The claims about essential oils are many and include curing the flu, preventing headaches, soothing anxiety and many other claims. This has led to more people than ever putting oils on their skin, diffusing them into the air and even taking them in capsules. Is there potential harm from doing this or are the many claims legit and is there science to back them up? In this podcast we talk about some of the limitations with all essential oils, scientific studies that have shown negative effects about certain oils and scientific studies that have shown positive effects about certain oils. 

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

SOURCES //

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2018/03/18/will-essential-oils-like-lavender-and-tea-tree-make-your-breasts-larger/#42c8270e3fc2

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/do-essential-oils-work/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2994788/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8805113 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2145499?dopt=Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25389481

 

Down Syndrome is a genetic disease characterized by mental and physical disabilities. It is often screened for early on in pregnancy and there is a correlation between countries that push early pregnancy screening and the percentage of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted. In this week's episode, we go over the genetics behind Down Syndrome, discuss the statistics of abortion of Down Syndrome babies being put out by other countries, and talk about the ethical implications behind testing for disabilities. 

 

SOURCES //

Down syndrome basics and screening: https://www.ndss.org/about-down-syndrome/down-syndrome/#:~:text=Down%20syndrome%20is%20usually%20caused,the%20egg%20fails%20to%20separate.

Down syndrome screening: https://www.womenandinfants.org/services/medical-screening/screening-for-down-syndrome#:~:text=Substances%20in%20your%20blood%20which,(free%20beta%2DhCG).

Down syndrome symptoms: https://www.healthline.com/health/down-syndrome#symptoms

Down syndrome financial cost: https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20161216/down-syndrome-may-not-be-big-financial-burden-on-families#:~:text=Researchers%20found%20that%20average%20monthly,life%2C%20the%20study%20authors%20said.

Article condemning Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion bill: https://www.aclu.org/news/disability-rights/the-offensive-hypocrisy-of-banning-abortion-for-a-down-syndrome-diagnosis/

Atlantic article: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/the-last-children-of-down-syndrome/616928/

Dr. Rosmarie Garland-Thomson’s article ‘Human Biodiversity Conservation: A Consensual Ethical Principle’: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rosemarie-Garland-Thomson-2/publication/277601791_Human_Biodiversity_Conservation_A_Consensual_Ethical_Principle/links/55cdfd7d08ae118c85bc1cb8/Human-Biodiversity-Conservation-A-Consensual-Ethical-Principle.pdf

Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-dark-side-of-crispr/

Russian scientist uses CRISPR to prevent deafness article: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03018-0

Deaf people oppose gene editing article: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/why-deaf-people-oppose-using-gene-editing-to-cure-deafness

Down syndrome empathy study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12635971/

 

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

Identical twins are the gold standard in genetics to determine how much of a disease is genetic versus environmental. However, a recent study was published uncovering genetic differences between identical twins. In this week's episode we discuss embryonic development, the study itself, and what this could me with how we determine genetic causes behind diseases. 

SOURCES //

What are GMOs? GMO Watch podcast episode that we guest starred on: https://gmowatch.com/what-are-gmos-steministas/

Overview article about the study: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/general-science/identical-twins-are-not-identical

Overview article about the study: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/identical-twins-can-have-slightly-different-dna-180976736/

Actual study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-020-00755-1

Identical twins explanation: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/identical-twins

Identical twins and placenta: https://fetus.ucsf.edu/monochorionic-twins#:~:text=Identical%20twins%20that%20share%20a,called%20monochorionic%20twins%20(MC).&text=While%20fraternal%20twins%20(2%20eggs,up%20sharing%20a%20single%20placenta

Heritability: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/inheritance/heritability/

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

Meditation is increasingly being embraced as a powerful tool to combat anxiety, stress, pain, and neurodegeneration. In this episode we define meditation and talk about its origins. Then, we discuss the research about the health benefits of this practice.

