Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Prenatal Stress on Offspring Glucocorticoid Levels

By Maryna Mullerman’20 The Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA)-axis is an important pathway that mediates the relationship between prenatal stress and later offspring development. Glucocorticoids—the final steroid hormones in the HPA-axis released by the cortex of the adrenal gland — are closely associated with prenatal stress in humans. To investigate the strength of this association among…

FGF21 Is Associated with Cognitive Impairments in Non-Elderly Patients

By Maryna Mullerman ’20   Patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS), associated with cognitive decline, often express elevated levels of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), an endocrine hormone for metabolic regulation. Arintaya Phrommintikul and researchers from Chiang Mai University in Thailand investigated the link between FGF21 and cognitive decline in elderly and non-elderly patients. They hypothesized…

School Type Does Not Determine Individual Academic Success

By Maryna Mullerman ’20 It is generally thought that students graduating from selective schools have a greater chance at higher levels of academic achievement. A study conducted by Emily Smith-Woolley and researchers from King’s College London investigated the roles of genetics and school selectivity in pupils’ academic success. The study compared the General Certificate of…

The Pathology of Schizophrenia: Action-Outcome Learning Impairments

By Maryna Mullerman ‘20 Schizophrenia is often associated with disconnections between thoughts and actions, as well as slow acquisition of adaptive behavior. Doctor Richard W. Morris and researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia wanted to establish whether schizophrenia (SZ) patients could distinguish causal consequences from reward values. The researchers aimed to…

What Dominates in Shaping Human Gut Microbiota?

By Maryna Mullerman ‘20 The human microbiome is thought to be shaped by many factors. Daphna Rothschild and researchers from Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel attempted to find the most important   determinant for the microbial composition of the human gut. They compared genetic and environmental factors that were thought to influence gut composition and…

Dandelions, Tulips, and Orchids: A Flower Metaphor for Human Sensitivity

By Maryna Mullerman ‘20 In humans, various responsiveness to external stimuli has been attributed to individual differences. Leading human environmental sensitivity theories suggest that heightened sensitivity to negative environmental influences correlates with elevated tendency to benefit from positive environmental influences. The novel orchid-dandelion metaphor describes more sensitive individuals as orchids and less sensitive individuals as…