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March 31, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-03-31

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 5A

From Page 1A

For Brandon, it was money
well spent.
"It's a big job with a lot of
expectations, and we feel very
good about how much we're
compensating him to help us
reach those expectations,"
Brandon said in an interview
with The Associated Press.
He later added: "The eco-
nomics were worked out in
minutes - not hours or days. It
was quick, easy and stress-free,
but it took several weeks to get
done because we let the lawyers
do their work with the contract
Hoke was a defensive line
coach under Lloyd Carr in
2002, and he led Ball State to an
astounding 12-1 record in 2008
- the Cardinals were a 5-7 squad
just two seasons before.
He then made the transition
to San Diego State after the 2008
season and guided the Aztecs to
an 8-4 record in 2010. The team
beat Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl
on Dec. 23, and Hoke helped put a
second football program back on
the map.
But when Michigan came
calling in January, there was no
doubt Hoke would end up in Ann
"The University offered (my
wife) Laura and I an opportunity
to coach at Michigan, and that's
been my dream," Hoke said.
"Nothing will change my focus."
At his introductory press con-
ference, Hoke said there was "no
doubt" he would coach at Michi-
gan forever. But if his contract
were to be terminated without
cause, his buyout would pay him
more than Rodriguez was paid
after he was fired.
From Page 1A
of Psychiatric Research: Genomes
and Neural Circuits." The paper,
which was published in March
2010 in Science magazine, out-
lines two types of research that
are crucial,td increasing scientific
understanding of common neuro-
psychiatric conditions.
According to the paper, there
have been no major break-
throughs in schizophrenia treat-
ment in 50 years and no major
breakthroughs in depression
treatment in 20 years. Addition-
ally, drugs developed in the last
few decades to treat depression
only work for a subset of the pop-
Akil and her co-authors wrote
that understanding these illness-
es is a large endeavor due to the
complexity of neural circuits and
the thousands of genes involved
in neural development. The root
cause of mental illness also differs
between amongindividuals.
Stanley Watson, the other
co-director of the University's
MBNI, compared a mental illness
to a fever, saying that it is neces-
sary to find the specific underly-
ing cause in order to treat the
"There are over 200 ways
you can get cough and fever in a
human ... so your treatment for an
allergyis differentthanfor a(bac-
terial) infection," Watson said.
. "The real Holy Grail is precision
about the illnesses ... by knowing

the pathways, then you've got a
shot at beginning to deduce what
to do."
Watson said it is important to
understand of the specific factors
causing a person's illness, so that
doctors can determine the best
treatment options.
Watson, who is Akil's hus-
band, also pointed to research in
genomics - the study of genes
and the mechanisms they con-
trol - and neural circuitry as the
areas that will improve under-
standing of these illnesses.
Margit Burmeister, a research
professor in the MBNI, said with
recent progress beingmade in the
fields of genetics, and genomics
as well as in bioinformatics and
statistics, it is now possible to do
genetic testing on tens of thou-
sands of people and on millions
of gene variants to "tease out"
genetic factors influencing men-
tal illness.
The most well known genetic
factor in the onset of mental ill-
ness is the serotonin transporter
gene, Burmeister said. This gene
is involved in recycling serotonin
- a neurotransmitter that con-
tributes to a person's happiness
- after it has been secreted into

From Page 1A
Rice outlined the energy per-
spectives of Russia, Venezuela
and the Middle East - three of
five major oil exporters to the
United States. Russia is currently
a "commodities giant," brim-
ming with emerging industries
that may eventually lead the
Russian economy away from the
oil market, Rice said. Currently,
80 percent of Russia's exports
are commodities, mostly related
to oil and gas, she said.
"(In) Russia you have a sig-
nificant marriage of politics, per-
sonal fortunes, political rivals,
statism and therefore an econ-
omy that is based more on 19th
century principles than 21st cen-
tury principles," Rice said.
Countries like Russia expe-
rience what Rice called "the
resource curse" - a phenomenon
that occurs when oil exporters
avoid diversifying their econo-
mies. Rice said that Middle East-
ern oil giants such as Iraq and
Kuwait are even better examples
because they are characterized
by excessive reliance on oil to

support their economies.
"(This dependence) is very
volatile," Rice said. "... It's not a
good thingto be so dependent on
these countries."
Rice also discussed the role
of energy dependents like the
United States and China, which
has foreign policies linked to its
oil access. Though China's econ-
omy has experienced significant
growth in recent years, Rice said
the country's vast development
has made it increasingly oil-
"You can be absolutely certain
that the Chinese are never going
to do anything in their foreign
policy - no matter how impor-
tant to us or to anybody else in
terms of stability - that affects
their access to the oil and gas
that they need to fuel their econ-
omy," Rice said.
Any type of international
energytreaty is unlikelyto mate-
rialize in the coming decades
because such an agreement
would be unsuccessful, Rice said.
Though many Americans
believe China will soon surpass
the United States as a world
superpower, Rice said China has
other concerns it must address

