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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.

Breakfast Habits Affect Teens’ Metabolic Responses to Protein-packed Morning Meals

Breakfast habits may play a role in how individuals metabolize high-protein breakfasts, according to a recently published University of Missouri study. An MU researcher compared young women who habitually skip breakfast to those who routinely eat breakfast and found that their metabolic responses to eating a high-protein breakfast were different. Specifically, the habitual breakfast skippers experienced poorer glucose control throughout the day when they consumed a high-protein breakfast, whereas those who typically ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast had improved glucose control after they ate a high-protein breakfast.

Unexpected Outcomes for Elderly Couples Who Stop Driving

The ability to drive can be central to a person’s identity and can be an important expression of independence. When the elderly become unable to drive, due to age or deteriorating health, their emotional well-being can decline as a result of being unable to maintain social relationships or work schedules that require travel by car. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that even if just one member of a couple stops driving, negative consequences result for both the driver and non-driver. The researcher recommends that the elderly, and their adult children, carefully discuss and plan for the transition to driving cessation.

Project Aims to Improve Quality of, Access to Health Care for Children with Autism

As more children are diagnosed with autism, the demand for physicians specializing in autism has increased. To meet the growing demand for autism care, a University of Missouri researcher is leading an effort to deliver specialized training to primary care providers, including physicians and nurse practitioners, so they are better equipped to treat children with autism.

Mucus is Retained in Cystic Fibrosis Patients’ Cells, Leads to Potentially Deadly Infections

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects one out of every 3,000 children in populations of Northern European descent. One of the key signs of cystic fibrosis is that mucus lining the lungs, pancreas and other organs is too sticky, which makes it difficult for the organs to work properly and, in the lungs, attracts bacteria and viruses resulting in chronic infections. Researchers at the University of Missouri recently found that cystic fibrosis mucus actually gets stuck inside some of the cells that create it, rather than simply becoming stuck on the outside linings of organs.

Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Should Exercise After Dinner

Individuals with Type 2 diabetes have heightened amounts of sugars and fats in their blood, which increases their risks for cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks. Exercise is a popular prescription for individuals suffering from the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, but little research has explored whether these individuals receive more benefits from working out before or after dinner. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that individuals with Type 2 diabetes can lower their risks of cardiovascular diseases more effectively by exercising after a meal.

Babies Can Identify Complex Social Situations and React Accordingly

In the social world, people constantly gather information through visual cues that are used to evaluate others and interact. A new study from researchers at the University of Missouri determined that babies can make sense of complex social situations, and that they expect people to behave appropriately.

Author Offers Insight into “Fifty Shades of Grey” Phenomenon

The bestselling book, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is being released as a major motion picture February 13th. The book and others in the trilogy depict the relationship between the naïve college graduate, Anastasia Steele and business magnate, Christian Grey. Melissa A. Click, a communication researcher at the University of Missouri, found that the book series—known for its racy content and adult themes—actually opened the channels of dialogue for female readers with their partners and friends and also helped strengthen the way they see themselves.

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