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Manuscripts for 2024 Spring and 2023 Fall

Electric Vehicle Adoption Deterrents: A Survey Analysis of High-Income Suburban Individuals on Key Concerns Impacting Electric Vehicle Purchase Decisions

Published in February 2024

Vidith Iyer

West Windsor Plainsboro High School South

vol 2024(2) 86 - 94

The general population has many concerns about Electric Vehicles (EVs), but the concerns are significantly different for various income groups. This paper analyzes the concerns of a specific income group about purchasing a battery-powered electric vehicle. While previous studies have investigated people’s concerns regardless of income, this study offers novel findings on high-income suburban individuals’ sentiment. A 10-question google forms survey was sent out to collect data on EV perception. Based on the results, a T-test was used to see the differences in concern ratings between high-income EV owners and high-income non-owners along with differences in concern ratings in two different suburbs (West Windsor and Plainsboro, NJ, and Frisco, Texas). Interestingly, it suggests that the differences in ratings for apprehensions related to charging and battery efficiency are statistically significant(higher) for EV non-owners compared to owners. In addition, findings also suggest that Initial Cost is a concern for non-owners, but its rating is very similar to that of owners, suggesting that it isn’t the primary reason for non-purchase of an EV. The conclusions of this study can facilitate further research in areas focused on educational and awareness building campaigns to address the key concerns regarding EV adoption along with future studies on EV perception.

The Effects of High Protien and High Unsaturated Fat Diets
on the Effects of Left-Ventricular Hypertrophy

Published in February 2024

Jaashvi Chandagari

Academies of Loudoun

vol 2024(2) 80 - 85

Studies indicate that high protein consumption increases risk of cardiovascular disease, while high saturated fat consumption reduces risk. The effects of these diets on left-ventricular hypertrophy remain unknown. This study examined the effects of high protein and high saturated fat diets on left-ventricular hypertrophy in C. elegans. Two experimental groups mutated with left-ventricular hypertrophy (JM311 strain) were fed either high protein or high saturated fat diets, while two control groups of JM311 worms and N2 wildtype worms were fed OP50 diets. It was hypothesized that worms fed high fat diets would have less severe left-ventricular hypertrophy than the worms fed high protein diets. Egg viability assay results showed lower egg counts in JM311 control strains (16.33±0.31 eggs) compared to control N2 worms (34.67±0.92 eggs). The high saturated fat diet groups had higher egg counts (32.33±0.28 eggs) than high protein diet groups (26±0.36 eggs). The number of eggs laid by the high saturated fat worms was significantly higher than those of the high protein worms (p=0.03826). The number of eggs laid by both high saturated fats (p=0.65) and the high protein worms (p=0.1642) did not significantly differ from the N2 wildtype group suggesting that high saturated fat and high protein diets can enhance recovery rates in left-ventricular hypertrophy patients, with high saturated fat diets having a more significant effect on recovery rates. These results provide insights on potentially beneficial dietary approaches to clinicians treating patients with left-ventricular hypertrophy.

Minowe: Speaking Well through the Ages -
A Journey of Language Suppression and Revitalization

Published in February 2024

Cavin Lee

Winchester Thurston High School

vol 2024(2) 72 - 79

In this essay, we traversed the journey of Native American languages from the boarding school era to the present day. We delved into the strategies employed by the U.S. government to steal indigenous voices, the tragic and on-going impact of these policies, and resilience and creativity that has gone into linguistic revival. Looking at the state of indigenous languages today, we explored the varying ways that indigenous communities have endeavored to revive their languages and found cause for hope. Specifically, we looked to the case of the Ojibwe Nation as a model of exemplary language revitalization and examined that its combinations of institution-based support, innovative use of technology, and grassroots movements can serve as a template for further revitalization efforts.

