Figure 1: Stairs are frequently a major obstacle for individuals with neuromuscular conditions.

Researchers Develop Low-Power Assistive Stairs

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Many elderly and mobility-impaired individuals are unable or tend to be unwilling to use stairs. While assistive technologies exist, they are frequently costly and unsustainable. The principle of energy recycling has been previously applied to walking assistance mechanisms that take advantage of the continuous braking and propelling of the legs. However, during stair-walking, ascent is a period of constant propulsion and … Continue reading Researchers Develop Low-Power Assistive Stairs

A New Model for Group Decision-Making

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Making a decision in a group requires integrating individual and group beliefs. It has been previously demonstrated that one is more likely to assign greater credibility to the beliefs of a larger group than to those of a smaller group. Prior researchers have also theorized that the adoption of group beliefs by individuals is driven by a desire to mitigate potential … Continue reading A New Model for Group Decision-Making

Figure 1: The auditory cortex of the brain highlighted with mapping of sound frequencies.

Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Being able to form, maintain, and strengthen neural connections within the auditory cortex is an important part of language acquisition. Neural plasticity, or the ability of the brain to establish new connections, is especially high in childhood, but decreases with age. A discovery made by Dr. Jay Blundon and his colleagues at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the potential … Continue reading Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

Figure 1: Defensiveness is a common symptom of ASD, manifesting in anxiety, social deficits, or other behavioral and psychological symptoms.

A Potential Mechanism Explaining Tactile Defensiveness in Autism

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli is frequently an aspect of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and can lead to defensiveness against touch and other sensory stimuli. This can contribute to hyperactivity and lead to inattention, learning difficulties, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and many other symptoms of autism. Although the mechanism of this phenomenon has long been unknown, Dr. Cynthia He and her colleagues at … Continue reading A Potential Mechanism Explaining Tactile Defensiveness in Autism

Figure 1: Type 1 IFN protein.

Determining a Mechanism for Nervous System Lupus

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an uncommon but debilitating autoimmune disease that is accompanied by psychiatric and neurological symptoms in 75% of cases. SLE with these neuropsychiatric symptoms that include depression, anxiety, and seizures is known as CNS lupus. The mechanism behind CNS lupus has long been a mystery. Dr. Allison Bialas and her team analyzed SLE progression in a lupus-prone … Continue reading Determining a Mechanism for Nervous System Lupus

Figure 1: Fetus at 9-10 weeks estimated gestational age (EGA)

New Discoveries in Fetal Immune Response Capacity

By Anna Tarasova ’19 The immune system of a fetus differs significantly from that of an infant or adult. During the second trimester of pregnancy, a fetus’s immune system is able to recognize antigens, or foreign cells, and conduct an immune response using dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells (APC), which means that they place antigens along with specific receptors on their cell surface … Continue reading New Discoveries in Fetal Immune Response Capacity