Research

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194February 6, 2015

Mosquitoes Ramp Up Immune Defenses After Sucking Blood, Penn Vet Researcher Finds

blurb: 
According to a new study by University of Pennsylvania and Imperial College London researchers, mosquitoes ramp up their immune defenses after consuming blood meals, helping to fight off parasites that blood might contain.

If you were about to enter a crowded subway during flu season, packed with people sneezing and coughing, wouldn’t it be helpful if your immune system recognized the potentially risky situation and bolstered its defenses upon stepping into the train?

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Media Contact:Steve Graff | stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5653February 3, 2015

Sharp, Sustained Increases in Suicides Closely Shadowed Austerity Events in Greece, Penn Study Finds

Sharp and significant increases in suicides followed select financial crisis events and austerity announcements in Greece, from the start of the country’s 2008 recession to steep spending cuts in 2012, Penn Medicine researchers report in a new study published online this week in the British  Medical Journal Open, along with colleagues from Greece and the United Kingdom.

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Media Contact:Steve Graff | stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5653February 3, 2015

Penn Medicine's New Immunotherapy Study Will Pit PD-1 Inhibitor Against Advanced Lung Cancer

Penn Medicine researchers have begun a new immunotherapy trial with the “checkpoint inhibitor” known as pembrolizumab in patients with oligometastatic lung cancer—a state characterized by a few metastases in a confined area—who have completed conventional treatments and are considered free of active disease but remain at a high risk for recurrence.

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Media Contact:Lee-Ann Donegan | leeann.donegan@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5660January 30, 2015

Penn Researchers Show Value of Tissue-Engineering to Repair Major Peripheral Nerve Injuries

Peripheral nerve injury (PNI) is a common consequence of traumatic injuries, wounds caused by an external force or an act of violence, such as a car accident, gun shot or even surgery. In those injuries that require surgical reconstruction, outcomes  can result in partial or complete loss of nerve function and a reduced quality of life. But, researchers at Penn Medicine have demonstrated a novel way to regenerate long-distance nerve connections in animal models using tissue-engineered nerve grafts (TENGs).

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Media Contact:Joseph Diorio | jdiorio@asc.upenn.edu | 215-746-1798February 2, 2015

Self-affirmation Can Boost Acceptance of Health Advice, Penn-led Study Finds

A new discovery shows how a simple intervention—self-affirmation—can open our brains to accept advice that is hard to hear.  

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194February 2, 2015

Penn Professor Shows How ‘Spontaneous’ Social Norms Emerge

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A new study led by the University of Pennsylvania’s Damon Centola provides a scientific explanation for how social conventions – everything from acceptable baby names to standards of professional conduct – can emerge suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, with no external forces driving their creation.

Fifteen years ago, the name “Aiden” was hardly on the radar of Americans with new babies. It ranked a lowly 324th on the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names. But less than a decade later, the name became a favorite, soaring into the top 20 for five years and counting.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194January 29, 2015

Penn Senior Emma Schad Investigates the Politics of Philadelphia’s Parks

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Growing up in Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania senior Emma Schad spent countless days in the city’s parks, enjoying nature within the urban cityscape. Now, as a science, technology and society major with a minor in environmental science, Schad has turned a scholarly eye toward examining how Philadelphia manages its 186 parks.

By Sarah Welsh

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Media Contact:Katie Delach | katie.delach@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5964January 28, 2015

Penn Medicine Study Shows Menopause Does Not Increase or Create Difficulty Sleeping

Women in their late thirties and forties who have trouble sleeping are more than three times more likely to suffer sleep problems during menopause than women who have an easier time getting shut-eye, according to a new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5658January 26, 2015

Penn Study Reveals Possible Therapeutic Target for Common, But Mysterious Brain Blood Vessel Disorder

Tens of millions of people around the world have abnormal, leak-prone sproutings of blood vessels in the brain called cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs). These abnormal growths can lead to seizures, strokes, hemorrhages, and other serious conditions, yet their precise molecular cause has never been determined. Now, cardiovascular scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have studied this pathway in heart development to discover an important set of molecular signals, triggered by CCM-linked gene defects, that potentially could be targeted to treat the disorder.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604January 28, 2015

Penn-led Study: Children With Respiratory Failure Can Be Awake Yet Comfortable in ICU

blurb: 
Standard practice in hospitals is to fully sedate children on ventilators for their comfort and safety, but a new study shows that lighter, more finely-tuned sedation can be just as effective.

For small children, being hospitalized is an especially frightening experience above and beyond the challenges of whatever they are being treated for. They are often connected to a variety of unpleasant tubes and monitors, which they may instinctively try to remove.