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  • Young children develop body image much earlier than parents believe, suggests a new study led by Janet Liechty, a professor of social work and of medicine at the University of Illinois. Co-authors of the paper were Julie P. Birky, a clinical counselor at the Counseling Center, and social work graduate student Samantha Clarke, both of the U. of I.; and University of Michigan communication studies professor Kristen Harrison.

    Preschoolers form body images – but parents are unaware, study says

    Preschoolers may express awareness about body-image issues – but their parents may miss opportunities to promote positive body-image formation in their children because parents believe them to be too young to have these concerns, new research suggests.

  • As shown in this artist’s rendering, grooved surfaces help muscle grow into aligned fibers, which provides a track for neurons to follow.

    Feeling groovy: Neurons integrate better with muscle grown on grooved platforms

    Growing muscle tissue on grooved platforms helps neurons more effectively integrate with the muscle, a requirement for engineering muscle in the lab that responds and functions like muscle in the body, University of Illinois researchers found in a new study.

  • Genome mining effort discovers 19 new natural products in four years

    It took a small group of researchers only four years – a blink of an eye in pharmaceutical terms – to scour a collection of 10,000 bacterial strains and isolate the genes responsible for making 19 unique, previously unknown phosphonate natural products, researchers report. Each of these products is a potential new drug. One of them has already been identified as an antibiotic.

  • University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Anna E. Arthur found in a new study that a carbohydrate-restricted, higher fat diet may reduce cancer recurrence and mortality rates among people with squamous-cell head and neck cancers.

    Study explores carbohydrates’ impact on head, neck cancers

    Consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and various forms of sugar during the year prior to treatment for head and neck cancer may increase patients’ risks of cancer recurrence and mortality, a new study reports.

  • Sheldon Jacobson and Janet Jokela stand outdoors.

    Study of non-COVID-19 deaths shows 2020 increase in several demographics

    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.

  • In two new studies, University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Naiman Khan, postdoctoral researcher Anne Walk and their colleagues found links between levels of lutein in the eye and cognition and academic performance in pre-adolescent children.

    Studies link nutrient, academic achievement in pre-adolescent children

    Researchers can look into your eyes to determine whether you’re getting your lutein, a pigment found in green leafy vegetables that is known to accumulate in the brain. Two new studies find that children with higher lutein levels in the eye tend to do better than others on tests of cognition and academic achievement, even after accounting for other factors known to influence academic performance such as IQ, gender, body composition and physical fitness.

  • Study: Emotion processing in the brain changes with tinnitus severity

    A new study reveals that people with tinnitus who are less bothered by their symptoms use different brain regions when processing emotional information.

  • Physically fit children appear to do better in classroom, researchers say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The health benefits of exercise - across the lifespan - have been well documented. More recently, scientists have begun to demonstrate that exercise also may improve cognitive functioning in older adults.

  • Illinois researchers demonstrated a CRISPR gene-editing technique that slowed the progression of ALS in mice. Pictured, from left: graduate student Colin Lim, professor Thomas Gaj, graduate student Michael Gapinske, professor Pablo Perez-Pinera.

    New CRISPR base-editing technology slows ALS progression in mice

    A new CRISPR gene-editing method can inactivate one of the genes responsible for an inherited form of ALS, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report in a new study. The novel treatment slowed disease progression, improved muscle function and extended lifespan in mice with an aggressive form of ALS.

  • Portrait of psychology professor Aron Barbey

    Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive health

    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.

  • Fred Kummerow

    100-year-old trans fat pioneer celebrates news of an FDA ban

    A Minute With™... Fred Kummerow, trans fat expert

  • Professor Huimin Zhao led a team that achieved the highest reported efficiency of inserting genes into human cells with CRISPR-Cas9.

    For CRISPR, tweaking DNA fragments before inserting yields highest efficiency rates yet

    University of Illinois researchers achieved the highest reported rates of inserting genes into human cells with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system, a necessary step for harnessing CRISPR for clinical gene-therapy applications.

