Academics & Research

Research

2014

From genetics to geriatrics, physical therapy to pharmacology: University of Utah Health is making discoveries that are pushing the frontiers of science and medicine. The Driving Discovery blog and News Room feature the latest research highlights.

Scalpel or Scope? Costs Influence Consumers

Consumer price comparison is almost nonexistent in the U.S. health care system, but University surgeons show in a study that when given the choice between a less costly "open" operation or a pricier laparoscopy for their children's appendicitis, parents were almost twice as likely to choose the less expensive procedure - when they were aware of the cost difference.

The study, shows that providing pricing information upfront can influence patient choice of surgical procedures and potentially lead to cost savings in health care, a sector of the economy that accounts for more than 17 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, says Eric R. Scaife, M.D., senior author, associate professor of surgery and chief of pediatric surgery. Surgery resident Katie W. Russell, M.D., is the study's first author.

Mouse Model Provides Window into the Working Brain

University of Utah scientists developed a genetically engineered line of mice that is expected to open the door to new research on epilepsy, Alzheimer's and other diseases.

The mice carry a protein marker, which changes in degree of fluorescence in response to different calcium levels. This will allow researchers to study many cell types, including astrocytes and microglia, in a new way. John White, Ph.D., professor of bioengineering and executive director of the Brain Institute, is corresponding author of the study. Peter Trvdik, Ph.D., a fellow in human genetics, is senior author, and J. Michael Gee, who is pursing and M.D. and graduate degree in bioengineering, is first author.

8,000-Year-Old Mutation Key to Human Life at High Altitude

Researchers long have known of a connection between mitochondrial function and distribution and neural disease, but they hadn’t been able to tell whether a defect occurs because mitochondria isn’t functioning properly or isn’t getting to the right.

Biochemistry professor Janet Shaw, Ph.D., and M.D./Ph.D. student Tammy T. Nguyen led a study that addressed that question and found that when mitochondria weren’t distributed along the spinal cord and axons in mouse models they developed, the animals developed symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.

If Mitochondria Don't Move, Motor Neuron Disease May Develop

Researchers long have known of a connection between mitochondrial function and distribution and neural disease, but they hadn’t been able to tell whether a defect occurs because mitochondria isn’t functioning properly or isn’t getting to the right.

Biochemistry professor Janet Shaw, Ph.D., and M.D./Ph.D. student Tammy T. Nguyen led a study that addressed that question and found that when mitochondria weren’t distributed along the spinal cord and axons in mouse models they developed, the animals developed symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.

Janet Shaw