Academics and research in the news

News outlet logo for favicons/aamc.org.png

Do student-athletes make good doctors?

In 2012, researchers published the results of a retrospective study looking at which candidates admitted to a otolaryngology residency program turned into the most successful clinicians as ranked by faculty. What they found was that those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an “established excellence in a team sport.” While the researchers cautioned that not all residency program directors should rush to look for student-athletes, the study did isolate two traits of student-athletes that might translate into success in medicine: time management skills and teamwork. Indeed, it’s not specific athletic skills that matter, says M. Roy Wilson, M.D., president of Wayne State University and former chair of the AAMC Board of Directors, but the ability to juggle sport and academic responsibilities and excel at both. “Learning how to manage time efficiently is critical, and the main complaint that medical students have is just the volume of material they have to digest. So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student-athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.” 
News outlet logo for favicons/parispi.net.png

Why is suicide on the rise in the United States, but falling in most of Europe?

Professor of Criminal Justice Steven Stack wrote an article for The Conversation on the rising number of suicides in the U.S., which now ranks among the top 10 leading causes of death. Stack wrote: “There is evidence that rising suicide rates are associated with a weakening of the social norms regarding mutual aid and support. In one study on suicide in the U.S., the rising rates were closely linked with reductions in social welfare spending between 1960 and 1995. Social welfare expenditures include Medicaid, a medical assistance program for low income persons; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children; the Supplemental Security Income program for the blind, disabled and elderly; children’s services including adoption, foster care and day care; shelters; and funding of public hospitals for medical assistance other than Medicaid.”
News outlet logo for favicons/cnn.com.png

To live your best life, live the life you evolved for

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article about dealing with life’s challenges that may instill fear and uncertainty in people. Javanbakht wrote: “As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, if another human frowned at us, chances were high one of us would be dead in a couple minutes. In the tribal life of our ancestors, if other tribe members did not like you, you would be dead, or exiled and dead. Biological evolution is very slow, but civilization, culture, society and technology evolve relatively fast. It takes around a million years for evolutionary change to happen in a species, and people have been around for about 200,000 years. 
News outlet logo for favicons/crainsdetroit.com.png

Letter: WSU programs aim to help patients

Dr. David R. Rosenberg, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, psychiatrist in chief at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center, wrote a letter to the editor. Our team at Wayne State University has developed innovative programs targeted at our most vulnerable and high-risk populations that both improve outcome and reduce cost. We have published these results in prestigious peer-reviewed journals demonstrating significant reductions in lengths of stays and repeat visits of behavioral patients in the ED, and a 94 percent reduction in inpatient psychiatric hospitalization from the ED.
News outlet logo for favicons/nytimes.com.png

When the suffrage movement sold out to white supremacy

As the historian Liette Gidlow, associate professor at Wayne State University shows in her revelatory study of the period, the files of the Justice Department, the N.A.A.C.P. and African-American newspapers were soon bursting with letters, investigations and affidavits documenting the disenfranchisement of black women, especially in but not limited to former Confederate states. In Virginia, Gidlow writes, a college-educated mother of four named Susie W. Fountain was required to take “a “literacy test” that consisted of a blank sheet of paper; the registrar subsequently determined that she had failed. She later told an N.A.A.C.P. investigator she was “too humiliated and angry to try again.” A Birmingham, Ala., teacher, Indiana Little, was arrested and sexually assaulted after leading a large crowd to the registrar’s office. As Little said in a sworn affidavit, she was “beat over the head unmercifully and … forced upon the officer’s demand to yield to him in an unbecoming manner.”
News outlet logo for favicons/crainsdetroit.com.png

Letter: WSU programs aim to help patients

Dr. David R. Rosenberg, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, psychiatrist in chief at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center, wrote a letter to the editor. “As chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University, I read and applaud the recent focus of Crain's on the growing behavioral health care crisis in our nation's emergency departments. Patients with serious emotional and behavioral problems in the emergency department remain the diagnostic and therapeutic orphans of the American health system. Sadly, in a system dominated by politics, posturing and "paying the bills," these patients are often short-changed. 
News outlet logo for favicons/modeldmedia.com.png

