Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is undergoing dramatic shifts with consequences that are beginning to return the landscape to conditions not seen in nearly a century, according to a series of new studies.
In the park’s northeast section, elk have decreased in number in their historic winter range in the Lamar Valley and are now more numerous outside the park. This change in elk numbers and distribution can be traced back to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995-96. Scientists have hypothesized that wolves affect both the numbers and the behavior of elk, thereby reducing the impact of browsing on vegetation, a concept known as a “trophic cascade.”
Rising grizzly bear numbers are also taking their toll on elk. As a result, lush vegetation is growing back in many but not all areas.
“Without wolves, this would not have happened,” said Luke Painter, an instructor at Oregon State University and lead author of three recent papers that describe the results of his fieldwork monitoring vegetation growth patterns in the park. “Wolves caused a fundamental change, but certainly they are interacting with other factors such as bears, climate, fire and human activity.”
Bison have also played an important role in the changes in vegetation in northern Yellowstone. Their numbers have increased four-fold as elk have decreased. In places where bison congregate, they browse on aspen, cottonwood and willow, compensating in part for the decline in elk. However, bison cannot reach as high as elk to browse, allowing more trees to escape and grow to maturity.
From 2010-12, hiking in the Yellowstone backcountry, Painter re-measured 87 aspen stands previously studied by his adviser, William Ripple, and former OSU student Eric Larsen in 1997 and 1998. Painter conducted a regional survey of stands across the northern part of the park and also in the Shoshone National Forest west of Yellowstone, where hunting and cattle grazing are allowed.
Painter detailed his findings this summer in an online report in the journal Ecology. He received his Ph.D. in the College of Forestry at Oregon State in 2013 and is now an instructor in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
“This new study illustrates the powerful insights you can get from taking a view over 15 years or more,” said Aaron Wirsing, an associate professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington. Wirsing was not involved in Painter’s study.
“Wolf reintroduction was a landmark moment, but the changes vary throughout ecosystems as a function of other factors,” Wirsing added. “By taking an ecosystem point of view, this paper shows the complexity of the system and all its moving parts.”
For much of the 20th century, aspen appeared to be in severe decline. While studies by Ripple and his OSU colleague Robert Beschta pointed to the beginnings of an aspen recovery within a decade of wolf reintroduction, other researchers reported finding little evidence of aspen regrowth. Painter has shown that aspen recovery is widespread over much of the northern range, but where elk are still numerous, aspen stands are heavily browsed and stunted. In the famous Lamar Valley itself, bison have become the dominant herbivore, suppressing some aspen stands.
“There is a recovery of aspen happening, but it’s early and it’s not happening everywhere yet,” said Painter. “That’s the way things work in nature.”
Painter found that a quarter of all aspen stands now have five or more young aspen tall enough to escape elk browsing, a condition not seen in decades. Moreover, 46 percent of all stands have at least one tree that has grown beyond the reach of elk. Browsing rates were significantly lower in 2012 than in 1997. The greatest increases in aspen heights were in the east where Ripple and Beschta first reported signs of recovery in 2006.
Other researchers have suggested that fire and climate could be just as significant as wolves in explaining the recovery of aspen stands, but Painter found no evidence to support those possibilities. Following the severe Yellowstone fires in 1988, he said, aspen failed to recover as elk continued to browse young shoots.
In addition, aspen in northern Yellowstone showed signs of vigorous regrowth since 2000 despite relatively dry conditions, which would be likely to suppress aspen growth.
In the early 1990s, many researchers didn’t expect widespread changes to occur from wolf reintroduction, Painter said. “The idea was that if you drop some wolves in here, everything will stay about the same, but the elk population will go down. But what happens is, it mixes up the whole pot. It’s been a surprise that there are so few elk wintering in the Lamar Valley.”
-30-College of Forestry Media Contact: Nick Houtman Source:
Luke Painter, 360-970-1164Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
Bison in Yellowstone National Park, 2012.
A new Oregon State University study shows an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Parents with children at home should use ventilation when cooking with a gas stove, researchers from Oregon State University are recommending, after a new study showed an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.
“In homes where a gas stove was used without venting, the prevalence of asthma and wheezing is higher than in homes where a gas stove was used with ventilation,” said Ellen Smit, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and one of the study’s authors. “Parents of all children should use ventilation while using a gas stove.”
Researchers can’t say that gas stove use without ventilation causes respiratory issues, but the new study clearly shows an association between having asthma and use of ventilation, Smit said. More study is needed to understand that relationship, including whether emissions from gas stoves could cause or exacerbate asthma in children, the researchers said.
Asthma is a common chronic childhood disease and an estimated 48 percent of American homes have a gas stove that is used. Gas stoves are known to affect indoor air pollution levels and researchers wanted to better understand the links between air pollution from gas stoves, parents’ behavior when operating gas stoves and respiratory issues, said Eric Coker, a doctoral student in public health and a co-author of the study.
The study showed that children who lived in homes where ventilation such as an exhaust fan was used when cooking with gas stoves were 32 percent less likely to have asthma than children who lived in homes where ventilation was not used. Children in homes where ventilation was used while cooking with a gas stove were 38 percent less likely to have bronchitis and 39 percent less likely to have wheezing. The study also showed that lung function, an important biological marker of asthma, was significantly better among girls from homes that used ventilation when operating their gas stove.
Many people in the study also reported using their gas stoves for heating, researchers found. That was also related to poorer respiratory health in children, particularly when ventilation was not used. In homes where the gas kitchen stove was used for heating, children were 44 percent less likely to have asthma and 43 percent less likely to have bronchitis if ventilation was used. The results did not change even when asthma risk factors such as pets or cigarette smoking inside the home were taken into account, Coker said.
“Asthma is one of the most common diseases in children living in the United States,” said Molly Kile, the study’s lead author. Kile is an environmental epidemiologist and assistant professor at OSU. “Reducing exposure to environmental factors that can exacerbate asthma can help improve the quality of life for people with this condition.”
The findings were published recently in the journal “Environmental Health.” Co-authors included John Molitor and Anna Harding of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Daniel Sudakin of the College of Agricultural Sciences. The research was supported by OSU.
Researchers used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1988-1994. Data collected for NHANES is a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.
The third edition of the survey is the only one in which questions about use of gas stoves were asked, Coker said. Participants were interviewed in their homes and also underwent physical exams and lab tests.
Researchers examined data from about 7,300 children ages 2-16 who has asthma, wheezing or bronchitis and whose parents reported using a gas stove in the home. Of those who reported using no ventilation, 90 percent indicated they did not have an exhaust system or other ventilation in their homes, Coker said.
Even though the study relies on older data, the findings remain relevant because many people still use gas stoves for cooking, and in some cases, for heat in the winter, the researchers said.
“Lots of older homes lack exhaust or other ventilation,” Coker said. “We know this is still a problem. We don’t know if it is as prevalent as it was when the data was collected.”
Researchers suggest that future health surveys include questions about gas stove and ventilation use. That would allow them to see if there have been any changes in ventilation use since the original data was collected.
