Divorce is associated with an increased risk of future depressive episodes but only for those who already have a history of depression, according to a new University of Arizona-led study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
"Stressful life events like divorce are associated with significant risk for prolonged emotional distress, including clinically significant depression," said psychological scientist and lead researcher David Sbarra, associate professor of psychology at the UA. "At the same time, we know from considerable research that the experience of divorce is non-random. Some people are much greater risk for experiencing a divorce than other people."
This led Sbarra and colleagues to wonder: Is it divorce, or the factors leading to divorce – such as marital discord, neuroticism, or hostility – that increase the risk for depression?
To investigate this question, the researchers took advantage of data from the longitudinal, nationally representative Midlife Development in the United States, or MIDUS, study. The researchers matched each participant who had separated or divorced during the study to a continuously married person in the study who had the same propensity to divorce, based on a number of previously identified factors. By comparing participants to their match, the researchers were able to account for the fact that it's impossible to randomly assign people to divorce or stay married.
In line with previous research, the results showed that divorce had a significant effect on subsequent depression.
But, as Sbarra and colleagues found, the full story was a bit more complex.
Specifically, divorce or separation only increased the likelihood of a later depressive episode for those participants who reported a history of depression. In fact, nearly 60 percent of adults with a history of depression who divorced during the study experienced a depressive episode at the follow-up assessment.
For all other participants – including those who had a history of depression but hadn't divorced, and those who divorced but had no history of depression – there was no elevated risk for a future depressive episode. Only about 10 percent of these people experienced a depressive episode at follow-up.
The magnitude of the difference between the two groups – 60 percent versus 10 percent – surprised the researchers.
"These findings are very important because they affirm the basic notion that most people are resilient in the face of divorce and that we do not see severe disorder among people without a history of a past depressive illness," Sbarra said. "If you've never experienced a significant depression in your life and you experience a separation or divorce, your odds for becoming depressed in the future are not that large at all."
The findings suggest that separation and divorce may exacerbate underlying risk but don't, in and of themselves, increase rates of depression. It's possible, the researchers speculate, that people with a history of depression have a limited capacity to cope with the demands of the transition out of marriage, but they caution that the specific mechanisms have yet to be explored.
"Do these people blame themselves for the divorce? Do they ruminate more about the separation? Are they involved in a particularly acrimonious separation? These questions deserve much greater attention," Sbarra said.
Sbarra and colleagues also note that the research can't speak to potentially interesting differences between those adults who separate versus those who divorce, since the two categories were combined in the study.
Nonetheless, the researchers believe the new findings have significant clinical implications.
"It is very important for clinicians to know that a person's history of depression is directly related to whether or not they will experience a depressive episode following the end of marriage," Sbarra said. "People with a history of depression who become divorced deserve special attention for support and counseling services."Editor: Alexis BlueByline: University CommunicationsExtra Info:
In addition to Sbarra, co-authors include Robert Emery, Christopher Beam, and Bailey Ocker of the University of Virginia.
The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging
The University of Arizona has been nationally recognized for its leadership in sustainability after incorporating green initiatives into its varsity and campus recreation sports facilities, events and programs.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, released its Collegiate Game Changer report Aug. 26 at the Green Sports Alliance Summit in New York City. The report includes in-depth case studies of 10 leading universities, including the UA.
"The University of Arizona has been recognized several times over the past few years as a leader in sustainability in higher education," said Joe Abraham, director of the UA Office of Sustainability.
"By working with Intercollegiate Athletics, Campus Recreation and all the UA units and programs that support their facilities, and events, we're extending our campus goals to the tens of thousands of fans already engaging with the University through UA sports.”
The online report also includes results of the largest survey to date of green initiatives associated with college sports events and facilities in the U.S. The survey was administered by the UA Office of Sustainability with the support of the NRDC, the Green Sports Alliance, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation.
The survey yielded responses from 148 colleges and universities, most of them in the U.S., and reveals steps that higher education institutions are taking to be more sustainable in areas including alternative transportation, composting, energy efficiency, green building design, recycling, renewable energy and water efficiency, among others.
