Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: Evan Harris

Final- BEM Toe Splint Poster

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Evaluation of Class

Over the course of this semester there were a few events that I enjoyed and a few that I felt were not so meaningful.  I really enjoyed the whole 3D printing experience and I felt that although we may have spent a little bit too much time on the posters that it was rewarding to have the best posters at the STEAM festival out of any other group.  At the same time I felt as though we did not really do much regarding the BioBlitz and I felt as though it was hard to know what was coming up in class because it was hard to remember to check the syllabus because every other class uses BlackBoard.

I really enjoyed the 3D printing because unless the technology becomes very widespread in my lifetime which it might I don’t know if I ever would have used a 3D printer.  I really enjoyed learning how to design 3D objects and had a fun time actually creating something.  The poster was not exactly my favorite thing to make and I definitely did not enjoy presenting it four times in class, but it was really nice that our posters were so much better than everyone else’s and the STEAM festival as a whole was nice although the stamping system seemed kind of childish.  If Macaulay cannot trust people to explore different projects without policing us then it should not be running such an event in my opinion.  I very much enjoyed the labs, but overall though my favorite part of the course was the 3D printing.  I also feel as though my communication skills improved throughout the process because of all of the times I had to present.  This was definitely my favorite of the first three IDC classes so far.  However, there were still things I felt could’ve been better.

Something that I did not enjoy about the course was the fact that at times it seemed as though homework was assigned just because nothing had been assigned beforehand it did not seem like there was any rhyme or reason to some assignments.  The BioBlitz was an interesting event, but I feel like it did not teach me much.  I enjoyed learning about plot.ly, but I’m not sure what the benefit of using it is over Microsoft Excel.  I know that every IDC course has its own website, but honestly I’m not sure why.  If everyone else is using Blackboard then I feel like it would be easier to have everything more centralized.

As a whole I definitely enjoyed the course and would recommend our section to those taking the class in the future.  However, there are some areas where I feel as though a class can be spent a better way and I’m not sure that the Macaulay website system is the most effective one.  I appreciate the hard work put into the course and I’m happy I got to experience 3D printing.

 

Blog Entry 2: Lab Reports

In High School, in AP Chemistry we had a few labs scattered throughout the year.  While at the time I enjoyed going to the lab merely because it was a break from class, I now believe that there is a deeper purpose to doing labs.  I think that it’s important to see that what you’re learning can actually be applied to real life.  Sometimes when learning abstract science information, it is hard to imagine ever encountering such a thing in one’s life, but going to the lab makes one realize how real these scientific concepts actually are.  I think that designed lab experiments are pedagogically useful because they are still a means of demonstrating how the concepts that one learns about in class work.  I do not think that labs are necessary for         non-specialist science courses like ours, but I enjoy doing them so I am not complaining.  I do not think that anything I learn during our labs I will ever repeat, but I still think it’s nice to have the knowledge of how things work.  I think the reason that many other classes do not have labs is because the information that is being taught is not as abstract.  A lab in a history class would probably be a history skit.  I think that the whole idea behind labs is to make the information livelier, and performing a skit of a historical event would do so.  One thing I do not like about labs is writing lab reports, however, I do understand the value behind doing so.  I think that the reason lab reports are not written in the same style as English papers is that lab reports need to be concise and get straight to the point.  It is important that a lab report is not too wordy, and just explains explicitly what was done.

Annotated Bibliography of Poster Presentation

1. Mintz, Suzanne Geffen. 2014. “The Double Helix: When The System Fails The Intertwined Needs Of Caregiver And Patient.” Health Affairs 33, no. 9: 1689-1692. (accessed October 16, 2017).

Suzanne Mintz is a family caregiver and she co-founded the Family Caregivers Association.  This peer-reviewed article discusses Suzanne’s struggle after breaking her toe and how the break negatively affected her ability to work.  She talked about how she felt as though her doctor was not able to provide her with much help.  She felt as though there was not much she could do about her unfortunate situation.  This source is helpful in recognizing that there is a problem with how broken toes are treated and that a solution must be found.

 

2.  Richards, John W., and David Govaker. 1996. “Alternative Buddy-Taping for a Broken Toe.”   Journal Of Family Practice 43, no. 6: 524. (accessed October 16, 2017).

John W. Richards and David Govaker are both writers for the Journal of Family Practice and are discussing a new method for treating a broken toe.  They are suggesting that the current method of taping a toe to a neighboring toe can actually be detrimental for the fracture and cause greater amounts of pain than the toe would feel without the tape.  This source is valuable for my project because it shows that there are clear issues with the current method of healing broken toes and perhaps a new treatment could arise that will be better than the current one.

 

3. Roland, James. “Everything You Should Know About a Broken Toe.” Healthline. (December 09, 2016). Accessed October 16, 2017.

