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Latest University of Wisconsin Stories

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2010-12-14 10:25:00

Those who choose to pray find personalized comfort during hard times, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist. The 75 percent of Americans who pray on a weekly basis do so to manage a range of negative situations and emotions "” illness, sadness, trauma and anger "” but just how they find relief has gone unconsidered by researchers. Through the course of in-depth interviews with dozens of victims of violent relationships with intimate partners, Shane Sharp, a...

2010-12-08 15:05:49

The "A" grades that high schoolers earn aren't just good for making the honor roll "” they also make them healthier as adults, too. Studies have long shown that education is linked to better health, but new research by Pamela Herd, an associate professor of public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that higher academic performance in high school plays a critical role in better health throughout life. "How well you do in school matters," Herd says about...

2010-12-07 13:56:50

Bacteria are among the simplest organisms in nature, but many of them can still talk to each other, using a chemical "language" that is critical to the process of infection. Sending and receiving chemical signals allows bacteria to mind their own business when they are scarce and vulnerable, and then mount an attack after they become numerous enough to overwhelm the host's immune system. This system, called "quorum sensing," is an interesting example of sophistication among microbes, says...

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2010-12-07 10:20:00

A new laser-beam steering system that aims and focuses bursts of light onto single atoms for use in quantum computers has been demonstrated by collaborating researchers from Duke University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Described in the journal Applied Physics Letters, published by the American Institute of Physics, the new system is somewhat like the laser-light-show projectors used at rock concerts and planetariums. But it's much smaller, faster, atom-scale accurate and aimed at...

2010-11-23 13:49:42

The National Science Foundation has signed a five-year, $34.5-million agreement with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to operate a unique telescope--a cubic kilometer in volume--buried in the Antarctic ice sheet between 1,400 meters and 2,400 meters deep. The collaborative agreement covers the cost of operating the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, located in the ice under the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The observatory records the rare collisions of neutrinos, elusive sub-atomic...

2010-11-22 19:48:28

Like musical compression saves space on your mp3 player, the human brain has ways of recoding sounds to save precious processing power. To whittle a recording of your favorite song down to a manageable pile of megabytes, computers take advantage of reliable qualities of sounds to reduce the amount of information needed. Collections of neurons have their own ways to efficiently encode sound properties that are predictable. "In perception, whether visual or auditory, sensory input has a lot of...

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2010-11-22 10:30:00

In deep ocean waters, it's sometimes difficult to hide from predators. That's why so many sea creatures have evolved extraordinary methods of disguise. Cephalopods, such as octopus, squid and cuttlefish, are big on camouflage, by day or night. In fact, the Hawaiian bobtail squid has several means of stealthy self- preservation. "During the day, if they are disturbed from the sand, they will come out, sit on the surface with a sand coat on them, trying to be invisible," says Margaret...

2010-11-18 16:46:04

For decades, scientists have been searching for the fundamental biological secrets of how eating less extends lifespan. It has been well documented in species ranging from spiders to monkeys that a diet with consistently fewer calories can dramatically slow the process of aging and improve health in old age. But how a reduced diet acts at the most basic level to influence metabolism and physiology to blunt the age-related decline of tissues and cells has remained, for the most part, a...

2010-11-15 13:48:05

Growing human embryonic stem cells in the lab is no small feat. Culturing the finicky, shape-shifting cells is labor intensive and, in some ways, more art than exact science. Now, however, a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reports the development of a fully defined culture system that promises a more uniform and, for cells destined for therapy, safer product. Writing this week (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature Methods, a team led by Laura Kiessling, a UW-Madison...

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2010-11-11 10:32:03

Scientists have observed, for the first time, an intermediate stage in the chemical process that repairs DNA methylation damage and regulates many important biological functions that impact health conditions such as obesity, cancer and diabetes. The observations focused on the bacterial DNA repair protein AlkB, but the results also apply to several proteins in the same family that play key regulatory roles in humans. Armed with these results, researchers may one day develop methods for...


Word of the Day
virgule
  • A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
  • A little rod; a twig.
This word comes from the Late Latin 'virgula,' accentual mark, a diminutive of 'virga,' rod.
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