blog postsMedicaid expansion helps uncover undiagnosed HIV infectionsJan 26, 2021 8:00 am691 views The Medicaid expansion facilitated by the Affordable Care Act led to a 13.9% increase in the identification of undiagnosed HIV infections, says research co-written by a team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign experts who study health care and public policy.Online smell, taste challenge offered as early detection tool for COVID-19Jan 25, 2021 3:00 pm2611 views The smell and taste challenge, developed by the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research, is a web-based tool people can use to easily monitor changes in these senses using their favorite morning beverage.COVID-19 cases, deaths in U.S. increase with higher income inequalityJan 25, 2021 9:45 am1234 views 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.Study: Negative mental health effects of pandemic lockdowns spike, then fadeJan 25, 2021 8:00 am1640 views Social distancing policies correlated with immediate increases in interest in information about “isolation” and “worry” – but those effects tapered off two to four weeks after their respective peaks, says new research co-written by Dolores Albarracín, a professor of psychology and of business administration at Illinois, and Bita Fayaz Farkhad, an economist and a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Illinois.Gut bacteria help digest dietary fiber, release important antioxidantJan 19, 2021 11:00 am1199 views Dietary fiber found in grains is a large component of many diets, but little is understood about how we digest the fiber, as humans lack enzymes to break down the complex molecules. Some species of gut bacteria break down the fiber in such a way that it not only becomes digestible, but releases ferulic acid, an important antioxidant with multiple health benefits, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.Retracted scientific paper persists in new citations, study findsJan 5, 2021 9:00 am1324 views Information sciences professor Jodi Schneider is leading an effort to prevent the spread of retracted research.What happens when the coronavirus mutates?Jan 5, 2021 8:15 am3876 views New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including a more-infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. In an interview, crop sciences professor Gustavo Caetano-Anollés discusses viral mutation and what it could mean for vaccinations.What is the new variant of coronavirus in the UK?Dec 23, 2020 8:00 am2280 views New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including one in the United Kingdom with higher infection rates that has sparked new travel bans. Erik Procko, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been studying mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that binds to human cells. In an interview, Procko discussed the new variation and whether mutations to the spike protein could create resistance to vaccines or other treatments.Antifungal drug improves key cystic fibrosis biomarkers in clinical studyDec 17, 2020 9:15 am1313 views A drug widely used to treat fungal infections improved key biomarkers in lung tissue cultures as well as in the noses of patients with cystic fibrosis, a clinical study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa found.Study adapting HIV/AIDS behavioral interventions to mitigate COVID-19Dec 8, 2020 9:45 am797 views A research project funded by the National Institutes of Health is exploring whether interventions effective at engaging high-risk populations in HIV/AIDS testing and treatment can be adapted to mitigate COVID-19.Projects offer COVID-19 testing, explore virus transmission's social factorsDec 2, 2020 9:45 am1359 views U. of I. researchers, local clinicians and volunteers are providing pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics in Rantoul, Illinois, to essential workers and other high-risk residents, and are exploring the behavioral factors behind infection clusters.Team uses copper to image Alzheimer's aggregates in the brainNov 24, 2020 11:00 am3091 views A proof-of-concept study conducted in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease offers new evidence that copper isotopes can be used to detect the amyloid-beta protein deposits that form in the brains of people living with – or at risk of developing – Alzheimer’s.Study: Gut hormones' regulation of fat production abnormal in obesity, fatty liver diseaseNov 24, 2020 8:00 am1264 views Gut hormones play an important role in regulating fat production in the body. One key hormone, released a few hours after eating, turns off fat production by regulating gene expression in the liver, but this regulation is abnormal in obesity, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found in a new study.Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adultsNov 24, 2020 4:00 am5559 views 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.Enrollment open for study comparing COVID-19 testing methodsNov 18, 2020 12:00 pm2035 views Students, faculty members and staff at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who are asked to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure or a positive test now have the opportunity to participate in a study that will help inform the national effort to manage the pandemic.Study of non-COVID-19 deaths shows 2020 increase in several demographicsNov 17, 2020 8:00 am2533 views March through May saw a significant increase in deaths over previous years – and not just from COVID-19, says a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When deaths attributed to COVID-19 were removed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention totals, the death rate in several demographics outpaced the same period in 2019, the study found. The timeframe represents the first three months of response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.Does hunting with lead ammunition endanger human, environmental health?Nov 12, 2020 8:45 am1864 views 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.Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive healthOct 19, 2020 4:00 am2424 views Researchers studied the effects of a 12-week exercise regimen on 148 active-duty Air Force airmen, half of whom also received a twice-daily nutrient beverage that included protein; the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; along with a muscle-promoting compound known as HMB. Both groups improved in physical and cognitive function, with added gains among those who regularly consumed the nutritional beverage, the team reports.Octopus-inspired sucker transfers thin, delicate tissue grafts and biosensorsOct 16, 2020 2:00 pm4232 views Thin tissue grafts and flexible electronics have a host of applications for wound healing, regenerative medicine and biosensing. A new device inspired by an octopus’s sucker rapidly transfers delicate tissue or electronic sheets to the patient, overcoming a key barrier to clinical application, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and collaborators.Repurposed anti-malarial compounds kill diarrheal parasite, study findsOct 1, 2020 8:45 am971 views A class of compounds used for malaria treatment also kill the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading global cause of diarrheal disease and death in children that has no cure, a multi-institution collaboration of researchers found in a new study.Gene expression altered by direction of forces acting on cellSep 29, 2020 8:00 am947 views Tissues and cells in the human body are subjected to a constant push and pull – strained by other cells, blood pressure and fluid flow, to name a few. The type and direction of the force on a cell alters gene expression by stretching different regions of DNA, researchers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators in China found in a new study.How is campus adjusting HVAC systems during the coronavirus pandemic?Sep 28, 2020 12:15 pm934 views As temperatures drop and more people gather indoors, concerns about coronavirus particles floating in the air are on the rise. Officials at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have made adjustments to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to provide adequate ventilation, says Mohamed Attalla, the executive director of Facilities and Services. He spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the proactive measures taken to assure that campus HVAC systems are operating correctly and supplying fresh outdoor air to buildings. Do-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problemsSep 17, 2020 1:00 pm1405 views “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.Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study findsSep 17, 2020 9:30 am5937 views Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Many of these studies focus on the transfer of tiny aerosol particles; however, researchers say that speaking, coughing and sneezing generates larger droplets that carry virus particles. Because of this, mechanical engineer Taher Saif said the established knowledge may not be enough to determine how the effectiveness of some fabrics used in homemade masks.Culturally adapted exercise program helps Hispanic older adults be more activeSep 14, 2020 9:30 am549 views 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.Cholesterol metabolite causes immune system to attack T cells instead of breast cancer, study findsSep 14, 2020 9:00 am1164 views 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.Cell-autonomous immunity shaped human evolutionSep 9, 2020 8:00 am596 views Every human cell harbors its own defenses against microbial invaders, relying on strategies that date back to some of the earliest events in the history of life. Understanding this “cell-autonomous immunity” is essential to understanding human evolution and human medicine, researchers report.Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the labAug 31, 2020 2:00 pm7423 views In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.Will a coronavirus vaccine be a cure-all?Aug 25, 2020 8:15 am2905 views Global health authorities are frantically pursuing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the hope that it will allow everyone to get back to a pre-COVID-19 reality ASAP. Thomas O’Rourke, a professor emeritus of community health, says those expectations are probably overblown.Illinois validates saliva-based test for COVID-19Aug 19, 2020 2:30 pm84488 views The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is now performing its new rapid, saliva-based COVID-19 test on all students, faculty members and staff.Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?Aug 18, 2020 8:00 am1730 views A global response, such as that organized by the World Health Organization, is needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ian Brooks, a research scientist whose focus is global health informatics.Training neural circuits early in development improves response, study findsAug 6, 2020 1:30 pm1141 views When it comes to training neural circuits for tissue engineering or biomedical applications, a new study suggests a key parameter: Train them young. Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study findsAug 6, 2020 9:30 am144400 views 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. Decoy receptor neutralizes coronavirus in cell culturesAug 4, 2020 9:00 am25244 views 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.Virtual scientific event to teach public about COVID-19-related loss of smell, tasteJul 31, 2020 4:15 pm427 views "The Nose Knows About COVID-19,” a virtual scientific event, will help the public get to know their senses of smell and taste better, and how these senses are often affected when people contract the coronavirus.Sweet-taste perception changes as children developJul 31, 2020 11:00 am524 views Children and adults differ significantly in their sensitivity to the sweet taste and in the intensity of sweetness that they prefer, a new study found.Lone Star ticks in Illinois can carry, transmit Heartland virusJul 23, 2020 9:15 am3643 views Researchers have confirmed that Heartland virus, an emerging pathogen with potentially dire consequences for those infected, is present in Lone Star ticks in two Illinois counties hundreds of miles apart. Lone Star ticks were first detected in Illinois in 1999 but had not been found to be infected with Heartland virus in the state.Paper: Mundane behavioral decisions, actions can be ‘misremembered’ as doneJul 17, 2020 8:00 am1261 views Mundane behaviors such as taking a daily medication can eventually create false memories of completing the task, said Dolores Albarracin, a professor of psychology and marketing at Illinois and the director of the Social Action Lab.Intimate partner violence, history of childhood abuse worsen trauma symptoms for new momsJul 9, 2020 8:15 am1111 views A study assessed the interaction of new and old relationship traumas among women three to 18 months after the birth of their child – one of the most challenging periods of their lives. The study found that new experiences of sexual, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of a romantic partner during this period are associated with increasing symptoms of trauma such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and sleep disorders. It also found that having experienced abuse in childhood appears to worsen the impact of current abuse on those symptoms.Beliefs about cannabis influence older adults' choice of treatments for chronic painJun 17, 2020 7:30 am1573 views Pain levels and quality-of-life issues have little influence on older adults’ decisions to treat chronic pain and other long-term diseases or conditions with cannabis or opioids, a new U. of I. study found.Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, healthMay 21, 2020 8:00 am1725 views Scientists review the research linking dozens of environmental chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and associated health challenges.Scientists text-mining social media for data on food-related topicsMay 15, 2020 9:00 am1046 views With millions of users daily, social media offer researchers a wealth of textual data to investigate food-, health-related issues, U. of I. food scientists report.Molecule reduces multiple pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s diseaseMay 7, 2020 8:15 am1221 views When tested in brain cells and in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, a new compound significantly reduced the number of amyloid plaques in the brain, lessened brain inflammation and diminished other molecular markers of the disease.Nanostimulators boost stem cells for muscle repairMay 1, 2020 8:00 am1403 views In regenerative medicine, an ideal treatment for patients whose muscles are damaged from lack of oxygen would be to invigorate them with an injection of their own stem cells. In a new study published in the journal ACS Nano, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated that “nanostimulators” – nanoparticles seeded with a molecule the body naturally produces to prompt stem cells to heal wounds – can amp up stem cells’ regenerative powers in a targeted limb in mice.Could Legionnaires' bacteria lurk in idled buildings?Apr 29, 2020 2:00 pm1134 views 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.Holistic approach best for tackling nonmedical drug use, study findsApr 24, 2020 8:15 am1377 views Health practitioners are constantly developing new ways to help those with drug and alcohol addictions wean themselves from their substance of choice. Most such programs have limited success, however. A new study finds that interventions that take a multidimensional approach – tackling the biological, social, environmental and mental health obstacles to overcome while also addressing a person’s substance use – work best for those hoping to stop using drugs.Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutesApr 23, 2020 12:00 pm4167 views Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs. Now, researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19.Loss of senses of smell, taste could identify COVID-19 carriersApr 14, 2020 2:45 pm4022 views M. Yanina Pepino of the U. of I. is on a global team of experts investigating the abrupt loss of the senses of smell and taste with COVID-19 infection. Many responders in emotional distress one year after hurricane in Puerto Rico, study findsApr 13, 2020 1:00 pm1081 views Responders who assist people after disasters are at increased risk of mental health problems, and interventions are needed to support them, a study found.New study shows how oxygen transfer is altered in diseased lung tissueApr 9, 2020 12:00 pm2159 views A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed tiny sensors that measure oxygen transport in bovine lung tissue. The study – which establishes a new framework for observing the elusive connection between lung membranes, oxygen flow and related disease – is published in the journal Nature Communications.