Older baby boomers—those born between 1945 and 1954—can proudly boast a new label: the “stroke-healthiest generation,” according to a Rutgers study that found the lowest incidence of ischemic stroke in this age group within the past 20 years. In contrast, the rate of stroke more than doubled among Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1974, during the same time period.
The study was published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
“The incidence of stroke has decreased significantly overall since 1950, due to the advancement of medicine,” said Joel N. Swerdel, lead author of the study conducted at the Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “However, we found that trend to be reversing in younger generations where obesity and diabetes are likely causing an increase in cardiovascular disease.”
Swerdel, who is now manager of epidemiology analytics at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Titusville, N.J., conducted the research under the guidance of John B. Kostis, the John G. Detwiler Professor of Cardiology and director of the Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey. Data from the study was derived from the Myocardial Infarction Data Acquisition System (MIDAS), a statewide database of all admissions to non-federal hospitals in New Jersey for up to 30 years that was developed and is maintained by the institute.
The researchers analyzed more than 225,000 records of stroke data between 1995 and 2014, separated into five groups, each with a 10-year age span. The analyses found that persons born in the 20 years before 1945 and those born in the 20 years after 1954 had higher risks of stroke. Only the group who are now between 60 and 70 years of age saw a reduction in the incidence of stroke during the range of years included in the study.
“A higher incidence of stroke in individuals born before 1945 was not surprising, as they did not benefit from the availability of lipid-lowering drugs, such as statins and anti-hypertensive therapy, as did younger generations,” said Kostis, the principal investigator of the study. “However, the increasing incidence of stroke in the youngest generation—those who are between the ages of 35 and 50—is alarming and merits further research.”
Read more here.
When Jon Roberts and Stephanie Charles, the partners behind Charles Roberts LLC, won the 2016 business plan competition at Rutgers Business School, it provided a huge boost to the launch of their first product.
The partners spent some of the $20,000 prize money to improve their dri-sound premium headphone covers, which are specifically designed to protect pricey headphones from damage without diminishing the look or quality of the devices.
Roberts, an alumnus of the Rutgers Part-Time MBA program, and Charles spent the summer working with a manufacturer to carry out product testing to refine the silicone headphone covers. One of their goals was also to reduce the production costs. Now, they’re preparing for the headphone covers to hit the market in early winter.
Charles and Roberts were colleagues working in the financial industry when they first met and eventually they worked on a project in Hong Kong that required close client interaction and long days to accommodate global time zones. “We realized we both wanted to do things outside Corporate America,” Roberts said, recalling their initial conversations about the idea of creating a start-up.
After a year of discussions, they decided to partner up around the idea of the headphone covers. While continuing to work full-time jobs, they began their entrepreneurial venture, which included securing patents, creating prototypes, attending first-time inventor conferences and entering the annual Rutgers Business Plan competition.
Read more here.
Rutgers University released the findings of eight months of research that reveal an untold history of some of the institution’s founders as slave owners and the displacement of the Native Americans who once occupied land that was later transferred to the college.
The work, contained in the book Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, brings out of the shadows the story of Will, a slave who laid the foundation of Old Queens. The research, which spans the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries, also reveals that abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth and her parents were owned by the family of Rutgers’ first president Jacob Hardenbergh.
The project was the result of an initiative by Rutgers University-New Brunswick Chancellor Richard L. Edwards. In the fall of 2015, Edwards appointed the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, which grew out of a meeting with a group of students concerned about improving the racial and cultural climate on campus.
“This work shows that we are not afraid to look at ourselves and our early history,” Edwards said. “We are a large public university that is one of the most diverse in the country and we think we need to understand our history and not be ashamed of it, but to be able to face it in a forthright way.”
Read more here.
For as long as he can remember, Faizan Munshi dreamed of a career in health care. “I wanted to devote my life to improving people’s wellbeing,” he says. “But since no one in my family worked in medicine, I had no idea what that exactly entailed.”
Then in the eighth grade, Munshi attended a presentation by the Rutgers School of Health Professions (SHP) about its Careers in Health Sciences Program and saw his opportunity. The program, which was being offered at the Morris County School of Technology near where he lived, would allow him to explore specialties in the health field and earn college credit there during his high school years.
“No other school in my area offered courses in health care. I was intrigued because it would allow me to get a real idea of what pursuing a career in medicine would be like before I made a commitment to studies in college,” says the Mount Olive resident.
Over the next four years, Munshi studied subjects such as medical terminology, nutrition, anatomy and physiology. He also worked in a clinical setting, shadowing a physician who eventually became his mentor. “The program was an eye-opening experience that allowed me the opportunity to explore a variety of specialties,” he says.
Read more here.
An international team of 38 scientists, including Rutgers’ Sonia Tikoo, has shown how large asteroid impacts deform rocks and possibly create habitats for early life on Earth and elsewhere.
