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. 

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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. 



Down syndrome basics and screening:,the%20egg%20fails%20to%20separate.

Down syndrome screening:,(free%20beta%2DhCG).

Down syndrome symptoms:

Down syndrome financial cost:,life%2C%20the%20study%20authors%20said.

Article condemning Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion bill:

Atlantic article:

Dr. Rosmarie Garland-Thomson’s article ‘Human Biodiversity Conservation: A Consensual Ethical Principle’:

Scientific American article:

Russian scientist uses CRISPR to prevent deafness article:

Deaf people oppose gene editing article:

Down syndrome empathy study:


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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. 


What are GMOs? GMO Watch podcast episode that we guest starred on:

Overview article about the study:

Overview article about the study:

Actual study:

Identical twins explanation:

Identical twins and placenta:,called%20monochorionic%20twins%20(MC).&text=While%20fraternal%20twins%20(2%20eggs,up%20sharing%20a%20single%20placenta


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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.



 General mindfulness resources:

 Meditation and pain:,monk%20to%20pull%20it%20off

 Meditation and stress:

 Mindfulness meditation:,present%20moment%20without%20any%20judgment

 Transcendental meditation:

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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!



Draw-a-scientist studies with children:

BioRiv study on under-citation of Black authors & people of color: 

Dr. Johnson HHMI:

Pathways to Success Program:

Dr. Johnson’s research:

Dr. Johnson’s lab website:

Dr. Smith’s lab website: 


Connect with Black neuroscientists!

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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. 



Actual article:

Great summary of article:


Yamanaka Factors:

CRISPR eye disease:

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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. 


Mae Jemison bios: 

Dr. Jemison Ted Talk: 

Interview with Dr. Jemison at Commonwealth Club of California: 

Experiences with racism: 

Star Trek: 

Challenger explosion: 

George Washington Carver video:

History Channel article on Carver:

Carver’s true legacy:

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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)?



New variant info: 

Track new variant by state:

Vaccine concerns:


Viral mutation rate:

Viral neutralization test:

Flu virus mutations:

What is BioRxiv:

BioRxiv Moderna 1/25: 

Update 1/25 new variants: 

Brazilian variant:

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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. 

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GMO pros

GMO environmental impact

Organic products

Foreign Policy Golden rice article:

Summation of retracted golden rice research article:

Retracted golden rice research article:

Retraction reason:

Golden rice and Vitamin A deficiency:

Low participants golden rice study:

Zimbabwe golden rice study: rice perspective:

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!


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

GMOs general

Stats on how GMO crops:

Non-GMO CRISPR plants,replace%20a%20specific%20genetic%20sequence.&text=That%20does%20not%20necessarily%20mean,relevant%20crop%20is%20a%20GMO

Bt corn

Cry9C recall

Book – chapter 9

EPA policy reduce risk of resistance:

GMO regulations U.S. vs. Europe:,has%20approved%20fewer%20than%20forty

GMO environmental impact

Organic products

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