Science Forward Fall 2017

Dr. Edyta Greer, Macaulay Honors College, Fall 2017

Author: Jacqueline Butler

Final Reflection

Here are some of my thoughts about this course. Overall, it was a great experience watching Professor Greer (and some of my classmates) do hands-on experiments. And the labs were interesting and brought what we learned about to life.

I was kind of surprised how much I enjoyed the STEAM Fest. What I imagined would be a waste of time, a precious commodity on the weekend, was actually a lot of fun. Not only did I learn about the projects Macaulay students researched, I also got to see some acquaintances I have met through various Macaulay events. Everyone who came by to hear about our 3-D design was impressed, which made me realize that our project design may have manufacturing potential.

The 3-D printing experience I really did not enjoy. Design is not at all my forté (I do content, not format) and I found it stressful even just playing around on the tinkercad website. It was really nice to work in a group because that way each member was able to contribute to the poster what s/he does best.

I really liked how the website was used because it was easy to navigate and had a similar format as IDC classes I have taken in the past. Also, it was great to receive emails letting me know when to check the website because otherwise I might not have known to check my grades or remembered important due dates.

 

Thank you for a great semester!

Why lab why now?

I think we should do a lab in school to become familiar with the scientific process. It’s one thing to learn about what science is from a detached, academic perspective – and quite another to experience it hands on. Even though when we do entry-level experiments in the lab we are following a rigid procedure which we expect to yield pre-determined results, this is useful firsthand experience. Only after doing “repeat” experiments will we understand how to design and carry out new experiments.

Personally, I’m hoping to actually visit and try out the equipment in the Baruch science department for the first time. Since I got credit for AP Bio and AP Psychology in high school I don’t need to take science in college. Although this is a timesaver, I feel like I am missing out on the authentic lab experience which most of my peers will have. Visiting the lab this week may make up for what I have been missing.

Of course, lab is a component to the course meant to prove kinesthetically that the information being taught is true and relevant. I think that a trip to an art museum, stock exchange, or historical site would fill the same role in another course.

Naturally, the style of writing for a lab report will differ from the style of writing used to write an English paper or history essay. Because science is fact and theory based, there is no room for the experimenter’s opinions and feelings. However, since English and history are more open to the individual’s interpretation of literature and/or events, the author should insert the “I” into his/her writing.

Annotated Bibliography

Pifer, G. 2000. “Casting and splinting: prevention of complications.” Topics In Emergency Medicine 22, no. 3: 48-54.  Accessed October 23, 2017.

In his article, “Casting and Splinting: Prevention of Complications,” Dr. Gerald Pifer, a professor of orthopaedics discusses the proper method of applying a cast or splint to an injured limb. This is a relatively short peer-reviewed article which includes the principles underlying the technical aspects of casting and splinting. Although Paul is already an expert at splinting, this article serves as a good source for Elina and I to understand the basics of splinting. This way, we can improve on the commonly used methods in our project.

 

Peck, Fh, Ae Roe, Cy Ng, C Duff, Da McGrouther, and Vc Lees. 2014. “The Manchester short splint: A change to splinting practice in the rehabilitation of zone II flexor tendon repairs.” Hand Therapy 19, no. 2: 47-53. Accessed October 23, 2017.

The second article I found, “The Manchester short splint: A change to splinting practice in the rehabilitation of zone II flexor tendon repairs,” is by authors FH Peck, AE Roe, CY Ng, C Duff, DA McGrouther and VC Lees (the article does not indicate their positions, although presumable they are experts in hand therapy because that’s the journal that published their work). They discuss the benefits of using a “Manchester short splint” which is not as long as the regular forearm splint for certain types of tendon repairs. The benefit of using a shorter splint is that the wrist is able to move, which enables joint extension and flexion. This is a useful article for our project because by examining the structural and functional benefits of alternative splinting methods, proven to be safe, we may be able to adapt those methods in our design.

 

Gilbert, Robin. “What Are the Different Types of Splints?” LIVESTRONG.COM. August 14, 2017. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://www.livestrong.com/article/236526-what-are-the-different-types-of-splints/.

On the health and fitness website livestrong.com, Robin Gilbert posted: “What are the Different Types of Splints?” This is a basic overview on what type of splint would be used in a particular injury; for example, soft splints are an effective quick method to support the injured limb and offer comfort. Understanding the major types of splints is key so that we know the injuries our project splint should be targeting.

 

Atropa Belladonna

Atropa Belladonna is also known as belladonna, devil’s berries, beautiful death and deadly nightshade. Its place of origin is Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The molecules responsible for nightshade’s medicinal effect are three alkaloids: atropine, hyocyamine and scopolamine.

