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Friday, October 17, 2008

Magnetic field 'aids coma victim'

Josh Villa
Josh Villa was not expected to recover

A US patient left in a coma-like state after a road accident recovered the ability to speak after repeated exposure to a magnetic field.

Josh Villa had not been expected to recover from massive head injuries.

When "transcranial magnetic stimulation" was aimed at his brain, he could speak simple words, and respond to commands, New Scientist reports.

The Chicago-based scientists now plan further research to see if therapy works in other patients.

I believe that electromagnetic treatments such as deep brain stimulation, direct current transcranial stimulation, and TMS may all have therapeutic promise
Dr John Whyte
Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute
Philadelphia

It is hard for doctors to predict the extent to which brain-damaged patients will recover after falling into a coma, or a "persistent vegetative state".

Josh Villa was 26 when he was thrown through the windscreen of his car, and, almost a year later, he was able to open his eyes, but was unresponsive to any kind of external stimulus.

Dr Theresa Pape, from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, enrolled him in a six-week study in which an electromagnetic coil was held over the front of his head.

The idea is to stimulate activity in brain cells, in this case, the cells of the "dorsolateral cortex", a part of the brain which sends stimulating messages to other parts of the brain.

After approximately 15 sessions, he would turn his head and look at the person talking to him.

Then he started obeying simple commands, such as following the movement of a thumb and finger when asked, and could produce single words, such as "help" or "erm".

After 30 sessions there was no further improvement, and he was sent home to be cared for by his mother.

She says that the treatment has made it far easier to look after him.

Dr Pape is now hoping to begin a similar treatment programme in a second patient in a coma-like state.

Natural recovery

However, another scientist warned that it is possible the magnetic stimulation was not entirely responsible.

Dr John Whyte, from the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in Philadelphia, said that even eight months after a brain injury, spontaneous improvement of this type was "not uncommon".

He added: "I believe that electromagnetic treatments such as deep brain stimulation, direct current transcranial stimulation, and TMS may all have therapeutic promise.

"However, proving their efficacy is very challenging because of the confounding and highly variable effects of natural recovery.

"So single cases provide very weak evidence except when treatment occurs very late (so spontaneous recovery should be minimal) and the patient is studied for a considerable interval both before and after the treatment."

TMS has produced promising results when used to treat stroke patients, and those with spinal cord injuries.

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Why 'Stayin' Alive' could literally save your life: Disco song has perfect rhythm to jump-start a heart, says doctor

By Daily Mail Reporter

'Stayin' Alive' might be more true to its name than the Bee Gees ever could have guessed: At 103 beats per minute, the old disco song has almost the perfect rhythm to help jump-start a stopped heart.

And in a small but intriguing study from the University of Illinois medical school, doctors and students maintained close to the ideal number of chest compressions doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation while listening to the catchy, sung-in-falsetto tune from the 1977 movie 'Saturday Night Fever.'

The American Heart Association recommends 100 chest compressions per minute, far more than most people realize, study author Dr. David Matlock said.

Saturday night fever

Stayin' Alive! People doing CPR are more likely to get the beat right when listening to the tune on their ipods.

And while CPR can triple heart attack survival rates when properly performed, many people hesitate to do it because they're not sure about keeping the proper rhythm, Matlock said.

He found that 'Stayin' Alive,' which has a way of getting stuck in your head anyway, can help with that.

His study involved 15 students and doctors and had two parts. First they did CPR on mannequins while listening to the song on iPods. They were asked to time chest compressions with the song's beat.

Five weeks later, they did the same drill without the music but were told to think of the song while doing compressions.

The average number of compressions the first time was 109 per minute; the second time it was 113.

That's more than recommended, but Matlock said that when it comes to trying to revive a stopped heart, a few extra compressions per minute is better than too few.

'It drove them and motivated them to keep up the rate, which is the most important thing,' he said.

The study showed the song helped people who already know how to do CPR, and the results were promising enough to warrant larger, more definitive studies with real patients or untrained people, Matlock said.

Resuscitation

The disco tune worked wonders in classes where students were having trouble keeping the right beat while practicing CPR on mannequins, said a doctor

He plans to present his findings at an American College of Emergency Physicians meeting in Chicago this month.

