News Clips for Sept. 19, 2019

FCC announces Salt Lake City will be 5G wireless test site

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that Salt Lake City and New York City will be test sites for new 5G wireless technology. The FCC’s Innovation Zone will support POWDER (Platform for Open Wireless Data-driven Experimental Research) in several connected corridors of Salt Lake City. The University of Utah will oversee some of it. 5G typically refers to “fifth generation” mobile networks, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections.

FCC names Salt Lake City one of two US cities to test 5G

Salt Lake City is now at the center of helping develop one of the world's newest technologies. Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced Salt Lake as one of two test beds to develop 5G. A team at the University of Utah is running the project. They installed towered nodes on buildings all over the testing area that will eventually connect everything from toothbrushes to smart cars.

Salt Lake City chosen as 5G network test site

The Federal Communication Commission announced a new program to experiment with advanced wireless communications and network research, and Salt Lake City was chosen as a test site. In Salt Lake City, the Innovation Zone will support POWDER (A Platform for Open Wireless Data-driven Experimental Research with Massive MIMO Capabilities). POWDER, which will operate in several connected corridors of Salt Lake City, will be run jointly by the University of Utah and Rice University, in partnership with Salt Lake City.

'Jeopardy' fans can play this game while they drive. Experts aren't sure that's safe

David Strayer, a University of Utah professor who researches distracted driving, said the distraction of Drivetime likely falls between listening to a book on tape, and talking on a hands-free cell phone. When comparing Drivetime with texting while driving, he called the app the lesser of two evils. "We can't all be goody two-shoes and sit in the car and do nothing, so maybe if it crowds out less safe behavior like texting that's good," Strayer said.

Looking forward to Utah's fall colors? Here's what to expect this year

As for color vibrancy, there isn't much of a way to predict that if the weather is still unknown. Therefore, it's still unclear how Utah's wacky 2019 weather will play into the fall foliage color. In fact, David Bowling, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah, said he and fellow professors often field calls from others seeking to know in advance and they don't have an answer. "Plants have to slowly adjust to cold temperature and if it were to get super, super cold like 20 degrees next week, we may not even get any fall colors at all," Bowling said.

The next omics? Tracking a lifetime of exposures to better understand disease

Pilot studies to test new devices have led to a few, more personal realizations as well. Katherine Sward, a biomedical informatics researcher at the University of Utah, reported that a family trying out an in-home air monitor realized that vacuuming right before a visit from their child’s asthmatic friend might actually lead to more, not less, risk after the cleaning launched dust particles into the air.

Budding scientist and refugee gets research opportunity at Huntsman Cancer Institut

Dr. Don Ayer, Ph.D., is the director of PathMakers. “We lose way too many bright kids from middle school to high school, who sort of drop off the map in terms of careers in science,” Ayer said. “I think focusing on this group that wouldn’t normally have this opportunity is particularly rewarding.” On August 1, she presented her findings to a packed room full of other budding scientists at the University of Utah with her family cheering her on.

Annual book banning event condemns censorship and reminds public of freedom

The American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom is condemning censorship by sharing the top 11 books receiving criticism and the University of Utah is supporting the movement too. “It’s so important that we talk about the banning or the challenging of books because it completely goes against what we as a nation stand for which is freedom,” says Heidi Brett, U of U marketing/public relations director.

US awards $3M to fill gaps in medical marijuana research

Human test subjects will be involved in only one of the grant projects. University of Utah researcher Deborah Yurgelun-Todd will scan the brains of human volunteers with lower back pain to see how CBD extract — mixed with chocolate pudding — affects pain-signaling pathways. Half the volunteers will get pudding without CBD as a control group.

Sen. Mitt Romney proposes bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes

University of Utah Health also supports the making of tamper-proof e-cigarettes and eliminating flavors, said CEO Michael Good. Vaping, he said, is especially dangerous for children due to risks of addiction and lung disease.

Physician, ex-senator scares Utah lawmakers about dangers of cannabis use during pregnancy, adolescence

Brian Shiozawa, a former state senator and physician at University of Utah Health, referenced a study showing that maternal cannabis use led to a 50% increased likelihood of low birth weight — which comes with greater risk of intensive care admission, neonatal death, cerebral palsy, developmental delay and other conditions.

FDA Launches Criminal Investigation Into Vaping Crisis

A recent study from the University of Utah also suggested that vaping-related lung ailments may be a new form of lipid pneumonia, a rare condition caused by the inhalation of fat particles. Such a diagnosis “would be consistent with the dominant theory” that vitamin E acetate inhalation could be playing a role in the epidemic, the study’s lead author Scott Aberegg previously told Rolling Stone.


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North America has lost 3 billion birds in 50 years

A sweeping new study says a steep decline in bird abundance, including among common species, amounts to "an overlooked biodiversity crisis." "Birds are not dropping out of the sky," said Cagan Sekercioglu, a University of Utah ornithologist who was not involved in the new report, which he described as a "landmark" study. "When you are young, that's your baseline. The problem is, the next generation, their baseline is lower. But they don't know what they're missing."

Clinically silent relapsing malaria may still pose a threat

Nonhuman primates with clinically undetectable Plasmodium relapse infections still harbor parasitic gametocytes that may be infectious to mosquitoes, according to a new study co-authored by Tracey J. Lamb of the University of Utah.

The Legal Argument That Could Destroy Uber Is About To Be Tested

Marshall Steinbaum, an economics professor at the University of Utah who studies the intersection of labor markets and antitrust law, told Jalopnik that the implications of a ruling against Uber “would be profound—a nationwide injunction against Surge Pricing.”

Sawtooth National Forest conducts visitor use surveys

The National Visitor Use Monitoring survey is being conducted on the Sawtooth National Forest from October through Sept 30. The public will encounter University of Utah employees working on the Sawtooth National Forest in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along forest service roads. They will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright orange vests and will be near a sign that says “Traffic Survey Ahead.”

AAN recommends assessment of people aged 65 and older for memory problems

Since thinking skills are the most sensitive indicator of brain function and they can be tested cost-effectively, this creates an enormous opportunity to improve neurologic care. The American Academy of Neurology is recommending the measurement of annual cognitive screenings for everyone age 65 and older because age itself is a significant risk factor for cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment is increasingly prevalent with older age, said Norman L. Foster, MD, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.