OSU Undergrads Give Back

As part of Ohio State’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), undergraduate students from across the country gave their time and talent last month to help sort and prepare over 2,700 pounds of food for 1,755 needy families in the Westerville area.

SROP is a signature program of the Graduate School at Ohio State. Its singular purpose is to expose highly talented undergraduates from underrepresented populations to graduate study at the Ph.D. level.

The annual day of service is a way for the visiting students to give back to the central Ohio community and strengthen friendships. They also discover that successful undertakings, whether a research project or a service, share common attributes: a compelling vision, a solid plan, and strong effort from all involved.

SROP students come to Ohio State from colleges and universities around the country for the eight-week program, where they are matched with an Ohio State faculty mentor who oversees their intensive research experience. They also participate in activities crucial to preparation for graduate school, including workshops on research skills, seminars on topics related to graduate education and professional development events.

Guess Which Summer Veggie Might Be the New “Anti-Cancer” Food

A new study by researchers at the Ohio State University demonstrated that daily tomato consumption cut the rate of skin cancer tumors in mice by half. The study appears in Scientific Reports.

It found that male mice fed a diet of 10 percent tomato powder daily for 35 weeks, then exposed to ultraviolet light, experienced, on average, a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumors compared to mice that ate no dehydrated tomato.

The theory behind the relationship between tomatoes and cancer is that dietary carotenoids, the pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color, may protect skin against UV light damage.

Previous human clinical trials suggest that eating tomato paste over time can dampen sunburns, perhaps thanks to carotenoids from the plants that are deposited in the skin of humans after eating, and may be able to protect against UV light damage.

The Science of Stuff (And Getting Rid of It)

Researchers at the Ohio State University may have a solution for those of us who have trouble hoarding stuff we are emotionally attached to. They found that people were more willing to get rid of unneeded items that still had sentimental value if they first took a photo of the items, thus giving them a different way to preserve the memory.

Such techniques could help parents eliminate baby items once their children have grown or a young person moving out for the first time sort through the their childhood knick-knacks.

The researchers conducted a field study involving 797 students who lived in six residence halls on campus. At the end of a fall semester, the researchers advertised a donation drive before the students left for the holidays. But there was a catch: There were actually two different advertising campaigns that varied by residence halls.

In the memory preservation campaign, signs in the residence hall bathrooms stated, “Don’t Pack up Your Sentimental Clutter…Just Keep a Photo of It, Then Donate.” In the control campaign, fliers told students, “Don’t Pack Up Your Sentimental Clutter, Just Collect the Items, Then Donate.” Similar numbers of students were exposed to both campaigns.

After finals week, research associates who were unaware of what the study was about emptied donation bins in each residence hall, counting the items donated.

The researchers found 613 items were donated in the halls that hosted the “memory preservation” campaign, versus only 533 in the control campaign.

In other related experiments, the researchers found that it wasn’t just the memories associated with these possessions that were keeping people from donating – it was the identities linked to those memories.

For example, older parents may still feel connected to their identity as new mothers and fathers and not want to part with their infant clothes.

In one study, some people who were donating goods at a local thrift shop in State College, Pennsylvania, were given instant photos of the items they were donating, while others were not. They were then asked about whether they would feel a sense of identity loss from giving away the item.

Results showed that those who received the photos reported less identity loss than those who did not.
Researchers said that the bottom line is this technique can help anyone who is emotionally attached to items that could be donated or thrown away, helping declutter their lives.

OSU Researchers Uncover Positive News About Brain Tissue and Concussions

New research at the Ohio State University reveals details about sub-cellular change in the brain in a post-concussive state that might one day be used to provide better treatment to concussion sufferers and other patients with brain damage.

Researchers examined the changes in rodent brains when affected by laboratory induced mild traumatic brain injury. They found rapid microscopic swelling along the axons. The axons are the long, slender part of the nerve cell that sends vital messages to other parts of the brain. This same kind of swelling is also seen in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.

There is some guarded good news, though—the swollen axons are reversible. It remains, however, unclear how exactly all this plays out in a human brain and the degree to which people may respond differently to brain trauma and other neurological problems.

OSU Finds Timing of Dosage Affects Side Effects

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers from the Ohio State University’s Wexler Medical Center found that the time of day during which breast cancer chemotherapy drugs are given affect the amount of damaging inflammation that occurs within the body.

It is believed that inflammation that can happen in the brain due to these drugs is what causes a lot of the neurological side effects such as depression, anxiety and short-term memory loss. And researchers are hoping that through understanding why the timing of doses affects the level of inflammation they can reduce it and its damaging effects.

The results also showed an important complicating factor: The inflammatory effects were opposite in the brain versus the spleen depending on the time the drugs were given. While researchers don’t fully understand the either of these discoveries or their implications, this line of research could lead to discoveries that make side-effect heavy cancer treatments like chemo safer for patients.