The American Heart Association has been using the song as a training tip for CPR instructors for about two years.

They learned of it from a physician 'who sort of hit upon this as a training tool,' said association spokesman Dr. Vinay Nadkarni of the University of Pennsylvania.

He said he was not aware of any previous studies that tested the song.

But Nadkarni said he has seen 'Stayin' Alive' work wonders in classes where students were having trouble keeping the right beat while practicing on mannequins.

When he turned on the song, 'all of a sudden, within just a few seconds, they get it right on the dot.'

'I don't know how the Bee Gees knew this,' Nadkarni said. 'They probably didn't. But they just hit upon this natural rhythm that was very catchy, very popular, that helps us do the right thing.'

Dr. Matthew Gilbert, a 28-year-old medical resident, was among participants in the University of Illinois study this past spring.

Since then, he said, he has revived real patients by keeping the song in his head while doing CPR.

Gilbert said he was surprised the song worked as well as it did.

'I was a little worried because I've been told that I have a complete lack of rhythm,' he said. Also, Gilbert said he's not really a disco fan.

He does happen to like a certain Queen song with a similar beat.

'I heard a rumor that 'Another One Bites the Dust' works also, but it didn't seem quite as appropriate,' Gilbert said.

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Diabetes aspirin use questioned


Aspirin
Aspirin makes it harder for blood clots to form

Aspirin should not routinely be used to prevent heart attacks in people with diabetes, Scottish research suggests.

The British Medical Journal reported that in 1,300 adults with no symptoms of heart disease the drug, which can cause stomach bleeds, had no benefit.

The findings contradict many guidelines which advocate people with diabetes use aspirin to counter the underlying high risk of heart attack and stroke.

But there are key high-risk groups who still need the drug, experts said.

Patients with concerns are advised to consult their GP before changing medication.

In people who have already had a heart attack or stroke, or have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of future "events" by around 25%.

Patients shouldn't panic or stop taking aspirin
Professor Steve Field, Royal College of GPs

However, in recent years doctors have begun to focus on people who have not yet developed so-called cardiovascular disease, but are at high-risk of having it in the future - such as people with diabetes.

There are around two million people over 40 with diabetes in the UK.

Around 80% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease including strokes and heart attacks.

A daily dose of aspirin is recommended by several UK guidelines as a "preventive" treatment in these groups.

No benefit

But in the latest study in adults over 40 years with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and no symptoms of cardiovascular disease, there was no difference over seven years in heart attacks or strokes between those given aspirin and those given a dummy pill.

Study leader Professor Jill Belch, from the University of Dundee, said aspirin was one of the most common causes of hospital admission for gastrointestinal bleeding.

"We have got a bit ahead of ourselves with aspirin.

"We need to think again about using it for primary prevention."

However she stressed the drug was beneficial in people who had already had a heart attack or stroke.

Professor Peter Sever, an expert in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics at Imperial College London, said the study was "extremely important".

"It confirms many concerns we have that aspirin is very widely used in the general population without an evidence base to support its overall benefits.

"Thousands of people buy aspirin over the counter - I'm forever saying to patients you shouldn't be taking this.

"I have had a couple of patients admitted to hospital with major gastrointestinal bleeding when there was no evidence it was doing any good."

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes and as having a high risk of cardiovascular disease is set to increase, with government plans in England to introduce a national screening programme for the over-40s next year.

Professor Steve Field, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said it would be worth revisiting the guidelines.

"But patients shouldn't panic or stop taking aspirin," he said.

Judy O'Sullivan, cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This study adds weight to the evidence that aspirin should not be prescribed to prevent disease of the heart and circulation to people with diabetes, and other high risk groups, who do not already have symptoms of the disease."

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Hawaii ending universal child health care

By MARK NIESSE

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.

Gov. Linda Lingle's administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."

State officials said Thursday they will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled by Nov. 1, but private partner Hawaii Medical Service Association will pay to extend their coverage through the end of the year without government support.

"We're very disappointed in the state's decision, and it came as a complete surprise to us," said Jennifer Diesman, a spokeswoman for HMSA, the state's largest health care provider. "We believe the program is working, and given Hawaii's economic uncertainty, we don't think now is the time to cut all funding for this kind of program."

