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New MU Metagenomics Center to Make Important Research Process Cheaper, Faster

University of Missouri officials celebrate the opening of the MU Metagenomics Center, located at Discovery Ridge Research Park. The new center will serve as a comprehensive resource for microbiological research performed at Mizzou, other universities and private entities around the country.

On-again, off-again relationships might be toxic for mental health

Sam and Diane from “Cheers.” Ross and Rachel from “Friends.” Carrie and Mr. Big from “Sex and the City.” These are just some of the notable on-again, off-again couples found in pop culture. While their relationships made for storylines that kept viewers entertained, a researcher from the University of Missouri says that the pattern of breaking up and getting back together can impact an individual’s mental health and not for the better. He suggests people in these kinds of relationships should make informed decisions about stabilizing or safely terminating their relationships.

Mizzou program significantly reduces delay in autism diagnosis

When Katie New first suspected her son had autism, she had to wait 18 months for a diagnosis. She also had to travel nearly 100 miles from her hometown of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, to see an autism specialist in Cape Girardeau. When she had similar concerns regarding her younger child, she was able to get the diagnosis in less than one month thanks to ECHO Autism, a University of Missouri program. A new study on the effectiveness of ECHO Autism shows that the program significantly reduces diagnostic wait times for young children at highest risk for autism and saved families an average of 172.7 miles in travel for diagnosis.

MU researchers create specialized delivery methods that could help treat cancer, other disorders

More than 100 years ago, German Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich popularized the “magic bullet” concept — a method that clinicians might one day use to target invading microbes without harming other parts of the body. Although chemotherapies have been highly useful as targeted treatments for cancer, unwanted side effects still plague patients. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have demonstrated that specialized nucleic acid-based nanostructures could be used to target cancer cells while bypassing normal cells.

Soy diets might increase women’s bone strength, according to new University of Missouri research

Osteoporosis, decreased physical activity and weight gain are serious health concerns for postmenopausal women. Researchers from the University of Missouri now have discovered through a new animal study that soy protein found in food might counter the negative effects of menopause on bone and metabolic health. Moreover, the researchers believe that soy protein might also have positive impacts on bone strength for women who have not yet reached menopause.

Certification standards, education critical for social workers in school safety efforts

Tragedies at schools have become far too common and schools, community leaders and parents all are focused on finding ways to ensure schools are safe. Aaron Thompson, associate professor of social work at the University of Missouri and a former school social worker and principal, says that school social workers play a key role in helping at-risk children. In a new study, he found that high-performing school social workers were more likely to have graduate degrees and work in a state with certification standards. The findings provide guidance to policy makers and school administrators hoping to improve outcomes for students and school safety.

Improving nursing home care has easy solution—hire advanced nurses

Nursing homes hoping to provide the best care to their residents need to budget for hiring advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) to work full time. Continued research from a team of nursing experts at the University of Missouri has resulted in significant evidence that APRNs have a positive effect on improving outcomes for nursing home residents.

New device could increase battery life of electronic devices by more than a hundred-fold

Among the chief complaints for smartphone, laptop and other battery-operated electronics users is that the battery life is too short and—in some cases—that the devices generate heat. Now, a group of physicists led by Deepak K. Singh, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri, has developed a device material that can address both issues. The team has applied for a patent for a magnetic material that employs a unique structure—a “honeycomb” lattice that exhibits distinctive electronic properties.

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