Science

Telemedicine
2:51 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Virtual Urgent Care: The Doctor Will Skype You Now

Colehour and Cohen

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:04 pm

Telemedicine is rising to new levels of accessibility thanks to the increasing prevalence of smartphones, tablets and webcam equipped computers.

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Science
4:12 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Seattle Scientist's Discovery Leads to Promising Brain Cancer Results

Glioblastoma is teh most common kind of brain tumor, and carries a grim prognosis.
jbrandner Wikimedia Commons

A promising but preliminary new study based on a Seattle scientist's discovery has shown dramatic increases in survival for people with brain cancer.

Charles Cobbs, now head of the Ben and Cathy Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, figured out a key feature of the most common kind of brain tumor, glioblastoma.

The tumor appears to be connected to a virus that most of us carry, called CVM. It’s harmless in most people, but for some, it seems to promote tumor growth.

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Weird Science
4:25 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

UW Researchers Use Brain of One to Control Body of Another

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind. Across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco, right, wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain.
University of Washington

Two researchers at the University of Washington have managed to pull off something right out of a sci-fi story: one used his brain to control the body of another.

The setup involved two labs on different ends of campus. In one lab sat the receiver, Andrea Stocco, with a device on his head that beams a focused magnetic field into his brain. Across campus, in another lab sat the sender, Rajesh Rao, wearing a cap outfitted with electrodes.

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Science
10:10 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

UW Team Hunts Tiny Genetic Flaws Linked to Big Problems

A rendering shows how synthetic DNA bonds with real DNA, revealing the presence of a flaw.
Courtesy of University of Washington / Nature Chemistry

Even the tiniest misprint in a person’s genetic code can cause big health problems, but they can be hard to find. Now members of a team at University of Washington say they’ve designed a better way to track down those mutations.

If you think of DNA as a twisted ladder, each rung is made of two little structures called bases, stuck together. If even one of the billions of these rungs gets copied wrong it can have serious consequences, such as which kind of tuberculosis you get.

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A Volcano's Scream
10:51 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Before an Eruption, Scientists Record a Volcano's Primal Scream

Mt. Redoubt erupted violently in 2009, after letting out a primal "scream."
Max Kaufman Alaska Volcano Observatory/University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute

Most volcanoes rumble before they erupt, but Washington and Alaska researchers say a big recent eruption was preceded not by a rumble, but a scream.

Alaska’s Mount Redoubt blew its top several times in 2009. Leading up to many of the explosions were a series of little earthquakes—not uncommon for an active volcano. But these quakes began to accelerate, one after another, like a drumbeat building to a climax.

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exercise and obesity trends
5:01 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Health mystery: Wash. bucks national trend, now less active

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

There’s some truth to Washington’s image as a mecca for the physically active. When it comes to exercise, several counties in the state rank in the top 50 out of more than 3,000 counties in the country. But that ranking hides a less flattering trend.

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exoskeletons & prosthetics
10:34 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Horse-inspired mechanical legs helping stroke patients walk again

Albert Azizian, a user of the Kickstart device was previously unable to walk for 11 years following a stroke.
Chie Kawahara Cadence Biomedical

A research idea that was supposed to give people super-powered legs is instead helping stroke patients and other people who can’t walk. 

It’s a new medical device, using a combination of springs, cables, and Velcro. The inventors in Seattle are hoping to transform the possibility of recovery for thousands of people.

The idea started with a horse.

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Science
4:57 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Underwater robots evolve, teach us about nature

This photo shows a side view of the robotic fish.
University of Washington

Robots are everywhere these days. They’re working in factories, and are the focus of student competitions. They are also teaching us about nature, especially in the case of robotic fish.

It might seem a little Hollywood to talk about "robo-fish." And as an engineering professor, Kristi Morgansen is a little shy about that.

“We usually call them fish robots, or robotic fish,” she said.

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Parenting
2:26 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

When Sibling Fights Go Beyond Harmless Kid Stuff

Beheading Barbie is the kind of aggression that can cause sibling distress.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 6:45 am

I'll never forget the time my big brother sank his fork in the back of my hand after I snitched food off his plate.

But all siblings fight, right? So I was more than a little skeptical of a study saying that sibling aggression can cause serious mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

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Science
5:01 am
Mon June 17, 2013

'Sort of' alive: Researchers probe how kids think about robots

Marcus likes his robo-pal Pleo, but wouldn't trade in his leopard gecko.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

One way young kids learn to organize the world is by dividing it into living and non-living things. But now that robots vacuum our floors and smart phones talk back to us, do children think of technology as alive? A team of Washington researchers is exploring how kids interact with robots, and what that might reveal about both their brains and ours.

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Health & Science
9:55 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Could brain scans reveal the right treatment for depression?

Talk therapy is best for some people; antidepressants are better for others. Scientists say PET scans might help figure out early on what treatment a person needs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 12:39 pm

Finding the right treatment for depression can be a struggle. People find relief with the first treatment only 40 percent of the time. Trying different antidepressants or therapies can take months, which means months of suffering.

Scientists are trying to better the odds by searching for signals in the body or in behavior that could be signposts to the right treatment. Researchers at Emory University say that PET scans of the brain may help predict which people do better on SSRI antidepressants, and which would benefit most from cognitive behavioral therapy instead.

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drug addiction
5:04 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Heroin becoming the scourge of 20-somethings

wstryder Flickr

There are two versions of this story.

One is the story of how drug-abuse involving heroin has spiked upward, especially in young adults, over the past decade. Drug experts say people end up on heroin as a last resort, after getting addicted to prescription painkillers.

That version is in the news this week, and has made headlines for the past few years, when annual drug trends come out.

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Transportation
3:28 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Hands-Free Gadgets Don't Mean Risk-Free Driving

A University of Utah volunteer drives through Salt Lake City's Avenues neighborhood as a camera tracks her eye and head movement. Another device records driver reaction time, and a cap fitted with sensors charts brain activity.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 8:49 am

If you've felt smug and safe using built-in, voice-controlled technology for text messages, email and phone calls while driving, forget it. There are some sobering findings about the risk of distraction from the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah.

The proliferation of hands-free technology "is a looming public safety crisis," AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet says. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars."

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Drinking and driving
8:48 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Designated Drivers Often Fail To Abstain From Drinking

Has the person taking the car keys been drinking, too?
Jacom Stephens iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:45 am

We might need to change the definition of a designated driver from noble abstainer to something along the lines of not as drunk as you.

The idea of having one person in a group agree not to drink so that everyone else can get home safely after a night of alcohol-fueled fun has been promoted as a way to reduce the dangers of drunken driving, especially among teenagers and young adults.

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health insurance
4:41 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Obamacare pitch coming to libraries, pulpits, malls

Working families without health insurance will get extra attention all over Washington this fall. Health organizations are getting $6 million in federal grants to send health recruiters to libraries, church pulpits, and shopping malls. 

Face-to-face marketing and in-person recruiting are needed, according to the masterminds behind the the new health-care law, because about 25% of the uninsured won’t be able to use the new website.

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