Research

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604January 21, 2010

Language Structure Is Partly Determined by Social Structure, Says Penn Psychology Study

PHILADELPHIA –- Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Memphis have released a new study on linguistic evolution that challenges the prominent hypothesis for why languages differ throughout the world.

The study argues that human languages may adapt more like biological organisms than previously thought and that the more common and popular the language, the simpler its construction to facilitate its survival.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604January 20, 2010

Penn Biologists Explain How Organisms Can Tolerate Mutations, Yet Adapt and Survive Environmental Change

PHILADELPHIA –- Biologists at the University of Pennsylvania studying the processes of evolution appear to have resolved a longstanding conundrum: How can organisms be robust against the effects of mutations yet simultaneously adaptable when the environment changes?

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | juliemcw@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422January 19, 2010

Spikes in News Coverage of HPV, Cervical Cancer Linked to Increased Knowledge, but Important Information Omitted

 

PHILADELPHIA -– In the months surrounding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the human papillomavirus vaccine, an increase in the volume of news coverage was associated with changes in the public’s knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer. However, a new study reveals that many news stories were missing important information, including the sexually transmitted nature of the disease.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604January 5, 2010

Penn Study Shows Antidepressants Work Best for Severe Depression, Provide Little to No Benefit Otherwise

PHILADELPHIA –- A study of 30 years of antidepressant-drug treatment data published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo may be minimal or nonexistent in patients with mild or moderate symptoms. University of Pennsylvania researchers say, however, the benefit of medications is substantial for patients with very severe depression.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 21, 2009

Genetic Study Led by University of Pennsylvania and Cornell Clarifies African and African-American Ancestry

PHILADELPHIA –- People who identify as African-American may be as little as 1 percent West African or as much as 99 percent, just one finding of a large-scale, genome-wide study of African and African-American ancestry released today.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 14, 2009

Antidepressants May Change Personality, Leading to Reduced Depression, Says Penn Collaboration

PHILADELPHIA –- Examining data obtained from a University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University psychology study, researchers at these universities and Northwestern University have reported the first placebo-controlled evidence that antidepressant medications—particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs—can substantially change patients’ personalities. The personality changes also appeared to be linked to long-term improvements in mood.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 14, 2009

Penn Researchers Find Reproductive Germ Cells Survive and Thrive In Transplants, Even Among Species

PHILADELPHIA –- Reproductive researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have succeeded in isolating and transplanting pure populations of the immature cells that enable male reproduction in two species—human spermatogonia and mouse gonocytes. These germline stem cells, taken from testis biopsies, demonstrated viability following transplantation to mouse testes within a controlled laboratory setting.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 10, 2009

Penn, Georgia Collaboration Awarded $14.6 Million to Expand Pathogen Database, Expedite Worldwide Research

PHILADELPHIA -– Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Georgia have been awarded a five-year, $14.6 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the US National Institutes of Health, to expand and extend work on the Eukaryotic Pathogen Genome Database Resource, http://EuPathDB.org. This revolutionary open database enables scientists to examine genes, genomes, isolates, and other attributes related to a variety of important human pathogens.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 2, 2009

Sea Level Is Rising Along U.S. Atlantic Coast, According to Data Analysis by Penn Environmental Scientists

PHILADELPHIA –- An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that sea-level rise along the Atlantic Coast of the United States was 2 millimeters faster in the 20th century than at any time in the past 4,000 years.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 1, 2009

Penn Scientists Conduct Novel, 10,000-Year Study of Strata Compaction and Sea-Level Rise on English Coast

PHILADELPHIA –- Environmental scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Durham University have employed a novel combination of geological and model reconstructions of wetland environments during a 10,000-year period to address spatial variations in sea-level history and provide quantitative estimates of subsidence along the east coast of England.