OSU Researchers Study New Pig Virus with Cross-Species Potential

A newly found virus in pigs was seen to easily “jump species” in a laboratory test with cultured human cells and other species. For the OSU research team this raises concerns about potential outbreaks that could threaten humans and animals alike.

Researchers from OSU joined forces with an Utrecht University (Netherlands) team to try to understand the virus’s potential risks. This is the first study on the virus to note the possibility of a “species jump.” The research will be published in PNAS online.

The new virus, porcine deltacoronavirus, was first discovered in ’12 in pigs in China. It was later found in the US in an Ohio-based pig illness outbreak and since then it has been found in various other countries. No human cases have ever been confirmed, but researchers have their concerns.

For many public health officials and those involved in veterinary care, the virus seems especially dangerous because of it being so alike to SARS and MERS. Until there is a documented case of a “species jump” major concerns remain grounded firmly in the pig population.

Water Filter Pitchers Don’t All Filter Equally

A new study at the Ohio State University found that water filter pitches don’t all do an equal job of filtering harmful materials from water. The new study compared three popular brands in their ability to filter out microcystins from tap water. One brand did fine, the other two didn’t stop the microcystins, which get into the water during harmful algal blooms.

The study, which appears in Water Science Technology: Water Supply, found that the fastest filter made with coconut-based activated carbon could only remove about 50% (or less!) of the microcystins. While the slowest one, made from an active carbon blend, made microcystins undetectable in the water.

The researchers don’t specifically name any of the three bands, but they are all common and range in price from $15 to $50. Interested parties would be able to read the study, which does specifically name the features of each pitcher and their findings, and deduce from that data which brand of pitcher to buy if they want the best filtration.

Students with Intellectual Disabilities Not Spending Enough Time in Gen Ed?

In 1975 a national law was created that required students with intellectual disabilities spend as much time as is possible in gen. ed. courses. A new study by OSU researchers has found that progress in that regard has come to a standstill. No other study has examined nation-wide patterns in placement for students with these disabilities for the entire life span of the law, some 40 years.

In this time, 55-73% of students with intellectual disabilities spend nearly their whole day in specialized schools or classrooms instead of with their non-disabled peers.

Researchers used multiple data sources to find out how students between the ages of 6-21 where placed in each federally-reported educational system between 1976 and 2014.
One possibility might be that inclusion has stalled because most students are already placed in the least restrictive educational environment possible, as per the federal law. However, data from multiple states suggests that the issue could be a lack of standardization among school systems on what constitutes the “least restrictive education environment”.

The study will be published in the American Journal on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.

Do Bacteria Get Sick? If So, What Does That Mean?

Buckeye researchers are diving into new worlds, observing the interplay between bacteria and the viruses (also known as phages) that infect them. Their study was published in The ISME Journal.

Whether it’s a body of water or a human body, viruses and bacteria interact inside these bodies and influence everything from world oxygen levels to if a new born will get sick. Knowing the secrets of these interactions could help future researchers figure out how to fight disease and save the planet. For the study, the researchers used some very special equipment in league with the US Dept. of Energy.

It allowed them a real-time look at what was going on when two of the same bacteria where given the same or different viruses or phages. They then could analyze, step by step, what was happening.

Researchers say it is not yet clear exactly where their observations and work will lead, but they hope it’ll reveal ways to improve the health of humans and the world we live in. Researchers pointed out that looking beyond what they called “ideal” interactions between viruses and bacteria—a more well-rounded knowledge is needed to move forward.

Could Good Grades Hurt Women Entering the Job Market?

According to new OSU research it turns out that for women new to the job market having gotten good grades in college could do more harm than good when entering the job market. It found that some employers might value a woman’s perceived likability over her intelligence.

Men with high GPAs were two times as likely to be called back by an employer as women with the same GPA and comparable experience and background new Buckeye sponsored study found.

This problem was even worse in some fields. Female math majors were called back at a rate of three times less than their comparable male peers.

A survey in the research found that in a pool of 261 employers they valued competence and commitment when it came to potential male employees. When it came to women they preferred who did “OK”, but did not excel academically.