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Old drug may point way to new treatments for diabetes, obesity

February 11, 2013 8:25 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute have found that amlexanox, an off-patent drug currently prescribed for the treatment of asthma and other uses, also reverses obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver in mice.

Study: Popular drug-carrying nanoparticles get trapped in bloodstream

February 6, 2013 12:05 pm | News | Comments

Many medically minded researchers are in hot pursuit of designs that will allow drug-carrying nanoparticles to navigate tissues and the interiors of cells, but University of Michigan engineers have discovered that these particles have another hurdle to overcome: escaping the bloodstream. According to their work, the immune system can't get rid of some of the promising drug carriers quickly.

New technique sheds light on RNA

January 29, 2013 7:48 am | News | Comments

When researchers sequence the RNA of cancer cells, they can compare it to normal cells and see where there is more RNA. That can help lead them to the gene or protein that might be triggering the cancer. But other than spotting a few known instigators, what does it mean? Is there more RNA because it's synthesizing too quickly or because it's not degrading fast enough? What part of the biological equilibrium is off? After more than a decade of work, researchers have developed a technique to help answer those questions.

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Liquid metal makes silicon crystals at record low temperatures

January 25, 2013 7:35 am | News | Comments

A new way of making crystalline silicon, developed by University of Michigan researchers, could make this crucial ingredient of computers and solar cells much cheaper and greener. The researchers discovered a way to make silicon crystals, directly at just 180 F, the internal temperature of a cooked turkey, by taking advantage of a phenomenon seen in your kitchen.

A material that most liquids won’t wet

January 16, 2013 2:43 pm | News | Comments

A nanoscale coating that's at least 95% air repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface, according to the University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed it.

Electric stimulation of brain releases opiate-like painkiller

January 2, 2013 11:00 am | News | Comments

Researchers used electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain to release an opiate-like substance that's considered one of the body's most powerful painkillers. The findings expand on previous work done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the City University of New York where researchers delivered electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients, and found a decrease in the intensity and pain of their headache attacks.

Super-fine sound beam could one day be an invisible scalpel

December 20, 2012 7:51 am | News | Comments

A carbon nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before. The University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed the new therapeutic ultrasound approach say it could lead to an invisible knife for noninvasive surgery.

Capturing circulating cancer cells provides insights into how disease spreads

December 12, 2012 10:48 am | News | Comments

A glass plate with a nanoscale roughness could be a simple way for scientists to capture and study the circulating tumor cells that carry cancer around the body through the bloodstream. Engineering and medical researchers at the University of Michigan have devised such a set-up, which they say takes advantage of cancer cells' stronger drive to settle and bind compared with normal blood cells.

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Fuel economy remains at record high, emissions at record low

December 7, 2012 9:29 am | News | Comments

Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States remains at its highest level ever, while emissions are at a record low, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

A bridge to the quantum world

December 4, 2012 12:35 pm | News | Comments

In a discovery that helps clear a new path toward quantum computers, University of Michigan physicists have found elusive Dirac electrons in a superconducting material. The combination of properties the researchers identified in a shiny, black material called copper-doped bismuth selenide adds the material to an elite class that could serve as the silicon of the quantum era.

Synthetic membrane channels built with DNA nanotechnology

November 21, 2012 9:13 am | News | Comments

In a shape inspired by a natural channel protein, the DNA-based membrane channel recently built by researchers in Michigan and Germany consists of a needle-like stem 42-nm long with an internal diameter of just 2 nm. The devices has been shown to function with lipid vesicles, and further experimentation shows the pores can act like voltage-controlled gates, just like the ion channels in living cells.

A better brain implant

November 12, 2012 7:38 am | News | Comments

A thin, flexible electrode developed at the University of Michigan is 10 times smaller than the nearest competition and could make long-term measurements of neural activity practical at last. This kind of technology could eventually be used to send signals to prosthetic limbs, overcoming inflammation larger electrodes cause that damages both the brain and the electrodes.

