Thursday, March 23, 2017

WSU's pioneers, science-student flameouts, & prepping for Spokane Bike Swap

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 2:48 PM

Women work side by side with men in early WSC chemistry lab. - WSU NEWS
  • WSU news
  • Women work side by side with men in early WSC chemistry lab.

Pioneering Women

At a time when women were often not even accepted to colleges in the eastern United States, Washington State College (now WSU) welcomed them. After all, there weren’t that many people clamoring to go to college in the remote West.

A new exhibit at the school’s library in Pullman features some of the university's "women of distinction." Among them: Josephine Hopper Woods, the daughter of German immigrants who earned a degree in pharmacy in 1899, then shifted to chemistry, and went on to become the school's first woman to earn a graduate degree in 1908. Neva Martin Abelson graduated in 1934 with a degree in chemistry and went on to earn a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University, and in 1942, she and Dr. Louis K. Diamond developed the Rh factor test that’s used to screen all pregnant women to this day.

“Ambitions and Intellect: Pioneering Women at WSU,” runs through June in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections in the Terrell Library at WSU. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

C’mon kids! Learn to fail!
It’s spring and that means area high school seniors are receiving acceptance letters (or that surely undeserved rejection) from colleges and universities. But are even highly successful high school kids prepared for the rigors of scientific study in college? "Many students who began science degrees with me switched to other majors the first time a project failed. One failure and they were gone," writes Sara Whitlock in an essay on Whitlock says our national scientific endeavors will suffer if college students don't learn to deal with failure.

Clean out the garage
Have a bike you no longer need? Donate it to the Spokane Bike Swap and Expo by April 7. Children’s bikes are especially needed. Or, for $5 you can also register to sell your no-longer-needed bike (an 8 percent consignment fee applies to sold bikes). But the Swap and Expo may be best for those in the market to buy. Organizers anticipate there will be more than 700 bikes to choose from. Last year’s event raised $36,000 for the Friends of the Centennial Trail. Find more about donating and selling bikes, as well as opportunities to volunteer at the event which occurs on April 8, at the Spokane Bike Swap website.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Another No. 1 to cheer for; plus, prescribing "laughing gas" for labor pain

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 3:17 PM

University of Washington Medical School - UW PHOTO
  • UW photo
  • University of Washington Medical School

Top of the Class

It's a good week to see how Spokane measures up. For the 19th year in a row the Gonzaga men's basketball team is fighting its way through the NCAA tournament. After eking out a win on Thursday, they'll defend their No. 1 seed again on Saturday.

But GU basketball isn't the only group in Spokane with a national No. 1 ranking — and a long record at the top. Earlier this week, the University of Washington School of Medicine and Gonzaga University were cited in U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools for excellence in medical education. For the 23rd time in 24 years, the UW school, which recently joined forces with GU, is considered the No. 1 option in the U.S. for education in primary care. Family medicine and rural medicine training have been at the top of the heap — rated No. 1 — for 26 years in a row. Darryl Potyk, M.D., Chief for Medical Education at the UW School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership noted, “This honor speaks to the quality, expertise and commitment of our talented faculty, staff and students in Spokane, and our talented clinical partners throughout the state. And without decades of support from our state legislators we would not have a medical education program, much less one that is preeminent in the U.S.”

Read more
about Potyk's unique program to create thoughtful, caring physicians.

Rehab Recognized
Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest has been ranked among the top 10 percent of rehab hospitals in the U.S. The rehab hospital in Post Falls provides services to patients who have experienced strokes, brain or spinal cord injuries, or amputations, as well patients with diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's. Each year the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation critiques facilities based on whether care they provide is "patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely." This is the third year the Post Falls hospital as been rated in the top 10 percent of more than 780 facilities that were assessed.

Help for the Laboring
Women giving birth in Spokane are now allowed to use nitrous oxide — the same stuff dentists use to help you calm down and endure work on your teeth — to ease the discomfort of labor. Self-administered "laughing gas" does not completely block pain, but rather offers some relief of pain, as well as a calming effect. Though nitrous oxide is used by up to 60 percent of laboring women in the UW and Europe, Deaconess Hospital recently became the first in the Spokane area to offer nitrous oxide to laboring women.
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Throwing away money, exercise to stop aging (really!) and sore-throat advice

Posted By on Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 4:29 PM

Hospitals throw away tons of perfectly good, expensive and unused supplies every year, a new study finds.
  • Hospitals throw away tons of perfectly good, expensive and unused supplies every year, a new study finds.

