Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Science of Determination

Let’s start this post with a question, reader

Do you know who Jack Andraka is?

  He’s a guy like you or me, about 16 now, brown hair, lives with his parents. He also happened to have discovered a way to detect pancreatic cancer that’s much more accurate and way cheaper than the standard test. Compare the cost of Jack’s handy dandy test strip: 3 cents to around the standard test:  800 dollars.
  It all started when a close family friend had died in 2011. Now many people in comic books and movies have the tendency to avenge the deaths of loved ones, by fighting the thing that led to their deaths. His foe being cancer, Jack decided that the only way he could fight a unique foe was through the good old fashioned scientific method. It came to him in science class of all places (shocker, right?). He was reading an article on nanotubes and their applications, while the teacher gave a lecture on antibodies. Now our hero, Jack had a eureka moment of sorts. He could combine the idea of nanotubes and Antibodies to make…something. So he came up with a proposal based on google searching and other free online science journals. He came up with a spiffy plan that included an approximate budget and necessary equipment, all that was needed was a sympathetic institution to grant him some lab time. It took him almost 200 rejections from many institutions until finally one yes came from a Dr. Anirban Maitra from the prestigious John Hopkins School of medicine, which saw potential in our dear hero Jack.

   Jack proceeded to then tackle the research head on. After 7 months of research, the results were in short, Using carbon nanotubes, human antibodies, and filter paper, the strip is constructed to be electrically conductive. Then when the paper reacts with Mesothelin, the antibodies bind with the Mesothelin, resulting in enlarged antibodies that disrupt the conductivity of the strip. This resulted in a makeshift dipstick test for pancreatic cancer, and also seems to works with ovarian and lung cancers. Jack is currently working on the patent for this method, in the meantime also refining the process.

Jack is a true model of determination in the face of unlikely odds.

He did alright

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eco-Friendly Tasks for the Eco-Friendly Teen To Do

As anybody living in today's era knows, the earth is slowly succumbing to the long-term effects of global warming, and in upcoming decades, life may change in ways that we can barely imagine today - that is, if we do not pitch in and do our part to care for our lovely earth.

Protecting the earth and maintaining a clean and livable environment is not always as difficult and hopeless as many would believe it to be. Below are 7 easy things (of many, countless “green” activities that you can do) that will benefit you economically, personally, and socially, and will also benefit the earth, making good use of the earth's materials and releasing less emissions.

  1. Turn off the lights when you aren't using them.
  2. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  3. Take shorter showers (is it really necessary to take 1 hour long showers daily?)
  4. Carpool, walk, ride the bus, or ride your bike more.
    If you want to go somewhere less than 10-15 minutes away from your home, walking or riding your bike is easy, and it benefits you, because it is fun and easy exercise.
  5. Tending to and expanding your garden.
    If you can, take care and work on making your garden bigger. Add more vegetable plants! Plant more flowers! Why? It beautifies the landscape, all plants absorb carbon dioxide to produce fresh oxygen for animals to breathe, and the fruits (literally) of your labor will bring you organic, delicious meals.
  6. Reuse materials like cardboard, printer paper, fabric, etc. if possible.
  7. Donate clothes that you don't want anymore to donation boxes, clothing drives, etc.
    Some stores will take your old clothes and give you a discount on your next purchase, or other useful benefits for you. You can also clear out closet space, and help someone else. This way, the materials and energy that went into creating your unworn clothing will not be wasted.

Because the earth is such a big place with a constantly growing population and so few people who truly have enough power to make sweeping improvements to environmental policies, it may seem like it is impossible that one seemingly insignificant person who did one seemingly insignificant task would affect anything. However, this is definitely not the case, if everyone contributed in the movement to greener earth. The earth can still be protected and nurtured to a healthy state that will let our future selves and future generations enjoy it as we do today.


Teen Link is an anonymous and non-judgemental Teen helpline. Call or chat online (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays) from 6pm-10pm at 1-866-TEENLINK.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Are Eating Disorders Becoming an Epidemic!?

If you're reading this, you're probably a teen. And if you're a teen, there's a high chance you know someone with an eating disorder.

Eating disorders have turned into a kind of silent epidemic. When talking about epidemics, one statistic used is the R-naught, or the average number of people an infected person will spread the virus too. Eating disorders have no one R-naught because they don't spread through sneezes or through blood. They are ideas.
Unfortunately, the time has come for this idea. In this digital fast age, a lot is expected of people, especially adolescents. In the rush to go to their (or their parent's) college of choice, do sports, hang out with friends, and possibly pursue a relationship, adolescents can feel like they have no control, and many view controlling their eating as a means to gain control over their life. This often has the side effect of making the person thin, something which is prized in our society. The R-naught of a celebrity developing an eating disorder is potentially hundreds to thousands, which is why the epidemic is so hard to stop. But there is hope.

Now you, the reader, may be thinking "What can I do? I'm just one person." But you can start with the people you know. A common misconception is that eating disorders only occur because of a desire to be thin: while this is true in some cases, a lot of the time they occur due to the previously cited issue with control or lack there of. One can look at it in the lens of a cry for help, like self-harm or substance abuse. Many times, those with eating disorders feel alone in a rapidly shifting world, like a person sitting in the eye of a hurricane. So in these cases, the best thing to do is just talk to them, or even just listen. That could make a world of difference.

Feel free to call Teen Link to talk to somebody about these issues. 1-866-TEENLINK (883-6546). We're open every night, 6-10. It is a non judgmental and anonymous lines answered by teens, so it can be very helpful.