Don’t Teach Anything Without This! The Research Project, Week Forty Four, Utah

This week we feature Provo, Utah’s Brigham Young University, another major university that has remained true to its original religious roots. The school remains dedicated to the following approach to education: “you ought not to teach even the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the Spirit of God.”

Instead of having a plain old research department BYU has an Office of Research and Creative Activities. Here’s what I found going on there.

BYU is in the midst of studying 8500 schools to see if increasing access to nutritious school lunches is the best way to improve students’ performance. Kind of seems like a no-brainer but apparently school administrators are not always willing to spend the money needed for nutritious lunches. Now, hopefully, there will be hard scientific evidence showing that nutritious lunches are the best way to improve students’ performance.

The Impact of Expanding the National School Meals Program on School Performance

In another study, BYU researchers are using funds from the US Department of Agriculture to find ways to grow potatoes without using pesticides.

Establishing a Microbial Community and Soil Biology Baseline for Potato Soil Health

Your gait can say a lot about your overall health. Yet analyzing a person’s gait in a laboratory can be expensive. BYU researchers are working to develop a gait analysis system that uses wearable piezoelcetric sensors.

Mobile Gait Analysis Using Wearable Piezoresponsive Nano-Composite Sensors

When osteoarthritis causes the protective cartilage in our joints to wear down it can be extremely painful. And once the cartilage is gone, it’s gone, leaving us with the choice of living with the pain or having joint replacement surgery. Researchers at BYU are working with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a way to use ultrasound to reverse cartilage degeneration.

A Pilot Trial to Assess Low-Intensity Ultrasound in Osteoarthritis

About 15 million babies are born prematurely each year around the world causing numerous health complications and even death. BYU researchers are working to develop tools that can better detect the likelihood of premature infant delivery.

Integrated Microfluidic Devices for Preterm Birth Biomarker Measurement

And for all you lovers of genetics, here’s an article about an accidental new discovery in the field of genetic disorders. This is one of those articles where it sounds really exciting to someone like me who knows very little about genetics but I have no idea if this is really a game-changer.

If you’d like to read about the connection between age-old fairy tales and modern TV shows check out this BYU professor’s new book called Channeling Wonder.


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