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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Science


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Science

US healthcare regression: Syphilis on the rise

In recent decades, the U.S. has been well on its way to eradicating syphilis. Now, a recent spike in cases of the infectious disease is slowing these efforts. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people with syphilis has increased from fewer than 5,900 in 2000, to more than 207,000 in 2022.


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Science

Edie Widder on bioluminescence and seeing in the dark

How can a creature that can grow as tall as a four-story building be hidden from human eyes for so long? Oceanographer Edie Widder was the first person to capture video of the giant squid in its natural habitat, transporting the legendary Kraken from ancient mythology to the modern world. She invented a groundbreaking technique to lure in the squid with a deep sea “scream,” modeling the startling bioluminescent display of the Atolla jellyfish. Below, Widder joins me for a conversation on what we have to lose before the ocean is known. 



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Science

The MiniTouch: A new future for artificial limbs

Thanks to recent technological developments, amputees can now sense temperature through prosthetic limbs. Known as the MiniTouch, this heat-sensitive prosthetic hand has a thermal sensor embedded within it, allowing for a realistic sensation of temperature.


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Science

Life in STEM: Daily alumnus Alex Viveros on pursuing science journalism

Growing up in Palo Alto, Calif., Alex Viveros (LA’22) loved both science and reading but did not initially know how to combine his interests. “I was always kind of torn between both of them,” he said. He was fascinated with anatomy and physiology, excited to participate in heart dissections and by reading books with atlases of the human body.


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Science

Understanding the unique science behind Alzheimer’s onset

Until very recently, it was believed that Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological disease that causes memory loss, develops from a combination of intrinsic genetic and environmental risk factors. However, a January 2024 study suggests that some individuals may have acquired it from contaminated ...


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Science

Life in STEM: Michael Moore on the right whale and declining marine populations

Below is an interview with Michael Moore, a senior scientist and veterinarian at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Much of Moore’s career has been dedicated to research on the health and growth of North Atlantic right whale populations. In his book, “We Are All Whalers: The Plight of Whales and Our Responsibility,” Moore links the collapse of the species to damage from shipping and fishing trauma. Below Moore joins me for a discussion on the immediate jeopardy of the North Atlantic right whale, and how we all contribute to the right whale’s extinction risk through supply chains and consumer demand.


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Science

The uncanny valley vs. Hollywood’s immortal vision

What will live on after your death? According to Hollywood, it won’t just be your children, accomplishments or legacy. In fact, for many of the most acclaimed silver screen performers, the term “death” may be an exaggeration. Technological advancements in CGI and artificial intelligence made during the past 15 years are paving the way for the film industry to keep its actors evergreen, defying death and reversing age.


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Science

Unraveling the Ozempic craze

Over the past century, humanity has grown increasingly fascinated by the possible benefits of consuming all sorts of pills and potions to lose weight. The newest wave of this craze has come in the form of injectable medications like Ozempic and Wegovy.


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Science

The ‘Brain Atlas’: Putting the puzzle together

Think of the human brain like a puzzle: an elaborate system of communication between many different linking pieces. Except, a few of the pieces are dusty, and it’s hard to discern where they fit to make a larger picture. Scientists have been working to further differentiate the functions of these pieces — brain cells — to further examine brain function and potentially combat certain neurological diseases.


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Science

Phenylephrine: The decongestant that leaves you stuffy

Going into winter, your cold medicines could end up looking a little different based on a forthcoming decision from the FDA. Phenylephrine is an over-the-counter decongestant in many different medicines, including Dayquil Cold and Flu Relief, Sudafed PE and Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion. But an FDA advisory board recently concluded that at current dosages, oral phenylephrine is not effective. The independent advisory committee, assembled by the FDA, will now review the findings and determine whether phenylephrine is effective. If they come to the same conclusion that the committee did — which they often do — there would be a process to remove medications with phenylephrine from the shelves, and medications containing phenylephrine, especially those containing multiple active ingredients, such as Dayquil, would need to be reformulated. CVS has already announced that it will stop selling products containing oral phenylephrine.




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Science

Quantum computers: Available for free from your own home

As you’re reading this, millions of dollars are being invested by big tech companies into developing quantum computers around the globe. Luckily, industry leaders like Microsoft and IBM have also decided that the pursuit of science should have no price tag. Thanks to them, you can run experiments on real quantum computers for free from the comfort of your own home.


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Science

Say ‘Shoo!’ to the flu this fall

When someone mentions “fall,” a few things may come to mind, like the changing leaves, a new NFL season or “Gilmore Girls” (2000–07). However, fall is also host to something much more insidious: the start of flu season. The influenza virus infects millions of Americans every year, with tens of thousands dying. The flu is known for constantly mutating, so scientists are annually working on vaccines to combat new strains. Time Magazine reports in 2023 that twice a year, the World Health Organization collaborates with professionals to evaluate which strains should be combated via vaccine in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.