Written by: Joy Dong
In the current state of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have likely forgotten about the other infectious viruses/diseases that countries and continents have battled against. One of them being Ebola, an extremely dangerous and contagious illness that has claimed hundreds and thousands of lives since it was first noted in 1976. Many people who have lived in Africa have lost family members, friends and neighbors; so it is important to understand this disease in order to eradicate it, once and for all. In this article, you will read about the symptoms, treatments, history and origins of Ebola, and most importantly what this disease is.
What is Ebola and what are some treatment and prevention plans?
Ebola, also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is suspected to come from wild animals, and more specifically fruit bats. There are five species of Ebola, four of which cause illness in humans and other primates. Ebola is severe, and causes death in up to 90% of the people who get infected. It damages the immune system and body organs. This disease causes blood-clotting cells to lower to a risky level. There is no cure for Ebola yet, but health care workers provide supportive and intensive care. This includes giving the body fluids, electrolytes, oxygen, blood pressure medicine, blood transfusions and treatment for symptoms. To keep health care workers safe, they need to be kept covered by wearing masks, gloves, goggles, and many layers of body suits. They also need to spray themselves with chlorine, which kills Ebola. During an Ebola outbreak, these workers try to manage the cases, which can be difficult, surveil all vulnerable areas, trace contacts of the virus, do lab tests, enforce safe burials, and inform villages. There is a vaccine being used and tested for this virus, called “RVSV-zEBOR”, and other drugs are being tested as well.
How does an Ebola outbreak begin, what are some symptoms and how does it spread?
Ebola spreads fast through communities and it is important to understand the symptoms and where this virus originates from. Fruit bats are the likely hosts of Ebola Virus. They may have then spread the virus to other wild animals, such as monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, fish, bears and even pigs. Humans likely handle these animals and get infected with the virus, and transfer it to each other by coming in contact with bodily fluids of an infected individual. Some of these fluids include blood, saliva, sweat, tears, mucus, vomit, and waste. Anything that has been in contact could be carrying the virus, such as bedding and clothing. It doesn’t take long for an entire family or village to get infected, especially those who care for the sick without proper training or protection. According to the Britannica School 1, “Symptoms of Ebola begin two to 21 days after infection.” However, it is important to note that someone with no symptoms cannot spread the virus, which makes it less dangerous than others.
Symptoms of Ebola include nausea, fever, body aches, diarrhea, uncontrollable bleeding internally and externally, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain, lack of appetite, vomiting, rash, coughing blood, leaking blood from body parts, pinkeye, and fatigue. The feeling of having Ebola can resemble influenza at first, but symptoms worsen over time. Death usually occurs because of kidney failure or shock. And, people who died from Ebola have the most contagious bodies, which is why unsafe African burial traditions can spread the virus. Survivors of Ebola often suffer from post-Ebola syndrome, which can cause chronic headaches, bad joint and muscle pain, blindness or vision problems, and fatigue.
What is the history of Ebola?
Ebola has a long and frightening history. The first outbreak occurred in 1976, near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is how the disease got its name. There was another outbreak later, and that year Ebola infected and killed more than all the other outbreaks combined. After that, there was not another outbreak until 2010. 2010’s Ebola outbreak wasn’t the worst, but it still claimed hundreds of lives. Later in 2014 and 2015, Ebola struck again. This time, it infected 28,600 people and took 11,300 lives. The disease spread all over central and southern African countries, such as Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Sierra Leone. Africa was Ebola-free until 2018, when it infected 2,800 and killed 1,800 people. During this time, some new treatment and methods were tested, but were not used on humans 2019, when there was yet another outbreak. This recent outbreak occurred in Congo, where the medicines and treatments helped cure 90% of the newly infected patients. Health care workers are still desperately working to abolish this deadly disease.
“Ebola has shown that the world is not ready to deal with an epidemic on this scale.” After reading this article, I hope you have grasped a deeper understanding about this disease and will help spread accurate, science-based information regarding it. Lastly, what we’ve learned from Ebola; how it spreads, how an outbreak begins, ways to treat and prevent it, can truly help us better understand and combat other diseases, such as the one we are dealing with now.
