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The effects of social media on STEM identity in adolescent girls

Sreekanth et al. | Mar 11, 2024

The effects of social media on STEM identity in adolescent girls
Image credit: Diane Serik

Social media is widely used and easily accessible for adolescents, it has the potential to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) identity in girls. We aimed to investigate the effects of exposure to counter-stereotypical portrayals of women in STEM on social media on the STEM identity of adolescent girls. The study concluded that social media alone may not be an effective tool to increase STEM identity in girls. Social media can still be used as a complementary tool to support and encourage women in STEM, but it should not be relied upon solely to address the gender disparity in STEM fields.

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Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Park et al. | Aug 16, 2019

Specific Transcription Factors Distinguish Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Fibroblasts

Stem cells are at the forefront of research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Two essential properties of stem cells are self-renewal and potency, having the ability to specialize into different types of cells. Here, Park and Jeong took advantage of previously identified stem cell transcription factors associated with potency to differentiate umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (US-MSCs) from morphologically similar fibroblasts. Western blot analysis of the transcription factors Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2 revealed their expression was unique to US-MSCs providing insight for future methods of differentiating between these cell lines.

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Conversion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in a Tumor Microenvironment: An in vitro Study

Ramesh et al. | Feb 18, 2020

Conversion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in a Tumor Microenvironment: An <em>in vitro</em> Study

Mesenchymal stem cells(MSCs) play a role in tumor formation by differentiating into cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) which enable metastasis of tumors. The process of conversion of MSCs into CAFs is not clear. In this study, authors tested the hypothesis that cancers cells secrete soluble factors that induce differentiation by culturing bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in media conditioned by a breast cancer cell line.

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Breast cancer mammographic screening by different guidelines among women of different races/ethnicities

Wang et al. | Aug 27, 2023

Breast cancer mammographic screening by different guidelines among women of different races/ethnicities

Mammographic screening is a common diagnostic tool for breast cancer among average-risk women. The authors hypothesized that adherence rates for mammographic screening may be lower among minorities (non-Hispanic black (NHB) and Hispanic/Latino) than among non-Hispanic whites (NHW) regardless of the guideline applied. The findings support other studies’ results that different racial/ethnic and socio-demographic factors can affect screening adherence. Therefore, healthcare providers should promote breast cancer screening especially among NHW/Hispanic women and women lacking insurance coverage.

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Can the Growth Mindset Encourage Girls to Pursue “Male” Careers?

Lateef et al. | Oct 03, 2021

Can the Growth Mindset Encourage Girls to Pursue “Male” Careers?

Despite major advances in gender equality, men still far outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. The purpose of this project was to determine whether mindset could affect a student’s future career choices and whether this effect differed based on gender. When looking within the gender groups, 86% of females who had a growth mindset were likely to consider a “male” career, whereas only 16% of females with fixed mindset would likely to consider a “male” career. Especially for girls, cultivating a growth mindset may be a great strategy to address the problem of fewer girls picking STEM careers.

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Racial and gender disparities in the portrayal of lawyers and physicians on television

Asadi et al. | Nov 18, 2022

Racial and gender disparities in the portrayal of lawyers and physicians on television

Powered by the sociological framework that exposure to television bleeds into social biases, limiting media representation of women and minority groups may lead to real-world implications and manifestations of racial and gender disparities. To address this phenomenon, the researchers in this article take a look at primetime fictional representation of minorities and women as lawyers and physicians and compare television representation to census data of the same groups within real-world legal and medical occupations. The authors maintain the hypothesis that representation of female and minority groups as television lawyers and doctors is lower than that of their white male counterparts relative to population demographics - a trend that they expect to also be reflected in actual practice. With fictional racial and gender inequalities and corresponding real-world trends highlighted within this article, the researchers call for address towards representation biases that reinforce each other in both fictional and non-fictional spheres.

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Wound healing properties of mesenchymal conditioned media: Analysis of PDGF, VEGF and IL-8 concentrations

Prasad et al. | Dec 15, 2021

Wound healing properties of mesenchymal conditioned media: Analysis of PDGF, VEGF and IL-8 concentrations

Regenerative medicine has become a mainstay in recent times, and employing stem cells to treat several degenerative, inflammatory conditions has resulted in very promising outcomes. These forms of cell-based therapies are novel approaches to existing treatment modalities. In this study, the authors compared the concentrations of the cytokines PDGF, IL-8, and VEGF between conditioned and spent media of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to evaluate their potential therapeutic properties for wound healing in inflammatory conditions. They hypothesized that conditioned media contains higher concentrations of wound healing cytokines compared to spent media. The authors found that while IL-8 and VEGF were present in highest concentrations in conditioned media, PDGF was present in maximal amounts in spent media.

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The non-nutritive sweeteners acesulfame potassium and neotame slow the regeneration rate of planaria

Russo et al. | Nov 29, 2023

The non-nutritive sweeteners acesulfame potassium and neotame slow the regeneration rate of planaria
Image credit: Russo et al. 2023

The consumption of sugar substitute non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) has dramatically increased in recent years. Despite being advertised as a healthy alternative, NNS have been linked to adverse effects on the body, such as neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). In NDs, neural stem cell function is impaired, which inhibits neuron regeneration. The purpose of this study was to determine if the NNS acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and neotame affect planaria neuron regeneration rates. Since human neurons may regenerate, planaria, organisms with extensive regenerative capabilities due to stem cells called neoblasts, were used as the model organism. The heads of planaria exposed to either a control or non-toxic concentrations of NNS were amputated. The posterior regions of the planaria were observed every 24 hours to see the following regeneration stages: (1) wound healing, (2) blastema development, (3) growth, and (4) differentiation. The authors hypothesized that exposure to the NNS would slow planaria regeneration rates. The time it took for the planaria in the Ace-K group and the neotame group to reach the second, third, and fourth regeneration stage was significantly greater than that of the control. The results of this study indicated that exposure to the NNS significantly slowed regeneration rates in planaria. This suggests that the NNS may adversely impact neoblast proliferation rates in planaria, implying that it could impair neural stem cell proliferation in humans, which plays a role in NDs. This study may provide insight into the connection between NNS, human neuron regeneration, and NDs.

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