The African elephant is perhaps one of the world’s most iconic species, and yet in the near future, it may become extinct. Elephants’ tusks are made of ivory, which is highly sought after by Asian consumers for use in ornaments and jewelry1. Though international ivory trading has been banned since 1989, it has not stopped poachers from killing elephants2. In fact, from 2007-2014, savanna elephant populations decreased by almost 30%3. Officials are working to protect elephants, but how effective are these measures?Read More »
For many people, the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak was the first time they had heard of Ebola virus disease. It was not the first outbreak of the disease, but it was the largest, with approximately 28,500 suspected cases. Now, in 2016, the epidemic has ended1. However, it is only a matter of time before Ebola emerges again. If a vaccine were to be developed and widely distributed before the next outbreak, it could save many lives.
Even in a time with modern medicine and advanced research techniques, cancer is a killer. In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, and one of every four deaths is due to cancer1. Cancer becomes even deadlier when it spreads from its origin to other sites in the body. This is called metastasis. Cancer can metastasize to many different organs, but the lungs are one of the most common metastatic sites2. The full reasons for this are unknown, but a new study has identified one factor that contributes to the prevalence of lung metastases.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects millions of Americans and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. COPD is not a single disease, but rather a group of diseases that make it difficult to breathe. This includes diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and occasionally, asthma. COPD can be caused by a variety of factors, but the biggest factor in its development is tobacco smoke1. Symptoms of COPD worsen over time and include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing with profuse mucus2.
Zika virus has been known since 1947, but it was only with its spread to the Americas that it was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO)1. As Zika virus spread throughout South and Latin America, cases of babies born with microcephaly, where the head is smaller than normal, dramatically increased. Cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome increased as well2.
The 2014 – 2016 Ebola outbreak was the largest in history. It began with a few cases in Guinea, but quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, with some limited cases occurring in other countries. The outbreak grew so serious that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a public health emergency of international concern1. However, even with international assistance, the disease was hard to combat. Preventing the spread of Ebola virus disease was difficult due to the lack of vaccines and the ease of transmission of the virus2. Treating it was no easier. At the start of the outbreak, there were no approved treatments for Ebola virus disease3. As the crisis continued, some treatments were developed, but they still needed to be tested for safety and efficacy.