By: Althea Ocomen
In 1992, Teen Talk Barbie was discharged with the questionable voice part, "Math class is hard." While the toy's discharge met with open backfire, this underlying assumption endures, engendering the myth that ladies don't flourish in science, innovation, building, and mathematical (STEM) areas due to biological deficiencies in math aptitude. Jessica Cantlon at Carnegie Mellon College led an investigation group that comprehensively inspected the brain advancement of young boys and young ladies. Their research shows no gender contrast in brain function or math capacity.
Her group utilized functional MRI to measure the brain activity in 104 young children (3- to 10-years-old; 55 young ladies) whereas observing an instructive video covering early math themes, like counting and addition. The analysts compared scans from the boys and young ladies to assess brain similarity. In addition, the group inspected brain development by comparing the children's scans to those taken from a group of grown-ups (63 grown-ups; 25 ladies) who observed the same math videos.
After various factual comparisons, Cantlon and her group found no contrast within the brain advancement of young ladies and boys. In addition, the analysts found no distinction in how boys and young ladies processed math aptitudes and were equally engaged while observing instructive recordings. At last, boys' and girls' brain development were measurably proportionate when compared to either men or ladies within the grown-up bunch. "It's not fair that boys and young ladies are utilizing the math network within the same ways but that similarities were evident over the whole brain," said Alyssa Kersey, a postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Psychology, College of Chicago and first author on the paper. "This is a critical reminder that people are more similar to each other than we are different."
The analysts moreover compared the results of the Test of Early Mathematics Ability, a standardized test for 3- to 8-year-old children, from 97 members (50 young ladies) to gauge the rate of math improvement. They found that math capacity was identical among the children and did not show a difference in sexual orientation or age. Nor did the group discover a sex difference between maths ability and brain development. This study builds on the team's previous work that found equivalent behavioral performance on a range of arithmetic tests between young boys and girls.
Cantlon said she thinks society and culture are directing girls and young ladies away from math and STEM areas. Past studies show that families spend more time with young boys in play that includes spatial cognition. Numerous instructors moreover especially spend more time with boys amid math lessons, foreseeing afterward math accomplishment. At last, children regularly pick up on prompts from their parent's desires for math abilities. "Typical socialization can exacerbate small differences between boys and girls that can snowball into how we treat them in science and math," Cantlon said. "We need to be cognizant of these origins to ensure we aren't the ones causing the gender inequities." This project is focused on early childhood development using a limited set of math tasks. Cantlon wants to continue this work using a broader array of math skills, such as spatial processing and memory, and follow the children over many years.
By: Althea Ocomen
There are plenty of celebrated ladies in STEM who demonstrate that they are similarly as competent as men. Besides, nations with less gender correspondence inquisitively have more ladies in STEM. You’d expect the opposite trend to prevail. The information demonstrates that something about the way we approach this issue isn’t working. To settle something that isn’t working, we have to find out why it’s broken in the first place.
Four Primary Reasons for the Lack of Women in STEM:
External Factors Shapes Girls’ Interest and Motivation in Pursuing STEM
Young ladies have an interest in STEM. Well, middle school girls have an interest in STEM. A few sources show that around 74% of middle school young ladies have an interest in STEM subjects. However, information from Microsoft shows that this interest drops when they reach high school. A report from the American Affiliation of University Women (AAUW) shows that the learning environment and social conviction framework affect girls’ interest and accomplishments in STEM subjects.
Discoveries revealed that young ladies who accept that experience and learning expanded intelligence were more likely to do way better on math tests. They also communicated more interest in seeking science subjects in the future. The opposite conviction achieved the opposite impact. In this way, a “growth mindset” can have an enormous impact on whether young ladies will keep their interest and inspiration in STEM or go for more “feminine” careers instead. Another study performed in Europe showed how women are treated in a particular nation has a direct relationship with how well young ladies perform on math tests.
