Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 2, 2020

Science & Technology

Scientific Animations/CC BY-SA 4.0

Extra mitochondrial iron due to Friedrih’s Ataxia increases risk of cell death from UVA rays.

Genetic disorder raises the risk of UVA damage

Researchers at the University of Bath have found that skin cells from individuals with the rare genetic disorder Friedrich’s Ataxia are four to 10 times more likely to be damaged by ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation than those without the disorder. A newly synthesized molecule may provide protection when used as a sunscreen additive. 


Padilla thinks that media coverage of women in STEM has decreased since an uptick following Hidden Figures.

We must do better to recognize the contributions of women in science

In a now decades-old interview with Gloria Steinem, Sally Ride discussed the barrage of sexist comments she fielded from members of the press, as the first American woman to travel to space. Ride recalled how the news media focused not on her abilities, skills or qualifications, but derailed interviews to remark on her makeup, physique and reproductive organs. Living in 2019, it’s tempting to dismiss such interactions as cringeworthy reminders of a seemingly distant past. Sadly, however, media coverage of women in STEM remains problematic. 

Public Domain

The burning of fossil fuels contributes to high levels of carbon dioxide.

Earth may soon surpass early-atmosphere levels of carbon dioxide

When planet Earth was formed almost 4.6 billion years ago following an expansion event known as the Big Bang, it was not exactly conducive to supporting the survival of life.  Earth emerged from a hot mix of gases and solids as a celestial body without an atmosphere, which eventually developed as the earth cooled. This early atmosphere was comprised of hydrogen sulfide, methane and 10 to 200 times as much carbon dioxide as there is in today’s atmosphere.

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt/ CC By 3.0

Hayabusa2 will collect asteroid samples that may shed light on early solar system conditions.

Spacecraft begins its mission on Ryugu asteroid

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft finally landed on the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu on Feb. 21, 2019. This was no easy feat. The Hayabusa2’s main body measures about 1 x 1.25 x 1.6 meters (m) in size and weighs 609 kilograms (kg). Launched in December 2014, Hayabusa2 managed to land as planned about four years later on an asteroid no bigger than one kilometer (km) in diameter, orbiting over hundreds of millions of kilometers away from earth.

Bone marrow transplants may slow Alzheimer’s

Neurocognitive disorders have become more and more prevalent in society. Cognitive disorders can be defined as any disorder that significantly impairs the cognitive function of an individual in motor coordination, learning and memory, and impaired judgement. These disorders make it impossible to function normally in everyday life.


Genome stability in sharks mean similar research could be done on humans.

Sharks possess DNA-stabilizing genes

An international team of researchers from institutions in the United States, Russia and Portugal recently achieved the feat of decoding the great white shark’s entire genome.  After doing so, the team proceeded to compare the great white’s genome to that of other species such as whale sharks and humans. 

Jordan Uhl/ cc by 2.0

If passed, the new rule would restrict Title X funding from health clinics which provide abortion referrals.

Proposed rule may limit reproductive health funds

The Trump administration submitted a rule to bar groups which offer abortions or provide abortion referrals from partaking in Title X funding. It was first introduced in May 2018 and was submitted on Feb. 7 to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for final review. 

Elizabeth Roy/ CC by-SA 3.0

Synthetic opioids may be responsible for the third wave opioid epidemic.

Opioid deaths are more frequent in certain states

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency regarding the opioid epidemic in the U.S. While recent data shows that death rates have been dropping in recent years, data has also shown that opioid abuse related deaths still seem to be much more common in some states than others. 

The soda tax raised eyebrows, but a new study shows it’s working.

Controversial soda tax is shown to be effective

 A soda tax may be an effective way to curb rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health conducted by the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), the consumption of sugary drinks dropped 52 percent among low-income Berkeley residents. 

Doctors often incorrectly treat dialysis as the only option to treat poor kidneys.

Dialysis is not the only treatment for ailing kidneys

The discussion about end-of-life care often centers around the value of invasive surgeries and that of palliative care, which is designed to treat symptoms rather than the cause of illness. One treatment that is rarely referred to as voluntary is kidney dialysis, which is defined by the National Kidney Foundation as treatment that includes the removal of waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body; the maintenance of a safe level of potassium, sodium and bicarbonate in the blood; and control of blood pressure. 

A 1994 earthquake offered clues to find underground mountain range.

Underground mountains discovered in Bolivia

During our days in elementary school science, most of us learned the basics of geology. We learned about the layers of the earth (crust, mantle, outer and inner core) and plate tectonics, among other topics. However, this was a great oversimplification of all that goes on under our feet. 

New cancer drug combination therapy is promising

Finding a cure for cancer is one of the most highly researched topics in science because of its major impact all over the world. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2018, there was an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States and approximately 17 million new cases worldwide. 

Published clinical trials often report on trial outcomes they did not intentionally study.

Some clinical trials improperly report outcomes

Clinical trials are essential for testing new medications because they let researchers know whether new medications, from vitamins to vaccines, are safe and effective. However, a new study published in Trials shows that researchers aren’t properly reporting the outcomes of their clinical trials. This may make a new treatment appear to be safer or more effective than the product actually is.

Cooke first received her degree in anthropology from Barnard College.

Discussing paleontology, bias and representation with Prof. Siobhan Cooke

Scientists say we have entered a new epoch. Considering the lasting impacts of human-centered destruction on the world’s flora and fauna, researchers have stressed the need to mark the end of the Holocene and the start of the Anthropocene. The Center for Biological Diversity has stated that the last time Earth’s rate of species extinction was so high was 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs collapsed. Recent statistics show that 45 percent of Earth’s invertebrates have a “threatened” status, along with over 40 percent of amphibians and nearly 20 percent of bird species.

Researchers believe certain music genres might be linked to aggression.

Music is shown to affect mental state of the brain

Psychological studies show that music has an effect on the way people feel, think and behave. Music is beneficial, especially to those with anxiety and depression, but evidence has also shown that some music is linked with violent behavior.

Female hormones interact with certain drugs to produce an increased addictive response.

Hormone cycles lead to greater addiction in women

Epidemiological clinical studies have shown that females are especially vulnerable to drug addiction and relapse. More specifically, females are more likely to transition to addiction soon after their first drug use and relapse, and they have greater cue-induced cravings for drugs. 

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