blog posts Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adults Nov 24, 2020 4:00 am5585 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. Cancer drug starts clinical trials in human brain-cancer patients Nov 27, 2017 8:30 am5571 views A drug that spurs cancer cells to self-destruct has been cleared for use in a clinical trial of patients with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor, and glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive late-stage cancer of the brain. This phase Ib trial will determine if the experimental drug PAC-1 can be used safely in combination with a standard brain-cancer chemotherapy drug, temozolomide. Ancient bones, teeth, tell story of strife at Cahokia Aug 4, 2016 10:45 am5503 views Dozens of people buried in mass graves in an ancient mound in Cahokia, a pre-Columbian city in Illinois near present-day St. Louis, likely lived in or near Cahokia most of their lives, researchers report in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Nutrition has benefits for brain network organization, new research finds Sep 7, 2017 8:00 am5461 views A new study found that monounsaturated fatty acids are linked to general intelligence and the organization of the brain’s attention network. Researchers build microscopic biohybrid robots propelled by muscles, nerves Sep 16, 2019 2:00 pm5450 views Researchers have developed soft robotic devices driven by neuromuscular tissue that triggers when stimulated by light – bringing mechanical engineering one step closer to developing autonomous biobots. New CRISPR technique skips over portions of genes that can cause disease Aug 16, 2018 11:30 am5431 views In a new study in cells, University of Illinois researchers have adapted CRISPR gene-editing technology to cause the cell’s internal machinery to skip over a small portion of a gene when transcribing it into a template for protein building. This gives researchers a way not only to eliminate a mutated gene sequence, but to influence how the gene is expressed and regulated. Such targeted editing could one day be useful for treating genetic diseases caused by mutations in the genome, such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease or some cancers. No ‘narcissism epidemic’ among college students, study finds Oct 9, 2017 8:30 am5425 views Today’s college students are slightly less narcissistic than their counterparts were in the 1990s, researchers report in a new study – not significantly more, as some have proposed. The study, reported in the journal Psychological Science, analyzed data from 1,166 students at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1990s, and from tens of thousands of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Davis in the 2000s and 2010s. All of the students completed the Narcissism Personal Inventory, the oldest and most widely used measure of narcissism. Mantis shrimp-inspired camera enables glimpse into hidden world Oct 12, 2017 3:15 pm5399 views By mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp, Illinois researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive camera capable of sensing both color and polarization. The bioinspired imager can potentially improve early cancer detection and help provide a new understanding of underwater phenomena, the researchers said. Prescribing oral opioids for dogs likely doesn’t help them, veterinary experts say Oct 14, 2019 7:45 am5381 views Sending ailing dogs home with oral opioids may not be an effective way to manage their pain, experts report in a free, online continuing education program recently developed for veterinarians. In light of growing evidence that such drugs don’t work well in dogs – added to the fact that humans sometimes abuse opioids prescribed for pets – the common practice of prescribing oral opioids for dogs in pain should be reexamined, the experts say. Anticipating the need among opioid prescribers for additional training to meet regulatory mandates, these experts created an online continuing education program that addresses the problem. The training includes cautions about unwarranted prescription of oral opioids and advice on effective pain management for veterinary patients. For anemonefish, male-to-female sex change happens first in the brain Jul 23, 2019 8:30 am5304 views The anemonefish is a gender-bending marvel. It starts out as a male, but can switch to female when circumstances allow – for example, when the only female present dies or disappears. In a new study, researchers found that the male-to-female sex-change occurs first in the fish’s brain and only later involves the gonads – sometimes after a delay of months or years. Study: Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids Jul 18, 2017 10:00 am5284 views Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, THC, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits – but without the psychotropic high. Study tallies extra calories Americans consume in their coffee, tea Jan 30, 2017 9:15 am5222 views A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea. New compounds block master regulator of cancer growth, metastasis Jan 7, 2020 8:00 am5218 views Scientists have developed new drug compounds that thwart the pro-cancer activity of FOXM1, a transcription factor that regulates the activity of dozens of genes. The new compounds suppress tumor growth in human cells and in mouse models of several types of human breast cancer. Report: Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declines Mar 13, 2017 4:15 pm5154 views Monarch butterfly declines cannot be attributed merely to declines in milkweed abundance, researchers report. North American checklist identifies the fungus among us Nov 28, 2018 8:15 am5076 views Some fungi are smelly and coated in mucus. Others have gills that glow in the dark. Some are delicious; others, poisonous. Some spur euphoria when ingested. Some produce antibiotics. All of these fungi - and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more - occur in North America. Of those that are known to science, 44,488 appear in a new checklist of North American fungi, published this month in the journal Mycologia. 