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Wayne State, DPS want students to be ambassadors for vaccines

Teena Chopra, professor of medicine and co-director of Wayne State University’s Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases, is piloting a program that will educate Detroit’s youth on the significance and history of vaccines. The two-year program will be funded by a Detroit Medical Center grant of $60,000. The program will be targeted toward educating high school students during the summer to become ambassadors who return to the school to promote vaccines and educate their peers about the history and benefits of vaccines, and how vaccinations are effective in protecting communities. “This is an incredible opportunity for Detroit youth who will be empowered to serve as Vaccine Ambassadors for the city. They will gain insight into the history of vaccines and will be trained on their communication skills,” said Chopra.  
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Wayne State and Great Lakes Water Authority to create workforce and laboratory center of the future

Wayne State University has received a $584,114 contract to develop a collaborative research project with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) to create a workforce and laboratory center of the future. The three-year long project will focus on developing the existing Waterworks Park Pilot Plant facility to perform applied research, testing and evaluation, and workforce development for new and emerging technologies. Carol J. Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at Wayne State will lead the project, along with co-lead Yongli Wager, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Wayne State. They and the full support team will provide important knowledge that will help GLWA proactively respond to different water treatment scenarios and emerging water quality concerns. The educational and workforce development programs that also comprise this project will help to address the critical shortage of technicians and engineers for water utilities nationwide. “Our work with GLWA will initiate with a strategic plan to optimize benefits to the GLWA user community, treatment plant operators, the utility industry and the water ecosystem,” said Miller. “In addition, we are working to maximize economic benefits to the community, as well as include workforce training and job opportunities. On the research side, there are several focus areas including verification of scale-up processes, in-plant learning tools and process optimization considering treatment variables including coagulant and disinfectant materials. This training is critical for evaluating water treatment processes and developing scenario-based proactive responses to different water treatment and emerging water quality concerns.”  
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First monkeypox case confirmed in Michigan

Michigan’s first monkeypox case has been confirmed. The state health department says the patient is in isolation and poses no threat to the public. Wayne State University infectious disease professor Dr. Teena Chopra explained that the virus is transmitted in the form of close bodily contact. More than 5,000 cases have been confirmed in countries across the globe. The CDC reports that there are more than 350 confirmed cases in 27 states. “It has been around for some time, but in the U.S. we haven’t seen an outbreak of this magnitude in a very long time and we are seeing this because of travel and escape of the virus through somebody who traveled from West Africa,” Chopra said. Dr. Chopra says vaccines are available.  

Study: Sperm cells’ age may play role in reproductive success

By Lily Bohlke  A new study found an association between what researchers are calling the biological age of sperm and reproductive success. While age is a major factor for women thinking of becoming pregnant, it is not often considered in male reproductive health, because men continually produce sperm throughout their lives. Dr. Rick Pilsner, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wayne State University School of Medicine who led the study, said chronological aging – or the normal passage of time – does not always capture the aging process of the sperm. “Chronological age does not take into account the intrinsic [makeup of] your genes and how they function,” Pilsner explained. “As well as external factors such as environmental exposures, smoking, diet.” Pilsner reported initial findings showed a new measure, referred to as a “sperm epigenetic clock,” could be a way to predict biological fitness of a person’s sperm, and thus could be useful in predicting reproductive success. 
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The foods that keep you hydrated

By Hannah Seo   Water doesn’t have to come in eight 8-ounce glasses daily. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and various beverages, are viable sources of hydration. With a summer of record-breaking heat upon us, hydration is more important than ever. Taking in liquids is crucial, but hydration can go beyond simply drinking water. There are plenty of things besides plain water that will keep you hydrated, experts say, including food and drinks that appeal to you. “We think that we need to drink a lot of water all the time because we hear that all the time,” said Tamara Hew-Butler, a sports medicine scientist at Wayne State University who specializes in fluid balance. “You gotta drink your eight glasses – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.” But any food or drink that has fluid content will be hydrating, she said: “Your body doesn’t care where hydration comes from, it just needs fluid.”   
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Opinion: Invest in Michigan’s research universities to keep state competitive

By Britany Affolter-Caine  Britany Affolter-Caine, executive director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor, writes that business leaders from across the state are increasingly urging state officials to expand investment in Michigan’s universities – especially the state’s top research universities – so highly educated college graduates are available to keep up with Michigan companies’ growing demand for workers. She notes that the University Research Corridor, which includes Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University, each year grant nearly 12,000 degrees in high-tech areas, as well as nearly 13,000 degrees in high-demand areas such as business, computer science and engineering, and nearly 2,500 medical degrees. “The three URC institutions already enroll more than 139,000 students, and they have the capacity to enroll and graduate even more so business leaders have the employees they need. But they cannot do so on their own,” Affolter-Caine writes. “To meet this challenge, the state must invest more in higher education and students. The URC supports the substantial increases in higher education funding for the fiscal year 2022-23 proposed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Senate. It also supports a much-expanded financial aid program that would put students first by providing up to $6,000 a year towards a four-year degree and $3,000 towards a two-year degree at Michigan institutions…” She notes that neither step would reverse the past two decades of disinvestment in higher education that has been the trend in Michigan, but “they would help a lot.”  

