That Drinking Feeling

When state-level unemployment goes up, so does binge drinking, reveals a new study by principal investigator Michael T. French, professor of health economics and director of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Health Economics Research Group. Published in the journal Health Economics, the study finds that worsening macroeconomic conditions also increase drunk driving and alcohol abuse/dependence across all ethnic groups and in both genders. And even those with jobs are more likely to drive under the influence and binge drink in a tanking economy.


Big Clue in Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Miller School of Medicine researchers are among an international group of scientists who made a major discovery in what causes the neurodegenerative disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The finding was published in the journal Neuron. Investigators identified on chromosome 9 a genetic abnormality that is probably the most common cause of familial ALS discovered to date. More important, it may also be the cause in a significant minority of individuals with apparently sporadic (non-familial) ALS. Neurologists Michael G. Benatar, associate professor, Neuromuscular Division chief, and Walter Bradley Chair in ALS Research, and Joanne Wuu, research assistant professor in the Clinical Translational Research Division, were co-authors of the Miller School arm of the study.


The Umpire State

During Major League Baseball’s six-month season, 30 teams play 2,430 games across 27 cities. Tallys Yunes, assistant professor of management science at the School of Business Administration, and his collaborators have created a computational solution for the dizzying task of scheduling umpires that’s been used for five of the past six seasons. Previously a former umpire would spend weeks devising the umpire crew schedule manually in Excel. Now it takes just days, with optimized results. The journal Interfaces published the study.