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Health Sciences

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 …

Winter 2017

Medicine to all corners

Washington State University has embarked on one of its most ambitious expansions. The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is carving out its physician-training niche by emphasizing innovation, technology, and the importance of bringing high-quality care to some of the state’s most underserved regions.

 

The request came last spring.

Jim and Linda Bauer have opened their home to visiting symphony musicians, international artists, and others traveling to the Tri-Cities, and community leaders were turning to them again. This time, the Bauers were asked if they’d host a medical student for a weeklong stay at their Richland home.

“We were like, ‘Of course,’” recalls Linda … » More …

Winter 2017

Going the distance. Really.

It is about the miles when you are an ultramarathoner.

 

TWO DAYS BEFORE THE START OF WSU’S FALL SEMESTER, Di Wu staggers down a rugged trail in the towering Sawatch Mountain Range in Colorado. He wheezes with every breath after loping, hiking, and toiling for nearly 50 miles—his training ground in Pullman had done little to prepare him for the suffocating, thin air.

Wu crosses 12,000-foot Hope Pass, a rigorous day’s hike by itself for most. Faced with the prospect of continuing back over the pass, and on to the finish of the Leadville Trail 100-miler, Wu realizes his weary legs are not … » More …

Brain illustration
Winter 2017

Short-circuit the stress

Imagine sitting on a park bench waiting for a friend. You’re checking messages on your phone when a noise catches your attention. You look up and suddenly realize it’s a beautiful autumn day. The sun is warm on your skin and a gentle breeze tempers the heat.

From a nearby tree, birds call while a few golden leaves flutter, break loose, and slowly drift to the ground. On the grass, a parade of tiny black ants drags a bread crumb. Traffic passes in the distance. Quiet voices chat and laugh.

The scene is a simple example of mindfulness, and your brain loves it, especially during … » More …

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twins dolls by Mattel. Staff photoillustration
Winter 2017

Seeing double

The Washington State Twin Registry is a powerful aid in promoting better health.

 

Glen Duncan is an outlier in an obesogenic environment. While he’s fit and trim, two in three Americans carry too much weight for their own good and are largely sedentary during work and leisure time. It would help if he had a twin to compare himself with. As it is, he studies other twins in the hope of teasing out why some people are drawn to healthy behavior, others not.

Duncan has long been a runner, from high school races to weekend 10Ks. For the past ten years he has practiced … » More …

Peaceful scene with smartphone
Winter 2017

Be mindful with your smartphone

Tracy Skaer, a pharmacotherapy professor at Washington State University Spokane, knows that our fast-moving, constantly-changing world can stress us out. That includes the smartphones that many of us carry around constantly. A trained mindfulness practitioner, Skaer suggests using those same smartphones to give our minds a break from the stresses of daily life.

Skaer recommends some of the following smartphone apps to help with mindfulness exercises:

Headspace

Insight Timer 

Calm

Aware

Mindfulness Meditation

Stress & Anxiety (Pacifica)

Relax Meditation

Smoking Place in Idaho
Fall 2017

Holy smokes

The straggly plant is easy to dismiss. Narrow leaves and white, trumpet-like flowers, fade easily into Northwest fields and roadsides. But Nicotiana attenuata, commonly known as coyote tobacco, contains medicinal and ceremonial properties long revered by Native American cultures.

For thousands of years, coyote and other types of wild tobacco have provided what many consider a versatile healing remedy and meditative, spiritual channel to the Creator. Much of the botanical lore was muddled, however, with the arrival of Europeans and subsequent cultural upheaval.

At Washington State University, researchers Shannon Tushingham and David Gang ’99 PhD are using a combination of archeology and high-end molecular chemistry … » More …

Book - Briefly Noted
Fall 2017

Briefly noted

 

The Positive Leader: Five Leadership Strategies for Attaining Extraordinary Results

Howard Gauthier ’81

Sports Leadership Publishing Company: 2016

Through a series of parables, this book gives leadership strategies designed to build successful teams in the workplace, on the playing field, or in the boardroom. Gauthier is a former college basketball coach and athletic director, and is currently an associate professor of sports science at Idaho State University-Meridian.

 

Midwives and Mothers: Medicalization of Childbirth on a Guatemalan Plantation

Sheila Cosminsky ’64 MA

University of Texas Press: 2016

In this exploration of birth, illness, death, and survival on a Guatemalan sugar and coffee plantation, Cosminsky … » More …

White Willow. Wikimedia
Fall 2017

Medicinal plants

At least 10 percent of the 250 most essential modern medicines are derived from flowering plants.

Aspirin (genus Salix)  Known to the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, Hippocrates in about 400 BCE mentions the use of salicylic tea as a fever reducer. Willow bark extracts have been a standard component of the European pharmacopoeia ever since. Modern aspirin was first synthesized in 1853.

Cinnamon bark (obtained from the inner bark of trees of the genus Cinnamomum)  While there is no scientific evidence of its efficacy (yet), cinnamon has been used medicinally for at least 4,000 years, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. The word derives from an ancient Phoenician one … » More …

green tea cup & teapot
Summer 2017

Reading the benefits of tea leaves

Much of what is known, scientifically, about the arthritis-fighting benefits of green tea has in one way or another come from Salah-uddin Ahmed and his research group.

It was Ahmed who helped establish that a phytochemical found in green tea essentially halts the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in lab rats.

It also was Ahmed who helped pinpoint where in the disease’s progression that the phytochemical, known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate or simply EGCG for short, is able to combat further degradation without blocking other cellular functions.

Now, with scientific evidence supporting green tea’s health benefits continuing to pile up, Ahmed hopes the research he and his … » More …