Archive for January, 2012

Op-ed Notes Social Work Research

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Sandra Butler, a UMaine social work professor, was noted in a Bangor Daily News op-ed about childless adults on MaineCare for her research into the population served by the MaineCare Childless Adults Waiver program. Butler did the research, which included interviewing a small subset of people who receive MaineCare through the program, for a report sponsored by Maine Equal Justice Partners.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777

Newspaper Profile of Tropical Fish Company

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The Working Waterfront newspaper has a profile of the Maine company Sea & Reef Aquaculture, a tropical fish-breeding business which was founded by Soren Hansen and Chad Callan when they were were UMaine graduate students.The article recounts how Hansen started a project to raise clownfish while he was working on a master’s degree and had help from Prof. David Townsend of the UMaine School of Marine Sciences, and Jake Ward, who is UMaine’s assistant vice president for research, economic development and governmental relations. The company was first located at UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Center in Orono and has since moved to UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture in Franklin.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777

Insect Pests Article Includes Drummond Comments

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A Portland Press Herald article that recently discussed several new invasive insect species that threaten the state included comments from University of Maine insect ecologist Frank Drummond. Drummond described characteristics of a new-to-Maine spotted-wing drosophila, an Asian fruit fly that damages unripe and ripening fruit, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and other soft-skinned fruit and vegetables.

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

UMaine scientists blog from Chilean glacier expedition

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

A team of scientists from the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute is currently on an expedition in Chilé, traveling to the Tupungatito Glacier, located in a volcanic crater at an elevation of 19,000 feet in the Andes Mountains.  Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute and Bjorn Grigholm, a Ph.D. student in Earth Science at UMaine, will be sending back a series of blogs via satellite phone from the field. The first in the series is here.

Agriculture Website Notes Fruit Fly Findings

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The website Western Farm Press has a story about the finding by UMaine Cooperative Extension experts of a destructive non-native fruit fly in Maine that could decimate the state’s berry crop. Jim Dill, Extension educator and pest management specialist, and Frank Drummond, a UMaine entomologist, were both quoted in the story.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777

Boss Comments in Story About Robots in Underwater Research

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

UMaine aquatic physicist Emmanuel Boss was quoted in a story on the website Miller-McCune about the use of robotic devices that are helping a researcher in California keep track of how tiny organisms and object travel in sub-surface ocean currents. Boss said if the devices work at a reasonable price, they could revolutionize oceanography.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777

UMaine Researcher Noted in Story on Welfare Study

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

A Bangor Daily News report on a study about childless adults on MaineCare included a mention of Sandra Butler, a UMaine social work professor who interviewed seven participants for the study, which found more than 40 percent of childless adults covered through MaineCare are older than 45 and many have serious medical conditions. The study was prepared by Maine Equal Justice Partners, an advocacy group for the poor. Butler’s contribution was also noted in a release on the InsuranceNewsnet magazine website.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777

Kaye Interviewed for TV 7 Report on Elderly, Legal Needs

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Len Kaye, professor of social work and director of the UMaine Center on Aging, was interviewed for a Channel 7 (WVII) evening news report Jan. 6 about a recent study by the center on the legal needs of Maine’s older adults. Kaye said older people continue to need legal advice on health insurance and social services eligibility and protection from scams.

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

Common Antimicrobial Inhibits Immune Cell Function

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent found in many hand soaps and other products, is known to have the added benefit of alleviating allergic skin conditions such as eczema. In a study recently published in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, University of Maine researchers Julie Gosse and Rachel Palmer find that this anti-inflammatory effect may be caused by triclosan’s inhibitory effect on mast cells, which are implicated in allergies and asthma but which also are key components of a healthy immune system.

Mast cells are a type of immune cell found in most bodily tissues. In response to the presence of allergens, mast cells release histamines and other substances into body tissues. The process is known as degranulation and it is responsible for inflammation, swelling, redness and pain. But degranulation also triggers the healthy deployment of white blood cells and supports the innate immune response that helps prevent infection and tumor growth.

Triclosan, effective at a 1% concentration against a broad swath of disease-causing microorganisms, was first introduced in the 1970s as an effective agent in surgical scrub solutions, says Gosse, an assistant professor of biochemistry in the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences. Now, however, it is widespread in consumer products.

“Today, TCS [triclosan] is found in hundreds of medical, consumer and personal care products (e.g. toys, bedding,deodorant, cosmetics, soap and toothpaste) at concentrations up to 0.3 % or 10mM,” Gosse writes. Triclosan is readily absorbed into the skin.

Testing rat mast cells with triclosan at much lower concentrations than those found in household products, Gosse’s study found that triclosan strongly inhibits degranulation and other mast cell functions, possibly accounting for its therapeutic effect in treating eczema and other allergic skin disorders.

Her findings support clinical evidence that triclosan could be an effective targeted treatment for such conditions.

But Gosse calls for further investigation into the unintended effects of triclosan’s widespread availability in consumer products, including recent separate reports that triclosan may function as an endocrine disrupter.  Additionally, other immune cell types that are biochemically similar to mast cells could potentially be adversely affected by triclosan.

Contact: Meg Haskell (207) 581-3766
Julie Gosse: (207) 581 4833

Newspaper Story on Marine Science Graduate Student’s Whale Project

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Dan DenDanto, a UMaine doctoral student in the School of Marine Sciences, was featured in a Bangor Daily News story. DenDanto is a carpenter and rearticulator of whale bones, assembling whale skeletons for museums.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777