Science

Science
4:14 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

UW Ebola Study On Mice Shows Genes Help Explain Why Some Get Sicker Than Others

Cynthia Goldsmith Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Scientists from the University of Washington have managed to get lab mice with Ebola to mimic the symptoms of infected humans. And the findings show genes play a big role in how sick people get.

Scientists want to understand why Ebola makes some people terribly sick and gives others much milder symptoms. Now UW researchers have gotten mice to show a similar range of responses — something that has long eluded scientists. The new development could help them understand exactly how the virus takes its toll, and potentially speed up vaccine and drug development.

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Cancer Treatment
5:00 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Study: Girls Treated With Radiation For Rare Tumor Face Thirtyfold Increase In Breast Cancer Risk

A study led by a Seattle scientist found that girls treated with moderate doses of radiation to the chest face drastic increases in breast cancer risk.
Gerry Lauzon Flickr

A new study finds girls treated with radiation for a rare childhood cancer are much more likely to develop breast cancer as young women. The Seattle scientist who led the study said it shows some kinds of radiation therapy can be risky for children even at relatively low doses.  

The study looked at kids with Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer diagnosed in just 500 or so North Americans a year. The study has been going on for 45 years, and statistician Norman Breslow of the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been with it all along.

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Java Genes
5:01 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Craving For Coffee May Be Passed Down Through Generations Of Genes

Researchers identified eight genetic variants associated with craving coffee.
chichacha Flickr

A love for coffee may run deep in the Northwest, but now a Seattle scientist says the craving for coffee seems to be written into some people’s DNA.

Researchers from Harvard University, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and elsewhere sifted through the genes of more than 100,000 people, looking for common variants that correlate with heavy coffee consumption. They zeroed in on eight genetic variations associated with that deep compulsion to hoist a mug of joe.

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Martian Water
5:01 am
Fri October 3, 2014

At Age 21, WSU Undergrad Helps Develop Method For Hunting Water On Mars

Kellie Wall examines volcanic rock to help understand how to spot signs of water on Mars.
Washington State University

A team of scientists has come up with a way to search for water on Mars, and the person behind much of the research is a Washington State University undergraduate.

At age 19, Kellie Wall was planning to major in communications. She needed a science credit and wound up in a geology course with a professor who was a big believer in undergrads getting research experience. There, Wall learned about a project involving volcanoes and other planets.

“I was really excited about it because there was this buzzword Mars attached to it,” she said.

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Cancer Treatment
7:35 am
Mon September 29, 2014

First In The World, Seattle Surgeon Operates On Metastatic Brain Tumor With Sound

Dr. David Newell, co-founder of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, with a machine that delivers focused ultrasound. Doctors at Swedish were the first in the world to treat a metastatic brain tumor patient with the technology last week.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Surgeons at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle treated a patient for metastatic brain cancer last week with sound in what is believed to be the first procedure of its kind in the world.

Besides drugs, there used to be basically one tool for attacking attack brain cancer: a knife. Scientists have been developing less and less invasive ways to get at brain tumors, and now an early-stage trial at Swedish Neuroscience Institute has shown surgeons can treat a metastatic tumor with high-frequency sound beamed painlessly through the skull.

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Scientific Achievement
9:41 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

UW Researcher, Mother Of The 'Breast Cancer Gene,' Wins Prestigious Award

UW geneticist Mary-Claire King won the Lasker Award for her wide-ranging work applying genetics to complex problems.
University of Washington

A researcher in genetics at the University of Washington has won a prominent award, sometimes referred to as the American version of the Nobel Prize, in part for a key contribution to understanding breast cancer.

Mary-Claire King knew that breast cancer runs in some families, but it wasn’t clear why. In the 1970s and '80s, genetic research was much more cumbersome and expensive than it is today, and the very idea that a gene could trigger a complex disease like cancer was controversial.

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Brain Science
5:01 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Seattle Scientists Find Brain Area Linked To Motivation To Exercise

Mice without a functioning dorsal medial habenula didn't feel like running in their wheels.
Kaytee Rlek Flickr

Seattle scientists have zeroed in on a part of the brain that seems to have an interesting job: motivating the brain’s owner to exercise. The findings could have implications for understanding depression.

The dorsal medial habenula is a little structure tucked inside the brain, above the brainstem. Psychiatrist Eric Turner of Seattle Children’s Research Institute knew it had something to do with regulating mood, but not a lot more.

