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Weekly News Roundup 11/8 to 11/14

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Sled dogs lead the way in quest to slow aging

Dashing through the snow at 25 miles an hour, Heather Huson, PhD, got her first thrill as a musher at age seven. From then on, she was hooked on dog sledding, and raced competitively throughout North America for almost 30 years. By the end of her racing days, she’d competed twice in the International Federation of Sleddog Sports World Championships—sled dog racing’s equivalent to the Olympics. And she ended her racing career with a bang, winning an extremely competitive six-dog-class race at the 2004 Tok Race of Champions in Tok, Alaska. Now an assistant professor of animal science at Cornell University, Huson is coleader of a $4.2 million project studying close to 100 Alaskan sled dogs between the ages of 8 and 13, former athletes past their glory days. The study, which began in 2018, is a quest for one of the holy grails of medicine: how to slow aging. . . . more

WSU veterinary student crowned Miss Idaho USA

Kim Layne, a third-year veterinary student in Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is Miss Idaho USA 2020. The aspiring veterinarian will represent the Gem State at the Miss USA pageant for a chance to be crowned Miss USA 2020. Layne, 25, plans to use the platform to inform the public on the stigmas and attitudes associated with neurological conditions—something she’s experienced personally since she was diagnosed with narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder causing daytime drowsiness. But it’s not just her. ‘“I have friends who have ADHD and friends who have Asperger’s. They are successful and they do very well and I’ve seen them struggle and have to overcome stigmas and attitudes in the workplace and in school,’“ Layne said. By sharing her story, she hopes to help society understand neurodiversity. . . . more

High-ranking dog provides key training for military’s medical students

The newest faculty member at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) has a great smile—and likes to be scratched behind the ears. Shetland, not quite two years old, is half-golden retriever, half-Labrador retriever. As of this fall, he is also a lieutenant commander in the Navy and a clinical instructor in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at USUHS in Bethesda, Maryland. Among Shetland’s skills are “hugging“ on command, picking up a fallen object as small as a cellphone, and carrying around a small basket filled with candy for harried medical and graduate students who study at the military’s medical school campus. But Shetland’s job is to provide much more than smiles and a head to pat. . . . more

Black cat who interrupted NFL game announced as starter for the Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have a new member. The black cat became an internet celebrity last week after the animal ran out onto the field of MetLife Stadium, interrupting the game between the Cowboys and the New York Giants. Now, the Cowboys are proud to add the feline football fan to its ranks. “Tonight’s #DallasCowboys starters . . . wait for it,“ read a tweet last Sunday from the team’s account, which featured the cat in the lineup for this week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. The cat also had the blue Cowboys star photoshopped into its pupil. While the cat brought the Cowboys good luck last week, things didn’t go so well this time, as the Vikings won 28–24. A week ago Monday, the black cat pawed all over the turf and (kind of) scored a touchdown before being herded off the field and into the hearts of millions. Understandably, the question everyone had after the game ended with a Cowboys win was, “What happened to the cat?“ . . . more

Veterinary school application cycle to open earlier than usual

In a significant departure from past practice, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced that the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) 2020–2021 application cycle will open on January 22, 2020 and close on September 15, 2020. The cycle typically opens in May. The change has been undertaken to make the process more convenient for applicants to veterinary medical schools and provide them with more time to complete the various components of the application process, according to AAVMC Director of Admissions and Recruitment Affairs Diana Dabdub. While the annual VMCAS application cycle is normally active for about four months, most applicants typically wait until the last minute to complete their applications. For example, during the 2018–2019 cycle, 6,470 (79.4%) applicants waited until September to submit their applications, with 45% of applicants submitting during the final week. . . . more