"It's the best snapshot to date of all the various programs," said Abraham, who said that the study was designed to "figure out who's doing what, and figure out what they're doing in terms of incorporating sustainability into sports and recreation."
Abraham said the survey results help advance sustainability efforts and best practices in collegiate and professional sports facilities, events and programs by incorporating and building upon initiatives that the UA has undertaken to "green" its sports and recreation programs.
The Student Recreation Center earned LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green building Council, which maintains nationally accepted standards for green building and design. Platinum is the highest LEED rating a building can achieve, and the UA's recreation center was the first facility of its kind in the nation to earn the platinum rating.
"Facilities like the Student Recreation Center can become a showcase for positive change," said Lynn Zwaagstra, director of Campus Recreation.
"Numerous UA departments collaborate to assist with design efforts to create every efficiency possible. Students have a tremendous interest in actions that positively impact the environment and often generate creative and innovative ideas," Zwaagstra added. "They take pride in assisting by recycling and using the water bottle fill stations instead of purchasing plastic water bottles."
In addition, students have partnered with UA Facilities Management at home football games to institute recycling programs and engage fans in sustainable practices. In 2011, collaborators diverted more than 25 tons of recyclables from the landfill at six home games, and they hope to do much more with the continued cooperation of UA fans.
"Arizona Athletics is proud to partner with our campus sustainability team and is excited to help advance best practices nationally through the Green Sports Alliance," said Greg Byrne, UA athletics director. "We know that taking care of the environment is a passion for our fan base and our campus and we are excited to pursue all options that enhance the recycling efforts and a healthier lifestyle."
Zwaagstra also noted that the UA's Office of Sustainability "plays an integral role in all university sustainability efforts. Through their education, outreach and grant program, we all become more knowledge and better able to assist in the collective goal of greening facilities."
The UA Office of Sustainability also is conducting original research that will advance new standards for assessing and reducing the environmental footprint of large events at the UA, and elsewhere around the world.
Said Abraham: "We're using the 2012 and 2013 UA Homecoming weekends to develop a comprehensive 'cradle-to-grave' framework for assessing and reduce the environmental footprint of so-called mega events with several tens of thousands of attendees. We plan to publish our research next year so the transferable framework can be applied elsewhere."
The assessment has been led by graduate and undergraduate student researchers in the Office of Sustainability with support from Abraham and professors from the College of Engineering and Eller College of Management.
"We have so many fans," Abraham added, "that through these efforts we are able to have a positive impact in the larger community. And we have fun with it, too."Editor: Alexis BlueWriter: Shelley LittinByline: Shelley LittinByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
College students who regularly engage in vigorous exercise get better grades, according to a widely reported study presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.
That's good news for students at the University of Arizona, which offers myriad opportunities for participation in sports and activities – from team basketball to ultimate Frisbee.
Such activities offer friendly competition, social interaction and the added benefit of a fun way to exercise.
And the UA now boasts a new on-campus recreational venue, the Cherry Street Field, which will be used for a variety of intramural and club sports while also providing drop-in leisure opportunities for the entire campus community.
"I think intramural sports provides students a number of opportunities – a way to fight off the 'freshman 15,' a way to remain active and involved and a great way to meet new people," said Mirum Washington-White, UA senior assistant director of sports for Campus Recreation.
The intramural sports program at Campus Recreation offers activities for students, faculty and staff who want to exercise, develop lifetime interests in quality leisure activities and gain an appreciation of cultural diversity through recreational play.
The campus community has more than 20 options to participate in sports leagues and various tournaments throughout the year.
Men's, women's and co-recreational divisions are offered at three skill levels. League play includes teams formed from classes, through residence halls and campus organizations.
And for individuals new to campus, intramural sports offer an excellent way to make new friends.
Activities include flag football, soccer, volleyball, table tennis, tennis, inner-tube water polo, floor hockey and others. Tournament and social leagues include swimming, basketball, dodge ball, sports trivia and racquetball, among others.
"I truly believe in the old adage that sports are the great equalizer," Washington-White said.
