Summer Allen

Summer Allen is a freelance science writer based in Rhode Island. Her writing has been published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, the Washington Post's On Parenting blog, the Pain Research Forum and Rhode Island Public Radio.

Associated articles

IEEE PULSE, Feature July/August 2016
Healing the Burn
When brothers Jamie and Glen Selby, aged 5 and 7, arrived at the Shriners Burns Institute in Denver, Colorado, in July 1983, more than 97% of their skin had been destroyed by a fire they had accidentally started while playing... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature July/August 2015
Talking Sense
Above: Nicholas Constant wearing the Big Ears. A man with a strange contraption behind his right ear paces a hallway. Wires trail from his ear to a battery pack tucked into his waistband. A woman carefully squeezes a bag filled with... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature January/February 2017
Electronic Health Records in Veterinary Medicine
Imagine if you didn’t have to fill out paper forms each time you visited a new doctor or if you could access your personal medical records from your home computer. In a world where we can pay bills on our... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature September/October 2015
New Imaging Technology May Help Doctors Diagnose Amyloidosis
One December day in 2013, Michael Rasmussen realized that just chewing his food made him tired. Short walks felt draining. At one point, he became so tired that he sat down and didn’t get up for three days. Rasmussen had... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature January/February 2017
Cancer Survivors
Since President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Cancer” in 1971, the number of cancer survivors in the United States has quadrupled [1] and is still rising. Thanks to advances in cancer detection and treatment, the almost 15 million cancer... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature May/June 2016
New Prostheses and Orthoses Step Up Their Game
Forty years ago, Les Baugh lost both of his arms in an electrical accident. With bilateral shoulder-level amputations, his options for prosthetic arms were limited. That changed two years ago, when Baugh underwent a surgical procedure at Johns Hopkins Hospital... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature July/August 2017
Animal Models
Dogs have bad breath. But when Montana sheep rancher Katy Harjes noticed her collie, Hoshi, had particularly bad breath and facial swelling, she was concerned that the symptoms might be a sign of something serious. She was right; ten-year-old Hoshi... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Cover Story March/April 2015
Hacking Away
Above: Bryan Ranger and collaborators at 2014 MedTech hackathon in Mbarara, Uganda (photo credit Lina A. Colucci). Imagine a room filled with hundreds of highly accomplished people. There are doctors, engineers, software developers, entrepreneurs, designers, and scientists. All these people have put... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature May/June 2016
Giving Voice to Emotion
It’s tough to imagine anything more frustrating than interacting with a call center. Generally, people don’t reach out to call centers when they’re happy—they’re usually trying to get help with a problem or gearing up to do battle over a... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Cover Story May/June 2015
Building a Better Breast Pump
Right now thousands of women are connected to a machine. This machine is essentially a vacuum, but these women aren’t housecleaning: they’re pumping breast milk for their babies. Breast pumps are important pieces of equipment for new mothers. Both the World... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature May/June 2020
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Psychiatry
An estimated 792 million people live with mental health disorders worldwide—more than one in ten people—and this number is expected to grow in the shadow of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough mental health professionals to treat all these people. Can artificial intelligence (AI) help? While many psychiatrists have different views on this question, recent developments suggest AI may change the practice of psychiatry for both clinicians and patients... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature July/August 2020
COVID-19 Is Straining Mental Health—Could Technology Be the Answer?
One of the most pernicious side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is a steep rise in stress and mental health problems. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of American adults say that worry and stress about the pandemic is hurting their mental health. There are plenty of factors feeding into this phenomenon... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature January/February 2021
New Advances in Neurostimulation for Chronic Pain
Around 50 million people in the United States live with—and suffer from—chronic pain. While some pain patients receive relief from physical therapy, medication, or surgery, others aren’t helped by these treatments. “It’s a debilitating situation,” says Ryan Lakin, divisional vice president of R&D at Abbott. “Patients have trouble just living a normal life, doing a lot of things that we take for granted.”... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature March/April 2021
New Apps Drive Health Care Innovation, Access to Care
With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones, apps are a regular part of our day-to-day lives. They are also becoming a larger presence in health care, where they have the ability to expand access to care, help people monitor health changes, provide support for people living with chronic conditions, and coordinate communication between patients and their doctors. From detecting skin cancer to helping people with diabetes, new apps aim to change how people think about their health... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature July/August 2021
Probing the Future of Psychedelics for Mental Health
Mounting evidence suggests that psychedelics may be useful for treating a range of different neuropsychiatric conditions that currently have limited treatment options. On May 4–6, 2021, leaders from academia and industry discussed a variety of issues related to the development and adoption of psychedelic drugs for different conditions during the virtual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference. Selected topics from the conference are presented below... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature January/February 2022
The Search for Pain Biomarkers
For many medical conditions, clinicians can collect quantitative indicators of disease, such as heart rate, body temperature, or levels of a specific protein in a blood sample. For chronic pain, however, such biological markers have not yet been identified... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature March/April 2022
Seeking Pain Relief With Fewer Side Effects
For the one in five adults who suffer from chronic pain, treatment largely relies on pharmaceuticals, which can come with serious downsides [1]. “They mitigate pain, but in the long term lead to such significant side effects and consequences that the burden from the treatment many times starts to exceed the burden from disease, and it attacks the person’s quality of life,” says Padma Gulur, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and head of the Pain Relief and Opioid Mitigation Innovation Science (PROMIS) Laboratory, Duke University... Read more