Hawaii lawmakers approved the health plan in 2007 as a way to ensure every child can get basic medical help. The Keiki (child) Care program aimed to cover every child from birth to 18 years old who didn't already have health insurance — mostly immigrants and members of lower-income families.

It costs the state about $50,000 per month, or $25.50 per child — an amount that was more than matched by HMSA.

State health officials argued that most of the children enrolled in the universal child care program previously had private health insurance, indicating that it was helping those who didn't need it.

The Republican governor signed Keiki Care into law in 2007, but it and many other government services are facing cuts as the state deals with a projected $900 million general fund shortfall by 2011.

While it's difficult to determine how many children lack health coverage in the islands, estimates range from 3,500 to 16,000 in a state of about 1.3 million people. All were eligible for the program.

"Children are a lot more vulnerable in terms of needing care," said Democratic Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland. "It's not very good to try to be a leader and then renege on that commitment."

The universal health care system was free except for copays of $7 per office visit.

Families with children currently enrolled in the universal system are being encouraged to seek more comprehensive Medicaid coverage, which may be available to children in a family of four earning up to $73,000 annually.

These children also could sign up for the HMSA Children's Plan, which costs about $55 a month.

"Most of them won't be eligible for Medicaid, and that's why they were enrolled in Keiki Care," Diesman said. "It's the gap group that we're trying to ensure has coverage."

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Spider venom could be used in impotence treatment

By Roger Highfield

A trove of potential drugs for conditions as diverse as impotence and arthritis could emerge from a study of venom from a potentially deadly spider.

Brown recluse spider whose venom could be used to treat impotence
Brown recluse spider whose venom could be used to treat impotence

Venom already has provided leads for therapeutics to treat arthritis and erectile dysfunction, and compounds found in venom are being studied to create organic, earth-friendly pesticides.

Now scientists have analysed the components of the venom of more than 70 species of spiders, including the brown recluse, whose bites are known to cause painful, gangrenous lesions. Sometimes a limb is lost, even a life.

Prof Frank Schroeder and Prof Jerrold Meinwald of Cornell University, Ithaca, as reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used a clever way to take a molecular snapshot of venom, without having to process it in any way.

They used a method called nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which studies the structure of molecules in the venom, and combined it with a method called mass spectrometry, which in effect weighs molecules.

"We show how using NMR spectroscopy for the analysis of a complex mixtures such as spider venom one can find new and entirely unexpected chemistry," said Prof Schroeder.

"Our research shows that brown recluse venom contains important, previously undetected components that have been overlooked."

The venom contains a blend of very big and small molecules. One of the latter was an entirely new structural class that had been missed by earlier studies.

These compounds, called sulphated nucleosides, are based on one of the building blocks of RNA, the genetic material, with one small but important structural modification: a phosphate group is replaced by a sulphate.

"Because we just recently identified these new nucleoside derivatives, we don't know much about their biological activity yet. It seems likely that they contribute to the toxic properties of the venom, but we can't yet say anything about their mode of action."

The venom also contained messenger chemicals that work in the brain and on nerves.

In addition, the venom has been shown to contain several different proteins, including enzymes such as hyaluronidase, deoxyribonuclease, ribonuclease, alkaline phosphatase, and lipase, which help to break down tissue, among other things.

Among these enzymes, sphingomyelinase D is thought to be the protein component responsible for most of the tissue destruction caused by brown recluse spider bites.

"One important aspect of our work is that it highlights that we still know very little about the chemistry of life," said Prof Schroeder.

"Even in case of a spider species such as the brown recluse, which has undergone extensive study by both chemists and biologists, our knowledge of the basic composition of its venom turned out to be very incomplete.

It seems likely that using new technology for chemical analysis will reveal many more such surprises, not only in spiders, but also in many other life forms, including vertebrates and mammals."

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Mobile phone users warned of new skin disorder caused by nickel on casing

By Jenny Hope

Mobile phone

At risk: Women who wear nickel jewellery, such as watches, are most likely to develop the skin condition

As if there weren't enough health scares over mobile phones already, heavy users were yesterday given another reason to cut down on their habit.

It can bring you out in a rash.