Why is U.S. health care so expensive?

Maybe it's partly because we waste so much. “In 2012 the National Academy of Medicine estimated the U.S. health care system squandered $765 billion a year, more than the entire budget of the Defense Department…The annual waste, the report estimated, could have paid for the insurance coverage of 150 million American workers — both the employer and employee contributions.”

That’s part of a new report by ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom, which has launched an investigative series into the ways resources are squandered in our health care system. First up, an examination of the way hospitals wantonly discard tons of perfectly good, unused, and often expensive, supplies.

ProPublica also wants your help. If you work in health care, have you observed ways the system wastes money? Here’s your chance to speak out.

Fountain of Youth?
Want to stay younger, longer? Then get moving. A small but interesting new study is the first to show that exercise directly affects the powerhouses of our cells, the mitochondria. With aging, mitochondria begin to slow down. But with high-intensity interval training, research subjects under 30 years of age were able to increase their mitochondrial capacity by 49 percent. The oldsters (60 and over) had even more dramatic results, increasing mitochondrial capacity by 69 percent, effectively reversing age-related decline. High intensity interval training produced greater changes than strength training alone, or a combination of interval and strength training. "There are substantial basic science data to support the idea that exercise is critically important to prevent or delay aging. There's no substitute for that,” says one of the researchers.

Sore Throat?
A side-effect of our never-ending winter is plethora of sore throats, runny noses and coughs. InHealth’s Dr. Matt Thompson tackles the issue of when, and why, to treat a sore throat.
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dogs might be closer to human than we realized; plus, garden prep and Kids at Heart

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 9:10 AM

Canines might be more like toddler humans than chimpanzees are, according to a new study. Read about it below.
  • Canines might be more like toddler humans than chimpanzees are, according to a new study. Read about it below.

Have a heart for kids who struggle
More than 700 people turned out for the Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital’s annual Kids at Heart luncheon this week. This year’s event raised money for improving access to psychiatric services for the region’s kids. Christian Rocholl, the keynote speaker and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center emergency room pediatric physician, described situations in which kids can endure long waits—one ER census entry showed a child who had been in the ER more than a 100 hours — for an in-patient bed in the psychiatric unit to become available. Rocholl noted the ER is not a particularly conducive environment for those struggling with their mental health: There are no windows, so days and nights get mixed up and kids have to be in their rooms at all times, requiring an escort to go to the bathroom or take a shower. Read more about the crisis in providing mental health services to young people.

If you missed the luncheon, you can still donate.

Dreaming of Daffodils?
It may be too early to work in the dirt, but you can plan a visit to the 2017 Master Gardener Foundation Cabin Fever Gardening Symposium next week. Among the classes offered are instruction on identifying the spring mushrooms in your yard and learning which ones you can eat, creating and using compost tea to help plants thrive, discovering the secrets of permaculture, and learning how to create a sensory garden to nourish your spirit. Conference participants get to choose four classes, enjoy a continental breakfast and boxed lunch, and maybe even win a door prize. It happens March 11 at CenterPlace Regional Event Center, 7:30 am to 4 pm, $75.

Dogs win!
A new study assessing dogs’ “social cognition” found our canine companions behave similarly to toddlers. In fact, in these tests, dogs were more like young humans than were chimpanzees, humans’ closest relatives in the animal kingdom. Researchers “looked at how 2-year-olds, dogs and chimpanzees performed on comparable batteries of tests designed to measure various types of cognition. While chimps performed well on tests involving their physical environment and spatial reasoning, they did not do as well when it came to tests of cooperative communication skills, such as the ability to follow a pointing finger or human gaze.”

The work is aimed at understanding how humans evolved socially. "There are different kinds of intelligence, and the kind of intelligence that we think is very important to humans is social in nature, and that's the kind of intelligence that dogs have to an incredible extent," says one researcher.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Living longer, slimming down and new Spokane options for dental care

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:20 PM

With new dental clinics opening in Spokane, emergency room visits due to dental distress will hopefully go down.
  • With new dental clinics opening in Spokane, emergency room visits due to dental distress will hopefully go down.

Tooth troubles
More than 3,600 people headed to local emergency rooms in 2015 to get help with dental pain. Most of those visits could have been avoided if better preventive and specialized care were more readily available. Unfortunately, many of the region’s Medicaid patients aren’t able to access dental treatment due to a provider shortage in the region.

