Welcome to LabBook, our weekly roundup of University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences research news from around campus and the world wide web. Each Friday, LabBook will recap the week on the blog, link to news stories about our faculty and studies, and briefly summarize a handful of recent publications by our researchers.
LAST TWO WEEKS ON THE BLOG
The cure for all cancers may not be hidden in the root of some plant deep in the rainforest, but Wei Du and his colleagues from the Ben May Department for Cancer Research have found an extract from a relative of ginseng that can kill colon cancer cells while sparing the healthy ones around them.
Carole Ober and her team have spent decades studying the Hutterites, an isolated, communal society, to learn about the genetics of disease. You’d think they would’ve learned everything there is to know about the Hutterites by now, but grad student Jessica Chong sequenced the genomes of hundreds of Hutterites and found that they may still carry up to 30 genetic mutations that have yet to be discovered.
Last Friday we held our first event for Chicago Ideas Week in the beautiful Sky Lobby of our new Center for Care and Discovery. Experts on neurological medicine, including Jeffrey Frank, Issam Awad and Peter Warnke, talked about the future of neuroscience, and Kyle Hogarth spoke about his work using a bronchoscope to provide detailed images of the lungs to root out cancer.
We’ve known for a long time that eating too much red meat can lead to heart disease, obesity and other health problems. Now Brisa Aschebrook-Kilfoy and Brian Chiu have provided another reason to cut back on the burgers and steaks. Using a population-based survey of eating habits and genetic data, they found that eating more meat was linked to an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
RESEARCH IN THE NEWS
We’ve covered plenty of research on this blog about the health problems associated with not getting enough sleep. This week, Matthew Brady from the committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition strengthened the case for a good night’s sleep yet again. He found that lack of sleep can disrupt the ability of the body’s fat cells to respond to insulin, which can start a chain of events leading to weight gain, liver damage and type 2 diabetes. The study was widely covered in the media, including USA Today and NPR.
Finally, last November we wrote about the pilot project developed by Shantanu Nundy for sending text messages to patients with diabetes to remind them to take medications, check their blood sugar or watch their diet. Now the study is up and running with employees at the University of Chicago Medicine, and was featured by CBS 2 Chicago.