Three NYU Studies Vie for This Year’s Top Health Discovery

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Three NYU research teams have been selected for STAT Madness 2024, a bracket-style competition of recent innovations in science and medicine.

Cast your vote for your favorite NYU research beginning on Friday, March 1.

The NYU studies-three of the 64 selected by health media company STAT News for the March Madness-inspired competition-focus on breakthroughs in our understanding of antivirals, appetite, and cognitive decline:

  • Antiviral therapies are notoriously difficult to develop, as viruses can quickly mutate to become resistant to drugs. Researchers in NYU’s Department of Chemistry have shown how a new generation of antivirals could target the Achilles heel of many viruses: their bubble-like membranes. Using synthetic molecules inspired by our own immune system, the researchers inactivated viruses by bursting their membranes. This approach could lead to drugs that can be used against many viruses-a boon to future pandemic preparation.
  • A new electrical “pill” may be able to regulate people’s appetites without drugs or invasive medical procedures, a promising advancement in treating medical conditions such as eating disorders and diabetes. Developed by a team from NYU Tandon School of Engineering and MIT, the pill, dubbed FLASH, delivers electrical impulses to the stomach lining once it’s swallowed. This targeted stimulation triggers the brain to modulate gut hormones related to hunger. By orally administering a single pill, the researchers were able to affect the release of the appetite hormone ghrelin in animal trials.
  • Last year was the hottest year on record, with cities like Phoenix experiencing record-breaking heat waves. A study by researchers at the NYU School of Global Public Health found that ongoing extreme heat can worsen cognitive decline among vulnerable groups-particularly Black older adults and those living in poor neighborhoods. The researchers came to this conclusion by analyzing climate data, demographic information, and surveys from 9,500 older adults measuring their cognitive function over time.

The first round of voting in STAT Madness runs from March 1 through March 7; after six rounds of voting, a champion will be announced on April 5.

Researchers from NYU College of Dentistry were crowned the winners of STAT Madness 2023 for developing a topical gel to treat gum disease.

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