In the news

Wayne State students once again unearth Hamtramck’s history

It doesn’t look like much: Just a sea of tall weeds littered with broken bottles, pieces of smashed china and a wide variety of things that most of us would just call trash. But to a group of Wayne State University students, these are keys to the past. And they can open doors that have been locked for more than 100 years. The 13 students (and a handful of volunteers) armed with shovels, spades, measuring tape, markers and whatever else they need to carefully dig into and document the past are exploring what may be the richest archeological site in Hamtramck. “What we’ve learned through preliminary archival research thus far is that this site was the location of commercial and residential buildings from at least 1881 onwards,” said Krysta Ryzewski, WSU chairperson and professor of anthropology at Wayne State, who is directing the students. This is the third archaeological dig Wayne State has done in Hamtramck.    
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How the menstrual cycle can affect energy levels

Science has proven that exercising on your period is safe, and it could prove to be very beneficial. However, energy levels may be lower. Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise physiology at Wayne State University, explains that women and those who menstruate tend to have lower energy levels during the second half of the menstrual cycle, known as the luteal phase which occurs during days 15 to 28. “The second two weeks – after ovulation, called the luteal phase – are characterized by high levels of progesterone and a smaller rise in estrogen. These high levels of progesterone, followed by a sudden drop in progesterone right before your period, seems to trigger an inflammatory response which precedes the onset of the ‘premenstrual’ symptoms,” Hew-Butler said. “Research suggests that the perception of low energy during the second half of the menstrual cycle mostly results from negative moods like irritability, anger and fatigue which increase the perception of fatigue.”  
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Female Airbnb hosts earn thousands less per year than male hosts

By Alexander Davidson  Alexander Davidson, assistant professor of marketing at Wayne State University, wrote an article for The Conversation about disparities in Airbnb earnings between male and female hosts. He highlights recent research that found female Airbnb hosts in the United States earn on average about 25% less per year than their male counterparts for their rentals, and that, in general, women offer lower rental prices than men on the site. “It’s not yet clear whether or why male and female hosts take different approaches to setting Airbnb rates – although other research suggests some clues,” he writes. “A 2007 study found that compared to women, men negotiate for higher payments in bargaining situations. And a 2009 study of gender differences in setting professional fees found that women typically charge less than men for the same services because they tend to be more relationship-oriented toward their clients, which can lead them to charge lower prices.”  
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Gretchen Whitmer wants more Michigan pharmacists to prescribe birth control

By Robin Erb  Birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings could soon be available through more Michigan pharmacists, bypassing a doctor’s appointment. Under “long-standing” authority in Michigan, pharmacists have been able to enter into collaborative practice agreements with doctors to obtain prescribing rights, said Mary Beth O’Connell, a professor of pharmacy practice at Wyane State University. But most community-based pharmacists do not have such collaborative practice agreements in place to cover birth control, she said. O’Connell said that, ideally, the Michigan Pharmacists Association wants a law change that would give pharmacists prescribing authority for birth control without collaborative agreements. For the Pharmacists Association, changing Michigan law would be preferable because it would be less vulnerable to politics and changing administrations. “Bottom line, we want this as a service that can be provided at all community pharmacies,” she said.
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Four Detroit projects tap economic power of high ed, med facilities