"Participants are going to interact and compete with the people across the field from them, but at the end of the day, whether they won or lost, they're going to shake hands feeling better about themselves and feeling better about meeting someone new," he said.
Cherry Street Field Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Construction of the regulation-sized soccer field, the Cherry Street Field, began in January 2013.
The new facility features a 750-seating capacity, a scoreboard, lighting, sound system and other amenities. Contributing to the UA's commitment to sustainability, the field is irrigated with reclaimed water and uses water retention areas, designed into the landscaping on the north and south ends of the field, to collect runoff.
Also, for the first time, Campus Recreation will be able to offer informal, drop-in participation in an outdoor setting, said Lynn Zwaagstra, director of Campus Recreation.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the field will be held Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. just east of the UA Student Recreation Center, 1400 E. Sixth St.
"Campus recreation is excited to debut the Cherry Street Field as a great new amenity for the campus community," Zwaagstra said. "The addition of this sports field on main campus will add tremendous value to hundreds of student-athletes playing in club sports, and allow many students to participate in intramurals who may not have been able to travel off campus to participate."Editor: Alexis BlueWriter: George HumphreyByline: George HumphreyByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsExtra Info:
For more information about intramural sports, call 520-621-8749 or vsit http://campusrec.arizona.edu/intramurals.Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA campus leadership will host an Aug. 26 ribbon cutting for the Cherry Street Field and Campus Health offers on-campus access for intramural, club sports and drop-in leisure opportunities. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Millions of people suffer from sinus problems, which can be tough to treat. When sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal sinuses, is chronic, it can be debilitating and life-threatening.
Dr. Alexander Chiu and his team at The University of Arizona Medical Center are specializing in these challenging complex cases, helping the division to earn recognition as one of the nation's top programs.
Out of about 5,000 U.S. hospitals, UAMC was ranked No. 30 in ENT by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals list of 2013-14.
And Chiu, professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in the UA Department of Surgery, was named one of the 2013 Best Doctors in America.
For patient James Dean, 66, the national ranking isn't high enough.
"They should be No. 1," said Dean, who suffered debilitating sinusitis for 15 years before Chiu performed minimally invasive sinus surgery that changed his life.
"I have never had more confidence in a doctor than I did in Dr. Chiu at our first meeting," Dean said. "My headaches are gone. I have my sense of smell back. I sleep better. I work better. Without Dr. Chiu I would still be sniffling and snuffling and on steroids."
Dean developed allergies after he and his family moved to Tucson from Illinois in 1980. He developed polyps, which prevented him from breathing properly.
"My nose was so plugged that my ears would pop when I swallowed," said Dean, a land surveyor. "My nose ran constantly. It got so bad at work I would turn out the lights, close the door and lie down under my desk.”
Steroids shrank the polyps, but they grew back. He tried surgery, but the relief was short-lived. Dean developed sinus infections and headaches that put him out of commission. His community ENT said further surgery was possible, but it would require opening his skull. "I would have had a big old bumpy scar across my forehead."
However, when a pre-surgery scan revealed erosion of the bone between the brain and the sinuses, Dean's doctor sent him to Chiu. The greatest concern was that Dean could suffer from a dangerous complication, such as meningitis.
"Although we think of sinusitis as a fairly benign problem, its location can make it potentially a very serious problem," Chiu said. "Your sinuses are right next to your eyeballs and your brain. You can have a serious eye or brain condition that started with a sinus infection."
Instead of opening his skull, Chiu went through Dean's nose and drilled open his frontal sinus, removing polyps and allowing it to drain. "He is now safe from having an infection in his brain," Chiu said.
Recovery from the three-hour outpatient surgery was fairly simple. Endoscopic surgery, Chiu's specialty, results in no facial scars, less pain and easier recovery.
"The operation was on a Wednesday and by Saturday I was at estate sales," said Dean, who along with Laurie, his wife of 46 years, is an avid collector of artwork by Tucson artists.
He said he feels great and is infection free.
