Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
March 5, 2021

Science & Technology



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HIV occurrences had decreased form 2010 to 2013, but since then they have plateaued.

Reduced HIV incidence in the U.S. has stalled

A new report on the incidences of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States reveals that the decline in HIV infections has plateaued as the Trump administration reveals its intention to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.


Genetics might play a role in healthy marriages

The secret behind a successful marriage may be more than just passion. According to a new study, genetics may also play a role. Yale scientists found that a gene responsible for emotional stability may also predict marriage satisfaction. This may pave the way for a future study on how genetics can impact the quality of relationships over time.


Wrap up: the latest in technology...

Elizabeth Warren campaigns in New York City  Known as a strong critic of tech giants, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently held a campaign event in New York City, where the tech conglomerate Amazon was recently effectively pushed out. She gathered an audience of more than 1000 people who listened to her speak about “tech companies who think they rule the earth,” among other issues. Much of her plan is driven to protect the people’s interests and protect smaller competitors from tech monopolies. The official Democratic-presidential candidate’s policies would push existing tech giants to divest in their acquisitions. In addition, she would implement laws that limit a tech giant’s influence and participation in its own platform.


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A pair of semi-identical twins in Australia share only 78% paternal DNA.

Doctors identify first case of semi-identical twins

A strange pregnancy puzzled doctors in Australia. An initial ultrasound showed two embryos sharing a placenta, which normally indicates monozygotic, or identical, twins. But weeks after, another ultrasound revealed the two fetuses had different sexes, a seeming contradiction to the earlier discovery. 


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Crew Dragon’s successful launch prompts future manned missions .

SpaceX's Crew Dragon lands in Atlantic Ocean

On March 8, the first flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon landed 200 miles off the coast of Florida at 8:45 a.m. Demo-1, as the flight was called, was launched on March 2 and spent a short, five-day visit at the International Space Station (ISS) before returning back to Earth. 


Robotic devices used in cancer surgery might be risky

In a statement issued on Feb. 28, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned against using robotically-assisted surgical devices in surgeries like mastectomies and other cancer-related illnesses that specifically affect women’s health. 


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The surge against vaccination has been spurred further by social media.

Social media perpetuates the anti-vax movement

The flood of false information about vaccines spreading through social media has contributed to decreases in vaccination rates and increases in the number of cases of preventable communicable disease, according to Simon Stevens, chief executive officer of the National Health Service (NHS) in England. 


GerryShaw/cc by-SA 3.0
Embryonic development of the amygdala may explain gender differences.

Neural pathway may lead to gender differentiation

Somewhere around puberty, everyone spent a good chunk of their life listening to some adult teach about the wonders of the human body. The physical differences are obvious: males tend to have more facial hair, females are generally shorter and have more delicate facial features. The subtle differences are harder to catch, but still noticeable. Males tend to be louder and more aggressive while females are more emotional. Psychologically, there is a dichotomy between behaviors that men versus women exhibit, and researchers may have found a reason why.


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. 


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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.


LAURA WOLF/CC BY 2.0

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. 



  
MARLITH / CC BY-SA 3.0
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. 


  
PUBLIC DOMAIN
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. 


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