Buckeye Research Team Mythbusts Beliefs About Food Cost and Health

Consumers believe healthy food must be more expensive than cheap eats and that higher-priced food is healthier – even when there is no supporting evidence, according to new research.

The results mean not only that marketers can charge more for products that are touted as healthy, but that consumers may not believe that a product is healthy if it doesn’t cost more, researchers say. For example, people in one study thought eye health was a more important issue for them when they were told about an expensive but unfamiliar food ingredient that would protect their vision. If the same ingredient was relatively cheap, people didn’t think the issue it treated – eye health – was as important.

The study was conducted to examine the lay theory that we have to pay more to eat healthfully. Lay theories are the common-sense explanations people use to understand the world around them, whether they are true or not. Messages consistent with the “healthy = expensive” lay-theory are all around us. One example is the “Whole Paycheck” nickname people have given to Whole Foods, which touts itself as “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.”

The results appear online in the Journal of Consumer Research.20

OSU Research: When Old Becomes New Again

A team of researchers at the Ohio State University has been studying how to make old favorites feel novel again.

The study suggested that when a subject consumed something via an unconventional method they were more easily able to focus on what it was that they loved about it in the first place. This phenomenon has already been employed in “pitch black” restaurants. These popular eateries serve dinner in the dark.

The researchers conducted multiple experiments. In a study of 68 participants, subjects came to a lab thinking they were there for a study on how to help people eat more slowly. Some of the subjects ate 10 pieces of popcorn using just hands; the others ate the pieces with chopsticks. Subjects then rated their experience in a variety of ways. Some of the measures were overall enjoyment, how much flavor the popcorn had and how much fun they had eating it. Participants using the chopsticks later said they enjoyed eating the popcorn more than the subjects who used their hands.

Old Medicine, New Medicine Come Together to Cure Leishmaniasis Disease

Researchers from OSU are planning for first phase of human trials on a new vaccine. They used CRISPR gene editing to change the parasite that causes leishmaniasis. This is a common skin disease in tropical parts of the world and is increasing in the U.S.

Scientists found through a series of animal studies that the vaccine protected mice from the skin disease. Even immune compromised mice who were exposed as human are—through a bite of infected sand flies—were protected from the parasite’s disease.

In a series of animal studies, the vaccine protected mice against the disease – including mice with compromised immune systems and mice exposed to the parasite in the same way humans are, through the bite of infected sand flies.

The researchers stated that if the vaccine can protect against such a direct method of infection that the vaccine may be ready.

The team used a hundred-year-old method from the Middle East called leishmanization. They introduce the live parasite to the skin to create a small infection. After it is healed this small exposure gives the patient lifelong immunity.

Researchers noted that will live vaccines are the most effective can be the most dangerous causing serious disease in some patients. Their vaccine only “infects” the skin with immunity because the vaccine parasites have been genetically manipulated through CRISPR.

 

Soft Bodied Robots For Medical Use Created by Research Team

Researchers from the Ohio State University and Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered a way to send very small, “soft robots” into humans.

These could lead the way to less invasive surgeries as well as a delivery method for treatments for conditions ranging from colon polyps, to artery blockages, to stomach cancer.

Under their new system, doctors would steer the soft robot inside the body using magnetic fields. The robots are like a small actuator and because they are navigated wirelessly it makes their use far less invasive.

The soft robot is composed of a magnetic polymer; a soft composite that has magnetic particles mixed in which allows it to be controlled remotely by magnetic field.

This concept isn’t entirely new but the soft body of the robot is and this feature means less damage to the body traditional robots with hard bodies.

 

 

OSU Studies In-Home Interactions Surrounding Energy Use

New research done at the Ohio State University suggests that your perspective on the thermostat conflict going on in your home in part may depend on whether you are a man or a woman.

This new study has taken a first look at these battles in a sample of Ohio homes. This would be the first study to collect data on joint-decisions by consumers pivoting around home temperature settings and how they might affect energy use.

The study found that there were three types of thermostat setting related interactions: agreements, compromises and conflicts.

Men, the research found, were the most likely to report their thermostat interactions with other household members as agreements or compromises. Meanwhile, women were slightly more likely to report this type of interaction as a conflict. This could mean that individuals’ perceptions of the origin of the interactions or even imply that women are typical the losers in this “war story.”

This work focuses on understanding consumer behavior around energy use including thins like the decision to install solar panels or not; buying a hybrid car or not.
The entirtity of the research can be found in the journal PLOS ONE