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Creating a Phenology Trail Around Central Park Pond

Flynn et al. | Jul 16, 2020

Creating a Phenology Trail Around Central Park Pond

This study aimed to determine whether the life cycle stages, or phenophases, of some plants in the urban environment of Central Park, New York, differ from the typical phenophases of the same plant species. The authors hypothesized that the phenophases of the thirteen plants we studied would differ from their typical phenophases due to the urban heat island effect. Although the phenophases of five plants matched up with typical trends, there were distinct changes in the phenophases of the other eight, possibly resulting from the urban heat island effect.

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A Retrospective Study of Research Data on End Stage Renal Disease

Ponnaluri et al. | Mar 09, 2016

A Retrospective Study of Research Data on End Stage Renal Disease

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is a growing health concern in the United States. The authors of this study present a study of ESRD incidence over a 32-year period, providing an in-depth look at the contributions of age, race, gender, and underlying medical factors to this disease.

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Behavioral Longevity: The Impact of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity on Life Expectancy

Han et al. | Oct 03, 2019

Behavioral Longevity: The Impact of Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity on Life Expectancy

In this article, the authors look into what is already known about the factor affecting longevity and determine the importance of behavioral factors including alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity on longevity. The authors quantify data from over 150 countries and, interestingly, find that the impact each factor has on longevity is at least in part dependent on the country's economic development status. Overall, they conclude that an average person’s life expectancy can increase by more than 3 years if smoking and alcohol consumption is reduced by a half and weight is decreased by 10%.

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Peptidomimetics Targeting the Polo-box Domain of Polo-like Kinase 1

Jang et al. | Aug 19, 2016

Peptidomimetics Targeting the Polo-box Domain of Polo-like Kinase 1

Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a master regulator of mitosis, initiating key steps of cell cycle regulation, and its overexpression is associated with certain types of cancer. In this study, the authors carefully designed peptides that were able to bind to Plk1 at a location that is important for its proper localization and function. Future studies could further develop these peptides to selectively target Plk1 in cancer cells and induce mitotic arrest.

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Geographic Distribution of Scripps National Spelling Bee Spellers Resembles Geographic Distribution of Child Population in US States upon Implementation of the RSVBee “Wildcard” Program

Kannankeril et al. | Aug 17, 2020

Geographic Distribution of Scripps National Spelling Bee Spellers Resembles Geographic Distribution of Child Population in US States upon Implementation of the RSVBee “Wildcard” Program

The Scripps National Spelling Bee (SNSB) is an iconic academic competition for United States (US) schoolchildren, held annually since 1925. However, the sizes and geographic distributions of sponsored regions are uneven. One state may send more than twice as many spellers as another state, despite similar numbers in child population. In 2018, the SNSB introduced a wildcard program known as RSVBee, which allowed students to apply to compete as a national finalist, even if they did not win their regional spelling bee. In this study, the authors tested the hypothesis that the geographic distribution of SNSB national finalists more closely matched the child population of the US after RSVBee was implemented.

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People’s Preference to Bet on Home Teams Even When Losing is Likely

Weng et al. | Mar 10, 2020

People’s Preference to Bet on Home Teams Even When Losing is Likely

In this study, the authors investigate situations in which people make sports bets that seem to go against their better judgement. Using surveys, individuals were asked to bet on which team would win in scenarios when their home team was involved and others when they were not to determine whether fandom for a team can overshadow fans’ judgment. They found that fans bet much more on their home teams than neutral teams when their team was facing a large deficit.

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Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Lee et al. | May 29, 2013

Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Life requires many things, including a hospitable temperature, elements, and energy. Here the authors utilize Newton's laws of physics and information relating a star's luminosity and temperature to determine the minimum and maximum masses and luminosities of planets and stars that would support life as we know it. This work can be used to determine the likelihood of a planet being able to support life based on attributes we can measure from here on Earth.

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Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Mathew et al. | Aug 11, 2019

Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 81% of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) patients in the renal fibrosis stage later develop CAD. In this study, Mathew and Joykutty aimed to create a cost-effective strategy to treat AKI and thus prevent CAD using a model of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. They first tested whether AKI is induced in Danio rerio upon exposure to environmental toxins, then evaluated nitrotyrosine as an early biomarker for toxin-induced AKI. Finally, they evaluated 4 treatments of renal fibrosis, the last stage of AKI, and found that the compound SB431542 was the most effective treatment (reduced fibrosis by 99.97%). Their approach to treating AKI patients, and potentially prevent CAD, is economically feasible for translation into the clinic in both developing and developed countries.

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The Effects of Post-Consumer Waste Polystyrene on the Rate of Mealworm Consumption

Green et al. | Nov 29, 2018

The Effects of Post-Consumer Waste Polystyrene on the Rate of Mealworm Consumption

In a world where plastic waste accumulation is threatening both land and sea life, Green et al. investigate the ability of mealworms to breakdown polystyrene, a non-recyclable form of petrochemical-based polymer we use in our daily lives. They confirm that these organisms, can degrade various forms of polystyrene, even after it has been put to use in our daily lives. Although the efficiency of the degradation process still requires improvement, the good news is, the worms are tiny and themselves are biodegradable, so we can use plenty of them without worrying about space and how to get rid of them. This is very promising and certainly good news for the planet.

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