Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 11, 2020

Science & Technology

Wrap up: the latest in technology...

Apple rumored to host veteran medical records Apple is allegedly planning with the Department of Veteran Affairs to host veteran medical records on the iPhone. Currently, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hosts the health records of nine million veterans. In order to transfer the information from the VHA to iPhone, Apple needs to create new software that will display veterans’ medical records.

Coronary calcium levels can be used to calculate various types of heart disease risk scores.

Calcium levels can indicate coronary artery disease

Doctors often discuss the benefits of calcium intake for the body. Not only is calcium beneficial for bone health, but it’s also required for the heart, muscles and nerves to function properly. More recently, a study presented at the 2018 American Heart Association Scientific Session conference in Chicago found that measuring calcium levels can also provide insight in predicting the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD).

Health-related measures made the ballot this election in several states.

Health-related ballots in the midterm elections

Much of the attention surrounding this year’s midterm elections concerned the candidates, but in addition to electing representatives, citizens also had the opportunity to vote on ballot measures. These questions appear on ballots to be approved or rejected by voters in an example of direct democracy. 

Patients who have chronic back pain show abnormalities in their neuronal oscillations.

Modulating brain waves may be the key to treat chronic back pain

Have you been experiencing lower back pain recently? If so, you are not alone. As many as 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives.  It is a commonly observed job-related disability that can range in intensity from a constant ache to sharp pains. A lower back pain is considered chronic if it continues to persist for 12 weeks or longer. 

Research shows seasonal variation in some illness

While it may be well-known that flu season is in the winter, it may come as a surprise that other forms of illness, including sexually transmitted diseases, malaria and even chickenpox have “peak seasons” as well, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Yes! campaign spent over $20 million to support the ban on grocery taxes

Ban on grocery tax has public health implications

Last week, Initiative 1634 passed in Washington State. The measure will prohibit local governments from enacting taxes on groceries or any food or beverage intended for human consumption except alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.

Genetic analysis of tigers shows there may be six distinct subspecies.

Should tigers be classified into six subspecies?

Tigers are not only the largest cat species in the world, but they are also a keystone species integral to the continued maintenance of the food chain. For decades, researchers have been warning governments around the world about the endangered status of tigers and encouraging more stringent protection on habitats and against poaching. With fewer than four thousand tigers remaining around the world, down from an estimated one hundred thousand in 1990, conservationists have been studying the best ways to keep the species alive. 

Courtesy of Lisa Feigenson
Feigenson studies young minds.

Lab spotlight: Professor Lisa Feigenson

Do you remember the first time you took a shower by yourself without the help of your parents? When you first learned the concept of infinity? Or the day you first noticed that time is a continuous flow — that as you waited for the minute hand to move, dozens of seconds have already passed by?

Experts question FDA’s approval of new opioid

The opioid epidemic has become one of the greatest concerns in the U.S., with an estimated 29,000 deaths from overdose of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, 115 Americans pass away due to an opioid overdose every day. 

Maintaining the Bitcoin platform requires a lot of electricity input.

Bitcoin’s electric demand may fuel global warming

Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency that shot to fame in 2017 due to its surge in price from below $1,000 to nearly $20,000 on the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). The spike was good news for those involved with the cryptocurrency and left those who weren’t involved curious. As of today, one bitcoin equals 5,586.01 United States dollars. 

The gradual evolution of today’s contact lenses

Contact lenses are the sort of everyday object that have become so commonplace to us, it is hard to appreciate just how strange they are in concept. How exactly did we arrive at putting small pieces of glass or plastic on our eyes to improve vision?

Wrap up: the latest in technology...

The new iPad Pro is the best tablet on the market  Apple recently released the new Macbook Air and iPad Pro in Brooklyn, N.Y. The highly anticipated new iPad Pro model did not disappoint. It is all around better than its predecessor with huge upgrades. Weighing in at one pound for the 11 inch and 1.4 pounds for the 12.9-inch model, Apple’s new iPad Pro has gotten lighter. 

Rocky Acosta / CC BY 3.0 
A common math problem is whether a Turing machine will complete a program in a finite time.

Mathematicians shed new light on spectral gaps

In physics, the spectral gap is the difference in energy between a material in the ground state and in the first excited energy state. A material is known as “gapped” if the difference in energy can be bounded below — in other words, if the difference is large — and “gapless” if the difference is small. 

035_03, 2/14/03, 1:04 PM,  8C, 2720x3426 (2267+3822), 100%, BW Copy,  1/60 s, R32.3, G26.0, B64.6

Five women who changed the field of medicine

Women physicians encounter discrimination from both inside and outside the medical field. A Medscape survey of over 60,000 doctors revealed that 2017 salaries for women physicians were nearly 30 percent less than those of their male colleagues. In some areas of the country, such as Charleston, S.C., the annual pay disparity approached closer to 40 percent. The percentage of women deans of American medical schools remains under 20 percent.

Noninvasive biomarker could identify autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by restricted interests and impaired social interaction and communication. Currently the diagnosis of ASD primarily relies on behavioral assessments, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM-V) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). 

Tareq Salahuddin / CC by 2.0
Annually, 2,000 donor kidneys are thrown away when many are still viable.

Changing guidelines would increase viable kidneys

At this moment in time, there are 95,307 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the United States.  This number is especially harrowing when considered in combination with the fact that in 2017, a meager 15,218 kidneys were donated in the U.S. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, an average of 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month, and 4,761 patients died while waiting for a kidney transplant in 2014 alone. 

News-Letter Special Editions