The difference between coma and brain death 

By: Abi & Thalia

When someone is in a coma, the person is unconscious and has limited brain activity. The person is still alive but they cannot be woken up and they show no signs of awareness. When a person is in a coma, their eyes will remain closed and they will not respond to their surroundings.

A person can go into a coma for a variety of reasons. The person may have suffered a traumatic head injury, stroke, or brain tumor. A person can even go into a coma from diabetes or an infection. Being in a coma is a medical emergency and quick action is needed to preserve the person’s life and brain function. 

The symptoms of a coma are having closed eyes, depressed brainstem reflexes (meaning that pupils do not contract when light is shunned upon them), no response of limbs – just reflex movements, no response to pain – just reflex movements, and irregular breathing. These symptoms are the most common ones that are seen when a person falls into a coma. 

There is another type of coma called vegetative state coma. A vegetative state coma is when the person’s brain is very damaged and has been deprived of oxygen for a long time. The symptoms include the person looking like they are asleep and unable to wake up or respond to commands.

When in a vegetative state, complications are bound to happen. Some of the most common ones include infections, pneumonia, bed pressure sores, and contracture of the muscles. 

When someone is brain dead, the person’s brain is no longer working in any capacity. The brain has no oxygen nor any blood flow. Other organs, which include the kidneys, heart, or liver, are able to work for a short amount of time if the patient is on a breathing machine, however, when a patient is declared brain dead, they are no longer living.

Brain dead patients often look as they are asleep, however, they are not. The reason for this is because the brain no longer works and is considered dead, this means the parts of the brain that feel, sense, and respond to everything around them no longer function. Brain dead patients have to be put on a ventilator because the brain of the patient no longer tells the patient to breathe. 

Brain death is when: oxygen supply to the brain has fully stopped, there is swelling to the brain, or the death of the tissue in the brain. This can be caused by cardiac arrest, a heart attack, etc.

Some symptoms of brain death include no gag reflex, no oculo-vestibular reflex (ice water in ear), the person doesn’t breathe when taken off of breathing machine/ventilator, no sense of pain, and no brain activity on an electroencephalogram. Symptoms of brain death also have a lot to do with the patients eyes, for example, pupils not responding to light, no blinking while eye surface is being touched, and the eyes don’t move when you move the patients head.

Brain death and coma are similar, whereas both seem to have an effect on the brain. The biggest difference between a coma and a brain dead patient is that some patients in a coma may improve however, once a patient is declared brain dead, there is no cure and they will never be able to improve their health and recover. When someone is considered brain dead they are also considered dead and passed away. A coma is a deep state of unconsciousness and brain death is when the brain is no longer functioning and there is no sign of activity in the brain. 

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How colors are important in our lives

By: Ella Tabor

Colors may be a more influencing factor in our lives than we realize. The way your brain reacts to color can affect our minds, bodies, and mood.

A color’s tone, tint, shade, and brightness all affect the way colors can affect emotions. Let’s look at how warm colors can have an effect on how you feel.

Warm colors such as red, orange and yellow can evoke feelings of optimism, energy, joy, and happiness. These colors also have an attention grabbing element. Think of hazard signs; they are designed with colors like red, yellow and orange because they’ll attract your attention. Red also has the ability to increase hunger.

Cool colors like green, blue, and purple have a typically more calming effect. They can be used to express feelings of calm and sadness as well. Purple is a mixture of blue and red, which makes it a mixture of calmness and intensity. Purple is used to spark creativity.

Think about it; color importance is seen almost daily in fashion. We wear dark or black shades to a funeral to symbolize our grief. A typical wedding dress is usually white which can be associated with purity or innocence.

Companies use the fact that colors can speak to us as a way to market their brand’s core values or manner of business. For example, companies may use cooler colors to represent health, beauty, or security.

Jon, a graphic designer at CityGro says, “Color is one of the strongest non-verbal forms of communications that designers can use.”

Color even has been known to help with memory and attention. Sandra Rief, author of ‘ADHD and LD: Classroom Strategies at Your Fingertips’, writes about the use of color to help children stay attentive. For example, using different colors to highlight in math.

In ‘The Encyclopedia of Memory Disorders’, the authors, Carol Tarkington and Joseph Harris, note that colors can be used to aid in the development of memory.

Which is another reason why companies rely on graphic designers to use the perfect mixture of color and design to get everyone to think about their brand or product.

Perhaps you may use different colors to highlight notes, or use bright highlighters to help you remember the big ideas. Maybe you want to dye your hair into a color that feels more like you.

These are examples of how the importance of color plays into our daily lives.

Radon the silent killer

By: Haroon Yonis

Radon, it is something we cannot see, we cannot smell, and is something that we simply cannot detect with our 5 senses. Yet, it continues to kill thousands every year, and thousands continue to succumb to this silent killer. 

