McGill Research 2013 Year In Review

By McGill University | Prepared by the Media Relations Office

Big bang swirls hint at universe's birth

Big bang swirls hint at universe’s birth<p>A subtle distortion in the oldest light in the universe may help reveal secrets about the earliest moments in …

Diabetes drug helps women, but may hurt men's hearts

Diabetes drug helps women, but may hurt men’s hearts<p>A commonly prescribed diabetes drug has positive effects on heart function in women, but can …

Expectant dads may need folate, too

A father’s folate levels before conception may be as important as the mother’s for the health of the offspring, according to a new study with …

Birth defects

Men get more bang for health care bucks

A first-ever study of health spending efficiency in 27 industrialized nations shows a significant gender gap, with stronger gains in life expectancy …

Mice raised without fathers are more aggressive

Children raised without a father are at greater risk of deviant behavior later—and girls in particular may be more likely to abuse drugs and …

Shortcut lets brain make memories in a flash

Nerve cells have a special “pre-assembly” technique that enables the brain to quickly form memories.<p>The technique speeds up protein production at …

Snack test links gene to childhood obesity

Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain’s reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. The new study links this …

Childhood Obesity

Waterborne parasite may soon be treatable

By blocking a protective enzyme in the microscopic parasite <i>C. parvum</i>, scientists have made it vulnerable to its host’s immune system.<p>In the …

Low vitamin D raises risk of preterm birth for black moms

African-American and Puerto Rican women who have low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are more likely to go into labor early and give birth to …

300,000 gamers unleashed on genetic science

For the past three years, 300,000 gamers have helped scientists with genomic research by playing Phylo, an online puzzle game.<p>Now Jérôme Waldispühl, …

Gene keeps wheat from sprouting on the stalk

A new way to keep high humidity from damaging wheat crops could save farmers millions of dollars and even lead to better beer, say researchers.<p>The …

Genetics

Aggression in boys may start before birth

Chronic aggressive behavior exhibited by some boys from disadvantaged families may be due to epigenetic changes during pregnancy and early …

How birds got their wings

Birds split from dinosaurs when their front limbs got longer and their back limbs got shorter, according to new research.<p>This change may have been …

Heart attack: 1 in 5 young women have no chest pain

Chest pain is readily recognized as a symptom of heart trouble, but not all women under the age of 55 experience this pain during a heart attack.<p>The …

To fight pollution, China pays rice farmers to grow corn

Rice farming near Beijing has contaminated and tapped the city’s drinking water, but a program that pays farmers to grow corn is reducing both use …

Send DNA 'cages' filled with drugs to sick cells

Tiny structures made of DNA strands may one day offer a way to deliver drugs to diseased cells in patients.<p>Researchers at McGill University first …

Jet lag lets up faster without this protein

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Removing a key protein that regulates the circadian clock could help treat a range of sleep disorders, according to new research with …

Flood of dopamine may fuel desire to drink

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> A pathway in our brains that makes us crave reward goes into high gear when some people take a drink.<p>Compared to people at low risk …

Tiny brain region senses motion ‘on the fly’

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> In new research with implications for motion sickness, scientists have found key neurons that sense unexpected movement.<p>You’re walking …

55 ways to make clinical drug trials more ethical

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> A new set of recommendations could make preclinical studies of potential new drugs more effective, say researchers.<p>Currently, only 11 …

How to churn out a 'greener' margarine

How to churn out a ‘greener’ margarine<p><b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> A new technique replaces heavy metals with iron as a catalyst for hydrogenation, a process used …

Block nerve 'sprouts' to ease arthritis pain

Block nerve ‘sprouts’ to ease arthritis pain<p><b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> The nervous system may play more of a role in arthritis than previously thought, a finding …

Oceans need time to adapt to fast nitrogen cycle

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Scientists have completed the first global study of changes that occurred in a crucial component of ocean chemistry, the nitrogen …

New genes evolve to prevent inbred plants

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Even though a group of plants lost the complex genes for self-pollen recognition, a few other genes have picked up the slack to …

How immune cells single out invaders

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Scientists are trying to understand how immune cells manage to sort through vast numbers of similar-looking proteins within the body …

Mom's education predicts adult kids' depression

Mom’s education predicts adult kids’ depression<p><b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Children of women who didn’t finish high school are twice as likely to experience a …

Astronomers shocked: Neutron star slows down

<b>McGILL U. (CAN) —</b> Neutron stars are known suddenly to begin rotating faster, but researchers say they’ve observed a sudden slowdown in one special …

Permafrost microbe loves salty Arctic ‘veins’

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Scientists have discovered a bacterium in the Canadian High Arctic that thrives at -15º Celsius—temperatures nearly as cold as the …

Permafrost

Daily calcium linked to longer life in women

<b>MCGILL (CAN) —</b> Women who consume 1,000 mg of calcium a day—regardless if consumed in food or supplements—may live longer, new research …