Author of the textbooks, "Atlas of Endoscopic Sinus" and "Skull Base Surgery and Sinonasal Tumor," Chiu is also editor-in-chief of the leading journal on sinus disease, American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy. He came from the University of Pennsylvania three years ago to start the UA's otolaryngology division.
"I was tasked with building something from scratch," Chiu said. "I came in with a very determined plan to make this one of the best programs in the country.
"What I wanted to do was to focus on the tough ENT cases and these tend to focus around head and neck cancer, revision surgeries (surgeries that have been done two and three times) and complex ear surgeries," he added.
Chiu has recruited national experts to the program, which now has seven surgeons. Among them: Dr. Abraham Jacob, director of the UA Ear Institute; and also Dr. Audrey Baker Erman and Dr. Thomas J. Gernon, head and neck cancer experts specializing in reconstructive surgery.
"From life-saving surgeries for head and neck cancer, to advanced treatments for chronic sinus problems, to helping deaf patients regain the ability to hear, our faculty in the Division of Otolaryngology are committed to improving the quality of life in our community and beyond," said Dr. Rainer W.G. Gruessner, professor and the UA Department of Surgery chairman.
And the department is equipped to handle the most difficult cases, including that of Aundrea Aragon who made international headlines in 2012 when Chiu and Dr. Michael Lemole, chief of the Division of Neurosurgery, teamed up to repair cracks in the back wall of Aragon's sphenoid sinus that allowed brain fluid to leak out of her nose. Both also partner to remove brain tumors through the nose.
The department is drawing patients from throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.
"We have faculty here that can practice anywhere in the country and we are so lucky to have them in Tucson," Chiu said. "We are representative of the new UAMC, which is bringing premier academic medicine to Tucson."Editor: Alexis BlueWriter: Jo Marie GellermanByline: Jo Marie GellermanByline Affiliation: UA Department of SurgeryHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Nationally renowned surgeon Dr. Alexander Chiu and his team are developing methods to better treat sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal sinuses.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Intent on improving student retention and graduation rates, and backed by research indicating that students must feel a close, personal connection in order to persist, thousands of faculty, staff and students are coordinating welcoming events.
Numerous people across campus are gearing up to introduce and reintroduce undergraduate and graduate students and their families to the University of Arizona.
Whether involved in a major University-wide event or a small departmental reception, such UA coordinators and volunteers persistently say that they strive to create a welcoming atmosphere, with attention paid to students' academic, professional and social growth.
"It's all about the personal touches to make sure students feel like they are part of our family," said Stefanie Basij, the New Student Orientation director and assistant director of Enrollment Services.
"That's something we really work toward – showing people that they are part of the Wildcat family."
Residence Life Move-In Volunteers
More than 300 people from across campus will come together to help move nearly 7,000 UA students into their campus housing this week, said Dana Robbins-Murray, the assistant director of marketing for Residence Life.
Robbins-Murray noted that more than a dozen Undergraduate Admissions staff signed up to help, while about 30 Facilities Management employees offered to volunteer. Other offices whose members made organized efforts to gather volunteers include Student Affairs and the Think Tank.
Christine Salvesen is among those volunteers.
"I think it's important for students to see that the community they are a part of is there to support and welcome them from the beginning," said Salvensen, director of Academic Success and Achievement.
Kasey Urquidez, UA associate vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, consistently encourages her staff to support students during move-in, as well as other events, for an important and specific reason.
"We spend all year out there telling students what a great, friendly and cooperative place the UA is, and we want to make good on that promise," said Urquidez, who also is dean of Undergraduate Admissions.
With more than 30 volunteers, Facilities Management has the largest number of individuals from a single department aiding with move-in.
"We're all Wildcats and, in all seriousness, we're here to help," said Chris Kopach, assistant vice president for Facilities Management.
"It's really important for us to have good, solid connections and we're working in collaborative ways with other units," Kopach said.
Regarding the welcoming events, Kopach said the staff is especially grateful to make connections with students and families.
"It's a really, really positive experience for people in Facilities Management," Kopach said. "I could not be more proud of my facilities staff. They always step up, and there is a loyalty to the University among those who are here."