Parasocial Relationships and Social Media

Published in February 2024

Vaidehi Pundeer

Livingston High School

vol 2024(2) 64 - 71

Since recent years have brought popularity to new media platforms, this paper aimed to explore its impact on Parasocial Relationships. Thus, as the ease with which adolescents can access these platforms today influences their likeliness to form parasocial relationships, the research question was asked: To what extent do parasocial relationships grow due to heightened Twitch, TikTok, and Twitter usage? To answer the question, a qualitative data collection method of surveys was utilized. It was concluded that increased social media usage causes the proliferation of parasocial relationships as adolescents increased social media use establishes a sense of intimacy between themselves and media personalities. These platforms allow celebrities to present a candid, “behind-the-scenes” view of their daily life, which provides viewers with the ultimate intimate details of their existence which reinforces the emotional connections and illusions created and then fostered by a parasocial relationship.

Takashi Murakami: Art on the Cutting Edge of Pop Art, Traditional Japanese Landscape and History Painting, Comic Art, and Graphic Design

Published in February 2024

Ellen Kim

Henry M. Gunn High School

vol 2024(2) 56 - 63

Takashi Murakami fundamentally influenced contemporary Japanese art, creating a new art movement called Superflat. This paper explores his artworks through art historical methods of formal analysis to highlight how Murakami not only “infiltrate[d] the manga and anime fan communities with his art, he also managed to throw popular culture into the realms of fine art.” .This assertion is supported by a visual analysis of three Murakami artworks: My Lonesome Cowboy (Sculpture made of oil, acrylic, fiberglass and iron, 100” x 46” x 36”, 1998), Mr. Rainbow Dob (Offset lithograph, 26.8” x 26.8”, 2006) and Superflat my first love flowers (Archival pigment print, 29.5” x 29.5”, 2020). These artworks showcased the incorporation of traditional Nihonga aesthetics for which Murakami is formally trained into which he blends popular culture elements like manga and anime, creating the SuperFlat art form and new Japanese identity through mass merchandizing. The paper concludes that Murakami was a driving force of Japanese contemporary art and identity while providing suggestions for further research.

Inhibition of the p53 Oncogene by Extracted Curcumin
through Zebrafish Embryonic Models of Cancer

Published in January 2024

Sudithi Manthati

Fremont High School

vol 2024(1) 50 - 55

As cancer cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body, partly due to the mutation of the p53 proto- oncogene. The mutated p53 proto-oncogene, also known as the p53 oncogene, can no longer regulate cell cycles, allowing for cells with damaged DNA to proliferate. The p53 oncogene can be inhibited by different extracted concentrations of curcumin on zebrafish embryonic models of cancer, as observed through mutations in developing embryos. Zebrafish embryos are an excellent in-vivo modeling tool because 84 percent of the genes known to be associated with human diseases have a zebrafish counterpart. Zebrafish are useful to understand the dynamics of early- stage cancers, especially since they overexpress the p53 oncogene; when this is suppressed, gross mutations of the embryo result. Data for each concentration of curcumin was graded 72 hours post fertilization (hpf) by the severity of several phenotypes (bent or hook-like tails, spinal column curving, sac mutation (reabsorption), shorter body length, or no mutations). Results of the experiment showed that increased concentrations of curcumin, which acts as an anticancer agent, led to more severe mutations, indicating a higher absorbance of curcumin by cancer cells, thus suppressing the overexpressed p53 oncogene.

Exploring the Antibacterial Potential and Phytochemical Composition of
Five Indigenous Indian Medicinal Plants: Effective Strategies
Against Multi-Drug Resistant and ESKAPE Pathogens

