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  • Chickens may help aid in early detection of ovarian cancer

    Understanding and treatment of human ovarian cancer, known as the silent killer, may be a step closer thanks to some chickens at the UI. Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and unlike other cancers, its rate of mortality has not been reduced.

  • A groundbreaking new study by Jesse Helton, a faculty member in the Children and Family Research Center in the School of Social Work, indicates that the risk and degree of physical abuse varies according to the child's type and level of disability - and those at greatest risk of maltreatment may be those with average functioning or only mild impairments.

    Child abuse risk tied to type, degree of disability, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have long known that children with disabilities are at increased risk of being abused by their caregivers. But a groundbreaking new study by Jesse Helton, a faculty member in the Children and Family Research Center in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, indicates that the risk and degree of physical abuse varies according to the child's type and level of disability - and those at greatest risk of maltreatment may be those with average functioning or only mild impairments.

  • Yee Ming Khaw stands on the left, Makoto Inoue stands on the right.

    Childhood trauma could affect development, treatment of multiple sclerosis, mouse study finds

    Childhood trauma could affect the trajectory of multiple sclerosis development and response to treatment in adulthood, a new study in mice found.

    Mice that had experienced stress when young were more likely to develop the autoimmune disorder and less likely to respond to a common treatment, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found. However, treatment that activated an immune-cell receptor mitigated the effects of childhood stress in the mice.

  • Social marketing can sell kids on getting outside and getting active, according to Marian Huhman (WHO-mun), a professor of communication at Illinois. Her findings are based on recently published results on a five-year national campaign aimed at "tweens" aged 9 to 13 years old.

    Children can be sold on fun of physical activity, U. of I. researcher says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Childhood obesity is on the rise, and commercial marketing sells kids on things that encourage it: soft drinks, fatty foods, video games, the Internet, TV.

  • A cholesterol byproduct facilitates breast cancer’s spread by hijacking immune cells, a new University of Illinois study found. Pictured, from left: Postdoctoral researcher Amy Baek, professor Erik Nelson and breast cancer survivor Sarah Adams.

    Cholesterol byproduct hijacks immune cells, lets breast cancer spread

    A cholesterol byproduct facilitates breast cancer’s spread by hijacking immune cells, a new University of Illinois study found.

  • Professor Erik Nelson and graduate student Liqian Ma.

    Cholesterol metabolite causes immune system to attack T cells instead of breast cancer, study finds

    In breast cancer tumors, a molecule produced when the body breaks down cholesterol hijacks the myeloid immune cells that normally arm T cells to fight cancer, a new study in mice found. Instead, the hijacked myeloid cells disarm the T cells and even tell them to self-destruct.

  • Portrait of researcher.

    Cholesterol metabolite induces production of cancer-promoting vesicles

    Scientists report that a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism causes some cells to send out cancer-promoting signals to other cells. These signals are packaged in membrane-bound compartments called extracellular vesicles.

  • Chronic exposure to estradiol impairs some cognitive functions

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois researchers report this week that chronic exposure to estradiol, the main estrogen in the body, diminishes some cognitive functions. Rats exposed to a steady dose of estradiol were impaired on tasks involving working memory and response inhibition, the researchers found.

  • Cilia in the efferent ductules of the male reproductive tract don’t transport sperm, as was previously thought, but agitate the fluid to keep the sperm from aggregating, new research indicates. Rex Hess was a co-author on the study.

    Cilia beat to an unexpected rhythm in male reproductive tract, study in mice reveals

    Waves of undulating cilia drive several processes essential to life. They clear debris and mucus from the respiratory tract, move spinal fluid through the brain and transport embryos from the ovaries to the uterus for implantation. According to a new study in mice, however, cilia perform somewhat differently in the male reproductive tract.

  • Portrait of Gratton and Fabiani

    Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adults

    The brains of healthy adults recovered faster from a mild vascular challenge and performed better on complex tests if the participants consumed cocoa flavanols beforehand, researchers report.

  • Illinois professor Aron Barbey led a study that examined how cognitive cross-training affects skill learning.

    Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds

    Just as athletes cross-train to improve physical skills, those wanting to enhance cognitive skills can benefit from multiple ways of exercising the brain, according to a comprehensive new study from University of Illinois researchers.

  • Researchers developed a rapid sensing gel to measure a molecular marker of eye injury in a teardrop. From left: Carle opthamologist Dr. Laura Labriola, Illinois visiting scholar Ketan Dighe and professor Dipanjan Pan.

    Color-changing sensor detects signs of eye damage in tears

    A new point-of-care rapid-sensing device can detect a key marker of eye injury in minutes – a time frame crucial to treating eye trauma.  