Radon isn’t as known as cigarettes or vapes, but it causes as much damage as the two. 

Radon is gas that can lurk from the depths from your home, your school, or anywhere you go. It is a carcinogenic gas that causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.

The scariest part is that this odorless gas kills 2,900 non-smokers a year. Even if you avoid smoking, you can still be ravaged by this carcinogenic gas.

Radon usually kills people in two ways, either you can be affected by the radiation in radon, and develop lung cancer, or you can die from radon poisoning. One affected by radon poisoning usually exhibits the following symptoms: wheezing, chest pain, coughing blood, a persistent cough, and even weight loss.

Radon has been proved to be associated with cancer, specifically lung cancer. There have been many studies and much literature that validates the correlation between cancer and radon.

So, now that you understand the lethality of this gas, how do you avoid this dangerous and deadly gas?

Radon is found everywhere, but it has extremely low levels outside. It is typically found in much higher concentrations in buildings, such as schools, homes, and stores. The reason for this is that the radon becomes trapped in these buildings, slowly accumulating over time. This is especially true, in urban areas, such as higher populated cities. 

To avoid this gas, you must first find out if it is lurking in your home, or your workplace. You can buy a testing kit online, or have a professional come and test your home. The first option is relatively simple and cheap, while the latter is a bit more expensive but overall more reliable.

If you find out your house has low radon levels, there is nothing to worry about. But if your house has dangerous levels of radon, you must call a professional to purify your home from the gas. Anything higher than 4 pCi/L, is dangerous according to the EPA.

Make sure to test your home even if you suspect there aren’t high levels of radon in your home. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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Humans are returning to the Moon!

By: Reed Morris

Image taken from: Artemis Program
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails
/image/artemis_identity_moon_mars.jpg

NASA is currently working on returning American astronauts to the Moon. The Artemis Program is the follow up to the Apollo missions that first landed Neil Armstrong on the moon. The primary goal of these upcoming missions is to learn more about the geology and history of the moon, as well as to start treating the moon as a passageway for the human race to reach much farther into space.

Image taken from: Artemis Program
https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/

The first launch of the Artemis program will take place in mid May 2022. NASA is sending the new crew capsule ‘Orion’ on an unmanned test mission to circumnavigate the moon once and return to earth as a safety test.

Assuming the launching and return of the spacecraft is successful, the following mission will be essentially the same except it will have a crew on board. The final launches, will be manned missions to the surface of the moon to establish surface living bases, and finally give humans a strong foothold on the lunar surface.

Image taken from: Artemis Program
https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/

The next big step will be the construction of ‘the Gateway’. The Gateway will essentially be a smaller version of the International Space Station, but it will be orbiting the Moon, as opposed to Earth. The Gateway will allow an extremely efficient and repeatable way to execute missions on the moon.

The station will have two main purposes. The first is that Astronauts will be able to live and work on the station, allowing more detailed exploration of the lunar surface from above, and secondly it will act as a gateway (hence the name) for astronauts traveling from Earth to the Moon and back.

Finally, by 2024, Artemis will have landed it’s first missions on the moon. These missions mark the beginning of mankind’s colonization of our solar system, and a huge leap forward for human based space exploration.

Environmental taxes and their effects on air pollution

By: Abdihakim Mohamoud

Environmental taxes, also known as carbon taxes, are fees companies are charged for every ton of emissions they produce in hopes of lowering emissions. The first country to implement these taxes was Sweden in 1991, and they have been very successful in doing so.

After countless studies and investigations about the impacts of environmental taxes, data shows that environmental taxes have positive effects on reducing emissions among companies. Research from Sciencedirect.com stated that sulfur dioxide, dust, and nitrogen oxide were significantly reduced from fossil fueled power plants when the environmental taxes policy was implemented.

After China implemented the Environmental Protection Tax law a few years ago, research began estimating the effects of environmental taxes and air pollution in China’s provinces. Compared to the pollution discharge fee policy (which was the previous law in place), pollutants decreased by 4.8 tons after the new policy was introduced.

While having a positive effect on city-level pollutants, environmental taxes were proven to have limited effects on larger, state-owned coal power plants. While the implementation of them may be beneficial for local firms, it is recommended that local governments seek other measures.

The main reason for environmental taxes being controversial is that individuals against them claim they would hurt countries GDPs. Although the tax would come back to consumers in the form of lower income taxes or a reimbursement check, others argue it would benefit bigger businesses rather than lower to middle class people.

In the end, multiple data statistics show environmental taxes having positive effects on a global scale. However, heated debates and controversy about what to do with tax revenues are still prominent. This leaves us with some questions—Should environmental taxes go back to the consumer? Or should it help us progress towards a bigger economy? These questions are yours to ponder upon.

