Discovery: Here’s Why You’re Thirsty After Drinking Alcohol; Boosting PTSD Treatment; Water Recycling Tech

Scientists and researchers across North Texas are making breakthroughs and discoveries every day. Here are some of the stories of how they better our world.

Alcohol makes you thirsty

Drs. Steven Kliewer, Parkyong Song, and David Mangelsdorf of UT Southwestern. [Photo courtesy of UT Southwestern]


Whats new, next, and reimagined in Dallas-Fort Worth ResearchIf you’ve ever wondered why drinking alcohol or consuming sugar makes you thirsty, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have an answer.

A study published recently by UT Southwestern researchers reveals it’s a hormone that acts on the brain to increase your desire to drink water in responsse to specific nutrient stresses that can cause dehydration.

The findings were reported by Dr. David Mangelsdorf and Steven Kliewer who have run the joint Mangelsdorf/Kliewer laboratory at UTSW since 2002. The lab has been studying the liver hormoe FGF21, or fibroblast growth factor 21.

“We knew that exposure to alcohol or sugar turns on production of FGF21 in the liver. What we now show is that this hormone then travels in the blood to a specific part of the brain, the hypothalamus, to stimulate thirst, thereby preventing dehydration,” Kliewer, professor of molecular biology and pharmacology, said in a release. “Unexpectedly, FGF21 works through a new pathway that is independent of the classical renin-angiotensin-aldosterone thirst pathway in the kidneys.”

Ultimately, their research “suggests that FGF21 could be used as a drug to limit alcohold consumption and protect against its effects in people,” Mangelsdorf said.

Co-authors of the study include lead author Dr. Parkyong Song, Dr. Christoph Zechner, graduate student Genaro Hernandez, Dr. Yang Xie, Dr. Varun Sondhi, Dr. Ming Chang Hu,and Dr. Orson Moe. UTSW said that researcher at Columbia University and at the Medical University of Graz in Austria also contributed to the study.

You can find out more here.


Dr. Michael Motes (left) and Dr. John Hart Jr., along with other researchers at UT Dallas, discovered that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation boosted the effectiveness of cognitive processing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. [Photo courtesy of UT Dallas]


Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have made a discovery that could help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A research team led by Drs. John Hart Jr. and Michael Motes found that a standard therapy for PTSD — cognitive processing therapy (CPT) — could be boosted by adding repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation prior to CPT sessions, the university said in a release.

“What was novel about our study was that we weren’t using rTMS as a treatment on its own,” Hart said. “We were using it to enhance the effects of cognitive processing therapy, which we know works. We wanted to test whether we could make CPT more effective by adding the targeted rTMS.”

What is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation? It uses a magnetic coil to stimulate targeted areas of the brain.

In this study, scientists said they stimulated the prefontal cortex, a region on the front right side of the brain.

Discover more about the research here. 


The team from the Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation. [Photo courtesy of UTA]


The University of Texas at Arlington announced that its Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation, CLEAR, has expanded its partnership with Challenger Water Solutions, an oil field equipment suppler, to develop water recycling technologies to make reusable water out of waste from unconventional oil and gas development.

UTA said the collaboration already has resulted in a study that was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment in which CLEAR evaluated a modular, multstep water treatment designed by Challenger. 

The team from CLEAR discovered that under a wide range of conditions, multiple means of treatment were required to remove “pertinent contaminants” that could preclude oil field waste from being recycled and then reused.

“As hydrocarbon extraction has expanded considerably across Texas, particularly in western Texas, so too has the reliance on fresh water resources to facilitate the stimulation of production wells,” Kevin Schug, interim associate dean of the College of Science and director of CLEAR, said in a release. “This has provided a tremendous impetus for the recycling and reuse of produced waste, both of which are very difficult to accomplish effectively and economically given the physiochemical complexities of these waste solutions.”


Daniel J. KIm [Photo courtesy of UNT]

Dan J. Kim, a professor in the University of North Texas’ Department of Technology and Decision Sciences, has earned a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to research how the creation of new online technologies have affected different cultural norms, and whether that has changed in the tech-driven world of today.

UNT said the award would allow Kim to travel to the Korea University Business School in South Korea to begin a six-month stint in February teaching and researching in the company of other world-class scholars.

“In today’s highly competitive global economy, innovation is a subject of great importance because it stimulates sustainable business growth and improves the national economy,” Kim said in a release. “This project examines whether the results of earlier studies on national culture and innovation are still valid.”


Plano-based VitreosHealth, a preditive health-care insights company, was featured recently in a Modern Healthcare article, “Mapping the Impacts of Social Determinants in Health.” The article highlights VitreosHealth’s eight years of experience in using social determinants data to predict adverse health outcomes. It noted that CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System in Tyler uses VitriosHealth because it “provides risk stratifcation platforms and anlyzes data — including claims data — to try to optimize the cost and performance of health care.” The health system has beena able to trim the average monthly spending on patients by 15 percent since 2016 via its partnership with VitreosHealth.


Discovery: Scientist Creating 3D Motion Microscope to Examine Heart, New Surface Redirects Water Faster Than Living Organisms

Discovery: Reducing Cancer Risk 1 Cup at a Time, Scientist Seeks Clearer Images of Deadly Tumors

Discovery: Women Lead Sustainable Living Research at AgriLife, UTD Scientists Develop ‘Genetic’ Circuits

Discovery: How Songbirds Could Help With Autism, 3D-Printed Microneedles Offer New, Lower Cost Option

Discovery: New UTSW Protocol Detects Bone Metastases, UTA Startup Gets Funding & Research Agreement

Discovery: Targeting Cancer Stem Cells, UTA Chemist Honored as Distinguished Scientist

Discovery: Aiding a Fragile Mussel, Trial Seeks Multiple Myeloma Patients, 3-D Universe

Discovery: Sway, TCU Partner on Sports Performance Research & UTA Gets $3.3M for Heart Study


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