By Louis Aguilar If things go as planned, the area north of downtown Detroit will see the rise of four major new university and medical projects that could greatly expand the power of “Eds and Meds” in the city. Eds and Meds refer to higher educational institutions like Wayne State University and such medical facilities as Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center. The three are part of an economic engine that helps drive Midtown, something the four Eds and Meds projects would bolster further. Michigan State University is planning to locate a new medical school near Henry Ford Health’s headquarters that would be a major boost to the New Center area. The University of Michigan’s new business school venture with billionaire Stephen M. Ross on land donated by the Ilitch organization’s Olympia Development of Michigan would breathe new hope into the Ilitch group’s long-deferred dream of transforming blocks of land north of downtown in what is called District Detroit. The other projects include a new theater and dance complex and jazz center at Wayne State and a new cancer research center and medical school facility by Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute somewhere near the DMC or WSU’s main campus. The projects also set up potential competition for funding among Michigan’s top three research universities on Wayne State’s home turf. But one urban development expert expects the strong track records of the institutions in raising money not to result in a loss of money for Wayne State. Dr. Wael Sakr, dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, acknowledged the competition with UM and MSU for money, but also expressed faith in the strength of WSU’s plans for the Karmanos Cancer Institute. “We have an experienced team of fundraisers that is working intensely on the funding,” he said. WSU President M. Roy Wilson stated earlier that the university would also consider raising money through bonds for the School of Medicine/Karmanos venture. The Karmonos Cancer Institute’s elite designation will likely help raise money from new and national funders. “There may be more competition, but each of these plans can be successful,” said John Mogk, a distinguished service professor of law at Wayne State who has followed urban planning issues for decades and has been an adviser on numerous urban development projects in Detroit and around the state. “All of these projects can show the tremendous benefits and impact they will bring to the community,” Mogk said. “Every institution involved has a proven track record. Projects that have a great chance of being a success usually find the money they need.”   
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‘They’re going to struggle.’ National Adderall shortage worrying Michigan students with prescriptions

By Simon Shayket  An alarming national shortage of a commonly used prescription drug to treat ADHD comes as students are now back in class, and experts warn there could be further challenges impacting learning. At Wayne State University, students are hard at work pursuing their education. But now, a nationwide Adderall shortage has attention of those, some who’ve used the prescription drug to help them focus. “Students are going to need it and not be able to get it,” said Collin Houston, a senior at Wayne State University. “It makes me think easier. Less distractions in my head. My thoughts won’t wander,” he said. Dr. David Rosenberg, professor and chair of psychiatry, discussed the effect on those unable to treat their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder due to supply issues. “We know that ADHD is the most common diagnosis in children and adolescents, but guess what, it’s not limited to children and the biggest age increase for ADHD is in adulthood,” he said. “First and foremost, if you’re concerned, reach out to your physician, they can be of a lot of help.”  

A look at Wayne State University’s veteran cannabis studies

By Patrick Williams   Wayne State University is one of three institutions that has been given the green light by the state of Michigan to evaluate the efficacy of cannabis in treating PTSD and preventing suicide in veterans. Dr. Leslie Lundahl, associate professor and clinical psychologist in Wayne State’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, will take a leading role in much of that research. “Public perception and acceptance of cannabis as a pharmacotherapeutic, I think, has outpaced the science at this point,” she said. “So, we’re hoping to start this conversation, and we’re in a good position to do this because we have studied cannabis for a couple of decades now, and we’re quite well-versed in the risks that can be associated; looking at the possible therapeutics I think requires a balance of understanding what those risks could be.”  
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Brown like me: Why Disney’s The Little Mermaid is vital

As parents recorded them, big smiles, giggles and tears filled the eyes of young Black girls as they reacted to seeing Halle Bailey as Ariel in the teaser trailer of the new live action adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Bailey, a Grammy-award winning artist marks Disney’s first Black live-action princess. In Disney’s 100-year history, there has been one Black Disney princess. As some praised Disney’s bold move, there has also been criticism over Disney’s decision to cast Bailey. Lisa Doris Alexander, a professor in the African American Studies department at Wayne State University, says she believes seeing this clip of a Black Ariel shows why it’s so important for children to see representation. “You only have to look at the TikTok videos of little Black and Brown girls seeing the trailer for the first time beaming with joy to know my thoughts,” Alexander said. “That’s why representation is so important because those little children are saying ‘she looks like me,’ ‘an undersea princess looks like me’ and that brings them joy. The story of the ‘The Little Mermaid’ is a bit problematic, but we should let the little ones have their joy.”     
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Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Rent’ opens Wayne State theatre season