Young ladies from nations like Sweden and Iceland where society treats women more like equals did as well as or even superior than boys on math tests. In the meantime, young ladies from nations like Turkey where sex separation is more prominent appeared worse math test results than boys. Hence, a combination of both emphasis on gender correspondence and support of growth mentality incorporates a direct impact on girls’ accomplishments in science subjects and future career choices.
Social Discrimination and Gender Stereotypes Affect Women’s Progress and Career Choices
The research appears that individuals see STEM areas as manly up to this day. Society sees women in science and engineering occupations as less competent than men unless they are showing impressive success. And indeed at that point, individuals see them as less likable people. These generalizations straightforwardly influence women’s inspiration and emotional state at their work and in society. As a result, even those few women who end up in science and engineering positions are more likely to quit stating isolation and hostility in their working environment as some of the primary reasons for them doing so.
Colleges, Universities, and Workplaces Are Not Enforcing Systematic Changes to Accommodate Female Students
When it comes to middle school, there are plenty of alternatives and support for young ladies to develop STEM aptitudes. There are science classes and science fairs that are energetic to involve young ladies. Be that as it may, past middle school, this support lessens and so does the number of ladies in STEM. Fewer girls keep their interest and inspiration in science subjects in high school and enroll in STEM degrees. This results in fewer female graduates in science, innovation, and engineering fields.
As discussed above, the environment, social convictions, and generalizations greatly decide how likely girls and ladies are to hold their interest and inspiration in STEM subjects and seek after their passion in their grown-up life. Reports revealed that little adjustments in science and innovation departments in universities and colleges such as basic courses with broader field overview can essentially increase the numbers of female understudies who enroll in and stay in STEM degrees.
Lack of Female Empowerment
Because of the lack of ladies in STEM, youthful girls, understudies, and college graduates do not have many role models that can inspire them to take STEM occupations. Stereotypes and predispositions moreover shape the public’s conclusion on what ladies in STEM ought to be or look like. For instance, in 2015, a program company OneLogin propelled its enlistment promoting campaign that highlighted an appealing female engineer. It received a massive backfire from the public. People, particularly males, were complaining that this is not what an engineer would look like. This brought about in a social media campaign #ILookLikeAnEngineer to raise awareness about the issue. There would have not been a need for that if there was more gender diversity in STEM.
By: Joy Dong
In 1851, Jean-Pierre Falret, a French psychiatrist, wrote an article about a disorder he named “la folie circulate.” It noted patients who experienced periods of time of extreme depression, intertwined with episodes of mania and hypomania. This article was credited as the first formal diagnosis of what is now known as bipolar disorder, or formally known as “manic depression”; named by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1980.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by drastic mood changes, varying from euphoria and overjoyment to phases of hopelessness and sorrow. There are several primary categories of bipolar disorder, including: bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar 2 disorder, and cyclothymic disorder, and each slightly differing from the others. People with all variations of bipolar experience episodes of mania, when patients feel extreme elation. They often talk very fast and loud, switching topics rapidly and suddenly, have feelings of invincibility, spend more money than they can afford, have high energy levels, have reduced need for sleep/rest, exercise weak judgment, and experience a loss of appetite. Bipolar 1 patients generally have the most extreme manic episodes, with some even resulting hospitalization. The manic episodes in bipolar 1 patients may last a minimum of one week, followed by depressive episodes lasting for at least two. During phases of depression, patients feel despairation, misery, worthlessness, and repetitive thoughts of suicide and death. This pattern of bouncing between the two often repeats three/four times a year, with some patients even experiencing a mixture of symptoms from both, called “depression with mixed features.” Bipolar 2 patients, on the other hand, mainly have longer depressive episodes, lasting at least two-three weeks, and only sporadic, less severe manic episodes, called hypomania, lasting several days. Cyclothymia is a rare mood disorder that causes mild abrupt changes in emotion. Because the “highs” and “lows” are not as drastic as the ones experienced by bipolar patients, people with cyclothymia can live normally, though they may still face challenges in daily routines. The depression experienced by cyclothymia patients can last for two years, with intermittent periods of hypomania.
