Popular Illinois News and Current Events

Popular Illinois News and Current Events, Illinois News Articles.
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Predicting the effect of climate change on crop yields
Scientists now have a new tool to predict the future effects of climate change on crop yields. Researchers from University of Illinois are attempting to bridge two types of computational crop models to become more reliable predictors of crop production in the U.S. Corn Belt. (2018-01-03)

Bateman's cowbirds
Researchers at Illinois have discovered that cowbirds conform to Bateman's Principle, despite investing no energy into parental care. Surprisingly, 75% of the cowbirds in the system were monogamous. Future research will expand upon these findings and broaden the understanding of how cowbirds might select the nests they parasitize, what role the males could play to assist the females, and why monogamy could be such a benefit. (2019-09-30)

UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs. (2015-10-13)

Ringing in ears keeps brain more at attention, less at rest, study finds
Tinnitus, a chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears, has eluded medical treatment and scientific understanding. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that chronic tinnitus is associated with changes in certain networks in the brain, and furthermore, those changes cause the brain to stay more at attention and less at rest. The finding provides patients with validation of their experiences and hope for future treatment options. (2017-08-24)

Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find
People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study. Specifically, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs is 40 percent greater than in those consuming an equivalent amount of protein from egg whites, the team found. (2017-12-20)

Reach out and feed someone: Automated system finds rapid honey bee communication networks
By developing a system that allows automated, in-depth monitoring of the social interactions of honey bees, researchers have now uncovered an unexpected property of the bee social network that may someday help us design more effective human and machine communication systems. (2018-01-29)

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates. A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign compares data from two years to find that a single percentage-point increase in mass transit ridership is associated with a 0.473 percentage-point lower obesity rate in counties across the United States. (2018-11-27)

Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
Scientists designed plants with light green leaves with hopes of allowing more light to penetrate the crop canopy and increase overall light use efficiency and yield. This strategy was tested in a recent modeling study, led by the University of Illinois, that found leaves with reduced chlorophyll content do not actually improve canopy-level photosynthesis, but instead, conserve a significant amount of nitrogen that the plant could reinvest to improve light use efficiency and increase yield. (2017-11-20)

Researchers see significant reduction in fatal car crashes after increase in alcohol taxes
Increasing state alcohol taxes could prevent thousands of deaths a year from car crashes, say University of Florida Health researchers, who found alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes decreased after taxes on beer, wine and spirits went up in Illinois. (2015-03-31)

eDNA tool detects invasive clams before they become a nuisance
When seeking a cure for a disease, early detection is often the key. The same is true for eliminating invasive species. Identifying their presence in a lake before they are abundant is vital. A recent University of Illinois study successfully used environmental DNA to detect invasive clams in California and Nevada lakes. Researchers believe this tool can help identify pests before they become a problem. (2017-11-17)

To maximize sugarcane harvesting, use the right blade
You wouldn't use the same knife to cut through a thick steak as you would to slice an angel food cake, right? Although that may be a ridiculous comparison, the same principle holds true when harvesting various crops. One blade doesn't slice all. Researchers at the University of Illinois tested four blades to find the one that most efficiently cuts sugarcane. (2018-01-17)

How do neural support cells affect nerve function?
Glial cells may modulate the release of neurotransmitters -- chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells -- by increasing the acidity of the extracellular environment. (2018-02-21)

Scientists engineer sugarcane to produce biodiesel, more sugar for ethanol
A multi-institutional team led by the University of Illinois have proven sugarcane can be genetically engineered to produce oil in its leaves and stems for biodiesel production. Surprisingly, the modified sugarcane plants also produced more sugar, which could be used for ethanol production. (2017-04-04)

Scientists seeking rare river crayfish aren't just kicking rocks
As far as anyone can tell, the cold-water crayfish Faxonius eupunctus makes its home in a 30-mile stretch of the Eleven Point River and nowhere else in the world. Because the animal is being considered for endangered species status, researchers are comparing old and new techniques to get a thorough accounting of its population and distribution. (2018-02-27)