    University of Illinois researchers developed a gel laden with gold nanoparticles that changes color when it reacts with a teardrop containing ascorbic acid, released from a wound to the eye. In a new study published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, the researchers used the sensor, called OjoGel, to measure ascorbic acid levels in artificial tears and in clinical samples of fluid from patients’ eyes. 

  • Combat helmet that could relay injury data is goal of U. of I. project

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -University of Illinois researchers are pooling their knowledge of health sciences and engineering on a project that ultimately could benefit combat soldiers who've received serious - but often immediately undetectable - blast-related brain injuries.

  • Photo of a young woman inside an MRI suite wearing an imaging cap with many sensors attached.

    Combining three techniques boosts brain-imaging precision

    Researchers have developed a method to combine three brain-imaging techniques to more precisely capture the timing and location of brain responses to a stimulus.

  • Committee to identify, recruit founding dean for Carle Illinois College of Medicine

    A search committee established to find the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s inaugural dean will begin its work this month with the goal of naming the dean by spring 2016

  • University of Illinois engineers developed a method to computationally correct aberrations in three-dimensional tissue microscopy. From left, postdoctoral researcher Steven Adie, professor P. Scott Carney, graduate students Adeel Ahmad and Benedikt Graf, and professor Stephen Boppart.

    Computing the best high-resolution 3-D tissue images

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Real-time, 3-D microscopic tissue imaging could be a revolution for medical fields such as cancer diagnosis, minimally invasive surgery and ophthalmology. University of Illinois researchers have developed a technique to computationally correct for aberrations in optical tomography, bringing the future of medical imaging into focus.

  • Barbara Fiese and Kelly Freeman Bost sitting at a table in the Family Resiliency Center on the U. of I. campus.

    Consistent bedtime routines in infancy improve children's sleep habits through age 2

    Consistent bedtime routines and activities such as reading books beginning when infants are 3 months old promote better sleep habits through age 2, according to a study by researchers at the Family Resiliency Center.

  • Consumer perception of organic foods affected by food type and where they’re sold

    The organic food industry has grown from fresh produce and grains to snack foods and condiments – from farmers markets to supercenters. Has this new variety in organic products, and the availability of them, affected consumers’ perceptions?

  • Law professor Richard L. Kaplan says the rise in so-called family caregiver agreements is far from a groundswell, and most people still bristle at the notion of being paid to care for parents or other relatives who may have once cared for them.

    Contracts adding legal twist to family health care

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Financial contracts to care for sick or aging relatives - nearly unthinkable just a decade ago - are drawing new interest as everyday Americans wrestle with the time and expense of providing long-term health care, a University of Illinois legal expert says.

  • Julie Bobitt, the director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program at Illinois, talks about the Illinois Opioid Alternative Pilot Project.

    Could cannabis be a pain relief alternative to opioids?

    The Opioid Alternative Pilot Project offers medical cannabis as a pain-relief option for those looking to avoid or reduce opioid use, said Julie Bobitt, the director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program at Illinois.

  • Photo courtesy ISTC

    Could Legionnaires' bacteria lurk in idled buildings?

    Many businesses are closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and some building managers have shut off water and air conditioning to conserve resources. Unfortunately, warmth and lack of clean water flow can contribute to the growth of potentially dangerous microbes, including the bacteria that contribute to Legionnaires’ disease. Illinois Sustainable Technology Center chemist and industrial water treatment specialist Jeremy Overmann spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the problem and potential solutions.

  • Sociology professor Tim Liao led a recently published study that examined the association between inequality and COVID-19 cases and deaths in U.S. counties.

    COVID-19 cases, deaths in U.S. increase with higher income inequality

    U.S. counties with higher income inequality faced higher rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the earlier months of the pandemic, according to a new study led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign sociology professor Tim Liao. Counties with higher proportions of Black or Hispanic residents also had higher rates, the study found, reinforcing earlier research showing the disparate effects of the virus on those communities.

  • Portrait of lead author, Junghwan Kim

    COVID-19 mobility restrictions effective for short duration, study finds

    Attempts at restricting people’s mobility to control the spread of COVID-19 may be effective only for a short period, researchers said. A new study examines people’s mobility for seven months during the pandemic in the United States using publicly available, anonymized mobile phone data.

  • Illinois researchers used CRISPR technology to activate silent gene clusters in Streptomyces bacteria, a potential treasure trove of new classes of drugs. Pictured, clockwise from back middle: graduate student Behnam Enghiad, postdoctoral researcher Shangwen Luo, graduate student Tajie Luo and professor Huimin Zhao.

    CRISPR mines bacterial genome for hidden pharmaceutical treasure

    In the fight against disease, many weapons in the medicinal arsenal have been plundered from bacteria themselves. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, researchers have now uncovered even more potential treasure hidden in silent genes.

  • In this computer simulation, DNA in a serum sample interacts with a crumpled graphene surface.

