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Physiology

Winter 2017

Getting a new perspective on stress

Humans generally think of themselves as highly evolved creatures, but when it comes to stress, our fear response is as primitive as the tiny beasts that fled predators 500 million years ago. Though lifesaving, this fight-or-flight system is also triggered by modern concerns such as political Facebook posts or being stuck in traffic. Over time, psychological stress can build into an internal time bomb.

While some suggest humans have outgrown their stress system, studies show there are ways to teach that old brain new tricks, helping to calm the angst that comes with contemporary living.

Ryan McLaughlin, assistant professor in the Department of Integrative … » More …

Summer 2004

An environmental mystery is solved, but answer points to larger concerns

Vultures in India and Pakistan play a vital environmental role by quickly removing dead livestock, inactivating pathogens, and probably controlling the spread of livestock disease. Vultures are also essential to the “sky burials” practiced by Zoroastrian sects. So the sudden and precipitous decline in vulture population caused great consternation throughout the subcontinent.

Over the past decade, the population of the Oriental white-backed vulture has declined by more than 95 percent. Other vulture species have experienced similar catastrophic declines. When Washington State University veterinary diagnostician Lindsay Oaks arrived in Pakistan in 2000 to investigate the mysterious deaths, he selected for study three colonies of perhaps 1,000 … » More …

Summer 2005

Portland pharmacist uses chemistry to duplicate natural human hormones

Forget about over-the-counter pills and creams to reduce hot flashes, insomnia, and other symptoms of perimenopause. Don’t bother with prescriptions for mass-produced synthetic hormones, either.

Instead, why not use chemistry-or bio-identical hormone replacement-to duplicate natural human hormones, and then concoct the right dosage for each individual woman? Pharmacists call this individualized procedure “compounding.”

Alison Johnston (’84 Pharm.) started doing just that in January 2003 in Portland, Oregon. She reports it seems to be working.

Johnston is the only pharmacist in a compounding-only pharmacy, Marquis Compounding Pharmacy in Portland. She has her own patients and writes prescription recommendations for their doctors to sign. A few of … » More …