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Let there be light

UNM study gauges effectiveness of light therapy to reshape circadian rhythms

University of New Mexico researchers and their colleagues from the Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) Center based at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have demonstrated a new technology for gauging the effectiveness of light therapy to synchronize human circadian rhythms as a potential treatment for insomnia, mood disorders and other health problems. LESA researchers are exploring the use of wearable biometric devices to study relationships between lighting and patient circadian rhythms. Together with the other Testbed sensors, these tools could lead to personalized lighting treatment for various disorders without hospitalization.

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Nanoscale manipulation of light leads to exciting new advancement

Nanoscale manipulation of light leads to exciting new advancement

Scientists in the Theoretical Nanophotonics Group at The University of New Mexico’s Department of Physics and Astronomy have made an exciting new advancement to this end, in a pioneering research effort titled “Analysis of the Limits of the Near-Field Produced by Nanoparticle Arrays,” published recently in the journal, ACS Nano, a top journal in the field of nanotechnology. The group, led by Assistant Professor Alejandro Manjavacas, studied how the optical response of periodic arrays of metallic nanostructures can be manipulated to produce strong electric fields in their vicinity.

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Online dating outstrips family, friends as way to meet a partner

Online dating outstrips family, friends as way to meet a partner

Where did you meet your partner/spouse/significant other? Through family? School? A bar or party? Church? If you did, you’re becoming the minority as online dating gains popularity. Nowadays, a long-term relationship is likely to start with a simple swipe to the right. From the end of World War II to 2013, most couples met through friends. But that changed in the 1990s with the popularity of the Internet. According to recent research conducted by Professor Reuben “Jack” Thomas of the sociology department at The University of New Mexico, traditional methods of meeting partners have been replaced by online dating.

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Researchers examine causes, effects, treatments for alcohol use disorder

Researchers examine causes, effects, treatments for alcohol use disorder

New research from Regents’ Professor Katie Witkiewitz at The University of New Mexico Department of Psychology and Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions examines alcohol use disorder, the physical and economic toll it takes, and effective treatments that are now available. Witkiewitz and her colleagues, Barbara McCrady (Distinguished Professor of Psychology) and Eric Claus from the Mind Research Network, are also looking for volunteers to participate in a new study. The UNM-Mind Research Network team is looking for volunteers between the ages of 22 and 55 who want to change their drinking with a non-medication-based treatment. This study is examining how the brain, behavior, and emotions change after alcohol treatment.

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Minimizing wildfire risk through economics

Minimizing wildfire risk through economics

In the Land of Enchantment, our disaster risk assessments mainly focus on forest wildfires—how likely they are to happen, how intense they will be when they do happen, and how susceptible our communities are to these disasters. Bernknopf’s project, “Forest Wildfire Risk and Value of Information Analysis with LANDFIRE and supporting Earth Science,” explores whether satellites and other remotely-sensed scientific data can help reduce wildfire risks to humans and ecosystems, while also assessing the value of this information as it relates to risk management. The goal of the project is to reduce uncertainty when it comes to wildfires—uncertainty regarding the behavior of the fire itself, as well as uncertainty in our human reactions.

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UNM research supports first born home visiting

UNM research supports first born home visiting

First Born matches families with home visitors, who visit the home weekly to help with goals and struggles and helps establish a nurturing, supportive environment for the child in the critical first three years of life. Research into early childhood, in general, shows the importance of physical, mental, and environmental wellness for development. Analysis of the First Born program is critical for not only the success of the program itself, but to better support families in the program. New Mexico needs early childhood intervention, and the analysis by Heinz and her team will ensure First Born remains effective for New Mexico children and their families.

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UNM study confirms cannabis flower is an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain treatment

UNM study confirms cannabis flower is an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain treatment

Using the largest database of real-time recordings of the effects of common and commercially available cannabis products in the United States (U.S.), researchers at The University of New Mexico (UNM) found strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption. [Jacob] Vigil explains, “Cannabis offers the average patient an effective alternative to using opioids for general use in the treatment of pain with very minimal negative side effects for most people.”

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Research examines ramifications of climate change on different populations

Research examines ramifications of climate change on different populations

As the world struggles to battle the effects of climate change, not everyone benefits equally from the remedies. In a recent paper titled Weaponizing vulnerability to climate change, Benjamin Warner, an assistant professor of geography and environmental studies at The University of New Mexico, and his colleague Kimberley Thomas, a political ecologist at Temple University, examine the way the fight to remediate climate change is hurting the most vulnerable, the poor.

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Hard-to-count: ensuring New Mexico is accurately represented in the 2020 Census

Hard-to-count: ensuring New Mexico is accurately represented in the 2020 Census

According to research from George Washington University, a projected $6.2 billion is on the line next year that would go to the 16 biggest Federal Assistance Programs in New Mexico, including Medicaid, SNAP benefits, highway planning and construction, housing, and grant programs for early childhood education and special ed. Because of the low response numbers in 2010, along with several other factors, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham established a commission, funding it with about $3.5 million approved by the legislature, to ensure an accurate and complete count.

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UNM Distinguished Professor Emeritus Henry Ellis dies

UNM Distinguished Professor Emeritus Henry Ellis dies

Ellis was born on Sunday, Oct. 23, 1927 in New Bern, N.C. His family later moved to Norfolk, Va., where he spent his childhood. He served in the United States Air Force as a medical laboratory technician from 1946 through 1947. Ellis married his wife, Florence, in 1957 and they moved to Albuquerque, where he began his career with the Psychology Department at UNM. Ellis worked as an active researcher and psychology professor at UNM for more than 50 years, serving as Department Chairman of from 1972 to 1984. He had more than 120 publications, with 10 books among them, to his credit.

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