Should auld classrooms be forgot? Reshaping the classroom to fight childhood obesity

By Alison Ludzki

While many adults are making resolutions to get back into shape in the New Year, what about our kids? With our children trading tee-ball for tablets, 12.7 million children and youth in the United States are obese. Could the classroom be a good place to start combating childhood obesity?

Continue reading “Should auld classrooms be forgot? Reshaping the classroom to fight childhood obesity”

Peanuts and probiotics

By Ada Hagan

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/peanuts-nuts-food-peanut-healthy-316608/
Image Source

George Washington Carver, probably without realizing it, was one of the first proponents of plant probiotics. Carver was a faculty member at the Tuskegee Institute in the early 1900’s and re-introduced the concept of crop rotation with peanuts, soy, and other legumes to U.S. agriculture. By alternating corn and cotton crops with peanuts, farmers could replenish the nutrients in the soil but continue harvesting a cash crop. Legumes are an intriguing type of plant since they rely on bacteria, such as Rhizobia, that grow in specialized nodules on their roots to provide them with nutrients, like nitrogen. In return, the plants supply the bacteria with sugars and oxygen for growth, a symbiotic exchange for nutrients the legumes cannot produce themselves.

Continue reading “Peanuts and probiotics”

The budding brain: How yeast give rise to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases

By Sara Wong

What do humans and baker’s yeast have in common? Surprisingly, they share a massive amount of genetic information and are governed by many of the same cellular processes. Although yeast do not have organs or limbs, they work like human cells and can be used to study a wide range of human diseases. Yeast are cheap, grow quickly, and are easily manipulated. These qualities allow scientists who study yeast to discover new genes and pathways relatively easily compared to other model organisms, like mice. One area of yeast research focuses on understanding neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Continue reading “The budding brain: How yeast give rise to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases”

Terrified by math? Don’t pass it on.

By Kimberly A. Brink

For some, math is a terrifying ordeal. Fractions provoke anxiety. Splitting the bill with friends is a stressful affair. And don’t even ask what the tax will be on that discounted shirt. I had a friend who found math so anxiety-inducing that the night before every math exam she developed what she affectionately called her “math rash”. If this sounds familiar (excluding perhaps the rash), you might have what it is known as math anxiety. Math anxiety is the feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear at the prospect of doing math. What’s more, if you’re a parent, you could be at risk of passing it on to your kids.

Continue reading “Terrified by math? Don’t pass it on.”

The how and why of a universal flu vaccine

By Shauna Bennett

A new school year has started, crispness is returning to the night air, the maple leaves are reddening, and everything is pumpkin spiced. This can only mean… flu season is coming.

The influenza (flu) virus is associated with thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year, and flu season has become synonymous with the winter months. The best way to combat flu infections is the vaccine offered each fall. The seasonal flu vaccine has its limitations, however, due to its extensive development process.

What would it take to make a vaccine that doesn’t need to be revamped every year? Scientists are getting close to an answer, but it’s easier said than done.

Continue reading “The how and why of a universal flu vaccine”

“Thinking fluids” and the science of studying crowds

By Molly Kozminsky

Although we have to wait until December 18 for the next Star Wars movie, some characters have already made an appearance in our lives as toys. Eager fans lined up for the release of the new toys at midnight on Force Friday, September 4, giving retailers a taste of the Black Friday crowds to come. So how should stores prepare for the upcoming sea of shoppers craving Star Wars swag?

Holiday shoppers on the warpath
Image credit

Continue reading ““Thinking fluids” and the science of studying crowds”