By Sue Suchyta Theatre and Dance at Wayne launches its 2022-2023 theatre season with the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Larson rock musical “Rent,” which runs Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 at the Hilberry Theater. Set in 1989 in New York City’s East Village during the first wave of the AIDS crisis, “Rent” is about falling in love, finding one’s voice and living for today, as a group of diverse artists and friends struggle to follow their dreams. Director Michael Barnes said “Rent” has developed a large following. “In many ways, it was the first rock opera that was written about Generation X but it has continued to reverberate with young people because all the characters are 20-somethings,” he said. “The music would not sound out-of-place on popular radio today.” X. Alexander Durden, who plays Roger, said the show still resonates with audiences more than three decades after it debuted. “This show still rings true in its themes of wealth disparity, classism and following one’s passions,” he said. “I hope it inspires everyone to be the change they want to see and fight for the things all people should be granted as a right.” Jessica Annuziata, who plays Joanne, said the show’s music is filled with energy and passion. “’Rent’ is a story about really living live, striving to make the best out of bad news and being there for our fellow human beings,” she said.
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Astros’ Hunter Brown ready for return to Detroit: “This is where the dream started”

Hunter Brown has attended more games at Comerica Park than he can count. He grew up cheering for Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. He attended college down the street at Wayne State. He lived down the street as recently as least offseason. On Tuesday, the 24-year-old St. Clair Shores native and Houston Astros right-hander will come home to make the second big-league start of his career. “This was where the dream started that I could be out there one day,” Brown said from the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park. “It really good. I’m really excited. I mean, I feel at home.” Brown went from being a scarcely recruited high school player to a top pitcher for Wayne State to a fifth-round draft pick and then ultimately an intriguing prospect for the playoff-bound Astros. Brown allowed just three hits in six scoreless innings in his debut Sept. 5 against Texas. “I’m going to do my homework and try my best to deliver a win for us,” Brown said. “(Detroit) prides itself on hard work, and I think I’ve done that for a while. But now I’m an Astro and that’s where my mindset is at. I’m excited to be here and be back and represent my hometown, but at the same time, I’m representing the name on the front of my jersey and that’s Houston Astros.” 
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Astros pitcher, Wayne State product Hunter Brown prepares for homecoming

By Nolan Bianchi Hunter Brown is in the place where everything came together for him. As Brown, a 24-year-old St. Clair Shores native and Wayne State University product playing with the Houston Astros prepares to make just the second MLB start of his career, imagine how surreal this all must be. Brown, who graduated from St. Clair Shores Lakeview, had just one Division I offer coming out of college (Eastern Michigan). He developed into a legitimate big-league prospect at Wayne State under head coach Ryan Kelley after a few years of struggles. Brown posted ERAs above 4.00 in his first two years with Wayne State. His junior year in 2019, the year he was drafted in the fifth round by Houston, Brown posted a 2.21 ERA, 9-0 record and 12 strikeouts per nine. “His freshman and sophomore year, he started getting some valuable experiences,” Kelley said. “Some were productive and some he had to go through the grind of adversity as a college pitcher. He never wavered from his work ethic and he kept pushing forward. Once his junior year was here, a lot of things came together and it was really special.” Kelley said he plans to bring his Wayne State team, which last season set a program wins record, to the game Tuesday. The Tigers are offering discounted tickets for WSU students during the Astros series. Brown is the second Wayne State alumni who played under Kelley to make the big leagues alongside Anthony Bass. “I think we try to emulate what Wayne State University and what the city has meant to the world of sport, obviously a lot of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, perseverance, and from what we know about Hunter Brown, that’s what he emulates and represents,” Kelley said. 