Genomic study explores evolution of gentle 'killer bees' in Puerto Rico
A study of Puerto Rico's Africanized honey bees -- which are more docile than other so-called 'killer bees' -- shows they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. These changes likely contributed to the bees' rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years, and could spell hope for beekeeping in North America. (2017-11-16)

Study links responsible behavior in high school to life success 50 years later
A new study links doing one's homework, being interested and behaving responsibly in high school to better academic and career success as many as 50 years later. This effect, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, holds true even after accounting for parental income, IQ and other factors known to influence achievement, researchers report. (2018-02-26)

Study: Larger sample sizes needed to increase reproducibility in neuroscience studies
Small sample sizes in studies using functional MRI to investigate brain connectivity and function are common in neuroscience, despite years of warnings that such studies likely lack sufficient statistical power. A new analysis reveals that task-based fMRI experiments involving typical sample sizes of about 30 participants are only modestly replicable. This means that independent efforts to repeat the experiments are as likely to challenge as to confirm the original results. (2018-06-07)

Pre-pregnancy progesterone helps women with recurrent pregnancy loss
Women who have had two or more unexplained miscarriages can benefit from natural progesterone treatment before pregnancy, a new a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago shows. The researchers found that natural progesterone, administered vaginally, led to a higher birth rate. Over two-thirds of pregnancies were successful in women who received progesterone, compared to barely half in women who did not receive the hormone. (2017-01-09)

Study in mice finds dietary levels of genistein may adversely affect female fertility
A new study of mice by scientists at the University of Illinois raises concerns about the potential impact that long-term exposure to genistein prior to conception may have on fertility and pregnancy. The study was conducted by food science and human nutrition professor William G. Helferich, comparative biosciences professor Jodi A. Flaws, Illinois alumna Shreya Patel and animal sciences research specialist James A. Hartman. (2017-11-14)

Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agriculture
What's good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems when it leaches into water supplies. University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching. (2016-07-25)

Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reports
Two studies -- one in mice and the other in human subjects -- offer the first definitive evidence that exercise alone can change the composition of microbes in the gut. The studies were designed to isolate exercise-induced changes from other factors -- such as diet or antibiotic use- - that might alter the intestinal microbiota. (2017-12-04)

Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systems
Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn't used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week's vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found. The study suggests a new method to show how microbial communities, including those responsible for illnesses like Legionnaires' disease, may assemble inside the plumbing systems of homes and public buildings. (2018-03-29)

Study links fox domestication to gene activity in the pituitary gland
A study of foxes offers new insights into the brain changes that occur in wild canids as they become more tame, researchers report. The study links fox domestication to changes in gene activity in the pituitary gland, a brain center that kicks out hormones to regulate various bodily functions, including the stress response. (2018-02-14)

Federal officials urged to increase perinatal depression treatment in minority women
Despite increased risks of perinatal depression, research has shown that Latina and African-American women are significantly less likely to be screened or treated. In a new paper, researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University are urging federal policymakers to appropriate funds to boost diagnosis and treatment rates among minority women, including increasing the number of medical providers trained in culturally sensitive screening and treatment methods. (2018-03-30)

Beneficial effects of no-till farming depend upon future climate change
By storing carbon in their fields through no-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming. However, researchers say, the amount of carbon stored in soils depends on how the climate changes and how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. (2005-10-13)

Soil characteristics may be related to chronic wasting disease persistence, study finds
Deer infected with chronic wasting disease are doomed to a slow and certain death, eventually wasting away as they lose the ability to eat and drink. There is no cure and no vaccine, and the number of infected deer continues to rise every year. But University of Illinois scientists recently published a new study that could help explain the movement of the disease across the landscape. (2018-02-05)

Cover crops in nitrogen's circle of life
A circle of life-and nitrogen-is playing out in farms across the United States. And researchers are trying to get the timing right. The goal is to time nutrient release from cover crops to better match the nutrient needs of specific cash crops. (2018-02-14)

