Improving education in Afghanistan

I love it when my work at the Review intersects with my aspirations in the purest way. Hopefully, someday I’ll be writing about topics such as these all the time. But for now, I’ll showcase these gems on my blog. For this story, I met a professor of education at Lewis and Clark College, who is originally from Afghanistan. Zaher Wahab has lived in the U.S. for the last 41 years. He has gone back to visit family over the years, but since 2002 – when the Taliban was toppled – he has gone back to help in his area of expertise. He’s worked with the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan, and now he teaches graduate-level courses to education faculty from the county’s 16 teacher’s colleges. For the whole story, read here.


Piece by Piece

I may not own an old home (yet), but I found this whole process of deconstruction fascinating. I’m hoping that I can write about it again in bureaucracy time if the city of Lake Oswego chooses to move forward to incorporate sustainability in the development code. It did also bring some questions to mind regarding new LEED certified buildings (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design). How “green” is it to tear down a building and construct a newer building with environmentally efficient  technology? How do we make it easier to preserve a building instead? Read my article here.

Democracy Debate:

Pair of national figures discuss strategy of imposing democracy on nations around the world


Recently, engaged U.S. citizens have questioned former President George W. Bush’s strategy of promoting democracy around the world as a way to promote peace and stability. Lake Oswego resident and former four-star Gen. Merrill “Tony” McPeak and Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense under President Bush, discussed the issue in the broader sense at a Monday evening symposium at Lewis and Clark College.

The event headlined the 48th annual International Affairs Symposium. It is the longest run student-led symposium in the nation. The three-day event titled, “Global (Dis)order: Searching for Solutions in a Changing World,” invited speakers from all over the nation to speak on topics such as nuclear proliferation, global power struggles and east-west dynamics.

McPeak and Wolfowitz spoke from two different philosophical backgrounds. While equally rooted in the usefulness of democracy to foster international cooperation, they disagreed on how much intervention should be done by the U.S. to prompt other nations to adopt a democratic government.


New drug helps fight drug-resistant strains of malaria


Last spring Lake Oswego resident Jane Kelly was the lead author of a report on a potential breakthrough in treating malaria, an illness caused by parasites that have repeatedly grown resistant to drugs used against them. The report in Nature, an international weekly science journal, introduced the drug T3.5.

The new drug is not only potent on its own, but it is synergistic when used with other common treatment drugs, such as chloroquine. This means that it can actually help chloroquine fight against drug resistant parasites. It’s a “double whammy.”

“That’s the real significance in our discovery,” said Kelly, who works in the malaria discovery lab at the Portland VA Medical Center. “(We) are not just developing a drug; (we) are developing a drug that is synergistic.”

Due to drug resistant strains of the disease, in recent years the most effective drug to fight malaria has been artemisinin used in combination with other drugs. Unfortunately, there have been signs that parasites are also developing resistance to it. Though T3.5, as Kelly has dubbed it, is not synergistic with artemisinin, it could still be used in combination with it.

The World Health Organization currently mandates the use of two drugs by malaria patients simply because drugs have grown less effective as the parasites grow more resistant. T3.5 could potentially reverse that trend, making other drugs more reliable once again.

Kelly has been testing the compound for almost three years. Now, scientists need to figure out how to make T3.5 more potent so that it can be taken at a low dose and will be cheap enough for those who will use it.

Also, “we’re trying to find out how big the scale of synergism is with other drugs,” said Kelly. “We have not seen a red flag for this compound, yet,” said Kelly.

After the highly publicized Nature report, the project received NIH Challenge Grant in Health and Science Research through the 2009 federal stimulus package.

Despite that, human trials are likely five to 10 years out, said Kelly.