Daily Debriefing

by Blaze Joel | 1/4/12 11:00pm

Dartmouth College was ranked eighth in Foreign Policy Magazine's list of the top ten undergraduate international relations programs in the country, joining the ranks of Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University, the magazine announced this month. Foreign Policy cited the work of the government department, especially that of professors Dirk Vandewalle and Jennifer Lind, whose research focuses on current international affairs. The College is the only school on the magazine's list lacking a graduate program associated with international relations. The rankings are based on research conducted by the Teaching, Research and International Policy program at the College of William and Mary and a survey of international relations faculties from every four-year institution in America, according to Dartmouth Now.

Dartmouth psychology professor Ming Meng, a leading innovator in the field of brain functioning, has combined functional magnetic resonance imaging, computer vision and psychophysics to assign specific functions to different sides of the brain, according to EurekAlert, a science news website. His research focuses on distinguishing between the facial recognition capabilities of the right and left brain. Using images of faces and "non-face" objects, Meng collected fMRI data about his subjects' brain activity, the website reported. The implications of Meng's research have created a new frame of reference for studying conditions like autism, which is marked by trouble with facial recognition and. Knowing how the brain processes faces may enable doctors to identify some of the organizational discrepancies present in an autistic individual's brain, according to the website.

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice announced that the Republican plan for across-the-board cuts to Medicare may cost the country more money than reforming the program, according to a study headed by economics professor Jonathan Skinner and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cuts to the program will cause new Medicare patients to be turned away, slow the systems already in place and decrease the presence of collaborative consortiums that try to improve health care for Americans, according to the study, co-authored by Dartmouth Medical School professor and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Chief Executive Officer James Weinstein and DMS professor Elliott Fisher. In order to decrease Medicare spending, money could be withheld and rebated to health care regions experiencing decreasing growth in medical costs, compelling hospitals to improve care and emphasize cost-efficiency, according to the study. A system in place for withholding 6 percent of Medicare costs could create $400 billion in revenue over the course of a decade, according to the report.