Doctors claim 'mobile phone dermatitis' is a risk for those who develop an allergic reaction to the phone's nickel surface.

The British Association of Dermatologists is warning other doctors about the newly-identified allergy as it suspects many cases are going unreported or untreated.

Cases reported in journals so far include an 18-year-old U.S. man, a 19-year-old woman in Austria and a 14-year-old girl in Scotland.

The alert comes after scientists last month urged caution over mobile phone use saying it could take years for the health risks to emerge, although there is a consensus that children are likely to be more vulnerable.

Nickel allergy is the most common contact allergy in the UK and is thought to affect 30 per cent of the population, and rising.

Women have a higher risk of developing mobile phone dermatitis, as they are more likely to have been previously sensitised to the metal following an allergic reaction to nickel-coated jewellery.

dermatitis

Some patients have developed patches of eczematous dermatitis where their handsets has come in contact with their faces

Dr Graham Lowe, from the British Association of Dermatologists, said: 'If you have had a reaction to a nickel-coated belt-buckle or jewellery, for example, you are at greater risk of reacting to metal phones.

'In mobile phone dermatitis, the rash would typically occur on the cheek or ear, depending on where the metal part of the phone comes into contact with the skin.

'In theory it could even occur on the fingers if you spend a lot of time texting on metal menu buttons.

'It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained.'

A spokesman for the GSM Association, the trade body representing mobile phone operators worldwide, said: 'The nickel content in mobile phones is regulated by an EU directive.

'Using a case or hands-free kit will minimise contact with surfaces that contain nickel.'

In a study published earlier this year, doctors in the US tested for nickel in 22 popular handsets from eight different manufacturers, and found it present in ten of them.

Dr Lionel Bercovitch, one of the study’s authors from Brown University, Rhode Island, said 'Nearly half of the phones we spot tested contained some free nickel.

'The menu buttons, decorative logos on the headsets and the metallic frames around the liquid crystal display (LCD) screens were the most common sites. Those with the more fashionable designs often have metallic accents and are more likely to contain free nickel in their casings.

'Given the widespread use of cell phones, the presence of metal in the exterior casing of these phones and the high prevalence of nickel sensitization in the population, it is not surprising that cell phones can cause allergic contact dermatitis.'

The British Association of Dermatologists advises anyone who develops a rash on their face which might be caused by prolonged mobile phone use to seek advice from their doctor.

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Kicking Off The 2008 Beer Pong Tournament Season

Maybe it’s because the World Series of Beer Pong (entering its fourth season) is starting to catch on, or maybe it’s because people really, really enjoy organized drinking - but beer pong tournaments are becoming the next hot thing amongst the college bunch.

Anticipating this growing trend, Stephen Catanzaro & Paul Cardone, founders of NJ Beer Pong, have begun hosting a weekly Wednesday night beer pong tournament at Miami Mikes Sports Zone in East Hanover, NJ, which has become one of the premiere BP competitions in the North Jersey region, with students from FDU, Drew U., Montclair State and Seton Hall joining in the action each week.

There are only 77-something days until the World Series of Beer Pong IV kicks off in Las Vegas, NV and Catanzaro & Cardone have decided to take their game to the next level. The two are scheduled to host an Official WSOBP IV Satellite Tournament qualifying event on Saturday, November 15th at McFaddens Restaurant & Saloon in Philadelphia. The winning team of the Philly event will receive free entry into the WSOBP IV, a four-night stay at the Flamingo in Las Vegas and a chance to play for the $50,000 Grand Prize.

That means if you’re a student in the New Jersey and Philadelphia region that likes beer pong, free trips to Vegas and wouldn’t mind an extra $50K in your pocket, head over to NJBPong.com and register for the event. If you can’t make it down to Philly on the 15th for their satellite tournament, fear not. Players may buy-in to the WSOBP IV at any time prior to Dec. 5, 2008. And of course, don’t forget to check back here at COED for up to date coverage of all the action.

For now enjoy video from the Season One championship game where Luke & Joe from team “Is You Good” drained the final two shots to send the game into overtime where they eventually lost to “All Day Toilets”… and the 33 Best Beer Pong Tables Ever Made!


