Research Roundup (Spring ’15, Week 4)

Every week our Research Editors highlight a few of the latest headlines in science news and explain why these pieces are interesting and applicable to our classes at UC San Diego. If you find an engaging science article, share it with us on our Facebook page and your highlight may just be featured!

Mothers’ Exercise May Lower Heart Risks in Newborns | The New York Times

A study recently revealed that exercise may reduce the risk of heart defects in newborns. Scientists determined that mouse mothers that exercised prior to becoming pregnant gave birth to pups that had far fewer heart problems. This trend was true for both younger and older female mice. If this data can be extrapolated to humans, it has implications of health benefits for women who wish to become pregnant and their future children.

If you are interested in metabolic effects of exercise, consider taking Physiology of Exercise (BIPN 108).

Jasmine Chau | Sr. Research Editor

Being a Night Owl May Be Bad for Your Health | The New York Times

A recent study suggests that being a night owl, or someone who stays up late and wakes up late, may be an unhealthy lifestyle. Researchers found that men who were night owls had a much higher chance of having diabetes, while women who were night owls had much higher excess body fat around the waist and higher blood sugar. These effects are possibly due to exposure to artificial light at night and eating after 8 p.m., both of which can affect metabolic regulation.

If you are interested in sleeping patterns, consider taking Circadian Rhythms — Biological Clocks (BIMM 116).

Jasmine Chau | Sr. Research Editor

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds | Science Daily

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a nanotechnology moisturizer that speeds the healing of ulcers in diabetic animals. This was achieved by combining spherical nucleic acids with a common commercial moisturizer in order to knock down GM3 synthase, an enzyme that has been known to interfere with wound healing. The research team is looking into the possibility of using this technology to treat diabetic ulcers and reduce the sensations that diabetics feel in their feet.

If you want to learn about diabetes, consider taking Nutrition (BIBC 120).

Neil Srinivas | Jr. Research Editor

Long-term exposure to air pollution may pose risk to brain structure, cognitive functions | Science Daily

While air pollution has long been known to raise the risk of stroke, a new study suggests that long-term exposure to polluted air could cause damage to brain structures and impair cognitive function in older adults. The study evaluated how far participants lived from major roadways and used satellite imagery to assess how prolonged inhalation of polluted air can cause the air to travel deep into the lungs, increasing the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Researchers plan to examine the long-term effects of air pollution on brain shrinkage, stroke and dementia.

If you’re interested in brain structure and cognitive functions, consider taking Healthy and Diseased Brain (BIPN 152).

Neil Srinivas | Jr. Research Editor