Sources

History: https://time.com/4246928/meditation-history-buddhism/#:~:text=Some%20archaeologists%20date%20meditation%20back,and%2C%20of%20course%2C%20Buddhism.

https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/the-burning-monk-1963/

 General mindfulness resources: https://www.mindful.org/10-things-we-know-about-the-science-of-meditation/

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/19/858551813/anxious-meditation-can-help-you-relax-into-the-uncertainty-of-the-pandemic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHILscdegL8

 Meditation and pain: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/04/08/135146672/even-beginners-can-curb-pain-with-meditation#:~:text=Meditation%20has%20long%20been%20touted,monk%20to%20pull%20it%20off

https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2009/01000/Pain_Sensitivity_and_Analgesic_Effects_of_Mindful.17.aspx

 Meditation and stress: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967

 Mindfulness meditation: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-meditate#:~:text=Mindfulness%20meditation%20is%20the%20practice%20of%20actually%20being%20present%20in,present%20moment%20without%20any%20judgment

 Transcendental meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO3AnD2QbIg

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

For Black History Month, we wanted to acknowledge the work being done today by talking about the contributions of Black scientists to our very own fields. In this episode, Emma and I cover geneticist Dr. Tracy Johnson (@TheTracyLab) and neuroscientist Dr. Nathan Smith (@SmithLab2018). We hope you enjoy hearing about their current research and service outside the lab!

 

Sources:

Draw-a-scientist studies with children: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/what-we-learn-from-50-years-of-asking-children-to-draw-scientists/556025/

BioRiv study on under-citation of Black authors & people of color: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.12.336230v1.full.pdf 

Dr. Johnson HHMI: https://www.hhmi.org/scientists/tracy-l-johnson

Pathways to Success Program: https://www.hhmipathways.ucla.edu/

Dr. Johnson’s research: https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Tracy-L-Johnson-50663399

Dr. Johnson’s lab website: https://johnsonlab.mcdb.ucla.edu/

Dr. Smith’s lab website: https://thesmithlaboratory.org/ 

Neurotransmitters: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/human-biology/neuron-nervous-system/a/neurotransmitters-their-receptors 

Connect with Black neuroscientists! https://www.blackinneuro.com/home

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

February 16, 2021

Can scientists treat glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a debilitating disease where individuals lose their eyesight gradually. Often this happens later on in life and can sometimes be genetic. Scientists have been researching glaucoma and ways to help treat the disease. Recently, a study was published showing that scientists were able to reverse glaucoma-like symptoms in mice. In this podcast, we talk about the eye, dive into the study, and discuss potential implications of this research. 

 

SOURCES //

Actual article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2975-4

Great summary of article: https://scitechdaily.com/scientists-reverse-the-aging-clock-restore-age-related-vision-loss-through-epigenetic-reprogramming/

Glaucoma: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma

Yamanaka Factors: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/10/104393/shinya-yamanaka-wins-2012-nobel-prize-medicine

CRISPR eye disease: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00655-8

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can email us at steministas@gmail.com

 

For Black History Month we wanted to highlight some Black scientists! In this episode (which is part one of a two part series) we're highlighting the work of Dr. Mae Jemison and George Washington Carver. They both contributed extensively to science and encouraging others to participate in science. 

SOURCES //

Mae Jemison bios:
https://www.biography.com/astronaut/mae-c-jemison 

https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/mae-jemison 

Dr. Jemison Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LooEeJyd3AY 

Interview with Dr. Jemison at Commonwealth Club of California: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgZD5T0RmqE 

Experiences with racism: https://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/16/magazine/outnumbered-standing-out-at-work-161977.html 

Star Trek: https://www.startrek.com/database_article/jemison 

Challenger explosion: https://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-might-not-know-about-the-challenger-shuttle-disaster 

George Washington Carver video: https://unctv.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/americon-vid-george-w-carver/video/#.Wo2oERPwbSc

History Channel article on Carver: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/george-washington-carver

Carver’s true legacy: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/search-george-washington-carvers-true-legacy-180971538/

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

Reports of new variants of coronavirus (a.k.a. SARS-CoV2) have surfaced in the U.S. in the past month. With these changes in the SARS-CoV2 genome come concerns that the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer may not be as effective. Take a deep breathe - things are not as bleak as they seem! In this episode, we explain viral variants. How do they arise? And, importantly, what do we know about how these mutations change the current situation for COVID-19 (infection rate, vaccine immunity, symptoms)?