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6 Food Labels That Could Deceive You

By Annie Bell Muzaurieta

You want to know that when you select a food product labeled as having certain virtues that the company will stand behind what's promised.

But while some food labels are federally monitored and clearly defined (organic, for example), others aren't so strictly regulated. Consumer Reports' Greener Choices website decodes commonly used food labels at its eco-labels center.

Here are 6 potentially misleading food labels:

Free-Range or Free-Roaming: You probably most often see this term stamped on eggs, but it's also used on chicken and other meat to suggest that the animal has spent a good portion of its life outdoors. Consumer Reports says, though, that the standards for these terms are weak, and the rule for the label is only that outdoor access be made available for "an undetermined period each day." So those free range eggs could mean that the chicken who laid them lived in a coop where the door was open for five minutes a day. Roaming free? We don't think so.

Natural or All Natural: People often assume this label means organic or healthy. But no standard definition for natural exists. Consumer Reports says the term only has meaning when it's applied to meat and poultry products and means that the items contain no artificial flavoring, colors, chemical preservatives, or synthetic ingredients. But the producer or manufacturer decides whether or not to use it, without having the claims verified.

No Additives: Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher or Consumer Reports, says that a no additives label is often used to imply that a product has not been enhanced with the addition of natural or artificial ingredients. But there is no official definition for the term and it isn't verified when used.

No Animal By-Products: You might see this label on everything from condiments and meat (to indicate the animals were not fed any animal by-products), to cleaning and personal care products. This term is used to suggest that no ingredients are by-products from slaughtered animals. This might be helpful when it's not obvious; natural flavor could come from vegetables or animals, for example. But Consumers Union says the label is tricky because there isn't a standard, precise definition of "animal ingredients" and the label isn't used consistently. It also isn't verified by an outside body.

100% Vegan: Vegans generally avoid animal products for food and clothing, and often want to avoid products that were tested on animals. But this label does not have a standard or consistent definition and isn't verified. Alternatively, a Certified Vegan label is a registered trademark signifying that products are vegan--meaning they contain no animal ingredients or by-products, use no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process, and are not tested on animals by any company or independent contractor. The logo is administered by the Vegan Awareness Foundation, also known as Vegan Action.

Raised Without Antibiotics: Consumers Union says this term implies that no antibiotics were used in the production of a food product. The USDA has defined it to mean that meat and poultry products came from animals who were raised without the use of low-level or therapeutic doses of antibiotics. But a recent case of this label being used inaccurately by a major poultry producer illustrates some of the problems: there is no formal definition and while the USDA can hold a manufacturer accountable for the claim, no other organization is behind or verifies the claim.

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Pay to learn is working in New York

By Anne Stuhldreher

Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad has probably never met Soledad Moya, an eighth-grader at Middle School 302 in the South Bronx. But both are big believers in an approach that has people wringing their hands and wagging their fingers: paying students to perform on standardized tests. Moya's school is a 45-minute subway ride from the Manhattan hotel where Broad took the stage at last month's Clinton Global Initiative to announce a $6-million grant to help launch EdLabs -- an initiative at Harvard University to advance innovations in public schools.

EdLab's first order of business is to determine if Spark -- the pilot financial incentive program at Moya's school and 58 others in New York City -- leads to concrete improvements in academic achievement. Seventh-graders can earn up to $50 a test -- for 10 assessment tests throughout the year. There's a similar program for fourth-graders. The money goes into a bank account that only the student can access. The better you do, the more money you earn, up to $500 a year for seventh-graders. The idea is to make school tangible for disadvantaged kids -- short-term rewards that are in their long-term best interest.

Is it working? That depends on whom you ask.

Pundits and some in the media say Spark is bribing kids; they should love learning for learning's sake. But if you talk with those actually participating in the pilot program -- the students, administrators and teachers -- you hear something different.

Moya said she wasn't a "studying kind of" person before the awards. Now she and her friends like to look in the dictionary and memorize words and their definitions, and they ask their teachers for more practice tests. Even though she's not eligible for the awards now that she's in eighth grade, she's still studying harder before tests, she said. "Once you get started with something, you keep doing it."

The changes she saw in students like Moya caused Lisa Cullen -- a literacy and social studies teacher at the school -- to go from skeptic to supporter: "I saw how it takes away the uphill battle you have trying to get students to study for tests." She saw a definite increase in students' excitement, enthusiasm and effort.

