New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

STAT Madness 2024 begins, with 3 NYU studies competing

The annual research competition, which selects dozens of competitors from various universities, began at the start of the month.
Aaliya Luthra
(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Three NYU studies are competing against 61 pieces of research from other institutions in an annual tournament aimed at highlighting advancements in the fields of health and science. Last year, a study on combating gum disease from NYU’s College of Dentistry won the tournament.

STAT Madness, modeled after March Madness, is an online bracket-style competition where the public can vote for studies that best exemplify exceptional scientific and medical innovation. Each year, the science news outlet STAT News chooses 64 research teams from various universities to compete for the most innovative study. The first round of voting began on March 1, and the winning study will be announced on April 5.

“This competition recognizes groundbreaking work published in the past year and we are honored to be included,” lead author and Tandon professor Khalil Ramadi told WSN. “We are excited about the possibility of winning the competition, and also grateful for the opportunity to showcase our work to the wide audience of STAT.”

In one of the NYU studies selected this year, researchers from the Tandon School of Engineering and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed an electrical pill to regulate people’s appetites, which could help treat eating disorders. Known as FLASH, the device could also help treat other conditions that require regulating food intake, such as diabetes, in a non-invasive way by sending electrical impulses to the stomach lining.

FLASH is an exciting new technology that completely reimagines the concept of oral medicines,” Ramadi said. “FLASH combines the simplicity and safety of oral medicines with the ability to target specific circuits in the body using mico-pulses of electrical energy.”

A department of chemistry study researching the effect of a new approach to antiviral therapies was also selected for the tournament. Researchers found that the antiviral, which consists of molecules inspired by the human immune system, can break a virus’ protective outer layer without harming healthy cells. The approach is being tested on many different viruses, including Zika and chikungunya.

The last NYU study selected for this year’s tournament found that prolonged exposure to extreme heat correlated to faster cognitive decline — especially in older Black adults and impoverished neighborhoods. The study, conducted by researchers at NYU’s School of Global Public Health, found that additional factors such as chronic stress and lack of public resources also led to worsened cognitive ability by analyzing data from nearly 9,500 adults over 12 years. 

“When faced with high temperatures, our study reveals that vulnerable populations are experiencing compounding disadvantages,” Eunyoung Choi, one of the study’s authors, said in a press release. “Extreme heat is a serious public health threat, and in the context of climate change, we need to focus on supporting at-risk groups in order to build resilient communities.”

Contact Nikki Mirala at [email protected].

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Aaliya Luthra
Aaliya Luthra, Art Director
Aaliya Luthra is a senior majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and minoring in studio art and South Asian studies. As an artist, she enjoys creating illustrations and short animations for all the things she's passionate about. from music and pop culture to humanitarian crises. You can follow her art page @littleredbookillustrations to see more.

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