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Trust in leaders, sense of belonging stir people to safeguard common goods, analysis shows

Craig Parks
Craig Parks

Psychological researcher Craig Parks and his co-authors emphasize the urgent need to broaden thoughtful use of public goods, noting that charitable contributions are at historic lows, fossil fuel reserves are shrinking, and climate change threatens the planet’s future.

Read more here

Other sources:
Science Blog
Health Canal

Collaborations enhance addiction therapy research

Brendan Walker

A faculty member is one of about 25 scientists selected to participate in a prestigious international symposium this week, where he will discuss his work on drug and alcohol addiction and upcoming collaboration with WSU Spokane addiction researchers. This collaboration is expected to lead to combined behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies.

Brendan Walker, Washington State University associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, attended the fifth Indo-American “Frontiers of Science” symposium, sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Kavli Foundation, in Agra, India. “Frontiers of Science” facilitates collaboration between nationally and internationally recognized young scientists in the physical and life sciences. Some previous participants have gone on to become NAS members and Nobel Prize recipients.

“I was very surprised when the invitation from the president of the NAS came. It’s definitely an honor,” he said.

Read more about the research at WSU News >>

Researcher: Dispel Newtown’s misreporting

ABC News report on autism
ABC News report on autism

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., grade school killings, the Associated Press has issued guidelines for reporters on coverage of mental disorders.

“That’s a good, first step in dispelling the myth that autism causes people to commit horrific crimes,” said a Washington State University psychology professor who has researched the disorder.

After Adam Lanza shot 27 people and then himself on Dec. 14, numerous media reports implied a link between his shooting rampage and the fact that he had Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism.

“When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Oh no, this is bad. This is really bad,’” said WSU psychologist Theodore Beauchaine, who spent a decade researching the condition that affects one in 88 children, according to the most recent estimate by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more about getting autism right at WSU News >>

Psychology Senior Wins MLK Service Award

MLK student winner imageAs a freshman, Nick Montanari spent part of his spring break in Morton, Wash., helping people he had never met clean up and rebuild after severe flooding damaged their community earlier in the year. The five-day “Spring to Action, Break for Change” program, organized by the WSU Center for Civic Engagement, was a turning point for Montanari.

Read more about his 1,000-plus hours of service and being selected for the 2013 MLK Distinguished Service Award at WSU. →

Prospective Alzheimer’s drug builds new brain cell connections

Jay Wright
Jay Wright

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

Washington State University researchers have developed a new drug candidate that dramatically improves the cognitive function of rats with Alzheimer’s-like mental impairment.

Their compound, which is intended to repair brain damage that has already occurred, is a significant departure from current Alzheimer’s treatments, which either slow the process of cell death or inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme believed to break down a key neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory development.

Such drugs, says Joe Harding, a professor in WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, are not designed to restore lost brain function, which can be done by rebuilding connections between nerve cells.

“This is about recovering function,” he says. “That’s what makes these things totally unique. They’re not designed necessarily to stop anything. They’re designed to fix what’s broken. As far as we can see, they work.”

Harding, Jay Wright (regents professor, psychology), and other WSU colleagues report their findings in the online “Fast Forward” section of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Continue story →