Feb. 28, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Clinical depression comes along with many other symptoms including anxiety, poor attention, memory issues, and sleep disturbances. Researchers at UCLA, including Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, believe that these multiple symptoms of depression may be linked to a malfunction involving brain networks. Therefore, they believe that depression is not directly linked to one part of the brain, rather it is due to the imbalance of chemicals in the brain connections. The researchers demonstrated that depressed people have increased connections among most brain areas. These patients have brains that are hyperconnected.
Feb. 21, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Recently, there was a study by scientists, including the co-leader Jean Bennet, and Manzar Ashtari from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that was published in Science Translational Medicine. The study showed successful gene therapy for inherited blindness for one eye. The particular disease is called leber congenital amaurosis (LCA).
Feb. 21, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School The American Museum of Natural History offers many after-school science courses each year. Currently, I am enrolled in “Curing Disease in the 20th Century”. The course discusses the process of developing drugs starting from molecules in nature and in the lab. Last week, we did a lab to find and grow our own bacteria.
Jan. 31, 2012
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have identified cancer cell mitochondria as the energy provider of tumor growth. This will allow room for new therapeutic targets in breast cancer.
Jan. 31, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Have you ever wondered how long you are going to live? Then this may be the test for you! Maria Blasco of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid invented a telomere test that measures the length of the telomeres in the patient’s body. The Patient’s Telomere Score is calculated based on the telomere length on white blood cells. The higher the telomere score, the younger the cells. Scientists believe that telomere length is one of the most accurate ways of distinguish how long a person will live.
Jan. 26, 2012
Six-month-old infants who have been introduced to starchy table foods, that often contain salt, have a greater preference for salty foods than do infants not yet eating these foods, according to a recent study by researchers from the Monell Center and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Jan. 26, 2012
Sea Snails -- specifically Aplysia californica -- are helping scientists enhance the memories of people with learning impairments. Because Applysia's brain has much in common with the human brain, the snails are useful in helping scientists understand how the brain learns as well as how memory storage works.
Jan. 24, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people have mood swings. They have periods of happiness and periods of depression. Doctors are unsure what causes bipolar disorder. However, it is clear that bipolar disorder is carried down genetically, since the disorder runs in families. New research in 2011 suggests that rare copy number variants (CNVs) where sections of DNA are either duplicated or missing seem to play a major role in the risk for early onset bipolar disorder.
Jan. 06, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Mosquitoes are as adept at flying in rainstorms as under clear skies. But how is that possible? Wouldn’t rain crush a mosquito to the ground since mosquitoes weigh 50 times less than raindrops?
Jan. 03, 2012
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Want to help researchers while playing a game? Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl of the McGill School of Computer Science and collaborator Mathieu Blanchette have designed a web-based video game called Phylo. By playing Phylo, gamers can contribute to scientific research and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. No knowledge of science needed to play!
Dec. 28, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Fireworks are used for many special occasions including New Years Eve and the Fourth of July. Fireworks originated in the Han dynasty in 200 B.C. When dry fuel ran short, chunks of green bamboo were thrown onto a fire. The bamboo got darker and started to sizzle. After a while, the bamboo unexpectedly exploded. The reason for this is that bamboo grows so fast that sacs of air get trapped inside the plant’s segments, and when heated, the air pockets expand and eventually burst. The bursting air pockets create such loud sounds that they frightening people as well as animals. The Chinese figured that if the noise scared people so much, then it would also scare away evil spirits. So it became customary to throw green bamboo into a fire on the Lunar New Year.
Dec. 28, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School TB is a difficult disease to treat. People are prescribed a combination of many antibiotics to be taken daily for 6 to 9 months. This is a schedule that is hard for patients to follow and hard for their nurses and doctors to administer. Even after beginning the appropriate treatment, some of the infectious cells survive for long periods of time. A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study to figure out why some tuberculosis cells are inherently more difficult to treat with antibiotics.
Dec. 28, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Iron oxide is a component (along with magnesium) of ferropericlase, the second most abundant mineral at Earth’s lower mantle. In the center of the Earth, there is extreme pressure and high temperature. This causes atoms and electrons to squeeze so closely together that they interact differently from the way they interact in the outer layers of Earth. New experiments and supercomputer computations have enabled researchers to discover something interesting about the way iron oxide (FeO) behaves in deep Earth conditions.
Dec. 22, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Know a child who loves science? Check out these gifts for this holiday season!
Dec. 21, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Biologists and bioengineers at UC San Diego created a living neon sign composed of millions of bacterial cells. The researchers started by attaching a fluorescent protein to the biological clocks of the bacteria. They then synchronized the clocks of thousands of bacterial colonies to glow on and off in unison.
Dec. 21, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Before 2011, a brain scan was typically used to identify the type of stroke a patient had suffered.However, it takes hours to receive the result from this method -- during which time the stroke is getting increasingly more dangerous. A new device uses a technique called impedance spectroscopy. Impedance spectroscopy measures how waves of energy flow through different tissue or materials to analyze what’s going on deep inside the skull.
Dec. 20, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Researchers at MIT are working on a less-expensive way to make solar cells by printing them directly on paper or fabric. They discovered that this process works on ordinary printing paper, tissue paper, and on newspaper that has already been printed.
Dec. 19, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Earlier this year, forensic experts at the University of Abertay Dundee and the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) discovered a technique to recover fingerprints on fabrics. This technique is known as vacuum metal deposition (VMD). It uses gold and zinc to recover the fingerprint mark that is on a piece of fabric.
Dec. 19, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School One of the best books I read this year was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The book won several awards and was featured on over 60 critics’ best of 2010 lists. Henrietta’s story is soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.
Dec. 13, 2011
By Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School In the United States, in 2007, approximately 10,000 children under the age 15 were diagnosed with cancer and 1,545 died from the disease. Cynthia A. Gerhardt, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital conducted a study with colleagues by interviewing 40 families that had lost a child due to cancer.
Dec. 09, 2011
By: Mariel Emrich, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School Alzheimer’s is neurological disease of the brain leading to the loss of neurons and loss of intellectual abilities including memory. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found a new way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, using an MRI technique called ASL (Arterial spin labeling).
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