Stories

February 13, 2015

Toward Optimal Health

On Our Borderless Orb

On a lonely planet beset by toxic chemicals, animal-to-human infections, cancers of all kinds, rampant obesity and a looming Centenarian Boom, the “One Health” concept just makes sense


Child Obesity
February 13, 2015

Child Obesity

Solving the weighty matter of kids’ health

“Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in long-term memory, reasoning, attention, and problem-solving tasks.” — John Medina, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving  and Thriving at Work,  Home, and School Back in the 1950s, stay-at-home moms cooked meals from scratch while kids ran and played outdoors till dinnertime. Fast-forward to the dual-income or single-parent families of the […]


Public Exposure
February 13, 2015

Public Exposure

Tracking the Wind

“Except for the original blueprint of our chromosomes, all the material that is us — from bone to blood to breast tissue — has come to us from the environment.” — Sandra Steingraber,  Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment In 2010, the President’s Panel on Cancer reported that, in the course […]


Inside Job
February 13, 2015

Inside Job

New drugs turn the tables on pathogens

Carnivores eat their prey from the outside, author David Quammen writes in his 2012 book Spillover. Pathogens attack from within and are no less deadly. They enter our bodies unseen when we breathe, have sex, take a drink of water or just walk in the woods.


Cancer
February 13, 2015

Cancer

Unraveling the tangled threads of a stealthy disease

Last fall, the nation was riveted to the story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman afflicted with inoperable brain cancer. She captured the media spotlight when she moved to Oregon to access lethal drugs under Oregon’s death-with-dignity law. Maynard had chosen to die before the tumor took her autonomy.


The Silver Tsunami
February 13, 2015

The Silver Tsunami

Growing older and staying healthy

“At 80 the marks of decay are all too visible. … Perhaps, with luck, I will make it, more or less intact, for another few years and be granted the liberty to continue to love and work, the two most important things, Freud insisted, in life.” — Oliver Sacks, “The Joy of Old Age. (No […]


Mining the Micronutrient Mother Lode
February 13, 2015

Mining the Micronutrient Mother Lode

Millions visit LPI website to learn about vitamins

The nutrition aisle of your local supermarket can make you dizzy. Row upon row, bottle after bottle of tablets and capsules promise health, youth, vigor, longevity, energy, regularity — even better sex. How do you choose one from another? How much should you take? Should children take a daily multivitamin? Do supplements even work? To […]


The Copper Connection
February 13, 2015

The Copper Connection

Experiments show potential for new ALS treatment

If you’re unlucky enough to get Lou Gehrig’s disease (aka, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), treatment options are few. One drug, Riluzole, has been shown to marginally increase survival. Other drugs can be used to manage ALS symptoms, but there is no cure. For more than a decade, Joe Beckman has been studying the chemistry […]


Opening a Dialog About Food Insecurity
February 13, 2015

Opening a Dialog About Food Insecurity

Pediatric practitioners learn to tackle tough questions

There’s a paradox in Oregon’s hunger picture: Families who are short on food may end up overweight. That’s because dollars stretch farther on “high-energy” foods (noodles, bread and other carbs) than on “high-nutrient” foods (fresh fruit, fish, poultry and other vitamin- and protein-rich items). Trouble is, when people struggle with “food insecurity” (spotty access to […]


OSU ADVANTAGE: Business for Life
February 13, 2015

OSU ADVANTAGE: Business for Life

Accelerator provides a safe space for health-care startups

Got an idea for a new drug to treat antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis? Or maybe a diagnostic test for cancer? A new medical device to treat sepsis (blood poisoning)? How about a nutraceutical (product containing herb- or food-based nutrients) for a dietary supplement? Researchers at Oregon State University are investigating these and other advancements in health care. […]


Climate Change and Health
February 12, 2015

Climate Change and Health

Impacts are likely from heat waves, drought and more

As the world warms, insects and pathogens are on the move. Heat waves are getting hotter and more frequent. Algal blooms are increasing in frequency, intensity and duration, posing risks to drinking water and shellfish consumption. Wildfires are putting more particulates into the air, leading to increases in asthma and hospital admissions for respiratory distress. […]


Microcosms for Nano
February 12, 2015

Microcosms for Nano

Small particles affect the life of cells

Many of the products we buy — sunscreen, stain- and odor-resistant clothing, fuel additives, sports equipment — contain nanoparticles that have been designed for a purpose. These materials (about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair) can block sunlight, prevent microbial growth, lubricate surfaces and confer tensile strength. However, in some cases, […]


Radioactive Ecology
February 12, 2015

Radioactive Ecology

Sensitivity changes from species to species

With memories of the Fukushima nuclear disaster still fresh, radioactive pollution can generate strong feelings among members of the public. So when questions arise about health impacts on humans and other organisms, Kathryn Higley can find herself in the media spotlight. The head of Oregon State University’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics […]


Long-Term Care
February 12, 2015

Long-Term Care

Latino families extend caregiving for elders

Aging may be a universal experience, but culture and ethnicity affect how aging relatives fit into the family picture. Latino families, says Carolyn Mendez-Luck, tend to care for their elderly family members at home and delay institutionalization, relative to other racial and cultural groups. The assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human […]


Transmission Lines
February 12, 2015

Transmission Lines

The Atlas of Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are not equal-opportunity illnesses. Much depends on location, income and access to clean water, medical care and public health services. For example, mosquito control is still a bulwark against malaria and yellow fever. Historically, trade routes were highways for pathogens such as Vibrio cholera and Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that cause cholera and […]


Uncharted Territory
February 12, 2015

Uncharted Territory

Health care adapting to longer lives

As adults live longer, the challenge of maintaining health through their senior years increases. Differences among individuals become more pronounced and older people may not respond to treatments as they would have when they were younger. The field of geriatric health care is moving forward rapidly, says Michelle Odden, an epidemiologist at Oregon State University. […]


