From the health of coral reefs off the coast of Abu Dhabi to the rotation habits of distant stars to modern hiring biases against women—NYU researchers tackled a vast array of scientific, social, and cultural questions this semester.

images of an mri, a beeker, and a microspe

SUMMER

• A Silver School researcher found that a patient's "illness narrative" offers key insights into their mental health—and can be critical to keeping young adults invested in their own healing.

• A Meyers College of Nursing study shows that high school students who use heroin are also taking, on average, five drugs at the same time. The findings suggest that how we look at overall drug use may help with prevention.

• NYU Meyers' research explored how more and more people are using hallucinogenic healing to alleviate depression, anxietyPTSD, and addiction—as well as the underground community that is helping to administer the drugs in ceremonies.

• Bisexual men have a higher risk for heart disease compared to heterosexual men—with mental distress and obesity among the most common increased risk factors. Researchers say the study underscores the importance of disaggregating analyses for gay and bisexual participants.

• NYU's Center for the Study of Human Origins found that orangutans are more ecologically and behaviorally resilient than believed, and are able to live in human influenced environments.

• A team of NYU scientists captured a four-mile iceberg breaking away from Greenland's Helheim Glacier. The phenomenon, known as calving, can result in rising sea levels.

• A Steinhardt study on the Chicago Readiness Project found that early childhood programs positively affected academic achievement in teenagers.

• New analysis using data scraping tools, created by NYU Tandon and Shanghai researchers, showed President Donald Trump was the top spender of political ads on Facebook, followed by Planned Parenthood.

• How we interpret emotions in another person depends on our pre-conceived beliefs, according to research at the Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science. The findings may have implications on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

• A Steinhardt study shows that as people grow older, they experience more difficulties swallowing. Known as dysphagia, the condition can result in malnutrition, pneumonia, and choking.

• Using facial recognition software, NYU primate biologists in the Department of Anthropology helped uncover the inspiration behind Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.

• A new method using genetic sequencing can help determine the effectiveness of interventions—such as needle exchange—in reducing the spread of HIV transmission.

• Baseball was once dubbed "America's pastime," but marathon games have contributed to a decrease in viewership. To spur new interest and competition, NYU researchers devised the "catch-up rule," which aims to reduce the number of outs the leading team is allowed during at-bats.

• The Department of Psychology analyzed how we determine what—or who—is beautiful. Their research could change not only consumer marketing, but our own perceptions.

• Our brains have an "auto-correct" feature that can reinterpret ambiguous sounds, scientists at NYU Abu Dhabi found.

• We don’t just judge books by their cover. How we all determine if a person is friendly or competent is based on our own pre-existing beliefs.

SEPTEMBER

• Opioid users often rely on public bathrooms, making store and restaurant staff members among the first to encounter those who have overdosed. In a new study, NYU researchers trained service-industry workers on how to identify and treat overdoses, including administering naloxone.

• New research shows that switching between different languagesis easier than previously thought. The findings pinpoint what neural activity is associated with "turning off" one language and "turning on" another. "In all, these results suggest that the burden of language-switching lies in disengagement from the previous language as opposed to engaging a new language," explains Esti Blanco-Elorrieta, an NYU doctoral candidate and the lead author of the study.

• NYU scientists suggest that using verbs to encourage children is more effective than using nouns. When faced with tasks that included setbacks, children who were asked "to help" instead of "be helpers" were more persistent in completing the assigned task.

Marijuana use among baby boomers is becoming more prevalent, according to a study at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Nine percent of adults aged 50-64 reported using marijuana in the past year—a figure that has doubled since 2006.

• A new study challenges the notion that the United States has greater social mobility than other Western industrialized countries. The research found that the occupational status of an American worker is more reflective of their parents than previously believed.

• Researchers have found that sun-like stars rotate up to 2.5 times faster at the equator than at higher latitudes. "This is very unexpected, and challenges current numerical simulations, which suggest that stars like these should not be able to sustain differential rotation of this magnitude," says Othman Benomar, research associate at the NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Space Science and lead author of the study.

• NYU researchers studied how hearing loss affects the likelihood of hospital readmission. Among patients aged 65 and older, those who experienced difficulty communicating with medical personnel had a 32 percent increase in the likelihood of being readmitted within 30 days.

OCTOBER

• A College of Global Public Health and Tandon study found that text messages can be used to quickly gather information during a public health crisis. Researchers analyzed how people utilized maternal health services in real time during an Ebola outbreak.