“More research is definitely needed,” Coker said. “But we know using an effective ventilation system will reduce air pollution levels in a home, so we can definitely recommend that.”College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact: Michelle Klampe Source:
The OSU Ecampus program has been named the top online education program in Oregon by TheBestSchools.org
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Ecampus distance education program at Oregon State University has been named the best online college in Oregon by TheBestSchools.org, an organization that provides in-depth ranking of degree programs, colleges and universities.
The rankings are based on academic excellence, faculty strength, online teaching methods, awards, the number of programs offered and other criteria, organization officials said.
In its evaluation, the organization cited the 35-plus online degrees delivered by Ecampus, “renowned” faculty members, access to student support systems, and Carnegie Foundation recognition of OSU as a university with very high research activity. The report is online at http://bit.ly/1xE4dfY
“OSU’s dedication to online education has brought us to regard it as the best online college in Oregon,” said Wayne Downs, managing editor of TheBestSchools.org.
Online education has been growing rapidly around the nation in recent years, including OSU’s Ecampus. Established universities such as OSU, the group noted, allow students to earn their degree online but also offer local residents the opportunity to use the library or visit a professor.
“What really distinguishes Oregon State Ecampus from other online universities is our focus on engaging, quality courses,” said Lisa L. Templeton, executive director of the program. “This strategic effort was recently recognized by the Online Learning Consortium for excellence in faculty development. We’re a leader in online education not just in Oregon, but also in the nation.”
In past years, OSU Ecampus has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, Smart Choice 25 Best Online Colleges, and Nation’s Best Public Online Colleges.
Just recently, Professional and Continuing Education, within the Division of Outreach and Engagement, also received several honors from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. These included two UPCEA Marketing Awards. One was a bronze winner in the streaming/on demand content category; the other a bronze winner in a promotional print piece.Ecampus: Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Lisa L. Templeton, 541-737-1279Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
A small study of 29 children, some with autism and some without, showed that children with autism spend 70 minutes more each day sitting than their peers.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new Oregon State University study of children with autism found that they are more sedentary than their typically-developing peers, averaging 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting.
The small study of 29 children, some with autism and some without, showed that children with autism perform as well as their typical peers on fitness assessments such as body mass index, aerobic fitness levels and flexibility. The results warrant expanding the study to a larger group of children, said Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
“These kids, compared to their peers, are similarly fit,” MacDonald said. “That’s really exciting, because it means those underlying fitness abilities are there.”
The findings were published this month in the journal “Autism Research and Treatment.” Co-authors are Kiley Tyler, a doctoral student at OSU, and Kristi Menear of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education with additional support from OSU.
For the study, researchers tested the fitness and physical activity levels of 17 children with autism and 12 children without autism. The fitness assessments, conducted in the Movement Studies in Disability Lab at OSU, included a 20-meter, multi-stage shuttle run to measure aerobic fitness; a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility and a strength test to measure handgrip strength; as well as height, weight and body mass index measurements.
The fitness tests were selected in part because they are commonly used in schools, MacDonald said. Children in the study also wore accelerometers for a week to measure their movement, and parents filled out supplemental forms to report other important information.
Even though they were more sedentary, the children with autism lagged behind their peers on only one fitness measure, the strength test. The results were surprising but also encouraging because they show that children with autism are essentially on par with their peers when it comes to physical fitness activities, MacDonald said.
“That’s really important for parents and teachers to understand, because it opens the door for them to participate in so many activities,” she said.
More research is needed to determine why children with autism tend to be more sedentary, MacDonald said. It may be that children with autism have fewer opportunities to participate in organized sports or physical education activities, but if that is the case, it needs to change, she said.
“They can do it. Those abilities are there,” she said. “We need to work with them to give them opportunities.”
MacDonald encourages parents to make physical activity such as a daily walk or trip to the park part of the family’s routine. She’s also an advocate for adaptive physical education programs, which are school-based programs designed around a child’s abilities and needs. Some communities also offer physical fitness programs such as soccer clubs that are inclusive for children with autism or other disabilities, she said.
“Physical fitness and physical activity are so important for living a healthy life, and we learn those behaviors as children,” MacDonald said. “Anything we can do to help encourage children with autism to be more active is beneficial.”College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact: Michelle Klampe Source:
Megan MacDonald, 541-737-3273, Megan.MacDonald@oregonstate.eduMultimedia Downloads Multimedia:
As forestlands around the globe continue to diminish in the wake of human population growth and climate change, two leading scientists have written a new book in which they issue a call to action for forest conservation.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – As forestlands around the globe continue to diminish in the wake of human population growth and climate change, two leading scientists have written a new book in which they issue a call to action for forest conservation.
Among threats to the vital services provided by forest ecosystems, they say, are residential development, climate change and illegal logging operations in the tropics.
“In the 1950s, we assumed that the forests were not going to change,” said Richard Waring, retired professor of forestry at Oregon State University and co-author of the book. “We assumed that if you disturbed them in a certain way, they would come back. Right now it looks like some of the drier forestlands will be in continuous transition to ecosystems that may not include trees at all.”
Since it is buffered by the Pacific Ocean, the West Coast is relatively unusual. Climate change models show that the conditions there for tree growth are likely to stay the same or even improve.
In the 1980s, Waring said, scientists began to realize that their assumptions of forest stability were wrong. They began incorporating rising atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels into their computer models of forest ecosystems. In a few places, unprecedented insect outbreaks and fires began to occur.
Waring and Joseph Landsberg, a forest biologist in Australia, detail their thoughts in a new book, “Forests in Our Changing World,” published by Island Press.
Managing forests for sustainability, they said, will mean controlling destructive, often unregulated logging operations in the tropics; turning forest slash into the soil rather than burning it; increasing resilience by planting multiple species of trees rather than single species; reducing erosion from forest soils; and monitoring broad forest trends through satellite imagery.
In the United States, Waring said, about 1.5 percent of the nation’s forestlands are disturbed annually through logging, housing development, fires and clearing. While that may not sound like a lot, he added, it means that most of the country’s forests would be replaced with new forests in less than 70 years.
“It’s a wake-up call,” Waring said. “We think it’s real and people should be concerned about it. There’s more carbon stored in the forest than anywhere else above ground.”
Between 2000 and 2005, about 6 percent of the United States’ forestlands were disturbed through fires, insect attacks, disease and logging – the largest percentage of any country with large forested areas. Canada saw the largest area of disturbance, about 40 million acres, in absolute terms. Most human disturbances of forests, Waring and Landsberg wrote, are driven by economic gain that ignores the long-term loss of ecosystem services such as carbon storage, biodiversity and water quality.
Wood products, which can store sequestered carbon, will increasingly come from tree plantations rather than natural forests, they added. At present, plantations account for only 3 percent of the world’s forestlands but produce about 25 percent of all forest products.
Future plantation managers would do well to avoid the “debacle” with blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) in western Australia. Federal tax incentives and exaggerated claims of tree growth led to overplanting and as drought struck the region, water supplies were depleted, and trees stopped growing or died.