Wildcat Welcome 2013
One of the largest, most visible events of the fall is Wildcat Welcome, a series of events coordinated by a range of University units to acclimate students to campus.
Formal University-wide welcome events begin with Wildcat Fiesta, happening Thursday evening in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center with food, entertainment and special guests.
Wildcat Welcome also includes the RHA Block Party and the "Taste of the Union" event at the Student Union, both happening Saturday, and the Aug. 26 New Student Convocation.
On Friday, the Wildcat Welcome Family Conference will be held all day at the Student Union, introducing University students to UA technology and their colleges while also informing parents of programs and resources.
Such welcoming events serve as "an extension of orientation," Basij said.
"It's nice to see that there is something for every student," she said. "We want to make sure students are connected every step of the way."
The benefits from the events extend to staff members, too.
"These are great ways for people who don't get to interact with students a lot," Basij said. "A great example is the admissions recruiters, who love volunteering because they get to see students they helped get to the UA."
Welcome Receptions of All Types, Sizes
Numerous clubs, organizations, departments and units put together smaller and more intimate programs.
Such events include the Wildcat Student Employment Fair, a film screening at Highland Bowl behind Posada San Pedro Residence Hall and the pre-semester Shabbat services and dinner at the Hillel Foundation.
Also, University staff coordinated a new Transfer Welcome program, happening Friday. The event connects transfer students with one another while informing them of UA resources.
At the Student Recreation Center, Meet Me at the Rec will be held. The event is coordinated by Campus Recreation, Campus Health Service and Residence Life.
The center is hosting a ribbon cutting on Monday to introduce the new Cherry Street Field – a grass field with bleacher seating – with the carnival-style Meet Me at the Rec event beginning immediately after.
"Meet Me at the Rec is an opportunity to showcase programs and opportunities for student engagement outside the classroom," said Michele Schwitzky, Campus Recreation's senior assistant director for marketing and outreach.
Schwitzky noted that the event is "a perfect way for staff to welcome students back to campus and kick off the start of the semester."
Whether receptions happen on a University-wide level or in specific departments and units, Urquidez said all are important aspects of student acclimation and retention.
"That's part of our message: The UA has 40,000 students, but you never feel like you are just a number because there are so many smaller communities within," Urquidez said.
"We want students to know we are not just recruiting them for one day or one year; we want them to graduate," she also said. "We want them to come back year after year, that's why we continue that welcome throughout their time as Wildcats."
Editor: Alexis BlueWriter: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline: La Monica Everett-HaynesByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsWhat: Wildcat WelcomeWhere: University of Arizona - CampuswideWhen: Aug. 23-30, 2013Extra Info:
Information is available online at http://welcome.arizona.eduHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Invested in making sure undergraduate and graduate students feel a close bond to the University early in their academic careers, members of the campus community have united to host welcome events. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Astronomers at the University of Arizona, the Arcetri Observatory near Florence, Italy and the Carnegie Observatory have developed a new type of camera that allows scientists to take sharper images of the night sky than ever before. The team has been developing this technology for more than 20 years at observatories in Arizona, most recently at the Large Binocular Telescope, or LBT, and has now deployed the latest version of these cameras in the high desert of Chile at the Magellan 6.5-meter telescope."It was very exciting to see this new camera make the night sky look sharper than has ever before been possible," said UA astronomy professor Laird Close, the project's principal scientist. "We can, for the first time, make long-exposure images that resolve objects just 0.02 arcseconds across – the equivalent of a dime viewed from more than a hundred miles away. At that resolution, you could see a baseball diamond on the moon." The twofold improvement over past efforts rests on the fact that for the first time, a telescope with a large diameter primary mirror is being used for digital photography at its theoretical resolution limit in visible wavelengths – light that the human eye can see. "As we move towards shorter wavelengths, image sharpness improves," said Jared Males, a NASA Sagan Fellow at the UA's department of astronomy. "Until now, large telescopes could make the theoretically sharpest photos only in infrared – or long wavelength – light, but our new camera can take photos that are twice as sharp in the visible light spectrum." These images are also at least twice as sharp as what the Hubble Space Telescope can make, because with its 21-foot diameter mirror, the Magellan telescope is much larger than Hubble with its 8-foot mirror. Until now, Hubble always produced the best visible light images, since even large ground-based telescope with complex adaptive optics imaging cameras could only make blurry images in visible light. To overcome atmospheric