That’s why Providence Health Care, CHAS Health and the Spokane District Dental Society are teaming up to open two new dental clinics, as well as offer up to six dental residency slots to train future specialty dentists. A large outpatient clinic will be situated near Providence Holy Family, while a smaller hospital-based clinic at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center will assist dental patients who have other medical issues, such as cardiac disease, cancer and dementia. Getting the clinics up and running will cost $5 million. They are expected to open next year.

Read more about how teeth affect your health here.

New high in life expectancy — but not in U.S.
How long will you live? If you are a woman in South Korea, a lot longer according to a new study published in the Lancet. For the first time, life expectancy for a population group has topped 90 years. The country is noted for investing in “childhood nutrition, education and technology, as well as low blood pressure, low levels of smoking and good access to health care.”

The United States had the lowest life span prediction among high-income countries, checking in at a little more than 83 years for women, and 79.5 for men.

Slim Down
Looking for some new ideas on how to lose weight? Healing Spokane will present a forum, “Weight Loss: Beyond the Ordinary Approach,” on February 28 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the WSU/EWU Auditorium at 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. Healing Spokane is a group of healthcare providers, including doctors, as well as representatives from other fields including chiropractic, massage, naturopathy and acupuncture. The goal is to provide insights from complementary and integrative specialties about a variety of topics.
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

New issue's must-try soup recipes; plus, how deductibles affect your health

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 11:14 AM

The new issue of InHealth features four great soup recipes from local chefs, perfect for a snow (or ice) day. Try this Italian Wedding Soup from Clover. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The new issue of InHealth features four great soup recipes from local chefs, perfect for a snow (or ice) day. Try this Italian Wedding Soup from Clover.

New Issue!
Soup is the new "it" food and the new issue of InHealth is brimming with recipes from local chefs to spark your creativity. Explore bone broth — it can cook all week in your slow cooker. Or a fragrant Ginger Carrot Curry using ingredients you probably have in your pantry. What about a one-pot lentil chili? Or learn the secrets of Clover's Italian Wedding Soup. Bonus? It's packed with healing veggies. We’ve got you covered with four great recipes from local chefs in our brand new issue, online and on stands now!

What’s your health worth?
Would you go to the ER if you thought you were having heart problems? If you have a high-deductible insurance plan, new research shows you might forgo a visit to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Researchers monitored health care decisions after a Fortune 100 company moved 75,000 “well-paid, tech-savvy” employees into high-deductible plans. They found that the employees cut back on all types of healthcare spending, including preventive care, medication and imaging. Even after the company put $3,750 into a health savings account for each employee and provided web-based assistance to compare prices, a researcher says, “We found no evidence that consumers were learning to price-shop after two years of high-deductible coverage.”

InHealth covered the story of a local woman’s struggle with a high deductible insurance plan last year.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Starting a CoMotion, healthcare gender bias and Ross Printing's gift to Sacred Heart

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 2:24 PM

UW continues to increase its Spokane presence, now with an entrepreneur center called a CoMotion lab.
  • UW continues to increase its Spokane presence, now with an entrepreneur center called a CoMotion lab.

Create a commotion
The University of Washington has opened a “collaborative innovation hub” called a CoMotion lab in Spokane. The goal is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the community by bringing the university’s substantial resources to bear. The Spokane center will likely emphasize health care, as well as robotics, agriculture and manufacturing. There are plans for an entrepreneurial speaker series, as well as providing mentoring and advising, all aimed at helping people with great ideas to turn their dreams into viable businesses. Three CoMotion labs already up and running in Seattle are responsible for 126 start-ups.

The center will be located at the UW Spokane Center in downtown Spokane.

Blind Advice

For a variety of reasons researchers are still looking into, evidence shows women and minorities may not receive the same level of effective medical care as men. The bias appears to be accidental: doctors aren’t even aware they are treating patients differently. A new computerized checklist helped doctors at Johns Hopkins erase that gender-related bias, and saved women’s lives in the process.

Sick kids and stressed parents
Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital got a nice gift this week to assist parents who are grappling with a sick child. Ross Printing donated $35,000 to create the Ross Printing Pediatric Patient Emergency Fund. The fund will help cover “necessities such as groceries, utility bills, travel expenses, auto maintenance and essential home repairs for families with children being treated at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital.”

