In the world of athletics, performance-enhancing techniques follow in the footsteps of scientific advancements made in the realm of biomechanics. New technologies have made it increasingly possible for old records to be shattered by young athletes. New training regimens are tailored to strengthen specific portions of the anatomy, and new athletic gear is made to be more aerodynamic,. However, some developments have yielded less positive results; false victories have been won by those resorting to illegal performance-enhancing practices. A prevalent problem in sports today is blood doping: artificially boosting the body's natural count of red blood cells for the purpose of increasing oxygen levels and decreasing muscle fatigue . As an attempt to lessen illicit transfusions and injections, blood doping was declared illegal by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1986 . Ultimately aiming to reestablish the integrity of competitive athletics, researchers have been developing detection methods in order to calm the storm science itself created. - Hannah Friesen. Published on August 21, 2012.
The mesolimbic pathway involving the neurotransmitter dopamine has been associated with various survival and reward behaviors, from eating to sleeping. Studies have unveiled that diseases and disorders such as Parkinson's Disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can arise from irregularity of dopamine's activity. Recently, a study conducted at Harvard University has unveiled another activity that is linked to dopamine: social networking. - Victoria Saadat. Published on August 21, 2012.
The induced pluripotent stem cell can be derived in order to convert a somatic cell into a stem cell that can be differentiated into any cell type. However, a study conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada has demonstrated that dermal fibroblast cells can be converted into white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets without use of a pluripotent intermediate. The findings of this study have the potential to impact fields such as oncology and bone marrow transplants by allowing production of hematopoietic cells. - Astgik Amy Demirchyan. Published on August 21, 2012.
A psychostimulant typically prescribed to patients with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy, Adderall has found additional followers within college campuses. Adderall abuse is becoming increasingly popular among college students since the drug accommodates the basic college lifestyle of studying, doing all-nighters, and partying. Adderall functions by increasing mental concentration, alertness, and energy. However, Adderall use holds a high risk for dependence and addiction. Structurally similar to euphoria-inducing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and epinephrine, the compounds in Adderall function like these homologs. The implications of Adderall abuse are many and include both biological and social aspects. - Nahel Kapadia. Published on February 8, 2012.
Art conservation refers to the techniques used to maintain and preserve the appearance and cultural heritage of artwork. As technological advances change our environment, art pieces have become subject to negative factors, such as high temperatures and increased pollution. Museums have implemented measures to protect their items from such changes. Conservation methods are used to clean and maintain artwork that has undergone varying degrees of damage. While some of these processes involve direct contact with art pieces, scientific advancements have allowed conservators to clean and preserve artwork through minimally invasive methods. The advantages and disadvantages of each technique vary based on type of art undergoing conservation. - Hannah Friesen.Published on February 8, 2012.
The worldwide Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic has infected over 30 million people throughout the world. After exiting its dormant stage, the AIDS-causing Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) interferes with the body's ability to fight oncoming infections by infecting immune cells. Since HIV is a rapidly mutating virus, modern anti-HIV drugs have not provided an absolute cure since they cannot target all HIV mutants and also have side-effects. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic studying the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), an analog of HIV, have used gene therapy to enables cats to produce anti-FIV proteins. Similar gene therapy-based techniques can be used to target and inhibit HIV more effectively. - Victoria Saadat. Published on February 8, 2012.
The Black Death wrecked havoc across Asia, Europe, and Africa during the 1340's and even wiped out about half of London's population. The plague continues to kill thousands of people every year even though modern antibiotics and vaccines have lowered the mortality rate. While the modern plague has been associated with the bacterium Yersinia pestis, much controversy has been stirred over whether this bacterium is responsible for causing the ancient Black Death epidemic. However, in 2011, new sequencing technology and molecular techniques allowed a team of scientists to confirm the involvement of Y. pestis in the plague, both in past and today. - Nicole Runkle. Published on February 8, 2012.
Most residents of Southern California stay prepared for earthquakes. Creditably, so were the Japanese. Nevertheless, on March 11th, 2011, a large earthquake and subsequent tsunami upturned the northeastern coastlines of that emerging super power, and no one was prepared for what followed – three nuclear reactor blasts, a fire, loss of basic amenities such as food, water and shelter for the residents, and the biohazard of radiation leaking from the cooling towers. Scientists, physicians and environmental specialists are exploring the nuclear accidents and recalling similar past incidents to determine how the radiation will affect residents near the reactors, other Japanese residents, and those in other neighboring countries. - Tripti Gupta. Published on June 16, 2011.
Gardasil is the first made human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18 in both males and females. Since HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, HPV vaccination is considered a must by many health care providers. Since Gardasil was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2006, about 33 million doses of Gardasil have been administered in the U.S. and 18,354 adverse side effects, 92% of which were non-serious, have been reported. Physicians and other health care professionals have been debating about the benefits and risks of Gardasil. Most agree that studies need to be done to assess the long-term side effects of this vaccine and to determine if Gardasil can lower cervical cancer rates. - Harmony Phuong Huynh. Published on June 16, 2011.
