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February and the Birth of Scientific Giants

By Sanford (Sandy) Morganstein

February is an especially good time to think of the scientific method and its deep connection to truth.  It’s also a good time to think about the relationship of science to the citizen’s role in emphasizing truth.

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809.  Galileo Galilei was also born in February (February 15, 1564).  Whether or not you like the over-simplification of tagging Galileo as the “father of the scientific method,” you still might appreciate the view that Darwin is the intellectual godson of Galileo.  Both Darwin and Galileo upset deeply held established views on the nature of, well, nature!  Both suffered as a result…but, importantly, to differing degrees.

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The March for Science: An Opportunity to Mobilize

By Janet McMillan

Many within the scientific community have expressed fear that a March for Science, like the Woman’s March, will become divisively political, and widen divides between scientists and skeptics. This is a self-defeating perspective: this divide is wider then it has ever been, and will continue to widen regardless of whether scientists march. The benefits of speaking out far outweigh this potential damage: there is an overwhelming need to strengthen communication between scientists and the public, and the current political climate provides an opportunity for this conversation to happen in an unusually impactful way.

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Rethinking why we don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s

By Janet McMillan, C2ST volunteer and graduate student in chemistry at Northwestern University

For anyone who watches the nightly news on a regular basis, it would seem that one massive medical breakthrough after another has resulted in countless drugs available to cure Alzheimer’s disease.  These massively overstated headlines often fail to report that the drug in question has not yet demonstrated efficacy in improving memory in late stage clinical trails. Again and again, a promising drug that can cure Alzheimer’s in mice fails to produce positive results in clinical trails. Despite the large number of drug candidates making it to this point in the past few years, the only drug on the market currently, Mermantine, only produces short term memory benefits for patients. Dr. Grace Stutzmann, an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University tries to understand why so many of these drugs are failing to do what scientists think they will.

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A Challenging Climate for our Energy Needs

By Janet McMillan, C2ST volunteer and graduate student in chemistry at Northwestern University

As the world population grows and the developing world gets richer, the global demand for energy is projected to double by 2050.

The challenge we are all faced with, Dr. Maria Zuber lays out, is to develop rational, pragmatic and, importantly, accelerated energy solutions, all while considering the growing energy needs of the developing world.  Dr. Zuber, a professor of geophysics at MIT and Chair of the National Science Board, is a prolific researcher and advocate for climate policy, quickly makes obvious both the seriousness and urgency of this challenge.

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HIV Risk Factors: Why It’s Important to Get the Word Out

By Ann Marie Carias, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University and volunteer for C2ST and Alexandra Prokuda, Ph.D., Program Manager at C2ST

Currently, over 1 million people in the United States are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) [1]. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that approximately 50,000 persons in the United States become infected with HIV each year with approximately 21,000 persons in the United States dying each year due to the epidemic [2].  Worldwide, the story is even more tragic with over 30 million persons, aged 15-49 years living with HIV, with 2.5 million people becoming infected annually, the majority of them women [1].  Continue reading “HIV Risk Factors: Why It’s Important to Get the Word Out”

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Interview with Dr. Christopher Holden

Dr. Christopher Holden, M.D., is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine. He works as the Director of Addiction Services in the Department of Psychiatry at the university, and also as the Medical Director of the Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program at the Jesse Brown VA. He is one of relatively few psychiatrists who is board certified in addiction psychiatry. After giving an excellent talk at our program “The Science of Addiction” earlier this year (see the trailer HERE, and the full video HERE), I caught up with him to ask some followup questions. Continue reading “Interview with Dr. Christopher Holden”