Microsoft to provide Wayne State University with tech jobs training curriculum

Microsoft has taken a greater interest in Detroit of late. Last year, the company moved its regional headquarters downtown, and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn secured a permanent office downtown as well. This month, Microsoft and Wayne State University announced that they will team up to improve job prospects in the tech industry by providing its Microsoft Professional Program curriculum free of charge. "Student success and employability are tied together," said Wayne State University Provost Keith Whitfield. "We want our students to reach their graduation day, and we also want them to have great jobs to go to the following week. Moreover, we want the businesses and industries in Detroit and Michigan to view our graduates as integral to their growth and success."
News outlet logo for favicons/crainsdetroit.com.png

Michigan health fund grants $500,000 for LGBT senior support

Corktown Health Center got $500,000 from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to offer care and support for older LGBT adults. The Detroit health center is the first focused on LGBT health in Michigan, according to its website. The two-year grant will fund its Silver Rainbow Health Initiative, according to a news release. The program will be a collaborative effort between Corktown Health, SAGE Metro Detroit and the Wayne State University School of Medicine. SAGE Metro Detroit grew out of the LGBT Older Adult Coalition. It works to build awareness and change for elderly members of the LGBT community. The Corktown Health Center opened in 2017 in a renovated 24,000-square-foot facility at 1726 Howard St., aiming to alleviate a lack of LGBT-focused care in the area. It partnered with Wayne State University and the Wayne State University Physician Group late that year to increase its capacity and expand its resources. The health center's services include primary care, health insurance help, behavioral health, and comprehensive HIV care and treatment. Pharmacy services are coming soon, according to its website.
News outlet logo for favicons/theoaklandpress.com.png

Acute flaccid myelitis: Cause of polio-like illness stumps doctors

Acute flaccid myelitis is a rare but serious condition affecting the nervous system causing the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. While the condition or clinical manifestations of AFM are not new, the outbreak of cases that have been reported to the Center for Disease Control Prevention since 2014, when the agency began its surveillance for the condition, are new. "It's a clinical phenomenon that could be caused by a variety of causes," said Li, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology and Scientific Director of Translational Neuroscience Initiative at Wayne State University. Li was among the doctors in Michigan who helped solve the mysteries surrounding West Nile, during its earliest outbreak in New York City. It was his research that produced scientific evidence showing that West Nile patients had damage to the spinal cord. "
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

Is winter miserable for wildlife?

Bridget B. Baker, clinical veterinarian and deputy director of the Warrior Aquatic, Translational, and Environmental Research (WATER) Lab at Wayne State, wrote a piece for The Conversation regarding how wildlife adapt to winter weather. Wildlife can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, just like people and pets. In the northern United States, the unfurred tails of opossums are a common casualty of cold exposure. Every so often an unusual cold snap in Florida results in iguanas falling from trees and manatees dying from cold stress. Avoiding the cold is important for preserving life or limb (or, in the opossum’s case, tail) and the opportunity to reproduce. These biological imperatives mean that wildlife must be able to feel cold, in order to try to avoid the damaging effects of its extremes. 
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

What a 16th-century mystic can teach us about making good decisions

Annmarie Cano, professor of psychology and associate provost for faculty development and faculty success, wrote an article for The Conversation about decision-making and employing the strategies used by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius advises three steps in the process of decision-making: Rely on reason and feelings, imaginative reflection and seek confirmation. Cano wrote: “In today’s hurried world, a 16th-century Catholic mystics’ advice may seem quaint or his process tedious. However, many modern psychological approaches confirm the value of such reflective practices.”
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Macomb County's 'fatberg' donated for research at Wayne State University

“Although FOG blockages have been known for many years, our understanding of their detailed chemical structure and formation mechanisms is lacking due to limited real-time and in-place data,” Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at Wayne State University, said. “The formation and planned removal of such a massive FOG blockage presents a rare opportunity to study these formations, and funding received from the National Science Foundation will help our efforts in this regard," said Miller. 

