Headliners

HISTORICALLY RIGHT HANDED: The research of David Frayer, professor of anthropology, showing that humans’ tendency to be right handed goes back at least 500,000 years has been widely reported, including a piece on CBSnews.com. Frayer recently published a paper showing that marks on fossilized teeth show that righties have outnumbered lefties by at least nine to one for thousands of years. "These marks were produced when a stone tool was accidentally dragged across the labial face in an activity performed at the front of the mouth," Frayer said. "The heavy scoring on some of the teeth indicates the marks were produced over the lifetime of the individual and are not the result of a single cutting episode."

FIGHTING DEPRESSION NATURALLY: Stephen Ilardi, associate professor of psychology, was quoted in the Seattle Times and St. Petersburg Times about his research into a natural way to fight depression. Estimates have shown that up to 10 percent of Americans take prescription antidepressants. He has developed a natural six-step method to combat depression. "People often think they have to swallow a pill and ingest chemicals. The idea of my research was that we really need to do better," Ilardi said.

PREHISTORIC GIANT SPIDER: Paul Selden, Distinguished Professor of Geology, was quoted in a BBC article about the largest fossilized spider on record. Selden was part of a team of researchers that documented a 165-million-year-old fossilized spider found in China. "She is the largest known fossil spider. Her body is not the biggest, but if you add in her long legs then she's the largest," Selden said.

CARDIAC YOGA: Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, associate professor of cardiology, was quoted in a Kansas City Star article about a study he conducted that showed yoga can help patients with atrial fibrillation. His study showed that three months of breathing exercises, meditation and yoga poses helped lead to fewer incidences of irregular heartbeats and less anxiety and depression in such patients. “It doesn’t mean atrial fibrillation is cured by yoga, but it decreases its impact on your life,” Lakkireddy said. “These patients feel better and think they can deal with their symptoms better than they could before.”

AGING FRIENDLY: David Ekerdt, professor of sociology, was quoted in a Kansas City Star article about America’s aging population and the challenges Kansas City will face in the coming years. There is talk of legislation to address the problem, but Ekerdt says people should be thinking about more radical changes to help elderly individuals. “Maybe we need to take those blocks of split levels in Prairie Village or those blocks of two-story houses in Brookside and raze them,” Ekerdt said. “Anything with stairs isn’t a good idea. We need downsized housing in retirement communities with all the services they need.”

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Mulu Negash, academic adviser, McNair Scholars Program
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