before any real shift in the
international balance of power
occurs. These issues include
recent episodes of civilian dis-
sent, which contradict the Chi-
nese government's claims of
having a "harmonious society,"
Rice said.
Similarly, the United States
may face its greatest threat from
within its borders due to prob-
lems surrounding immigration
law and unequal educational
opportunities that may hinder
the country from moving for-
ward, she said.
Andrea Olive, an adjunct assis-
tant professor in the Program in
the Environment at the Univer-
sity, said though she enjoyed the
lecture, Rice ignored aspects of
the oil trade that are closer to
"I'm sort of surprised that
there wasn't more discussion
about dependence on oil from
Canada and the major environ-
mental ramification that's hap-
pening in these two countries,"
Olive said. "This whole deci-
sion to move away from foreign
dependence has meant turning
to Canada, which is still a foreign

Head coach Brady Hoke advises running back Stephen Hopkins during a prac-
tice on Tuesday, March 29.

Rodriguez left Michigan with
$2.5 million in buyout money
- Hoke would get $3 million if
he was fired following the third
year of his contract.
And while there are vast dif-
ferences in the structure of
Hoke's contract compared to
Rodriguez's, Hoke's average sal-
ary might end up being higher
than his predecessor's. Rodri-
guez earned $2.5 million per
year during his three-year ten-
The contracts had similar ter-
mination with cause provisions,
as both state that the coach's
contract could be terminated for
violating NCAA, Big Ten confer-
ence or University rules.
Like Rodriguez, Hoke will
be entitled to the best available
tickets for Michigan athletic

events. He will also be allotted
an exclusive private viewing
box for all home football games,
which may be used to host fam-
ily, friends, donors or for busi-
ness purposes.
In the contract, the Universi-
ty agreed to pay San Diego State
$1 million to satisfy the buyout
terms of Hoke's contract with
the Aztecs.
Hoke's agent Trace Arm-
strong handled the specifics of
the deal with the University,
allowing Hoke to prepare for the
team's spring game on April 15
and its opener against Western
Michigan on Sep. 3.
"My focus has been on the
football program and will con-
tinue to be on making this pro-
gram the best in America," Hoke

the synapse, or the space between
neurons. Studies have shown that
a certain variant of the serotonin
transporter gene affects how peo-
ple react to stress.
Srijan Sen, an assistant profes-
sor in the University's Depart-
ment of Psychiatry, studied the
effects of the serotonin transport-
er gene in 740 medical students
working in 13 hospitals across the
country. To do this, he sequenced
the DNA of the students and then
monitoredtheir depression symp-
toms during their first years of
residency, which is considered
to be the most stressful time in
a medical student's career. Pub-
lished last June, Sen found that
during residency, students with
the less functional version of
the serotonin transporter gene
experienced more symptoms of
Though the evidence sup-
porting the link between the
serotonin transporter gene and
mental illness is strong, Burmeis-
ter noted that because genes work
together, one gene alone doesn't
have a major impact on a per-
son's susceptibility to psychiatric
disorders. Therefore, Sen is now
looking at hundreds of genes that
could have also affected the men-
tal health of the medical students
in the study, Burmeister said.
Watson said successful genom-
ics research requires more than
mere identification of the genes
involved in an illness. When it
comes to treatment, it's very dif-
ficult to develop a drug that tar-
gets a specific gene, he said. Thus,
in order to understand and treat
mental illness, it is necessary to
explore the other half of genom-
ics research, which involves the
actual physical processes that
genes code for, Watson said.
However, genomics is not the
only method available to explain
and combat psychiatric disor-
ders, Burmeister said.
"This idea that if something
is genetic it's deterministic is
a misconception that we have
to get over, because saying that
genes are involved in depres-
sion does not necessarily mean
that someone who has certain
genetic variants is doomed to
become depressed," Burmeister
said. "It just means that under
certain circumstances, he or she
may have to do certain things
to help alleviate it, but it's not
A person's genetics impact the
brain, but so do the drugs he or
she takes and the environment
the person lives in, Burmeister
said. This brings in the second
area for understanding mental
illness: neural circuitry.
The brain, especially with
physical structures associated
with memory or stress, can

