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NBC News: Even people with breast cancer risk genes can lower risk
Women who carry common gene variants linked to breast cancer can still cut their risk of the disease by following a healthy lifestyle, a large new study suggests. In fact, lifestyle might be especially powerful for women at relatively high genetic risk of breast cancer, researchers found. William Dupont, professor of biostatistics and health policy, Jeffrey Blume, associate professor of biostatistics, and Jeffrey Smith, associate professor of medicine and cancer biology, were quoted from an editorial they wrote about the study. The story also ran in HealthDay News and WebMD, both of which quoted Dupont.

The Conversation: Impeachment, culture wars and the politics of identity in Brazil

Brazil is in the midst of its worst political crisis since the 1960s and possibly its most severe economic downturn in the last 100 years. Most of the commentary on Brazil’s current crisis has focused on politics and economics. The more profound threat generated by this crisis will be to Brazilians’ sense of self—to their very identity as Brazilians, writes Marshall Eakin, professor of history.

Wired: Soon you’ll swallow origami pills and get magnetic colonoscopies
This might be a tough pill to swallow, but the future of medicine is all about ingestible sensors. Things like cameras to scope out your bowels and electronics that detect if you’ve taken your medicine (recently FDA-approved, by the way). Pietro Valdastri, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and medicine, is developing—with funding from the National Institutes of Health—a colonoscopy robot that uses the origami pill’s principle of magnetic guidance. Valdastri is quoted in the article.

Miami Herald: Opinion: Black students are still denied gifted-ed classes
Educators and civil-rights activists recently lauded the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark school desegregation case, but black and Native American children continue to be segregated into special-education programs and black and brown children are underrepresented in gifted-education programs, write Bradley Bennett, former editor of the Miami Herald, and his wife, Adeyela Bennett. Recent research coauthored by Jason Grissom, associate professor of public policy and education, is mentioned.

Colorado Springs Gazette: Among M.Div. graduates, a new crop of transgender students
Seminary is often the place where students come to terms with their identities, and gender is among them. No surprise, a small, but growing number of transgender students seek out divinity school precisely because it is a place where they can wrestle with questions about their place and purpose in the universe. Vanderbilt Divinity School is listed among divinity schools that have admitted transgender students.

Bristol Herald Courier: ETSU, Vanderbilt partnering for $2.4M federal grant to study trained immunity

Researchers from East Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University recently garnered a $2.4 million federal grant to jointly study a cutting-edge concept in immunology. The four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow principal investigators David Williams, a professor of surgery at ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine, and Ed Sherwood, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt, to collaboratively research the concept of trained immunity. Sherwood is quoted in the article.

Independent Herald (Oneida, Tennessee): Scott’s roads needs surpass $130 million
As state officials and policymakers wrangle with the best way to restructure Tennessee’s highway funding, the number of road projects that need to be tended to in Scott County is growing—with no obvious solution in sight. A Vanderbilt University poll conducted in November found that nearly seven out of every 10 Tennesseans support a two-cent gas tax increase. A follow up poll conducted last month found that 52 percent support a 12-cent increase, which would generate $360 million annually for road projects.

The Tennessean: Tennessee colleges show 4-year drop in need for remedial classes
Fewer students at Tennessee’s public colleges need remedial classes to prepare for higher education, a new report shows, and officials are citing it as an early example that a program embedding extra support in high schools is succeeding. The data, released this week as part of the Tennessee Higher Education fact book, show a four-year drop in the percentage of first-time freshmen who arrived at college in need of remedial classes. Researchers at Harvard and Vanderbilt have teamed up for a study on the academic fate of students in the Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support program, known as SAILS, after they enroll in college. Angela Boatman, assistant professor of public policy and higher education, is quoted.

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