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You Can’t Cheat Sleep

By Robert Kriss

Dr. Phyllis Zee, Chief of the Sleep Medicine at Northwestern Hospital, warned the audience at Horner Park on Wednesday, August 15, that we cheat sleep at our peril. Dr. Zee’s excellent presentation was the first instance of C2ST’s collaboration with the Chicago Park District in the “Science in the Parks” series. Watch the video here.

Dr. Zee explained that three scientists recently shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work in the early 1980’s identifying the genes and protein molecules that drive our twenty-four-hour biological clocks, often referred to as our “circadian rhythm.” Every cell in our bodies has the clock mechanism, and all these clocks are coordinated by the master clock in our brains. The mechanism interacts with light and dark. It keeps us awake and productive (usually) during the day and early evening, and puts us to sleep at night to rejuvenate our systems for another day.

Most of us need seven to nine hours of sleep at night, although some of us can function well with as little as six. But if a person consistently gets less than six hours of sleep at night, they will function at the level of someone who is legally drunk. And they won’t even know it. In fact, sleep-deprived individuals often think they’re performing at the top of their game when, in fact, they’re a danger to themselves and others.

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You the Scientist: The Importance of Citizen Science Programs

By Kristen Witte

The wind whips across the beach, bringing a surprising chill to an otherwise sunny day – though spring in Chicago is anything but predictable. As the cold seeps into your gloveless hands, you wonder if the next incoming wave from Lake Michigan will smash into you before a sufficient amount of water accumulates into the collection canister. You quickly cap the canister and walk over to your colleagues who are sitting a safe distance from the surf, waiting patiently with a thermometer and a pH tester. Continue reading “You the Scientist: The Importance of Citizen Science Programs”

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Precision Medicine: Using Computer Code To Analyze Genetic Code

By Robert Kriss

Sarah at five years-old was experiencing twenty-five seizures a day.  Her doctors had started to treat her with one drug, but when that did not work, they tried another, and another and another.  Sarah was taking four different drugs each day and still the seizures continued.  These drugs had worked for some people, but not for Sarah.

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