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Health briefs: Northwestern, U. of C., Wheaton among ’75 best colleges for food’

Colleges aren’t known as centers of culinary delight, but some school dining services really come through, according to a new ranking of “the 75 best colleges for food in America” that singles out three in Illinois.

The Daily Meal website ranking places Northwestern University No. 6 on the list, the University of Chicago No. 36 and Wheaton College No. 62.

Northwestern won praise for “showing their students a deliciously fun time while still dedicating themselves to the important issues of sustainability and nutrition,” for using local produce and, by going tray-free, encouraging students “to only take what they need each meal.”

The U. of C. got plaudits for listening to students and faculty about what they want and having a range of food options — including two markets that are open until 3 a.m.

Wheaton was lauded for “insanely creative pizzas,” having “the freshest, most sustainable options as often as possible” and using local ingredients.

Topping the list: Bowdoin College in Maine, followed by No. 2 Columbia University in New York City, No. 3 Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, No. 4 Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, No. 5 Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, then Northwestern. Purdue University is No. 32.

Staff report

 

Study: Just 1 in 5 gay, bisexual teenage boys gets HIV testing

Only one in five gay or bisexual teenage boys and young men has been tested for HIV infection, even though as a group they have the highest risk for the disease, a study by Northwestern University researchers and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research has found.

The key reasons for the low rate of testing — far lower than what other studies have found among adult gay and bisexual men — were found to be not knowing where to get tested and worrying about being recognized.

Few are getting tested, researcher Brian Mustanski says, even though “rates of new HIV infections continue to increase among young gay and bisexual men.”

The study, reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health, looked at a national sample of 302 males 14 to 18 years old.

Gregory Phillips II of Northwestern University

Gregory Phillips II of Northwestern University

The findings suggest that offering routine HIV testing at schools would make it “seem less stigmatized,” says lead study author Gregory Phillips II. “It would also increase knowledge about the testing process and make it less scary.”

Staff report

 

Developing a cheap tool to improve fertility

A visiting Japanese scholar worked with researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to develop a cellphone app to use with a $7 iPhone lens attachment to let men analyze semen samples at home in an effort to improve fertility in Japan.

“In Japan, fertility is a very big problem,” says Yoshitomo Kobori, who worked with urology experts and UIC’s Innovation Center on the project,. “Making babies is a national project.”

Yoshitomo Kobori developed an iPhone microscope he hopes will help improve falling fertility rates in Japan.

Yoshitomo Kobori developed an iPhone microscope he hopes will help improve falling fertility rates in Japan.

Analyzing sperm samples would help, according to Kobori, but he figured men would be more likely to do that if they didn’t need to visit a doctor’s office.

“Men are thinking that semen analyses are an embarrassment, inconvenience, disgrace and waste of time,” he says. “We need a semen test at home.”

Japan’s birth rate hit its record low last year and ranked 208th in fertility among 224 countries.

Kobori is applying for a patent to be jointly held with UIC researchers.

Staff report

 

Implantable HIV drug delivery is researchers’ aim

The National Institutes of Health has given Northwestern University scientists a five-year, $17.5 million grant to develop and test a new way to prevent HIV infection in people at particularly high risk.

The idea is to create an implantable drug-delivery method capable of protecting against HIV for a year.

The reasoning is that some people find it difficult to follow other methods of preventing infection — using condoms, abstaining from sex or taking antiretroviral drugs daily, says Northwestern’s Patrick Kiser, one of the two lead researchers on the federally funded project.

Patrick Kiser of Northwestern University

Patrick Kiser of Northwestern University

“With implants or injectable systems that deliver antiretroviral drugs, a person no longer has to worry about contracting HIV for a relatively long period,” says Kiser. “This can provide a way to protect high-risk individuals while we wait for the development of a protective vaccine.”

Researchers from the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Tulane, Eastern Virginia Medical School, the University of Utah, Columbia, Case Western Reserve, UCLA and the University of North Carolina also will take part.

Staff report