Published in January 2024

Simran Kaur Dang

The Shri Ram School

vol 2024(1) 38 - 49

This paper presents the findings of a secondary research study conducted to investigate the antibacterial potential and phytochemical composition of four indigenous Indian medicinal plants, namely Salvadora persica (Miswak), Caesalpinia pulcherrima (Peacock flower), Thymus vulgaris (Thyme), and Saussurea lappa (Kuth). The study aimed to explore the efficacy of these plants against multi-drug resistant and ESKAPE pathogens, which pose a significant threat to public health. A comprehensive review of scientific literature was conducted to gather relevant information on the antimicrobial properties and phytochemical constituents of the selected plants. The antibacterial activity of the plant extracts was evaluated against a panel of multi-drug resistant bacteria and ESKAPE pathogens, including Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species. The results revealed that all four medicinal plants exhibited notable antibacterial activity against the tested pathogens. Salvadora persica demonstrated potent activity against Enterococcus faecium and Staphylococcus aureus, while Caesalpinia pulcherrima displayed significant activity against Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii. Thymus vulgaris exhibited broad-spectrum activity against multiple pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species. Saussurea lappa also demonstrated promising antibacterial effects against various ESKAPE pathogens. Furthermore, the phytochemical analysis of the plant extracts revealed the presence of several bioactive compounds, such as alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and terpenoids, which are known for their antimicrobial properties. These compounds likely contribute to the observed antibacterial activity of medicinal plants.

Development of Environmental Justice Index for Water Quality
in NY State Using Trihalomethanes

Published in January 2024

Stephanie Lee

Horace Mann School

vol 2024(1) 31 - 37

Trihalomethanes (THMs), which are likely to cause cancer in humans, are frequently detected as disinfection by-products (DBPs) in public water systems (PWS). A recent study revealed that regions with higher incomes typically had lower THM levels in New York State, potentially suggesting a socioeconomic disparity concerning the quality of drinking water. Expanding on this crucial discovery, our research sought to lead the development of an Environmental Justice (EJ) Index for evaluating drinking water quality, using THM concentrations as the primary metric. Our hypothesis centers on utilizing THM concentration as an environmental indicator to address issues of environmental justice, given the health risks associated with THMs and their susceptibility to socio-economic and environmental factors in communities. The step-by-step creation and practical application of an EJ Index for THMs has been demonstrated, highlighting the suitability of THMs as an EJ indicator. Through this comprehensive approach, our research aimed to initiate the inclusion of a water-quality related EJ index in the current U.S. EPA’s thirteen EJ indexes which lack adequate representation of water quality in communities.

Increasing the Accuracy of Early Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis
with Slow Saccadic Intrusions

Published in January 2024

Myungha Kim

Dalian American International School

vol 2024(1) 26 - 30

Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder that causes uncontrollable movements in the body, including tremors and impaired balance. As of today, there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease. While there are treatments such as Levodopa that can be used to slow the progression of the disease and control certain symptoms, it may not always be effective. Therefore, early detection of the disease is crucial. However, as the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease heavily relies on subjective physician judgment and rarely on clinical tests, detecting Parkinson’s Disease at an early stage is often challenging, inaccurate, and inconclusive. One possible way to detect Parkinson’s Disease both early and accurately is through the detection of abnormal saccadic intrusions – in this case, slow saccades. This study used Dai and colleagues’ algorithm based on the implicit piecewise polynomial approximation model, which includes the nonlinear denoising step and basic velocity-threshold step that helps detect slow saccades with high precision, to prove how it could be used to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease early.

Correlation Analysis: How Over-consumed Ingredients Influence
Carcinogenesis in Asian Populations

Published in January 2024

Aarthi Raghavan, Azhahini Krishnamoorthy, Nihithasri Anepally

American High School

vol 2024(1) 18 - 25

The human immune system consists of a complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and substances that help the body protect itself from infectious diseases. Simultaneously, the immune system cells can recognize and remove damaged or abnormal cells with the potential to become cancerous. Early Greek physicians discovered that maintaining a healthy immune system is crucial to survival and unhealthy food consumption can undernourish the immune system and cause a state of failure. In a weakened state, the body can be infiltrated by several harmful pathogens. Specifically, Asian populations in  Mongolia, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Japan have higher rates of liver, oral, nasopharyngeal, and stomach cancer cases, which all stem from the body’s digestive system. These cancers can form when a balanced diet is disrupted. Commonly eaten foods in these countries have been proven to impair the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells. More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between per capita food consumption of commonly consumed foods and cancer rates, and understanding this relationship could allow these populations to avoid overconsumption of harmful ingredients. This research paper examines the correlation between the most consumed foods in these specific countries and the respective high prevalence of cancer. The findings are promising and can be used to spread awareness on this issue in hopes that preventative action is taken to have populations reduce their consumption of such foods.  

