research

Medical Research
3:25 am
Mon August 25, 2014

People With Down Syndrome Are Pioneers In Alzheimer's Research

Justin McCowan, 39, has Down syndrome and lives at home with his parents in Santa Monica, Calif.
Benjamin B. Morris for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:53 am

When researchers at the University of California, San Diego wanted to study an experimental Alzheimer's drug last year, they sought help from an unlikely group: people with Down syndrome.

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Extraterrestrial Smog
12:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Scientists Searching For Alien Air Pollution

In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earthlike planet displays a brownish haze — the result of widespread pollution.
Christine Pulliam Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds — and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.

"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.

The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.

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Huge Piles of Compost
10:11 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Citizen Science Project at Trinity College Taps Trained Eyes of Veterans

A coyote checks out a compost pile in this infrared shot from Smedley's remote camera.
Scott Smedley Trinity College

Researchers at Trinity College are snapping pictures of animals at compost piles as part of an ongoing biology project. They've been getting lots of pictures, and they're now hoping a new group can help analyze them: veterans. 

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Crowdfunding Science
11:21 am
Tue August 19, 2014

To Stem Budget Cuts, UConn and Yale Scientists Turn to Crowdfunding

Andrea Suria, left, and Sarah McAnulty, are crowdfunding a project to continue their graduate work on the Hawaiian bobtail squid at the University of Connecticut.
Sarah McAnulty squidscientistas

For young scientists, finding money to support basic research can be difficult. Federal research budgets are shrinking, and grant applications can be a time sink, removing researchers from their lab or their graduate work.

Some young scientists are now forgoing traditional funding mechanisms, and turning to the power of the crowd.

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Energy
10:25 am
Mon August 18, 2014

New London Sub Base Links Navy, Energy to Aid Research

Credit Sean Phillips / U.S. Navy

The sub base in New London is hosting a meeting between the Navy and energy industry to exchange information about renewable energy, a mini-electric grid, and industry research. 

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Quantum Research
11:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Dartmouth Physics Professor Working To Solve Mystery Key To Quantum Computing

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 5:26 pm

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are on a chase for what some consider the holy grail of the information age: Quantum computing. And some of that research is going on right there in New Hampshire. But one big challenge is to get the quantum bits to dance how we want them to. 

Before getting too high-tech, let's go back to 1938. A brilliant physicist, an Italian named Ettore Majorana, withdraws all his money from a bank and boards a boat. Then, somewhere between Palermo and Naples, he vanishes without a trace.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Live From Litchfield's White Memorial Conservation Center

The boardwalk at White Memorial.
claumoho Creative Commons

For 50 years, the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield has provided a hands-on look at the natural diversity of northwestern Connecticut. With workshops, educational programs -- even its own Nature Museum -- the center has been teaching visitors about the various species and habitats found on the surrounding land. 

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Lyme Disease
1:30 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Blumenthal Announces Grant for Lyme Disease Testing

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, at right, reviews an intake questionnaire in 2011 at the Western Connecticut Health Network Lyme Disease Registry, alongside Amber Butler and Ramin Ahmadi (file photo).
Credit WCHN / Facebook

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced on Wednesday a $600,000 federal grant to improve testing for Lyme disease.

The Connecticut Democrat made the announcement in Danbury alongside researchers from Western Connecticut Biomedical Research Institute and the Seattle-based RareCyte, Inc. 

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Brain Development
3:43 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:40 pm

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.

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Ocean Life
1:29 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Deep Sea Octopus Brooded Over Eggs Longer Than Any Animal, Says URI Researcher

Researchers estimated that this octopus brooded over 160 eggs.
© 2007 MBARI

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 11:09 am

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island published surprising findings of a deep sea octopus that guarded her eggs for 4-½ years. This is the longest brooding period ever recorded by any animal on the planet.

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Vision Quest
8:57 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Do You Give an Eye Exam to a Fossil?

The fossil of Acutiramus cummingsi was remarkably well preserved, allowing scientists to gauge the vision of a creature that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Data on Violence
1:57 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

New Data Released on Intimate Partner Violence in Connecticut

Credit Thinkstock

On average, 14 people die each year in Connecticut as a result of intimate partner violence. There have been 188 intimate partner homicides in the state since the year 2000.

These are among the statistics in this year's annual report by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

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Stacks of Smoke
4:45 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Capping Carbon Emissions Could Provide Economic Benefits, Study Finds

A new study quantifies the potential economic impact of a new federal plan to regulate carbon emissions.
Credit CandiceDawn/iStock / Thinkstock

Federal proposals to cap carbon emissions could actually benefit some states economically, according to a new study released on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

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Education and Health
5:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

High-Performing Charter Schools May Improve Students' Health

Researchers are just starting to look at how school choice affects health.
romester/iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:47 pm

Many people are intensely interested in how publicly funded charter schools affect children, and that includes not just their academic achievement but their health.

Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. wanted to know whether attending a high-performing charter school reduced the rates of risky health behaviors among low-income minority teenagers.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 18, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan
Horia Varlan Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About Turtles

Red-eared slider.
Catie Talarski

There are currently some 57 turtle species living in the United States and Canada, 12 of which can be found right here in Connecticut -- including some sea turtles!

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a few of them poking around a nearby pond or basking on some sunlit rocks. Perhaps you’ve even rescued a few from the peril of oncoming traffic.

But there’s a lot more to these terrestrial critters than meets the eye.

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Disease
1:41 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

Not something you'd want to find: Smallpox viruses infect a cell.
Science Source

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:10 pm

Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.

Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly virus: one at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and another at a similar facility in Russia.

The CDC swooped in to collect the vials and carted them off to a secure lab at its Atlanta headquarters.

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Kid Whiz
3:26 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets

If you've noticed that kids seem to be better at figuring out these things, you're not alone.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 1:32 pm

Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they "totally get" apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan
Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Cancer Prevention
2:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers

Credit Photodisc / Thinkstock

What if an aspirin a day could keep cancer away? A growing body of scientific research suggests that aspirin can prevent some cancers of the digestive system, and maybe even breast and prostate, too.

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Alcohol
1:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Excessive Drinking Causes 10 Percent Of Deaths In Working-Age Adults

One in 6 adults binge drinks, and that plays a role in most alcohol-related deaths.
IntangibleArts/Flickr

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:47 am

Think about people dying from drinking too much, and you probably think of the classic disease of alcoholics, cirrhosis of the liver. Or perhaps an alcohol-fueled car crash. But there are many more ways to kill yourself with alcohol, unfortunately, and they account for 1 in 10 deaths in working-age adults, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Bias
3:44 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

It's Not a Good Idea to Mention Your Religion on Your Resume

Credit lucky336/iStock / Thinkstock

Researchers at the University of Connecticut find that employers are less likely to respond to a job application if a resume mentions an applicant’s religion.

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Soccer Science
3:38 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Scientists Keep A Careful Eye On The World Cup Ball

A close up of the Brazuca ball in NASA's Ames Fluid Mechanics Laboratory. Smoke highlighted by lasers visualizes air flow around the ball.
NASA's Ames Research Center

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:45 am

While many millions are enjoying the drama of the World Cup, a handful of scientists are keeping their eyes very closely on the ball.

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Made in Connecticut
9:26 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Connecticut Vaccine Company Gets $50 Million in Federal Funding

The Meriden labs of Protein Sciences.
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Meriden’s Protein Sciences has been awarded a multi-million dollar extension to its contract with the federal government to provide flu vaccines.

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Head Injuries
5:34 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Head Injury Risk Rose In Cities After Bike-Sharing Rolled Out

John Rose NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 12:20 pm

Editors' Note: This post has been revised to clarify and correct reporting on the findings of the bike helmet study. The researchers looked at head injuries, not just brain injuries, so the descriptions have been changed to head injuries throughout. The lead researcher said in response to follow-up questions that the study was designed to look at the risk of head injuries as a proportion of all injuries related to bicycling, so the headline and descriptions of the work have been changed to reflect that distinction.

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UV Rays
8:20 am
Wed June 4, 2014

What Can a Tanning Bed Do to Your Brain?

Endorphins are released when you're in a tanning booth.
g-stockstudio/iStock Thinkstock

The Food and Drug Administration will now require tanning beds carry a warning label saying they shouldn't be used by persons under the age of 18. Tanning beds emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. But the beds may also cause changes to the brain.

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Underwater Lab
1:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Plans To Spend A Month Underwater

Fabien Cousteau sits inside Aquarius Reef Base in 2012. If he is able to remain under water for 31 days, he will have lasted one day longer than his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau.
Mark Widick AP

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 12:28 pm

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

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smoking and education
10:55 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Exploring Why the Highly-Educated Don't Smoke

Optimism in childhood may account for a low percentage of smokers among highly-educated adults.
Credit Valentin Ottone / Creative Commons

Adults with college degrees are much less likely to smoke than the rest of the population. A new Yale University study searches for the reasons why.  

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Mental Health
2:08 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Military Plans To Test Brain Implants To Fight Mental Disorders

In epilepsy, the normal behavior of brain neurons is disturbed. The drug valproic acid appears to help the brain replenish a key chemical, preventing seizures.
David Mack/Science Source

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:35 pm

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is launching a $70 million program to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders using electronic devices implanted in the brain.

The goal of the five-year program is to develop new ways of treating problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are common among service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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