research

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

Its name will be "Red Dragon." And if the latest partnership between SpaceX and NASA works out, the privately funded craft will land on Mars to collect scientific data — possibly within the next two years. The plan is to use the Dragon capsule, but without a human crew.

"SpaceX is planning to send Dragons to Mars as early as 2018," the company said via Facebook Wednesday. "These missions will help demonstrate the technologies needed to land large payloads propulsively on Mars."

The latest results of the test known as the Nation's Report Card are in. They cover high school seniors, who took the test in math and reading last year. The numbers are unlikely to give fodder either to educational cheerleaders or alarmists: The average score in both subjects was just one point lower in 2015 compared with the last time the test was given, in 2013. This tiny downtick was statistically significant in mathematics, but not for the reading test.

But even though the changes are small, chances are you're going to be hearing about them in a lot of places.

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UConn has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to preserve and exhibit a collection of two million army ants.

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Discovery in the biomedical sciences is running at a pace that challenges our ability to keep up, financially, ethically, and legally. And thinkers in the field are calling on policy makers to reconsider our response.

Mary Lou Cooke photo illustration / frye1989 / pixabay / WNPR / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s “new normal” sees its economy underperforming the nation as a whole. But the state still has core strengths that it can leverage in an effort to improve its economic performance.

Robert Markowitz and Bill Stafford / NASA Robonaut Lab

The U.S. and world economies were revolutionized by globalization and later by the digital revolution. What's coming next? This hour, we sit down with someone who has an idea of what's to come. Alec Ross served as Senior Advisor for Innovation to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He tells us how emerging fields like robotics and genomics are changing the way we live and work.

Poor people who reside in expensive, well-educated cities such as San Francisco tend to live longer than low-income people in less affluent places, according to a study of more than a billion Social Security and tax records.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When UConn engineering professor Karthik Konduri was reviewing the first set of results from a statewide transportation study he’s working on, he wasn’t surprised when the mobile taxi service Uber started showing up in survey responses.

Monkey malaria is just a few steps away from becoming a major human disease. The big question is whether it will take those steps.

New research shows that Plasmodium knowlesi, a form of malaria common in monkeys in South East Asia, is capable of flourishing in people even though so far it rarely does.

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Biologists are starting to augment eyes in the forest with eyes in the sky. But even as satellite imagery has a growing role in a field long-dominated by on-the-ground observation, the brave biologist trekking through a rainforest with binoculars and a cool hat isn't going away anytime soon. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Standing in a laboratory packed with various scientific instruments, University of Connecticut engineering professor Arash Zaghi gestured to three steel beams, modest in appearance where they sit under the large and brightly-painted hydraulic-powered machine capable of applying weights of up to 275 tons.

The World Health Organization says there is now scientific consensus that the Zika virus is connected with microcephaly — a condition in which babies are born with very small heads and brain damage.

Scientists have been working for months to confirm a link between Zika and microcephaly, ever since Brazil reported a startling increase in cases last fall.

Jill Hoy

Jon Imber was at the peak of his career as an accomplished artist and teacher when he was diagnosed with ALS in the fall of 2012. "Imber's Left Hand," a documentary about Jon's life as ALS claimed the use of his dominant right hand, will air on April 5 at the Hartford Jewish Film Festival. 

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Pre-prohibition research into alcohol use and consumption was wiped out when the country dried out in the 1920s. In response, American "alcohol science" was created in the post-prohibition era to bring alcohol abuse into the medical realm, triggering a cultural explosion between advocates on each side of the wet/dry divide. It was in this arena that Alcoholics Anonymous was born. 

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

The common bed bug is currently one of the most ubiquitous insects on earth. For centuries, they've have been a source of itching, anxiety, and skin rashes that range from mild to severe.

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Connecticut lawmakers are not going to pursue a state study of a proposed third casino. 

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Fossils of a sea creature found in the state of Illinois in 1958 have puzzled scientists for decades. But recently a Yale-led team of paleontologists were able to identify the 300-million-year-old animal, known as the Tully Monster.  

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Laura McKenna went looking for information on a medical condition that would help her care for her child. Unfortunately, she couldn't access most of the articles she located without paying as much as thirty-eight dollars for an eight-page report. She never read it.

Maybe Dodos Weren't So Dumb After All

Mar 1, 2016

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Dumb as a dodo” before. Dodos were supposed to be dumb — the story goes — that’s why the three-foot tall, flightless birds weren’t afraid of the European sailors who hunted them to extinction on the island of Mauritius in the 1600s.

With their outsized, cartoonish beaks, their tiny wings and their gangly necks stuck on a plump body, they don’t look very smart.

“As goofy as it looks, it’s actually not that bad. It may not be a genius, but it’s no dodo,” says Euginea Gold, a Stony Brook University researcher.

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United Technologies Aerospace Systems has opened a new worldwide research lab in Windsor Locks, the first part of a multi-million-dollar investment spurred by a state tax credit deal. 

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The majority of results from clinical trials at leading academic medical centers are not quickly published or shared with researchers and the public. 

In a study powered by the labor of medical students, my colleagues and I found that two-thirds of clinical trials led by scientists at our finest academic institutions didn't share their results publicly within two years of the study's completion.

Moreover, none of these research institutions has a good record of sharing results. Many are much worse than the average.

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Imagine a farm sprayed with pesticides. You're likely to think of crop-dusting biplanes,  but a new pest-control idea is using a much smaller, and more natural source: bumblebees.

A team of U.S. government disease detectives launched an eagerly anticipated research project in Brazil on Monday designed to determine whether the Zika virus is really causing a surge of serious birth defects.

A 16-member team of epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began training dozens of Brazilian counterparts in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, in preparation to begin work on Tuesday. The researchers will gather data on hundreds of Brazilian women and their children.

Strokes On The Rise Among Younger Adults

Feb 22, 2016

"I am what I like to call 'new stroke'," says Troy Hodge, a 43-year-old resident of Carroll County, Md. With a carefully trimmed beard and rectangular hipster glasses, Hodge looks spry. But two years ago, his brain stopped communicating for a time with the left half of his body.

Tom via Flickr / Creative Commons

Connecticut officials have prepared a plan to respond to the Zika virus that includes in-state testing for the virus, monitoring mosquitoes, and public education on how to avoid infection.

Until very recently it was thought that just one bacterium was to blame for causing Lyme disease in humans. But it turns out that a second, related bug can cause it too.

In 2013, during routine testing of bacterial DNA floating around in the blood samples of people suspected of having Lyme disease, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized they were looking at something different.

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For his latest book, Michael Robinson journeyed to the mountains of East Africa with a particular mission in mind: to search for explorer Henry Morton Stanley's so-called "white tribe." This hour, Robinson talks about his experience, and how it helped inform The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent

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President Obama called for urgent action against the Zika virus this week. Meanwhile, one Brazilian virologist at the University of Connecticut has been hard at work in the development of a vaccine. 

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