News Clips for Nov. 16-19, 2018

Trump named a University of Utah professor to his science board. Some worry her controversial view on fetal pain played into the decision.

Some Utah researchers and doctors are rattled and concerned by President Donald Trump’s decision to place on his science advisory board a University of Utah associate professor who has testified about a controversial and largely disputed theory used by conservatives to argue against abortions.

The juniper mystery: Why is a tree that’s supposed to withstand drought suddenly dying in southern Utah?

Among those taking a keen interest is University of Utah biology professor Bill Anderegg, who studies the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems. “What we see is worrying and it’s mind-boggling because juniper has weathered drought. In the drought of 2002, they were not affected,” Anderegg said. “To see juniper die on a landscape scale is pretty disturbing.

When your brain won't hang up

For decades, scientists have examined how regions of the brain communicate to understand autism. Researchers at University of Utah Health believe the symptoms of autism may result from sustained connections between regions of the brain. The details of their study are available November 16 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

A bit more price transparency is coming to hospitals. Will it matter? #USNHoT

Tom Miller, chief medical officer at University of Utah Health, said the mandate starts a national conversation on why costs are "so dang high" and what can be done about it. "When the public sees this, they'll be asking, 'Why do I have to pay more than Blue Cross Blue Shield? Why do I have to pay more than Medicaid,'" Miller said. "'Why am I picked on as an individual seeking access to the healthcare I need?'"

Utah town grieves for its mayor, a National Guardsman killed in Afghanistan

Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton of the Utah National Guard took the folded American flag from the first sergeant and slowly walked between the casket and Jennie Taylor. He knelt and said a variation on the words war widows have heard for decades. Grateful nation. We present this flag. Token of appreciation.

Tight races rare in Utah; political expert says Salt Lake County is turning ‘more purple’

“This is the tightest district we have in the state,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “It’s the one that could flip either way.”

Autism linked to prolonged connection between brain regions

Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered that the symptoms seen in autism may be linked to how regions of the brain communicate.

Commentary: Citizen Scientists needed to study Wasatch wildlife

Wildlife in the Wasatch Mountains live in one of the most highly-trafficked national forests in the country and next to one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Yet, we know very little about what Wasatch wildlife need to sustain their populations. This year, a partnership including the University of Utah, Wild Utah Project, Utah Natural History Museum and more than 200 Community Scientists began studying the Wasatch’s wildlife with the goal of learning about critical habitats and movement corridors.

Utah Professor Tapped To Oversee National Science Foundation, Widely Cited By Anti-Abortion Groups

University of Utah neurobiologist Maureen Condic was recently appointed to the 25-member National Science Board by the Trump administration. KUER’s Erik Neumann sat down with Dr. Condic to learn about her work on bioethics in the health sciences.

Atmosphere warms up pushing snow resorts to man-made snow

A bad year in Utah is still better than a good year in Colorado,” Jim Steenburgh, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences told Fox13. “We know the climate is warming and we know that is having an impact on our snow and it’s going to have a bigger impact forward in the future.”

Letter: Domestic violence must be taken seriously

The murder of Lauren McCluskey, the University of Utah student-athlete, is a tragic example of the domestic violence epidemic that plagues the state of Utah. She went from a simple statistical report on Utah’s domestic violence epidemic to the face of it.

Is there a ‘suicide gene’? Scientists find hundreds of genetic links in family members who have killed themselves

There could be hundreds of genes which make people more likely to kill themselves and the trait is believed to run in the family, a study has found. Scientists have discovered four genetic changes which are more common among people who have killed themselves. And they say there are more than 200 others which are worth doing more research into to find out whether they have links to suicide. The researchers hope being able to identify people who are naturally more at risk of taking their own lives will help them target mental help to the right places.

County officials failed to use cell phone alerts to warn residents about Camp Fire

“What would have been nice to see in the Camp Fire (was a) WEA alert to let everyone know about the fire and to prepare accordingly,” said Thomas Cova, director of the Center for Natural & Technological Hazards at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “Even though it would have been followed shortly by an urgent evacuation notice, people — especially the less mobile — would have been given a fighting chance to ready themselves to go if they hadn’t left already.”