research

The Best 2018 Diets (And The Worst 2017 Diets)

Every year we start with the best intentions: “This is the year I’m going to exercise more, eat better and lose weight.” But now that we’ve rung in another new year, you might be wondering why your efforts in 2017 fell short. Whether you went Paleo, tried the Dukan Diet or cut out nearly everything that makes life worth living with the Whole30 Program, you might have found that the latest fad diets didn’t live up to their promises. Worst Diets of 2017 The worst diet of 2017, as ranked by U.S. News, was Whole30. For 30 days you are required to avoid all sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy. If you follow the 30 day program to the letter, it’s highly likely that you’ll lose weight. But as an overall health and wellness strategy, it falls far short of its claims to “change your life forever.” Nutritionists have slammed Whole30 for making outsized claims with no scientific support. By avoiding dairy, legumes and grains, you are cutting out a lot of essential nutrients, such as vitamin D and calcium. It is severely restrictive, and doesn’t help the dieter build a long-term strategy for a healthy lifestyle, which is the best way to improve your health. Following closely behind Whole30 was the Dukan Diet and Paleo. The Dukan diet was also criticized for being too restrictive with...

The Latest Breakthrough in CTE Research for Your Football Players

Dr. Bennet Omalu, the inspirational character behind the movie Concussion starring Will Smith, and the lead author of the study claiming to have correctly diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a living patient over 4 years before his death, identified the now deceased patient who was the subject of this announcement as Fred McNeill, former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. Although this is only one case, and researchers admit more evidence is needed before making further conclusions, this marks the first time a diagnosis of CTE was indicated during a patient’s life and then confirmed by an autopsy after the patient’s death. This is a great breakthrough in CTE research in alleviating and preventing CTE for football players, but we will need more data to adequately diagnose it. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a progressive degenerative brain disease associated with repetitive head trauma. Currently, CTE can only be confirmed post-mortem. In a new study from JAMA earlier this year, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players — more than half of them from the NFL — and talked to their family members to identify pathological and clinical features of CTE. CTE has affected football players of all ages, including a player student athlete that committed suicide because he had known about the condition: While it is unknown whether Madison had the same disease, the link between these two well-liked, successful, and smart young...

The Pros and Cons of Having Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be described as a general term for disorders that hinder one’s ability to read and interpret words, pictures, and other visuals. While this condition can’t be cured, there are  treatment options available for those diagnosed with dyslexia and can be identified easily at an early age. Did you know that 10% of the population in the UK suffer from the disorder? Over 700 million people worldwide suffer from the disorder. Dyslexia brings along many unexpected boons, such as high creativity and superior thought processing, and can easily be overcome with the right specialist, attention, tutoring, therapy, and other treatment options. Famous figures such as Steven Spielberg and Albert Einstein suffered from the disease, so it is definitely possible to become a successful person even with the disorder. Researchers are working day-to-day looking for ways at a better quality of life for dyslexics. For example, the BBC reports that a new typeface – Dyslexie – helps dyslexics read, by tweaking some of the characters. There are even applications such as Snaptype and Mental Note developed for individuals with visual impairments. How does dyslexia affect the human person? How can dyslexic individuals challenge themselves to overcome its impairments? Here is an infographic by Wooden Toy Shop detailing its challenges and gifts, and how to learn and succeed despite its setbacks. The Challenges and Gifts of Dyslexia by Wooden Toy...

A Day in the Life of a MD-PhD Student

Physician-scientists are medical doctors who contribute significant effort toward scientific research and play an integral role in the advancement of medical knowledge. They provide a unique perspective to the research community through first-hand experience with patients and the problems they face, but they also have the research skills to directly address those problems. Examples include Edward Jenner, a physician who created the smallpox vaccine, and Frederick Banting, who isolated and discovered the therapeutic potential of insulin. Modern physician-scientists continue to carry on the tradition of excellency established by these earlier physician-scientists, though they are becoming a smaller part of the biomedical workforce. Being a MD/PhD student looking to become a physician-scientist is a time-consuming process that requires both medical and research training. Research training can be done at various times such as during fellowship, in a research year during medical school, or by completing a PhD. The latter is frequently offered in a dual-degree program in which research and medical training are integrated over approximately 8 years. This is an ideal route for those people interested in effectively translating basic science findings into the clinic. Over the past 4 years, I’ve often been asked by undergraduates interested in a career as a physician-scientist to describe my daily life as a dual-degree MD/PhD student. Yet, I have not because my days are so variable that I’ve found it difficult to...

