In case you missed it, Science Life has a new home at The Forefront, a science, health and wellness news and information website for the University of Chicago Medicine, the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine.
Be sure to visit the Forefront’s dedicated research and discoveries channel to read about our basic science and biomedical discoveries. We will be launching a newsletter to bring you the latest updates soon, but in the meantime here’s what you may have missed this week:
Researchers at the University of Chicago recently analyzed the generic substitution rates of oral contraceptives (OCPs) and the associated costs in the U.S for the period of January 2010-December 2014. While the rates of prescribing generic OCPs increased during this period, there was no decrease in the costs associated with brand OCPs. In most cases, brand OCPs had generic options available. The study authors determined that substituting brand OCPs with these generic options would have saved $751 million in out-of-pocket costs during the study period.
The paucity of pediatric cancer cases has created barriers for researchers. Fewer cases mean fewer technological advancements in treatment driven by synthesizing “big data.” And, the pediatric data that do exist are often hard for scientists to access and analyze. But, University of Chicago researchers are hoping to shift this paradigm by creating a comprehensive Pediatric Cancer Data Commons (PCDC) that centralizes data and makes it easily accessible to the entire research community.
In a new study, published this week in the journal Current Biology, scientists from the University of Chicago show that some neurons in bird brains form the same kind of circuitry and have the same molecular signature as cells that enable connectivity between different areas of the mammalian neocortex. The researchers found that alligators share these cell types as well, suggesting that while mammal, bird and reptile brains have very different anatomical structures, they operate using the same shared set of brain cell types.
To explore the molecular challenges of sepsis treatment, Chase Cockrell and Gary An of the University of Chicago employed a computational model of the human immune system, which they had previously developed specifically to investigate systemic inflammation. The model simulates how immune system cells and signaling molecules behave during sepsis, as well as the effects of disrupting various parts of these processes.