Academics and research in the news

Wayne State smart manufacturing center partners with HERE Technologies

Wayne State University and HERE Technologies have announced an agreement to partner on various industry projects, create education curriculums, and develop solutions with other technology providers at the Wayne State Smart Manufacturing Development Center (SMDC). “Wayne State University is at the heart of Detroit’s resurgence. The campus is growing, the curriculums are being tuned to the needs of the future workforce and we’re aligning to new industry principles such as Industry 5.0,” said Joseph Kim, professor of industrial & systems engineering at Wayne State University. “HERE’s expertise in navigation and location will help us bring practical experiences and real-life business situations to students and provide them an opportunity to see how location technology is applied to customers in the industrial sector.” 

The 5 worst things to say after someone dies—and what to say instead

Around 7,500 people die each day in the United States—one person every 11.5 seconds. By your 50s and 60s, you’ve almost certainly had personal experience with death—a parent’s death, other close family members, and/or personal friends. And yet, when you hear that someone has died, it’s still hard to know what to say to their loved ones. Part of the reason is that seeing the grief and pain of others surrounding death is uncomfortable. You also may be grappling with your own feelings about your experiences. They may also be busy making arrangements, causing it to appear like they’re handling the death particularly well. “Then you might find a few months later that it’s all starting to hit,” says Peter A. Lichtenberg, a clinical psychologist and director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. “Grief is very variable. It brings out a sense of finality and a sense of helplessness in all of us,” says Lichtenberg. 
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Brain scans help shed light on the PTSD brain

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article for The Conversation about post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. “PTSD is common, affecting 8 percent of the U.S. population, up to 30 percent of the combat exposed veterans, and 30-80 percent of refugees and victims of torture. A brain scan is a general term that covers a diverse group of methods for imaging the brain. In psychiatric clinical practice, brain scans are mostly used to rule out visible brain lesions that may be causing psychiatric symptoms. However, in research we use them to learn about the pathologies of the brain in mental illness. 
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Are America’s teachers really underpaid?

Michael Addonizio, professor of educational leadership and policy studies, examines the growing disparity in compensation to America’s teachers. “In the spring of 2018, thousands of public school teachers walked out of their classrooms in a half-dozen states, protesting low salaries, rising class sizes and cuts to school budgets that have prompted most teachers to buy their own classroom supplies. Additional strikes followed in 2019 in Los Angeles, Denver and Oakland. While these walkouts, which enjoyed much public support, were about more than teacher pay, stagnant teacher salaries were central issues.” 
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Muslims arrived in America 400 years as part of the slave trade

Saeed Ahmed Khan, senior lecturer in Near East, Asian and global studies, wrote a Conversation piece about the history of Muslims settling in America, and misunderstandings that many Americans hold about Islam. Khan notes that much of what Americans understand about Islam is from the media. “It’s not surprising then to see the many misunderstandings that exist about Muslims. Some see them as outsiders and a threat to the American way of life and values. President Donald Trump’s controversial policy to impose a ban on Muslims from seven countries entering into the United States played into such fears. What many don’t know, however, is that Muslims have been in America well before America became a nation. In fact, some of the earliest arrivals to this land were Muslim immigrants – forcibly transported as slaves in the transatlantic trade, whose 400th anniversary is being observed this year,” Khan wrote.
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Toilet paps, cotton swabs, tampons, and baby wipes hurt the environment: Here’s how to do better

Toilet paper, tampons, cotton swabs, and baby wipes are all personal care staples that, perhaps surprisingly, come with hefty environmental costs. From upstream problems, like logging crucial boreal forests for wood pulp that becomes toilet paper, to post-use issues like the centuries it can take a tampon to biodegrade, many of these single-use products come with serious environmental costs. There are smarter, more ecologically sound choices to make for almost every item, and some may even be upgrades. Here’s how to choose personal products wisely. Cotton swabs have a disposal issue. They are often flushed down the toilet after use and end up in waterways, in the bellies of birds and other aquatic creatures, and even in the tails of seahorses. This one is easy—follow the advice of doctors and stop using cotton swabs altogether. Dr. Peter Svider, an otolaryngology resident at Wayne State University in Michigan, told Time magazine that cotton swab injuries were responsible for a large portion of adult emergency-room visits for ear trauma in the US. And they’re not even that good at cleaning ears. “The way the cotton swab is designed—it’s really not a good tool for removing wax,” he said. “You tend to push more in than you pull out.”   
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Pancreatic cancer on the rise to be 2nd-leading cancer killer by 2020

Although it's still considered a rare cancer — comprising about 3 percent of all cancer cases — the incidence of pancreatic cancer has been steadily increasing for decades in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The higher number of cases can be attributed to a few factors, said Dr. Philip Philip, vice president of medical affairs at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center and professor of oncology and pharmacology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
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Activists host faith, WSU leaders for ‘World Water Day’ in Detroit

Dozens of grassroots organizations on Friday are hosting interfaith leaders in Detroit to speak about water shutoffs, concerns over environmental contamination and other water-related issues across the state. Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders plan to speak at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History about water access and affordability, privatization, environmental contamination and Line 5 — an Enbridge oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac. Wayne State University also has agreed to offer a 90-minute workshop at the event, with professors and graduate students educating attendees on how to “advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources,” according to the university.
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Archaeologists excavate site of demolished Civil War-era log cabin in Detroit

The City of Detroit demolished an abandoned house that the Hamtramck Historical Commission wanted to save. As a concession, the city gave a team of archeologists one day to excavate the site and learn as much as they could. Wayne State associate professor of anthropology Krysta Ryzewski led the dig. "We're hoping today to find a couple of different sources of information. We're hoping to find artifacts that date to the period when the log cabin would've been occupied," Ryzewski said. 
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Are controversial programs in Detroit actually reducing crime?

