blog postsElectric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study findsAug 6, 2020 9:30 am142685 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 anxietyMar 2, 2016 9:30 am50069 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.Researchers track the secret lives of feral and free-roaming house catsMay 26, 2011 9:00 am31991 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.Decoy receptor neutralizes coronavirus in cell culturesAug 4, 2020 9:00 am25025 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.Study adds to evidence that viruses are aliveSep 25, 2015 1:00 pm22085 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 1984Nov 13, 2017 8:15 am21815 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.Asian tiger mosquito gains ground in IllinoisJun 4, 2020 8:15 am20892 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.Bacterial protein fragment kills lung cells in pulmonary fibrosis, study findsMar 24, 2020 6:00 am20573 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.'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers reportMay 29, 2019 8:00 am19978 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.Counties with more trees and shrubs spend less on Medicare, study findsApr 1, 2019 8:00 am15556 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.Study: Countering stereotypes about teens can change their behaviorFeb 27, 2019 11:00 am14794 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.Potato as effective as carbohydrate gels for boosting athletic performance, study findsOct 18, 2019 11:45 am12566 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 mushroomJun 7, 2017 1:00 pm11637 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.Antibiotic-resistant infections in pets: What now?Oct 3, 2017 8:30 am11054 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.Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 29, 2018 10:15 am10687 views Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers findFeb 8, 2011 9:00 am10008 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.Fresh look at burials, mass graves, tells a new story of CahokiaAug 4, 2016 10:30 am9697 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.Grad student names new treehopper species after Lady GagaMar 10, 2020 8:15 am9186 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.Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research FellowsFeb 15, 2018 9:00 am9017 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.Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reportsDec 4, 2017 11:15 am9003 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.Veterinary infectious disease expert weighs in on coronavirus threatMar 9, 2020 8:15 am8815 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.Ringing in ears keeps brain more at attention, less at rest, study findsAug 24, 2017 11:15 am8613 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.Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influentialDec 21, 2015 9:15 am8503 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.'Bad cholesterol' indicates an amino acid deficiency, researcher saysFeb 25, 2014 9:00 am8364 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.Pollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the goodDec 7, 2016 8:30 am8224 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.Researchers to perform sex change operation on papayaNov 2, 2009 9:00 am8127 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.Genetic study shakes up the elephant family treeJun 6, 2017 3:00 am7724 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.U of I to lead two of seven new national artificial intelligence institutesAug 26, 2020 8:00 am7719 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.Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers findDec 20, 2017 8:30 am7316 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.Experts review evidence yoga is good for the brainDec 12, 2019 9:00 am7297 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 afterJun 5, 2013 9:00 am7133 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 labAug 31, 2020 2:00 pm7053 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.Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 18, 2016 9:15 am6797 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."Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt awayJan 18, 2016 10:00 am6795 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 proteinMar 13, 2019 1:00 pm6785 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.Drinking more water associated with numerous dietary benefits, study findsFeb 29, 2016 2:15 pm6456 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.Greater prairie chickens cannot persist in Illinois without help, researchers reportFeb 27, 2017 6:00 am5898 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.Study links nutrition to brain health and intelligence in older adultsDec 13, 2016 8:45 am5884 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.Many Midwestern retailers sell mislabeled invasive vinesJan 8, 2018 9:00 am5740 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.Quick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of bloodJul 3, 2017 7:30 am5590 views A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood.Cancer drug starts clinical trials in human brain-cancer patientsNov 27, 2017 8:30 am5507 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.New CRISPR technique skips over portions of genes that can cause diseaseAug 16, 2018 11:30 am5394 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.Nutrition has benefits for brain network organization, new research findsSep 7, 2017 8:00 am5356 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, nervesSep 16, 2019 2:00 pm5329 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.Corn better used as food than biofuel, study findsJun 20, 2017 9:00 am5322 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.No ‘narcissism epidemic’ among college students, study findsOct 9, 2017 8:30 am5318 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.Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasizeApr 27, 2016 10:45 am5264 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.Cocoa flavanols boost brain oxygenation, cognition in healthy adultsNov 24, 2020 4:00 am5263 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.Cahokia's rise parallels onset of corn agricultureMay 14, 2020 8:15 am5260 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.New compounds block master regulator of cancer growth, metastasisJan 7, 2020 8:00 am5166 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.