 

Sources

New variant info:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-emerging-variant.html

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-covid-variant-states.html 

Track new variant by state: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html

Vaccine concerns:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/08/health/pfizer-vaccine-variant-strain-mutation/index.html

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.07.425740v1

Infectivity:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/23/health/coronavirus-uk-variant.html

https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/uk-novel-variant.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/01/08/954967079/coronavirus-faq-how-do-i-protect-myself-from-the-u-k-variant

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.24.20248834v1

Viral mutation rate: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02544-6

Viral neutralization test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaque_reduction_neutralization_test

Flu virus mutations: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change.htm

What is BioRxiv: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioRxiv

BioRxiv Moderna 1/25: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.25.427948v1 

Update 1/25 new variants: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/25/health/coronavirus-moderna-vaccine-variant.html?auth=login-email&login=email 

Brazilian variant: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-brazil-strain-confirmed-minnesota/ 

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/01/21/958953434/reinfections-more-likely-with-new-coronavirus-variants-evidence-suggests

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

January 26, 2021

What are pros about GMOs?

In our podcast two weeks ago, we covered some concerns about GMOs. In this episode we will cover some benefits of GMOs in regards to agriculture, nutrition, and the case study of golden rice. Hopefully, we have given you a good background on GMOs and answered your burning questions in this three part series. 

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can email us with any questions or episode ideas at steministas@gmail.com!

SOURCES //

GMO pros

https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2020/07/new-study-gmo-crops-reduce-pesticide-use-greenhouse-gas-emissions/

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/09/21/21greenwire-crop-savior-blazes-biotech-trail-but-few-scien-88379.html?pagewanted=print

GMO environmental impact

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645698.2020.1773198

Organic products

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-organic-products

Foreign Policy Golden rice article: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/17/golden-rice-genetically-modified-superfood-almost-saved-millions/

Summation of retracted golden rice research article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-genetically-modified-rice/genetically-modified-rice-a-good-vitamin-a-source-idUSBRE87E0RO20120815

Retracted golden rice research article: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/96/3/658/4576908

Retraction reason: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/102/3/715/4564264

Golden rice and Vitamin A deficiency: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/11/08/golden-rice-the-gmo-crop-loved-by-humanitarians-opposed-by-greenpeace/

Low participants golden rice study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682994/

Zimbabwe golden rice study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21715509/Anti-golden rice perspective: https://theconversation-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/theconversation.com/amp/the-philippines-has-rated-golden-rice-safe-but-farmers-might-not-plant-it-129956?amp_js_v=a6&

GMOs are incredibly controversial in our society, especially when it comes to the food we eat. This is the second episode in a 3-part series breaking down the science of GMO foods. In this podcast, we explain some of the concerns about GMOs and what is being done to combat these potential issues. We also answer some of our listeners' burning questions about GMO foods - be sure to send us your own questions, too!

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can email us any questions or episode ideas at steministas@gmail.com!

Sources:

Book: Mendel in the Kitchen by Nina V. Federoff and Nancy Marie Brown

https://www.amazon.com/Mendel-Kitchen-Scientists-Genetically-Modified-ebook/dp/B002U58AU0/ref=sr_1_1?crid=367F0BNVHTAJ&dchild=1&keywords=mendel+in+the+kitchen&qid=1610055044&sprefix=mendel+in+hte+kitchen%2Caps%2C206&sr=8-1

GMOs general

https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/agricultural-biotechnology?utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=feedyourmind2020

Stats on how GMO crops:

https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx

Non-GMO CRISPR plants

https://cals.ncsu.edu/news/crispr-plants-new-non-gmo-method-to-edit-plants/#:~:text=CRISPR%2FCas9%20is%20a%20tool,replace%20a%20specific%20genetic%20sequence.&text=That%20does%20not%20necessarily%20mean,relevant%20crop%20is%20a%20GMO

https://newatlas.com/first-crispr-meal/45270/?itm_source=newatlas&itm_medium=article-body

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29744888/

Bt corn

https://www.ars.usda.gov/oc/br/monarch/bt-corn-commercialization/

Cry9C recall

Book – chapter 9

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/09/23/biotech-corn-fuels-a-recall/673f2399-5622-4f03-ac22-a7babb1ebea8/

EPA policy reduce risk of resistance: https://www.epa.gov/regulation-biotechnology-under-tsca-and-fifra/insect-resistance-management-bt-plant-incorporated

GMO regulations U.S. vs. Europe: http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/same-science-different-policies/#:~:text=The%20outcomes%20of%20the%20U.S.,has%20approved%20fewer%20than%20forty

https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/european-and-american-views-on-genetically-modified-foods

GMO environmental impact

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645698.2020.1773198

Organic products

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-organic-products

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