Detroit’s Project Green Light now has 500 businesses signed up around the city. Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James Craig and other officials say there’s no question the program is helping businesses keep crime away. But is that backed up by data? A new study from researchers at Wayne State University’s Department of Criminal Justice shows blight demolition in Detroit neighborhoods has reduced crime. Charles Klahm and Matthew Larson are the Wayne State researchers who conducted the study. They discussed their findings on Detroit Today.
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Study shows what happens after blight is removed from Detroit neighborhoods

Violent crime and property crime drop in areas where blighted homes are razed in Detroit — and the more vacant, dilapidated houses that come down in an area, the greater the crime reduction. That's according to a study done by two Wayne State University criminologists who examined nearly 9,400 home demolitions throughout the city over a five-year period. The study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Criminal Justice, provides the first data-driven examination of the connection between the city's massive demolition program and its impact on crime. Matthew Larson and Charles Klahm IV, associate professors in Wayne State's Department of Criminal Justice, reviewed 9,398 demolitions completed by the city from 2010 to 2014, then looked at violent and property crime statistics from 2009 to 2014 in the same locations down to the "block-group" level, a U.S. Census Bureau designation equating to a group of five to 12 city blocks, usually contiguous, that contain between 600 and 3,000 people.
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Opinion: Whitmer environmental order helps broaden input

Rahul Mitra, an assistant professor at Wayne State University who researches environmental organizing and policymaking, wrote an op-ed about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders to reorganize the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) noting that her move is in the best interests of ensuring Michigan’s water security. Mitra wrote: “By creating a new Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy from the ashes of the DEQ, Whitmer signaled she understands that Michigan’s water security requires a holistic engagement of socioeconomic disparities, infrastructure upgrades, and environmental risks.”
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Uber under the antitrust microscope

In a new article titled “Antitrust As Allocator of Coordination Rights,” Wayne State University Assistant Professor of Law Sanjukta Paul explains that antitrust law allocates the right to coordinate decisions such as pricing or output across economic agents, and does so favorably for large powerful firms but unfavorably for workers’ organizations and small businesses or “micro-enterprises.” The ostensible basis to prefer coordination by large firms is promoting competition through the pursuit of efficiency. But even that basis, Paul argues, fails to explain many antitrust decisions that yield significant coordination rights to large firms while undermining competition via concentrating power. To reach parity of treatment between these varieties of coordination, Paul calls for liberalizing horizontal coordination rights beyond firm boundaries while providing mechanisms for public oversight.
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Why Is the Genie in ‘Aladdin’ Blue?

The story of Aladdin is one of the most well-known works in One Thousand and One Nights (Alf Layla wa Layla) or Arabian Nights, the famous collection of folk stories compiled over hundreds of years, largely pulled from Middle Eastern and Indian literary traditions. Genies, or Jinn, make appearances throughout the stories in different forms. A rich tradition in Middle Eastern and Islamic lore, Jinn appear in the Qur’an, where they are described as the Jánn, “created of a smokeless fire,” but they can even be found in stories that date back before the time of Muhammad in the 7th century. The pop culture genie of Nights we recognize today, however, was shaped by European illustrators, beginning with the frontpieces done for 18th-century translator Antoine Galland’s Les Mille et Une Nuits. At the time, French writers often used what was then referred to as the Orient—a term indiscriminately used to refer to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East more generally—to allude to its own society and monarchy, explains Anne E. Duggan, professor of French at Wayne State University, who’s studied the visual evolution of the genie. “
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Do student-athletes make good doctors?

In 2012, researchers published the results of a retrospective study looking at which candidates admitted to a otolaryngology residency program turned into the most successful clinicians as ranked by faculty. What they found was that those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an “established excellence in a team sport.” While the researchers cautioned that not all residency program directors should rush to look for student-athletes, the study did isolate two traits of student-athletes that might translate into success in medicine: time management skills and teamwork. Indeed, it’s not specific athletic skills that matter, says M. Roy Wilson, M.D., president of Wayne State University and former chair of the AAMC Board of Directors, but the ability to juggle sport and academic responsibilities and excel at both. “Learning how to manage time efficiently is critical, and the main complaint that medical students have is just the volume of material they have to digest. So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student-athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.” 
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Why is suicide on the rise in the United States, but falling in most of Europe?

Professor of Criminal Justice Steven Stack wrote an article for The Conversation on the rising number of suicides in the U.S., which now ranks among the top 10 leading causes of death. Stack wrote: “There is evidence that rising suicide rates are associated with a weakening of the social norms regarding mutual aid and support. In one study on suicide in the U.S., the rising rates were closely linked with reductions in social welfare spending between 1960 and 1995. Social welfare expenditures include Medicaid, a medical assistance program for low income persons; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children; the Supplemental Security Income program for the blind, disabled and elderly; children’s services including adoption, foster care and day care; shelters; and funding of public hospitals for medical assistance other than Medicaid.”