rewire itself, Watson said. The
brain of a person with post-trau-
matic stress disorder changes
slightly as a result of repeatedly
remembering an event, he said.
"It might be just a matter of
learning too strongly what the
event was," Watson said. "Some-
times the startled nature of a
trauma is as fully important as
what the trauma was, and the
combination is really horrible."
Some PTSD treatments aim
to undo this rewiring by hav-
ing patients remember the event
under non-traumatic conditions
or with medication. Similar to
depression, there could be a
precipitating factor that drives
the initial depressive episode
of PTSD, Watson said. Over
time, the episodes occur more
frequently, indicating that the
brain has rewired toward the ill-
ness, and the person has essen-
tially learned to be depressed.
Akil and her co-authors
highlight some methods for
understanding complex neural
networks such as brain imag-
ing and noninvasively shutting
off different neurons in a neural
circuit in the brain and observ-
ing the effects.
John Greden, executive direc-
tor of the University's Compre-
hensive Depression Center, said
in addition to genomics and
brain imaging, sleep research is
key to understanding mental ill-
nesses. People struggling with
depression often have abnormal
sleeping habits that exacerbate
episodes of depression, he said.
"Sleep is probably the most
predictable variable that chang-
es when people get depressed,"
Greden said. "In other words,
most people with depression
have alterations or unpleasant
things happen with their sleep."
Research at the Depression
Center has revealed that moni-
toringthe brain waves of adoles-
centgirls as theysleep canreveal
abnormalities in their brains
that may make them vulnerable
to depression, Greden said. He
added that this is a finding that
could lead to earlier detection
and treatment of depression.
Greden said he thinks new
personalized treatments that
combine psychotherapy, brain
stimulation and nutritional
awareness to combat mental
health issues will develop in the
next three to five years.
Watson's view is that develop-
ing a scientific methodology to
treat mental illnesses will take a
few more decades.
"I think you're looking at
a 20-year horizon," he said.
"That's not so difficult to con-
ceive of anymore. That number
is actually built on real calcula-

From Page 1A
will serve for many as a portal to
the past.
With 35 children's books under
her belt, Lowry continues to write
from her home in Cambridge,
Mass. Though best known for her
two Newbery Medal novels, "The
Giver" and "Number the Stars,"
Lowry has also written a range of
other books, including her latest,
"Bless This Mouse," which came
out on March 21.
In an interview with The
Michigan Daily, Lowry said she
is looking forward to her visit to
Ann Arbor, though she wants to
keep the content of her lecture
under wraps. Her talk is titled "In
the Dreamworld, It Doesn't Mat-
"This particular title comes
from an incident in my not-too-
distant past with those words
having been said," Lowry said.
"And so I thought they lent them-
selves to a talk about imagination
and all that stuff that goes into a
dream world."
Lowry makes her return to
Ann Arbor after an earlier post as
writer-in-residence in the Resi-
dential College. The experience
of living in East Quad is one the
author will always remember.
"At one point I hung a hand-
written sign on my door in the
middle of the night that said, 'Out

of the respect for the extremely
elderly person trying to sleep in
this room, can you keep the noise
down,' " Lowry said. "Besides
from that, it was a very pleasant
Thoughhername mightroll off
many students' tongues, Lowry
had no idea her career would end
up as it has. As a photographer
and freelance journalist in the
1970s, Lowry caught the eye of an
editor at Houghton Mifflin who
suggested that she write a chil-
dren's book.
"They perceived that I was
someone who was able to look out
of the eyes and perceptions of a
child," Lowry said. "A lot of writ-
ers - evenvery successful writers
for adults - are not able to write
for kids. It is because they don't
have that particular capacity to
put themselves back into the per-
ceptions of a child. And for some
reason, that's easy and comfort-
able for me."
Lowry found tremendous suc-
cess in this endeavor, particularly
in writing fiction novels.
"I think fiction is a good way -
this is true for anyone of any age
- of rehearsing what you haven't
experienced yet," Lowry said. "If
you move alongthroughthe read-
ing of a book - identifying with
the main character - facing what
the main character does, ina way
you're rehearsing for how you
will deal with those things when
you face them yourself later on."

Lowry's works often contain
material that some might deem
too sophisticated for her audi-
ence, diving into complex issues
such as terminal illness, utopian
societies, racism and the Holo-
caust. Yet, her writing resonates
with the reader.
"If a book is good, it doesn't
hit a kid over the head with
'Issues' with a capital 'I' or
'Problems' with a capital 'P,' "
Lowry said. "It simply tells a
good story, which is something
that is intrinsic to us."
Lowry explained that she
enjoys problem-solving just as
much as the characters in her
stories do. Though she admits
that more intense books become
draining to write after a while,
the thought process is enriching.
" 'The Giver,' the two books
that follow it and the fourth one
that I'm writing now, fall into a
vague category - some people
call it fantasy or soft science fic-
tion," Lowry said. "Those are fun
to do because they require specu-
lation on my part and an element
of magical realism."
Taking on the role of the main
character in her best-known
work, Lois Lowry herself will be
the "giver" of wisdom today as
she helps foster interest in chil-
dren's literature on campus.
"Writing for kids has proven
to be so satisfying for me that I
(haven't) written for adults for
some years," Lowry said.


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