Waring specializes in forest ecology and the analysis of trends through satellite imagery. Landsberg has conducted forest research in the United Kingdom and Australia. As a former chief of the Division of Forest Research for Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, he oversaw a staff of more than 200 scientists.College of Forestry Media Contact: Nick Houtman Source:
Richard Waring, 541-737-6087Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
Scientists are asking coastal visitors to be on the lookout for "transponders" from Japan that are being used to track ocean currents that may bring tsunami debris to our shores.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Northwest anglers venturing out into the Pacific Ocean in pursuit of salmon and other fish this fall may scoop up something unusual into their nets – instruments released from Japan called “transponders.”
These floating instruments are about the size of a 2-liter soda bottle and were set in the ocean from different ports off Japan in 2011-12 after the massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been collaborating with Oregon State University, Oregon Sea Grant, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program on the project.
The researchers’ goal is to track the movement of debris via ocean currents and help determine the path and timing of the debris from the 2011 disaster. An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris was washed out to sea and it is expected to continue drifting ashore along the West Coast of the United States for several years, according to Sam Chan, a watershed health specialist with Oregon State University Extension and Oregon Sea Grant.
“These transponders only have a battery life of about 30 months and then they no longer communicate their location,” Chan said. “So the only way to find out where they end up is to physically find them and report their location. That’s why we need the help of fishermen, beachcombers and other coastal visitors.
“These bottles contain transmitters and they are not a hazardous device,” Chan added. “If you find something that looks like an orange soda bottle with a short antenna, we’d certainly like your help in turning it in.”
Persons who find a transponder are asked to photograph it if possible, and report the location of their find to Chan at Samuel.Chan@oregonstate.edu; or to the NOAA Marine Debris Program regional coordinator in their area at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/contact-us. They will provide shipping instructions to persons who find the transponders so that the instruments can be returned to the research team.
One of the first transponders discovered in the Northwest washed ashore near Arch Cape, Oregon, in March 2013, about 19 months after it was set adrift. The persons who found it reported it to Chan, who began collaborating with researchers in Japan.
Another transponder was found near the Haida Heritage Site, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands – the same location where a Harley-Davidson motorcycle floated up on a beach in a shipping container long after being swept out to sea in Japan by the tsunami.
“These transponders have recorded a lot of important data that will help us better understand the movement of tsunami and marine debris throughout the Pacific Ocean,” Chan said. “Everyone’s help in recovering these instruments is greatly appreciated.”Oregon Sea Grant Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Sam Chan, 541-737-4828; firstname.lastname@example.org
The OSU creation of a simple pulley mechanism for implantation in human hands may some day help restore grasping function for people with nerve damage.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Engineers at Oregon State University have developed and successfully demonstrated the value of a simple pulley mechanism to improve hand function after surgery.
The device, tested in cadaver hands, is one of the first instruments ever created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement while implanted inside the body.
After continued research, technology such as this may offer new options to people who have lost the use of their hands due to nerve trauma, and ultimately be expanded to improve function of a wide range of damaged joints in the human body.
The findings were just reported in Hand, a professional journal, by researchers from OSU and the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. The research was supported by OSU.
“This technology is definitely going to work, and it will merge artificial mechanisms with biological hand function,” said Ravi Balasubramanian, an expert in robotics, biomechanics and human control systems, and assistant professor in the OSU College of Engineering.
“We’ll still need a few years to develop biocompatible materials, coatings to prevent fibrosis, make other needed advances and then test the systems in animals and humans,” Balasubramanian said. “But working at first with hands – and then later with other damaged joints such as knees or ankles – we will help people recover the function they’ve lost due to illness or injury.”
Initially, the OSU research will offer a significant improvement on surgery now used to help restore the gripping capability of hands following nerve damage. That procedure, called tendon-transfer surgery for high median-ulnar palsy, essentially reattaches finger tendons to a muscle that still works. But the hand function remains significantly impaired, requiring a large amount of force, the stretching of tendons, and fingers that all move at the same time, instead of separately as is often needed to grasp an object.
The new mechanism developed at OSU is not really robotic since it has no sensory, electronic or motor capabilities, Balasubramanian said. Rather, it’s a passive technology using a basic pulley that will be implanted within a person’s hand to allow more natural grasping function with less use of muscle energy.
“Many people have lost the functional use of their hands due to nerve damage, sometimes from traumatic injury and at other times from stroke, paralysis or other disorders,” Balasubramanian said. “The impact can be devastating, since grasping is a fundamental aspect of our daily life. The surgery we’re focusing on, for instance, is commonly performed in the military on people who have been injured in combat.”
The new research showed, in cadavers, how the mechanism developed for this problem can produce more natural and adaptive flexion of the fingers in grasping. The needed force to close all four fingers around an object was reduced by 45 percent, and the grasp improvement on an object reduced slippage by 52 percent.
Such progress can be an important step to improve function beyond the existing surgical procedure, by providing an alternative to the suture which has been the previous mainstay. The hand, experts say, is amazingly complex, with 35-38 muscles and 22 joints all working together, innervated by three nerves between the elbow and fingertip.
The long-term potential of such mechanized assistance is profound. In some cases, Balasubramanian said, it may indeed be possible to create joints or limbs that mechanically function as well or better than they did originally.
“There’s a lot we may be able to do,” he said. “Thousands of people now have knee replacements, for instance, but the knee is weaker after surgery. With mechanical assistance we may be able to strengthen and improve that joint.”
This work is part of a rapidly expanding robotics research and education program at OSU, in fields ranging from robotic underwater vehicles to prosthetic limbs, search and rescue missions and advanced manufacturing. New graduate degrees in robotics were just recently added at the university, one of the few institutions in the nation to have such graduate programs.College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Oregon will receive $2.6 million a year for seven years for college readiness initiatives as part of the statewide GEAR UP program, the U.S. Department of Education has announced.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon will receive $2.6 million a year for seven years for college readiness initiatives as part of the statewide GEAR UP program, the U.S. Department of Education has announced. Oregon GEAR UP -- which is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs -- is a federally-funded college access and success program that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
As part of Oregon State University’s Office of Precollege Programs, Oregon GEAR UP works with cohorts of middle and high school students over a period of seven years to meet their specific educational needs. Services and activities include academic tutoring, financial literacy, FAFSA completion, college tours, and parent engagement programs, among others. GEAR UP serves students starting in 7th grade, and follows them through the first year of college. The work is carried out by staff in school districts in rural communities around the state, with a variety of supports from the central GEAR UP office and the contributions of many community partners.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to continue the good work of GEAR UP in Oregon,” said Stephanie Carnahan, director of the Oregon GEAR UP program. “Our partnerships with rural communities across the state will make education beyond high school a reality for thousands of additional students.”