turbulence, which plagues earth-based telescopes by causing the image to blur, Close's team developed a very powerful adaptive optics system that floats a thin (1/16th of an inch) curved glass mirror (2.8 feet across) on a magnetic field 30 feet above the telescope's primary mirror. This so-called Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM) can change its shape at 585 points on its surface 1,000 times each second, counteracting the blurring effects of the atmosphere. "As a result, we can see the visible sky more clearly than ever before," Close said. "It's almost like having a telescope with a 21-foot mirror in space." The new adaptive optics system, called MagAO for "Magellan Adaptive Optics," has already made some important scientific discoveries, published today in three scientific papers in the Astrophysical Journal. As the system was being tested and received what astronomers call "first light," the team pointed it to a famous and well-studied massive star that gives the Great Orion Nebula (Object M42) most of its UV light. The Orion Nebula, located just below Orion's Belt visible as smudge of light even with regular binoculars. Considered young at about 1 million years old, this star, called Theta 1 Ori C, has been previously known to be in fact a binary star pair made up of two stars called C1 and C2. However, the separation between the two is so small – about the average distance between Earth and Uranus – that astronomers had never been able to resolve the famous pair in a direct telescope photo. Once MagAO and its visible science camera called VisAO were pointed towards Theta Ori 1 C, the results were immediate. "I have been imaging Theta 1 Ori C for more than 20 years and never could directly see that it was in fact two stars," Close said. "But as soon as we turned on the MagAO system it was beautifully split into two stars." In another result, MagAO has shed light on another mystery: How do how planets form from disks of dust and gas affected by the strong ionizing light called stellar wind coming from a massive star like Theta 1 Ori C, which has about 44 times the mass of the sun? The team used MagAO and VisAO to look for red light from ionized hydrogen gas to trace out how the strong UV radiation and stellar wind from Theta 1 Ori C affects the disks around its neighboring stars. "Close to Theta 1 Ori C, there are two very young stars surrounded by disks of gas and dust," said Ya-Lin Wu, a graduate student and lead author on one of the publications. "Theta 1 Ori C pummels those disks with stellar wind and UV light. It looks like they are being bent backwards by a strong wind."
MagAO's photo revealed that the two stars and their protoplanetary disks are heavily distorted into teardrop shapes as the strong UV light and wind create shock fronts and drag gas downwind of the pair. The distribution of gas and dust in young planetary systems is another unsolved problem in planet formation. The team used VisAO's simultaneous/spectral differential imager, or SDI, to estimate the mass of another intriguing object in the Orion Nebula: one of a few stars in Orion sporting a rare "silhouette disk." The SDI camera allowed the light from the star to be removed at a very high level—offering, for the first time, a clear look at the inner regions of the silhouette.
"The disk lies in front of the bright Orion nebula, so we see the dark shadow cast as the dust in the disk absorbs background light from the nebula," said Kate Follette, a graduate student and lead author of one of the three papers published in the Astrophysical Journal. "Picture a moth flying across a bright movie screen: Its body will appear opaque, while the wings will be partially transparent. Our SDI instrument allows us to peer into the silhouette and trace how much dust is at each location in the disk based on how transparent or opaque it is." "We were surprised to find that the amount of attenuated light from the nebula never reached an opaque point," she said. "It seems as though the outer parts of this disk have less dust than we would have expected." "It is important to understand how dust is laid out in these objects because that dust and gas is what nature uses to build planets," Close explained. "Our new imaging capabilities revealed there is very little dust and gas in the outer part of the disk." According to Close, the silhouette disk might have been close to the massive star Theta 1 Ori C at some point, which might have blown away its outer dust and gas. "This tells us something about planet-forming disks in these dense, stellar nurseries," Close said. "There appears to be a limit to the formation of massive planets very far away from their parent stars. One possible explanation might be the presence of a massive star like Theta 1 Ori C stripping away the outer gas and dust." The MagAO system was developed with support of the National Science Foundation MRI, TSIP and ATI grant programs. The Adaptive Secondary Mirror itself was produced by Microgate and ADS of Italy, with the UA's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The MagAO pyramid wavefront sensor was developed at the Arcetri Observatory, Italy. The Magellan telescopes are operated by a partnership between the Carnegie institute, the UA Harvard University, MIT and the University of Michigan. The work of NASA Sagan Fellows Jared Males and Katie Morzinski was performed in part under contract with the California Institute of Technology and was funded by NASA through the Sagan Fellowship Program executed by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. The work of Kate Follette was funded in part by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program.
