Top findings from the past month.

Holodeck

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.