Activities and services will be concentrated in 21 rural communities, which are expected to serve more than 13,000 students over seven years. Selected as part of a competitive process in the spring of 2014, these communities and schools are:
Bandon: Bandon Senior High, Harbor Lights Middle
Blue River: McKenzie High, McKenzie Elementary
Boardman: Riverside Jr/Sr High
Cave Junction: Illinois Valley High, Lorna Byrne Middle
Chiloquin: Chiloquin Jr/Sr High
Cottage Grove: Cottage Grove High, Kennedy High, Lincoln Middle
Culver: Culver High, Culver Middle
Dayton: Dayton High, Dayton Jr. High
Elgin: Elgin High, Stella Mayfield Elementary
Gold Beach: Gold Beach High, Riley Creek Elementary
Klamath Falls: Klamath Union High, Ponderosa Junior High
La Pine: La Pine High, La Pine Middle
Lebanon: Lebanon High, Seven Oak Middle, Pioneer School, Hamilton Creek School, Lacomb School
Lincoln City: Taft High
Lowell: Lowell Jr/Sr High
Myrtle Creek: South Umpqua High, Coffenberry Middle
Newport: Newport High, Newport Prep Academy
Oakridge: Oakridge High, Oakridge Junior High
Rogue River: Rogue River Jr/Sr High
Stanfield: Stanfield Secondary
Umatilla: Umatilla High, Clara Brownell Middle
In addition to these communities, Oregon GEAR UP serves 14 additional middle and high schools in Coos, Curry and Douglas counties that are supported by The Ford Family Foundation. The central office also provides resources to all schools across the state and coordinates statewide college readiness efforts such as College Application Week. Since 2002, the GEAR UP program has supported more than 32,000 students in 83 schools.
“Over the years, I’ve met many students involved in the GEAR UP program and I can tell you first-hand this program makes a difference,” said Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “The students I met prove that given the opportunity, every child in Oregon has the potential to get a college degree and contribute to our increasingly sophisticated and knowledge-based economy. The GEAR UP program is not only good for Oregon families but also for our country’s economic future.”
Oregon GEAR UP is a federally-funded program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enroll and succeed in college. For more information go to: http://gearup.ous.edu/Generic OSU Source:
Stephanie Carnahan, GEAR UP Director, 541-346-5761,
Dana Beck, GEAR UP Program Manager –541-737-2922
Auditions for 'Mother Courage and Her Children,' the first production of Oregon State University Theatre’s 2014-15 season, will be held Oct. 1-2
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Auditions for “Mother Courage and Her Children,” the first production of Oregon State University Theatre’s 2014-15 season, will be held Oct. 1-2.
Auditions will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. each day in the Withycombe Hall Theatre, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis. Free parking is available on the north side of the building. Auditions are open to anyone interested in performing, including high school and college students, OSU staff and members of the community.
Tryouts will consist of group readings from the script. Those interested in auditioning are asked to read the play in advance. Scripts will be available for temporary checkout from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, in the theatre office, Withycombe Hall Room 141.
The cast includes 32 characters but a core of 15 actors and actresses of all ages will perform multiple roles. Some characters will sing but the performers need not be trained singers. A few members of the cast may play an instrument on stage, and those auditioning are encouraged to bring an instrument if they have one. Performers also are encouraged to prepare a short, 30-second song without accompaniment to determine vocal ability and placement, though singing is not a requirement to be cast in the show.
“Mother Courage and Her Children,” by Bertolt Brecht, was written in the late 1930s as an anti-war play; it is harsh, grim and dark, with a sardonically humorous edge. It fits in with the theme of the 2014-15 University Theatre season, “War and Remembrance.”
Rehearsals will be held in the evenings, Sunday through Thursday, in October and early November. Performances will be held Nov. 13, 14, and 16 and Nov. 21-23.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Michelle Klampe Source:
Elizabeth Helman, Elizabeth.Helman@oregonstate.edu
Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray on Tuesday challenged all students, faculty, staff and community members to work together to end sexual violence.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray on Tuesday challenged all students, faculty, staff and community members to work together to end sexual violence.
Ray’s challenge follows the announcement last Friday by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden of the “It’s On Us” campaign to raise awareness of – and ultimately prevent - sexual assaults on university campuses.
In a letter to the Oregon State community, Ray pointed to several programs at OSU that focus on education and prevention of sexual assaults and then said “that is not enough.” He challenged all members of the Oregon State community to get involved in their own way.
“I expect each and every one of us – regardless of where you work or attend classes – to become informed about sexual violence and to take the responsibility to help prevent and report all forms of sexual violence or harassment,” Ray said. “I have no doubt that we can all do something.
“Teaching faculty can learn how best to use classroom and advising opportunities to promote awareness, safety and support,” Ray pointed out. “Likewise, advisers, fraternities and sororities, supervisors, coaches, friends, etc. can all become informed about how they can respond and help this important effort.
“We are a community and should work together to ensure each of us are safe.”
The OSU president noted that an estimated one in five women nationally is sexually assaulted during her college years. Sexual violence can impact anyone, he said, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. In the great majority of cases, individuals are assaulted by someone they know and even trust, whether as an acquaintance, classmate, friend, or current or former partner.
Of those assaults, it is estimated that only 12 percent nationally are reported, and only a fraction of the offenders are held accountable.
“Sexual assault is a severely violating experience that can cause a victim substantial immediate and long-term physical and mental health consequences,” Ray said. “These assaults must end, and to do so will require our collective focus locally and nationally.”
Oregon State will develop an “It’s On Us” website that will have information about the university’s response, prevention and education programs as well as information on how each of us can be part of the solution. The website will link to the national campaign and additional resources.
Ray asked all students and employees to learn about OSU’s programs and services regarding sexual violence reporting, emergency response, education and community services.
“During the course of the 2014-15 academic year Oregon State will take additional steps to address sexual violence within our community,” Ray said. “We will keep everyone informed of these important developments.” The university will publicize these efforts through the sexual assault website, the OSU Today newsletter, the online LIFE@OSU magazine, social media and other communications.
“It’s on us to end sexual assaults in the Oregon State University community,” Ray said. “Each of us has a role in creating a caring community – based on civility and respect – that is free of sexual assaults and other forms of harassment and violence.”
OSU Sexual Assault Prevention Services and Programs
Confidential support, counseling and advocacy services:
- Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) provides confidential support to sexual assault survivors (541-737-7604) http://oregonstate.edu/counsel/osu-sexual-assault-support-services-sass
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in Student Health Services, provides confidential medical exams (541-737-9355) http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/sane
Sexual assault reporting and response services:
- OSU Office of Equity and Inclusion (541-737-3556) http://oregonstate.edu/oei/sexual-harassment-and-violence-policy
- Oregon State Police – Corvallis campus (541-737-3010) for non-emergency calls; 541-737-7000 for emergency calls) http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/home)
- Local law enforcement agencies within your off-campus community (Call 911 for immediate emergency assistance or referral)
Awareness and prevention education programs and services:
- “Haven” -- Online prevention education program required for all incoming OSU students and student athletes.
- “AlcoholEdu” Substance abuse prevention program required for all incoming first-year students attending OSU in Corvallis.
- Sexual violence prevention educator on staff in OSU Student Health Services. (541-737-9355)
Academic programs, such as those offered in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
- For more information: http://oregonstate.edu/cla/women_gender_sexuality/major
Other OSU efforts:
- On-going training for all for all residential staff in University Housing and Dining Services in conjunction with the Office of Equity and Inclusion; Sexual Assault Support Services; and Student Health Services to understand, identify and appropriately respond to disclosures of sexual violence.
- Residence hall educational programming – including resource information and support – provided by professional staff and members of student.
- Required educational programs for students living in OSU’s Affiliated Housing Program, made up of fraternities and sororities.
- Sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training for OSU employees by the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Oregon State employee policy on responding to disclosures of sexual violence or sexual harassment:
OSU’s Community Partners:
- Corvallis Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV) provides confidential, 24-hour hotline services in the Corvallis area. (541-754-0110) http://cardv.org/
- Guide to sexual assault service responders in communities through Oregon and the U.S. https://www.notalone.gov/resources
- Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis (541-768-5111)
- Hospitals and medical centers in your community
Future sexual assault education programs services
- OSU Student Health Services is creating a center on violence prevention; and alcohol and drug abuse to work with Corvallis campus and community partners to expand and enhance education, outreach and prevention efforts.
- Office of Equity and Inclusion is taking additional steps to expand awareness of sexual violence and enhance prevention education among OSU employees.
Steve Clark, 503-502-8217; email@example.com
An exercise DVD created by the Healthy Youth Program at the Linus Pauling Institute may help promote short exercise breaks in elementary school classrooms.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A recent Oregon survey about an exercise DVD that adds short breaks of physical activity into the daily routine of elementary school students found it had a high level of popularity with both students and teachers, and offered clear advantages for overly sedentary educational programs.
Called “Brain Breaks,” the DVD was developed and produced by the Healthy Youth Program of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and is available nationally.
Brain Breaks leads children in 5-7 minute segments of physical activity, demonstrated by OSU students and elementary school children from Corvallis, Oregon. The short periods of exercise aim to improve the physical health, mental awareness and educational success of children.
“We’re increasingly recognizing the importance of physical activity for children even as the academic demands placed on them are cutting into the traditional programs of recess and physical education,” said Gerd Bobe, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, an expert in public health nutrition and behavior, and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute.
“Kids need to move, they can’t just sit all day long,” Bobe said. “Given the time constraints and multiple demands that schools are facing, we really believe the concept of short activity breaks, right in the classroom, is the way to go.”
Oregon law, for instance, mandates that by 2017 elementary schools will be required to have 30 minutes a day of physical education classes, in addition to recess periods. But a survey conducted by the Healthy Youth Program found that 92 percent of Oregon public elementary schools currently do not meet this standard. And sometimes, Bobe said, elimination of recess is used as a disciplinary tool, potentially taking activity away from those students who may need it the most.
Brain Breaks was created to bring more activity back into classrooms, especially when it may be most useful – in the afternoon after lunch, for instance, when attention spans and concentration tend to waver. Research has shown that physical activity can increase academic performance, student focus and classroom behavior, Bobe said.
The program offers a variety of segments, including six based on stretching and relaxation, five on endurance, and one on strength, with imaginative concepts such as “space adventures” and “crazy kangaroos.” No equipment is needed, other than a chair for the strength segment, and all activities can be done in a classroom setting. An abstract of the work has been published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
A recent survey of the Healthy Youth Program that was sent to participating Oregon school districts found that:
- Almost all teachers said the program was appropriate for their classes and well-understood by the class;
- More than 90 percent of teachers said the exercise segments had the right length, and that students were more focused after using the program;
- All of the segments were popular with more than 80 percent of students, but the stretching and relaxation activities had the highest approval, at 95 percent, and were also most frequently used by teachers;
- About three-fourths of the teachers were using the program two to three times per week, and more than 90 percent plan to continue its use.
“Longer periods of exercise have a place, but research shows that these short programs can be very valuable as well,” Bobe said. “They can increase oxygen consumption, range of motion, endurance, and get kids in the habit of being more active. A little bit of exercise can go a long way.”
“This survey shows a program that’s working and is valuable,” Bobe said. “We hope it becomes popular across the nation.”Linus Pauling Institute Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Gerd Bobe, 541-737-1898Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Rewarding landowners for converting farmland into forest will be key to sequestering carbon and providing wildlife habitat, according to a new study by Oregon State University and collaborators.
Current land-use trends in the United States will significantly increase urban land development by mid-century, along with a greater than 10 percent reduction in habitat of nearly 50 at-risk species, including amphibians, large predators and birds, said David Lewis, co-author of the study and an environmental economist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.
"One of the great challenges of our time is providing food, timber and housing, while also preserving the environment," said Lewis. "Our simulations show our growing appetite for resources could have cascading effects on wildlife and other vital services provided by nature."
"Policymakers have tools to increase tree cover and limit urban sprawl, such as targeted taxes, incentives and zoning," he added.
Paying landowners $100 an acre per year to convert land into forest would increase forestland by an estimated 14 percent and carbon storage by 8 percent by mid-century, the researchers say. Timber production would increase by nearly 20 percent and some key wildlife species would gain at least 10 percent more habitat, they added.
Yet this subsidy program would also shrink food production by 10 percent and comes with an annual $7.5 billion price tag, said Lewis.
Another policy option – charging landowners $100 per acre of land that is deforested for urban development, cropland or pasture – would generate $1.8 billion a year in revenue. More than 30 percent of vital species would gain habitat. Yet carbon storage and food production would shrink slightly, according to the study.
"Price drives how most landowners decide what to do with their property,” Lewis said. “Some choices have market values – such as selling food and timber – and yet others, like sequestering carbon, do not earn money for landowners, who then have less incentive to provide them."
"To reverse loss of habitat and boost carbon storage, the government could provide compensation for services the free market does not currently offer," added Lewis.
However, researchers found neither the tax nor subsidy plan would limit the growth of urban sprawl. Instead, they simulated a prohibition on new urban development – such as building new housing and commercial properties – in rural and non-metropolitan areas.
By 2051, the policy would decrease urban growth by 24 percent in the researchers' simulation, but it would result in smaller gains in habitat and carbon storage than the tax and subsidy.
"There are inherent tradeoffs involved in any policy,” Lewis pointed out. “More urban land comes at the expense of wildlife habitat, and more carbon storage could reduce food production. Understanding these choices can help us prepare for the different shapes our landscapes may take in the future."
Co-authors of the study include researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Washington, University of Minnesota, University of California-Santa Barbara, Bowdoin College, Florida International University, and the World Wildlife Fund.
The study (http://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7492.full) was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Funding was provided by grants from the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact: Daniel Robison Source:
David Lewis, 541-737-1334Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
A compound found in hobs and beer can improve cognitive function in young mice, and continues to be of interest to scientists studying the impacts of aging on health and memory.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Xanthohumol, a type of flavonoid found in hops and beer, has been shown in a new study to improve cognitive function in young mice, but not in older animals.
The research was just published in Behavioral Brain Research by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University. It’s another step toward understanding, and ultimately reducing the degradation of memory that happens with age in many mammalian species, including humans.
Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that often give them their color. The study of them – whether in blueberries, dark chocolate or red wine - has increased in recent years due to their apparent nutritional benefits, on issues ranging from cancer to inflammation or cardiovascular disease. Several have also been shown to be important in cognition.
Xanthohumol has been of particular interest because of possible value in treating metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with obesity, high blood pressure and other concerns, including age-related deficits in memory. The compound has been used successfully to lower body weight and blood sugar in a rat model of obesity.