3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing May 23, 2018 2:00 pm5060 views University of Illinois engineers built a 3-D printer that offers a sweet solution to making detailed structures that commercial 3-D printers can’t: Rather than a layer-upon-layer solid shell, it produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened isomalt, the type of sugar alcohol used to make throat lozenges. The water-soluble, biodegradable glassy sugar structures have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research and device manufacturing. Six Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows Nov 25, 2020 4:30 pm5051 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Evolution, ecology and behavior professor Alison Bell; plant biology professor Carl Bernacchi; bioengineering professor Rohit Bhargava; materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun; chemistry professor Prashant Jain; and materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos are among the 489 scientists to be awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year. Exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth, study shows Aug 18, 2020 12:00 pm5000 views Imagine reading by the light of an exploded star, brighter than a full moon – it might be fun to think about, but this scene is the prelude to a disaster when the radiation devastates life as we know it. Killer cosmic rays from nearby supernovae could be the culprit behind at least one mass extinction event, researchers said, and finding certain radioactive isotopes in Earth’s rock record could confirm this scenario. Our brains process irony in emojis, words in the same way Sep 5, 2018 12:45 pm4999 views The brain processes ironic or sarcastic emojis in the same way it does ironic or sarcastic words. Theory: Flexibility is at the heart of human intelligence Nov 20, 2017 8:30 am4974 views Centuries of study have yielded many theories about how the brain gives rise to human intelligence. A new theory makes the case that the brain’s dynamic properties – how it is wired but also how that wiring shifts in response to changing intellectual demands – are the best predictors of intelligence in the human brain. Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential Nov 17, 2017 8:00 am4957 views Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world." Massive study: Birth order has no meaningful effect on personality or IQ Jul 16, 2015 10:30 am4921 views For those who believe that birth order influences traits like personality and intelligence, a study of 377,000 high school students offers some good news: Yes, the study found, firstborns do have higher IQs and consistently different personality traits than those born later in the family chronology. However, researchers say, the differences between firstborns and “laterborns” are so small that they have no practical relevance to people’s lives. Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees, study finds Jan 8, 2018 9:30 am4767 views When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports. Chill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures, team finds Jul 28, 2015 8:00 am4678 views U.S. farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane’s growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these “miscanes,” as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips. Increased risk of suicide, mental health conditions linked to sexual assault victimization Aug 8, 2017 4:00 pm4587 views 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. Eight Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows Nov 26, 2019 10:00 am4568 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eight professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2019 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Studies link healthy brain aging to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood May 18, 2017 8:30 am4554 views Two new studies link patterns of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood to the integrity of brain structures and cognitive abilities that are known to decline early in aging. Decadeslong effort revives ancient oak woodland Oct 29, 2020 9:00 am4369 views Vestal Grove in the Somme Prairie Grove forest preserve in Cook County, Illinois, looks nothing like the scrubby, buckthorn-choked tangle that confronted restoration ecologists 37 years ago. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team that focused on rooting up invasive plants and periodically burning, seeding native plants and culling deer, the forest again resembles its ancient self, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE. Lutein may counter cognitive aging, study finds Jul 24, 2017 12:45 pm4357 views Spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, but they also could keep consumers cognitively fit, according to a new study from University of Illinois researchers. Octopus-inspired sucker transfers thin, delicate tissue grafts and biosensors Oct 16, 2020 2:00 pm4291 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. Study: Happiness improves health and lengthens life Mar 1, 2011 9:00 am4247 views CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found "clear and compelling evidence" that - all else being equal - happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers. Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes Apr 23, 2020 12:00 pm4183 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. Pineapple genome offers insight into photosynthesis in drought-tolerant plants Nov 2, 2015 10:00 am4068 views By sequencing its genome, scientists are homing in on the genes and genetic pathways that allow the juicy pineapple plant to thrive in water-limited environments. The new findings, reported in the journal Nature Genetics, also open a new window on the complicated evolutionary history of grasses like sorghum and rice, which share a distant ancestor with pineapple. Loss of senses of smell, taste could identify COVID-19 carriers Apr 14, 2020 2:45 pm4034 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. Women, more than men, choose true crime over other violent nonfiction Feb 15, 2010 9:00 am4015 views CHAMPAIGN, lll. - When it comes to violent nonfiction, men are from Mars, the planet of war, but women are from Earth, the planet of serial killings and random murders. Bacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibiotic Oct 27, 2015 11:00 am4009 views Bacteria have many methods of adapting to resist antibiotics, but a new class of spiral polypeptides developed at the University of Illinois targets one thing no bacterium can live without: an outer membrane. Study links responsible behavior in high school to life success 50 years later Feb 26, 2018 8:15 am3970 views A new study links doing one’s homework, being interested and behaving responsibly in high school to better academic and career success as many as 50 years later. This effect, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, holds true even after accounting for parental income, IQ and other factors known to influence achievement, researchers report. What happens when the coronavirus mutates? Jan 5, 2021 8:15 am3963 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. How are anthropological studies of witchcraft relevant today? Oct 27, 2008 9:00 am3929 views A Minute With™... anthropology professor Alma Gottlieb Mantids - the good, the bad and the just plain wrong - on view at film fest Feb 2, 2006 9:00 am3886 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kung Fu martial artists of the two-legged variety are coming to the 23rd annual Insect Fear Film Festival on Feb. 18, riding the coattails of this year's highlighted insect and kicking off - so to speak - an evening devoted to "Mantis Movies." Antibodies from original strain COVID-19 infection don't bind to variants, study finds Sep 17, 2021 8:30 am3861 views People infected with the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 early in the pandemic produced a consistent antibody response, making two main groups of antibodies to bind to the spike protein on the virus’s outer surface. However, those antibodies don’t bind well to newer variants, a new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found. Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma Jul 25, 2016 2:00 pm3828 views At the University of Illinois, an engineer teamed up with a veterinarian to test a bone cancer drug delivery system in animals bigger than the standard animal model, the mouse. They chose dogs – mammals closer in size and biology to humans – with naturally occurring bone cancers, which also are a lot like human bone tumors. Human trials of cancer drug PAC-1 continue with new investment May 24, 2016 1:45 pm3823 views Clinical trials of the anti-cancer agent PAC-1 are continuing to expand, thanks to a $7 million angel investment from an anonymous contributor who originally invested $4 million to help get the compound this far in the drug-approval pipeline. New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancer Apr 5, 2018 9:00 am3798 views Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye. Antibiotic breakthrough: Team discovers how to overcome gram-negative bacterial defenses May 10, 2017 12:00 pm3789 views Scientists report that they now know how to build a molecular Trojan horse that can penetrate gram-negative bacteria, solving a problem that for decades has stalled the development of effective new antibiotics against these increasingly drug-resistant microbes. The findings appear in the journal Nature. Light can trigger key signaling pathway for embryonic development, cancer Aug 17, 2021 12:45 pm3777 views Blue light is illuminating new understanding of a key signaling pathway in embryo development, tissue maintenance and cancer genesis. Illinois researchers developed a method that makes membrane-bound receptors reactive to light, triggering the Wnt pathway. First dogs in the Americas arrived from Siberia, disappeared after European contact Jul 5, 2018 1:00 pm3747 views A study reported in the journal Science offers an enhanced view of the origins and ultimate fate of the first dogs in the Americas. The dogs were not domesticated North American wolves, as some have speculated, but likely followed their human counterparts over a land bridge that once connected North Asia and the Americas, the study found. Study in mice examines impact of reused cooking oil on breast cancer progression Mar 21, 2019 1:00 pm3742 views University of Illinois researchers found in a new study of mice that consuming the chemical compounds found in thermally abused cooking oil may trigger changes that promote the progression of late-stage breast cancer. New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progression Jun 20, 2018 8:00 am3730 views A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes, report researchers at the University of Illinois. Breastfed babies less likely to be picky eaters as toddlers Mar 8, 2012 9:00 am3684 views 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.