From creating new knowledge on everyday concerns like the effects of screens on aging to intractable illnesses like Alzheimer’s and autism, OSU scientists and students are diving deep into some of the hardest biomedical questions to build a better, healthier world.
Blue light affects aging
New research by Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz, professor of zoology in the Department of Integrated Biology, suggests that blue light, such as that which emanates from your phone, computer and household fixtures, damages cells in the brains and retinas and may affect human longevity. The study looked at the effects of blue light on common fruit flies and was published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease in October 2019.
“Designing a healthier spectrum of light might be a possibility not just in terms of sleeping better but in terms of overall health,” says Eileen Chow, faculty research assistant and co-first author of the study. In the meantime, there are ways to protect yourself from the effects of blue light: Phones, laptops and other devises can be set to block blue emissions, and wearing eyeglasses with amber lenses that filter blue light will protect your retinas.
Hops can help combat metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is associated with cognitive dysfunction and dementia and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. An estimated 35% of U.S. adults suffer from metabolic syndrome. New research from biochemist Adrian Gombart suggests that compounds from hops may combat metabolic syndrome by changing the gut microbiome and altering the acids produced in the liver. Together, these changes are indicators of improved energy, glucose and cholesterol metabolism.
Grant to study possible link between microbiome and autism
In the U.S., roughly one in 70 children has autism. Maude David, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, is part of a two-year, $1.94 million grant to identify possible connections between the human microbiome and autism spectrum disorder. The goal is to use data from the microbiome to find new treatments for autism. David will collaborate with Stanford University School of Medicine and Second Genome, a company based in California, on the project funded by a federal Small Business Innovation Research grant.