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Circadian rhythms dictate lunchtime surgeries have better outcomes for cardiac patients

The time of day of surgery may have long-term impacts on the health of patients. Sleep deprivation is worryingly common among healthcare providers. Working tired leaves more room for mistakes – and mistakes in medicine are often dangerous.

Bryan Vila“The basic take-home is that fatigue decreases safety,” said Bryan Vila, a sleep expert and emeritus professor of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University Spokane.

Learning healthy sleeping practices is “just as important as occupational training,” Vila said.

Looking at how the circadian rhythm affects the outcomes of surgery, researchers in France are claiming that patients who undergo major heart surgery in the afternoon may walk away with reduced perioperative myocardial injury and postoperative morbidity compared to patients who were operated on earlier in the morning1.

While the study focuses on heart surgeries only, a separate Canadian study found that the risk of mortality was doubled in patients who were operated on during the night. It attributes this to healthcare provider fatigue during later times of the day. The same study put forth that not operating at all may be better than performing emergency procedures while fatigued.

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MIMS Today

WSU Spokane: Brown steps down, DeWald named new chancellor

Lisa Brown — who for the past four-and-a-half years has guided the rapid development of Washington State University’s health sciences enterprise in Spokane — today announced she will step down from her position as chancellor of the Spokane campus.


Daryll DeWald, the current dean of the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, will succeed Brown as chancellor. An accomplished life sciences researcher with more than a decade of experience in higher education administration, DeWald will begin his new duties on September 1.

DeWald is an experienced academic leader and professor with a strong research publication record in cell biology and biochemistry. As dean, he has overseen the teaching, research and outreach activities of the university’s largest academic unit, which spans all five of WSU’s statewide campuses and the online Global Campus. With annual research expenditures of more than $30 million across two dozen disciplines, the college is also one of the largest research enterprises at WSU.

“Daryll has done an outstanding job of leading the College of Arts and Sciences across the WSU system,” Schulz said. “His management skills, expertise in the life sciences, and dedicated outreach efforts to students underrepresented in the sciences are qualities that make him the ideal choice to lead the next chapter in our initiative to expand access to health care across the state.”

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WSU News

Tackling criminal justice reform: Criminologist steering efforts in Spokane

Jacqueline van Wormer
Jacqueline van Wormer

Faced with an overcrowded jail, packed court dockets, and community concerns about a high-profile law enforcement incident, Spokane two years ago was not unlike dozens of towns nationwide. What now sets it apart is the holistic approach the city and surrounding county are taking to reimagine and reform the regional justice system. » More …

June 9-12: Breath test, cancer on medicinal plants agenda

Herbert Hill
Herbert Hill

Marijuana and other medicinal plants are the focus of a research conference hosted by Washington State University in Spokane June 9-12.

WSU chemistry professor Herbert Hill will talk about a marijuana detection breath test researchers are developing to determine if a driver is under the influence. Amit Dhingra, conference chair, will discuss genomic technologies to ensure strain purity. » More …