‘He’s just a gritty dirtball:’ Astros’ Hunter Brown takes blue-collar path to major league dream

By Chandler Rome Homecomings pay homage to the past and retrace paths taken to prominence. Hunter Brown walked every day this winter with a German Shepherd husky mix named Whiskey. Dog and dad traversed the streets of downtown Detroit toward the ballpark that bred Brown’s dreams. He saw countless games at Comerica Park during one of the most dominant eras of Detroit Tigers history. Brown fantasized of one day joining them. He mimicked the ace’s mechanics, unaware that one day he would his teammate in the middle of Texas. Tuesday will turn Brown’s boyhood goal into a reality. Houston’s most ballyhooed started pitching prospect will make the second start of his major league career at Comerica Park, in the shadows of an apartment he still inhabits and a city that fostered Brown’s resolve. Detroit instills a drive in those who live there. “A lot that is real in Detroit and growing up in the Detroit area,” said Wayne State baseball coach Ryan Kelley. “I’ve never seen Hunter Brown waver from anything that is blue collar.” 
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Robot food delivery service launches at Wayne State University

Robot delivery is now available on the campus of Wayne State University. The service through Grubhub just launched this week, and the school says it’s the first university in Michigan to bring automated delivery to campus. The service launched Tuesday and delivers from a handful of university-affiliated restaurants. Students use their phone to place an order and when it arrives, they use their phone again to unlock the compartment and get their order. “We’re in the early stages, but I’ve seen a lot of excitement,” Alex Mackenzie with Wayne State Dining Services said. “People use it, ask a lot of questions.” Mackenzie says the robots have mapped out campus and can adjust to traffic patterns and construction, navigating their way around bumps in the road. “It’s smart enough to know when to stop at a stoplight, when a human is coming, a bike is coming, all of those things.”  
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LGBTQ people don’t see tobacco use as most imminent threat, but it’s a smoldering issue

To many in the LGBTQ community, there seem larger, more pressing issues, and in some cases there are. Homelessness. Mental health crises. Suicidality. But tobacco use, more likely among LGBTQ people than other groups, is a health threat. Michigan authorities are working to address the inordinate rate of smoking and vaping among LGBTQ people. Overall, LGBTQ people are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to smoke cigarettes than heterosexual individuals, as reported by the state health department. Unmet health care needs and substance abuse are linked, and addressing the higher rates of smoking is important because of all the possible and well-documented health consequences associated with smoking. “Which then magnifies the health disparities that exist,” said Luisa Kcomt, assistant professor and expert in health equity and health disparities at Wayne State University. “So, if we don’t pay attention to tobacco use, and it keeps proliferating, and we allow the tobacco companies to market to them, then they’re just going to have a higher risk of getting sick earlier and dying sooner.”  
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$11.3 million NIH Superfund award to address environmental health issues caused by VOCs

Wayne State University has received a five-year, approximately $11.3 million award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to create a new Superfund Research Program, the “Center for Leadership in Environmental Awareness and Research (CLEAR).” The Center will be dedicated to understanding and mitigating adverse birth outcomes and serious developmental health problems that have been associated with urban environmental exposure to volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), a special class of pollutant found in the subsurface of post-industrial cities like Detroit. Headquartered on the Wayne State campus, CLEAR will focus on Detroit as the principal study site. The CLEAR team consists of engineering and biomedical scientists, educators and community partners. The CLEAR research team is led by Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D., and Carol Miller, Ph.D, who also co-lead the One Health Initiative at Wayne State University. 
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Levin Center releases ‘Portrait in Oversight’ on 9-11 terrorist attack

On Thursday, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy, in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, released a new “Portrait in Oversight” commemorating the first and only bicameral investigation by the Senate and House intelligence committees. The joint investigation examined the intelligence failures leading up to the 9-11 terrorist attack n the United States and helped produce key reforms. “Understanding how Congress handled classified information issues in prior investigations like the 9-11 inquiry – as well as Iran-Contra and the Church Committee – can help guide future congressional investigations into such matters as the classified materials at Mar-a-Lago and the US. Departure from Afghanistan,” said Jim Townsend, director of the Levin Center. “Reminding Congress about the value of bipartisan techniques and precedents is one reason the Levin Center works to preserve congressional investigative history in its series of ‘Portraits in Oversight.’”