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Turner syndrome

By: Ava Bleifuss

Image taken from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katiejennings
/2020/06/08/how-to-return-to-the-doctors-office/?sh=74fcd23734ed

What is Turner syndrome?

Turner syndrome is a genetic condition that only affects females. According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, over 70,000 women and girls in the United States have Turner syndrome, which is about 1 in 2,500 female live births.

How does someone get Turner Syndrome?

Turner Syndrome occurs when one or part of an X chromosome is missing. An X chromosome could be missing from all, or only some, of a female’s cells. In a normal situation, a female child receives one X chromosome from the mother and one X chromosome from the father, meaning she would have all of the genes needed. However, since people with Turner Syndrome are missing part, or all, of the X chromosome, some of their genes are missing. Usually after finding a chromosomal error the body would not allow that cell to continue in the process, but in very rare situations somehow the cell does continue and eventually leads to Turner Syndrome. 

What are the symptoms of Turner syndrome?

The majority of babies with this syndrome are lost to miscarriages or still births. However, some babies with Turner Syndrome do survive. For them, the symptoms of Turner Syndrome are physical features revolving around development, because some of the genes are missing from the DNA, which is the genetic makeup of humans. People with this have slowed growth as well as developmental problems. Studies have often shown that people with Turner Syndrome have heart problems or if they don’t, have higher risk of heart disease. 

What is the history of Turner Syndrome? 

Turner Syndrome was first discovered by Dr. Henry Turner who was a physician based in Oklahoma. Turner was a pioneer endocrinologist who spent his whole life studying endocrinology. It was first described in 1938 in his manuscripts, but the cause was not identified until 1959. He presented his observations describing seven patients with the same developmental and physical features. These symptoms had never been reported before. Turner later wrote over 30 publications discussing Turner Syndrome. 

What is the treatment for Turner Syndrome?

While there is no cure for Turner Syndrome yet, there are ways to help control the symptoms. Turner Syndrome affects a lot of the body’s growth. Most of the treatments are there to help make up for what was lost. Common things to use as treatment are growth hormones to help with height, and estrogen therapy which helps with starting puberty. Surgeries and medications are also common treatments for Turner Syndrome, but only when needed or a problem occurs. 

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Are zoos threatening or protecting our endangered species?

By: Ashley Harris

There are over forty thousand endangered species around the globe; some of which hold crucial necessities to not only keep the food chain alive but also life as we know it alive.

According to the ‘IUCN Red List’ which is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species; 41% of all amphibians are at an extreme risk of going extinct. Amphibians play essential roles, both as predators and prey, in their ecosystems. Amphibians tend to eat pest insects such as flies, mealworms, crickets, and all sorts of beetles; all of which are known to cause problems such as carrying disease, damaging crops, and much more.

With all the risks included in losing some of earth’s critical species, scientists around the world have been trying to come up with a solution for centuries. Finally, after years of debate, The Phoenix Zoo in Arizona sparked a chain of what is now known as captive breeding. Captive breeding is the process in which a zoo takes in at least two endangered animals from the same species and drives them to reproduce until finally reintroducing them into the wild.

Sounds like the perfect solution right? Well, although this might seem like a great idea there have been many speculations in the past few years; as well as accusations towards certain risk factors that the zoos were covering up. Some of these risk factors include minor things such as the animals refusing to reproduce, but mostly include major factors such as the spread of disease, loss of genetic diversity, depression and/or anxiety in the animals, and unsustainable conditions for the animals to live in due to insufficient funds.

Although this list seems vast these are only the risk factors that take place in the zoo itself; many more risks come with the reintroduction of animals back into the wild. Animals are crucial to life on earth, but should we turn to zoos as the answer?

Current animals at risk for extinction

By: Liv Miller

Image taken from: Current animals at risk for extinction
https://environmentmaine.org/blogs/environment-america-blog/ame/ten-coolcritters-celebrate-en dangered-species-day

The earth is filled with millions of different beautiful species of animals. No matter where you are in the world, you are exposed to many different unique and amazing animals. There is one huge problem facing these animals today, extinction.

First let’s talk about extinction itself, what it is and how it happens. Extinction is the dying out, or extermination of a single species of animal. There can be many reasons or causes of this happening. Extinction can occur when species are negatively affected due to environmental forces. Some examples of these environmental forces are natural disasters, global change, or overexploitation of species for human use.

Another cause of extinction can be due to evolutionary changes, this includes poor reproduction, genetic inbreeding, or decline in population numbers.

No matter how or where it happens, extinction is a growing issue putting many different beloved species at risk.

The first species I found that was at risk of extinction was the loggerhead sea turtle. The reason why many species who mainly live near, or in water, like the loggerhead turtles are in danger, is because according to Biologicaldiversity.org a huge percentage of the world’s population live within at least 150 miles of the coast. This puts a lot of pressure on species trying to find space to live and reproduce among all of the people and crowds. This causes more problems that are contributing to the extinction of this animal. For example; destruction of their nesting habitat, harassment while nesting, over harvesting of its eggs, ect.