Bipolar affects around 2.8% of the US population, about seven million people, and all minority/ethnic groups and genders. Practically anyone can develop bipolar disorder, and it has no known direct cause. Scientists believe that a mix of genetics and environmental reasons result in bipolar disorder. It has been proven that people who have family members with the disorder are at a predisposed risk to develop it. However, genetics are only responsible for 60-80% of bipolar cases; so genetics aren’t the direct cause. Researchers also found that people with biological brain differences are at higher risks than those with normal brains, suggesting that chemical imbalances like hormones and neurotransmitters are at fault. Environmental reasons for bipolar may include traumatic events and/or triggers, such as domestic violence, death of a loved one, abuse, long periods of stress, and natural disasters.
Bipolar disorder is usually diagnosed at 25 years old, or sometimes in teenage years, infrequently in childhood. To diagnose the disorder, doctors will start by doing a complete physical examination on the patient and a family history. Then, they may order a series of tests (if needed) to narrow down the diagnoses, and to make sure the symptoms aren’t caused by other medical conditions. This oftentimes is followed by a referral to a specialist, who has been trained in diagnosing mental illness specifically. The psychiatrist, social worker, or psychologist, will generally ask about symptoms the patient may be experiencing, and about their life and important experiences.
The primary treatments for bipolar are medications and therapy. Patients commonly use multiple medications, including antipsychotics, mood-stabilizing drugs, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and benzodiazepine. The antidepressant can help with the depressive episodes that bipolar patients experience, balanced by the mood-stabilizer to control manic or hypomanic phases. Plus, psychotherapy can be used to optimise treatment effects and support patients. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used for a multitude of different mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. Along with CBT, psychoeducation, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, and family-focused therapy can be used as well, often simultaneously. Another proven therapy is called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT is used in severe bipolar patients to assist with extreme symptoms. It is a brain stimulation procedure and is given in a series of treatment sessions during a long period of time, under anesthesia. The procedure can help with patients in a deep depressive episode and those with excessive manic symptoms. This therapy is used only after medication and therapy are proven to be unsuccessful or risky for a specific patient.
There is still a lot more to discover about bipolar disorder, but we are learning a little more each second of everyday. We can only hope that Generation Z finds a cure.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, make sure to reach out to a licensed and trustworthy medical profession. Early intervention is key, and can change the course of the entire illness.
Opinion | By: Samayeeta Maitra
In today’s world artificial intelligence is expanding skills and moving up the corporate ladder. Hence robotics is no longer going to be just a science fiction, we might even have a Terminator-like future! Sounds crazy, right?
Robots are becoming increasingly common in this world. Starting from Star Wars to your nearby hospital, they are a very essential part of mankind. To improve your mental illness, we have The PARO Therapeutic Robot which is designed to provide the benefits of animal therapy to ease stress. Robots can work in hazardous conditions, such as poor lighting or amongst toxic chemicals. They work with more accuracy (Example: The da Vinci System) and are capable of lifting heavy loads, potentially raise more profits and are user-friendly as well. There is no doubt that they have contributed enough towards society but if we compare the speed and efficiency of robots and humans, there is no guarantee that none of them will take away your job or even turn into a Megatron!
CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk told us that A.I. could wipe out the human race. Even Stephen Hawkings warned us about the dark future of robots. David Hanson, creator of humanoid robot, Sophie, also told us that within the next 10-20 years, robots will truly be alive and self-aware. Robots do not have the cognitive capability of completely dominating humans or carry out malicious or dangerous activities but they totally can conquer the world if people manipulate them to engage in such acts and put A.I. in autonomous weapons.
If robots become smarter than humans, we will soon lose control and it would be impossible to stop them. For example, Facebook shut down an A.I. experiment after two robots suddenly started talking in their own language (they most probably tried to modify the human language). Hence humans should identify the potential threats before experimenting. As A.I. advances our lives and slowly acquires control, human bodies just don't stand a chance. It would be better to keep the robots under control and not completely depend our lives on them, keeping in mind the potential risks.
So in conclusion, will robots win? We'll never know!