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Meditation holds the potential to help treat children suffering from traumas, difficult diagnoses or other stressors – a behavioral neuroscientist explains

Hilary Marusak, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University, wrote an article for The Conversation outlining the benefits of meditation for children. Children actively meditating experience lower activity in parts of the brain involved in rumination, mind-wandering and depression, Marusak’s team found in the first brain-imaging study of young people under 18 years old. Over-activity in this collection of brain regions, known as the default mode network, is thought to be involved in the generation of negative self-directed thoughts – such as “I am such a failure” – that are prominent in mental disorders like depression, Marusak writes. She shares findings that meditation techniques were more effective than distraction at quelling activity in that brain network, which reinforced research showing that meditation techniques and martial arts-based meditation programs are effective for reducing pain and stress in children with cancer or other chronic illnesses – and in their siblings – as well as in schoolchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
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‘She was relatable’: WSU professor discusses Queen Elizabeth II’s footprint

The world, including metro Detroit, is reacting to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Janine Lanza, associate professor in the history department at Wayne State University, discussed the impact the queen had on so many lives. “I think that much of the way she ruled was shaped by the fact that she was a woman on a throne that was meant for men. She was relatable, she was a young wife and a young mother when she took over the throne when her father died. And yet, she always had a stature and a regal way about her that showed that she was doing her duty to the county and to the institution of the monarchy. And so, she really blended those two elements of being queen very well, I think,” Lanza said.  
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Gilbert philanthropy commits $10 million to grow startups in Detroit

In its latest philanthropic push in Detroit, the billionaire Gilbert family has committed $10 million over three years to help fund the ongoing activities of three organizations pushing to grow the area’s startup sector. The Gilbert Family Foundation formally launched Venture 313 on Thursday. The initiative aims to devote a variety of resources – financial and other forms, along with three partner organizations familiar to many in Detroit’s startup community – to provide Detroit-based founders with meaningful opportunities to participate in the innovation economy. As part of its involvement in the initiative, ID Ventures will source high-growth venture deals and invest between $25,000 and $250,000 using the SAFE note mechanism. TechTown, a longtime small business incubator in Detroit affiliated with Wayne State University, will invest in smaller businesses that are primarily looking to evolve from ideation to the creation of a minimum viable product. The incubator will provide grants ranging from $500 to $25,000, as well as ongoing support and coaching for entrepreneurs. “It is critical that we empower founders with the resources they need to turn a passion into a product, and continue to invest in their entrepreneurial journey,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and president and CEO of TechTown. “The only way to achieve real and sustainable economic development is by investing on Main Street, and we are excited to join the Gilbert Family Foundation and Venture 313 to support the next generation of Detroit startups.”  
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Detroit district struggles to solve its problem with math learning loss

Across the Detroit Public Schools Community District, student math performance, which was already alarmingly low before the pandemic, has gotten even worse. Federal COVID relief funds were used to support summer programs, but district officials are still laboring without a clear formula for how best to tackle the problem. While there’s growing consensus on the benefits of one-on-one and small-group tutoring for literacy education, math experts and educators continue to debate the most effective solutions to the more recent learning loss and the longstanding insufficiencies that have plagued math education in Detroit and across the country. The school board approved a $319,500 contract with Math Corps, a nonprofit tutoring group housed at Wayne State University, to provide Tier 2 and Tier 3 support for students at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School.  
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Do say gay: Understanding the significance of inclusive sexuality discussions between parent and son

Data show that Generation Z youth are coming out at earlier ages than previous generations of sexual- and gender-diverse individuals. However, little is known about LGBTQ youth’s perspectives on how or if parent-child discussions at home about health and sexuality sufficiently meet their sexual education needs. A new study led by Dalmacio Flores from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, co-authored by Lloyd Allen of Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and Jacqueline A. Bannon of Northwestern University, has explored the perspectives of gay, bisexual, and queer cisgender males about inclusive parent-child sex communication. It underscores the importance of inclusive sexuality conversations between parent and child for closeted, questioning, or even heterosexual youth.  
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Continued mass shootings could be desensitizing Americans to violence

It seems like whenever you turn on your TV, check social media or even tune into the radio, the rise in mass shootings consumes the headlines. It's something that has become an unavoidable reality in the U.S. But what does the oversaturation of violence in the media do to our psyche? Pontus Leander, the director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State, said the normalization of violence culture in the U.S. could lead to more shootings. "We might not notice that in a certain context or a certain situation, that we are gradually - over a period of weeks or months or years - getting used to the idea of a behavior that was previously not only not normative, but appalling," Leander said. 
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The history behind the rule of not wearing white after Labor Day