That's no small feat when test-taking ranks low on the priority list of students whose lives are crammed with adult responsibilities, Cullen said. "The ideal would be for every kid to love learning, but that's impossible in today's world." One of Cullen's students is 10 minutes late every day because she takes two subway trains and a bus to get her little brother to school. She then has to watch him after school until her mom gets back from her third job. "She and all my students are so stressed all the time."

Principal Angel Rodriguez believes the Spark incentives will get the biggest results with the most challenging students -- whom he calls "the bottom third." Rodriguez said virtually all of his students struggle with poverty, and many live in one of the 18 nearby homeless shelters. "I can't tell you how many times I've had parents in my office that are high on heroin or crack, or reek of alcohol," he said.

Despite these challenges, test scores rose substantially last year for seventh-graders at the school. Rodriguez thinks the Spark incentives were a big factor. The percentage of seventh-graders meeting the state standards for English-language arts rose 12 points over the previous year's scores. For math standards, the gain was 15 percentage points.

Rodriguez has no patience for the critics. "Thank God my father didn't listen to them," said Rodriguez, who grew up a few blocks from the school. "He had to use what he had to motivate me." He would tell Rodriguez he could get a new pair of Converse sneakers if he got a 90 on an upcoming test, Rodriguez said. "Guess what I got on that test?"

Parents at the school feel the same way. "Not one parent complained," Rodriguez said. "One hundred percent said, 'Sign me up.' "

Spark's creators have been fielding calls from all over the country, but surprisingly not from California. That's too bad. California has one of the country's widest achievement gaps. That's because, according to a new report from UC Berkeley, unlike in most states, the majority of California's public students are from lower-achieving groups -- Latinos, African Americans and English-language learners -- or the "bottom third," whom Rodriguez thinks Spark will help the most.

EdLab's evaluation of Spark will come out in 2009. California educators should look beyond the rhetoric and examine this approach. We can't afford to dismiss it outright. As Rodriguez said, "What price do you place on a seventh-grader whose lack of motivation is leading to failure?"

Anne Stuhldreher is a fellow at the New America Foundation.

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The Best Foreign Books You've Never Heard Of

Listen Now

Some of the Best Foreign Authors
No matter how acclaimed a writer may be abroad, publishing for translated authors in the U.S. comes with challenges. Above, some of the best international authors of the moment, according to David Kipen (clockwise from top left): Boris Akunin, Ismail Kadare, Ludmila Ulitskaya and Imre Kertesz.

French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the Nobel Prize for literature Thursday. If most Americans have never heard of this accomplished author of more than 30 novels, essays and story collections, perhaps it's because there is so little emphasis on international books in the U.S. publishing world.

Only about 3 percent of all books published in the United States are works that have been translated, laments David Kipen, director of Literature and National Reading Initiatives at the National Endowment for the Arts. In terms of literary fiction, the number falls below 1 percent, according to the blog, Three Percent.

Fed up with these sorts of figures, Horace Engdahl, permanent secretary of the Nobel Committee for Literature, charged last month that Americans are "too isolated, too insular" and that the American publishing world is excessively closed off to translations.

In an effort to reverse the trend, Kipen offers a list of his favorite foreign authors — whom most Americans have never heard of.

You may have to brow-beat your local bookstore to find them. You could also try a little searching online.

The List

Britain

  • Jonathan Coe, The Rotters' Club and The House of Sleep

Russia

  • Victor Pelevin, The Sacred Book of Werewolf and Buddha's Little Finger
  • Boris Akunin, The Winter Queen
  • Ludmila Ulitskaya, The Funeral Party

Albania

  • Ismail Kadare, The Three-Arched Bridge and Spring Flowers, Spring Frost (Read Excerpt)

Hungary

Portugal

  • Antonio Lobo Antunes, What Can I Do When Everything's on Fire?

Norway

  • Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses

Egypt

  • Muhammad Yusuf Quayd, War in the Land of Egypt
  • Alaa Al Aswany, The Yacoubian Building

Japan

  • Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Mexico

  • Carlos Fuentes, The Death of Artemio Cruz
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