UAB Magazine Online Features
The Fall 2010 edition of UAB Magazine is out now in print and online. The cover story explores the wide range of opportunities available to UAB undergraduates and includes profiles of student adventures from autism research to Antarctic voyages through Study Away.
In this issue, you also can discover:
New insights on autism from UAB researchers;
Why the University Boulevard Office Building is a world center of computer crime;
How UAB students are bringing old murder cases back from the dead;
Why the time of day has a lot to do with your risk of heart attack (and diet success);
What innovative idea is taking root on top of the Chemistry Building; and more.
Ovie Soko’s Journey to Basketball—and Birmingham
By Grant Martin
As a young basketball player growing up in a country obsessed with soccer, Ovie Soko knew he would need to go away if he ever wanted to get noticed playing basketball. Plenty of people are noticing him now.
Soko, a sophomore forward on the UAB men’s basketball team, left his hometown of London, England, three years ago to finish high school in the United States. This past summer, Soko returned to Europe to represent Great Britain in the 2010 Under 20 Men’s Basketball European Championship. He led his team in scoring with more than 19 points per game and put in a dominating 31-point, seven-rebound effort in the final game. Soko’s scoring average was the fourth highest among all players in the tournament.
The performance was an encouraging sign for UAB, which expects to depend heavily on Soko in the coming season—but Soko says it’s also a sign of the rising level of basketball talent in his home country.
UAB Preserves the Voices of Birmingham’s Past
By Charles Buchanan
Downtown Birmingham seen from Red Mountain Park. Click here for more images. Photo: Eric McFerrin/Red Mountain Park
The mines of Birmingham’s Red Mountain fell silent nearly 50 years ago, but Ike Matson never did. He tells stories about becoming an industrial laborer at the age of 18, his experiences working the slope track that ferried miners to the ore, and the amount of the first paycheck he earned—$72.
He has plenty more stories where those came from, and soon he will share them with thousands of listeners thanks to an oral history project from UAB and Red Mountain Park, a new, 1,108-acre preserve covering much of the former mining lands. Launched in 2009, the ongoing initiative is collecting the accounts of people who lived and worked on the mountain when it was Birmingham’s industrial epicenter.
Analyzing a New Prescription for Cardiovascular Disease
By Kathleen Yount
If you don’t already have a bottle of statins in your medicine cabinet, there could be one in your future. This class of cholesterol-lowering drugs has been so successful in treating millions of Americans with high cholesterol and heart disease that momentum is gathering to broaden its use: In March, the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca secured the government’s permission to market its statin medication, rosuvastatin (Crestor), to some groups of people who don’t even have high cholesterol.
The move was prompted by a 2008 study called JUPITER, which showed that taking rosuvastatin reduced participants’ risk of death by 20 percent. The drug also reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events in men 50 years and older and women 60 years and older who had “near optimal” LDL—a.k.a. “bad”—cholesterol levels (less than 130 mg/dL) and no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, but did have elevated levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (see “Do You Need a Statin?”).
The interpretation of the JUPITER study results has been hotly debated in the scientific community. Some say the effects are statistically significant but don’t have much clinical impact for people at normal risk. Others, such as UAB cardiologist Vera Bittner, M.D., argue that many people who do not fall into a high-risk category in the near term still have a significant lifetime risk of heart disease, and that early medical intervention could be the key to preventing premature death and disability in these populations.
Bittner says that there’s good reason to consider broadening the prescription of statins: Our nation is at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than we think it is.