James Roland is a staff writer for Healthline who is discussing everything that goes into a broken toe.  He discusses all of the symptoms and treatments and talks about how there is not so much that a doctor can do about a broken toe.  He brought up the method of taping a toe to its neighbor as the primary treatment for a mild broken toe.  This article is helpful in showing that there really is only one common held method which is not the method that I am suggesting we create.  I believe that isolating the toe and placing it in a hard splint would be more beneficial for the healing process than taping the toe it to its neighbor and this article proves that my method has not been fully tried yet.

Micromonospora Echinospora

Micromonospora Echinospora  is a strain of bacteria which can be found in both soil and water.  Micromonospora Echinospora does not have a common name and it helps produce an antibiotic called Calicheamicin.  Calicheamicin is used as an anti-tumor reagent.  It is an extremely potent antibiotic which is toxic to bacteria, fungi, viruses, and eukaryotic cells and organisms so in order for it to be beneficial it must be targeted at the cancer cells. Calicheamicin is produced by taking an isolated nucleic acid molecule from Micromonospora echinospora.

Poster Presentation- Toe Splint

A few years ago while playing basketball in my friend’s pool I felt a rush of pain.  I screamed after stubbing my toe quite hard and lifted up my foot to find that my toe was broken.  After rushing to urgent care it was revealed to me that the course of action was to wrap my toe to another toe and wait for it to heal.  I found this crazy.  Not only did I not understand why I just had to wait for it to heal, but why did I have to wrap my toe to another toe?  In the past when I jammed my finger very hard I received a splint, so why when I broke my toe did I just have to wrap it to it’s neighbor?

I think that various players in the healthcare system need to do a better job of healing broken toes.  My suggestion as to how this might come to be is by creating a toe splint.  Similar to the idea of a finger splint, the toe splint will be a hard device that keeps one’s toe straight.  However, because it must fit inside a shoe it will have to be more sleek than the typical splint that you see on people’s fingers.  I think that this is an easy solution to a problem that many such as myself have had.

Article Blog Entry 1

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter because I am thoroughly confused by the article “The New Mystery-Maybe Miracle-Drug.”  While it is clear to me that there were very serious studies conducted on prostaglandins it seems to me that this articles spreads itself too thin.  After reading the article I am not sure that any conclusions were made about what prostaglandins can actually accomplish, but rather I feel as though I have learned about the potential of what prostaglandins may accomplish.  This article written in 1971 would be compose fairly differently had it been written in today’s day and age.   If the article was written in 2017 it would be more likely be written about a single study using prostaglandins that discussed the potential of prostaglandins in one area and would come to a more concrete conclusion.

I gathered that prostaglandins may be very useful with abortion, heart problems, and in other areas as well, but it was not made clear as to what the use of prostaglandins would be most effective for and whether or not anything has definitively worked.  I understand that this article was written to explain all of the potential that a drug like this might have, but based off of the research I did for my Hot Topic presentation I believe that popular articles nowadays seem to have more concrete facts and don’t allow so many things to be left open.  While this article referenced many studies that were conducted using the 3 science senses it did not seem like those studies were ever officially closed.  For a long period of time the article was mainly focused on abortion, but all of the sudden it kicked into a whole different gear and started discussing other areas where the drug might come in good use.  I believe that abortion is a large enough topic that it could warrant its own article.  I think that since the New York Times is a popular media reference it would have been easier for readers to understand the article had it focused on one topic.

The article also failed to come to a concrete conclusion.  When starting to read the article, I was hoping that the prostaglandins would officially be in use to cure something, or to help mankind in some way.  However, I left learning that prostaglandins have tremendous potential and scientists are still trying to find exactly the ways to best utilize them for a powerful drug which may be able to do a variety of things.  I understand that various studies were conducted, and I understand that this drug can have major implications, but why write the article before we even know exactly how the drug can help us.  I feel as though if no drug was created at the end of the day because scientists were unable to find a proper use then this article provided a lot of false hope.  The author did not make the article hard to understand necessarily, but the way the article bounced back and forth and the formatting of the article made it unclear what the main use of this drug would be.

Overall, I believe that this article should have been edited further and specified exactly what the main purpose of this drug will be and I feel as though this article should have been written using a different more structured format in order for the audience to greater understand what has come out of these studies and what the goals are for the future.

 

Thank you,

Evan Harris

EpiPen Paraphrase

School nurses in the United States are challenged by the fact that health care providers are writing emergency action plans in the case of anaphylactic reactions “that conflict with their current school district and the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology guidelines.” School nurses must work to be in a position where they could administer epinephrine as often as deemed necessary in order to avoid severe risk to the children being treated.  (Wahl et al. 2015, 97).

FDA Approves First Gene Therapy Treatment For Cancer

Popular article:

FDA Approves First Gene Therapy Treatment for Cancer

Park, Alice. 2017. “FDA Approves First Gene Therapy Treatment For Cancer.” Time. (August 30).  Accessed September 08, 2017.

Primary source:

Chimeric Antigen Receptor–Modified T Cells in Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia

Porter, David L., Bruce L. Levine, Michael Kalos, Adam Bagg, and Carl H. June. 2011. “Chimeric Antigen Receptor–Modified T Cells in Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia.” New England Journal of Medicine  365 (August): 725-733.