“Sourcing data from individuals directly, such as through mobile phones, has the potential to provide windows into public health phenomena, especially during an acute situation,” says NYU professor Rumi Chunara.

• The Silver School of Social Work is testing out a new VR simulation training program that takes students through New York City’s Lower East Side to assess the environment, identify resources, and prepare for challenges.

• If you’ve ever driven in Manhattan, you’ve likely experienced unexpected changes in your route. The same is true for the steps our cells take in response to challenges, according to new research by NYU biologists. Scientists say insight into these alternative paths may offer new information on treating diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

• Adjusting the auto industry’s fuel-efficiency standards to those applied to fertilizer production could yield $5–8 billion dollars in economic benefits per year by 2030, researchers found. Benefits include environmental and human health gains as well as greater farmer and industry profits.

• A research team from the School of Medicine and Department of Chemistry found that a new type of molecule reduced the growth of prostate cancer cells in cultures by 95 percent compared to untreated cells. 

“Rather than continue making compounds that are just like older drugs, the focus of our work has been to rethink the definition of what a drug-like molecule can be,” says professor Susan Logan said.

• New research led by Steinhardt professor Adam Buchwald found that stroke patients with aphasia—the loss of ability to understand or express speech—benefitted from robotic arm rehabilitation, which is normally used to treat impaired motor function in the arm, wrist, or shoulder after a stroke.

“While this is an initial finding that should be interpreted cautiously, it remains exciting to consider the possibility that stroke rehabilitation in one domain would improve performance in another domain,” says Buchwald.

• College of Dentistry and Steinhardt Department of Nutrition and Food Studies students have been partnering for years to provide overall nutrition education to children and their caregivers. For Halloween and the holidays ahead, they offered a series of tips on how to maintain good oral and general health.

• As part of the NYU Holodeck Project, Ken Perlin’s Future Reality Lab in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences is testing three-dimensional animation software called “Chalktalk,” which lets you draw in midair. And a new VR prototype, called “The Cave,” allows you to go to the movies with friends—without leaving home.

NOVEMBER

• NYU Abu Dhabi researchers have found that corals can resist disease by controlling their surroundings with the production of unique molecules that recruit healthy microbiomes and fight parasitic microbes.

• NYU neuroscientists have gathered data on how humans retain information vital to good decision making. While existing research suggests that forgetfulness over a prolonged period of time results in making poor decisions, the NYU model found that the passage of time did not result in significant memory loss.

“Our results are at odds with the predictions of many existing models and favor models that are largely invariant to passage of time.” said Roozbeh Kiani, professor in the NYU Center for Neural Science and the paper’s senior author.  “This will focus our search for the neural circuits that underlie real-world decisions.”

• A team of scientists have discovered a new star system—dubbed “Apep”—an estimated 8,000 light years away from Earth. Apep’s dust “pinwheel” moves slower than the wind in its system, raising new questions about how stars die.

• Spotting fake news may be harder than anticipated. NYU researchers found that the Russian troll group Internet Research Agency (IRA) was more inclined to share real local news on Twitter—rather than their own fake news—in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

“We suspect that the IRA relied so heavily on local news sources because they believed that Americans trust their local media outlets more than other sources,” said Leon Yin, a research scientist at the Social Media and Political Participation lab.

• New technology at the College of Dentistry allows researchers to test water for 71 elements in just seconds. The results gathered from the mass spectrometer are used to create a “fingerprint” that can trace liquid back to its environmental origin—which may provide further insights on both climate change and nutrition.

DECEMBER

• Steinhardt professor Clancy Blair and his colleagues found that infants and toddlers in low income, rural areas may be at a higher risk for second- and third-hand smoke than previously reported.

“Our results, if supported by future studies, can help educate parents and caregivers, as well as improve prevention programs that seek to reduce children’s smoke exposure,” Blair said.

• Statistics show that the intellectual achievements of women and girls have matched or surpassed those of boys and men. Despite that, a new NYU study reveals bias against women and girls for jobs or activities that require intellectual ability. The research also found that both men and women showed comparable levels of gender bias when it comes to referring females for these types of jobs.

• Researchers from Tandon and NYU’s Center for Neural Science have solved a longstanding puzzle of how to predict the sensitivity of graphene electrodes—a single, atom-thin sheet of carbon. The findings have implications for drug development and may replace optical methods for measuring biological samples, including DNA.