In 2013, when Tenzin Kunor was in his last semester of college, he learned that he had a type of tuberculosis (TB) that was resistant to the typical drugs that are used to treat TB. At first, he thought it was a bad cold because he had been experiencing chest pains, a sore throat, and coughing. When it got to the point that it was painful to walk, he received his diagnosis: multidrug resistant TB. This bacterial infection requires special medications, and takes a long time to resolve. For Tenzin, it took two years.Continue reading “Mixing a Phage Cocktail to Combat Bacterial Infections”
In Greek mythology, after escaping his prison, Icarus soared close to the sun, despite his father’s instructions to fly neither too high nor too low. His wings of feathers and wax melted before he plummeted to his death. In modern day, patients with type 2 diabetes similarly seek to escape their symptoms at the doctor’s office, and they receive instructions just as difficult—maintain a level of blood sugar that is neither too high nor too low, or face harsh consequences.Continue reading “Control Diabetes Before It Controls You: How Group Visits Improve Care”
As a science outreach organization, we wish we could add more to the conversation about how to stay safe from #COVID19, but the truth is, experts have already said what needs to be said. Here’s what you you need to know to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus:Continue reading “Tips for Protecting Yourself and Others from the Coronavirus”
We are sad to say we had to cancel our annual Pi K Fun run because of the coronavirus. Everyone’s health and safety is a priority for us, and we don’t want to put anyone at risk of sacrificing either. We really feel bad that you’re missing this yearly tradition, so to make it up to you a best as we can, we collected some fun facts about pi(e) in all its forms. We hope you enjoy!Continue reading “Fun Facts About Pi(e)”
In the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones makes a narrow escape through dense jungle while dodging a rainfall of poison darts – darts laced with lethal frog toxins. Despite the danger, it may surprise you to learn that these poisons may prove key to creating opioid alternatives.Continue reading “Frog Toxins + Community = New Strategy to Curb Rampant Opioid Epidemic?”
Mini-brains—that’s right. It sounds like something from Frankenstein, doesn’t it?
I gazed in awe as my mentor showed me these ‘mini-brains,’ aka cerebral organoids. Much like soufflés, mini-brains must grow without falling apart and require a lot of care and patience. They ‘rise’ to the challenge of helping physicians and scientists better understand the brain and develop treatments for diseases that affect us and our loved ones.Continue reading “Mini-Brains and Soufflés? More Alike Than You Think”
You’re sitting at home, watching TV, and then, suddenly, you feel it. Did your throat always feel so dry? Was your nose that stuffed up this morning? Then, you realize it. You heard someone cough near you on the train yesterday morning, and now, you’re one of the 60 million Americans each year who’ve caught the flu.Continue reading “Why You’re Not Dead Yet – A Crash Course on Fighting the Flu”
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not vegan, vegetarian, or even pescatarian. I’m not any of the -arians. But I am a foodie. So when I heard about the Impossible Burger, a plant-based “beef” burger, I had to try it. Unlike other plant-based burgers, where you can see the beans and corn that are squished together to make the patty, the Impossible Burger truly resembles a beef burger.Continue reading “The Impossible Burger: Is it Really That Impossible?”
A bionic woman trains her robotic ear to recognize the sound of footsteps two blocks away. A man taps on a holographic screen to view a recording of his own memory. A scientist puts their finger to their temple to mentally command an army of robots.
You might recognize those scenes from popular science fiction, but technologies that can literally read our minds now exist in early forms, thanks to brain research. The nearly 1 in 5 people who have physical disabilities could benefit from devices like these to help them move their artificial limbs using just their thoughts. And as the field of futuristic research develops, we might see cool, new technologies that can improve anyone’s life. But low participation in medical research is preventing progress. Although 57% of Americans believe that it is important for everyone to take part in clinical trials, fewer than 16% have ever done so. More volunteers with and without disabilities are needed to fine-tune these technologies that depend on Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI).Continue reading “Machines Can Read Your Mind”
When I was in fifth grade, I took care of a light pink flower that sat by the windowsill in my classroom. Every time I noticed my plant leaning towards the window, I turned it around so I could watch how, after a couple days, it had tilted towards the window again. I later learned in class that plants grow towards light, but I wondered, was there more to it? Did the flower learn to do this?
