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Interactive health apps may inspire healthy behaviors, but watch the tone

February 23, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Just like real doctors and nurses, online health tools with good — but controlled — communication skills can promote healthier lifestyles, according to researchers. However, if their tone is conversational, these tools may lull users into a false sense of comfort, they add. Read more about: Interactive health apps may inspire healthy behaviors, but watch the tone

Contact: Matt Swayne, 814-865-9481, mls29@psu.edu

Researchers decipher nanoscale architecture of beetle shell

February 22, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Better understanding the structure and properties of beetle exoskeletons could help scientists engineer lighter, stronger materials. Such materials could, for example, reduce gas-guzzling drag in vehicles and airplanes and reduce the weight of armor, lightening the load for the 21st-century knight, says Nebraska's Ruiguo Yang. Read more about: Researchers decipher nanoscale architecture of beetle shell

Contact: Ruiguo Yang, 402-472-3495, ryang6@unl.edu

New equation makes it harder to 'outsmart' concussion tests

February 21, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

An equation that combines multiple subtest scores into one could make fooling a concussion protocol nothing more than a fool’s errand, says a recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read more about: New equation makes it harder to 'outsmart' concussion tests

Contact: Kathryn Higgins, 402-472-3721, khiggins@unl.edu

Radiocarbon dating and DNA show ancient Puebloan leadership in the maternal line

February 21, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Discovering who was a leader, or even if leaders existed, from the ruins of archaeological sites is difficult, but now a team of archaeologists and biological anthropologists, using a powerful combination of radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA, have shown that a matrilineal dynasty likely ruled Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico for more than 300 years. Read more about: Radiocarbon dating and DNA show ancient Puebloan leadership in the maternal line

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

New equipment speeds response to animal diseases

February 20, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

New equipment is allowing researchers at the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center to identify potentially deadly bacteria in a matter of minutes — a process that previously took days. Read more about: New equipment speeds response to animal diseases

Contact: Dustin Loy, 402-472-8468, jdloy@unl.edu

Method to predict surface ozone pollution levels provides 48-hour heads-up

February 16, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A novel air quality model will help air quality forecasters predict surface ozone levels up to 48-hours in advance and with fewer resources, according to a team of meteorologists. Read more about: Method to predict surface ozone pollution levels provides 48-hour heads-up

Contact: Patricia L. Craig, 814-863-4663, plc103@psu.edu

IU researchers help add greater precision to fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

February 16, 2017 Indiana University

A study publishing Feb. 17 in the journal Science led by researchers at Indiana University and Harvard University is the first to reveal in extreme detail the operation of the biochemical clockwork that drives cellular division in bacteria. It is an important step forward in research on bacterial growth and could inform efforts to develop drugs that combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read more about: IU researchers help add greater precision to fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Contact: Kevin Fryling, 812-856-2988, kfryling@iu.edu

Optogenetics used to kick start gene that plays role in neural defects

February 13, 2017 Purdue University

Purdue University and Indiana University School of Medicine scientists were able to force an epigenetic reaction that turns on and off a gene known to determine the fate of the neural stem cells, a finding that could lead to new therapeutics in the fight against select cancers and neural diseases. Read more about: Optogenetics used to kick start gene that plays role in neural defects

Contact: Brian Wallheimer, 765-532-0233, brian.wallheimer@gmail.com

FYI: Abbreviations exclude readers in scientific communication, experts say

February 13, 2017 Purdue University

The universal use of abbreviations in higher education is intended to simplify, but really they stifle scientific communication, according to Purdue University ostracism experts. Read more about: FYI: Abbreviations exclude readers in scientific communication, experts say

Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Super-resolution system reveals mechanics of tiny ‘DNA walker’

February 9, 2017 Purdue University

Researchers have introduced a new type of “super-resolution” microscopy and used it to discover the precise walking mechanism behind tiny structures made of DNA that could find biomedical and industrial applications. Read more about: Super-resolution system reveals mechanics of tiny ‘DNA walker’

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Deep groundwater aquifers respond rapidly to climate variability

February 8, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Changes in climate can rapidly impact even the deepest freshwater aquifers according to Penn State and Columbia University hydrologists. Read more about: Deep groundwater aquifers respond rapidly to climate variability

Contact: Patricia L. Craig, 814-863-4663, plc103@psu.edu

Broader updrafts in severe storms may increase chance of damaging hail

February 7, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Strong updrafts — currents of rising air — in severe thunderstorms are a prerequisite for hail formation. The width of these updrafts may be an indicator of an increased hail threat, according to Penn State meteorologists. Read more about: Broader updrafts in severe storms may increase chance of damaging hail

Contact: Patricia L. Craig, 814-863-4663, plc103@psu.edu

Medicaid waivers help parents of children with autism stay in the workforce

February 6, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

HERSHEY, Pa. — Medicaid waivers that improve access to home and community-based services for children with autism also help their parents keep their jobs, according to research from Penn State College of Medicine and collaborators. Read more about: Medicaid waivers help parents of children with autism stay in the workforce

