Tag Archives: Ph.D.

Warning: Smoothies can cause sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia

23 May

blueberry-smoothieIt’s that time of year again. Summer. Hot. Humid.

The urge to swap that hot coffee for a refreshing smoothie may overcome you.

But beware, drinking cold drinks can cause a condition called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. Continue reading

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Possibility of worldwide coral bleaching by 2056, new model maps show

26 Feb
In a new article in Nature Climate Change scientists from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies show maps that illustrate how rising sea temperatures are likely to affect all coral reefs, including those in Polynesia, in the form of annual coral bleaching events under various different emission scenarios. Their results emphasize that without significant reductions in emissions most coral reefs on the planet are at risk for bleaching within the next several decades. Credit: Thomas Vignaud

In a new article in Nature Climate Change scientists from NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies show maps that illustrate how rising sea temperatures are likely to affect all coral reefs, including those in Polynesia, in the form of annual coral bleaching events under various different emission scenarios. Their results emphasize that without significant reductions in emissions most coral reefs on the planet are at risk for bleaching within the next several decades. Credit: Thomas Vignaud

Many coastal areas who have or once had pristine coral reefs, rely on ecotourism for part of their income. But, once the reefs start to die out, the fish move away and the once sought-after snorkeling spot becomes a skeletal reef for the history books.

Coral reefs aren’t only beneficial economically, they also act as important carbon sinks, and homes and food for marine life. Their value cannot be measured with a price tag since they are a crucial part of the Earth’s ecosystem.

A study published today in Nature Climate Change by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science scientists shows how different levels of carbon emissions can cause coral bleaching. The study used recent data from the  Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to create climate models. Although some types of coral bleaching can be a localized seasonal event, coral bleaching in mass quantities is caused by water temperatures that are too warm. This is because the algae, or zooxanthellae, that live inside the coral skeleton and give it its color cannot tolerate the temperatures and become expelled from the coral. If too many zooxanthellae become expelled, the corals become malnourished and die. Continue reading

New study suggests funding for doula care for low-income women may ultimately save taxpayer dollars

15 Feb

A new study by the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health showed that women insured by Medicaid who have access to doula care have lower cesarean birth rates than women without access to this kind of care. A doula is not a doctor, but an experienced professional who offers guidance during childbirth, otherwise known as a labor coach.

Not only do doulas help with the physical aspects of childbirth, such as breathing, but they also can help through the emotional aspects as well. When it comes to cesareans, which are more expensive than vaginal child birth, many are unnecessary and doula’s can serve as a person to stick up for the mother if they deem the cesarean childbirth is not needed.

Currently, Medicaid does not provide mothers with coverage for doulas, but the study suggests that if policy changes that offered this support were added, then overall costs would decrease. This is because a cesarean birth costs Medicaid about $13,590 as opposed to  $9,131 for a normal birth. Continue reading

Scientists one step closer to deafeating ‘Superbug’ MRSA, study shows

5 Feb
Scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and Boston University interfered with the metabolism of E. coli, rendering them weaker in the face of existing antibiotics, as reported today in Nature Biotechnology. (Photo courtesy of Wyss Institute at Harvard University)

Scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and Boston University interfered with the metabolism of E. coli, rendering them weaker in the face of existing antibiotics, as reported today in Nature Biotechnology. (Photo courtesy of Wyss Institute at Harvard University)

If you’ve ever been in the hospital for one of those annoying spider-bite like boils on your body, then you probably recognize the acronym MRSA and cringe. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that has been causing deadly infections in humans due to its resistance to most antibiotics. The bacteria most commonly lingers around hospitals, but can be found in gyms and schools as well.

With few medicines available to treat the infections caused by MRSA, scientists from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Boston University have been studying the biological makeup of this sneaky bacteria villian to find better ways to fight it. The researchers, using computer modeling and biotechnology of a similar bactera E. coli, found that simply adjusting the bacteria’s metabolism may be a way to kill it. Continue reading