September 30, 2011

Men with testicular cancer who write positively about the experience show improved mental health

Men who channeled positive thoughts into a five-week writing assignment about their testicular cancer showed signs of improved mental health afterward, in contrast to men who wrote negatively or neutrally about their condition, according to results of a Baylor University pilot study.

The findings are encouraging for those with testicular cancer who are seeking mental and emotional therapy as well as physical treatment, said researcher Dr. Mark T. Morman, professor of communication studies and graduate program director at Baylor University.

Morman's study was cited in an article titled "Journaling for Health and Peace of Mind," that appears in the current issue of Healthymagination. The article discusses the benefits of daily journal writing for those suffering the effects of psychological trauma and depression.

"We think writing about the experience could add to the therapy and can help with recovery and quality-of life issues after treatment, as the men try to get on with their lives," Morman said.

Professor receives $210,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

Dr. Sarah-Jane Murray, associate professor in the Great Texts Program in the Institute for Studies of Religion, has received a $210,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to translate the Ovide moralisé from Old French into English.

Murray's translation will make this seminal work available to a broad audience in the humanities and popular readers for the first time.

The Ovide moralisé (or Moralized Ovid) occupies a strategic place in the intellectual tradition of Western Europe. Composed in France at the beginning of the 14th century, it offers readers a complete verse translation and adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses (approximately 12,000 lines) in Old French, as well as more than 60,000 lines of philosophical and theological commentary.

Due to its length and complexity, the Ovide moralisé has not yet been translated into a modern, living language. The text is therefore only accessible to specialists trained in Old French. Numerous scholars agree that the Ovide moralisé profoundly shaped the reception of Ovidian myth by great authors like Dante, Bocaccio, Chaucer, Machaut, Gower and even Shakespeare.

"This is exactly the kind of prestigious scholarship we want people to associate with Baylor University," said Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities and director of Manuscript Research in Scripture and Tradition at Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion.

Study finds consequences of co-worker rudeness are far-reaching

A co-worker's rudeness can have a great impact on relationships far beyond the workplace, according to a Baylor University study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. When the employee comes home more stressed and distracted, the partner is likely to pick up more of the family responsibilities, and those demands may interfere with the partner's work life. The study also found that such stress also significantly affected the worker's and the partner's marital satisfaction.

"These findings emphasize the notion that organizations must realize the far-reaching effects of co-worker incivility and its impact on employees and their families," said study author Dr. Merideth J. Ferguson, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Hankamer School of Business.

Baylor Institute for Oral History staff among the recipients of award for Texas in World War II initiative

A multi-year, statewide oral history project, Texas in World War II, started by the Texas Historical Commission, has won national recognition for the Institute for Oral History at Baylor.

Among the recipients of the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit are Dr. Stephen Sloan, BBA '90, MA '98, director of the Institute for Oral History; Lois Myers, BA '68, MA '88, associate director; and Elinor Mazé, senior editor.

Work the Institute for Oral History did for the project ranged from giving workshops around the state on oral history practices to interviewing World War II veterans and others who participated in war efforts on the home front.

"It was a very rewarding experience. We met so many enthusiastic volunteers across Texas, eager to help preserve these stories before they are lost, as the generation that can tell them passes away," Mazé said.

Scientists develop new way to predict the safety of chemicals

Baylor environmental researchers have proposed a new approach to predict the environmental safety of chemicals by using data from other similar chemicals.

For many chemicals in use every day, scientists do not have enough information to understand all of the effects on the environment and human health, says study co-author Dr. Bryan Brooks, associate professor of environmental science and biomedical studies and director of environmental health science.

In the study, the researchers suggest using data from other chemicals, such as what concentrations can cause toxicity in aquatic organisms, to predict the toxicity of another chemical that scientists expect causes toxicity in the same way.

"The approach we propose should help prioritize the selection of chemicals and organisms for additional safety assessments. Instead of having to test similar chemicals on many organisms over and over again, scientists could estimate safety levels using fewer tests, which could be more efficient without compromising environmental safety," said study co-author Dr. Spencer Williams, a research scientist at Baylor.

The study appears online in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.