Editor: Daniel StolteWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsExtra Info:
Research papers in Astrophysical Journal:https://visao.as.arizona.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Close_trapezium_... https://visao.as.arizona.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Wu_LV1_astroph.pdf https://visao.as.arizona.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Follette_Silhoue... Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Thanks to new technology developed in part at the UA, astronomers can now view objects in the sky at unprecedented sharpness in visible light. Using a telescope mirror that vibrates a thousand times each second to counteract atmospheric flickering, the team has achieved image resolution capabilities that could see a baseball diamond on the moon. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Some people use Twitter to keep up with the news, others to stay in touch with friends, but researchers at the University of Arizona have identified yet another potential use for the popular social networking site: keeping track of what people eat and why.
Led by Melanie Hingle, a UA assistant professor of nutritional sciences, the researchers set out to determine whether the popular social networking site could be used to capture, in real time, information about peoples' dietary choices and what motivates them.
Their findings, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, suggest that Twitter is an acceptable tool for collecting such information and could give people a better understanding of the relationship between what they eat and why.
Likewise, it could help health professionals as they work to develop the most effective health and weight-loss interventions for individuals.
"This helps us understand what is driving eating behavior, and that's important from a healthy eating program standpoint," Hingle said. "If I am going to develop a program to promote healthy eating to people, I want to know what motivates them to engage in their current eating behavior so I can tailor that program appropriately."
The study stemmed from a special topics course Hingle taught at the UA on obesity prevention, funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge grant.
Class discussions often turned to the ways in which eating is influenced by context. For example, one might habitually snatch goodies from the office candy jar simply because it is there.
"The whole idea of the class was to point out how complex obesity is and how many factors influence its development – your physical environment, your social environment, who you spend time with – and if people were more aware of some of these factors, they could make changes," Hingle said.
Obesity continues to be a major public health challenge in the United States, and the number of mobile apps dedicated to weight loss and health has increased dramatically in recent years as people have become more reliant on mobile devices, Hingle said. However, the majority of those apps lack hard data supporting their effectiveness.
Hingle and her colleagues chose to look at the feasibility and acceptability of Twitter as a tool for recording dietary information because it is free, widely used and provides an easy way to record data in real time.
The study's 50 participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 30 and were not students in Hingle's class, were given study-specific Twitter accounts and asked to "tweet" everything they ate or drank in real time for three consecutive days. They were asked to choose from a list of 24 provided hashtags to categorize the types of food they were eating and their reason for eating it. They also were asked to include descriptive information or photos identifying where, when, why and with whom they were eating. A tweet might read, for example: "Cheeseburger between classes at the Student Union #protein #convenience."
Frequently reported food categories included #grains, #dairy and #protein, while the most frequently cited reasons for eating were #social, #taste and #convenience.
After collecting the data, researchers used a computer program to visually map the correlations between what was being eaten and the reasons why.
"We were able to visualize relationships between eating behaviors and reasons for those behaviors in a novel way we haven’t really done before," Hingle said. "That allowed us to really see that there are, in fact, relationships, and those relationships do seem to align with the ones in the literature, which shows that convenience and cost are among the main motivators."
Since completing the study, Hingle and her collaborators, including UA nutritional sciences associate professor Randy Burd, UA computer science professor Stephen Kobourov and colleagues at New Mexico State University's Learning Games Lab, have developed a beta version of an iPhone app called "Eat It, Tweet It," designed to make it even easier for people to track their dietary behavior using Twitter.