Last year, my 95-year-old grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. Although he lived a long life, it was hard to watch him slowly forget the people and places he loved. Unfortunately, my grandfather’s story is all too common. Almost 1 out of every 7 individuals worldwide suffers from a disease of the brain or nerves, aka a neurological disorder.
We know astonishingly little about how to prevent and treat neurological disorders. However, we may be able to find answers in a surprising source: fish. Apart from their culinary value, fish provide key insights into human development and disease. The zebrafish in particular is helping us understand how connections between neurons develop and why disorders like Alzheimer’s occur in the human brain. Through zebrafish research, we may be able to understand—and in turn find solutions to—complex neurological diseases.Continue reading “A Fishy Solution: Zebrafish Help Us Understand Neurological Disorders”
5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. Time dragged on as my friends and I watched our number slowly move up the 54-person line at the hot pot restaurant. The aromatic smell of herbal broths and spices wafted through the air as our stomachs relentlessly growled. Although the wait was gruesome, there was a guarantee that we would—eventually—get our well-deserved spot at a table.
But if you think an hour is bad, imagine waiting three to five years for something you’ve been dying to have — with no guarantee it’ll arrive at all.Continue reading “Is It My Turn Yet? How You Can End the Transplant Wait”
In June 2017, a group of congressmen were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game when gunshots erupted. Quickly after the shooting began, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot. Fellow Congressman Brad Wenstrup immediately worked to stop the bleeding from Scalise’s wound by using a tourniquet, a method of cutting off the blood supply to an injury.Continue reading “You Can Save a Life: Military Tourniquets Come Home”
The Illinois Science Council is delighted to partner with the University of Chicago to bring students’ science writing to Science Unsealed for the second year in a row!Continue reading “Science Unsealed Collaborating with UChicago Science Writers”
Science Unsealed is back from our winter hiatus, and we’re coming at you with a science poetry contest!
We know the science crowd out there has an artsy side, and we want to see it. Our first science poetry contest is for the best science haiku – a Sci-Ku, if you will. Here is our entry form.Continue reading “Science Poetry Contest – Sci-Ku!”
Which dog breed is the strongest and healthiest of them all? Is it the Border Collie, with its elegant coat and affectionate personality? Or is it the English Bulldog with its burly frame and gentle disposition?Continue reading “The Dangers of Dog Breeding”
If you have school age kids in your life, you’ve probably noticed a lot has changed since you were their age. Smart screens and computer science courses are making chalkboards and writing in cursive obsolete. Another thing that’s missing: the classic PB & J. In fact, some schools have banned peanuts entirely due to allergies.Continue reading “Will the Peanut Allergy Ever be a Thing of the Past?”
Blood transfusions are an essential component of modern-day medicine, saving lives in a variety of situations, ranging from genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia to road accidents. But, the history of blood transfusion is a rocky one. For instance, did you know that a German physician founded the world’s first blood transfusion institute in 1926 because he believed blood transfusions led to immortality?Continue reading “The Secret in Your Veins: The History of Blood Transfusion”
Imagine you’re standing on the rocky, rust-pink surface of Mars. You’ve just finished a hard day’s work helping to build the first human base on another planet, so you decide to take a break and watch the sunset. As you gaze west across the Martian desert, a small, wan sun sinks through the hazy, orange-brown sky. The light wanes, and the temperature drops from a balmy daytime high of -15° F to an evening chill of -120° F (good thing you’re wearing your spacesuit). The weak wind that has been kicking up dust devils all day drops away, leaving you in a silence deeper than any quiet on Earth.Continue reading “Blue Sky at Night, Martian’s Delight: The Atmosphere of Mars”
On a muggy day in June of 2018, after two and a half weeks at sea, the Research Vessel Endeavor’s crew, the science team, and I pulled into our last study site off the coast of Virginia. The weather was warm and overcast; the sea was calm. Dr. Miksis-Olds had just given the word to “pop the lander,” which meant to release the equipment anchored on the ocean floor. All us scanned the immediate vicinity, looking for the orange floats attached to the underwater microphones and other equipment. The equipment’s 20-minute journey to the surface was a waiting game we had performed successfully six other times: finding and retrieving the equipment, downloading the data it collected, and plunging the equipment back to the ocean floor to continue collecting data.Continue reading “The Art and Science of Sound in The Sea”