blog postsDo-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problemsSep 17, 2020 1:00 pm369 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 am1728 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 am304 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 am630 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 am492 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 pm5751 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 am686 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 rapid saliva test for COVID-19 now operating under FDA Emergency Use AuthorizationAug 19, 2020 2:30 pm73991 views The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is now performing its new rapid, saliva-based COVID-19 test under the umbrella of an approved FDA Emergency Use Authorization.Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?Aug 18, 2020 8:00 am730 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 pm1051 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 am139261 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 am24596 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 pm322 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 am370 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 am3335 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 am1178 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 am1023 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 am1509 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 am1369 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 am833 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 am1054 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 am1144 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 pm1092 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 am1286 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 pm3879 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 pm3672 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 pm965 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 pm2101 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.Is it safe to fly during the coronavirus pandemic?Apr 1, 2020 8:00 am17084 views Sheldon H. Jacobson discusses the risks of air travel during the pandemic and what preventive measures airports and passengers can take.Bacterial protein fragment kills lung cells in pulmonary fibrosis, study findsMar 24, 2020 6:00 am18365 views A bacterial protein fragment instigates lung tissue death in pulmonary fibrosis, a mysterious disease affecting millions of people worldwide, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Mie University in Japan.Crumpled graphene makes ultra-sensitive cancer DNA detectorMar 24, 2020 6:00 am2170 views 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.Smoking prevalent among pregnant women enrolled in Illinois WIC program, study findsMar 18, 2020 10:00 am1483 views Despite public-awareness campaigns about the potential health risks of smoking while pregnant, more than 15% of low-income women in Illinois may be lighting up anyway, a new study suggests.Veterinary infectious disease expert weighs in on coronavirus threatMar 9, 2020 8:15 am8766 views Influenza, SARS and COVID-19 are all zoonotic diseases, readily transmitted from animals to humans. The viruses that cause these diseases also share traits that allow them to quickly mutate, infect widely and spread around the world. In a new podcast, a veterinarian and expert in zoonotic diseases offers insights into the special characteristics of the new coronavirus that make it more like influenza and less like SARS or the virus that causes the especially lethal Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.Using technology during mealtime may decrease food intake, study findsMar 6, 2020 12:15 pm883 views Being distracted by technology during mealtime may decrease the amount of food a person eats, nutrition scientists suggest in a new study.Study: Daily avocado consumption improves attention in persons with overweight, obesityMar 6, 2020 9:00 am2180 views A diet including daily avocado consumption improves the ability to focus attention in adults with overweight and obesity, a new randomized control trial found. Study maps landmarks of peripheral artery disease to guide treatment developmentMar 2, 2020 8:30 am1151 views Novel biomedical advances that show promise in the lab often fall short in clinical trials. For researchers studying peripheral artery disease, this is made more difficult by a lack of standardized metrics for what recovery looks like. A new study from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers identifies major landmarks of PAD recovery, creating signposts for researchers seeking to understand the disease and develop treatments.What are the novel coronavirus health risks?Feb 28, 2020 9:45 am4057 views The novel coronavirus that first broke out in Wuhan, China in late 2019 has now spread to 111 countries. As the first case of possible community spread has been reported in the United States, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign discusses how the virus spreads and what makes it a public health concern.Team deciphers how myotonic dystrophy generates lethal heart dysfunctionsFeb 27, 2020 9:00 am968 views Roughly 80% of people with myotonic dystrophy – a common form of muscular dystrophy – experience dangerous heart ailments, and heart rhythm defects are the second-leading cause of death in those with the condition. In a new study, researchers traced the molecular events that lead to heart abnormalities in myotonic dystrophy and recreated the disease in a mouse model. New CRISPR base-editing technology slows ALS progression in miceFeb 21, 2020 10:15 am2290 views 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.Some bariatric surgery patients don't sense heightened blood alcohol levelsFeb 13, 2020 1:15 pm1241 views 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.Hybrid microscope could bring digital biopsy to the clinicFeb 5, 2020 10:30 am1271 views By adding infrared capability to the ubiquitous, standard optical microscope, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hope to bring cancer diagnosis into the digital era.Focus on context diminishes memory of negative events, researchers reportFeb 5, 2020 8:45 am722 views In a new study, researchers report they can manipulate how the brain encodes and retains emotional memories. The scientists found that focusing on the neutral details of a disturbing scene can weaken a person’s later memories – and negative impressions – of that scene.Study: Tasting no-calorie sweetener may affect insulin response on glucose tolerance testJan 29, 2020 11:15 am2020 views Simply tasting or consuming sucralose may affect blood glucose and insulin levels on glucose tolerance tests, scientists at the University of Illinois found in a new study.What is the coronavirus spreading across the globe?Jan 23, 2020 10:30 am4368 views The first case of a novel strain of coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States. Virologist Leyi Wang, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, discussed the outbreak of the new strain with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.New compounds block master regulator of cancer growth, metastasisJan 7, 2020 8:00 am5131 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.For CRISPR, tweaking DNA fragments before inserting yields highest efficiency rates yetDec 23, 2019 10:00 am2286 views 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%.Caffeine may offset some health risks of diets high in fat, sugarDec 19, 2019 1:00 pm6035 views A new study in rats suggests that caffeine may offset some of the negative effects of an obesogenic diet by reducing lipid storage, weight gain and the production of triglycerides.Single-molecule detection of cancer markers brings liquid biopsy closer to clinicDec 18, 2019 11:00 am1183 views A fast, inexpensive yet sensitive technique to detect cancer markers is bringing researchers closer to a “liquid biopsy” – a test using a small sample of blood or serum to detect cancer, rather than the invasive tissue sampling routinely used for diagnosis. Researchers at the University of Illinois developed a method to capture and count cancer-associated microRNAs, or tiny bits of messenger molecules that are exuded from cells and can be detected in blood or serum, with single-molecule resolution.Nanopores can identify the amino acids in proteins, the first step to sequencingDec 17, 2019 10:00 am1357 views A new study demonstrates that nanopores can be used to identify all 20 amino acids in proteins, a major step toward protein sequencing.Study: Healthy diet may avert nutritional problems in head, neck cancer patientsDec 16, 2019 9:45 am1870 views 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.