“People asked me, 'Well, what does it do?' And I actually didn’t know. And when I looked it up I found that very little is known about this area of the brain,” he said.

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Science
4:06 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Out Soon: Long-Awaited Scientific Volume On 'Kennewick Man' Skeleton

A new book about Kennewick Man is due to hit bookstands in mid-September.
Texas A&M University Press

A skeleton some 9,000 years old is giving up a few of his secrets. A new book about the so-called Kennewick Man, whose remains were found 18 years ago, is due to hit bookstands in mid-September.

Kennewick Man was found resting in the shallow water of the Columbia River. His early story was that of some strife; a rock-point was found buried in his hip bone.

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Space
4:00 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

UW Astronomer Gets His Hands On Pieces Of Far-Flung Stars

False color image of diffraction pattern from Orion.
Zack Gainsforth

An unmanned NASA research mission led by a Seattle scientist has caught what are believed to be seven tiny pieces of distant stars and brought them back to Earth.

The Stardust Mission sent a spacecraft on three trips around the sun, dipping into an extremely faint jet of interstellar particles flowing into the solar system. It grabbed seven motes of interstellar dust, giving us a glimpse of what stars other than the Sun are like.

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Neural Engineering
5:01 am
Wed August 13, 2014

The Dark Side Of Brain Science: Seattle Pair's 'Thought Experiment' Plays Out Onstage

Chris MacDonald and Devin Rodger play Miles and Candace in the play Brain Trust.
Alison Marcotte KPLU

Here’s a thought experiment: You’re a scientist researching a treatment for depression, and you’ve become profoundly depressed. Your work is slow and painstaking, and involves methodical experiments with monkeys. It’s likely years before anything you might discover would become available for people.

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Clinical Trials
5:01 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Northwest Hospitals To Bring Experimental Cancer Treatments To Underserved Areas

File image
Gerry Broome AP Photo

For someone with cancer who lives far from a big city, it can be hard to access cutting-edge care, but a network of Northwest hospitals is getting millions to bring clinical cancer trials to far-flung communities.

Clinical trials study experimental drugs and therapies, and they're the main tool for bringing new treatments to market. But they can also have more immediate benefits for the people enrolled in a study.

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Science
9:47 am
Wed August 6, 2014

How A Fat Grizzly Bear Could One Day Help Humans Avoid Diabetes

Washington State University is home to the nation's only captive grizzly bear research center.
Courtney Flatt

Washington State University’s mascot is the cougar, but the university is also home to the nation’s only captive grizzly bear research center. A new study involving those bears yields insights into possible therapies for human obesity and diabetes.

Grizzly bears pile on the fat every autumn. But in their obese state through hibernation, they don’t appear to suffer health consequences like overweight humans do.

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Oso Slide
4:34 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Scientists Say Smaller 2006 Landslide Set The Stage For Oso Disaster

The 2014 Oso slide "remobilized" the zone of a smaller slide from 2006.
WSDOT

A small landslide in 2006 set the stage for the catastrophe that claimed 43 lives in Oso, Washington this past March, say a panel of scientists in a federally-funded study.

The hills above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River had slid before, at least 15 times over the centuries, according to the study.

But one slide in particular left Oso vulnerable. In 2006, that smaller slide left a loosely-packed mass of debris perched dangerously above the Steelhead Haven development and its neighbors.

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Infectious Diseases
5:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Study Finds MRSA 'Superbug' Lurking At Washington Firehouses

Nearly 60 percent of firehouses sampled by UW School of Public Health researchers tested positive for MRSA.
Billy V Flickr

Fighting fires is a dangerous job, and new research on firehouses around Washington state has revealed another hazard — one that lurks on firefighters’ boots, their trucks and even their TV remotes.

MRSA is a nasty and sometimes deadly bacterium that’s hard to kill with antibiotics. It’s normally associated with hospitals, nursing homes or prisons, but researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health recently tested 33 firehouses for the presence of MRSA. They found the bug at 19 of those firehouses. Twelve crews reported having at least one member who’d gotten an infection requiring medical care.

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Boston Marathon Bombing
5:01 am
Fri July 18, 2014

When A Bomb Goes Off During Your Study On Trauma: New UW Findings On PTSD

Medical workers aid injured people after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, April 15, 2013.
Charles Krupa AP Photo

When a traumatic event happens, some people find ways to cope while others get caught in the grip of post-traumatic stress disorder. A new study led by a Seattle researcher and enabled by an unexpected disaster suggests a way we might be able to predict who’s most likely to struggle.

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