Do you have grandparents or parents who swear not to wear white after Labor Day weekend until Memorial Day weekend? The fashion rule seems to be fading, but holds some history. Local 4's style editor Jon Jordan and Wayne State University's lecturer of fashion design and merchandising Monika Sinclair weighed in on the history of the fashion rule. The rule is connected to social class in New York City and started in the 19th century. Those who were white and linen in the summer wore them for many reasons, but of a higher class, especially in New York City, could afford to wear white since they were not doing labor that would get their clothes dirty. Sinclair said the rule was started by wealthy women who came from old money who wanted to separate themselves from society. "They were the ones that could afford to leave the city and go on vacation and put away their dusty clothes from the city while wearing lightweight, white clothing. White was seen like a leisurely type of apparel back then. It would be considered formal wear because they were used to being dressed in these corsets and big gowns, but essentially, they were white," Sinclair said. "So if you had white clothing, you had money. You could afford to go on summer vacations and wear white and stay cool."  

Whitmer and regional Detroit coalition celebrate $52.2 million grant bringing more auto investment and jobs to southeast Michigan

Last Friday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Detroit Regional Partnership, and a regional coalition of partners announced that they secured a $52.2 million advanced mobility grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The coalition was selected out of 60 finalists nationwide and won one of the largest grants out of 21 funded projects. It will advance the state’s mobility and electrification leadership and build on Michigan’s economic momentum. TechTown Detroit is one of the five co-recipients for the grant. “This grant will create and connect a robust, comprehensive startup ecosystem, fundamentally changing the game for early-stage companies in the mobility space in Detroit,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and President and CEO of TechTown Detroit.    
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Heart disease exposes disparities, so medicine goes mobile in Detroit

By Robin Erb   Death comes early to Detroit, killing residents in some neighborhoods 12 to 15 years earlier than Michiganders elsewhere. Thickening heart muscles, narrowing arteries and cholesterol deposits are hallmarks of the heart disease silently afflicting Detroiters and building toward life-threatening heart attacks or strokes. Dr. Brian O’Neil, chair of emergency medicine at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, said that young doctors arriving in Detroit are often blown away by patients’ blood pressure readings. The coronavirus has exacerbated chronic conditions, increased the number of deaths of preventable diseases because people skipped regular check-ups, and disrupted transportation options for those seeking to get to doctors. As a result, more people who suffered heart attacks or strokes died because they laced swift medical intervention. The pandemic also proved the nimble nature of mobile health. Dr. Phil Levy, an emergency medicine doctor at Detroit’s Receiving and Sinai-Grace hospitals and a researcher at Wayne State University, was positioned to act because he and his team had gathered and arranged data for years to map out hypertension rates in the Detroit area. Their data tool, called Population Health OutcomEs aNd Information Exchange (PHOENIX) revealed neighborhoods strained by high blood pressure and stress based on social vulnerability index factors. Even in the earliest days of the pandemic, the parallels between COVID and heart disease in Detroit were obvious, Levy said. “We started seeing everything that was happening with the brown and Black communities in Detroit and around Detroit – especially around the Sinai Grace area – and the increased caseload and death rate that was occurring in Detroit,” Levy said. In April, the Wayne Health mobile health fleet began with a single van. By the end of this year, it will consist of ten vans that visit schools, churches, festivals and neighborhood parking lots.   
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With cold and flu season ahead, when should you get your vaccines in the fall?

By Keenan Smith  Kids are returning to school and with fall on the way, cold and flu season isn’t too far off either. Looking ahead, it could be a busy season with cold, flu, COVID-19 and monkeypox all in circulation. While there are vaccines for many of them, it raises a lot of questions about timing. Dr. Teena Chopra, a professor of infectious diseases at Wayne State University, said that based on what’s happening in the southern hemisphere, flu season could be really bad. If you’re one of the Michiganders in line for a flu shot, COVID-19 booster and possibly the monkeypox vaccine, Chopra said in most cases you can get them at the same time. “You know, especially people who don’t want to make multiple trips to get their vaccine shots,” Chopra said.  
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College football kickoff: Sitting down with Wayne State football coach Paul Winters