The app, which connects to a person's personal Twitter account, provides the study's hashtag categories in a simple touchscreen menu, so users don't need remember them and type them in manually. Hingle plans to test the app with students in her nutrition classes. Future versions of the app, she said, will include the option of opening a Twitter account specifically to track your diet, for those who would prefer not to use their primary account to share what they eat with the Twitter-verse.
"It's good to raise awareness about your habits since a lot of eating behavior is unconscious or really habitual," Hingle said. "You tend to get in your groove and not get out of it, so this kind of shakes that up and makes you think about what's influencing you. It can help you develop new habits or just become aware of the ones that are not doing you any good."Editor: Alexis BlueWriter: Alexis BlueByline: Alexis BlueByline Affiliation: University CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A UA-led study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research suggests that people can use Twitter to better understand the relationship between what they eat and their reasons for eating.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image:
Public health researchers at the University of Arizona, along with researchers at two other higher education institutions in the state, have earned a $6 million grant to investigate health issues in American Indian communities.
The National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities awarded the five-year grant to a statewide team of researchers from the UA, Northern Arizona University and Diné College to establish the Center for American Indian Resilience, also known as CAIR.
The collaborative team will study why some American Indian communities facing high rates of chronic disease and poverty seem to thrive despite adversity.
"The basic practice of public health is about understanding ways to support healthy behaviors, and we know programs that are culturally relevant are more effective," said Nicolette Teufel-Shone, professor of health promotion sciences at the UA's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
"We will take a look at existing health behaviors and programs that target the prevention of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, to determine what is working and why," Teufel-Shone said.
Teufel-Shone and Priscilla Sanderson, assistant professor of health sciences and applied indigenous studies at NAU, have been named CAIR's co-directors. Diné College faculty on the project are Mark Bauer and Donald Robinson, both of the department of science education.
The UA public health college received $2 million of the CAIR grant, which includes collaborations with tribal communities and research projects.
"CAIR research will deepen our scientific knowledge of existing positive health outcomes in tribal communities, and then we will translate this knowledge to practice through public health education and policy," said Sanderson, a member of the Navajo Nation.
Also under the grant, the UA public health college will collaborate with NAU and Diné College to support Diné College's ongoing summer program to teach undergraduate students to consider and incorporate community strengths in their work as emerging public health professionals. The program combines classroom learning with hands-on experience through an internship in tribal communities.
The research project, directed by the UA, also involves a partnership with the Tucson Indian Center to interview elders about their concept of resilience and their perceptions of key factors that contribute to success in life.
Through this initiative, members of the Southwestern American Indian community will record video diaries to share their experiences of well-being.
"The goal of the video diaries project is to use existing information about which factors contribute to Native American resilience and spread this knowledge to other Native American communities," Teufel-Shone said. "This way, researchers can learn lessons of how resilience is already effective in these communities, share experiences and allow community members to create new paths based on other people's stories."Editor: Alexis BlueWriter: Gerri KellyByline: Gerri KellyByline Affiliation: Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthExtra Info:
Other UA public health participants include John Ehiri, professor and director of the Division of Health Promotion Sciences; Agnes Attakai, director of Health Disparities Outreach and Prevention Education; Kerstin Reinschmidt, an assistant professor for Health Promotion Sciences; and Rebecca Drummond, program director for Family Wellness.
NAU faculty and staff contributing to CAIR include Olivia Trujillo, professor of applied indigenous studies; Robert Trotter, Regents’ professor and chair of anthropology; Chad Hamill, assistant professor of music; Roger Bounds, associate professor and chair of health sciences; Lisa Hardy, assistant professor of anthropology; R. Cruz Begay, professor of health sciences; and Kelly Laurila, coordinator in anthropology. Paul Dutton, director of NAU’s Interdisciplinary Health Policy Institute, will facilitate the executive advisory board.
Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Under a new $6 million federal grant, UA public health researchers are part of a major, statewide investigation of American Indian health. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: