Is it Smoky in Here? The importance of the Clean Air Act in the 21st century

by Felix Barber figures by Hannah Zucker We live in exceptional times, with extreme weather events in recent memory including devastating wildfires in California, flooding and polar conditions in the Midwest USA, and extreme rainfall in the wake of hurricane Harvey. Such events are predicted to only become more common with global climate change. In the US, the Clean Air Act (CAA) is a major … Continue reading Is it Smoky in Here? The importance of the Clean Air Act in the 21st century

A Sweet Solution for Preserving Vaccines

Researchers at McMaster University have developed a novel method for stabilizing vaccines, removing the strict requirement that the components be maintained within a specific low temperature range from development through delivery. The technique is based on drying the vaccines using two FDA-approved sugars and was shown to be successful in preserving vaccine effectiveness at elevated temperatures for twelve weeks. While it must still be validated on other vaccines, this method could be a major step toward cheap, accessible immunization in developing areas. Continue reading A Sweet Solution for Preserving Vaccines

Health Data Privacy: Updating HIPAA to match today’s technology challenges

by Jordan Harrod figures by Dan Utter In the modern era, maintaining the privacy of your personal information has become more challenging than ever. Cyberattacks and social media have resulted in the average person sharing more information than ever before, in ways that they may not be aware of. One area of data privacy that isn’t discussed often, however, is health data. In the past, … Continue reading Health Data Privacy: Updating HIPAA to match today’s technology challenges

Clean Corn? Study Measures Effects of Air Pollution in Corn Farming

Air pollution conjures up images of dirty factory smokestacks or crowded traffic-clogged cities. A recent study, however, revealed that one significant source of air pollution in America is actually associated with corn. The researchers found that the fertilizer used to increase crop yields can cause a kind of air pollution called PM2.5 (Particle Matter 2.5 micrometers thick), resulting in negative health impacts for people living nearby. … Continue reading Clean Corn? Study Measures Effects of Air Pollution in Corn Farming

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

China’s Genetically Edited babies: What really happened?

A Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world two weeks ago when he revealed that the world’s first genetically edited babies had been born. Jiankui claimed to have edited embryos before implanting them into the mother as part of an otherwise routine in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. Since his bold announcement via YouTube, the scientific community at-large – both in the United States and in … Continue reading China’s Genetically Edited babies: What really happened?

One Man’s Waste, Another Man’s Fortune

The next time you sit down to make a deposit at your local porcelain bank, you might want to think twice before flushing. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Center for Disease Control have conducted a comprehensive analysis of global fecal production and have finally put a price tag on your poo – with promising implications for developing countries. Read Trevor Haynes’ article to find out more. Continue reading One Man’s Waste, Another Man’s Fortune

Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

by Julian Segert figures by Aparna Nathan In Mountain View, California, near the headquarters of Facebook and Google, lies 23andMe, a company that set out to make genetic testing approachable and affordable for the general public. The company started with the goal of providing risk assessments for genetic diseases, but has recently gained more popularity by offering insights into geographical ancestry. 23andMe is unique among … Continue reading Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

Next Generation Forensics: Changing the role DNA plays in the justice system

by Mary May figures by Rebecca Clements As anyone who has watched an episode of CSI can attest, catching a killer is only a DNA sample away. Due to advances in DNA testing technology and its omnipresence in forensics (as portrayed on TV and in pop culture), the public has come to expect and trust genetic testing as evidence in criminal trials. As these methods … Continue reading Next Generation Forensics: Changing the role DNA plays in the justice system