Exercise is known to promote muscle growth, allow weight loss, and support a healthier body and mind. The scientific details behind muscle growth and weight loss are becoming clearer with ongoing research. For example, research has shown that different types of exercise can alter the physiology of muscle cells in distinct ways, whether they be an increase in muscle strength or enhancement of muscle endurance. Understanding the impact of different sports, such as swimming, on hormonal levels has allowed people to achieve weight loss more successfully. For most of those who frequent the gym, exercise is simply a way to maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress, and reduce the risk of diseases that accompany the aging process. Understanding the scientific mechanisms behind the physiological effects of exercise can allow athletes and the general public alike to tailor exercise regimens to fulfill their personal goals. - Victoria Saadat. Published on June 16, 2011.
As we blow out the candles on birthday cakes year after year, we may not be completely aware of the changes that are accumulating in our bodies with the passing of time. The mind and body gradually degrade with age, losing their former vigor and resulting in a wide range of effects. Every year, countless attempts are made to reverse aging and recapture youth, from cosmetic products to creams to plastic surgeries. While the search for the elusive fountain of youth is no new phenomenon, recent research has yielded findings that could potentially bring us closer to the end of this search. In experiments performed on mice, it was found that TA-65, a telomerase activator extracted from a Chinese medicinal plant called Astragalus membranaceus, increased the lifespan of adult mice without increasing cancer risk. Raising both excitement and controversy, the company Telomerase Activation Sciences has incorporated TA-65 into a nutraceutical capsule that is meant to prolong the human lifespan when ingested over a period of time. - Hemalatha Bhamidi. Published on June 16, 2011.
The CAT or CT scan is a versatile imaging tool that has helped to diagnose a myriad of medical conditions. Since its invention in 1972, researchers have continued to improve the speed and clarity of CT scanners. Today, the CT is used to detect tumors, assist surgeries, and assess post-trauma injuries, including that of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords caused by the January 2011 shooting. - Phuong (Harmony) Huynh. From Volume 1, Issue 1. Published on April 2, 2011.
The installation of mercury dental fillings is a cost effective yet controversal procedure. Reports from patients and professionals suggest that the amalgam filling may be toxic and cause serious side effects. Research is being done to elucidate the effect of mercury fillings on body tissue. - Victoria Saadat. From Volume 1, Issue 1. Published on April 2, 2011.
Heart disease has become America's leading cause of death, afflicting 81.1 million people and claiming the lives of 831,300 people in 2006 alone. Patients at high risk of heart disease should maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to avoid a major cardiovascular event. Studies are being done to determine unknown risk factors as well as novel techniques of repairing heart damage after a heart attack. - Hemalatha Bhamidi. From Volume 1, Issue 1. Published on April 2, 2011.
The cluster headache is a rare condition, only affecting 0.1 to 0.3% of the population. However, this pain syndrome is associated with severe, debilitating pain. In an attempt to develop more effective medical treatments for the cluster headache, researchers are attempting to elucidate the pathophysiology behind this pain syndrome. - Christine Choi. From Volume 1, Issue 1. Published on April 2, 2011.
We have all experienced it—the strange and eerie feeling of recognizing something despite encountering it for the first time. This phenomenon known as déjà vu (which in French translates to "already seen") is experienced by 60-70% of adults and can occur upon exposure to a familiar place, person, or circumstance. Neuroscientists at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT may have shed light on the neurological mechanisms in the hippocampus that create the sensation of déjà vu. - Christine Nagy. Published on April 3, 2011.
With every birthday, it gets harder and harder for our skin to conceal our age. Wrinkles, age spots, sagging, and looseness of the skin are the telltale signs of aging. An understanding of how skin ages can help us to take the necessary preventive measures to keep it looking young. - Marcela Hasbun. Published on April 3, 2011.
Frisbees have long been used recreationally by people of all ages. However, rarely do people stop to wonder about the physical phenomena that allow them to enjoy this addictive flying disc. Understanding the two fundamental ideas behind the flight of a Frisbee may help you to keep the Frisbee lifted in the air for a longer period and greater distance. - Jordan Altaras. Published on April 3, 2011.
Fingernails grow about two to three times faster than toenails. While it takes about 6 months for a fingernail to replace itself from the root at a rate of about 3 millimeters per month, toenails grow back in 12-18 months at a rate of about 1 millimeter every month. Even though fingernails and toenails grow through the same processes, a variety of factors cause fingernails to grow much faster. - Olivia Gardner. Published on April 3, 2011.
The debate over which is better—butter or margarine—has been going on for years. While opinions can be decided based on a wide variety of criteria, such as taste or texture, the question of the chemical difference between the two can often elude consumers. The difference in composition between butter and margarine is important to consider when comparing these two spreads. - Jacqueline Kurth. Published on April 3, 2011.
USC ReadersPLUS is searching for five undergraduate students with at least one year to commit to the Young Scientists Program. The Science Education Teaching Assistants will assist in implementing hands-on science lessons for 4th and 5th graders in the USC Family of Schools, including Weemes and Vermont Elementary Schools. These lessons will support teachers and students in reaching the goal of implementing effective science instruction into their classrooms. The objective is that the science labs at these schools will serve as a model for other school sites and will lead to increased science activities in all of USC's Family of Schools. Undergraduate students will teach science labs to a group off about 25 elementary school students. - Published on June 19, 2011.
The College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences has opened an Office of Pre-Health Advisement. Under Dr. Kenneth Geller's leadership, this office will provide advisement and a variety of services to all of USC's pre-health students.- Tripti Gupta. Published on April 2, 2011.