Another species I want to talk about is the Florida panther. A great population of this animal used to live across all of the southeastern parts of the United States, but now is confined to just a small area in Florida. The reason this animal is facing extinction is because of the destruction of their habitat. Urban expansion is a huge threat to wildlife, and is causing not just the Florida panther, but many other species to become extinct. According to Biologicaldiversity.org, large numbers of panthers died due to the growing network of roads connecting Florida’s growing human population spread throughout the state. As of 2011, there were only 100-120 panthers left.

These are just two of the close to a million species in which their population is declining and facing extinction. Many causes of this issue are unavoidable, but I do believe that there can be something done to save at least some of these beautiful animals.

Diabetes, What is it?

By: Ava Bleifuss

Diabetes is a long lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. How does your body turn food into energy? The food that you eat is broken down into glucose/sugar and released into your bloodstream for your body to use. When your blood sugar gets too high, there is a signal that goes to your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a lot like a key and in this case it lets the blood sugar into the body’s cells to use as energy. When someone has diabetes, this process does not work.

There are two types of diabetes that a person can have; the first kind is type 1 diabetes. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetes occurs by an autoimmune reaction, which is when the body attacks itself by mistake. That autoimmune reaction stops your pancreas from producing insulin. Without insulin blood sugar is not able to get into cells and it can cause many buildups in the bloodstream.

Type 1 diabetes can also be passed on from parents. If a parent has diabetes then it is possible the child also has the gene, and is more likely to develop it. Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 and is often diagnosed in the younger years of a person’s life. 

The second type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 and type 1 diabetes often get mixed up because type 2 is just where your body doesn’t use insulin properly. People with type 2 diabetes, their bodies can not control the blood sugar enough to keep it at a normal level. This long term condition causes too much sugar circulating in a person’s bloodstream, and the cells do not respond normally to insulin.

Most people who have diabetes have type 2, and it develops over many years. Normally, it is diagnosed during adulthood, but children and teens are able to get type 2 diabetes. There is no said cure for this type, but it can be managed and controlled by losing weight, eating well, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. 

Managing diabetes can be difficult. People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have to take insulin shots or can use an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels. They have to check their blood sugar regularly to make sure it is in the appropriate range. If it is too low, people with diabetes will have to take in more glucose, and if it is too high, they will have to take in more insulin. Having a lot of stress can cause managing diabetes to be more challenging, but doing regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and having relaxation exercises can help. 

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The James Webb Space Telescope: A time machine

By: Reed Morris

Image taken from: JWST
Adriana Manrique Gutierrez, NASA Animator

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is the flagship observatory for NASA’s next generation of space telescopes. The project has been in progress for years and has cost around 10 billion dollars to complete. Many people refer to it as “The new Hubble”; while this is partially true, Hubble and the JWST have very different missions, and operational capabilities.

The two most important differences between the two observatories are their mirror sizes, and the imaging equipment on board. The size of the mirrors are very important as the image quality and range capabilities of telescopes directly rely on the size of their mirrors. Hubble is equipped with a mirror 2.4 meters or 7.8’ in diameter, whereas the JWST has a mirror diameter of 6.5 meters or 21.3’, a massive leap forward for space telescope capabilities.

Image taken from: JWST
NASA https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/index.html

The other main difference between the two is their individual operation capabilities. Hubble has cameras that focus mostly on the visible light range with minimal ultraviolet and infrared capabilities. The JWST however has extreme infrared capabilities. This is where the time machine nickname comes from. Infrared imaging in space exploration is extremely important because of the way that the expansion of the universe affects light. The farther away an object is from an observer, the greater the expansion and stretching of the universe affect the wavelength of light. As space stretches, so does the wavelength of light, redshifting the waves from visible light onto the infrared spectrum. Having high infrared capabilities is necessary to image events that took place an incomprehensible amount of time in the past, over similarly incomprehensible distances.

The above image compares the light detecting capabilities of the two telescopes, with their respective nanometer values.
Image taken from: JWST
https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/hubble-vs-webb-on-the-shoulders-of-a-giant

The James Webb Space Telescope is a monumental step forward in astronomy. It will let us peer billions of years into the past to witness the formation of the first galaxies. It will also be used to search for exoplanets that could harbor life, and get beautiful images of the vast expanses of space. The galaxy formations that the JWST will be observing are events that took place possibly only 100 million years after the creation of the universe, the Big Bang. While Hubble was, and still is a hugely important tool for space exploration, the JWST ushers in a new era of deep space imaging, and is a launching pad for humanity’s better understanding of the creation of galaxies and the universe as a whole.