Ross Printing is a family-owned business founded in 1917.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Little-known snow facts, making life changes easy and a free fitness field trip with NFL stars

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM

The more pleasant side of snow — playing with your kids. - CHRISTIAN WILSON
  • Christian Wilson
  • The more pleasant side of snow — playing with your kids.

Not crazy about the snow?
After months of dealing with the white stuff, you may think you know snow. But here are some little-known facts. Pay attention to number 19.

Small Steps Lead to Big Things
InHealth lifestyle coach Dr. Robert Maurer
  • InHealth lifestyle coach Dr. Robert Maurer
InHealth's own life coach columnist, Dr. Robert Maurer, reported a milestone recently. His book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, made it onto Google's Top 100 books of year for 2016. So what is the Kaizen way?

Here's how Maurer explains it in the book's preface: "Contrary to popular opinion, change — whether personal or in in business — doesn’t have to be agonizingly painful. Nor must it happen only as the result of scare tactics employed to shock ourselves — or our colleagues — into meaningful action. The pages you are about to read will shatter the math that change is hard…This book will show you how to harness the power of kaizen: using small steps to accomplish large goals.”

Gridiron in the Classroom
The NFL is teaming up with the American Heart Association and Discovery Education to offer a "virtual fieldtrip" on January 31 for kids in American classrooms. The 60-minute, live-streamed class will feature NFL players and a cardiologist who will demonstrate the "science behind cardio and strength exercises that NFL players use throughout the season to stay fit and active." It's free!
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter health woes, glaucoma awareness month and more

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM


Winter Woes Are Upon Us

The research is in and it turns out cold weather is not that great for your health. While cold weather may make you less inclined to think violent thoughts, you are also less inclined to be kind and forgiving. Intimacy is out the window, but that might be okay since your skin is like sandpaper anyway. And just as the risk for falls and serious injury is real, so is the increased risk for getting sick with a cold or the flu.

Annoying optimists try to put a positive spin on it —“Cold weather reduces the number of tree-killing bugs!” “It’s great for sleeping!” But there’s really not much to like. Still, the days are getting longer and in just a few months your driveway may feature bare pavement again.


January is glaucoma awareness month and if you think you don’t have it, you may want to think again. The NIH reports that 50 percent of people who have glaucoma don’t know they have it. That’s because early on, there are no symptoms, just gradual damage to the optic nerve that eventually causes blindness. Only a doctor’s eye exam can rule out the disease.

If you’re over the age of 60 (or age 40 if African American), or have a family history of glaucoma, get screened. Early detection and treatment can save your vision.

Peanut Possibilities
Life-threatening reactions to peanuts (and school offices filled with epi-pens) may someday be a thing of the past. New research sheds light on how parents can help children avoid a peanut allergy simply by introducing peanuts into babies’ diets at a very young age.

Try Out Fitness
Now's the time to sign up to sample a workout class at Spokane Health and Fitness Expo. Here’s a chance to try something new— from KangooJumps to Bootcamp to Pound.Rockout.Workout. There’s no need to stick with a dull workout routine in 2017. Seminars are also offered on an array of nutrition topics, including how to make nut milks. $8 admission includes unlimited classes; Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, January 14-15.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carrie Fisher's death inspires a heart-health checkup for women; plus, flex-spending and kid time

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Actress Carrie Fisher died this week after a heart attack.
  • Actress Carrie Fisher died this week after a heart attack.


For Star Wars fans, the news of the death of Princess Leia, actress Carrie Fisher, at age 60 from a heart attack seemed astonishing. But here are some surprising facts from the Women’s Heart Foundation:
• 83,000 American women under the age of 65 have heart attacks each year
• Heart attacks account for a third of all deaths in women
• 71 percent of women experience early warning signs of heart attack with sudden onset of weakness that feels like the flu—often with no chest pain at all.

About the only good news? “Women’s hearts respond better than men’s to healthy lifestyle changes."

Flexible Spending account about to expire?
If you have set money aside in a flexible spending account to cover health care expenses, be aware that the time to use it is rapidly diminishing as the year draws to a close. On the upside, you might be surprised at all the things you can buy. Some require a doctor's note, but there are many things you can purchase without a note. So don’t waste that hard-earned cash, spend it!

Kid Time
Worried your kids aren’t make the most of their potential during this holiday break? Take a tip from the Danes, and let them play, unhindered by adult intervention. You’ll enjoy it, and so will they.
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