This Week in Research: Death, Terrorism, and a Really Cool Video

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In this series, we look at the newest findings coming out of our area’s top research universities. We’ve got some great minds in Baltimore — let’s learn what they’re learning!

Okay, this one is less “research” and more “cool experiment”:  what happens to a glass of water in space? Would it freeze? Would it boil? Would it kind of… float there creepily? Well, one cool thing about Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab is that they have all sorts of cool equipment with which to simulate space. So if that question is still bothering you (hint:  it’s kind of a trick question), just watch the video above to find out what happens.

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According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 69 percent of lung cancer patients and 81 percent of colorectal cancer patients didn’t understand that their chemotherapy wasn’t likely to cure their cancer. That’s because physicians aren’t forthright enough with their patients, says Johns Hopkins oncologist Thomas Smith. “We do a fair job of communicating to patients that their terminal illness is incurable, but only one-third of doctors tell patients their prognosis at any time during their care.” Smith, who’s also the director of palliative medicine at Hopkins, recommends the ask-tell-ask method:  “asking patients what they want to know about their prognosis, telling them what they want to know, and then asking, ‘What do you now understand about your situation?’ ”

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Although the central branch of al-Qaida may have been pummeled into submission by strategic assassinations/drone attacks/other methods — only one of the 5000 terrorist attacks in 2011 is attributed to the group — but that hardly means they’re not a danger. The real issue now, according to recent research out of the University of Maryland, is al-Qaida linked groups, like al-Shabaab in Somalia (which killed 70 and injured 42 last year) and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen (110 killed; 45 injured). More than a quarter of 2011’s terrorist attacks happened in Iraq, while the U.S.’s ten attacks amounted to less than .2 percent of global terror attacks.



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