Research News & Multimedia

MU Research of Zebrafish Neurons May Lead to Better Understanding of Birth Defects like Spina Bifida

The zebrafish, a tropical freshwater fish similar to a minnow and native to the southeastern Himalayan region, is well established as a key tool for researchers studying human diseases, including brain disorders. Using zebrafish, scientists can determine how individual neurons develop, mature and support basic functions like breathing, swallowing and jaw movement. Researchers at the University of Missouri say that learning about neuronal development and maturation in zebrafish could lead to a better understanding of birth defects such as spina bifida in humans.

Thermal Paper Cash Register Receipts Account for High Bisphenol A (BPA) Levels in Humans, MU Study Finds

sphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as water bottles, dental composites and resins used to line metal food and beverage containers, and also is used in thermal paper cash register receipts. Now, research conducted at the University of Missouri is providing the first data that BPA from thermal paper used in cash register receipts accounts for high levels of BPA in humans. Subjects studied showed a rapid increase of BPA in their blood after using a skin care product and then touching a store receipt with BPA.

MU Joins the Women’s Foundation in Research Partnership to Examine Status of Missouri Women

e University of Missouri and The Women’s Foundation have announced a research partnership with the goal of improving the lives of Missouri families. The Women’s Foundation has already begun conducting focus groups around the state, as MU researchers have been crafting an innovative research database operated by the Center for Applied Research in Economics (CARES). The CARES database combines economic and social data from around the country in a single, easy-to-access online portal.

Eating Breakfast Increases Brain Chemical Involved in Regulating Food Intake and Cravings, MU Researchers Find

cording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many teens skip breakfast, which increases their likelihood of overeating and eventual weight gain. Statistics show that the number of adolescents struggling with obesity, which elevates the risk for chronic health problems, has quadrupled in the past three decades. Now, MU researchers have found that eating breakfast, particularly meals rich in protein, increases young adults’ levels of a brain chemical associated with feelings of reward, which may reduce food cravings and overeating later in the day. Understanding the brain chemical and its role in food cravings could lead to improvements in obesity prevention and treatment.

$2.3 Million NSF Grant Will Fund MU Study of Math Learning Outcomes

ducation researchers at the University of Missouri will receive nearly $2.3 million from the National Science Foundation over the next four years to study elementary students’ mathematics learning outcomes in relation to teacher expertise and classroom assignment. The researchers will monitor the impact of using elementary mathematics specialists – teachers who have been certified through a two-year program of study – and how the specialists are assigned in schools (whether they teach all subjects to one class or teach multiple sections of math to different classes). The results will help school and district leaders throughout the nation better determine how to use their elementary teaching staff to provide all students with high-quality mathematics instruction.

New Information about Neurons Could Lead to Advancements in Understanding Brain and Neurological Disorders

urons are electrically charged cells, located in the nervous system, that interpret and transmit information using electrical and chemical signals. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have determined that individual neurons can react differently to electrical signals at the molecular level and in different ways—even among neurons of the same type. This variability may be important in discovering underlying problems associated with brain disorders and neural diseases such as epilepsy.

Millennials Uneducated on Important Clothing Care Skills, MU Study Finds

more and more high schools around the country drop home economics classes due to budget cuts or changes in educational priorities, many high school students are left without basic skills, such as preparing meals and sewing. Now, researchers have found that a significant gap exists in the amount of “common” clothes repair skills possessed by members of the baby boomer generation and millennials. Pamela Norum, a professor in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, found that many more of the baby boomer generation possess skills such as sewing, hemming, button repair and general laundry knowledge than Americans 18-33 years of age.

GPA, GRE Scores as Stand-Alone Factors Inadequate for Evaluating Non-Traditional Students for Graduate School Admissions, MU Study Finds

more people in the middle of their careers decide to return to school to further their education, the number of students applying to graduate school programs across the country has reached a record high in the past decade. With record numbers of potential students applying to their programs, many graduate school admissions evaluators are working to develop stronger admissions criteria that assure they are admitting students who will succeed academically. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that traditional measures such as Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) test scores and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) are not adequate for predicting success for non-traditional students who are returning to school after spending several years in the workforce.

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