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Category: Research

Native Americans face disproportionate travel burden for cancer treatment

cancer therapy advanced linear acceleratorSPOKANE, Wash.—Experiencing higher rates of certain cancers than non-Hispanic whites, many Native Americans have to travel especially large distances to access radiation therapy, according to a study led by Washington State University researchers.

Published in the journal Value in Health, the study found that individuals living in U.S. neighborhoods with majority American Indian and Alaska Native populations have to travel around 40 miles farther to the nearest radiation therapy facility than those living in neighborhoods dominated by other racial groups.

“Up to 60% of cancers require access to radiation therapy, which can … » More …

WSU researchers to close gaps in Alzheimer’s disease research

Alzheimer researchResearchers at Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane will spend the next three years conducting research aimed at improving brain health in older adults, thanks to nearly $500,000 in grants funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The three grants awarded to WSU will support three research projects that will close gaps in Alzheimer’s disease research while addressing inequities in Alzheimer’s disease risk and treatment in U.S. Native populations.

Estimates say that as many as one in three Native American elders will develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and the number of American Indian/Alaska Native people … » More …

Washington state minorities die at younger ages from opioids than whites

Washington State map ambulance opioidsSPOKANE, Wash. – While opioid-use cuts across socio-economic boundaries, racial and ethnic minorities in Washington state are more likely to suffer fatal overdoses earlier in their lives than non-Hispanic white residents, according to a recent study.

Using data from the state’s Department of Health, Washington State University researchers analyzed more than 5,200 records of opioid-associated deaths from 2011 to 2018. They found that racial and ethnic minorities died from opioid overdose on average from ages 33 to 44. For non-Hispanic whites, the average age of death was 45.

“We found that racial … » More …

Increased take‑home methadone during pandemic did not worsen outcomes

Image by Zerbor on iStockSPOKANE, Wash. — Relaxing limits on take-home doses of methadone—a medication used to treat opioid addiction—does not appear to lead to worse treatment outcomes, according to a new study led by Washington State University researchers.

Published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the study looked at the impact of a temporary policy change allowing providers to send patients home with additional methadone doses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, federal regulations allowed take-home privileges only for established patients who have proven themselves stable, a measure intended to reduce risk of patients … » More …

Stress during pandemic linked to poor sleep

Sleep, pandemic, sleepless woman, stress, researchMany people likely lost sleep over COVID‑19. A study of twins led by Washington State University researchers found that stress, anxiety and depression during the first few weeks of the pandemic were associated with less and lower quality sleep.

In a survey of more than 900 twins taken shortly after COVID‑19 lockdown measures began, about half of the respondents reported no change in their sleep patterns, but around a third, 32.9%, reported decreased sleep. Another 29.8% reported sleeping more. In the analysis, the researchers found that any change in sleep was connected … » More …

Cannabis research center established at Washington State University

Marijuana PlantsWashington State University’s early efforts on cannabis research have now grown into a full, multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scientists working on a diverse range of cannabis-related projects.

The newly christened Center for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach, or CCPRO, was officially approved by the WSU Faculty Senate and Board of Regents in May. WSU started organizing spearheading research into cannabis in 2011, even before Washington state became the first in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana the following year. The formal designation as a research center signifies its importance and WSU’s commitment as … » More …

‘Sleep gene’ offers clues about why we need our zzzs

Jason Gerstner in lab

Assistant Research Professor Jason Gerstner (center) in his research lab with colleagues Kit Hayworth (left), clinical assistant professor, and Becky Taylor (right), clinical laboratory specialist.

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have seen how a particular gene is involved in the quality of sleep experienced by three different animals, including humans. The gene and its function open a new avenue for scientists exploring how sleep works and why animals need … » More …

Rewards Help Reduce Alcohol Abuse, Study Shows

Michael McDonnell

Michael McDonell demonstrates a prize draw used in his study on treating alcohol abuse.

By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane

Researchers at Washington State University have shown that offering prizes—from simple shampoo to DVD players—can be an effective, low-cost treatment for alcohol abuse, one of the leading preventable causes of death.

The treatment was studied in Seattle-area participants with serious mental illness. A surprise benefit of the treatment was that it decreased study participants’ tobacco and drug use.

Findings … » More …

WSU Tri-Cities readies itself for medical school

A view of the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

WSU Tri-Cities is growing in many ways as it prepares to become one of the clinical campuses for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

There is growth in the number of students who attend class on campus. There is physical growth with two new projects designed for students under construction on campus. And there is growth in the number and quality of the academic programs offered.

WSU Tri-Cities uses a polytechnic approach with a hands-on, career-focused approach. It offers 19 undergraduate and 33 graduate degrees in programs that … » More …

Frank returns from prestigious speaking trip

Professor Marcos Frank in his laboratory.

If you’re a university faculty member, one of the benefits of being good at your work is that people ask you to visit them and give presentations. Many Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine faculty members are asked to do outside speaking engagements, sometimes overseas. For some it has become routine, for others, it’s still a big deal.

For Department of Biomedical Sciences Chair and Professor Marcos Frank, who has built a good name for himself in the world sleep research community, it’s a little of both. Frank frequently receives … » More …