Wire-bristle grill brushes are used frequently for cleaning food residue from grill grates, but loose bristles can fall off the brush during cleaning and end up in the grilled food. If consumed, wire bristles can lead to injuries in the mouth, throat and tonsils. An otolaryngologist at MU Health Care would like to remind the public that these injuries can be prevented.
Nancy Cheak-Zamora, assistant professor of health sciences at MU, says that as more children with autism enter adulthood, improved communication between providers, adolescents and caregivers is needed to help those with autism make adult health care decisions.
When a person loses a hand to amputation, nerves that control sensation and movement are severed, causing dramatic changes in areas of the brain that controlled these functions. As a result, areas of the brain devoted to the missing hand take on other functions. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found evidence of specific neurochemical changes associated with lower neuronal health in these brain regions. Further, they report that some of these changes in the brain may persist in individuals who receive hand transplants, despite their recovered hand function.
Little consensus exists when it comes to the certification of “emotional support animals” (ESAs). These animals usually have little or no specific training, which poses a challenge for mental health professionals who are asked to certify them. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have conducted a survey to examine what techniques and instruments mental health professionals are using to aid in their determinations of whether certification of an ESA is appropriate.
Whole genome sequencing (WGS), which is the process of determining an organism’s complete DNA sequence, can be used to identify DNA anomalies that cause disease. Identifying disease-causing DNA abnormalities allows clinicians to better predict an effective course of treatment for the patient. Now, in a series of recent studies, scientists at the University of Missouri are using whole genome sequencing through the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Consortium to identify genetic variants that cause rare diseases, such as progressive retinal atrophy and Niemann-Pick type 1, a fatal disorder in domestic cats. Findings from the study could help feline preservationists implement breeding strategies in captivity for rare and endangered species such as the African black-footed cat.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as food storage containers, water bottles and certain resins. In previous studies, Cheryl Rosenfeld, an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center, along with other researchers at the University of Missouri, Westminster College and the Saint Louis Zoo, determined that BPA can disrupt sexual function and behavior in painted turtles. Now, the team has identified the genetic pathways that are altered as a result of BPA exposure during early development.
In 2009, Joan Coates, a veterinary neurologist, along with other researchers at the University of Missouri and the Broad Institute at MIT/Harvard, found a genetic link between degenerative myelopathy (DM) in dogs and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease in people. Now, MU researchers Coates and Michael Garcia, an associate professor in the Division of Biological Sciences, have found that a biomarker test that helps diagnose ALS also can assist with determining a diagnosis for degenerative myelopathy.
The fight against skin cancer just got a new weapon. For years, melanoma researchers have studied samples that were considered uniform in size and color, making them easier to examine by more conventional means. But melanomas don’t always come in the same shape and hue; often, melanomas are irregular and dark, making them difficult to investigate. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have devised a new tool to detect and analyze single melanoma cells that are more representative of the skin cancers developed by most patients. The study, recently reported in Analyst published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, outlines the new techniques that could lead to better and faster diagnoses for the life-threatening disease.
Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking among lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals is higher than among heterosexual adults—nearly 24 percent of the LGBT population smoke compared to nearly 17 percent of the straight population. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found evidence of lower smoking prevalence and greater intentions to quit among the LGBT smokers who live in communities with smoke-free policies.
As substance abuse continues to be a health concern in colleges and universities across the U.S., a social scientist from the University of Missouri has found that female student-athletes who volunteer in their communities and engage in helping behaviors are less likely to partake in dangerous alcohol and marijuana use.
Researchers from the University of Missouri have found when teenagers and young adults with autism enter adulthood and age out of many of the services designed to help them, they often are anxious about how to handle new adult responsibilities such as paying bills and filing taxes. These findings highlight the importance of incorporating financial management into early education to empower young adults with autism.
According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to a wasting syndrome known as cachexia. Cachexia, an indicator of the advanced stages of disease, is a debilitating disorder that causes loss of appetite, lean body mass and can lead to multi-organ failure. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri in partnership with Tensive Controls, Inc. have developed a drug that could reverse cachexia. The team currently is seeking canine candidates for a pilot study to test the new drug.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, more than 30,000 Americans are living with the disorder. It currently has no cure, though a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration treats the underlying cause of the disease. However, the drug’s effectiveness for each individual is unknown. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have developed an imaging technique using a specific form of helium to measure the drug’s effectiveness. Researchers hope the finding could lead to improved therapies for cystic fibrosis and other lung conditions.
Clinicians and dermatologists have seen a rise in demand for minimally invasive laser-based treatments, including tattoo removal. However, it is difficult for the laser light to be perfectly and selectively absorbed by only the targeted birthmark or tattoo. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have developed instruments that transmit laser light into the tissue through direct contact. The techniques developed will reduce safety concerns in laser dermatology by improving laser transmission.
