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  • Hanley-Maxwell named College of Applied Health Sciences dean

    Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell will join the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences effective Aug. 16, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

  • 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.

  • ‘Molecular prosthetics’ can replace missing proteins to treat disease

    Researchers have demonstrated that a small molecule can transport iron in human cells and live animals when proteins that normally do the same job are missing, a condition that often causes severe anemia in patients. Such “molecular prosthetics” might treat a host of incurable diseases caused by protein deficiencies, such as anemias, cystic fibrosis or certain types of heart disease.

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

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

  • Maternal protein deficiency during pregnancy ‘memorized’ by fetal muscle cells

    A new study has uncovered the genetic processes that link insufficient protein consumption during pregnancy with the development of muscle problems in mothers and their male offspring.

  • 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.

  • Sensors detect disease markers in breath

    A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building’s air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices. By riddling the thin plastic films with pores, University of Illinois researchers made the devices sensitive enough to detect at levels that are far too low to smell, yet are important to human health.

  • Watching 3-D videos of trees helps people recover from stress, researchers say

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Writers, outdoor enthusiasts and leaf-peeping tourists have known for centuries that nature has restorative powers that reduce feelings of stress and promote a sense of tranquility.

  • Beyond the big ads: teaching kids ad literacy and nutrition in grade school classrooms

    The Super Bowl will feature car ads, beer ads, food ads – but probably none for carrots. Most food ads, game time or anytime, are pitching less-healthy fare. Kids are often the target. Do they understand what an ad is? Who made it and why? Advertising professor Michelle Nelson worked with an Illinois school district to develop an advertising literacy curriculum that also promotes healthy eating.

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lessons in nature boost classroom engagement afterward, researchers report

    Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study.

  • Study finds brain markers of numeric, verbal and spatial reasoning abilities

    A new study begins to clarify how brain structure and chemistry give rise to specific aspects of what researchers call “fluid intelligence,” the ability to adapt to new situations and to solve problems one has never encountered before.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Breastfed babies less likely to be picky eaters as toddlers

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Babies who are breastfed exclusively for their first six months of life may be less likely to become picky eaters as preschoolers, according to a recent study of 129 mothers and their children.

  • Slowing dangerous bacteria may be more effective than killing them, researchers report

    A new study suggests it may be possible to slow dangerous infections by manipulating the messages microbes send to one another, allowing the body to defeat an infection without causing the bacteria to develop resistance to the treatment.

  • Increased risk of suicide, mental health conditions linked to sexual assault victimization

    An analysis of nearly 200 independent studies involving more than 230,000 adult participants finds that having been sexually assaulted is associated with significantly increased risk of anxiety, depression, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological histories

    A geologist, a microscopist and a doctor walk into a lab and, with their colleagues from across the nation, make a discovery that overturns centuries of thought about the nature and composition of kidney stones. The team’s key insight, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, is that kidney stones are built up in calcium-rich layers that resemble other mineralizations in nature, such as those forming coral reefs or arising in hot springs, Roman aqueducts or subsurface oil fields.

  • 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.

  • Study links brain structure, anxiety and negative bias in healthy adults

    Healthy college students who have a relatively small inferior frontal cortex – a brain region behind the temples that helps regulate thoughts and emotions – are more likely than others to suffer from anxiety, a new study finds. They also tend to view neutral or even positive events in a negative light, researchers report.

  • 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.

  • Tailored sexual health messages urgently needed for young female tourists, expert says

    With both tourism and casual “hookup” sex on the rise among college-age adults, there’s an urgent need for sexual health campaigns aimed at young female tourists who are sexual risk-takers, University of Illinois scholar Liza Berdychevsky suggests.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Paper: Nutrition label readers favor food quality over quantity

    Although nutrition-label users eat roughly the same amount of food as less-discerning diners, the two groups diverge when it comes to the quality of the food they eat, says a new paper co-written by Brenna Ellison, a professor of agriculture and consumer economics at Illinois and an expert in consumer food preferences and behaviors.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells for diabetics

    A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.

  • Science at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planet

    Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.

  • Nanopores could map small changes in DNA that signal big shifts in cancer

    Detecting cancer early, just as changes are beginning in DNA, could enhance diagnosis and treatment as well as further our understanding of the disease. A new study by University of Illinois researchers describes a method to detect, count and map tiny additions to DNA called methylations, which can be a warning sign of cancer, with unprecedented resolution.

  • Study links neighborhood factors, breast cancer rates in African-American women

    Neighborhood characteristics are associated with late-stage diagnoses and higher mortality rates among urban African-American women, a new study shows.

  • Sleep problems in menopause linked to hot flashes, depression - and may not last

    A new study of middle-aged women found that sleep problems vary across the stages of menopause, yet are consistently correlated with hot flashes and depression.

  • Shape-shifting agent targets harmful bacteria in the stomach

    A new shape-shifting polymer can target and kill Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach without killing helpful bacteria in the gut.

  • Study identifies key player in heart enlargement

    The heart is a dynamic muscle that grows and shrinks in response to stressors such as exercise and disease. The secret to its malleability lies in individual cells, which get bigger or smaller depending on the heart’s needs. A new study of mouse hearts reveals a previously unknown mechanism by which heart cells control their size by ramping up or stopping the production of a key factor called PABPC1. The findings, reported in the journal eLife, could assist in the development of therapeutics that promote healthy heart growth and prevent disease.

  • Report: People buy most of their junk food at the supermarket

    An analysis of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults reveals that access to healthy foods in a supermarket does not hinder Americans’ consumption of empty calories. In fact, the study found, U.S. adults buy the bulk of their sugar-sweetened beverages and nutrient-poor discretionary foods at supermarkets and grocery stores. The findings challenge the "food desert" hypothesis.

  • Tiny exports signal big shifts in cancer tissue, researchers find

    Microscopic shifts in metabolism and increases in tiny transport vesicles out of tumor cells preface larger changes to the tumor environment and could prepare the way for cancerous cells to spread and metastasize, University of Illinois researchers report.

  • Study examines dietary fats’ impact on healthy, obese adults

    Metabolically healthy obese adults consuming a diet high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat may be able to decrease their total cholesterol by 10 points, a new University of Illinois study suggests.

  • Study of sleep apps finds room for improvement

    An analysis of 35 popular phone-based sleep apps finds that while most help users set sleep-related goals and track and manage their sleep, few make use of other methods known to help the chronically sleep-deprived.

  • 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.

  • Study: Strength of brain connectivity varies with fitness level in older adults

    A new study shows that age-related differences in brain health – specifically the strength of connections between different regions of the brain – vary with fitness level in older adults.

  • Parents’ binge eating, restrictive feeding practices may be reactions to children’s emotions

    A new study of more than 440 parents and their preschoolers offers insight into why some parents who binge eat also may try to restrict their children’s food intake, placing their children at higher risk for unhealthy eating habits and weight problems.

  • Structure of protein that forms fibrils in Parkinson's patients could lead to new diagnostic and treatment options

    Chemists have identified the complex chemical structure of the protein that stacks together to form fibrils in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients. Armed with this knowledge, researchers can identify specific targets for diagnosis and treatment.