UW News

May 20, 2014

Health Sciences Digest: Alcoholism in homeless, medical phone apps, aging with chronic disability

UW Medicine Newsroom

Here’s some of the latest news from the UW Health Sciences and UW Medicine:

Turn your head and cough…into the phone?

You may soon hold diagnostic tests in the palm of your hand. Several UW inventors are designing mobile applications that can perform a variety of tests, and then send the results to your physician. One, for example, alerts your physician of orange skin tones in your newborn. This color change can indicate high bilirubin levels. Jaundice in infants is easy to treat, but dangerous if undetected.  Another app helps people with irritable bowel syndrome track the gut-wrenching effects of certain foods in their diet.

Learn about these and other medical apps being developed at the UW:



Anti-craving drug and counseling lower alcohol harm in homeless, without sobriety demands

Pensive man at bar

Reducing the harm from alcohol abuse.Fuse Thinkstock

Chronically homeless, alcohol-dependent individuals might benefit from a new intervention that does not require them to stop or even reduce drinking, according to the results of a preliminary study in Seattle.

Participants in the 12-week pilot program received monthly injections of an anti-craving medication, extended-release naltrexone. They also met regularly with study physicians to set their own goals for treatment and to learn to be safer in their use of alcohol.

“Abstinence-based alcohol treatment has not been effective for or desirable to many homeless people with alcohol dependence ,” said Susan Collins of the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is the lead researcher on a published report in the journal Substance Abuse.

Read more in HSNewsBeat:



Attention, finally for overlooked elderly with chronic disabilities

American society has lavished attention for decades on the expansive “boomer” population – its dreams, careers, families, habits, midlife crises and now its retirement. Many millions of research dollars have been spent divining strategies for the vast group’s “healthy aging.”

​An important group in this aging generation has been overlooked : those with a long-term physical disability.

A UW rehabilitation medicine expert has received a five-year grant to promote healthy aging among people with long-term neuromuscular problems, specifically multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and post-polio syndrome.

See how wellness can be enhanced for older adults with chronic disabilities: