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Synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril on C. elegans

Kadıoğlu et al. | Jul 10, 2018

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Kadıoğlu and Oğuzalp study the synergistic effects of Metformin and Captopril, two commonly prescribed drugs for type 2 diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Using C. elegans nematodes as a model system, the authors find that the nematodes decreased in average body length when exposed to Metformin or Captopril individually, but grew 11% in body length when both drugs were used together. Because C. elegans body size is regulated in part by the TGF-β signaling pathway, the authors suggest that synergistic effects of these two drugs may be modulating TGF-β activity, a previously uncharacterized phenomenon.

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The Effect of Radiant Energy on Radish Seed Germination

Simon et al. | Jul 06, 2018

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Simon and colleagues test how exposure to microwaves affect radish seed germination, either microwaving seeds for ninety seconds or four minutes prior to planting. Surprisingly, the authors found that seeds microwaved for four minutes exhibited 150% increased germination as compared to controls. The authors hypothesize that breakdown of the radish seed coat when exposed to heat may allow seedlings to sprout more efficiently.

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Development of Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster and Characterization of the Anti-Diabetic Effects of Resveratrol and Pterostilbene

Dhar et al. | Jul 02, 2018

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Dhar and colleagues established a Type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) model in fruit flies, using this model to induce insulin resistance and characterize the effects Resveratrol and Pterostilbene on a number of growth and activity metrics. Resveratrol and Pterostilbene treatment notably overturned the weight gain and glucose levels. The results of this study suggest that Drosophila can be utilized as a model organism to study T2DM and novel pharmacological treatments.

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A Novel Method for Assessment of Proprioception

Trevithick et al. | Jun 22, 2018

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Trevithick & Park were interested in whether proprioception, the sense of the relative position of body parts and movement, differed between varsity and non-varsity athletes, as well as between the sport practiced. The authors found that there was no correlation between athleticism and better proprioception, but that dancers had superior proprioceptive abilities compared to those that practiced other sports.

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A Novel Method for Auto-Suturing in Laparoscopic Robotic-Assisted Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Anastomosis

Levy et al. | Jun 21, 2018

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Levy & Levy tackle the optimization of the coronary artery bypass graft, a life-saving surgical technique that treats artery blockage due to coronary heart disease. The authors develop a novel auto-suturing method that saves time, allows for an increased number of sutures, and improves graft quality over hand suturing. The authors also show that increasing the number of sutures from four to five with their new method significantly improves graft quality. These promising findings may help improve outcomes for patients undergoing surgery to treat coronary heart disease.

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Don’t Waste the Medical Waste: Reducing Improperly Classified Hazardous Waste in a Medical Facility

Hemani et al. | Jun 20, 2018

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Hemani et al. tackled the problem of rampant hospital waste by implementing staff training to help inform hospital workers about proper waste disposal. The authors observed a significant increase in proper waste disposal after the training, showing that simple strategies, such as in-person classroom training and posters, can have a profound effect on limiting improper waste handling.

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FRUGGIE – A board game to combat obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in young children

Huprikar et al. | Jun 13, 2018

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The authors created a board game to teach young children about healthy eating habits to see whether an interactive and family-oriented method would be effective at introducing and maintaining a love for fruits and veggies. Results showed that children developed a liking for fruits and vegetables, and none regressed. Half maintained their level of enjoyment for fruits and vegetables during the research period, while the other half had a positive increase. The results show that a simple interactive game can shape how young children relate to food and encourage them to maintain healthy habits.

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Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

Bing et al. | Jun 12, 2018

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The "Uncanny Valley" is a phenomenon in which humans feel discomfort in the presence of objects that are almost, but not quite, human-like. In this study, the authors tested whether this phenomenon could be overcome by sharing a stressful experience with a humanoid robot. They found that human subjects more readily accepted a robot partner that they had previously shared a stressful experience with, suggesting a potential method for increasing the effectiveness of beneficial human-robot interactions by reducing the Uncanny Valley effect.

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DyGS: a dynamic gene searching algorithm for cancer detection

Wang et al. | Jun 05, 2018

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Wang and Gong developed a novel dynamic gene-searching algorithm called Dynamic Gene Search (DyGS) to create a gene panel for each of the 12 cancers with the highest annual incidence and death rate. The 12 gene panels the DyGS algorithm selected used only 3.5% of the original gene mutation pool, while covering every patient sample. About 40% of each gene panel is druggable, which indicates that the DyGS-generated gene panels can be used for early cancer detection as well as therapeutic targets in treatment methods.

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Reducing Crop Damage Caused by Folsomia candida by Providing an Alternate Food Source

Tamura et al. | May 28, 2018

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Tamura and Moché found that Folsomia candida, a common crop pest, prefers to consume yeast instead of lettuce seedlings. The authors confirmed that even with the availability of both lettuce seedlings and yeast in the same dish, Folsomia candida preferred to eat the yeast, thereby reducing the number of feeding injuries on the lettuce seedlings. The authors propose that using this preference for yeast may be a way to mitigate crop damage by this pest.