The new research studied use of xanthohumol in high dosages, far beyond what could be obtained just by diet. At least in young animals, it appeared to enhance their ability to adapt to changes in the environment. This cognitive flexibility was tested with a special type of maze designed for that purpose.
“Our goal was to determine whether xanthohumol could affect a process we call palmitoylation, which is a normal biological process but in older animals may become harmful,” said Daniel Zamzow, a former OSU doctoral student and now a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin/Rock County.
“Xanthohumol can speed the metabolism, reduce fatty acids in the liver and, at least with young mice, appeared to improve their cognitive flexibility, or higher level thinking,” Zamzow said. “Unfortunately it did not reduce palmitoylation in older mice, or improve their learning or cognitive performance, at least in the amounts of the compound we gave them.”
Kathy Magnusson, a professor in the OSU Department of Biomedical Sciences, principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute and corresponding author on this study, said that xanthohumol continues to be of significant interest for its biological properties, as are many other flavonoids.
“This flavonoid and others may have a function in the optimal ability to form memories,” Magnusson said. “Part of what this study seems to be suggesting is that it’s important to begin early in life to gain the full benefits of healthy nutrition.”
It’s also important to note, Magnusson said, that the levels of xanthohumol used in this study were only possible with supplements. As a fairly rare micronutrient, the only normal dietary source of it would be through the hops used in making beer, and “a human would have to drink 2000 liters of beer a day to reach the xanthohumol levels we used in this research.”
In this and other research, Magnusson’s research has primarily focused on two subunits of the NMDA receptor, called GluN1 and GluN2B. Their decline with age appears to be related to the decreased ability to form and quickly recall memories.
In humans, many adults start to experience deficits in memory around the age of 50, and some aspects of cognition begin to decline around age 40, the researchers noted in their report.
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.Linus Pauling Institute Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Kathy Magnusson, 541-737-6923Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
Oregon State University will host its two main days of new resident move-in on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday, Sept. 24.
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University will host its two main days of new resident move-in on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday, Sept. 24.
Increased traffic and congestion are expected on those days. Visitors to campus should expect limited parking and potential traffic delays as un-loading zones are set up around the residence halls.
More than 3,000 residents are expected to arrive Tuesday and Wednesday, many with family and friends in tow. Hundreds of campus and community volunteers will help with move-in.
In addition, many residents of the International Living-Learning Center will arrive Sunday, Sept. 21, in time for international orientation. That and a steady trickle of other early arrivals will mean that about 1,500 additional residents will already be in place before the main two move-in days.
New this year, will be the opening of Tebeau Hall on the east side of campus. The new residence hall is named for alumnus William “Bill” Tebeau (1925-2013), an Oregon engineer and teacher who was a pioneering student who persevered through numerous challenges to become the first African American man to graduate from Oregon State in 1948.
Tebeau’s family will be in attendance at a dedication ceremony for the hall at 2 p.m. Oct. 9. The community is welcome to attend the celebration at Tebeau Hall.
For more information on these events, contact University Housing & Dining Services at 541-737-4771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Generic OSU Source:
Jennifer Viña 541-737-8187
A new survey will address the emerging problem of disposal of pharmaceutical and personal care products - for both humans and pets - that have the potential to harm watersheds.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Scientists have long been aware of the potential environment impacts that stem from the use and disposal of the array of products people use to keep themselves healthy, clean and smelling nice.
Now a new concern is emerging – improper disposal of pet care products and pills.
Dog shampoos, heartworm medicine, flea and tick sprays, and a plethora of prescription and over-the-counter medicines increasingly are finding their way into landfills and waterways, where they can threaten the health of local watersheds. An estimated 68 percent of American households have at least one pet, illustrating the potential scope of the problem.
But Chan and his colleagues aim to find out. They are launching a national survey (online at: http://tinyurl.com/PetWellbeingandEnvironment) of both pet owners and veterinary care professionals to determine how aware that educated pet owners are of the issue, what is being communicated, and how they dispose of “pharmaceutical and personal care products” (PPCPs) for both themselves and their pets. Pet owners are encouraged to participate in the survey.
“You can count on one hand the number of studies that have been done on what people actively do with the disposal of these products,” Chan said. “PPCPs are used by almost everyone and most wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely deactivate many of the compounds they include.”
Increasingly, Chan said, a suite of PPCPs used by pets and people are being detected at low levels in surface water and groundwater. Examples include anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, antidepressants, antibiotics, estrogens, the insect repellent DEET, and ultraviolet (UV) sunblock compounds.
Some of the impacts from exposure to these products are becoming apparent. Fish exposed to levels of antidepressants at concentrations lower than sewage effluence, for example, have been shown to become more active and bold – making them more susceptible to predation, noted Chan, an OSU Extension Sea Grant specialist.
“Triclosan is another concern; it is a common anti-microbial ingredient in soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, clothing, cookware, furniture and toys to prevent or reduce bacterial contamination for humans and pets,” Chan said. “It is being linked to antibiotic resistance in riparian zones, as well as to alterations in mammal hormone regulation – endocrine disruptor – and impacts on immune systems.”
Another common endocrine disruptor, the researchers say, is coal tar, a common ingredient in dandruff shampoo for humans, and pet medicines for skin treatment.
Jennifer Lam conducted a preliminary survey of veterinary practitioners as part of her master’s thesis at Oregon State University and found awareness by veterinary professionals of the environmental issues caused by improper disposal of PPCPs was high. Yet many did not share that information with their clients.
In fact, veterinarians only discussed best practices for disposal with their clients 18 percent of the time, her survey found.
“The awareness is there, but so are barriers,” Lam said. “Communicating about these issues in addition to care instructions takes time. There may be a lack of educational resources – or a lack of awareness on their availability. And some may not think of it during the consultation process.”
The National Sea Grant program recently partnered with the American Veterinary Medicine Association to promote the reduction of improper PPCP disposal. The national survey is a first step in that process.
“Most people tend to throw extra pills or personal care products into the garbage and in fewer instances, flush them down the drain,” Chan said. “It seems like the right thing to do, but is not the most environmentally friendly method for disposing unused or expired PPCPs. Waste in landfills produce leachates and these contaminates may not be fully deactivated by current wastewater treatments. They can get into groundwater and streams, where they can cause a variety of environmental problems and create a health risk as well.”
When disposing of expired or unneeded medications, the researchers say, don’t flush them. Instead, take to them to a drug take-back event or depository. New rules to be implemented by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) later this fall will make drug take-back options more available.
Chan and Lam suggest that in areas where take-back options are not available, people should mix unused or unwanted drugs with coffee grounds or kitty litter – something that will be unpalatable to pets. Then put the mixture in a sealed container and deposit it in the trash.
Results from the national survey led by Oregon Sea Grant will provide much-needed information to guide education, watershed monitoring and improvements on ways to reduce PPCP contamination and their environmental impacts.
The survey will continue until Nov. 1.Oregon Sea Grant Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Sam Chan, 503-679-4828, email@example.com;
Jennifer Lam, firstname.lastname@example.org
People with facial paralysis are perceived as being less happy simply because they can’t communicate in the universal language of facial expression, new OSU research shows.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – People with facial paralysis are perceived as being less happy simply because they can’t communicate in the universal language of facial expression, a new study from an Oregon State University psychology professor shows.
