blog posts Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study finds Aug 6, 2020 9:30 am144494 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. Study links mobile device addiction to depression and anxiety Mar 2, 2016 9:30 am51892 views Is cellphone use detrimental to mental health? A new study from the University of Illinois finds that high engagement with mobile technology is linked to anxiety and depression in college-age students. Avocados change belly fat distribution in women, controlled study finds Sep 3, 2021 9:00 am37224 views An avocado a day could help redistribute belly fat in women toward a healthier profile, according to a new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators. One hundred and five adults with overweight and obesity participated in a randomized controlled trial that provided one meal a day for 12 weeks. Women who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat. Researchers track the secret lives of feral and free-roaming house cats May 26, 2011 9:00 am36916 views CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers (and some cat-owners) wanted to know: What do feral and free-roaming house cats do when they're out of sight? A two-year study offers a first look at the daily lives of these feline paupers and princes, whose territories overlap on the urban, suburban, rural and agricultural edges of many towns. Study adds to evidence that viruses are alive Sep 25, 2015 1:00 pm26295 views A new analysis supports the hypothesis that viruses are living entities that share a long evolutionary history with cells, researchers report. The study offers the first reliable method for tracing viral evolution back to a time when neither viruses nor cells existed in the forms recognized today, the researchers say. Team finds first wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois since 1984 Nov 13, 2017 8:15 am26146 views Researchers report the first sighting in 30 years of a wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois. The discovery may be a sign of hope for this state-endangered species, or the animal could be the last of its kind to have survived in Illinois without human intervention, the researchers say. Decoy receptor neutralizes coronavirus in cell cultures Aug 4, 2020 9:00 am25254 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. Bacterial protein fragment kills lung cells in pulmonary fibrosis, study finds Mar 24, 2020 6:00 am23353 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. Study: Countering stereotypes about teens can change their behavior Feb 27, 2019 11:00 am22550 views In many societies, teenagers are repeatedly told – by adults, peers and popular media – that teens are more likely than younger children to take risks, ignore their parents, skip schoolwork and succumb to bad influences. But stereotypes are not destiny, a new study of Chinese middle school students suggests. Asian tiger mosquito gains ground in Illinois Jun 4, 2020 8:15 am21823 views Researchers report that the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has become more abundant across Illinois in the past three decades. Its spread is problematic, as the mosquito can transmit diseases – like chikungunya or dengue fever – to humans. 'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers report May 29, 2019 8:00 am20005 views A rover scanning the surface of Mars for evidence of life might want to check for rocks that look like pasta, researchers report in the journal Astrobiology. The bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on Earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars, said University of Illinois geology professor Bruce Fouke, who led the new, NASA-funded study. Study links prenatal phthalate exposure to altered information processing in infants Apr 6, 2021 7:30 am18895 views Researchers have found evidence linking pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates to altered cognitive outcomes in their infants. New approach eradicates breast cancer in mice Jul 21, 2021 1:00 pm18010 views A new approach to treating breast cancer kills 95-100% of cancer cells in mouse models of human estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers and their metastases in bone, brain, liver and lungs. The newly developed drug, called ErSO, quickly shrinks even large tumors to undetectable levels. Counties with more trees and shrubs spend less on Medicare, study finds Apr 1, 2019 8:00 am15769 views A new study finds that Medicare costs tend to be lower in counties with more forests and shrublands than in counties dominated by other types of land cover. The relationship persists even when accounting for economic, geographic or other factors that might independently influence health care costs, researchers report. Antibiotic-resistant infections in pets: What now? Oct 3, 2017 8:30 am13473 views Rates of antibiotic-resistant infections in companion animals are rising at an alarming rate. An Illinois veterinarian discusses what can be done about it. Potato as effective as carbohydrate gels for boosting athletic performance, study finds Oct 18, 2019 11:45 am12778 views Consuming potato puree during prolonged exercise works just as well as a commercial carbohydrate gel in sustaining blood glucose levels and boosting performance in trained athletes, scientists report. Scientists find world’s oldest fossil mushroom Jun 7, 2017 1:00 pm12683 views Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report in the journal PLOS ONE. Fresh look at burials, mass graves, tells a new story of Cahokia Aug 4, 2016 10:30 am11787 views A new study challenges earlier interpretations of an important burial mound at Cahokia, a pre-Columbian city in Illinois near present-day St. Louis. The study reveals that a central feature of the mound, a plot known as the “beaded burial,” is not a monument to male power, as was previously thought, but includes both males and females of high status. Genetic study shakes up the elephant family tree Jun 6, 2017 3:00 am11778 views New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago – ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct – is more closely related to today’s African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant. Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find Feb 8, 2011 9:00 am11032 views CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study in the journal Cognition overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. Researchers to perform sex change operation on papaya Nov 2, 2009 9:00 am10843 views CHAMPAIGN, lll. - The complicated sex life of the papaya is about to get even more interesting, thanks to a $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The NSF grant will fund basic research on the papaya sex chromosomes and will lead to the development of a papaya that produces only hermaphrodite offspring, an advance that will enhance papaya health while radically cutting papaya growers' production costs and their use of fertilizers and water. Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential Nov 29, 2018 10:15 am10754 views Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. 'Bad cholesterol' indicates an amino acid deficiency, researcher says Feb 25, 2014 9:00 am10353 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad cholesterol" that doctors consider a sign of potential heart disease, is merely a marker of a diet lacking all of the essential amino acids, says University of Illinois comparative biosciences professor Fred Kummerow, 99, a longtime opponent of the medical establishment's war on cholesterol. Grad student names new treehopper species after Lady Gaga Mar 10, 2020 8:15 am10352 views According to Brendan Morris, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, treehoppers are the wackiest, most astonishing bugs most people have never heard of. They are morphological wonders, sporting bizarre protuberances that look like horns, gnarled branches, antlers, fruiting fungi, brightly colored flags or dead plant leaves. To draw attention to this group, Morris named a newly discovered treehopper species after Lady Gaga, a musical performer who has her own flamboyant, shape-shifting style. Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reports Dec 4, 2017 11:15 am9142 views 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. Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows Feb 15, 2018 9:00 am9073 views Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research. Ringing in ears keeps brain more at attention, less at rest, study finds Aug 24, 2017 11:15 am8942 views 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. Veterinary infectious disease expert weighs in on coronavirus threat Mar 9, 2020 8:15 am8907 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. U of I to lead two of seven new national artificial intelligence institutes Aug 26, 2020 8:00 am8608 views The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture are announcing an investment of more than $140 million to establish seven artificial intelligence institutes in the U.S. Two of the seven will be led by teams at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The USDA-NIFA will fund the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability at the U. of I. Illinois computer science professor Vikram Adve will lead the AIFARMS Institute. The NSF will fund the AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy and Manufacturing, also known as the Molecule Maker Lab Institute. Huimin Zhao, a U. of I. professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, will lead this institute. Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influential Dec 21, 2015 9:15 am8526 views Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters. Pollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the good Dec 7, 2016 8:30 am8272 views Weed scientists in at least two Midwestern states have been reporting for years that a conservation program meant to provide habitat for pollinating insects is sowing bad seeds – including seeds of the potentially devastating agricultural weed Palmer amaranth – along with the good. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have traced the weed seeds to at least one source: pollinator habitat seed sold by a company in the Midwest. Experts review evidence yoga is good for the brain Dec 12, 2019 9:00 am7490 views Scientists have known for decades that aerobic exercise strengthens the brain and contributes to the growth of new neurons, but few studies have examined how yoga affects the brain. A review of the science finds evidence that yoga enhances many of the same brain structures and functions that benefit from aerobic exercise. A 20-minute bout of yoga stimulates brain function immediately after Jun 5, 2013 9:00 am7484 views CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers report that a single, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants' speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab Aug 31, 2020 2:00 pm7439 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. Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find Dec 20, 2017 8:30 am7425 views 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. Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt away Jan 18, 2016 10:00 am6918 views A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull – crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery – then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage. Potential new cystic fibrosis treatment uses 'molecular prosthetic' for missing lung protein Mar 13, 2019 1:00 pm6827 views An approved drug normally used to treat fungal infections could also do the job of a protein channel that is missing or defective in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, operating as a prosthesis on the molecular scale, says new research from the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa. Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong disease that makes patients vulnerable to lung infections. There are treatments for some but not all patients, and there is no cure. The drug restored infection-fighting properties in lung tissue donated by human patients as well as in pigs with cystic fibrosis. It has potential to become the first treatment to address all types of cystic fibrosis, regardless of the genetic mutation that causes the protein deficiency. Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential Nov 18, 2016 9:15 am6811 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study." Brain activity reflects differences in types of anxiety May 29, 2007 9:00 am6732 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - All anxiety is not created equal, and a research team at the University of Illinois now has the data to prove it. The team has found the most compelling evidence yet of differing patterns of brain activity associated with each of two types of anxiety: anxious apprehension (verbal rumination, worry) and anxious arousal (intense fear, panic, or both). Greater prairie chickens cannot persist in Illinois without help, researchers report Feb 27, 2017 6:00 am6699 views An iconic bird whose booming mating calls once reverberated across “the Prairie State” can survive in Illinois, but only with the help of periodic human interventions, researchers report. Many Midwestern retailers sell mislabeled invasive vines Jan 8, 2018 9:00 am6541 views Gardeners hoping to celebrate the beauty of American bittersweet – a native vine that produces orange berries in the fall and is used for wreaths – may be unwittingly buying an invasive bittersweet instead. That’s because many Midwestern retailers are selling oriental bittersweet with labels misidentifying it as the native plant, researchers report. These sales are occurring in stores and online. Drinking more water associated with numerous dietary benefits, study finds Feb 29, 2016 2:15 pm6527 views In a new study of more than 18,300 U.S. adults, U. of I. researcher Ruopeng An found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasize Apr 27, 2016 10:45 am6114 views Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study. Study links nutrition to brain health and intelligence in older adults Dec 13, 2016 8:45 am6006 views A study of older adults offers insight into how a pigment found in leafy greens that tends to accumulate in brain tissue may contribute to the preservation of “crystallized intelligence,” the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime. Quick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of blood Jul 3, 2017 7:30 am5654 views A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood. Scientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yield Nov 17, 2016 1:00 pm5618 views Researchers report that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. This confirms a hypothesis some in the scientific community once doubted was possible. Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds Jun 20, 2017 9:00 am5584 views Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs. Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adults Nov 24, 2020 4:00 am5566 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 am5553 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. Cahokia's rise parallels onset of corn agriculture May 14, 2020 8:15 am5518 views Corn cultivation spread from Mesoamerica to what is now the American Southwest by about 4000 B.C., but how and when the crop made it to other parts of North America is still a subject of debate. In a new study, scientists report that corn was not grown in the ancient metropolis of Cahokia until sometime between A.D. 900 and 1000, a relatively late date that corresponds to the start of the city’s rapid expansion.