    By chemically tweaking the ends of the DNA to be inserted, the new technique is up to five times more efficient than current approaches. The researchers saw improvements at various genetic locations tested in a human kidney cell line, even seeing 65% insertion at one site where the previous high had been 15%.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • An avocado a day improves the ability to focus attention for overweight or obese adults, Illinois researchers found in a new study.

    Study: Daily avocado consumption improves attention in persons with overweight, obesity

    A diet including daily avocado consumption improves the ability to focus attention in adults with overweight and obesity, a new randomized control trial found.

     

  • A SHIELD worker explains the protocol for a COVID-19 saliva test at the University of Illinois.

    University of Illinois receives APLU award for COVID-19 testing program

    The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has received the inaugural Research Response to Community Crisis Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its COVID-19 testing program.

  • Portable device can quickly determine the extent of an eye injury

    An engineer and an ophthalmologist are working together to develop a portable sensor that can quickly and inexpensively determine whether an eye injury is mild or severe. The device, called OcuCheck, works by measuring levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye. The sensor could speed efforts to determine the extent of eye injuries at accident sites, in rural areas lacking ophthalmology specialists or on the battlefield, the researchers said.

  • Professor Erik Procko stands with arms crossed.

    What is the new variant of coronavirus in the UK?

    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.

  • Group portrait of researchers Manuel Hernandez, Rachneet Kaur and Richard Sowers.

    Machine learning helps spot gait problems in individuals with multiple sclerosis

    Monitoring the progression of multiple sclerosis-related gait issues can be challenging in adults over 50 years old, requiring a clinician to differentiate between problems related to MS and other age-related issues. To address this problem, researchers are integrating gait data and machine learning to advance the tools used to monitor and predict disease progression.

  • Illinois researchers used ultrafast pulses of tailored light to make neurons fire in different patterns, the first example of coherent control in a living cell.

    Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

    Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

  • Psychology professor Sanda Dolcos and graduate student Yuta Katsumi explore how suppressing negative emotions affects brain function and memory.

    Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events

    By peering at the brains of study subjects prompted to suppress negative emotions, scientists have gained new insights into how emotional regulation influences negative feelings and memories. They hope the findings will lead to new methods to combat depression.

  • New research from engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows how oxygen transfer is altered in diseased lung tissue.

    New study shows how oxygen transfer is altered in diseased lung tissue

    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.

  • An artist's rendering of viruses passing through a nanopore sensor

    DNA sensor quickly determines whether viruses are infectious

    A new sensor can detect not only whether a virus is present, but whether it’s infectious – an important distinction for containing viral spread. Researchers demonstrated the sensor, which integrates specially designed DNA fragments and nanopore sensing, with two key viruses that cause infections worldwide: the human adenovirus and the virus that causes COVID-19.  

  • 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.

  • Photo of food science professor Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia and graduate student Miguel Rebello-Hernanz

    Study: Phenols in cocoa bean shells may reverse obesity-related problems in mouse cells

    A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois suggests that the phenolic compounds in cocoa bean shells reverse the chronic inflammation and insulin resistance associated with obesity in mouse cells.

  • In breakthrough research on breast cancer, a team at the University of Illinois discovered that higher levels of the nuclear transport gene XPO1 indicate when a patient is likely to be resistant to the popular drug tamoxifen. The team, from left, food science and human nutrition professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan; graduate students Karen Chen, Kinga Wrobel and Eylem Kulkoyluoglu; and epidemiology professor Rebecca Smith.

    Scientists identify genes that disrupt response to breast cancer treatment

    Scientists at the University of Illinois may have unlocked the genetic code that determines why many patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer fail to respond to the widely used drug tamoxifen.

  • The Alma Mater statue wears a mask, as do Labor and Learning behind her.

    Enrollment open for study comparing COVID-19 testing methods

    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.

  • University of Illinois graduate student Marc Cook, left, kinesiology and community health professor Jeffrey Woods and their colleagues found that voluntary exercise on an exercise wheel reduced colitis symptoms and pro-inflammatory gene expression in a mouse model of colitis. Forced (moderate) running on a treadmill had the opposite effect.