Contact: Matthew Solovey, 717-531-8606, msolovey@hmc.psu.edu

Campus natural gas power plants pose no radon risks

February 6, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Penn State decided to convert its two power plants from their historic use of coal as a source of energy to natural gas, there was concern about radon emissions. Although radon is known to exist in natural gas, now Penn State research indicates that it does not escape from these two power plants in harmful amounts. Read more about: Campus natural gas power plants pose no radon risks

Contact: Patricia L. Craig, 814-863-4663, plc103@psu.edu

Husker scientists boost performance of emerging nanomaterial

February 6, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska chemists have synthesized higher-quality, more conductive flakes of a nanomaterial with promising applications in energy storage and water purification. Read more about: Husker scientists boost performance of emerging nanomaterial

Contact: Alexander Sinitskii, 402-472-3543, sinitskii@unl.edu

Change in astronaut’s gut bacteria attributed to spaceflight

February 3, 2017 Northwestern University

Northwestern University researchers studying the gut bacteria of Scott and Mark Kelly, astronauts and identical twin brothers, as part of NASA’s Twins Study have found that changes to certain gut “bugs” occur in space. The effect disappeared upon Scott Kelly’s return to Earth. The Northwestern team is one of 10 groups studying the Kelly twins to learn how living in space for a long period of time affects the human body. The findings could lead to a better understanding of human health and disease. Read more about: Change in astronaut’s gut bacteria attributed to spaceflight

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Conflict and conformity, culture and technology ruled in rock's early days

February 2, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might look a lot different if rock music historians, rather than rock music critics, selected inductees to the hall, according to a Penn State cultural historian. There could even be a spot for Pat Boone's bust in that rock history hall of fame. Read more about: Conflict and conformity, culture and technology ruled in rock's early days

Contact: Matt Swayne, 814-865-9481, mls29@psu.edu

Monster Martian volcano unlike anything on Earth, scientists say

February 2, 2017 Purdue University

n unusual meteorite found in Algeria in 2012 has given scientists information about volcanic activity on Mars, and it's not like anything we've ever seen on Earth. Read more about: Monster Martian volcano unlike anything on Earth, scientists say

Contact: Steve Tally, 765-494-9809, steve@purdue.edu

Infrared links could simplify data center communications

January 31, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

SAN FRANCISCO — Data centers are the central point of many, if not most, information systems today, but the masses of wires interconnecting the servers and piled high on racks begins to resemble last year's tangled Christmas-tree lights disaster. Now a team of engineers is proposing to eliminate most of the wires and substitute infrared free-space optics for communications. Read more about: Infrared links could simplify data center communications

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Shootings in U.S. schools are linked to increased unemployment

January 30, 2017 Northwestern University

A Northwestern University study has found that economic insecurity is related to the rate of gun violence at K-12 and postsecondary schools in the United States. When it becomes more difficult for people coming out of school to find jobs, the rate of gun violence at schools increases. The study reveals a persistent connection over time between unemployment and the occurrence of school shootings in the country as a whole, across various regions of the country and within affected cities. Read more about: Shootings in U.S. schools are linked to increased unemployment

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Discovery could bolster traits of soybeans, other crops

January 30, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A team of Nebraska biologists has discovered an important component plants need to make microRNAs, tiny molecules critical in regulating gene expression. Read more about: Discovery could bolster traits of soybeans, other crops

Contact: Bin Yu, 402-472-2125, byu3@unl.edu

IU study finds fly growth mimics cancer cells, creating new tool in fight against disease

January 24, 2017 Indiana University

Scientists who study a molecule known to play a role in certain types of cancers and neurodegenerative disorders have a powerful new tool to study this compound due to research conducted at Indiana University. The study was published Jan. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more about: IU study finds fly growth mimics cancer cells, creating new tool in fight against disease

Contact: Kevin D. Fryling, 812-856-2988, kfryling@iu.edu

Scientists get best view yet of cancer-causing virus HPV

January 24, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

HERSHEY, Pa. — New details of the structure of the human papillomavirus (HPV) may lead to better vaccines and HPV anti-viral medications, according to studies led by a Penn State College of Medicine researcher. Read more about: Scientists get best view yet of cancer-causing virus HPV

Contact: Matthew Solovey, 717-531-8606, msolovey@hmc.psu.edu

Jet lag impairs performance of major league baseball players

January 23, 2017 Northwestern University

A Northwestern University study of how jet lag affects Major League Baseball players traveling across just a few time zones found that when players travel in a way that misaligns their internal 24-hour clock with the natural environment and its cycle of sunlight, they suffer negative consequences. The researchers found that jet lag negatively affects the base running of home teams but not away teams and that home and away pitchers both give up more home runs when jet-lagged. Read more about: Jet lag impairs performance of major league baseball players

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Brain stimulation used like a scalpel to improve memory

January 19, 2017 Northwestern University

Scientists showed for the first time that non-invasive brain stimulation can be used like a scalpel to affect a specific improvement in precise memory. Precise memory, rather than general memory, is critical for knowing the building you are looking for has a specific color, shape and location, rather than simply knowing the part of town it’s in. Precise memory is crucial for normal functioning, and it is often lost in people with memory disorders. Read more about: Brain stimulation used like a scalpel to improve memory

Contact: Marla Paul, 312-503-8928, marla-paul@northwestern.edu

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