News Clips for August 16-20, 2019

Gunky, Snotty Extremophiles Could Point To Life On Moon Of Jupiter

Here are the basic building blocks of most life as we know it: carbon, energy, and water. But if you’re looking for signs of life in space – you need to change how you think about life itself. That’s where the Brazelton Lab at the University of Utah comes in. They study extreme microbes here on Earth -- with an eye towards the sky. KUER’s Elaine Clark sat down with Julia McGonigle, an astrobiologist working on her PhD in the lab. She’s explored Utah’s West Desert and a place deep in the Atlantic Ocean called the Lost City.

Arctic researchers will lock this ship in ice for a year to study the changing polar region

Researchers hope the long, close encounter with the ice will also help them understand small-scale processes that may have an outsize impact, such as the growth of melt pools that darken the ice and absorb heat, hastening the melt. Springtime flights by MOSAiC helicopters, planes, and drones will provide week-by-week detail as the pools grow—critical input for simulations of melting that Ryleigh Moore, a Ph.D. student in applied mathematics, is developing at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Being able to see “melt pond evolution over an entire spring season will really open up my research,” says Moore, who will work aboard the Russian research vessel Akademik Fedorov. It is one of four icebreakers that will resupply the Polarstern and rotate scientists in and out, with most stints lasting up to 3 months.

Latter-day: Mormon Communities Can Be A Source Of Harm And Healing For Abuse Survivors

Like many faith communities, Latter-day Saints have had to confront some painful realities about sexual abuse over the past few years. The structure of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints can fail victims and protect abusers. But long after abuse happens, Mormon communities can still play a major role in how an abuse survivor heals. Amber Choruby Whiteley, a Mormon therapist who recently finished her PhD at the University of Utah, devoted her dissertation to the experiences of 26 Mormons who were abused before the age of 18.

Having kids DOES make you happier, but only after they leave the nest, study finds

University of Utah researcher Nicholas Wolfinger analyzed four decades of data for a 2018 study and found that empty-nest parents ages 50 to 70 were 5 to 6 percent more likely to report being very happy than those with children still at home.

Having kids makes you happier, but only when they move out

This may be because when children grow up and move out, they provide social enrichment to their parents minus the day-to-day stress of looking after them The picture is similar in the US, says Nicholas Wolfinger at the University of Utah. He recently analysed 40 years of data from the US General Social Survey and found that empty-nest parents aged 50 to 70 were 5 to 6 per cent more likely to report being very happy than those with kids still at home.

Study: Close to half of patients don't disclose potential life-threatening issues with their doctor

A study released by researchers at the University of Utah and three other universities last week shows nearly half of patients may not be divulging important information about life-threatening issues, such as depression or domestic abuse, when visiting a doctor.

University Of Utah Study Offers Insight Into Suicide Prevention Among Military Personnel

The National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah released research on Friday that offers new insight into suicide prevention among military personnel. The study surveyed more than 1,600 active-duty military members nation-wide to better understand the relationship between suicidal thoughts and safe gun storage practices at home — where two-thirds of military suicides take place. The study’s lead author, Dr. Craig Bryan, said their findings addressed a vital research gap and yielded mixed results.

Powerful cosmic rays: Scientists race to explain 'universe's greatest mystery'

The University of Utah’s Professor Charles Jui told why scientists are increasingly fascinated by these cosmic rays. He said: “We are interested in these ultra high frequency cosmic rays because they are coming at us with energies that are 10 million times higher than the particles produced at the Large Hadron Collider.

Government Checks Addresses To Prepare For Census

Pam Perlich is the director of demographic research at the University of Utah's Gardner Policy Institute. And she says satellite images makes sense for rural areas where there aren't a lot of trees or where communities haven't changed that much. Still, Perlich is worried about parts of Utah that are growing in ways that cameras in space won't be able to see. "You know, you can't look through the rooftops. And so this just compounds that probability that people are going to be missed," Perlich said.

Huntsman Cancer Institute introduces Cancer Screening and Education bus

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah unveiled its new Cancer Screening and Education bus Monday. “This new, state-of-the-art mobile outreach clinic brings HCI’s clinical and educational expertise and the latest screening technology to residents across Utah, including those who live in distant geographic areas and rural communities,” said a news release from the organization


"We often hear about the potential for large volcanic eruptions of the Yellowstone volcano in the news and on television shows," Jamie Farrell, assistant research professor at the University of Utah and Chief Seismologist of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, wrote in a blog post for the United States Geological Survey (USGS.)

