Science & Research

Science & Research Roundup: April 16, 2014

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Science & Research Editor
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Drug addiction takes similar form as AIDS epidemic

Today’s epidemic of addiction to opioid drugs bears a striking likeness to the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and efforts to deal with the problem can be improved through similar interventions, according to a report by a team including two University researchers. The study was published online in advance of print release in the American Journal of Medicine.

Just like HIV/AIDS patients, people suffering from addiction tend to be young and previously healthy individuals, and their care has been influenced by a public perception that only certain groups are affected, according to the report.

Though the death toll from unintentional drug overdoses is similar to that from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, so far the response to opioid dependency — the United States’ fastest-growing drug problem — has been less effective, according to a Lifespan press release.

The rise of HIV/AIDS 30 years ago prompted an unusual public health response, which focused on human rights and included not only biomedical advances but also community advocacy and activism, the researchers noted in the report.

The study’s authors, which included Traci Green, assistant professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology, and Josiah Rich, professor of medicine and epidemiology, called for a similar multi-pronged approach to addressing the addiction and overdose epidemic. They recommended increased education for the medical community, ­better access to evidence-based treatment, reformulation of pain medications and broader access to the drug naloxone, which can reverse overdose.

 

Hot mantle areas cause high mid-ocean ridges

Temperature differences deep in the Earth’s mantle control the height of mid-ocean ridges, the vast mountain ranges snaking along the ocean floor, according to a report published April 4 in the journal Science.

Researchers led by Colleen Dalton, assistant professor of geological sciences, set out to determine why some mid-ocean peaks remain miles below the ocean’s surface while others have higher elevations, even rising above the water level in places like Iceland, according to a University press release.

Researchers looked at speeds of seismic waves caused by hundreds of earthquakes and compared that data to information on elevation and rock chemistry. They found that hotter temperatures in the Earth’s mantle led to higher ridges, while areas with cooler mantle temperatures had lower peaks, according to the press release.

“It is clear from our results that what’s being erupted at the ridges is controlled by temperature deep in the mantle,” Dalton said in the release. “It resolves a long-standing controversy and has not been shown definitively before.”

The composition of the magma forming the ridges was less important in determining the peaks’ height, the release said.

   

Africana studies graduate student wins year-long fellowship

Nicosia Shakes GS will travel to Jamaica to spend a year exploring how theater can inspire women to engage in grassroots projects, according to a University press release.

She received the Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship, which will fund her research at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies Regional Coordinating Unit at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. The organization awards fellowships to graduate students who have conducted high-level thesis research in the areas of physical sciences, social sciences or other disciplines related to developmental studies in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the group’s website.

Shakes’ project, entitled “Mobilizing Women through Performance in Jamaica: A Study of Sistren Theatre Collective,” will be incorporated into her dissertation. Her research has also explored the Garvey movement and Pan-Africanism and the ways political ideology can be expressed through creative arts, according to her Brown research page.

Congress founded the IAF in 1969 to provide development help to citizens of poorer areas of Latin America and the Caribbean or interest groups seeking to support them. The organization offers fellowships in collaboration with the Institute of International Education, according to the IAF website.

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