Stem cells and nanofibers produce promising nerve research

November 7, 2012 2:45 pm | News | Comments

Nerves often die or shrink as a result of disease or injury. Researchers in Michigan and California have recently reported success in developing polymer nanofiber technologies for understanding how nerves form, why they don’t reconnect after injury, and what can be done to prevent or slow damage. The breakthrough involves growing and myelinating nerve cells along thin polymer nanofibers.

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Mobile app helps migraine suffers track, analyze pain

November 6, 2012 9:42 am | News | Comments

A new iPhone app developed at the University of Michigan lets migraine or facial pain patients easily track and record their pain, which in turn helps the treating clinician develop a pain management plan.

Biofuel breakthrough: Quick cook method turns algae into oil

November 5, 2012 9:55 am | News | Comments

Mother Nature requires a multimillion-year process to produce crude oil. Is she wasting her time? Researchers in Michigan can "pressure-cook" algae for as little as a minute and transform an unprecedented 65% of the green slime into biocrude. The process closely emulates the natural production of crude oil.

Sharing space: Proximity breeds collaboration

October 26, 2012 1:47 pm | by Diane Swanbrow | News | Comments

A new University of Michigan study shows that when researchers share a building, and especially a floor, the likelihood of forming new collaborations and obtaining funding increases dramatically. The findings make sense, but the increases were dramatic—researchers who share floors in the same building are more than 50% more likely to form collaborations than those that don’t share the same buidling.

Better fuel economy: Billions and billions saved

October 15, 2012 12:20 pm | News | Comments

As fuel economy of new vehicles improved 18% over the past five years, billions of gallons of gas and billions of pounds of emissions have been saved, say University of Michigan researchers. To reach these results, the researchers collected fuel data on 61 million new cars, pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs sold in the U.S. since 2007.

Solar wind particles likely source of water locked inside lunar soils

October 15, 2012 11:12 am | News | Comments

The most likely source of the water locked inside soils on the moon's surface is the constant stream of charged particles from the sun known as the solar wind, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues have concluded. Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new laboratory measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.

Smallest and fastest-known RNA switches provide new drug targets

October 8, 2012 9:40 am | News | Comments

A University of Michigan biophysical chemist and his colleagues have discovered the smallest and fastest-known molecular switches made of RNA, the chemical cousin of DNA. The researchers say these rare, fleeting structures are prime targets for the development of new antiviral and antibiotic drugs.

Climate change likely to increase Lake Erie algae blooms and 'dead zones'

September 12, 2012 7:45 am | News | Comments

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of intense spring rain storms in the Great Lakes region throughout this century and will likely add to the number of harmful algal blooms and "dead zones" in Lake Erie, unless additional conservation actions are taken, according to a University of Michigan aquatic ecologist.

Powerful new formulation could replace today’s best military explosive

September 6, 2012 4:41 am | News | Comments

Borrowing a technology used to improve the effectiveness of drugs, scientists at the University of Michigan and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are reporting discovery of a new explosive more powerful than the current state-of-the-art explosive used by the military, and just as safe for personnel to handle.

Math ability requires crosstalk in the brain

August 29, 2012 11:38 am | News | Comments

According to a recent study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity, the strength of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain predicts performance on basic arithmetic problems. The findings shed light on the neural basis of human math abilities and suggest a possible route to aiding those who suffer from dyscalculia—an inability to understand and manipulate numbers.

Oil spill cleanup: Smart filter can strain oil out of water

August 28, 2012 11:46 am | News | Comments

A smart filter with a shape-shifting surface, developed by University of Michigan researchers, can separate oil and water using gravity alone, an advancement that could be useful in cleaning up environmental oil spills, among other applications. The researchers created a filter coating that repels oil but attracts water, bucking conventional materials' properties.

Entropy can lead to order, paving the route to nanostructures

July 26, 2012 10:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers trying to herd tiny particles into useful ordered formations have found an unlikely ally: entropy, a tendency generally described as "disorder." Computer simulations by University of Michigan scientists and engineers show that the property can nudge particles to form organized structures. By analyzing the shapes of the particles beforehand, they can even predict what kinds of structures will form.

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

July 17, 2012 6:08 am | News | Comments

As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

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