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  > > Investigations




> > Shutsang Liao, PhD'61; Philip Eaton; Nicholas Christakis; Robert W. Fogel; Chun-Su Yuan; Chung-I Wu

image: Research headerThat's a lotta tea
Scientists at the U of C's Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research have found that a major chemical component of green tea may lead to weight loss. In laboratory studies, rats injected with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) derived from green tea leaves lost their appetites and consumed up to 60 percent less food after seven days of daily injections, losing as much as 21 percent of their body weight.


The Ben May Institute for Cancer Research

Learn more by visiting Professor Liao's profile on the BSD's Web site.

Writing in the March issue of Endocrinology, biochemistry & molecular biology professor Shutsung Liao, PhD'61, and colleagues noted that it is unclear exactly how EGCG controls appetite and body weight. Liao warns that the diet should not be tried at home: to achieve the same results, a human would have to drink green tea almost constantly. Moreover, he adds, some of the hormonal changes observed in the rats could have negative effects in humans, especially in younger people.


Department of Chemistry,
faculty member

Learn more by visiting Professor Eaton's profile on the Chemistry Department's Web site.

Having a blast
Chemistry professor Philip Eaton and a team of University researchers have synthesized what may be the world's most powerful nonnuclear explosives. As detailed in the January 17 issue of the international journal of applied chemistry, Angewandte Chemie, they made the explosive compounds--heptanitrocubane and octanitrocubane--by grafting nitrogen and oxygen onto the cubane molecule, comprised of eight carbon atoms tightly packed into the shape of a cube that burns with the help of the oxygen. The effort took nearly 20 years to complete and could lead to a new military device, rocket fuel, or even a cancer-fighting drug.


Study Director &
Associate Professor

Medicine and sociology

Purchase Nicholas Christakis' book Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care from the University of Chicago Press online:

Truth in dying
Doctors who refer terminally ill patients to hospice care are systematically overoptimistic, according to a study published by U of C researchers in the February 19 issue of the British Medical Journal. Physicians on average predicted that their dying patients would live 5.3 times longer than they actually did. In only 20 percent of the 468 cases studied were the doctors' predictions accurate. The prognostic mistakes may lead to patients making important clinical and financial decisions based on inaccurate information, says study director Nicholas Christakis, an associate professor in medicine and sociology. See our feature story The prophetic art for more on Christakis's work.


Graduate School of Business

Learn more by visiting Professor Fogel's U of C Web site.

Or, purchase Robert W. Fogel's book The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism from the University of Chicago Press online:

The good life is immaterial
This May, the University of Chicago Press is slated to publish the newest book by Nobel laureate and Graduate School of Business professor Robert W. Fogel. In The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism, Fogel argues that the United States is in the midst of an "awakening" propelled by technological advances that outpace ethical norms. While previous technological changes led to the American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the creation of the welfare state, he says, the current tide is leading Americans to pursue spiritual rather than material reforms.

Relief from pain relievers
Each year, more than 250,000 terminal cancer patients are prescribed opiods, such as morphine, for pain relief. About half of those patients experience constipation so severe that many of them choose to forego the medication. But in a study published in the January 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, U of C researchers led by Chun-Su Yuan, an assistant professor in anesthesia & critical care, showed that using the drug methylnaltrexone reversed the constipation without side effects.


Professor and Chairman
Department of Ecology and Evolution

Learn more by visiting Chung-I Wu's profile on the Ecology and Evolution Department's Web site.

Hurry, swim faster!
Genes pertaining to male reproduction--those involved in the production, transfer, and morphology of sperm--evolve much faster than their nonsexual counterparts, reported a U of C research team led by ecology & evolution department chair Chung-I Wu in the January 20 issue of Nature. The finding suggests, says Wu, that "genes governing male reproduction are under continuous pressure to evolve ways to outcompete other males when it comes to fathering offspring." --C.S.

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  APRIL 2000

  > > Volume 92, Number 4

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Good guys finish first
  > >
Edward Hirsch Levi
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U of C Folk Festival
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The prophetic art

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