The Power of Poop: Fecal Transplants

Everyone poops; it is a fact of life. It is something we do behind closed doors, and rarely discuss in civilized conversation. We refer to it as “waste” to be flushed away and forgotten, but for some people your poop could be a precious medical commodity. Poop is a tool that can help in fighting bacteria that are antibiotic resistant. Individuals dealing with these resistant infections may be looking for someone just like you to aid in a fecal transplant. You heard me right, a poop transplant from one person to another to treat a medical condition.

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The Science of Awe

When I was very little, I asked my dad how long it would take to get from Earth to the Sun.

I was wondering because I was attempting to pay a visit via a well-timed leap off the swingset. After he initially shattered my travel plans with the reminder that, to avoid a fiery death, I’d have to go at night (which, unfortunately, was past my bedtime), he proceeded to shatter my fragile 4-year-old notion of the universe with the fact that the sun is 93 million miles away.

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Its Common Name is Satan

On October 27, 2016, Mike Wallace, a cotton and soybean farmer from Arkansas, met with Allan Jones, also a farmer and Mike’s neighbor. They met along a quiet road between their two farms. Their discussion began civil, but it quickly escalated. Then, suddenly, Jones drew his gun and shot Wallace. The farmer died before paramedics could arrive.

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“Born to Die”: Genetically Modified Mosquitoes could be the answer to Zika Epidemic

When Lana Del Rey sang of  “Summertime Sadness”, I’m sure she was singing of summers in Georgia. Living in Athens, there are three things I can expect during the months of May through September: getting caught in a storm without an umbrella, sweating at 9 am walking into work, and being covered in hundreds of mosquito bites despite multiple coats of bug spray.

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Dirty neighbors, healthier lives: The hygiene hypothesis and model species

Are you a fan of hand sanitizer? Clorox wipes? When it comes to household cleanliness, most Americans are of the opinion that the fewer germs present, the better. And despite increased warnings of potentially dangerous consequences such as antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial soaps, gels, wipes, and sprays continue to make up a large portion of America’s cleaning routine.

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I Shall Call Him Squishy: The Rise of Soft Robotics

In popular culture, biologically-inspired robots play a sinister role. Movies like Blade Runner and The Terminator depict scenes of a humanoid faces split open to reveal violently grinning machines underneath. Such stories often portray machines in a dire “us vs. them” scenario. However, real life robots can have a much softer side. Taking inspiration from creatures such as jellyfish, rays, and octopuses, scientists are developing soft robots that can respond to different environments and can augment human capabilities.

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Angelic Infants: How You’ve Been Saving Mom’s Life Since Infancy

Babies… they go by many descriptions: miracle of life, bundle of joy, little treasure, or the best decision of ‘my’ life. Heartwarming announcements of their arrival grace our Facebook pages and are immediately followed by pictures of smiley, gurgling, adorable blobs of miniature humans. Everywhere, Mothers proclaim loudly and enthusiastically that their newly-minted creations are purely angelic.

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The elephant in the room: Bovine tuberculosis may be the missing piece to the tuberculosis epidemic

In 2013, an outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in Oregon. The first patient discovered to have the disease was a 20-year-old male. His pale, cold, gray skin could have been a symptom of infection with the potentially deadly tuberculosis bacteria, but for Rama the elephant, it signaled that everything was normal. In fact, if it were not for a routine check-up, Rama’s tuberculosis may have never been discovered.

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Vaccine 101: Global Health

You have learned about the history, ingredients, and benefits of vaccines in the Vaccine 101 series so far. As we continue Vaccine 101 I want to talk about the current initiatives, benefits, and future plans for vaccines as a major player in global health. Global vaccination averts two to three million deaths per year, reduces child mortality rates, and works toward worldwide disease eradication.

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H.R. 1313: Genetic Testing and Health Discrimination in 2017

If you had the choice to learn whether or not you have the mutation for Huntington’s Disease, would you want to know? Would you live your life differently? Would you see the world with new eyes? The choice to undergo genetic testing is a deeply personal one. Many individuals have no interest in obtaining their genetic information, believing the results they receive may negatively affect their daily lives: bringing depression and anxiety rather than clarity.

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A Tale of Homicidal Infants: How You’re Slowly Killing Mommy

It’s a boy! It’s a girl! It’s twins!!!

Overly excitable pregnancy posts are an unavoidable Facebook theme. Cliché pregnancy announcements are easily identified by a close-up of powder blue onesies or the tiniest pink booties, and each is accompanied by the same tale of overwhelming beauty! Can there be anything more magnificent and innocent than a new baby?

This is the fairytale American culture would have you believe.

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Vaccine 101: What’s in there?

As we continue Vaccine 101 we move from history to the recipe for a vaccine. Throughout our lives we eat food, drink beverages, and use products on our bodies and around our homes. We do not always know what these things are made of, but we ingest them and use them anyways. Of these foods and products, many people have expressed concerns about what is being injected into their bodies when they get a vaccination. Much like a recipe for brownies, the ingredients that go into a vaccine all serve a specific purpose. But what exactly are these ingredients? What is their purpose?

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Classifying Eating Disorders: A Closer Look at Anorexia and Bulimia

Recently, efforts have been made to increase awareness about mental health through pop culture. Netflix Original shows such as 13 Reasons Why and To the Bone highlight various aspects of mental health such as major depression and eating disorders, and they project these to broad audiences. Unfortunately, of all mental health conditions, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate. However, how eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are distinguished and categorized is still a topic of discussion among psychologists today.

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The Structure of Color

When I was young I learned that the colors I saw in the world were due to materials absorbing certain wavelengths of light and reflecting others. Leaves appear green because the chlorophyll in plant cells absorbs blue and red light and reflects green. While this holds true for most natural materials, it turns out that nature has more than one way of making color. Many of the most striking colors found in nature often occur through the development of structural coloration. For instance, the absurdly bright colors of butterfly wings, beetle scales, day gecko skin, bird feathers and even certain berries all come from structural color.

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