 

Presentation

 

Healthcare Issue – “I can’t breathe”

When Eric Garner was choked to death by a policeman and the video of him crying out: “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” went viral, I felt vindicated. It took this man’s violent death for America to understand the pain of running out of oxygen and that feeling helplessness when nobody understands and nobody bothers to do anything. Personally, I’ve had exercise induced asthma for many years. Most healthy high schoolers can play basketball for more than 3 minutes without gasping for breath and struggling to even hold their breath long enough to take an inhaler. Although I’ve been going to an allergist and taking quick relief inhalers as needed and twice daily asthma medication, it’s not enough. I can’t run up a few flights of stairs without getting winded. I can’t run on the treadmill (even jogging) for nearly as long as I would like to – and which I know my body could handle if I could breathe properly.

I’m not blaming my healthcare provider – this competent doctor provided me with all available treatment possibilities. On the contrary: what I would love to see is improvements in asthma treatment to help those of us silently screaming (because when you can’t breathe – it hurts too much to talk) “I can’t breathe.”

Blog Entry 1

For starters, I think this article is quite interesting. It seems that in December of 1971 prostaglandins was an up-and-coming field of research with potential for breakthroughs in the treatment of various diseases. The author, Lawrence Galton, does a nice job of clarifying complex scientific concepts for the lay reader. However, I think that basic high school knowledge of biology and chemistry is required to understand even the simplified version presented in this article. Additionally, the article is rather long and would probably not hold the attention of today’s readers since we live in a generation where people expect information on demand, at their fingertips, and very very quickly. I doubt most people trying to stay abreast of the news will take the time (for me it was over an hour) to read an in-depth article on some hormones which may be used in the future of medicine. We hire unpaid interns for that kind of work.

Anyhow, as I was reading through the article I had a few questions and comments about the content. Firstly, the article notes that “…easily available abortion became legal in July 1970…” – a crucial point to focus on because this article was written only a little over a year after this law was implemented! Logically during the early 1970’s the public would have been embroiled in the ethics of abortion (and the author does bring down differing opinions of scientists) which would make this article particularly important at the time.

Another point of interest is that the article mentions “…a Welsh psychologist…who discovered a substance which caused powerful contractions of the uterus during menstruation…” Although the article merely breezes past this earlier usage of prostaglandins, I wonder if science in the 70’s and science today has utilized further research on this topic. How would society be changed in women could take a substance speeding up menstruation to a few hours instead of up to a week? This concept is mind blowing and even more surprising is that nobody seems to be discussing it.

When discussing the use of prostaglandins to induce labor, the article notes that oxytocin “failed to induce labor in 44” out of 100 patients. I was thinking it’s a failure on the author’s part that he didn’t declare what the time constraints for labor induction are. Obviously, eventually every pregnant woman will give birth. The question in my mind is how short after the drug was delivered would a birth be considered “medically induced” as opposed to naturally occurring.

Lastly, the article notes that in addition to inducing abortion, prostaglandins can be added to semen so that sperm travel faster through the fallopian tubes to arrive at the egg. In both processes, the prostaglandins cause the uterine lining to contract. I was particularly fascinated that the same hormone group known as prostaglandins may play a role in opposite fertility processes.

EpiPen Paragraph Paraphrased – Jacqueline

Doctors treating schoolchildren with life threatening allergies  will instruct them what to do in case of an emergency. School nurses responsible for dealing with an anaphylactic reaction must adhere to rules set in place by the “school district and American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology.” Choosing to err on the side of the law, less epinephrine is being administered, which presents a severe risk to the child being treated. Laws and “guidelines” must change so that school nurses can properly assist patients in their care (Wahl et al. 2015, 97).

Gold Nanoparticles Used to Improve Biomedical Testing

 

Popular Article:

Researchers use gold nanoparticles to enhance the accuracy of biomedical tests, thereby eliminating false positive results

Fernandez, Sonia. “Good as Gold.” The UCSB Current. August 30, 2017. Accessed September 09, 2017. http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2017/018236/good-gold.

Scientific Article:

Here is the link to the scientific article.

Chuong, Tracy T., Alessia Pallaoro, Chelsea A. Chaves, Zhe Li, Joun Lee, Michael Eisenstein, Galen D. Stucky, Martin Moskovits, and H. Tom Soh. 2017. “Dual-reporter SERS-based biomolecular assay with reduced false-positive signals.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114, no. 34 (August): 9056-061. doi:10.1073/pnas.1700317114.