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Health Sciences

fresh thyme in bottle on white background - Photo Vadim Ginzburg
Winter 2018

Centering on supplements’ safety

Dietary supplements. Natural remedies. Botanicals. Energy drinks. Wellness boosts. Health foods. Vitamins.

When choosing whether or not to use dietary supplements or other natural products, there are a lot of questions about the value of these products and their benefits. They often claim to be “all natural,” but that doesn’t necessarily make them safe for you. Natural products are not required to go through the same rigorous research and clinical trials as pharmaceuticals prior to marketing, so many potential health dangers are simply unknown.

Researcher Mary Paine, associate professor at Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Spokane and a registered … » More …

Bags of donated food
Winter 2018

Hungry

At Rosario’s Place, food on the shelves comes and goes like a tide. When staff at the Women’s Center at Washington State University, which manages Rosario’s, puts out a call for donations, stock rises and then falls again as students take what they need to get by.

Rosario’s Place has a private entrance on the Pullman campus, and that simple fact, says Women’s Center director Amy Sharp, reduces stigma; no one asks who you are or what you are doing. You just come in, take what you need (or leave what you can). In addition to food, Rosario’s also stocks baby and toddler supplies … » More …

micrograph of a tissue matrix scaffold
Winter 2018

A new dimension to fighting cancer

Any good strategist knows that an accurate map can win a battle. If your enemy is cancer, a chaotic and elusive foe that changes its environment, finding a new dimension to examine a tumor can make all the difference when developing treatments.

Like all scientists and doctors looking for ways to defeat cancer, Weimin Li wants to better understand how cancerous tumors grow and adapt. His innovative technology using 3-D tissue culture “scaffolds” delivers a far more relevant environment to research the deadly disease.

It’s a fight that Li has fought on many fronts. He spent seven years practicing oncology in China and witnessed … » More …

Fall 2013

If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose

About an hour before sunrise on August 27, 2006, Comair Flight 5191 was approaching 120 miles per hour on its takeoff from the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, when co-pilot James Polehinke noticed something strange about the runway.

“That is weird,” he said in a conversation captured by the flight recorder. “No lights.”

“Yeah,” said Capt. Jeffrey Clay.

Sixteen seconds later, their 50-seat commuter jet ran out of runway. Polehinke just managed to get airborne but not enough. The plane hit an earthen berm, clipped a fence and a clump of trees, and went down in a ball of flames.

The pilots had gone … » More …

smart home
Spring 2018

Smart tech in senior living communities

Roschelle “Shelly” Fritz, assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, studies how “smart-home” technology can monitor the health and safety of senior citizens from afar. She’s part of an interdisciplinary team that includes WSU engineering professor Diane Cook and WSU psychology professor Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe.

Fritz ran an innovative pilot study that deployed health sensors in five homes at senior living community Touchmark on South Hill in Spokane.

Read more about Fritz’s work with smart health sensors at WSU Vancouver in “Technology with a human touch.”

Winter 2017

Medical leaders keep a community-based focus

Helping guide WSU’s community-based medical education are associate deans assigned to each of the regional hubs where students will spend their third and fourth years working alongside practicing physicians and others.

All are recognized innovators in medical education and were hired by WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine following a nationwide search.

They are Dr. Larry Schecter at WSU Everett, Dr. Kevin Murray at WSU Vancouver and Dr. Farion Williams at WSU Tri-Cities.

“These associate deans will teach, recruit faculty to teach, and further the college mission by building out clinical partnerships with the rural and underserved areas,” said Ken … » More …

Winter 2017

Reconsidering health

Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates proposed that four basic personalities were driven by excess or lack of bodily fluids, the “humors.” Discredited by biochemistry, we may consider the idea humorous, but Hippocrates’ theories began a centuries-long consideration of temperaments and personality in psychology and philosophy.

Other ideas of human health were first spurned and then accepted. Germ theory, the thought that many diseases are caused by microorganisms, was treated with disdain when it was proposed in the sixteenth century. It didn’t receive its due until nineteenth-century experiments by cholera researcher John Snow and chemist Louis Pasteur, among others, proved germ theory’s validity.

Even today we continue … » More …

Stethoscope on a doctor's neck
Winter 2017

Ethics and effectiveness in medicine

“Can you be an effective physician without also being an ethical physician?” That’s the question students in the inaugural class of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University faced for the first time on day two of classes. They’ll revisit it regularly as they make their way towards the MD degree and entry into a profession that has, many bioethicists and physicians believe, an ethic built right into it. To say that there is an ethic internal to medicine is to say that certain kinds of moral responsibilities are built right into what it means to be a part of … » More …