Engaging a Community for Rare Genetic Disease: Best Practices and Education From Individual Crowdfunding Campaigns
Genetic sequencing is critically important to diagnostic health care efforts in the United States today, yet it is still inaccessible to many. Meanwhile, the internet and social networking have made crowdfunding a realistic avenue for individuals and groups hoping to fund medical and research causes, including patients in need of whole exome genetic sequencing (WES).
If there’s a single environmental concern that the American public has become more sensitive to in recent years, it’s probably the threat posed by lead in water. The Flint, Michigan drinking water crisis—which has since been revealed as part of a national trend involving crumbling infrastructure—is also part of a global problem, with the World Health Organization identifying lead as one of ten chemicals posing a major public health concern around the world.
New research reveals that accelerating ocean acidification may be forcing the California mussel to adapt, transforming its fundamental shell structure. Although the mineralogical makeup of this mussel’s shell has remained stable for millennia, comprised of neatly ordered, geometrically regular vertical rows of long, cylindrical crystals of calcite, recent samples exhibit structural changes that appear to be the result of escalating ocean acidification.
Since 1978, water quality experts have been applying technological advancements to rivers and tributaries in the Ohio River Valley in an effort to stave off the worst possible water emergencies—with a large measure of success. In the latest expansion of the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) Organic Detection System (ODS), a new water quality monitoring station in the Elk River will help American Water Company officials in Charleston, West Virginia to more readily identify contaminants in the river and prevent public health disasters.
Part of the secret to knowing just how much Earth’s oceans have warmed as its climate has changed in the past—and might change in the future—might be locked in the ice of Antarctica. A research team has discovered a way to use noble gas ratios to calculate the average temperature of the oceans of our past.
Teeming communities of life inhabit the bottoms of nearly all waterways everywhere. Hidden from most observers, whether by lack of access or lack of awareness, these benthic macroinvertebrates form much of the foundation of any aquatic food web and ecosystem. However, these tiny denizens of the nation’s waterways are also a mostly captive audience when it comes to poor water quality; they spend most of their lives in water, and unlike fish, cannot flee pollution or disruption.
Researchers today are turning to the community more often in their work to make use of citizen scientists, dedicated volunteers in the community who want to get involved in scientific research. Two recent examples from Michigan, the Oakland County Healthy Lake Initiative and a study concerning botulism deaths of waterfowl on Lake Michigan, prove how effective these collaborations can be.
Both the concept of the food web and the ecosystem are founded on the idea that all species inhabiting a region rely upon each other for survival. Every individual species lives an intimately interconnected existence. An insult to one species typically affects at least those species that rely upon it—and sometimes affects many, many other species in an attenuated ripple outward.
As our climate rapidly warms, polar ice melts—that part we already know. However, rising sea levels are not the only consequence of melting arctic shelves. New research reveals that materials derived from these disappearing shelves are transforming the composition of the water in the Arctic Ocean, threatening species assemblages and biological productivity. The amount of these materials in the water has increased over the past decade, as well.
A new research study from a Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE) team of scientists reveals that the number of low- and zero oxygen sites in the world’s oceans have increased dramatically in the past 50 years. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations created the GO2NE working group to provide a multidisciplinary, global view of deoxygenation, with the end goal of advising policymakers on preserving marine resources by countering low oxygen.
FinPrint, the largest survey of reef sharks and rays in the world, has now completed the field work stage. Members of the scientific team are currently working on their analysis of the data, hoping to wrap this stage of the project up by year’s end. This international effort has been focused on learning more about why and how the numbers of sharks and rays are decreasing so rapidly, and the team has used BRUV surveys for monitoring throughout the project’s tenure.
There are currently 3.7 million connected medical devices in use today, and market research predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare market will be worth $136.8 billion worldwide by 2021.
Unfortunately, the cybersecurity risk posed by these devices is also increasing, with Kaspersky Labs predicting attacks targeting connected medical equipment for extortion, disruption, and data theft will rise this year.
Parmiss Mojir Shaibani and husband Amirreza Sohrabi have together taken an innovative approach to creating solutions for communities that lack access to clean water. Their latest project has resulted in a handheld water quality sensor that can provide real-time results on the presence of E. coli for users, eliminating the need for lab processing, and reducing costs substantially.
Sucralose, the artificial sweetener found in Splenda, adds sweetness to food and drink without calories because the human body doesn’t metabolize it. This peculiarity has led to an unexpected new use for Sucralose and other sweeteners like it: scientists are using them as “tracer” substances, using the compounds to detect wastewater contamination.
Pacific rockfish is a kind of catch-all term for many different species of fish that tend to swim and hide among rocks at the floor of the ocean near the coast. More than 90 species of rockfish are fished along the US’s West Coast, and their popularity has led to severe overfishing for some species. Scientists are working to aid threatened and endangered populations, but this isn’t always an easy task.