Current Event Summaries by Liz L.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Liz L.

  1. Liz LaHood says:

    Title: Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190915130055.htm
    Authors: Florida Atlantic University
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 15, 2019

    Article Summary:
    This article was about a study being done on bottlenose dolphins in Florida. Scientists at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute tested 171 dolphins and found that their pathogens were developing antibiotic resistance. These scientists used thirteen years of research and found that the overall resistance to at least one antibiotic among 733 pathogen isolates was 88.2 percent. The prevalence of resistance was highest to erythromycin, ampicillin, and cephalothin. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges in today’s world because many bacterial infections have developed a resistance to the drugs that have previously been successful in treating these infections. This problem continues to grow because new antibiotics are not being developed to combat these infections fast enough. At least 2 million people get antibiotic-resistant infections and at least 23,000 people die every year in the United States.

    Personal Reaction:
    This study done by Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is concerning because it confirms that the problem of antibiotic resistance is continuing to grow and spread. Antibiotic resistance is a major public health concern and is the cause of a considerable number of deaths. This, combined with the fact that there is not yet a useful solution to combat these infections, shows that this problem will continue to grow. As stated in the article, the research confirms that these infections have spread to bottlenose dolphins. This is concerning because it could lead to an increase in death among these dolphins. Considering that there are already many species becoming endangered and going extinct, it is worrisome that bottlenose dolphins could possibly be added to this list because of these antibiotic resistant infections. This relates to what we have learned in class because it describes how the dolphins developing antibiotic resistance is connected to evolution.

  2. Liz LaHood says:

    Title: Gene editing enables researchers to correct mutation in muscle stem cells in DMD model
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190917115430.htm
    Authors: University of Missouri-Columbia
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 17, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rare genetic disorder that causes physical impairments and muscle loss. DMD causes children to have a gene mutation that interrupts the production of the protein dystrophin, without which, muscle cells grow weaker and die. This causes children to lose the ability to walk and muscles that are essential for heart function and breathing to shut down. Researchers have started to use technology known as CRISPR to edit out this mutation. They are working on correcting the mutation in muscle stem cells to regenerate from the edited stem cells, without carrying the mutation. This is because there is a concern that the gene-edited muscle cells can wear out over time, causing a relapse of DMD. After further research, these scientists have found that CRISPR gene editing could provide a lifelong solution to not only DMD, but other muscle diseases, as well.

    Personal Reaction:
    After reading about DMD and what it does, it is nice to hear that scientists may have found a possible cure for this genetic disorder, along with other muscle diseases. The fact that it causes muscles to die and is fatal to people who have it shows that a cure is very important to find. Not only that, but this research shows that CRISPR could provide a lifelong cure for this disorder. Although it is worrisome that the gene-edited muscle cells cana wear out over time, future research and experiments could provide a fix for the problem. Overall, DMD is a devastating disease that is in need of a fix, and CRISPR provides a possible solution. This has to do with what we learned in class because it describes how DMD is passed down through generations because it is apart of some people’s DNA.

  3. Liz LaHood says:

    Title: A smart artificial hand for amputees merges user and robotic control
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190911113007.htm
    Authors: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 11, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have started to develop new neuroprosthetic technology for robotic hands that combine automation and individual finger control, which would allow for better manipulation and gripping. This technology is equipped with pressure sensors that allow it to react and stabilize an object before the brian has even realized that the object is slipping from the technology’s grasp. For this to work properly, the amputee perform several hand movements that allow the algorithm to be trained and learn. It also contains sensors on the amputee’s that detect things like muscular activity. These scientists have now engineered this algorithm to also signal to the prosthetic to close its fingers when an object has come in contact with the sensors. Although there are still many challenges and obstacles in the way before the algorithm and engineering is perfected, this prosthetic technology will be implemented and sold sometime in the future.

    Personal Reaction:
    Although I have seen and heard of prosthetic technology for amputees, I have never heard of one that works as well as this one will. It is amazing that it can use sensors not only to detect muscle activity, but to grip and stabilize objects as well. Living as an amputee can be very difficult, and it seems like this technology could become a stepping stone to more useful and effective neuroprosthetic technology. I am curious to see how this research and testing will advance as time goes on. The fact that this product could one day be sold to amputees in exciting and inspiring. This has to do with what we have learned in class because it describes how scientists are linking prosthetics to brain functions so they can function like natural limbs.

  4. Liz LaHood says:

    Title: A new concept could make more environmentally friendly batteries possible
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190930082249.htm
    Authors: Chalmers University of Technology
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 30, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have started to develop a new concept for an aluminum battery that contains twice the amount of energy density as previous versions. It will be made of abundant materials and could possibly lead to an environmental impact and reduced costs for production. These aluminum batteries could be more effective than lithium-ion batteries because these batteries would be using an organic and nanostructured positive electrode made from the carbon-based molecule anthraquinone instead of graphite, which has been found to provide too low of an energy content for battery cells to be useful. So far, the research is fairly new, so there are no aluminum batteries for sale yet. The major question is whether or not these aluminum batteries could eventually replace lithium-ion batteries.

    Personal Reaction:
    Batteries are very important to help power many different machines and appliances. They are necessary for people to perform vital tasks in their lives. While currently we mostly use lithium-ion batteries, this concept of aluminum batteries could be a possible replacement for them sometime in the future. As stated in the article, they have several benefits that make them seem to be a more viable option. Not only would they contain more energy density and reduce production costs, they could have a positive impact on the environment. All of these benefits could have very positive impacts in the future. Although not much research has been done at this point in time, these aluminum batteries could hopefully replace lithium-ion batteries in the near future. This has to do with what we have learned in class because it describes how different molecules and ions can affect battery energy and charges.

  5. Liz LaHood says:

    Title: Aspirin may halve air pollution harms
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191002165233.htm
    Authors: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 2, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Air pollution is a growing problem across the world. From factories to car exhaust, pollution is sent into the atmosphere every day. This problem has caused many people to develop many diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have found that aspirin may cut the harm of air pollution to the body in half. They tested on and collected data from 2,280 male veterans from Boston and their lung functions. From this they found that the use of any NSAID halved the effect of air pollution on their lung functions, and after further research, they discovered that this effect was mainly from aspirin. They stated that aspirin and other NSAIDs could possibly protect the lungs from short-term spikes in air pollution, which could help prevent diseases and death among the world’s population.

    Personal Reaction:
    In recent years, air pollution has become a major public health concern all over the world. It has extremely negative effects on the environment and can cause many different diseases that can be fatal. While people have been trying to find a solution to this growing problem, it has yet to be solved. While this research only provides a possible solution to pollution’s effect on lungs, it could still be a major step towards a better and healthier planet. Air pollution is a problem in need of a fix, and this research might be able to provide a positive solution. If this proves to be successful, it could become a turning point in modern health problems.

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