The mRNA Revolution is Coming

Author(s)3: Mary Bates
The mRNA Revolution is Coming 2309 1299 IEEE Pulse
A bright spot during this COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid development of effective vaccines that work by harnessing the power of messenger RNA, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines might seem like a relatively new idea, but researchers have been working on the technology behind them for decades. Now, the success of Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines are highlighting the immense potential for mRNA therapies—not just for infectious diseases, but also to treat cancer and genetic disorders. read more

Working Toward Diversity and Inclusion in Neural Engineering

Author(s)3: Junio Alves de Lima, Ashley Dalrymple, Maria Jantz, Chantel Charlebois, Cynthia Weber
Working Toward Diversity and Inclusion in Neural Engineering 500 330 IEEE Pulse
How do we begin to consider ways to broaden the reach of our field, both to engage younger students and also those from different ethnicities, classes, and socio-economic backgrounds? Where are the opportunities to make our research, our laboratory, our surrounding community more open, inclusive, and diverse? By what means can we increase outreach in our communities, providing avenues for diverse students to explore STEM topics and engage in research? read more

Meeting the Green Health Challenge

Author(s)3: Pamela Reynolds
Meeting the Green Health Challenge 500 312 IEEE Pulse
Given the urgency of our climate change problem, a trip to the hospital can be more than just a bit disconcerting for what it reveals about waste. From disposable blood pressure cuffs and one-use plastic medical gowns to powerful air filtration systems that consume immense quantities of energy, waste seems rife. Hospitals might argue that many of these measures are necessary to tamp down hospital-acquired infections, and indeed the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has required that hospitals dial up their air purification systems to battle COVID-19. read more

Stem Cell Update: Where Are We Now?

Author(s)3: Mary Bates
Stem Cell Update: Where Are We Now? 500 300 IEEE Pulse
Since stem cells give rise to all the different cell types that make up our bodies, they have the potential to repair or replace cells that are missing or dysfunctional in a wide range of diseases and injuries. In recent years, an explosion of clinical trials involving stem cell therapies has inspired hope that such regenerative strategies may soon cure some of our most vexing diseases. Before that hope is realized, we will need a greater understanding of the fundamentals of stem cell biology as well as the specifics of different disease processes. Although the challenges seem daunting, stem cell research is rapidly advancing and ushering in a new era of regenerative medicine. read more

AI, Virtual Reality, and Robots Advancing Autism Diagnosis and Therapy

Author(s)3: Leslie Mertz
AI, Virtual Reality, and Robots Advancing Autism Diagnosis and Therapy 500 315 IEEE Pulse
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a challenge in multiple ways. Just getting diagnosed can take months of visits to doctors and specialists. After the diagnosis, children are often put on long waiting lists to begin therapy, which itself consists of frequent sessions that while helpful, are usually quite taxing for both the children and their parents. And while child-directed therapies are available, adults who are on the spectrum often find little continuing support. Recent technologies are using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), virtual reality (VR), and other advanced methods to address all of those issues with faster and easier diagnostics, and in-home therapeutic approaches designed for all ages. read more

COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Health

Author(s)3: Jennifer Berglund
COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Health 500 281 IEEE Pulse
In late February 2020, a time when severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19) still felt like an abstraction in the United States, New York City’s first infected patient was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital’s emergency room. Working a few doors down was Sean Pinney, the Director of Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation. Little did he know, but “that night was the beginning of hell,” he said. read more

Novel Health Risk Alert System for Occupational Safety in Hot Environments

Author(s)3: Hiroyoshi Togo, Akimasa Hirata
Novel Health Risk Alert System for Occupational Safety in Hot Environments 1000 667 IEEE Pulse
The last century has seen a gradual increase in global average temperatures—a phenomenon that has come to be known as global warming. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported that 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record and that the global average temperature was ~1.2 oC above preindustrial (1850–1900) levels. Adverse effects on health resulting from global warming are important issues to consider, as health risks associated with such extreme heat are anticipated. read more

Harnessing Another Tool for Treating Brain Cancer

Author(s)3: Cynthia Weber
Harnessing Another Tool for Treating Brain Cancer 1000 596 IEEE Pulse
In the United States alone, an estimated 700,000 people have been diagnosed and are living with a brain tumor, and it is estimated that approximately 84,000 people will receive a tumor diagnosis in 2021 [1]. Fortunately, the majority of these tumors will be benign; on average only 30% of all brain tumors are malignant. For patients with malignant tumors, the current five-year survival rate is 36% with an average 31% ten-year survival rate [2], but for those diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM)—one of the most deadly and treatment-resistant cancers—the patient survival rate falls to a low 7.2% and the median life-span after diagnosis is only eight months. GBM is the most common primary malignant brain tumor, even as an increasing numbers of cancer patients are diagnosed with brain metastases (secondary brain tumors), where the cancer has traveled to the brain from another part of the body. read more

Reproductive Health in the Time of COVID

Author(s)3: Jennifer Berglund
Reproductive Health in the Time of COVID 1000 662 IEEE Pulse
In spring 2020, the pandemic began shutting down the world—restaurants, colleges, even entire cities felt emptied and closed. A cloud of uncertainty lingered over most parts of the world and altered our daily schedules and tasks. But for a wide segment of society, it wasn’t the toilet paper, or the masks, or the isolation from their families that hurt the worst—it was the sudden uncertainty around one of the most fundamental aspects of our lives: reproduction. read more