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Research Roundup

Acetaminophen use increases risk

Dr. Roland Walter, assistant professor of medicine and researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found that people in the Vitamins and Lifestyle study who used acetaminophen at least four days a week over four years had almost a twofold increased risk for some blood cancers.

Tracking home appliance use

Shwetak Patel, assistant professor of Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and his students have developed intelligent in-home sensors that allow people to see what appliances are using energy and take measures to reduce their use of it or to unplug the appliances that consume energy when not in use.

Don’t drink with your teen

Richard Catalano, professor of Social Work and director of the Social Development Research Group, surveyed 2000 7th and 9th graders in Washington state and Australia. Youths who were allowed to drink with an adult present had increased levels of alcohol use and were more likely to have experienced harmful consequences by the ninth grade.

HIV medication shows promise in Africa

Connie Celum, UW professor of Global Health and Medicine, was principal investigator on a study in Uganda and Kenya that showed individuals at high risk for HIV infection who took a daily tablet that contained an HIV medication had significantly fewer HIV infections compared with those who received a placebo.

Sensorimotor Neural Research Center opens

The National Science Foundation announced in July a five-year $18.5 million grant to the UW to base an Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering on the Seattle campus. Researchers will develop new technologies for amputees, people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

Number of poor children climbing

More children are poor since the War on Poverty began more than 40 years ago. Robert Plotnick, professor of Public Affairs, found that the poverty rate among children was 20.1 percent, 50 percent higher than in 1969. Oxford University Press will publish Plotnick’s research in mid-2012.

Low-income households may not bear burden

Robert Plotnick and Jennifer Roach, associate professor of Social Work, published a study showing that when all low-income households were considered, not just ones using the 520 bridge, a household earning $15,600 annually would pay $10.50 of its annual income in tolls compared with $63 for households earning $76,350.

That cuppa Joe has benefits

Paul Nghiem, associate professor of dermatology and pathology, and colleagues at the School of Medicine have discovered how caffeine guards against certain skin cancers that are induced by ultraviolet light. In a study Nghiem found that caffeine protects against non-melanoma skin cancers by eliminating pre-cancerous cells from the skin.

Polar ice caps can recover

Researchers used a computer-generated global climate model to reflect accurately the rate of sea-ice loss under current climate conditions. While the highly sensitive model takes several more centuries of warming to completely lose winter sea ice there is no “tipping point,” or threshold warm temperature beyond which the sea ice cannot recover if temperatures come back down.

Younger sibs have higher risk

Parents of a child with an autism spectrum disorder face a 19 percent chance of having additional children diagnosed with the disorder, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at the UW Autism Center. The study highlights the importance of carefully monitoring the early development of younger siblings of children with the disorder.

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