The findings highlight the important role the face plays in everyday communication and indicates people may hold a prejudice against those with facial paralysis because of their disability, said Kathleen Bogart, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.
“People are more wary and more likely to form a negative impression of someone with a disability,” Bogart said. “Identifying that stigma is the first step to addressing it.”
Bogart specializes in research on ableism, or prejudice about disabilities. Much of her work focuses on the psychosocial implications of facial movement disorders such as facial paralysis and Parkinson’s disease, which affect more than 200,000 Americans each year.
“Facial paralysis is highly visible,” Bogart said. “Everyone notices there’s a difference, but people have no idea why. They don’t understand the nature of the condition.”
Some basic facial expressions, including the smile, are communicated universally across cultures. But people with facial paralysis or other facial movement disorders may not be able to participate in that communication because they lack emotional expression and may seem unresponsive in social situations.
To better understand how those with facial paralysis are perceived by those without facial paralysis, Bogart conducted an experiment comparing how emotions are perceived based on different forms of communication.
About 120 participants, none of whom had facial paralysis, watched or listened to videos of people with varying degrees of facial paralysis and were asked to rate the subject’s emotions as the person recounted happy or sad experiences. Participants were assigned to videos highlighting several communication channels, including video of just the person’s face; video of the person’s face and body; or voice-only audio with no video; as well as combinations of different types of communication.
Those with severe facial paralysis were rated as less happy than those with milder facial paralysis across all the different communication types and combinations. Those with severe facial paralysis were also rated as less sad than those with milder facial paralysis.
The findings confirmed that people with facial paralysis experience stigma, but it also confirmed that people often rely on a combination of communication channels to perceive emotions, Bogart said.
That’s important because people with facial paralysis can adapt other communication channels, such as tone of voice or gestures, to enhance their communication ability, she said. Also, people interacting with someone with facial paralysis can be more watchful of other communication cues that might indicate emotion, she said.
“It’s not all about the face,” Bogart said. “Studies like this tell us more about the way people communicate, verbally and non-verbally.”
Her findings were published recently in the journal “Basic and Applied Social Psychology.” Co-authors of the study are Linda Tickle-Degnen of Tufts University and Nalini Ambady of Stanford University. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Bogart is now studying ways to help people with facial paralysis use compensatory strategies to improve communication. She has developed a social skills workshop for teenagers with facial paralysis and hopes to do more work like that in the future.
“We know these strategies work, so let’s teach people to use those skills more,” she said. “A lot of people with facial paralysis do just fine, but there are some people who would like help or support.”
Making people aware of the stigma about facial paralysis and educating them about the causes and effects is the biggest key to reducing existing misconceptions and prejudices, Bogart said.
“People need to be able to recognize facial paralysis, and understand that they may need to pay more attention to communication cues beyond facial expression,” she said.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Michelle Klampe Source:
Kathleen Bogart, 541-737-1357, Kathleen.email@example.com
OSU and 10 other prominent research universities have formed a nationwide alliance aimed at helping retain and ultimately graduate more first-generation and low-income students.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and 10 other prominent research universities have formed a nationwide alliance aimed at helping retain and ultimately graduate more first-generation students and students from low-income families.
The new consortium, known as the University Innovation Alliance, already has received $5.7 million in funding from charitable foundations, which will be matched by the member institutions.
The alliance is designed to develop and share best practices on ways to better engage first-generation and low-income students by creating a national “playbook” of successful initiatives. Access to higher education – and success upon matriculating – has long been a priority for OSU President Edward J. Ray, himself a first-generation college student.
“This alliance is near and dear to my heart because I know first-hand how important it is to provide mentoring and resources for these students,” Ray said. “Oregon State has some innovative and successful programs and we look forward to sharing our ideas and learning from other institutions ways we can do even more.”
Students from high-income families are seven times more likely to attain a college degree than those from low-income families. The United States will face a shortage of at least 16 million college graduates by 2025, studies show, and the alliance’s founding members are focused on addressing this gap at a time when public funding for higher education has been decreasing.
Joining Oregon State in forming the alliance are: Arizona State University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of California, Riverside, University of Central Florida, University of Kansas, and University of Texas at Austin.
Supporting the initiative are the Ford Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, USA Funds and the Markle Foundation.
The $11.4 million in overall funding will be used in a variety of ways, focusing on encouraging leaders of innovative programs to engage with other member institutions, according to Rebecca Warner, OSU’s senior vice provost for academic affairs.
Institutions affiliated with the alliance have a track record of success in helping students from all backgrounds. Georgia State, for example, successfully used predictive analytics and advising interventions to increase its semester-to-semester student retention rates by 5 percent and reduce time-to-degree for graduating students by almost half a semester.
That led to 1,200 more students staying in school every year, and the Georgia State Class of 2014 saved $10 million in tuition and fees compared to graduates a year earlier. If these same innovations were scaled across the 11 alliance member institutions over the next five years, it is estimated that an additional 61,000 students would graduate and save almost $1.5 billion in educational costs to students and taxpayers.
Sabah Randhawa, OSU’s provost and executive vice president, said Oregon State looks forward to sharing information about some of its successful programs, including the College Assistance Migrant Program for children for migrant families; the Educational Opportunities Program, a resources for students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, veterans and others; and TRIO Support Services, a program aimed at boosting student retention.
“Oregon State also has some targeted precollege programs like Juntos, which is helping Latino students in central Oregon better prepare for going to college in the first place,” Randhawa said. “That kind of a head start can be critical in the success of students down the road.”
“We also will be sharing our successes with Ecampus, which annually is ranked among the best programs of its kind in the country,” Randhawa added. OSU Ecampus offers 35 degrees and certificate programs, and has grown at a rate of about 20 percent annually over the past five years.
More information on the University Innovation Alliance is available at www.theuia.orgGeneric OSU Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Becky Warner, 541-737-0732; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Steve Clark, 503-502-8217, email@example.com
Oregon State University and the City of Corvallis are collaborating on the inaugural Good Neighbor Day Community Welcome on Sunday, Sept. 28.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and the City of Corvallis are collaborating on the inaugural Good Neighbor Day Community Welcome on Sunday, Sept. 28.
This local event, which takes place on National Good Neighbor Day, includes a community fair, canvassing of Corvallis neighborhoods by volunteers, and a chance for students, other citizens and businesses to interact, according to Jonathan Stoll, OSU’s director of Corvallis Community Relations.
“This is the first event in what we plan to make an annual celebration,” Stoll said. “Community Welcome is a chance to engage hundreds of community residents, students, local businesses, and the staffs of both the City of Corvallis and OSU in building community by facilitating positive interaction between neighbors.”
The community fair will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the parking lot adjacent to Rice’s Pharmacy, 910 N.W. Kings Blvd. It will include a DJ and music, local food vendors, information about community and university resources and an appearance from OSU mascot Benny Beaver. A drawing will be held for a pair of tickets to the Nov. 29 Civil War football game between Oregon State and the University of Oregon. Other drawing items include Beaver-branded merchandise and memorabilia.
