Science & Research

Science & Research Roundup: Nov. 10, 2015

By
Science & Research Editor
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Examining misconceptions about appendicitis

Researchers from the Hasbro Children’s Hospital surveyed children suspected to have appendicitis and their parents to examine their perceptions of the condition.

An article recounting their findings was published online Nov. 3 in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery.

When initially surveyed, 82 percent of participants reported that it was “likely” or “very likely” that the appendix would rupture, leading to significant complications and death, according to the study.

In fact, roughly 17 people die from appendicitis each year in the United States — fewer than those killed by lightning strikes or hunting accidents, according to the study.

The researchers aimed to better understand impressions of alternatives to immediate surgery such as antibiotics or antibiotics paired with elective surgery.

After learning about the actual risks of appendicitis, fewer participants believed that immediate surgery was required.

Deforestation decreases require new perspective

A pair of University researchers recently found that in an area of Brazil containing part of the Amazon rainforest, large landowners control much of the remaining forested land, according to a University press release.

In the past, Brazil has had the highest international rate of deforestation. Though this rate has declined, the researchers suggest a shift in perspective to preserve this decrease.

The article, written by Postdoctoral Research Fellow Peter Richards and Associate Professor of Sociology and Environment and Society Leah VanWey, was published online Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The researchers used data from satellites to examine the forest cover in Mato Grosso, the third-largest state in Brazil, according to the press release.

Recent Brazilian government initiatives to prevent deforestation have concentrated on those who own smaller plots but tend to destroy a greater proportion of their property’s forest. The paper argues that the government should pay greater attention to those who own greater expanses of land, as they are in control of more of the total acreage and therefore of more of the remaining forests.

Reloading the matrix

By growing extracellular matrix — a material that supports molecular structure — in specialized molds, University scientists aimed to duplicate the strength and compatibility of the body’s natural equivalent, according to a University press release. An article detailing these findings was published online Nov. 2 in the journal Biomaterials.

Biologically-based extracellular matrix that is grown in other labs is not as strong as that found in the body. To avoid this problem, the researchers aimed to mimic aspects of the in vivo environment that cause the extracellular matrix to grow well in the body, according to the release.

The researchers’ mold-grown matrix, which did not utilize chemicals, proved to be roughly as strong as that in the body, according to the release.

“What we hypothesized is that the cells are making it the same way they do in the body because we’re starting them in a more natural environment,” said Jacquelyn Schell, assistant research professor of molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology, in the press release.