    Crumpled graphene makes ultra-sensitive cancer DNA detector

    Graphene-based biosensors could usher in an era of liquid biopsy, detecting DNA cancer markers circulating in a patient’s blood or serum. But current designs need a lot of DNA. In a new study, crumpling graphene makes it more than ten thousand times more sensitive to DNA by creating electrical “hot spots,” researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found.

  • A new study explored Latinas’ attitudes toward lay community health researchers called “promotoras.” Co-authors on the paper were, from left front, Jennifer McCaffrey, assistant dean of family and consumer sciences; kinesiology and community health professor Andiara Schwingel; applied family studies professor Angela R. Wiley, and nutritional sciences professor Dr. Margarita Teran-Garcia.

    Cultural, linguistic gaps may deter Latinos from joining health programs

    The success of community health interventions targeting Latinos could be hindered by linguistic and cultural gaps unless researchers recognize the diversity that exists among Latino populations and work closely with community members to adapt programming accordingly, a new study led by University of Illinois researchers suggests.

  • Kinesiology graduate student Brett Burrows standing outdoors wearing a dark shirt

    Culturally adapted exercise program helps Hispanic older adults be more active

    A study of 565 Hispanic older adults found that a culturally adapted exercise program improved physical functioning among a population who believe that being sedentary and in poor health is inevitable in later life.

  • Photo of University of Illinois alumnus Daniel J. Laxman found that fathers who read to their children with autism also boosted the mental health of the children's mothers. Co-authors on the study were special education professor Rosa Milagros Santos Gilbertz of Illinois, W. Justin Dyer of Brigham Young University, and Laurie M. Jeans of St. Ambrose University.

    Dads' parenting of children with autism improves moms' mental health

    Fathers who read to their infants with autism and take active roles in caregiving activities not only promote healthy development in their children, they boost moms’ mental health too, new research suggests.

  • Erik Procko is a professor of biochemistry at Illinois.

    Decoy receptor neutralizes coronavirus in cell cultures

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, scientists and health care providers are seeking ways to keep the coronavirus from infecting tissues once they’re exposed. A new study suggests luring the virus with a decoy – an engineered, free-floating receptor protein – that binds the virus and blocks infection.

  • Wildlife veterinarian Mark A. Mitchell reports on how our instinctive fear of snakes and other reptiles leads to neglect and mismanagement.

    Despite a recent salmonella outbreak, can pet turtles be made safe?

    A Minute With™... wildlife veterinarian Mark A. Mitchell

  • University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An found that diet beverage drinkers compensate by eating a greater percentage of unhealthy foods that are high in fats, cholesterol and calories.

    Diet beverage drinkers compensate by eating unhealthy food, study finds

    Study finds that people who drink diet beverages may compensate by eating additional food that is higher in fat, cholesterol and sodium.

  • Viruses may inject their DNA into a host cell synchronously or randomly, a new study finds. The difference appears to influence the course of infection.

    Discovery: Mechanical properties of viral DNA determine the course of infection

    A new study reveals a previously unknown mechanism that governs whether viruses that infect bacteria will quickly kill their hosts or remain latent inside the cell. The discovery, reported in the journal eLife, also may apply to viruses that infect humans and other animals, the researcher said.

  • Barbara Fiese

    Distracted dining? Steer clear of it!

    A new University of Illinois study reveals that distracted dining may be as dangerous to your health as distracted driving is to your safety on the highway.

  • Professor Auinash Kalsotra stands wearing a suit.

    Division of labor within regenerating liver maintains metabolism, mouse study finds

    The liver has a rare superpower among body organs – the ability to regenerate, even if 70% of its mass is removed. It also keeps up its metabolic and toxin-removing work during the process of regeneration, thanks to a subset of cells that expand their workload while the rest focus on multiplication, a new study in mice found.

  • A synthetic DNA enzyme inserts into a cell membrane, causing lipids to shuffle between the inner and outer membrane layers.

    DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpart

    A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. It is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterparts.

  • Professor Yi Lu

    DNAzymes could outperform protein enzymes for genetic engineering

    Move over, gene-editing proteins – there’s a smaller, cheaper, more specific genetic engineering tool on the block: DNAzymes – small DNA molecules that can function like protein enzymes.

    Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a technique that, for the first time, allows DNAzymes to target and cut double-stranded DNA, overcoming a significant limitation of the technology.

  • Craig Miller stands in the woods facing the camera. He is wearing a red and black plaid shirt and he has his hands in his pockets.

    Does hunting with lead ammunition endanger human, environmental health?

    A recent study from Wesleyan University found that 48% of ground meat samples made from white-tailed deer killed with lead shotgun slugs in Illinois were contaminated with lead, while meat from deer killed by archers contained no lead. Illinois Natural History Survey human dimensions scientist Craig Miller spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the risks associated with lead ammunition in hunting.