In 2016, more than 181,000 new cases of prostate cancer were reported in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is one of the earliest ways clinicians can detect prostate cancers in their patients. Sometimes, a high PSA level may be a sign of benign conditions such as inflammation; therefore, more reliable tests are under investigation to help urologists diagnose and treat the disease in an aging population. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have explored how a specific protein’s status may allow clinicians to better identify prostate cancer progression while helping them to make rational decisions in treating the disease.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States, with nearly 135,000 cases reported in 2016. The likelihood of surviving colorectal cancer is strongly related to the stage in which it is diagnosed. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine looked at screening adherence rates and found that individuals with certain disabilities are less likely to receive recommended preventive screenings. The researchers hope the finding will lead to targeted interventions and increased awareness for these individuals.
Researchers from the University of Missouri School Of Medicine recently discovered that although alligators, birds and dinosaurs have a similar skull-joint shape, this does not guarantee that their movements are the same.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack each year. Opening a blocked coronary artery to restore blood flow to the heart prevents sudden cardiac death. However, doing so also triggers cardiac damage through oxidative stress and inflammation, which eventually can lead to heart failure. In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have identified a protein that can be targeted to decrease post-heart attack injury and prevent heart failure in a mouse model.
Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide and is a serious public health concern, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Now, Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, has published the first study in men to show that long-term, weight-bearing exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. These changes promote bone formation, increasing bone density.
More than half of older adults have some form of hearing loss, impacting everyday life and significantly affecting their health and safety if left untreated. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss; however, many adults fail to adjust to hearing aids and, as a result, stop using them. Now, a new hearing aid adjustment program created by Kari Lane, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, might significantly improve hearing aid wear time among older adults.
The MU School of Medicine is ranked seventh in the nation for the specialty of family medicine. The school’s Department of Family and Community Medicine has been ranked in the top 10 for 24 consecutive years.
Since becoming law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been used by political parties in attempts to mobilize voters. In a new study, Jake Haselswerdt, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Missouri, found a correlation between voter turnout and Medicaid expansion, a key component of the ACA. He says that increases in Medicaid enrollment are related to considerably higher voter turnout in states that expanded Medicaid. The effect is likely due to both an increase in turnout for new Medicaid beneficiaries and a backlash effect among constituents opposed to the law and its implementation.
Five years into the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes (MOQI), a program aimed at improving nursing home care, researchers at the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri are seeing significant reductions in spending and potentially avoidable hospitalizations in participating nursing homes. The results were reported in the project’s annual report, released by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and prepared by RTI International.
More than 87,000 chemicals are available commercially in the U.S., including analogues of bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that is used in consumer products. Frederick vom Saal, a University of Missouri endocrinologist and researcher, has studied BPA and other chemicals and their effects on humans and animals for more than 20 years. Now, vom Saal has released Integrative Environmental Medicine, a comprehensive book outlining practical resources and tools, such as websites and smartphone apps, to help health care practitioners promote healthier choices for themselves and their patients.
When an infection attacks the body for the first time, T cells of the immune system help fight off that specific pathogen. After the infection has cleared, some of the T cells that fought the microbe transition into “memory” cells that remember the pathogen and are ready to protect the body from future infections. Previous research has found that memory T cells are critical for long-term immunity, but the quantity and quality of the cells mysteriously declines with time, making some individuals more likely to be reinfected. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have identified a molecular mechanism that operates in memory T cells that could be manipulated to produce and maintain more memory T cells in the body, a finding that could improve vaccinations and cancer immunotherapies.
Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the vessels that deliver blood to the heart. Narrowed or blocked coronary arteries can result in a heart attack or sudden cardiac death. A study at the University of Missouri School of Medicine revealed that ammonia plays an important role in maintaining cardiovascular health. Researchers say that non-toxic amounts of the gas could help prevent coronary artery disease.
A relationship between epilepsy and heightened religious experiences has been recognized since at least the 19th century. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Missouri found a neurological relationship exists between religiosity— a disposition for spiritual experience and religious activity—and epilepsy. This finding sheds light on the connection between religion and neuropsychological processes within the human brain.
Studies have shown that hazardous waste sites have the potential to adversely affect human health and disrupt ecological systems. Florida has the sixth highest number of hazardous waste sites, known as Superfund sites, in the United States. In 2016, the state was projected to have the second largest number of new cancer cases in the country. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the University of Florida studied cancer incidence rates in relation to Superfund sites and found a possible association. Researchers believe this discovery could help direct public health efforts in the state.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer, but treatment options are limited and many patients are diagnosed in late stages when the disease can’t be treated. Now, University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers have developed a new treatment that combines chemotherapy and immunotherapy to significantly slow tumor growth in mice. The researchers believe that with more research, the strategy could be translated to benefit patients with the disease.
Heart disease is one of the most common chronic health conditions among nursing home residents. Results from the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes (MOQI), a partnership between the University of Missouri and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, indicate that advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) working in nursing homes to perform primary care duties are improving health outcomes for nursing home residents with heart disease.
Studies have shown that early childhood education programs can have a positive impact on a child’s success later in life. However, the annual turnover rate nationally for teachers of preschool-age children is approximately 30 percent. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have surveyed early childhood teachers and identified factors that may lead to stress and burnout.
