Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

In December 2018, a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world when he revealed the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies. While it is clear that Jiankui egregiously violated university regulations and ethical standards, his announcement has since ignited a heated international dialogue about the permissibility of human embryonic gene editing. Currently, there are scientists in the United States working in university laboratories, … Continue reading Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

Scientists identify brain patterns associated with consciousness

Lying down after a long day, your head hits the pillow and your eyes close. The next minute you wake up with no recollection of the past several hours. Consciousness is an elusive concept – it is temporarily lost when we sleep, altered by drugs, and can be permanently lost with brain damage. It is a state of self-awareness that emerges from a network of … Continue reading Scientists identify brain patterns associated with consciousness

E-Cigarettes Over Conventional Nicotine Replacement

A year-long study from the United Kingdom suggests that electronic cigarettes are nearly twice as effective as conventional nicotine replacement strategies at helping to quit smoking and aid in reducing symptoms of withdrawal. However, the long-term effects of e-cigarette use have yet to be completely uncovered, and it is unknown if these results will generalize to other people and countries. Continue reading E-Cigarettes Over Conventional Nicotine Replacement

Bee Parasite Munches On Fat, Not Blood

You may think of honey bees as yellow and black-striped harbingers of spring, destined to flit between flowers and produce sweet honey. Their impact is far greater than the honey they produce, however; honey bees directly or indirectly produce one out of every three foods. It is therefore very concerning that bee populations have been declining—entire hives have been dying without any obvious explanation. One … Continue reading Bee Parasite Munches On Fat, Not Blood

Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

The concept of mind control sounds like something that only exists in sci-fi movies. Until now. Recent work from Zhejiang University on developing a system appears to allow human mind control over the rat’s movements. This “brain-to-brain interface”, or BBI, is achieved by wirelessly coupling the brains of a human operator and a “rat cyborg” and transmitting brain activity in real time. Brain cells communicate … Continue reading Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, … Continue reading Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

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