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Differentiation of Waste Plastic Pyrolysis Fuels to Conventional Diesel Fuel

Jewison et al. | May 25, 2018

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Plastic pollution and energy shortages are pressing issues in today’s world. The authors examined whether waste plastic pyrolysis fuels are similar to conventional diesel and, thus, a plausible alternative fuel. Results showed that waste plastic pyrolysis fuels did not match up to diesel overall, though several fuels came close in calorific value.

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Young People Drinking: The Effect of Group Size on Drinking Habits

Palermo et al. | May 10, 2018

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Palermo et al. examined the effect of group size on drinking habits of college and high school students. The authors found that both high school and college students tended to consume the most alcohol in group sizes of 4 or more, independent of how frequently they drink. They also found that the proportion of college students that drink is nearly twice the proportion of high school students that drink. This study supports previous findings that underage drinking happens in large groups and suggests that effective intervention in underage drinking would be at the group level.

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The Effect of Interactive Electronics Use on Psychological Well Being and Interpersonal Relationship Quality in Adults

Belkin et al. | Apr 19, 2018

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In recent years, usage of interactive electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets has increased dramatically. Many studies have examined the potential adverse effects of excessive usage of such devices on children and adolescents, but the effects on adults are not well understood. In this study, the authors examined the relationship between adult usage of interactive electronic devices and a variety of clinical measures of psychological well-being. They found that according to some metrics, higher usage of interactive electronic devices is associated with several adverse psychological outcomes, suggesting a need for more careful consideration of such usage patterns in clinical settings.

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Effect of Manuka Honey and Licorice Root Extract on the Growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis: an In Vitro Study

Chandran et al. | Apr 11, 2018

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Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, is a problem faced by nearly 50% of the general poluation, but existing treatments such as liquid mouthwash or sugar-free gum are imperfect and temporary solutions. In this study, the authors investigate potential alternative treatments using natural ingredients such as Manuka Honey and Licorice root extract. They found that Manuka honey is almost as effective as commercial mouthwashes in reducing the growth of P gingivalis (one of the main bacteria that causes bad breath), while Licorice root extract was largely ineffective. The authors' results suggest that Manuka honey is a promising candidate in the search for new and improved halitosis treatments.

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The Feasibility of Mixed Reality Gaming as a Tool for Physical Therapy Following a Spinal Cord Injury

DeBre et al. | Apr 04, 2018

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Physical therapy, especially for patients with spinal cord injuries, can be a difficult and tedious experience. This can result in negative health outcomes, such as patients dropping out of physical therapy or developing additional health problems. In this study, the authors develop and test a potential solution to these challenges: a mixed reality game called Skyfarer that replaces a standard physical therapy regimen with an immersive experience that can be shared with their friends and family. The findings of this study suggest that mixed reality games such as Skyfarer could be effective alternatives to conventional physical therapy.

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Simulations of Cheetah Roaming Demonstrate the Effect of Safety Corridors on Genetic Diversity and Human-Cheetah Conflict

Acton et al. | Apr 02, 2018

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Ecological corridors are geographic features designated to allow the movement of wildlife populations between habitats that have been fragmented by human landscapes. Corridors can be a pivotal aspect in wildlife conservation because they preserve a suitable habitat for isolated populations to live and intermingle. Here, two students simulate the effect of introducing a safety corridor for cheetahs, based on real tracking data on cheetahs in Namibia.

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The Cilium- and Centrosome-Associated Protein CCDC11 Is Required for Cytokinesis via Midbody Recruitment of the ESCRT- III Membrane Scission Complex Subunit CHMP2A

Ahmed et al. | Mar 14, 2018

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In order for cells to successfully multiply, a number of proteins are needed to correctly coordinate the replication and division process. In this study, students use fluorescence microscopy and molecular methods to study CCDC11, a protein critical in the formation of cilia. Interestingly, they uncover a new role for CCDC11, critical in the cell division across multiple human cell lines.

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Who is at Risk for a Spinal Fracture? – A Comparative Study of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data

He et al. | Mar 01, 2018

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One common age-related health problem is the loss of bone mineral density (BMD), which can lead to a variety of negative health outcomes, including increased risk of spinal fracture. In this study, the authors investigate risk factors that may be predictive of an individual's risk of spinal fracture. Their findings provide valuable information that clinicians can use in patient evaluations.

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Are Age and Sex Related to Emotion Recognition Ability in Children and Teenagers?

Gallego-García et al. | Feb 23, 2018

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Humans have a natural ability to recognize emotional cues from the facial expressions of others, as a crucial evolutionary trait to navigate social interactions. This ability likely develops through normal development and social experience, but it is unclear how much influence age and sex have in emotional facial recognition (EFR). In this study, the authors investigate EFR in children and teenagers, and look at whether accurate emotional recognition does occur more in males or females.

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