Poor adherence to medication regimens is a common problem among patients with cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart failure. Poor adherence is one reason mortality rates among those patients remain high. Todd Ruppar, associate professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, has found that a variety of interventions aimed at increasing medication adherence can help people with cardiovascular disease avoid the hospital. Ruppar will address the barriers to medication adherence during the Public Health Grand Rounds offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Atlanta.
University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders already has enrolled 2,500 individuals with autism and their family members in the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) project, the nation’s largest autism study, but researchers are continuing to search for more participants.
Of all racial minorities, Native Americans have the most dramatic health inequalities in the U.S., including significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and substance abuse. Melissa Lewis, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the MU School of Medicine, led the first project in the nation to develop a mandatory medical school curriculum about indigenous health.
Tumors that originate in other organs of the body and spread to the brain are known as metastatic brain tumors. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, this type of tumor is the most common in adults, affecting as many as 300,000 people each year. University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers compared two common postsurgical therapies for metastatic brain tumors and found that stereotactic radiosurgery can provide better outcomes for patients compared to whole-brain radiation.
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions among those 65 years old and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To help reduce these admissions and the strain they put on the healthcare system, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed bed sensors than can warn older adults of impending heart problems. Marjorie Skubic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, and Marilyn Rantz, Curators’ Professor Emerita in the Sinclair School of Nursing, believe this technology can help older adults living with congestive heart failure and reduce hospitalizations.
Currently, more than 34 million people in the U.S. care for terminally ill love ones, but few resources are available to help them navigate the challenges they encounter. A study at the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that nearly one-quarter of caregivers were moderately or severely depressed and nearly one-third had moderate or severe anxiety. The researchers recommend that health providers remember to treat the whole family, providing ongoing screening to family caregivers to identify early signs of depression and anxiety.
Since 1990, the divorce rate among adults 50 years and older has doubled. This trend, along with longer life expectancy, has resulted in many adults forming new partnerships later in life. A new phenomenon called ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT)—an intimate relationship without a shared residence—is gaining popularity as an alternative form of commitment. Researchers at the University of Missouri say that while the trend is well understood in Europe, it is lesser known in the U.S. This means that challenges, such as how LAT partners can engage in family caregiving or decision-making, could affect family needs.
The rise of MRSA infections is limiting the treatment options for physicians and surgeons. Now, an international team of researchers, led by Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, has used silver ion-coated scaffolds, or biomaterials that are created to hold stem cells, which slow the spread of or kill MRSA while regenerating new bone. Scientists feel that the biodegradable and biocompatible scaffolds could be the first step in the fight against MRSA in patients.
Doctor visits can be a challenge for patients with autism, their families and health care providers. Kristin Sohl, associate professor of child health at the University of Missouri, offers several steps providers and families can take to make medical visits more successful. She says that all of them require good communication between the provider and parent before, during and after medical visits.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SNAP benefits reduced the incidence of extreme poverty by 13.2 percent and child poverty by 15.5 percent between 2000 and 2009. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found that SNAP benefits also may be beneficial in reducing visits to the emergency room, saving money for families, health care facilities and taxpayers.
Polyhedral boranes have become the basis for the creation of cancer therapies, enhanced drug delivery and new contrast agents needed for radioimaging and diagnosis. Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has discovered an entirely new class of materials based on boranes that might have widespread potential applications, including improved diagnostic tools for cancer and other diseases as well as low-cost solar energy cells.
For many families, normal activities, such as going to a large family gathering or an amusement park, can be difficult to navigate with a child with autism, as the child may be act out due to being overwhelmed by extra noises and stimulation. To help families deal with such situations, specialists at the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders have been successfully integrating applied behavior analysis (ABA), the science of understanding why people behave in various ways and how understanding those motivations can shape behavior.
Triple-negative breast cancers, which comprise 15 to 20 percent of all breast tumors, are a particularly deadly type of breast disease that often metastasize to distant sites. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that luteolin, a natural compound found in herbs such as thyme and parsley, and vegetables such as celery and broccoli, could reduce the risk of developing metastasis originating from triple-negative breast cancer in women.
Advance directives, or living wills, are the legal documents individuals use to communicate their treatment preferences when faced with serious injuries or illnesses. Following a new study, Colleen Galambos, professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work, says that more attention to how advance directives are used in nursing homes may reduce unnecessary care and save health care costs, all while respecting residents’ wishes.
Warfarin is a commonly prescribed blood thinner used to prevent harmful blood clots. However, the drug requires frequent monitoring, daily dosing and can result in serious negative effects when mixed with vitamin K, a vitamin commonly found in vegetables such as lettuce or broccoli. Now, a new study from University of Missouri Health Care has found that using electronic health records (EHR) can improve the care patients receive after they leave the hospital and eliminate potential confusion among care providers and pharmacists.
One in 68 American children lives with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these children also have significant gastrointestinal issues, but the cause of these symptoms is unknown. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine suggest that the gastrointestinal issues in these individuals with autism may be related to an increased reaction to stress. It’s a finding the researchers hope could lead to better treatment options for these patients.