Around 65 million years ago, a massive asteroid crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, causing an impact so huge that the blast and its aftermath wiped out about 75 percent of all life on Earth, including most of the dinosaurs. It’s known as the Chicxulub impact.
In April and May, scientists on an offshore expedition drilled deep into part of the Chicxulub impact crater. Their mission was to retrieve samples from the rocky inner ridges of the crater – known as the “peak ring” – drilling about 1,600 to 4,380 feet below the modern-day sea floor to learn more about the ancient cataclysmic event.
Now, the researchers have performed the first analysis of the core samples in a study published online today in the journal Science. They found that the impact deformed the peak ring rocks, making them more porous and less dense than models had predicted.
“Chicxulub crater is the only crater on Earth that has such a well-preserved peak ring and since we can’t get samples of peak rings from other planets yet, it’s really our best window into understanding the formation of large impact basins anywhere in the solar system,” said Tikoo, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences. “We really didn’t know the exact physical mechanisms behind how peak ring craters form until this study.”
Read more here.
Ten Rutgers professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor conferred on 381 other experts in the U.S. and abroad.
The fellows were chosen by their AAAS peers for efforts to advance science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished, according to the AAAS.
The new fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin at the AAAS Fellows Forum on Feb. 18, 2017. The forum will be held during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meetingin Boston, Massachusetts.
Read more about the ten Rutgers professors here.
If you drink cranberry juice, munch on dried cranberries or savor cranberry sauce, chances are they may include varieties bred at Rutgers University in the New Jersey Pinelands.
“A lot of Rutgers cranberry varieties were planted over the last decade and they’re worldwide now, a unique win for Rutgers,” said Nicholi Vorsa, director of Rutgers’ Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension in Chatsworth, Burlington County. The center is within the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), a research unit of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
The six Rutgers cranberry varieties developed by Vorsa and his colleagues at NJAES are increasingly planted and harvested in New Jersey and other states and nations. They include Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington State, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (Canada), Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Quebec, British Columbia, Chile and New Zealand, Vorsa said. Rutgers varieties include Crimson Queen, Demoranville, Mullica Queen, Scarlet Knight, Welker and Haines cranberries – all introduced since 2005.
“I think it’s safe to say that they make it into all our products,” said Kellyanne Dignan, senior manager of cooperative communications at Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. in Lakeville-Middleboro, Massachusetts. “About 65 percent of the global crop comes through Ocean Spray,” she noted. Ocean Spray, which has helped fund Rutgers cranberry research, is a grower-owned cooperative of 700-plus families.
Read more here.
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey resident research member Wenwei Hu, PhD, has received a $596,250 Breakthrough Award (W81XWH-16-1-0358) from the U.S. Department of Defense through its Breast Cancer Research Program to study the role of chronic stress in breast cancer development. The focus of the work is to explore how chronic stress impacts breast cancer risk and to provide a foundation that can guide prevention strategies.
“Epidemiological studies have strongly suggested that chronic stress has significant negative influences on the onset, progression and mortality of breast cancers. For instance, disruption of marriage, extreme stress and low social support are related to increased risk of breast cancer. However, the role of chronic stress in breast cancer development remains elusive due to the lack of direct evidence from animal models. This lack of understanding hinders the development of effective and safe preventive strategies for breast cancer promoted by chronic stress,” notes Dr. Hu, who is part of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Genome Instability and Cancer Genetics Research Program.
The research will closely examine the role of the p53 protein, which plays a central role in preventing cancer development. Loss of its tumor suppressor function has been shown to contribute greatly to cancer development. A recent study (PNAS, May, 2012) by Hu and colleagues demonstrated that a chronic stress condition tested in mouse models greatly decreased p53 function through the release of stress hormones known as glucocorticoids to promote tumor development. p53 maintains genome integrity and prevents DNA damage accumulation. Weakening of p53 by chronic stress leads to accumulation of DNA damage, which can promote the development of cancer. Using a well-established mouse model that mimics chronic stress in humans, this new study will test the hypothesis that chronic stress reduces p53 function through the release of glucocortioids and that the resulting increase in DNA damage promotes breast cancer development.
Read more here.
New Brunswick, N.J. – Aiming to further propel scientific discovery as well as augment and expand comprehensive cancer services for patients through collaborative efforts with Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health, Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS, has been named as the new Director of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and will serve as Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences at Rutgers University. When he takes on his new roles in early 2017, Dr. Libutti will be the third permanent director in the 25-year history of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and will take over for Bruce G. Haffty, MD, who has been serving as interim director and will continue his role as Chair of Radiation Oncology. In addition to his leadership roles within Rutgers University, Libutti also will serve as Senior Vice President of Oncology Services for RWJBarnabas Health, further strengthening the university’s partnership with the healthcare system.
Read more here.