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  • New CRISPR technique skips over portions of genes that can cause disease

    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.

  • 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.

  • Study explores risk factors linked to chikungunya and dengue outbreaks

    In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers analyzed chikungunya and dengue outbreak data from 76 countries over a period of 50 years, focusing on regions across the Indian Ocean that are hard hit by these and other mosquito-borne infectious diseases.

  • In rats, perinatal exposure to phthalates impairs brain structure and function

    Male and female rats exposed in the womb and during lactation to plasticizing chemicals known as phthalates had significantly fewer neurons and synapses than those that were not exposed, researchers report in a new study. The phthalate-exposed rats had reductions in the size of their medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region that regulates behavior, and showed deficits in cognitive flexibility.  

  • Products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism may have anticancer effects, study shows

    A class of molecules formed when the body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acids could inhibit cancer’s growth and spread, University of Illinois researchers report in a new study in mice.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progression

    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.

  • Long-term estrogen therapy changes microbial activity in the gut, study finds

    Long-term therapy with estrogen and bazedoxifene changes the microbial composition and activity in the gut, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, University of Illinois researchers found in a new mouse study.

  • 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.

  • Study: Disease-causing stomach bug attacks energy generation in host cells

    Researchers report in a new study that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori – a major contributor to gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer – resists the body’s immune defenses by shutting down energy production within the cells of the stomach lining that serve as a barrier to infection.

  • Workshop on perinatal depression planned for June 1-2

    Women in the Champaign-Urbana area who experience perinatal depression and their health care providers will meet with an international group of experts June 1-2 in Champaign for a workshop about new methods of detecting and treating the mood disorder.

  • 3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing

    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.

  • New technique can track drug and gene delivery to cells

    University of Illinois researchers say they now know how to track and map drug and gene delivery vehicles to evaluate which are most effective at infiltrating cells and getting to their targets, insight that could guide development of new pharmaceutical agents. The researchers described their tracking system and their findings on the most effective delivery vehicles in the journal Nature Communications. 

  • Brazilians with less education more likely to report being in poor health, study finds

    Brazilians with less education are more likely to self-report as being in poor health, according to a study using data from nationwide surveys distributed every five years from 1998 to 2013. The study also found that general subjective health did not improve over the study period, even though more people gained education throughout the study, indicating that other factors associated with poor education may need to be addressed to improve self-perceptions of health.

  • For nurses in Illinois, expectation of violence ‘a fundamental part of the job,’ study says

    Workplace violence is an endemic problem for front-line health care workers in Illinois, says new research from U. of I. labor and employment relations professor Emily E. LB. Twarog.

  • Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds

    Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up. 

  • 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.

  • New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancer

    Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.

  • Federal officials urged to increase perinatal depression treatment in minority women

    Federal funding is needed to improve diagnosis and treatment of perinatal depression in Latina and black women, according to University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo. 

  • Optimistic Latinos have healthier hearts, study finds

    Latinos who are the most optimistic are more likely to have healthy hearts, according to a new study of more than 4,900 Latinos in the U.S. led by University of Illinois social work professor Rosalba Hernandez.

  • 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.

  • Study yields more than a million new cyclic compounds, some with pharmaceutical potential

    Researchers say they can now produce a vast library of unique cyclic compounds, some with the capacity to interrupt specific protein-protein interactions that play a role in disease. The new compounds have cyclic structures that give them stability and enhance their ability to bind to their targets.  

  • Study links responsible behavior in high school to life success 50 years later

    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.

  • Neuroimaging reveals lasting brain deficits in iron-deficient piglets

    Iron deficiency in the first four weeks of a piglet’s life – equivalent to roughly four months in a human infant – impairs the development of key brain structures, scientists report. The abnormalities remain even after weeks of iron supplementation begun later in life, the researchers found.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Preterm babies may suffer setbacks in auditory brain development, speech

    Preterm babies born early in the third trimester of pregnancy are likely to experience delays in the development of the auditory cortex, a brain region essential to hearing and understanding sound, a new study reveals. Such delays are associated with speech and language impairments at age 2, the researchers found.

  • Hormone therapy combination may benefit health without increasing cancer risk

    Treating ovariectomized mice with a combination of conjugated estrogens and the drug bazedoxifene triggers the expression of genes that improve metabolism and prevent weight gain – without stimulating the uterus and increasing risks of reproductive cancer, a new study at the University of Illinois suggests.

  • Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find

    People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study. Specifically, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs is 40 percent greater than in those consuming an equivalent amount of protein from egg whites, the team found.

  • Molecular beacon signals low oxygen with ultrasound

    Researchers have developed a way to find hypoxia, or low oxygen in tissue, noninvasively in real time with light and ultrasound.

  • Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reports

    Two studies – one in mice and the other in human subjects – offer the first definitive evidence that exercise alone can change the composition of microbes in the gut. The studies were designed to isolate exercise-induced changes from other factors – such as diet or antibiotic use – that might alter the intestinal microbiota.

  • 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.

  • Cancer drug starts clinical trials in human brain-cancer patients

    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.

  • Theory: Flexibility is at the heart of human intelligence

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • U. of I. program to help provide mental health services to high-need areas in Illinois

    A newly funded U. of I. initiative is expanding the number of behavioral health providers available to care for residents in medically underserved and rural communities.

  • Study: Serving water with school lunches could prevent child, adult obesity

    Encouraging children to drink water with their school lunches could prevent more than half a million cases of child obesity and overweight -- and trim the medical and societal costs by more than $13 billion, a new study suggests.

  • 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.

  • Stemlike cells at tumor perimeter promote new blood vessels to feed tumor growth

    Stemlike cells at the edge of melanoma tumors secrete factors to promote blood-vessel growth, allowing the cancer to grow and spread.

  • U. of I. nutrition scientist Sharon Donovan elected to National Academy of Medicine

    Sharon M. Donovan, a professor of nutrition and the Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair in Nutrition and Health at the University of Illinois, was elected today (Oct. 16) to the National Academy of Medicine.

  • Carle Illinois College of Medicine receives preliminary accreditation

    The Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the first engineering-based medical school, has received preliminary acreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and is recruiting students for its first class.

     

  • 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.

  • Study: Biomarkers as predictive of sepsis as lengthy patient monitoring

    One measurement of key biomarkers in blood that characterize sepsis can give physicians as much information as hours of monitoring symptoms, a new study found.

  • Nutrition has benefits for brain network organization, new research finds

    A new study found that monounsaturated fatty acids are linked to general intelligence and the organization of the brain’s attention network.

  • 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.

  • Ringing in ears keeps brain more at attention, less at rest, study finds

    Tinnitus, a chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears, has eluded medical treatment and scientific understanding. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that chronic tinnitus is associated with changes in certain networks in the brain, and furthermore, those changes cause the brain to stay more at attention and less at rest.

  • Paper: Clinical signs best predictors of mortality in critically ill calves

    Clinical signs may be better predictors of mortality in neonatal calves with diarrhea than blood pH levels and other laboratory findings, suggests a new study co-written by University of Illinois researcher Peter D. Constable.