By Emily Rehmet, '20
For years, the American Psychological Association has classified eating disorders into a discrete category on its own, a direct byproduct of patients having doubts about their body size and image. However, a recent study suggests that bulimia nervosa may be connected to something deeper… a vehicle for people to escape from self-critical thoughts. New research has shown that rather than simply having an obsession with food, women with this disorder have decreased blood flow to a brain area associated with self reflection and self worth. What is this newly discovered brain area that could be causing this you may ask? A region called the precuneus .
By Jess Sevetson
Definitive diagnosis for many neurodegenerative diseases – such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – frequently comes far too late. With dementia patients, doctors assess memory and behavior using specialized cognitive tests, though the results of these tests can be ambiguous. The “true gold standard” for diagnosis of both Alzheimer’s and CTE is through direct postmortem examination of brain tissue. Now, both researchers and athletes are working to change that.
Tragedies of Science: The Story of Thalidomide and How the FDA Gained More Power than Any Other Government Agency
By Olivia Woodford-Berry, '19
Though unfamiliar to some, many still remember thalidomide as one of the worst scientific mishaps of the twentieth century. This drug, originally produced in Germany, was brought to market with problematic lack of testing, and was later proven to cause an array of birth defects from phocomelia, or shortened or abnormal appendages resulting from problems with limb development in the womb, to autism like symptoms. (1) According to the Thalidomide Society, as many as 120,000 babies have miscarried, still born, or born with birth defects as a result of thalidomide. (1) This failure to regulate drugs has impacted thousands of victims, and the influence of this catastrophe continues to impact drug development in unseen ways. Specifically, the historical memories of thalidomide have given wake to the modern, virtually insurmountable power of the Food and Drug Administration.
By Cindy Won, '20
We see everywhere in medical headlines that diseases such as cancer and diabetes are some of the leading causes of death. But what really drives the high prevalence of these conditions? In reality, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Ever since the Surgeon General Report of 1964 revealed the deleterious effects of smoking on various organs in the body, tobacco prevention strategies have been implemented in public health education. Despite these strategies, over 42 million continue to smoke , and smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths in the United States, both directly and indirectly
by Maddie Critz '20
“Blindsight”. A word that may seem like only an oxymoron to you, but to a room full of neurologists, the word “blindsight” may incite groans of frustration or, perhaps, an argument.
by Rahul Jayaram '21
If given the task of memorizing a speech word for word, most people would approach the task by continuously repeating the series of words in the speech until they can recite the piece in its entirety. Your brain does a similar task when visual memory comes into play. However, instead of days, such processing takes place in milliseconds, allowing for quick recall. Researchers at the Baycrest Center for Geriatric care have confirmed this key role of eye movements in visual memory in their study involving an image memory task. They determined that when people try to remember an image in their head, their eyes move in a manner similar to when they first viewed the object.
by Sumaiya Sayeed '20
We are encased in an atmosphere protected by the magnetic field that shields us from high energy particles in our solar system. As magnetic fields change, they approach their eventual geomagnetic reversal, which for us means high vulnerability and uncertainty.
by Claire Bekker '21
One could argue that humans are the most successful invasive species on the planet. Since the first groups of Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa 70,000 years ago, we’ve colonized almost the entire globe, wrecking ecological havoc along the way. Over the last few centuries, humans have become increasingly dominant, modifying 50-70% of Earth’s land surface for our own use (1). According to Mark Williams, at the University of Leicester, “It’s not hubris to say this. Never before have animal and plants (and other organisms for that matter) been translocated on a global scale around the planet. Never before has one species dominated primary production in the manner that we do. Never before has one species remodeled the terrestrial biosphere so dramatically to serve its own ends” (2). And yet, our ecological impacts are only becoming more pronounced, in both obvious and subtle ways. Not only do human activities destroy habitats and decrease biodiversity but they also affect animals’ range, migration patterns, and overall vagility — their ability to move — through these fragmented habitats.
by Rahul Jayaraman '19
It’s hard to believe that only about twenty years ago, we knew of less than fifty planets outside our solar system (exoplanets), none of which were known to contain water or compounds suitable for life. Now, we know of more than three thousand exoplanets, and researchers are able to analyze these planets in much finer detail to determine their atmospheric content, using a whole host of new (and old) tools to do so.
by Adrienne Parsons, PhD '21
Scientific progress is charging forward with staggering intensity. But with increases to the number of Americans pursuing scientific research as a career and the growing need for the development of complex technologies, the government is becoming less and less able to foot the bill required to maintain this momentum. To compensate, some scientists are seeking alternatives—by appealing to the public.