  • Robin Orr

    Does the recent peanut scare indicate a need for stricter guidelines?

    A Minute With™... Robin Orr, the director of programming for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

  • New protocols will help emergency medical personnel stabilize, treat and transport law enforcement K-9s injured on the job.

    Dog down: Effort helps emergency medical staff treat law enforcement K-9s

    Recognizing a gap in care for law enforcement K-9s injured on the job, a team of veterinarians, emergency medical services experts and canine handlers has developed protocols for emergency medical service personnel who may be called upon to help treat and transport the injured dogs.

  • Photo of University of Illinois law professor Jacob S. Sherkow

    Do-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problems

    “Citizen scientists” developing homemade COVID-19 vaccines may believe they’re inoculating themselves against the ongoing pandemic, but the practice of self-experimentation with do-it-yourself medical innovations is fraught with legal, ethical and public health issues, says a new paper co-written by University of Illinois law professor Jacob S. Sherkow.

  • University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An found that people who increased their consumption of plain water by 1 percent decreased the number of calories they consumed, as well as the amounts of sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol they took in daily. The findings were consistent across race/ethnicity, income levels and body weight status, according to the study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

    Drinking more water associated with numerous dietary benefits, study finds

    In a new study of more than 18,300 U.S. adults, U. of I. researcher Ruopeng An found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

  • Drinking more water improves children’s ability to multitask, according to a new study led by Illinois professor Naiman Khan.

    Drinking more water improves multitasking ability in children, study finds

    Drinking water not only keeps children hydrated, but also increases their ability to multitask, suggests a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois and their collaborators.

  • Illinois researchers developed nanoparticles that can target cancer stem cells (yellow), the rare cells within a tumor (blue) that can cause cancer to recur or spread.

    Drug-delivering nanoparticles seek and destroy elusive cancer stem cells

    Researchers are sending tiny drug-laden nanoparticles on a mission to seek and destroy cancer stem cells.

  • Drugs with multiple targets show promise against myotonic dystrophy type 1

    Efforts to treat myotonic dystrophy type 1, the most common form of muscular dystrophy, are in their infancy. In a new study, researchers report they have added new capabilities to an experimental drug agent that previously defeated only one of DM1’s many modes of action. Their retooled compounds interrupt the disease’s pathology in three ways.

  • University of Illinois veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan, pictured here with his dog, Ember, describes the advantages of testing potential cancer therapies on pet dogs with spontaneously occurring cancers.

    Drug trials in pet dogs with cancer may speed advances in human oncology

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Pet dogs may be humans’ best friends in a new arena of life: cancer treatment, said University of Illinois veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan. Physiological similarities between dogs and humans, and conserved genetics between some dog and human cancers, can allow pet dogs to serve as useful models for studying new cancer drugs, he said.

  • E-cigarettes are introducing increasing numbers of Illinois teens to the habit of smoking, according to the most recent Illinois Youth Survey, which was conducted by senior research scientist Scott Hays of the University of Illinois Center for Prevention Research and Development.

    E-cigarette use rising dramatically among Illinois teens, survey finds

    The use of electronic cigarettes has increased by 65 percent among sophomores and by 45 percent among seniors in Illinois high schools over the past two years, according to this year's Illinois Youth Survey.

  • Professor Catherine Christian, left, and graduate student Jiang Li led a study that found that neurons regulating hormone release have different activity in mice with epilepsy, and that those differences fluctuate with the reproductive cycle.

    Effects of epilepsy on neural activity in mice fluctuate with reproductive cycle, study finds

    Mice with epilepsy have altered patterns of neuron activity in the portion of the brain that controls the reproductive endocrine system, University of Illinois researchers report in a new study. Furthermore, the differences in neuron activity in female mice fluctuate across the reproductive cycle, the team found.

  • Plant biology professor Lisa Ainsworth is one of eight Illinois faculty members on the Clarivate Analytics / Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list, 2016.

    Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."

  • An N95 mask in a multicooker with a towel.

    Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study finds

    Owners of electric multicookers may be able to add another use to its list of functions, a new study suggests: sanitization of N95 respirator masks.

    The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign study found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot, decontaminated N95 respirators inside and out while maintaining their filtration and fit. This could enable wearers to safely reuse limited supplies of the respirators, originally intended to be one-time-use items. 

  • Photos of Dan Morrow, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, and Karen Dunn Lopez, the director of the Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness at the University of Iowa

    Electronic health record system increases clinicians' cognitive workload, study finds

    Adopting a new electronic health records system doubled the amount of cognitive effort clinicians at two urgent care clinics expended during the first six months after implementation, researchers found in a recent study.