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Issue 21 Presenting Alumni

Julia Hamblin-Trué: “Seek discomfort – the uncomfortable things we say yes to make us grow the most”

This issue comes with yet another alumni interview. This time we wish to present to you Julia Hamblin-Trué, a pretty loyal alumni member and, as you’ll probably agree after getting to know her, a Swiss knife of Summer School of Science. Julia is currently an undergraduate student at CODE University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, where she studies Product Management. Her Summer School of Science journey started back in 2017 when she was a participant in S3++ camp. Continue reading and you’ll find out how her S3++ journey continued, where she is now and how she got there.

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Issue 20 Understanding Science

HIV – a hero?

Several studies conducted in the 90’s suggested that prevalence of HIV infection was smaller in patients with sickle cell anemia than in healthy individuals. Although the mechanism behind that is still not fully understood, today we know a lot more than we did back at the end of the century. In order to understand the connection between sickle cell anemia and HIV infection, let us first take a look at both of them separately.

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Issue 20 Science Shoutout

The most popular anti-procrastination method

Ah, the never-ending cycle of continuous working, feeling you haven’t done enough and then binging on YouTube self-improvement videos hoping to start fresh tomorrow… or on Monday… or, well, at least next year. We have all been there and we have all done that. The amount of money those self-help videos and books make is even more ridiculous when you realize how toxic they can get. However, among the noise there is legit advice and a few methods that have been proven to work and are even applied in school curriculums for children suffering from attention deficits. One of them, the most popular one for sure, is the Pomodoro method.

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Issue 19 Understanding Science

Friedreich’s ataxia – a “not so rare” disease

Friedrich’a ataxia (FA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects 1 in every 50 000 people worldwide. Therefore, it falls under the umbrella of rare diseases. The thing with rare diseases is that it’s hard to get funding for researching their pathophysiology and possible therapies (ergo the name “orphan drugs”). However, with the recent rise of gene therapy, more and more private investors put their money towards finding a cure for 1 in 50 000 people. So don’t be misled by the title of this article – FA is still a rare disease, but its popularity among research groups and institutes has been growing for the past few years. The main reason for such blooming is the emerging field of gene therapy.

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Issue 18 Understanding Science

Ultrasound, magnetic fields and brain tumors – only fiction or a possible reality?

I believe it is safe to say that those of us who were at some point (or maybe still are) glued to our screens watching Grey’s Anatomy often found yourselves intrigued by some of the innovative treatments used on the patients. One of my personal favorites was a clever use of ultrasound waves to treat a hypothalamic hamartoma in a young boy. After that episode, I rushed to the Internet trying to find anything published about the technique. I was amazed by the idea and was trying to find out more about it. Is it really possible? Can it really be used as a completely non-invasive way of treating brain masses, including tumors? Is it safe? Is it maybe already in use? To my disappointment, I found nothing. I’m not sure whether I did a very bad job at googling those facts back then, or maybe really nothing had been published yet. However, I recently stumbled upon a very interesting article about the use of a head-mounted magnetic device that shrinks tumors. Since it reminded me of the cutting-edge treatment from Grey’s Anatomy, I once again googled it, only this time with greater success. As it turns out, a lot has been done and published upon this subject over the past few years.

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Issue 17 Science Shoutout

The mysterious neurology

Some of the most interesting, yet often limited clinical evidence comes from so called case studies. A case study offers a unique and thorough view of the disease in question, especially of how it affects one specific individual. Although intriguing, a case study can’t be considered reliable proof for forming or changing clinical guidelines or practices, due to its lack of statistical significance, or statistics in general. You see, big clinical studies, for example, are designed to predict how the majority would react to a certain drug, leaving the rare ones marginalized. Case studies, on the other hand, are meant exactly for the ones that “don’t fit in”, but also for the ones that are simply so rare it’s impossible to draw statistically supported conclusions. It’s the rare ones that bring case studies to the spotlight, and they make great teaching material for both professors and students.

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Issue 16 Understanding Science

Drug interactions 101

Since I started working as a community pharmacist, it has come to my attention that a big part of the general population takes six or more medicines every day, especially the elderly. Although they prepared us for this at university, it still surprised me once I witnessed it in everyday practice. The major problem with polytherapy are drug interactions, which are often neglected, especially in Croatia. The idea of rational pharmacotherapy is just that – to rationalize drug use and consequently assure safer treatments (fewer side effects, minimal risk of sub-dosing or overdosing), less cost to the healthcare system and greater adherence to the therapy; the latter possibly being the most crucial.

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Issue 14 Understanding Science

Can we treat Alzheimer’s?

It is likely that most of us, especially if we are hopeless romantics, had heard about the book or movie called „The Notebook“. In this two-hour romantic drama we are led through a wonderful and a bit painful story of a young couple who, against all ods, managed to grow old together. However, „The Notebook“ shows us much more than just a romantic love story – it also shows us the tragic lives of some 50 million people around the world whose memories and families fade away due to dementia.