Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 10, 2020

Science & Technology

A new treatment could reverse some paralysis

Approximately 300,000 Americans in the United States live with some form of spinal cord injury (SCI), with about 20,000 new cases each year. Vehicular accidents are the leading cause of SCIs, followed by incidences of falls, violent behaviors and mishaps during recreational activities. Depending on the severity of the SCI, these injuries may lead to paralysis in various areas of the body.

Parent’s may perceive their child’s pain differently based on their gender.

Gender might change perceived pain

In a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Brian Earp and his colleagues found that the perceived gender of a child influences an adult’s evaluation of that child’s pain. 

A dwarf galaxy possible as old as the universe has been discovered.

Hubble Space Telescope spots new dwarf galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) that was established in 1990 via a Space Shuttle mission STS-31 launch into low-Earth orbit. Throughout its 29-year lifespan, the telescope has contributed immensely to planetary studies, having made more than 1.3 million observations.

Two professors at Hopkins discussed how love has changed in the U.S.

How have marriage and relationships changed over time?

As social media and online dating platforms like Tinder and Hinge become more and more visible in American society, people are beginning to question whether relationships and the concept of love are evolving. Many feel as though technology has superseded human interaction and elevated the desire for quick hookups, while others contend that modern relationships remain fundamentally the same as they were in prior generations. 

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lizardraley99
The president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Redonda G. Miller, spoke at the symposium.

Osler symposium discusses future of health care

The Osler Medical Symposium hosted a talk on the future of health care in America on Tuesday, Feb. 5 called “Reimagining Healthcare for the 21st Century.” The event consisted of a presentation by Dr. Redonda G. Miller, president of the Hopkins Hospital, and a discussion moderated by Perry Tsai, president of the American Medical Student Association. 

Antarctic glacier cavity points to rapid melt rate

A NASA-led (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) study recently discovered an enormous cavity, comparable to two-thirds the area of Manhattan, at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. The cavity is much bigger than expected, a surprising find that scientists hope will lead to better models of glacial melting and their impact on sea level rise.

AMS director addresses climate change implications

Paul Higgins, the director of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Policy Program, gave a talk on Feb. 7 titled “Climate Change As a Public Issue: The Role of Science in Policy” as a part of the Randolph Bromery Spring 2019 Seminar Series.

Recently, researchers discovered that the p53 gene can both stop and accelerate cancer growth.

Is the p53 gene truly the guardian of the genome?

The p53 gene is widely known as a cancer suppressor gene that reduces the frequency of tumors – but what if that wasn’t the case?  The highly cited statistic that p53 mutations are found in just over 50 percent of all human cancers suggests that when the gene is not functioning properly, cancer becomes more likely.

Vocabulary learning is possible during sleep

Those who have always dreamed of being a little more productive during sleep are in luck. A group of researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland have recently demonstrated that individuals can indeed learn new words while sleeping. Their findings were reported in a university media release.

Barklice is one of the species in which females can possess male sex organs.

Male reproductive organs can develop in females

Scientists have recently discovered male reproductive organs on a female insect. This finding demonstrates the significant role that evolution plays in developing male and female genitalia and also challenges the concept of sex – what it means to be male or female. 

CATCH is a new method that can detect viruses in low abundance.

Computational method detects epidemic viruses

To this day, many people still recall the widespread Zika outbreak in the wake of 2016 that caught the majority of South and North America off guard. In November 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the epidemic after many months of struggle. 

Static electricity may soon help power your iPhone

Though many of us experience it every day, static electricity remains somewhat poorly understood. Researchers have recently begun to look into the details behind how electricity is generated through frictional contact; that is, the molecular physics behind your hair’s propensity to stick to balloons. The research being conducted at the University of Buffalo and Kansas State University has so far uncovered some interesting twists to the electron exchange known as triboelectrification that takes place between two materials in contact with one another.

Many animal species, such as the pygmy-owl, will be affected by the proposed border wall extension. 

Building a border wall would put wildlife at risk

Although the controversy over whether or not to extend the 650-mile border wall between the United States and Mexico largely centers around immigration, it is also important to consider the effects a wall would have on the environment of the borderlands.

NASA’s Opportunity rover might have to end its 15-year orbit on Mars.

NASA lost contact with its Mars Opportunity rover in a dust storm

Mars is one of the closest planets to Earth within our solar system and a strong contender for habitability under controlled conditions. Considering its unique status, it makes sense that many missions have been launched for the purpose of characterizing the planet. This would allow astronomers and scientists to better understand Mars and determine whether life could possibly exist there in the future. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars Opportunity rover is one of two rovers launched back in 2003 to probe Mars for any signs of past life.

The ratio of male to female births may be affected by temperature.

Global warming might mean fewer baby boys

One unexpected impact of climate change may be an altered ratio of male to female children born, a recent study suggests. Research published by a team of Japanese and Danish scientists in Fertility and Sterility indicated that there is a statistically significant relationship between temperature differentials and the male-to-female birth ratio. 

Scientists are ever closer to the cure for cancer after the discovery that autophagy fights cancer.

Autophagy naturally destroys cancerous cells

Cancer research is constantly ongoing with new discoveries left and right and a potential breakthrough scattered here and there. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, San Diego, Calif., have recently discovered a process that may potentially put an end to the controversial topic on the role of autophagy in cancer. 

Researchers used AI to help analyze evolutionary and genomic datasets.

New human ancestor discovered through machine learning methods

It is a well-established and often taught principle of evolution that new genes are introduced into the gene pool through both random mutations as well as introgressions. Introgressions are insertions into the gene pool through crossbreeding with another species (or related group).

The WHO attributed the drastic increase of measles to the growing number of anti-vaxxers.

Superbugs and anti-vaxxers threaten global health

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of 10 global health threats may surprise some this year, with uninformed parents and germs straight out of a science fiction novel making the cut. Diseases that were previously pushed to the brink of eradication are making a comeback, thanks in part to the anti-vaccination movement. 

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