Biden administration ramps up monkeypox vaccination amid rising cases

By Krista Mahr  The Biden administration rolled out a strategy to expand vaccination against the monkeypox virus to a greater number of at-risk individuals, as cases of the rare disease continue to climb and outbreaks in major cities across the country worsen. City public health departments reported that demand for the vaccine is still outstripping supply, raising concerns that the administration will struggle to keep up. To date, the CDC has confirmed 306 cases of monkeypox in 28 states and other jurisdictions. California, New York, Florida and Illinois have the highest concentration of cases. The disease, which is largely circulating now among men who have sex with men, causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, but patients can receive antivirals, and all of them have recovered so far. Many epidemiologists and public health advocates say the current case count is understated, driven by difficulties in getting tests to labs and clinicians’ lack of familiarity with a disease that is relatively rare in the U.S. In order to confirm a monkeypox case, clinicians must submit a sample to a laboratory in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network, which can become complicated in big states, rural areas or where medical staff lacks training. “We haven’t had any cases yet in Michigan, but we are all – including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – aware that we are vastly undertesting,” said Gretchen Snoeyenbos Newman, an assistant professor of infectious disease at Wayne State University. “The process for testing has been somewhat unclear and a bit cumbersome,” she said, adding that the state health department is actively working on improving that. “Information needs to go out both to providers and to the community.”  

Meta allowed misleading ads for bogus cancer treatments on Facebook

By Lauren Leffer    Facebook and its parent company, Meta, don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to combatting online disinformation. At the start of the pandemic, Meta came out publicly against advertisements pedaling questionable health information and things like vaccine misinformation, yet they persist. Advertisements for unproven, debunked, and even harmful cancer treatments continue to appear on Facebook and Instagram, according to a report from MIT Technology Review. The ads still show up on Meta’s social networks in spite of the company policy prohibiting ads that contain misleading health information. A center in Mexico called CHIPSA Hospital, for instance, has several ads in the Meta library referencing “cutting edge” or “breakthrough” treatments, offered exclusively at their facility. Cancer experts told Tech Review that there’s clear reasons these supposed treatments aren’t widely available elsewhere. The treatment is “all nonsense,” according to Dr. David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at Wayne State University.  
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Abortion providers may face charges in Kent, Jackson counties, attorney says

By Jonathan Oosting and Yue Stella Yu  At least two county prosecutors would consider criminal charges against abortion providers despite a temporary injunction against enforcement of a 1931 ban, their attorney says, underscoring uncertainty over the legal status of abortion in Michigan. Enforcement of the old law, which makes performing an abortion a felony by up to four years in prison, was suspended following a May injunction by a lower-court judge. David Kallman, a lawyer representing Republican prosecutors in Kent and Jackson counties says the injunction only applies to the state, not county prosecutors. The opinion contradicts assurances from Attorney General Dana Nessel and others that abortion remains legal in Michigan for now, despite Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Robert Sedler, a law professor at Wayne State University and special assistant attorney general to Nessel, told Bridge he believes the injunction against the 1931 abortion ban – which declared the ban unconstitutional – applies to all public officials, even though county prosecutors are not named parties in the court case. “Once you have a declaration of unconstitutionality, it’s going to bind all government officials in the state of Michigan,” he said. “Should they try to prosecute anybody, there would be an injunction against them and they could possibly be held in contempt.”  
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Wayne State University increases tuition by 4.5%

By Kim Kozlowski  Wayne State University students will pay 4.5% more in tuition and about 4% more in room and board during the next academic year, following approval 7-1 Friday by the Board of Governors. The tuition hike means that full-time resident undergraduate students will pay $14,674 in tuition and fees, up from $14,043 in 2021-22. Governor Dana Thompson cast the sole vote against increasing tuition and housing. “It is not a sustainable trajectory to increase tuition on our students,” she said, adding that increased costs diminish WSU as a place of social mobility. Governor Mark Gaffney, chair of the board, said it’s never easy to increase tuition. But the university is working to balance its budget and also try to make sure that “students can still afford to come here.” Gaffney added that more than half of Wayne State students will not see a tuition increase because they are receiving Pell Grants and university financial aid. Tuition increases in previous years were modest and there was no increase in 2020. “We never like to make these kinds of tough decision,” Gaffney said. “We are pleased we have a scholarship program to help.”  