    Team explores the effects of exercise on ulcerative colitis

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study indicates that aerobic exercise can lessen - or worsen - the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, depending on the circumstances under which the exercise is undertaken.

  • Fred Kummerow, a professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois, continued his research for more than seven decades. Kummerow died May 31 at his home in Urbana.

    Fred A. Kummerow, successful crusader against trans fats, dies at 102

    Fred A. Kummerow, a pioneer in the study of dietary contributors to heart disease who led a decades-long crusade to remove trans fats from the food supply, died Wednesday, May 31, at his home in Urbana, Illinois. He was 102.

  • Illinois researchers developed a tiny thermometer to take fast temperatures inside of cells. Pictured, from left: Graduate student Jeffrey W. Brown; Rhanor Gillette, emeritus professor of molecular and integrative physiology; Sanjiv Sinha, professor of mechanical science and engineering; Daniel Llano, professor of molecular and integrative physiology. Front row: graduate student Manju Rajagopal.

    Tiny thermometer measures how mitochondria heat up the cell by unleashing proton energy

    Armed with a tiny new thermometer probe that can quickly measure temperature inside of a cell, University of Illinois researchers have illuminated a mysterious aspect of metabolism: heat generation.

  • Professors Marni Boppart and Wawrzyniec Lawrence Dobrucki found that stem cells helped alleviate complications from peripheral artery disease in diabetic mice.

    Stem cells from muscle could address diabetes-related circulation problems

    Stem cells taken from muscle tissue could promote better blood flow in patients with diabetes who develop peripheral artery disease, a painful complication that can require surgery or lead to amputation.

  • Professor Aron Barbey led a team that found that the structural integrity of the hippocampus, a region in the brain, could mediate the relationship between fitness and memory.

    Brain tissue structure could explain link between fitness and memory

    Studies have suggested a link between fitness and memory, but researchers have struggled to find the mechanism that links them. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that the key may lie in the microstructure of the hippocampus, a region in the middle of the brain involved in memory processes.

  • Illinois researchers developed a new drug candidate that targets a receptor inside sarcoma cancer cells. Pictured are graduate student Fatimeh Ostadhossein and bioengineering professor Dipanjan Pan.

    New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trials

    A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports.

  • Photo of research fellow Sylvia L. Crowder and U. of I. professor of food science and human nutrition Anna E. Arthur

    Study: Healthy diet may avert nutritional problems in head, neck cancer patients

    Head and neck cancer patients who eat a healthy diet prior to treatment may be less likely to have nutrition impact symptoms up to a year after diagnosis, according to a recent study led by U. of I. researchers.

  • 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.

  • Check yourselves and your pets for ticks after spending time in wooded or grassy areas, says Illinois entomologist Brian Allan.

    Should we worry about ticks this summer?

    Editor’s note: The number of tick-borne illnesses diagnosed annually in the United States doubled between 2004 and 2016, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summer is prime tick season, and people spending time outdoors should be vigilant, says University of Illinois entomology professor Brian F. Allan. An expert in the spread of insect- and tick-borne diseases, Allan discussed ticks in Illinois, how to prevent bites and when to seek medical attention in an interview with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.

  • Photo of research team standing together outside in front of a brick wall and building.

    Portable, affordable, accurate, fast: Team invents new COVID-19 test

    A new coronavirus test can get accurate results from a saliva sample in less than 30 minutes, researchers report in the journal Nature Communications. Many of the components of the hand-held device used in this technology can be 3D-printed, and the test can detect as little as one viral particle per 1-microliter drop of fluid.

  • Kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman and his team investigate the link between childhood concussions and brain function.

    Study: Childhood concussions impair brain function

    A new study finds that pre-adolescent children who have sustained sports-related concussions have impaired brain function two years following injury.

  • Social support may be critical to some women's weight-loss and maintenance efforts, according to a new study by (from left) graduate researcher Catherine J. Metzgar and professor Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, both in the department of food science and human nutrition.

    Social support critical to women's weight-loss efforts, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Being accountable to another person and receiving social support may be vital in motivating some women to lose weight and keep it off, a new study says.

  • Sheldon Jacobson and Janet Jokela stand outdoors.

    2020 deadlier than previous five years, even with COVID-19 numbers removed, study finds

    An upswing in death rates from non-COVID-19 causes in 2020 hit hard for men ages 15-64, according to a new study by computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson and internal medicine professor Janet Jokela.

  • Photo of Ian Brooks, the director of the Center for Health Informatics

    Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?

    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.

  • Jeffrey Moore, left, King Li, postdoctoral researcher Gun Kim and graduate student Abigail Halmes have collaborated to develop an ultrasound-activated synthetic molecule that can emit light deep inside biologic tissue for a variety of medical uses and therapies.

    Mechanics, chemistry and biomedical research join forces for noninvasive tissue therapy

    A fortuitous conversation between two University of Illinois scientists has opened a new line of communication between biomedical researchers and the tissues they study. The new findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, show that high-intensity focused ultrasound waves can penetrate biological tissue to activate molecules able to perform specific tasks.

  • Portrait of Aditi Das standing outdoors.

    Lipid epoxides target pain, inflammatory pathways in neurons

    A process known as epoxidation converts two naturally occurring lipids into potent agents that target multiple cannabinoid receptors in neurons, interrupting pathways that promote pain and inflammation, researchers report in a new study. The findings open a new avenue of research in the effort to find alternatives to potentially addictive opioid pain killers.

  • U. of I. professor of comparative biosciences Jodi Flaws and her colleagues reviewed dozens of studies exploring the relationship between exposure to environmental contaminants, the gut microbiome and human and animal health.

    Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, health

    Scientists review the research linking dozens of environmental chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and associated health challenges.

  • University of Illinois researchers developed a molecular probe that can tag and track elusive cancer stem cells in both cell cultures and live organisms. From left: Chemistry professor Jefferson Chan, graduate students Chelsea Anorma and Thomas Bearrood, and postdoctoral researcher Jamila Hedhli.

    Nowhere to hide: Molecular probe illuminates elusive cancer stem cells in live mice

    After a primary tumor is treated, cancer stem cells may still lurk in the body, ready to metastasize and cause a recurrence of the cancer in a form that’s more aggressive and resistant to treatment. University of Illinois researchers have developed a molecular probe that seeks out these elusive cells and lights them up so they can be identified, tracked and studied not only in cell cultures, but in their native environment: the body.

    In a paper published in the journal ACS Central Science, the researchers described the probe’s effectiveness in identifying cancer stem cells in cultures of multiple human cancer cell lines as well as in live mice.

  • Photo of Bita Fayaz Farkhad, an economist and a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Illinois.

    Study: Negative mental health effects of pandemic lockdowns spike, then fade

    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.

  • Photo of food science and human nutrition professor M. Yanina Pepino and postdoctoral research associate Maria Belen Acevedo standing in their lab

    Some bariatric surgery patients don't sense heightened blood alcohol levels

    A study of 55 women found that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy weight-loss surgeries may dramatically change patients’ sensitivity to and absorption of alcohol.

  • University of Illinois chemists found that a number of drugs approved to treat various conditions also have antibiotic properties. Pictured, from left: research scientist Lici A. Schurig-Briccio, graduate students Noman Baig and Boo Kyung Kim, professor Robert B. Gennis, postdoctoral researcher Xinxin Feng, professor Eric Oldfield and graduate student Tianhui Zhou.

    Old drugs, new tricks: Medications approved for other uses also have antibiotic action

    A number of drugs already approved to treat parasitic infections, cancers, infertility and other conditions also show promise as antibiotic agents against staph and tuberculosis infections, according to a new study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.

  • Free fatty acids in the blood are linked with higher rates of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer in obese postmenopausal women, according to a new study led by food science and human nutrition professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan at the University of Illinois.

    Study: Free fatty acids appear to rewire cells to promote obesity-related breast cancer

    Scientists at the University of Illinois have found that free fatty acids in the blood appear to boost proliferation and growth of breast cancer cells - potentially explaining obese women's higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.