Do Higher Obesity Levels Mean Higher Cancer Chances?

In a world where appearances matter, many people are concerned about their shape or sizes. However, the amount and distribution of body fat content are crucial to your health. According to ASCO Cancer.Net, over two-thirds of adults in America, were overweight; that is in the year 2016. What is obesity you may ask? It is a condition where an individual has unhealthy distribution or amount of fat in the body. Different factors can contribute towards becoming obese as is so in a convincing fellowship personal statement. The factors that contribute to the former include: • Hormones • Environment • Genes • Emotions, and • Cultural factors Individuals who are obese are at a higher risk of severe health conditions, e.g., heart disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Obesity and Cancer The measurement often used, to measure one’s obesity level is the BMI, Body Mass Index. It is the ratio of one’s weight, and height and waist measurement. If you have a BMI of 30 and above, you are obese. Normal BMI ranges from, 18.5 to 24.9. It is also important to note that, people who have extensive waist measurements are at risk of contracting various diseases, e.g., heart disease. The regular waist measurement should be 40, 0r 35 inches, and below, for men and women, respectively. Several studies have been conducted to explore why obesity may increase the risk and...

The Success of the Vaping Market

E-cigarettes, also known as ‘vaping’ is one of the biggest growing markets in the world, with the number of consumers increasing from 2.8 million in 2013 to a dizzying 6.1 million in 2016. That’s a rise of 120%! In this piece, we’ll look at who’s vaping, where it’s become the most popular, how the vaping market has boomed, which devices most people are using and even which e-liquid flavors are the most sort after. A JAMA Report claims that Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are becoming increasingly popular among teens. A new study looks at whether younger teens who never smoked cigarettes and who begin using e-cigarettes might be more likely to go on to use conventional tobacco products. Researchers from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles surveyed more than 2,300 Los Angeles area high school students who reported never using tobacco products at the beginning of 9th grade. The students were surveyed again six months later and also when entering the 10th grade. In a comparison of teens who had used e-cigarettes to those who had not, the researchers found that those who had used e-cigarettes were four times more likely to have gone on to use conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars. The researchers acknowledge that their findings, while suggestive, cannot prove that e-cigarette use directly causes subsequent tobacco use. Infographic Source: Smoke without fire! by Grey...

Learn How Scientists are Decoding the Most Complex Object in the Universe: The Brain

Researchers from University College London (UCL) are working on a project with the lofty goal of analyzing the entirety of a brain’s neuronal activity in real time. Most estimates place the number of neurons in the average brain somewhere between 70 and 100 billion. Trying to record all of the relevant activity in one brain as it occurs will be difficult enough, but beyond that, the UCL team is planning to employ considerable processing power towards deciphering the meaning of each firing synapse. NeuroPixels, as the prototype probes are being called, are the width of a human hair and can monitor hundreds of neurons at once over multiple regions of the brain while simultaneously digitizing the signal on-board and sending the information to a database. Developed in collaboration with a consortium of leading non-profit organizations in neuroscience, these super-sensitive electrode sensors are already being studied in mice models, and are expected to be available for purchase by research labs in mid-2018. The researchers are already in the process of developing the next generations of these sensors. Click here to read more about this technology on the UCL News Outlet. Rafael Yuste, MD, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University, discusses the research goals of the brain activity map project. He explains the purpose of this ground breaking research is to develop tools that will allow scientists of the future to measure the activity of every neuron in the brain. The Brain Activity...