Here’s what it means if you can’t stop sending people emojis, according to experts

By Collette Reitz  Emojis brighten up a message and make endless lines of text more readable, but they also reveal something about the person who sent them. “People who are rated higher in agreeableness use more emojis in general,” said Lara Jones, associate professor of psychology at Wayne State University. Jones researches the psychological aspect of emojis, looking at differences in how individuals and groups use them, how they’re positively or negatively perceived, and the interpretation of an emoji’s intended meaning. She says people process emojis similarly to facial expressions, so starting an interaction with an objectively positive emoji, like a smiley face, primes the receiver of the message for a positive interaction. “They want to make sure the positivity of the message comes through, and depending on the emojis used, they want to show their creativity and playfulness,” Jones said of frequent emoji users.  
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How a preemptive cancer screening helped save this doctor’s life

June is a time when many people enjoy a host of summer celebrations. It’s also National Cancer Survivor Month, a call for celebrating. People who have fought and won their battles with cancer observe this month as a way to spread the word about the disease and advocate for screenings and preemptive care. Dr. Susie Lawrence is the residency director for Wayne State University’s department of obstetrics and gynecology. Lawrence was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019. She quit smoking roughly 10 years before her diagnosis. Before her diagnosis, she had an intimate connection with the disease through her late father, who passed away in 1995. More than 20 years after her father’s battle with lung cancer, Lawrence found herself in the same shoes. She says getting screened by a nurse practitioner was the first step in saving her life. “The fact that I was in the screening program, I was totally asymptomatic,” she said. “People with lung cancer often are until it’s quite advanced. The screening and the timing of it happening really are what I would attribute my survival.” 
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The Baroudeur partners with Batch Brewing for annual Detroit cycling event

By Layla McMurtie  The Baroudeur, Wayne State University’s annual cycling event, will be held on July 23 with rides of 20, 37, 62 and 100 miles that begin and end on the Midtown campus. The fun, noncompetitive event gives riders of all abilities an opportunity to explore the Motor City and surrounding area on two wheels while helping economically disadvantaged students pursue higher education. This year, Batch Brewing is the event’s beer partner and has canned a beer just for the event. It is going to be a Radler, which is a popular beer among cyclists in Europe, and means cycling in German. “Stephen [Roginson, founder and co-owner of Batch Brewing] and Batch Brewing do so much for the community and I’ve just been really impressed with seeing how they help out at the restaurants and people in need,” said Matt Lockwood, associate vice president of university communications at Wayne State and Barouduer ride director. Batch will be serving the 800-plus riders and 200 volunteers cans of Radler and other beer varieties by keg at the post-ride party.  
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Wayne State University baseball team ends season on historic note

By Jonathan Szczepaniak  While the story of Wayne State University’s baseball season has concluded, the journey will be remembered for years to come. The University of Illinois-Springfield eliminated Wayne State 6-3 in the Midwest Regionals at Harwell Field in Detroit to close out the Warriors’ season, but Wayne State was able to make history before it was all said and done. Wayne State claimed its history-making 37th win of the season in 15-11 slugfest over Walsh University on May 21. The all-time single season win record previously stood at 36, set by the 2014 team. It was a feat Wayne State coach Ryan Kelley said he knew was in reach this year. “I was confident in our roster and in our depth; I could tell this roster was special,” Kelley said. “It was evident.” “We always knew from the start that we had a special group of guys,” Wayne State second baseman Noah Miller said. “We have fifth-year guys and sixth-year guys; we’ve had this core group throughout my whole entire four years.”
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Ford Heritage Vault debuts, provides 100 years of digitized history

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn is making a century of its archival material available to the public through a new online database called the Ford Heritage Vault. Ford created the Heritage Vault for fans, journalists, and car enthusiasts. The searchable artifacts are downloadable for personal use, free of charge, for the first time. Ford worked with graduate students from Wayne State University’s library and information science program in Detroit, as well as Ford employees and retirees, to pilot the Heritage Vault.  
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What Reconstruction teaches us about today’s politics

