Science for All: Germany makes strides to increase public access to scientific publications

Anyone who has needed to purchase scientific writing, from textbooks to journals, knows how expensive this can be. It is inherently unfair that only those with money can learn about both well-established facts and modern research. Recently, a German collaboration of research institutions, libraries, and universities has successfully negotiated an unprecedented contract where publishers offer unlimited access of online content nationwide. The German collaboration, known … Continue reading Science for All: Germany makes strides to increase public access to scientific publications

Not So Basic Research: the unrecognized importance of fundamental scientific discoveries

by Ceejay Lee figures by Rebecca Clements The Golden Fleece Award is an award issued by the late Senator William Proxmire during his tenure in the United States Congress. The purpose of this award is to spotlight the “biggest, most ridiculous or most ironic example of government spending or waste.” For the award in 1975, Proxmire called out psychologist Ronald Hutchinson’s federally funded research, which investigated … Continue reading Not So Basic Research: the unrecognized importance of fundamental scientific discoveries

Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

A study of the mouse brain found that a region involved in processing visual motion does not depend on the area thought to be the primary source of visual information, but rather a separate structure. While a similar discovery in the analogous region of primates has yet to be made, this suggests the presence of non-conventional pathways in sensory processing and highlights that, even in widely studied areas, there is still much to learn. Continue reading Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

The frozen desert of Antarctica is not exactly a place you would want to call home. But under its surface lies an unexplored, watery world of subglacial lakes and rivers stretching for millions of square miles, the ice above exerting enough pressure to keep them from freezing. But when scientists found a diverse bacterial haven in the secluded lakes, they were mystified: What other organisms … Continue reading Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

Efficient drug delivery platform into the brain

Treatment of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke, has always been a challenging task, partly due to the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is a border that separates the blood circulation from the surrounding brain tissue. In a healthy brain, the BBB only allows the passage of nutrients crucial to brain function, while restricting the transportation of other substances, including … Continue reading Efficient drug delivery platform into the brain

The Worst Part of Waking Up: Wild coffee species at risk of extinction

Coffee is one of the world’s most highly consumed food products, with its farming and distribution comprising a multi-billion dollar global industry.  While many Americans (64% in 2018, according to Reuters) could not imagine making it through the day without a hot cup of joe, there is bad news for coffee drinkers: new research from the UK’s Royal Botanic Gardens finds that a majority of … Continue reading The Worst Part of Waking Up: Wild coffee species at risk of extinction

With Great Responsibility Comes Great Charity

The next time you’re looking to raise some money, choose your words carefully. A recent study by a collaboration between Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia has shown that the wealthy are willing to donate more money if they are prompted with agentic appeals for donations – that is, appeals to individual action – rather than communal. Drawing on previous research on … Continue reading With Great Responsibility Comes Great Charity

Smartphone app may help detect opioid overdose

Opioid abuse is a national epidemic that continues to claim lives and cause significant economic burden. Opioids were introduced for the treatment of chronic pain and initially prescribed liberally, even though there was limited scientific evidence that these medications would not be addictive. Opioid overdose rates quickly increased and, in 2016 more than 40,000 people died from overdose. Computer scientists at the University of Washington in … Continue reading Smartphone app may help detect opioid overdose

How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

As states have begun to legalize marijuana, its use has been more openly discussed. While the effects of other commonly used drugs, such as alcohol, have been studied extensively, the effects of marijuana – especially on developing babies during pregnancy – have been much less studied and less widely publicized. This relative silence from the scientific community has affected the public’s opinion on the safety … Continue reading How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Anyone who has ever been scolded for talking over someone knows that speaking and listening simultaneously is a hard thing to do. Conducting an intelligent conversation requires active listening, understanding the received knowledge, and crafting a meaningful response, which often requires blending the new information with one’s own experiences. On a microscopic scale, each neuron in the brain must do exactly this – listen to … Continue reading ‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders