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WSU Health Sciences Spokane Extra Sleep and Performance Research Center

World experts on shift work meet for WSU-organized conference

Busy city night scene with well-lit skyscrapers, car lights, and constructionMany of the world’s leading experts on shift work are converging on the Inland Northwest this week to present and discuss issues related to night shifts and non-standard working hours. Organized by the Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center on behalf of the Working Time Society, the 24th International Symposium on Shiftwork and Working Time—Shiftwork2019—will bring together scientists and practitioners focused on improving the health and safety of shift workers. » More …

WSU scientist studies link between poor sleep and PTSD

Willie Vanderheyden uses fluorescent microscopy to identify sleep promoting cells in the dorsal part of a rat brain.
Neuroscientist Willie Vanderheyden uses fluorescent microscopy to identify sleep promoting cells in the dorsal part of a rat brain.

At any given time, an estimated 7.7 million American adults suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Though PTSD can affect anyone who lives through trauma, it is especially common among military veterans returning from combat zones.

The effects of PTSD can be debilitating. It’s one reason why neuroscientist Willie Vanderheyden—an assistant research professor in the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine—has set out to better understand the condition and its ties to one of his other research interests: sleep.

“Up to 90 percent of people who have experienced trauma suffer from some type of sleep disturbance, whether it’s fragmented sleep, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or nightmares,” Vanderheyden said.

These sleep disturbances may be the result of PTSD, but Vanderheyden says it’s also possible that they are part of what is causing PTSD. » More …

Research: New study reveals how shift work disrupts metabolism

Study author Elena Skornyakov loads a blood sample into the cold centrifuge at the sleep laboratory at WSU Health Sciences Spokane

Working night shifts or other nonstandard work schedules increases your risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes and other metabolic disorders, which ultimately also raises your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Exactly why this happens has been unclear, but a new study conducted at Washington State University has brought scientists closer to finding the answer. » More …

Simulation prepares health care workforce, aids researchers



(This story appears in the latest edition of the WSU Spokane Magazine)

By Kevin Dudley

A nursing student talks to her patient. The patient coughs and says he is having chest pains. Soon, he’ll stop breathing and the student will start CPR.

Pharmacy students are providing a patient with his medications at the pharmacy when he suddenly becomes agitated. After discovering he is experiencing low blood sugar levels, the students give him something to help.

A Spokane police officer lays his hand on the gun in his holster. He’s commanding an individual to show his hands and to settle down. The individual then pulls out a gun of his own.

A truck driver is driving on just four hours of sleep. He’s driving in a forested area at high speeds. His truck is deviating from its lane, creating a dangerous situation for him and others on the road.

These scenes are from various simulation programs on campus and are used for clinical instruction, research or both.

» More …

A potpourri of WSU Spokane news and notes

WSU Spokane

WSU Spokane

The fall semester begins in 20 days here at WSU Spokane.

We felt it was a good time to review some recent news headlines concerning our campus, including a new clinic, recognition for our vice chancellor, a visit from the Air National Guard and more.

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TEAM Conference focuses on Trauma-Informed Care

TEAM Conference WSU Spokane

TEAM Conference WSU Spokane

For the second year in a row, our campus hosted the TEAM Conference for first responders and mental health professionals.

The conference – put on through a collaboration among WSU Spokane, the Spokane Police and Fire departments, and Frontier Behavior Health – explored Trauma-Informed Care, and focused on response, resiliency and recovery.

The goal was for those from all of the professions present to understand how to deal with trauma, and some of the reasons why our bodies react to certain traumatic situations.

» More …

Greg Belenky a finalist for Spokane’s Citizen Hall of Fame

Greg Belenky

Greg BelenkyDr. Greg Belenky, a sleep researcher here on campus, is a finalist for Spokane’s Citizen Hall of Fame.

Belenky is one of three finalists in the Science Health and Medicine category. Joining him are Dr. Jacob Deakins and Dr. Alan Hendrickson.

Belenky launched the Sleep and Performance Research Center on campus, which currently operates under the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine umbrella. His research looks into sleep deprivation and its effects on continuous operations, among other topics.

» More …