The new college athlete: Why universities are investing in video games

Three years ago, the National Association of Collegiate Esports was a group of six schools. By 2017, NACE had 27 colleges with varsity-level esports and today, the organization boasts 160-plus schools and growing. The University of Utah made headlines when it became the first school within the Power Five conferences to welcome esports at the varsity — not just club — level. “What we know, is that if we can get our students involved in something … they are much more likely to stay with us and graduate,” says University of Utah President Emeritus David Pershing, “and that’s the ultimate goal.”

Study: One-third of military personnel keep firearms safely stored at home

"The percentage of military personnel who use unsafe storage practices mirrors what we see among gun owners in general," Craig Bryan, a researcher at University of Utah, told UPI.

5 people hospitalized with lung disease after vaping, Utah health officials report

Earlier this month, pulmonologists from the University of Utah Hospital held a news conference with several people who experienced breathing issues after vaping to explain that the idea that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes might not be true. “If you are vaping, and you develop a flu-like illness or respiratory symptoms, I think it's worth considering that maybe the vaping is the cause of that,” U. pulmonologist Scott Aberegg said at the Aug. 6 news conference.

Tribune Editorial: Is it the ‘Utah way’ to make the mentally ill go it alone?

A new report from the University of Utah’s Gardner Institute gives a comprehensive overview of mental health in Utah. The short version is that we’re near the top in the nation for having a mentally ill population and at the bottom for offering them treatment. Rural areas in particular face both of those extremes.

Samyak Shertok, Aspen Words writer in residence, on his poetic journey

A graduate student at the University of Utah and Aspen Words’ August writer in residence, Shertok is working on finalizing his first collection of poems. Tentatively titled “A Sky Burial,” it’s divided into three sections: elegies for his father, his mother and a national elegy for his country during the Maoist revolution that tore Nepal apart from 1996 to 2006.

It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Friends Are?

“A lot more of the population is willing to do this, at least with some people some of the time,” says Jason Wiese, a professor in the school of computing at the University of Utah, who did a study on location-sharing in its early days, in 2011. Back then, he found that people were more willing to share their location in limited ways—say, when they were within a mile of a friend—and, perhaps obviously, that they were more willing to share with people they felt closer to.

Downwinders: Archiving The Stories Of Nuclear Testing Site Communities

Bonnie’s first-hand experience with nuclear fallout and its effects is one of now over 40 stories collected in an ongoing project at the J. Willard Marriot Library through the University of Utah. "So my name is Justin Sorenson. I am the GIS specialist for the J. Willard Marriot Library at the University of Utah. I actually am the creator of this archive." Sorenson and his colleagues visited southeastern Utah this spring, to collect more oral histories from local downwinders. Although only residents living in certain Utah counties are eligible for government compensation, the term ‘downwinders’ applies to anyone who lived downwind from nuclear weapons testing.

Study: Seeing how sun exposure damages skin could prompt people to use protection

The BYU’s biometrics lab and the University of Utah studied what could most effectively motivate people to be more proactive about their skin and found that showing them images of what sun does to unprotected skin, as well as images taken of people after having cancerous or precancerous moles removed, motivates them to use sunscreen and/or avoid the sun.

Changes associated with autism risk may be detected as early as the second trimester

Researchers at University of Utah Health have identified a link between autism and steroid hormone changes detected in the mother's blood. These changes, which suggest increased estrogen activity, can be seen early in the second trimester. The pilot study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, opens a new direction in autism research.

AAA Study: Vehicle ‘Infotainment’ Systems Distracting Older Motorists

collaborative research between the AAA Foundation and the University of Utah resulted in a new report that found older drivers are distracted more than eight seconds longer than their younger counterparts when they use certain in-car infotainment systems. This latest study is the seventh phase of groundbreaking distracted driving research by AAA and the University of Utah.

More than 4,500 people lie to their doctors, new study says

A University of Utah study of more than 4,500 people in the U.S. found that nearly half don’t tell their physicians about life-threatening risks like depression and suicidal thoughts, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

ARUP Laboratories Deploys World’s First AI-Augmented Ova and Parasite Assay

ARUP Laboratories (ARUP), a national reference laboratory and worldwide leader in innovative laboratory research and development, and Techcyte, a leading developer of artificial intelligence (AI) based image analysis solutions for the diagnostics industry, have developed the world’s first AI-augmented ova and parasite detection tool.