the Zachary T. Smith Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University for analysis of the nomination and confirmation process. "The first and most important question concerning the fate of any Bush nomination is how to interpret a recent agreement made by 14 moderate Senators that established some guidelines regarding the judicial confirmation process but left unclear whether 50 or 60 votes would be required for the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court nominee," said Dinan, author of "Keeping the People's Liberties: Legislators, Citizens, and Judges as Guardians of Rights." He said that if Bush only needs 50 of 100 Senators, as has been the traditional practice with Supreme Court confirmations, those votes should easily be available among the 55 Senate seats controlled by the Republicans. But, if Democrats impose a higher standard that would require the approval of 60 Senators, as they have recently required of various lower federal court nominees, then we could be in for a long and contentious confirmation battle this summer.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.

MODERATE WEIGHT LOSS TAKES MAJOR PRESSURE OFF THE KNEE — Weight loss could be four times as beneficial for overweight or obese adults suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, according to new research from Wake Forest published in the July issue of "Arthritis & Rheumatism." Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest, was principal investigator for the study. He discovered that when study participants lost weight, every pound lost netted a 4-pound reduction in pressure exerted on knees. With every step taken, the amount of pressure not placed on the knees begins to add up. "For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in comprehensive load per mile walked," Messier writes in the study article. Osteoarthritis, a disease that destroys cartilage tissue that acts like shock absorbers in the joints, is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Obesity is the most important, modifiable risk factor associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

ASIAN GAMES FAMILY DAY FEATURES GAMES, SCAVENGER HUNT — Families can play a variety of games and participate in a scavenger hunt at the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology's family day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 9. Featured games include Parcheesi, chess, Chinese checkers and dominoes. Children will have the opportunity to try out Chinese shuttlecocks and yo-yos, as well as play a matching card game and animal-themed dominoes. Families can also participate in a scavenger hunt that is a part of the exhibit "Asian Games: The Art of Contest." Open through Aug. 16, the exhibit highlights the importance of Asia as a source of many games. All family day events, as well as the exhibit, are free and open to the public.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

KEEP YOUR COOL WHEN EXERCISING IN THE HEAT — Don Bergey, a Wake Forest health and exercise science instructor, says even the most fit gym rat should be wary of the dangers of heat stroke and take steps to prevent it. "You can die from heat stroke," Bergey said. "If you happen to have a non-fatal case of heat stroke, you make yourself susceptible to it again because you ruin your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates body temperature." Bergey, who is also the exercise programs director for Wake Forest's Healthy Exercise & Lifestyle ProgramS (HELPS), advises anyone who wants to take their workouts outside to follow these four basic steps:

  • Let your body adjust to exercising in the heat by working out at a lower intensity for the first one or two weeks.
  • Stay hydrated. To find out how much water you should drink, Bergey says weigh yourself before and after working out. For every pound you lose, drink one pint of water. Bergey also says that water — not sports drinks — is what most people should drink.
  • Work out at the coolest time of the day. Bergey says contrary to popular belief, the coolest time of day is just before the sun rises in the morning, not after 5 or 6 p.m.
  • Wear as little clothing as possible so that sweat can evaporate. "This is how your body cools itself," Bergey said.

    Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

    EUROPEAN YOUTH VISIT WFU, STUDY CIVIL RIGHTS — For the next month, students and teachers from Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia will be at Wake Forest to learn, explore and experience American culture and politics. This is the fifth year that Wake Forest will be one of only two universities in the nation to host the Southeast European Youth Leadership Institute (SEEYLI). The program, funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute, is designed to help participants identify challenges and opportunities for developing and supporting civil societies in their native countries. While in Winston-Salem, participants will take classes at Wake Forest on a variety of civil rights topics, as well as experience American social and cultural activities ranging from stays with local families to a Winston-Salem Warthogs baseball game. The visit will wrap up with an International Debate Festival, culminating in a public debate.

    Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF 'ACCENTUATING THE POSITIVE' IN CHILDREN — Quoting Johnny Mercer, Wake Forest counseling expert Samuel T. Gladding says parents should "accentuate the positive/eliminate the negative" with their children. Gladding, the author of "Family Therapy" and other widely used counseling textbooks, says the difference between encouragement and discouragement is the difference between success and failure. "All kids can feel good about themselves and increase their achievement if they feel empowered and encouraged," says Gladding, president of the American Counseling Association and chair of the counseling department at Wake Forest. Gladding, a father of three sons, advises parents to help their children focus on the positives by praising their talents (everyone has at least one), pointing out the hidden positives of less-than-ideal experiences and establishing positive rituals around tasks that can be unpleasant, such as homework.

    Contact: Cheryl V. Walker, or 336-758-5237.

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