In celebration of college football season, Click on Detroit is featuring several Michigan universities to learn more about their teams and goals for the year. Head football coach Paul Winters has led the Wayne State team for 19 seasons. “Last year was a tough one, with COVID and everything else going on we didn’t perform the way we should have. Our guys are hungry, and very excited,” Winters said. “They’re pulling together, which is what you want.” Returning to the Warriors are running back Myren Harris and quarterback Josh Kulka. “Those two are best friends, they’re roommates, they’re both leaders in their own way and are really talented,” Winters said. “We’re lucky to have them both and we’re counting on them…” 
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What we’re watching as Detroit district students return to school

By Lori Higgins, Ethan Bakuli and Grace Tucker  The Detroit Public Schools Community District reopened classrooms to students Monday morning for another year of learning amid a pandemic. This will be a critical year for efforts to address enrollment losses, chronic absenteeism, and facilities. The year will also feature a school board election in which a majority of the seats are up for grabs. Wayne State researcher Sarah Lenhoff told Chalkbeat recently that the district’s plans to beef up its attendance teams is a start, but she believes fixing chronic absenteeism will require coordinating with city agencies to address employment, health, transportation, and housing inequalities. “When Detroit’s kids don’t make it to school,” Lenhoff said, “it really speaks to the need for the city to invest more in employment, invest more in stabilized housing, (and) make sure that families have the food and health care that they need, so that they can give their children what they want to give them…to get them in school.”  
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From Shakespeare to modern musicals: WSU offers a diverse theatre season

By Sue Suchyta  Whether you prefer the rock musical “Rent” or Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” – or both – there’s an exciting round of shows ahead as Wayne State University launches its new season in anticipation of the opening of its new Hilberry Gateway Theater in late winter. Department chair Mary Anderson said she is both proud and humbled by the tenacity and creativity of the faculty, staff and students who have weathered the pandemic and developed a vision for the department’s upcoming season. “The 2022-2023 season will engage and enchant us with the beauty and power that only dance and theater can express,” she said. Anderson expressed appreciation for the community partners and patrons who have continued their support throughout the challenges of the last few years, amid a pandemic and the construction of the Hilberry Gateway. “We are building the Gateway together,” she said. “We are all entering into an extraordinary new chapter of collective creation.”  
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Four-year college degrees in Michigan becoming the exception

An increasing number of college students take longer than four years to complete their studies, although many in a new class of freshmen expect that they will graduate in four years. For Michigan’s incoming class of 2015-16, the overall rate of public college students who earned a degree at four-year institutions four years late was 52.4% compared with 71.2% five years later and 77% six years, according to the latest state data. New nationwide research shows that the average full-time student does not take enough credits every semester to complete a bachelor’s degree within four years. Experts say there are many reasons for this trend. They range from the presence of more middle- and lower-income students on campus needing to work to pay for college to less shame in taking longer to complete a four-year degree. Universities have the most control in ensuring a student has a clear program that makes it possible to earn a degree in four years, said Wayne State University Provost Mark Kornbluh. “There’s been a lot of work done at Wayne State over the last few years to develop clear, four-year paths of study,” Kornbluh said. “And it has helped. Our four-year graduation rate has gone up, and our six year graduation rate has gone up.”  

Women’s suffrage, our namesake amendment and its enduring lessons

It’s been more than a century since women’s right to vote was ratified as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The word that led to what became known as the 19th Amendment – ratified August 18, 1920 and certified by the secretary of state eight days later – was a multigenerational fight, primarily led by women. It was not just done by the upper-class white women who have received the most attention, however. Black women, Indigenous women and other women of color, many of whom would wait years or decades to have equal access on the ballot, also played key roles. The same is true for queer women and gender-nonconforming people, some of whom sought personal and financial independence from the constraints that came with traditional marriage. Historians in recent years have been untangling the full picture of the people behind the 19th Amendment and the complexities in why they organized. Liette Gidlow, professor of history at Wayne State University and author of “The Big Vote: Gender, Consumer Culture, and the Politics of Exclusion, 18902-1920s,” has examined the ways in which some Black women sought to organize and vote despite the barriers. “Those experiences of African-American women trying to vote in the South after 1920, and often not being able to, resonate with us today in that they show that the work is never done, that this country has a long history of people gaining rights and then losing rights,” she said. “It’s not a narrative of progress. It’s not a story of ever-expanding freedom. Sometimes, Americans gain rights and sometimes they lose them.”