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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 »

I am a firm believer in the possibility and promise of embryonic stem cells. In a politically, religiously and even scientifically charged climate, this is a risky thing to announce. But as a journalist, I must divorce myself from my own personal opinions and biases and present the facts.  That being said, it is still satisfying writing upon a topic that you believe in. This was the case when I wrote an article about Geron Pharmaceuticals recently launched human clinical trials using embryonic stem cell research to repair spinal cord damage.
Physicians have known for years that there exists a link between cardiac surgery and a subsequent decline in cognitive function of patients.  According to recent research, “previous studies have reported an 11% to 75% incidence of postoperative cognitive decline among cardiac surgery patients” (Slater et. al). However, until recently, the cause for this link was largely unknown.  Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) surgery, continues to produce clinical results demonstrating cognitive decline in some patients despite improved surgery practices.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals, a drug development company aiming to make alternative delivery systems to injectable medication, has dedicated research to finding a solution to make oral insulin, thus making managing diabetes easier and painless.

Parallel to developing an effective oral medication, they have come upon another delivery method, bypassing the harsh portion of the gastrointestinal system altogether. Oramed recently announced that they have concluded proof of concept on their other alternative to injectable insulin: insulin suppositories.

Based on their research, the insulin suppositories showed rapid insulin absorption and actively lowered blood glucose levels. These results were well tolerated by participants and no adverse symptoms were seen.
In recent decades, viral epidemics have risen in ferocity and quantity in continents around the globe. More and more people in not only places like Africa and South America, but also in Asia and parts of Europe have been affected by the spread of emergent and prolific viral diseases.
The use of stem cell research in medical therapies has been hotly debated by the political, scientific, ethical and religious communities alike. Ethical considerations are weighed against the potential of life-saving therapies offered through the development of stem cell research.

But the debate over stem cells is no longer between adamant pro-lifers and research scientists anymore, it has grown into multiple debates over the efficacy, ethical implications, and overall viability of the different types of stem cells available.
Mold is icky. However, it has yielded one of the most important advances in medicine: antibiotics. There was a time when penicillin was the cure-all antibiotic, capable of quelling almost any one-celled invader.
However, today this is not the case. Today’s bacteria are getting faster, stronger and more resistant to even our most aggressive antibiotics. This has prompted scientists to look in other nooks and crannies of our world to find the next solution to our growing resistant population of angry bacteria.