A new report from the nonprofit Zinn Education Project found that 90% of states have insufficient or non-existent lesson coverage of Reconstruction in schools. Historians warn that eclipsing the aftermath of the Civil War will lead students to be uninformed about the seeds of racial inequity today. Gregory Carr, Mélisande Short-Colomb, and Kidada Williams, associate professor of history at Wayne State University, join in a discussion about the legacy of Reconstruction. “…the violence we’re experiencing in the present day, with the killing of George Floyd or even the massacre at Mother Emanuel, has history that traces back to Reconstruction. This moment where African Americans are trying to be free, equal and secure – and they’re experiencing what essentially mounts to a war on freedom, specifically Black peoples’ freedom…” Williams said. A lot of historians see parallels between the January 6 insurrection and the events of 1877. “One of the things that is very important to recognize is that African American freedom after the Civil War was contested. The nation didn’t just magically decide that they were going to abolish slavery out of the goodness of their hearts. African Americans wanted that, to be sure, but that’s not what actually happened. Emancipation comes about in this era that is very contested. White southerners – white conservative southerners in particular – are very hostile toward emancipation. But so are a lot of white conservatives in the north and the west. So, it’s not just freedom itself, but the fleshing out of what freedom means…,” said Williams.   
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Fuel sippers are moving fast while gas guzzler vehicles stay on the lot

By Lindsay Moore  Gas prices are influencing car buying preferences according to the latest inventory reports showing that compact cars are moving faster than their larger counterparts. A record high $5 per gallon nationally have curbed spending patterns, according to Cox Automotive. Cox’s new vehicle inventory report for May showed compact cars are staying on the lot for less than 20 days, while full-sized SUVs and trucks have more than double the days on the market. Chip shortages have now cost the auto industry 2 million vehicles that won’t be recouped. Car makers are still prioritizing high-end, high-margin models instead of entry-level vehicles. This ripple effect has shown up in the inventory data, too. Drivers can see the effects of the semiconductor shortage right on the road – or rather the parking lot. The semiconductor supply chain has improved but new production will take at least two to three years to really make a dent in production, said John Taylor, chair of Wayne State University’s department of marketing and supply chain management. “If you use semiconductors, you’re scrambling,” he said.  
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Take a leisurely drive through automotive history in Ford's newly digitized archive

Ford is officially 119 years old, and in celebration the Blue Oval is launching an online archive so car enthusiasts can sift through its long and storied past. The Ford Heritage Vault is a digital database that contains more than 5,000 curated photographs and product brochures spanning from the company's founding in 1903 to its centennial in 2003. It took two years for Ford's archives teams to collect all the material. The archive was piloted with the help of employees, retirees, and graduate students from Wayne State University before being opened to the public. 
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More kids are ingesting melatonin. Here’s what parents should know.

When Varun Vohra, director of the Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center at Wayne State University School of Medicine, noticed more cases involving children who had ingested the sleep aid melatonin, it prompted him to join forces with other experts who had observed a similar increase and study the issue. But even the research team, which was made up of pediatricians and toxicologists, was surprised by the results. From January 2012 through December 2021, the annual number of pediatric ingestions of melatonin reported to poison control centers across the United States rose a whopping 530%, with a total of 260,435 ingestions reported over that time. “None of us really anticipated that large of a surge,” Vohra said. In a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the team cited the rising popularity and availability of melatonin, the increase in sleep disturbances caused by the pandemic, and the extra time children have been spending at home as possible contributors to the soaring number of reported ingestions. Most cases were managed at home, but 10.7% of patients were seen at a healthcare facility. “We at this time are not asserting that melatonin directly led to serious outcomes, including death,” Vohra said, because of the limitations of poison center data and the lack of individual case narrative reviews. “We don’t want to set off alarm bells among parents since the majority of melatonin ingestions are relatively benign and resolve without complications.” Vohra added that the intent of the research paper was to describe the increase in pediatric melatonin ingestions and start a discussion. The research team and other experts have called for more study.  
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Landmark ‘Who Killed Vincent Chin?’ documentary airs on PBS as part of 40-year remembrances

By Julie Hinds  Juanita Anderson, the head of media arts and studies at Wayne State University, knew from the start how important it was to make “Who Killed Vincent Chin?,” the 1988 documentary she executive-produced. But she couldn’t have predicted the acclaim it would receive, or how it has become what Anderson calls a “vital tool in understanding American history.” The recently restored version of the Oscar-nominated film aired on Detroit Public TV and other PBS stations across the country. The special airing marks 40 years since Chin, a 27-year-old automotive engineer, was assaulted by two white autoworkers on the night he was celebrating at his bachelor party in Detroit. He was beaten so badly that he went into a coma and died four days later. Anderson says it’s an honor to be part of “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” and is optimistic that this PBS airing will reach a whole new generation that turns to indie docs for in-depth reporting. In the midst of 2022, the documentary comes with “the tragic part of it still being relevant,” said Anderson, referring to the rise of anti-Asian hate in the United States fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I go back and look at the (the 1988 documentary) and look at the rhetoric at that time by government officials and how that kind of rhetoric from authoritative people had an impact on American society – and the same thing has happened around the COVID crisis.”