Stoll said volunteers will visit many Corvallis neighborhoods to meet and greet residents – established and new alike – and share information designed to encourage livability and good neighborly behavior.
For additional information, contact Stoll at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 541-829-2624.
Several organizations helped launch the inaugural Good Neighbor Day Community Welcome. They include the City of Corvallis Rental Housing Program, Corvallis Fire Department, Corvallis Police Department, Rental Property Management Group, Associated Students of OSU, OSU Athletics, Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Student Health Center, Corvallis Community Relations and Corvallis Neighborhood Associations.Generic OSU Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Jonathan Stoll, 541-829-2624
Adequate levels of vitamin E are especially critical for the very young, the elderly, and women who are or may become pregnant, a new report suggests.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Amid conflicting reports about the need for vitamin E and how much is enough, a new analysis published today suggests that adequate levels of this essential micronutrient are especially critical for the very young, the elderly, and women who are or may become pregnant.
A lifelong proper intake of vitamin E is also important, researchers said, but often complicated by the fact that this nutrient is one of the most difficult to obtain through diet alone. Only a tiny fraction of Americans consume enough dietary vitamin E to meet the estimated average requirement.
Meanwhile, some critics have raised unnecessary alarms about excessive vitamin E intake while in fact the diet of most people is insufficient, said Maret Traber, a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute and national expert on vitamin E.
“Many people believe that vitamin E deficiency never happens,” Traber said. “That isn’t true. It happens with an alarming frequency both in the United States and around the world. But some of the results of inadequate intake are less obvious, such as its impact on the nervous system and brain development, or general resistance to infection.”
Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin E – nuts, seeds, spinach, wheat germ and sunflower oil - don’t generally make the highlight list of an average American diet. One study found that people who are highly motivated to eat a proper diet consume almost enough vitamin E, but broader surveys show that 90 percent of men and 96 percent of women don’t consume the amount currently recommended, 15 milligrams per day for adults.
In a review of multiple studies, published in Advances in Nutrition, Traber outlined some of the recent findings about vitamin E. Among the most important are the significance of vitamin E during fetal development and in the first years of life; the correlation between adequate intake and dementia later in life; and the difficulty of evaluating vitamin E adequacy through measurement of blood levels alone.
- Inadequate vitamin E is associated with increased infection, anemia, stunting of growth and poor outcomes during pregnancy for both the infant and mother.
- Overt deficiency, especially in children, can cause neurological disorders, muscle deterioration, and even cardiomyopathy.
- Studies with experimental animals indicate that vitamin E is critically important to the early development of the nervous system in embryos, in part because it protects the function of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which is important for brain health. The most sensitive organs include the head, eye and brain.
- One study showed that higher vitamin E concentrations at birth were associated with improved cognitive function in two-year-old children.
- Findings about diseases that are increasing in the developed world, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes, suggest that obesity does not necessarily reflect adequate micronutrient intake.
- Measures of circulating vitamin E levels in the blood often rise with age as lipid levels also increase, but do not prove an adequate delivery of vitamin E to tissues and organs.
- Vitamin E supplements do not seem to prevent Alzheimer’s disease occurrence, but have shown benefit in slowing its progression.
- A report in elderly humans showed that a lifelong dietary pattern that resulted in higher levels of vitamins B,C, D and E were associated with a larger brain size and higher cognitive function.
- Vitamin E protects critical fatty acids such as DHA throughout life, and one study showed that people in the top quartile of DHA concentrations had a 47 percent reduction in the risk of developing all-cause dementia.
“It’s important all of your life, but the most compelling evidence about vitamin E is about a 1000-day window that begins at conception,” Traber said. “Vitamin E is critical to neurologic and brain development that can only happen during that period. It’s not something you can make up for later.”
Traber said she recommends a supplement for all people with at least the estimated average requirement of vitamin E, but that it’s particularly important for all children through about age two; for women who are pregnant, nursing or may become pregnant; and for the elderly.
This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.Generic OSU Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Maret Traber, 541-737-7977Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
OSU pharmacy experts helped author a new national report to provide more individual guidance on who could best benefit from statin drugs to lower cholesterol.
PORTLAND, Ore. – A recent guideline for using statins to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease has wavered too far from the simple cholesterol goals that have saved thousands of lives in the past decade, and doesn’t adequately treat patients as individuals, experts said today in a national report.
An expert panel coordinated by the National Lipid Association has created its own outline for how to best treat people at risk for cardiovascular disease, which they say focuses on reducing cholesterol to an appropriate level, and puts less emphasis on whether or not a patient fits into a certain type of group.
“We continue to believe in cholesterol targets that are easy for patients to understand and work toward, first using changes in lifestyle and then medication if necessary,” said Matt Ito, one of two lead authors on the report, an expert in cardiovascular drug treatments and a professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy.
“We’re also concerned about treating people just because they fall into a group that’s supposedly at risk,” Ito said. “There are ways to more accurately treat patients as individuals and understand their complete health profile. And we have a better understanding now of what conditions pose the most risk for causing a heart attack or stroke, and how to address that in a comprehensive manner.”
A report issued last year by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association identified four general groups that would primarily benefit from statins, and its recommendations if followed will dramatically increase the number of people using these drugs.
By contrast, the new report from the National Lipid Association has outlined what their experts believe to be a more individualized set of recommendations that practitioners could use to treat people at risk of cardiovascular disease; more information is available online at www.lipid.org/recommendations. They are intended to complement the guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, Ito said.
Among the conclusions in the report:
- A root cause of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is cholesterol-containing particles attaching to the walls of arteries.
- A healthy lifestyle that incorporates diet, weight management and exercise should be the first approach to lowering cholesterol levels that are too high.
- Control and reduction of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol is important, but an even better overall marker of risk is “non-HDL cholesterol,” which is total cholesterol minus its HDL component.
- Patients at very high risk, such as those who have already had a cardiac event, should try to achieve non-HDL cholesterol levels below 100, while those at lower risk levels should try to achieve levels below 130.
- Drug therapies specifically aimed at lowering triglyceride levels may not be necessary unless they are very high, over 500; and efforts to specifically raise HDL levels have been shown to be both less important and less achievable.
- Use of more potent statin drugs, at moderate to high doses if necessary, should be the first approach to reach cholesterol goals if lifestyle changes have not been adequate.
- Use of other medications or therapies, such as fibrates, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, niacin or omega-3 fatty acids can be considered if cholesterol and triglyceride goals are not reached with statins alone.
- Non-lipid risk factors should also be managed, such as high blood pressure, cigarette smoking and diabetes.
“Cholesterol is still a primary factor in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” Ito said. “If it’s too high, the levels should be brought down by changes in lifestyle and medication if necessary. And in general, the lower the cholesterol, the better.”
Statins have proven themselves as one of the most effective way to reduce cholesterol, Ito said, and are now comparatively inexpensive with limited side effects. Proper medication management and reducing the potential for drug interactions can address some types of side effects, and any problems should be weighed against the risk of heart attack or stroke, he said.
Factors known to raise the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease include age, family history, smoking, high blood pressure, overweight, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels, especially those caused by genetics.College of Pharmacy Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Matthew Ito, 503-494-3657