Netflix you: Why has there been a backlash against beck?

Wayne State University’s Harold Geistman argues the popularity of shows like You and the appeal of stalker characters like Joe has its roots in decades of Hollywood movies. “There is a long history of ‘romantic’ films in which the ‘hero’ wins the girl through dogged determination,” the criminal justice lecturer told Newsweek. Movies like The Graduate show women “giving in” to men who pursue them with behaviors that would be legally recognized as stalking, he added. It’s a common romcom trope seen in hit movies like Say Anything and There’s Something About Mary: a man worms his way into “every aspect” of a woman’s life until she gives in to his advances, Geistman explained. 
News outlet logo for favicons/hourdetroit.com.png

Metrics of Mary Jane monitoring

In November, Michigan voted to become the 10th state to approve the use of recreational cannabis. While medical cannabis avails in 23 others. One wonders how many drivers at any given moment have used the substance? In Detroit, scientists are addressing the dearth of knowledge. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Randy Commissaris and Kawthar Alali were in their lab at Wayne State University putting subjects through exercises. Commissaris, associate professor in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Alali, a graduate student from Saudi Arabia, installed volunteers behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala on loan from Doreen Head, director of the school’s occupational therapy program. Pointing at a large screen for fixed-base simulation of real-world driving, the Impala, outfitted with Drive Safety hardware and sensors, translated driver inputs through an interactive program called HyperDrive. The researchers measured performance of a control: a young male whose blood was first drawn and assessed to assure no trace of THC. And the performance of a medical cannabis user: another  young male — the pair were numbers nine and 10 so far in the study — who had consumed the substance within the hour (his cannabis-free baseline was previously established). Each subject spent an hour in the Impala.
News outlet logo for favicons/fox2detroit.com.png

$1M grant to fight Great Lakes growing microplastic problem

Could the solution to microplastic pollution come from Wayne State University? Principal researcher Yongli Zhang, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, certainly hopes so. With the help of a recently awarded grant totaling $929,000 from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, Zhang will lead a team of engineers and biologists in mitigating the micro-contaminants from entering the water. "The issue of plastic pollution, and more specifically microplastic pollution, is beginning to get more attention," said Zhang in a press release. "However, this is still a relatively new issue for more people, and a great deal of research and outreach is still needed to make positive changes to public awareness and engagement.”
News outlet logo for favicons/radio.com.png

Become a blood donor during National Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor Month: a time to raise awareness on the importance of donating blood. According to Dr. Martin Bluth, professor of pathology with Wayne State University, blood is used every two seconds in the U.S., which is why there's a constant need. "The different kinds of products that are required for blood utilization -- whether it's red cells, or plasma, or platelets -- are in constant demand simply because there's a shelf life to them." he told WWJ's Deanna Lites.
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Mysterious tale of man accused of spying in Russia

Paul Whelan, an executive with the auto parts manufacturer BorgWarner in Auburn Hills, was picked up by Russian authorities on Dec. 28 on suspicion of spying. “Russia has arrested some people for coming in on a wrong visa or not registering. But this, the Russian media reports, was a spy sting," he said. "So something must have happened. Who knows? They’ve done this a couple of times with some U.S. diplomats and some British diplomats, but they were all eventually deported and not arrested.”
News outlet logo for favicons/theconversation.com.png

To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, if another human frowned at us, chances were high one of us would be dead in a couple minutes. In the tribal life of our ancestors, if other tribe members did not like you, you would be dead, or exiled and dead.
News outlet logo for favicons/clickondetroit.com.png

Have you experienced 'highway hypnosis?'

Randall Commissaris, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, talked about highway hypnosis. The phenomenon involves drivers who are aware and paying attention while operating their vehicle, yet, they don’t remember doing it. They’re in a routine while driving and not looking for exits – similar to operating on auto-pilot. Commissaris says one of the biggest potential risks is the challenge of dealing with a surprise situation. Commissaris uses a driving simulator and willing volunteers to study driving at Wayne State University.