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Erin RichardsRSS Feed of this column.

I am a current graduate student at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. I write for Neon Tommy, a digital news website, as a science writer. My undergraduate degree is from the... Read More »

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Although the theoretical applications for stem cell research are seemingly endless, the far-off possibilities are not as awe-inspiring as some scientists would like. Setbacks, ethical concerns and funding are all part of the hurdles that face all new scientific research, stem cell research especially. However, drastic results and benefits may be closer than previously thought.
We already have a war on drugs, a war on terror, and war against everything French (freedom fries anyone?) but our capacity for war is seemingly unlimited and the newest vendetta has targeted high BMIs. That's right, we're fighting a war on fat people and the soldiers have just added a new weapon to their arsenal.

Not only does obesity cause diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, cancers, depression, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, and urinary tract infections (i.e everything) but now obese people also cause global warming. If we could prove that obesity caused 9/11 and the AIDS epidemic, we would have found the root of all evil, hands down.
The death toll due to malaria outbreaks has reached over million lives every year with an additional 300-500 million people suffering illness from serious malaria infections. The growing pandemic and high mortality rate has caused renewed and fervent interest in creating an effective vaccine treatment for the prevention of malaria.

This interest has sparked physicians, scientists and pharmaceutical companies alike to race for the most cost-effective, efficient and overall viable vaccine against malaria.  There are currently multiple vaccines in various stages of trial and with various ranges of efficacy.
Following the positive outcomes of shorter studies done on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) drug Betaseron(R), continued testing also yields compelling results.

Analysis from a 16 year follow up study examining long term effects of Betaseron(R) on MS patients showed that early and continued treatment with Betaseron were more likely to avoid negative clinical outcomes than MS patients on alternative treatment options.
We all know that we should eat our fruits and vegetables, but a new study suggests that they could also help prevent inflammation.  According to a study conducted by researchers from UC Davis in cooperation with National Center for Food Safety and Technology in Illinois and Penn State University investigated the effects of certain tomato products and found some interesting results.

Scientists have grown increasingly interested in properties of tomatoes, as they contain the compound lyocpene, a powerful antioxidant, as well as vitamins A, C, fiber, potassium and beta-carotene. All of these nutrients do a body good, but tomatoes may also help stave off chronic conditions, aided by increased inflammation.
For those of us who are savvy on health food, what I’m about to tell you will come as no surprise, if not, hold onto your hats. If you have heard about “good fats” such as poly-unsaturated fats and omega fatty acids, found in fish and olive oil, then you know that researchers and nutrition professionals agree that these fats should replace the “bad fats” including trans fats and saturated fats found in junk food.

The body does need some fats, and the “good fats” in olive oil and fish are much more easily broken down and utilized by the body instead of the saturated fats, which instead of being broken down, may be allocated to fat storage, and add inches to the waistline and pounds to your physique.