Running the Numbers
February 12, 2015

Running the Numbers

Modelers fight disease with mathematics

Whenever he can, Jan Medlock relies on official sources. He gathers data on infectious disease from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government health ministries. But last summer, the assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State found himself turning to the fount of […]


Designing Mice for Human Healing
February 12, 2015

Designing Mice for Human Healing

Tiny rodents save lives through genetic engineering

  You can order them in yellow, two-tone (black-and-tan), “misty,” beige, “chinchilla” and lots of other colors and tints. They’re not handbags or home appliances, but like those other products they’re designed by humans and available for purchase on the Internet. These multicolored commodities are research mice, and they can be credited for countless biomedical […]


OSU’s Health Research Network
February 12, 2015

OSU’s Health Research Network

Collaboration and connection across the Oregon State campus

  The science of human health is a collective enterprise at Oregon State. It encompasses: More than 300 faculty members in seven academic colleges, Extension Service offices and 10 centers and institutes Thousands of students, research assistants and post-doctoral scientists Partnerships with agencies, businesses, public health departments and universities The work is interdisciplinary. Engineers strategize […]


It’s a Library,  Metaphorically Speaking
February 12, 2015

It’s a Library, Metaphorically Speaking

Robots help scientists screen chemicals for new drugs

Neither Jennifer Fox nor Robbie Allen is a poet. But when explaining their work to others, these scientists often rely on that pillar of poetry, the metaphor. That’s because for most people, picturing needles in haystacks, keys in locks, and spaceships in docks is a lot easier than getting a clear image of high-throughput screening, […]


Closing in on Cholera
February 10, 2015

Closing in on Cholera

A discovery holds promise for preventing a widespread disease

In the life of Bo Park, there’s a quirky connection between her early childhood in South Korea and her pharmacology research at Oregon State University: fish. In the city of Incheon where she was born, her mom and dad sold hot bowls of fishcake soup from the food truck they owned and operated. As a […]


Avian Nations
October 15, 2014

Avian Nations

Across Oregon’s ecoregions, birds struggle to survive

“(Animals) are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” – Henry Beston, The Outermost House Birdlife in Oregon is as diverse as its landscape. Species range from tiny and whimsical (such as […]


Blue Carbon
October 15, 2014

Blue Carbon

Tropical mangroves are supersinks for greenhouse gasses

Looking through J. Boone Kauffman’s photo collection is like thumbing a tropical bestiary. There’s a proboscis monkey from Borneo, its long, lumpy nose resembling an over-ripe mango. A gibbon and an orangutan from Kalimantan. A green python coiled around a tree. A herd of bristle-nosed pigs. A 15-foot saltwater crocodile whose jaw could crush a […]


The Most Dangerous Thing — “It’s not the large carnivores”
October 15, 2014

The Most Dangerous Thing — “It’s not the large carnivores”

“You asked me what’s the most dangerous thing I encounter in my work. It’s not the large carnivores such as crocodiles or tigers or poisonous snakes. It’s the little things. In the last few years, I have had two students come down with Dengue fever. This is a huge concern of ours. “In our years […]


Accidentally Blue
October 15, 2014

Accidentally Blue

Patented OSU pigment draws interest from artists, industry

Mas Subramanian didn’t expect to find a brilliant blue pigment when he was looking for new semiconductors. But the Milton Harris Chair Professor of Materials Science in the Oregon State University Department of Chemistry was shocked in 2009 when he saw a graduate student take a powder with a vibrant blue hue out of a […]


New labs focus on stormwater, floods
October 15, 2014

New labs focus on stormwater, floods

Facilities supported by Oregon BEST

When floods arrive, hydrologists scramble. They run computer models to evaluate the need for evacuation. They gather data to understand impacts on fish, soils and water quality. Now, Oregon State researchers will have access to two new labs that enable them to test theories before the downpour. A Multipurpose River Hydraulics Research Facility will be […]


Green Neighborhoods Lead to Better Birth Outcomes
October 15, 2014

Green Neighborhoods Lead to Better Birth Outcomes

Researchers gathered data on more than 64,000 births

Where the grass is greener, pregnancies tend to be fullterm, and babies tend to have higher birth weights. The findings hold up even when results are adjusted for factors such as neighborhood income, exposure to air pollution, noise and neighborhood walkability, according to researchers at Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia. “This […]


Rewriting the Script
October 15, 2014

Rewriting the Script

A scholar gives voice to the forgotten women of Irish theater

Charlotte Headrick laughingly calls herself an “American mutt.” What she means is that she, like just about everyone else in this land of immigrants, springs from a colorfully diverse ancestry. Her Huguenot forebears — those “fierce, Calvinistic Protestants” — figured most prominently in the stories she heard growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee. But she was […]


Seven Plays
October 15, 2014

Seven Plays

The seven plays collected in the soon-to-be released anthology Irish Women Dramatists 1908 – 2001 (Syracuse University Press, November 2014), edited by Eileen Kearney and Charlotte Headrick, delve into universal themes ranging from friendship in old age to childbirth out of wedlock. They are: Lady Augusta Gregory The Workhouse Ward (1908) This one-act comedy is […]


Oregon birders and citizen scientists join eBird project
October 13, 2014

Oregon birders and citizen scientists join eBird project

A team of ornithologists, birders and citizen scientists is collecting data on Oregon birds through a project called Oregon 2020. “Oregon has a few species of birds we know very well — like the spotted owl, the sage grouse and the meadowlark,” says W. Douglas Robinson, the Mace Professor of Watchable Wildlife at OSU and […]