Researchers Developing New Drug to Treat Sepsis

OSU researchers have discovered a way to enhance the immune system of patients to help them fight sepsis, an extreme and deadly reaction in bodies fighting infection.

How is this possible? Through the use of nanotechnology, scientists can turn healthy immune donner cells into a drug that has powerful anti-bacterial properties.

Scientists have tried the drug on mice with sepsis. The altered immune cells helped kill bacteria in the major organs and blood stream which drastically raised survival rates in the mice.

The focus of the work is to treat late-stage sepsis. During this stage the immune system is compromised to the point where it cannot clear invading bacteria on its own. The researchers are working with specialists who treat sepsis to more rapidly develop the drug for widespread use.

Researchers were quick to point out that sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals and there have not been any development in treating the later stages of the immune condition in a long time.

Researchers Illuminate the Importance of Making New Friends in College

A new study, co-authored by Ohio State faculty, has found that friendships developed during the first year of college can be life-long and help students become adults who have bridged cultural divides and develop broader worldviews. Researchers believe this important aspect of the first-year experience will help future generations embrace their differences and come together.

One hundred some students of varying races and religions answered questions about how their close friendships with those who had different religious traditions, political ideas, different cultural backgrounds etc. influenced their outlooks on those with different world views than themselves.

Researchers said that previous studies had proven that the most important factor in a successful college career was a positive learning experience with faculty. The second indicator, more important than learning, graduation rates and economic gains, has been a good relationship with peers. Researchers say their new study illuminates the powerful outcomes of these positive peer relationships.

When first-year students arrive at college, they are typically open to making new friends. This is especially true if they are leaving home for the first time and/or don’t know anyone at their college already.

The college experience is unique in that it places people of different beliefs in a situation where they are spending a lot of time together and living closely with one another.
The study found that 64% of students who had no interworldview friendships when they began college—interworldview friendship is what researchers are calling those friendships with people of different beliefs or cultures—made at least one interworldview friend the first year. 20% of this group claimed to have made five or more interworldview friendships by the end of their first year.

Researchers believe these kinds of peer relationships are absolutely essential to the college experience and that the benefits are measurably positive.

OSU Scientists Figure Out What Really Makes Up the Black Pigment

OSU scientists have unraveled what makes black pigment—the same pigment that colors our skin and gives bananas their spots as they ripen. They used eumelanin, which creates brown and black colors. While scientists have long known what melanin does for the body (protecting DNA from sun damage, destroying free radicals in the body, etc) they didn’t know one of the most basic things about it. What gives it its color?

Scientists, basically, unmixed the color black to reveal its underlying colors. Understanding the melanin on this level could lead to all kinds of discoveries in both medical and material science.

Like DNA’s double helix, scientists needed to know that is how DNA was structured before they could know much else about it, melanin is the same.

Like a kid playing with paints combining a few colors at a time will result in secondary colors. Mix them all and the child would end up with a deep, muddy, black color. Scientists needed to know all the molecules of color that are in it.

They found that the molecules that make up eumelanin are like radio stations. Each station broadcasts over a limited frequency in the spectrum. Each molecule that makes up the eumelanin are like a radio station, absorbing light from just a part of the spectrum. So how many stations are out there, they wondered? Are there a bunch of them all absorbing just a tiny part of the light spectrum or just a few that absorb a larger portion each?

Understanding the structure of “black” in this way will allow scientists to know on a deeper level how the eumelanin works in the body for medical purposes and how they might use these “radio station” molecules in manufacturing new materials.

Keep Your Diet and Exercise Resolutions by Involving Your Dog

If you resolved to start a diet and exercise plan, don’t look at the success statistics as most experts agree they are rather low. Instead, perhaps take some advice from both the animal and human health experts at the Ohio State University who say that if you partner with your pet to diet and exercise it might increase your chances for success.

Both humans and animals benefit from a healthy life style that includes exercise and a good diet. OSU experts acknowledge there are all kinds of programs to get you and your pet involved—everything from dog yoga and dog Pilates to couch-to-5k programs. They warn though that it is best for both you and your pet to start slow with the exercise. They suggest they following:

Schedule workouts. Make grocery lists. Plan daily practices. Make small, manageable changes. It will lead to big results given time. Try different things and figure out activities both you and your pet enjoy. Wellness checkups are important. Make one for yourself when you make one for your pet. Don’t be afraid to celebrate your success.



Public Health Experts Against Vaping Bans

According to a group of experts, including the lead author of a paper published in “Science” Amy Fairchild (dean of Public Health at OSU), knee-jerk bans on e-cigarette sales could do more harm than good. They fear such bans will take away an important tool that does help adults quit smoking.

In their paper the authors point out that the recent illnesses and deaths appear to be linked to vaping black market THC oils and this should concern us along with the rise of young people vaping nicotine. But these problems cannot all be lumped together.

Limiting access and appeal among the less harmful vaping products and leaving deadly, traditional tobacco products on the market does nothing to protect public health, according to the authors. Doing so could threaten a trend that might be leading to the demise of cigarettes.

In the wake of injuries and deaths related to vaping policymakers including the American Medical Association have favored blanket bans—either banning all vaping products or those with flavors. The authors believe policy should be shaped using all available data and that there are important distinctions to be made between nicotine and THC products as well as commercial and black-market products.