Paper: 'No admit-No deny' settlements undercut accountability in civil enforcement
The failure of federal watchdog agencies to require admissions of guilt from the targets of civil enforcement can trigger calls for greater accountability from the public, says a new paper from U. of I. law professors Verity Winship and Jennifer K. Robbennolt. (2017-05-22)

Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately
A University of Illinois and Mayo collaboration has demonstrated a novel gene expression analysis technique that can accurately measure levels of RNA quickly and directly from a cancerous tissue sample while preserving the spatial information across the tissue -- something that conventional methods cannot do. (2018-01-17)

Graphene: The more you bend it, the softer it gets
New research by engineers at the University of Illinois combines atomic-scale experimentation with computer modeling to determine how much energy it takes to bend multilayer graphene -- a question that has eluded scientists since graphene was first isolated. The findings are reported in the journal Nature Materials. (2019-11-13)

Lessons in nature boost classroom engagement afterward, researchers report
Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study. The effect was large and occurred week after week, regardless of teacher expectations. (2018-01-17)

New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trials
A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports. The researchers conducted a multi-year, cross-disciplinary study that went from screening potential drug candidates to identifying and synthesizing one compound, to packaging it into nanoparticles for delivery in cells, to testing it in cell cultures and finally in mice and pigs with sarcoma tumors. (2018-12-13)

Can a rude waiter make your food less tasty?
A new study shows that an individual's social class influences his or her response to poor service. This is because lower class individuals are more likely to have a holistic view of thinking, while higher class individuals more often have an analytical thinking pattern. (2017-11-29)

Illinois River water quality improvement linked to more efficient corn production
In a new University of Illinois study, nitrate concentrations and loads in the Illinois River from 1983 to 2014 were correlated with agricultural nitrogen use efficiency and nitrate discharged from Chicago's treated wastewater. The amount of nitrate that flowed down the river each year from 2010 to 2014 was 10 percent less than the average amount during a baseline period of 1980 to 1996. This reduction is a positive step toward the ultimate goal to reduce nitrate concentrations by 45 percent. (2016-05-10)

An eco-friendly alternative to recycling e-waste
As consumers toss aside old cell phones, tablets and laptops to keep up with the latest technology, landfills are becoming full of the old devices. To address this buildup, scientists are attempting to recover valuable plastics from this electronic waste, or 'e-waste.' Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that they have found an eco-friendly alternative to current methods. (2018-03-14)

Paper: Surprise can be an agent of social change
Surprising someone -- whether it's by a joke or via a gasp-inducing plot twist -- can be a memorable experience, but a less heralded effect is that it can provide an avenue to influence people, said Jeffrey Loewenstein, a professor of business administration at the Gies College of Business at Illinois. (2018-04-03)

Army researchers conduct first-ever combustion experiment with X-rays
The US Army Research Laboratory's Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Propulsion made an historic first with its experiment in a gas turbine combustor using X-rays. The data will help advance gas turbine engine designs for higher power density and efficiency, scientists said. (2018-04-13)

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold
Scientists are one step closer to building a carbon-recycling system that can harvest solar energy to efficiently convert CO2 and water into liquid fuels. By optimizing many parts of the system, the researchers say, they can now drive two-electron chemical reactions, a substantial advance over one-electron reactions, which are energy inefficient. (2018-05-15)

Shape-shifting agent targets harmful bacteria in the stomach
A new shape-shifting polymer can target and kill Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach without killing helpful bacteria in the gut. Such a treatment could improve the digestive health of billions of people worldwide who contract H. pylori infections. The antimicrobial agent morphs into a bacterial hole-puncher in the stomach's acidic environment and reverts to an amorphous, inactive structure when it reaches the higher pH environment of the small intestine. (2017-11-14)

Corn hybrids with high yields come with more variability
The agriculture industry is in a tough spot; it's simultaneously tasked with feeding a growing population and minimizing its environmental footprint. For corn breeders, that means improving nitrogen-use efficiency and crowding tolerance, all while maximizing yield. The first step, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, is understanding the genetic yield potential of current hybrids. (2018-04-09)

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