Do we have the ‘resources and will’ to confront the opioid crisis?

Data released this week from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automated Reports and Consolidated Orders Systems shows disproportionate pain pill distribution into Appalachian and rural communities, which resulted in an opioid crisis for West Virginia and the region. West Virginia University expert Robin Pollini says the data underscores the depth of the problem and the need to confront it.

Moon landing still has effect on U.S. after 50 years

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong famously took “one small step” onto its surface. As the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing nears, experts from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University reflect on the cultural, scientific and geopolitical importance of the Apollo program and its powerful messages of curiosity, ambition and scientific discovery. The anniversary also shines a spotlight on issues of equality in math and science.

Increased dangers present when prescribing opioids in hospitalized patients

Under the direction of Dr. Sunil Sharma, a team of researchers found that 26 percent of high-risk patients with heart failure and undiagnosed sleep apnea who received opioids required urgent transfer to an ICU as opposed to only 4 percent of those not receiving opioids. The study shines light on the lesser-known impacts of the opioid epidemic, including the impact of narcotics in hospitalized patients.

Safety precautions should be taken while setting off fireworks

As Independence Day approaches, a West Virginia University fireworks expert suggests people attend a public fireworks show where trained pyrotechnists are in charge of ignition. But Mark Lambert, Fire Service Extension and State Fire Training Director, offers tips for those purchasing their own fireworks, including avoiding alcohol and having viewers stand at least 50 feet from the display.

Ebola outbreak worsens because of unstable political climate

Since the start of the Ebola outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Conga in August last year, at least 1,223 people have died out of 1,847 confirmed cases. Of those who died, 30 percent were children, according to the World Health Organization. West Virginia University expert Tamba M’bayo believes political unrest is the cause of the disease’s deadly spread.

WVU expert: Alternative fuel vehicles offer lower maintenance costs

With a mission to educate the nation about alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles, a West Virginia University expert notes that electric cars are safe and have lower maintenance costs. Micheal Smyth, interim director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, will “demystify electric vehicle systems” this weekend on PBS’ “Motorweek.” Next month, NAFTC will host EXP III, including a tour of the Center for Alternative Fuel Engines and Emissions and WVU’s Personal Rapid Transit System.

WVU scholars incorporate ‘Game of Thrones’ themes into classes

Five professors at West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences are using HBO’s award-winning series “Game of Thrones” to illustrate how the program, which will end this weekend, intersects their fields of study. The experts in women’s studies, international relations, religious studies, linguistics, social work and communication studies say with tens of millions of viewers each week, the show’s characters and themes have become cultural touchstones.

Improved editorial practices may reduce positive spin, increase objectivity in peer-reviewed medical journals

West Virginia University researcher Safi U. Khan, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine, is part of a team that examined six prestigious medical journals and identified positive spin in how they portrayed cardiovascular trials. The researchers found that 57 percent of the abstracts—and 67 percent of the articles themselves—were phrased to make results seem more statistically significant than they were.

WVU expert supports Facebook’s ban of high profile uses for ‘dangerous speech’

According to Elizabeth Cohen, associate professor of communication studies at West Virginia University, Facebook’s analysis of the hate speech expressed by Louis Farrakhan and Alex Jones as dangerous is correct because they have a large following and wield a lot of influence. Banning Farrakhan and Jones “makes a statement,” Cohen said.

WVU researcher says black hole photo confirms long-held suspicions about gravity, light and galaxies

The first photo taken of a black hole underscores the astrophysics research happening at the Center for Gravitational Waves Cosmology at West Virginia University. Associate Professor Sarah Burke Spolaor is part of the WVU team that explores the origins of the universe and the fundamental processes involved in galaxy formation, stellar evolution and star formation through observations with telescopes across the electromagnetic and gravitational wave spectrum.