Study highlights role of rare genetic mutations in ALS

Ninety to 95 percent of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases are “sporadic,” meaning these patients had no clear family history of the condition and therefore no indication that they were at risk. A new study by investigators at University of Utah Health shows that approximately one-fifth of these cases do have signs of a genetic predisposition toward the disease: They carry detrimental mutations associated with the familial form of ALS.

ALS, … Read more

Woodrats can’t stomach favorite foods at high temps

You’d think desert woodrats already had a lot of adversity. Besides the constant threat of coyotes and other predators and the scorching Mojave Desert heat, their primary source of food is the creosote bush, or chaparral – a plant so toxic that few other animals will even go near it.

But the woodrats’ unique adaptation that allows them to break down creosote toxins may be in jeopardy if temperatures continue to … Read more

U welcomes new dean at College of Social Work

The University of Utah has appointed Martell Teasley as the next dean of the College of Social Work.

Teasley, who will begin his term on July 1, 2017, comes to the U from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he served as chair of the Department of Social Work in the College of Public Policy for the past five years. His impressive array of experience also includes the development … Read more

University of Utah esports team scores with “Rocket League”

This fall, the University of Utah’s newly-announced varsity esports team will be gunnin’ for virtual goals.

The university’s nationally-ranked Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) video game design program announced today that its new esports team will be competing in Rocket League, one of the most popular multiplayer video games in the world with a community of more than 32 million players. The game, developed and published by Psyonix, is soccer but … Read more

From DNA to decision-making: University of Utah Health awarded $4M for comprehensive approach to heart birth defects

The American Heart Association (AHA) awarded investigators at University of Utah Health $3.7 million to conduct collaborative research to prevent and treat congenital heart disease. U of U Health is one of four groups across the country to join the AHA’s Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) for children.

Martin Tristani-Firouzi, a clinican-scientist at U of U Health and Primary Children’s Hospital, will be director for the Utah SFRN. He will also … Read more

Piling on pressure solves enduring mystery about metal’s makeup

Scientists have solved decades long puzzle about lithium, an essential metal in cellphone and computer batteries. Using extreme pressure experiments and powerful supercomputing, the international team has unraveled the mystery of a fundamental property of lithium. Its atoms are arranged in a simple structure, and may be the first direct evidence of a quantum solid behavior in a metal.

Until now, all previous experiments have indicated that lithium’s atoms had a … Read more

Yarraman flu or horse flu? Words and graphics influence willingness to vaccinate

“Yarraman flu is a virus quickly infecting the U.S. …” The mock announcement was enough to make readers worry. But when the name of the hypothetical illness was changed to “horse flu,” the news elicited a different reaction. Readers were not as concerned, and reported being less motivated to get a vaccine that would prevent them from contracting the illness.

Graphics, too, altered perceptions of risk. Even though each of three … Read more