California Affordable Housing Policies Fail in Wealthy Towns:
A Case Study of The CityWalk Project

Published in January 2024

Aria Capelli

The Athenian School

vol 2024(1) 1 - 17

To remedy its lack of affordable housing, the state of California has passed legislation aimed at implementing fair housing principles, including rules that require the creation of low-income housing in cities throughout the state. In San Ramon, a new development plan has been approved which will create thousands of housing units, retail developments, parks, a new hotel, and parking amenities. Called CityWalk, the new development projects a vision of a “walkable city,” one in which people can live and work in the same district, never having to commute by car again. The reality, however, is that San Ramon’s housing prices are likely inaccessible for the workers that CityWalk is hoping to attract -- the retail salespeople, restaurant cooks and servers, hotel maids and janitors, among other low-wage employees, who might actually work in the immediate vicinity. Several methods were used to determine whether or not CityWalk will meet the needs of the workers who need housing, gauge the level and possible ramifications of community and stakeholder input into the project, and shed light on the broader question of whether affordability thresholds based on relatively high percentages of area median income make sense in the context of highly polarized, post-industrial economies. American Community Survey data from 2020 was analyzed to profile the incomes, existing housing characteristics, and commute times of both the current residents of San Ramon and the workers who currently commute to the area. That data was juxtaposed with economic data from the state of California describing the median wages in the area for people holding the jobs CityWalk hopes to create. Finally, meeting minutes from San Ramon’s planning meetings were analyzed to measure the degree of stakeholder involvement in the planning process. Approximately 0% of the San Ramon workers eligible for the affordable housing units at all three levels could afford those units when affordability was defined according to the federal definition of ‘rent burden’ (no more than 30% of income spent on rent). Opening the aperture to include workers who might improve their rent burden (by paying less than the Bay area average of 44% of income on rent) while still devoting high proportions of their income to rent still yielded very small slices of the worker population who might benefit: approximately 12%, 16%, and 14% of the work force, depending on the affordability level. Examination of the 351 relevant meetings held by San Ramon from 2019 through 2022 yielded only 44 mentions of the CityWalk project, for an average of one mention every eight meetings. Throughout the process, no more than 103 citizens participated, or less than one person, on average, every three meetings. This study concludes that the affordable housing allocation in the CityWalk project will serve neither the workers who will staff the central business district nor the current residents of San Ramon, a pattern likely to limit the utility of California’s affordable housing rules in any wealthy enclave. Furthermore, San Ramon’s planning process did not successfully gather input from either city residents or commuters the city sought to target. This research accordingly suggests policy makers and citizens alike may need to think deeper about both the execution and impacts of affordable housing in wealthy California towns.

The Role of Epithelial Markers in Breast Cancer Metastasis:
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published in December 2023

Mihaela Tzvetkova

American College of Sofia

vol 2023(2) 353 - 371

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition is believed to be a fundamental component of cancer metastasis. Hence, epithelial markers have emerged as potential therapeutic targets and diagnostic markers of metastatic cancers, leading to their significance in cancer research. In this review, studies on 15 different markers were identified to elucidate further the role of epithelial markers in breast cancer metastasis. Based on the studies, the respective role of the epithelial markers in metastatic breast cancer was derived. The cellular mechanisms guiding the markers' behavior were investigated by identifying and describing their associated miRNAs. The studies of 5 epithelial markers that had identified cellular mechanisms affecting breast cancer metastasis were screened for undergoing meta-analysis. Twenty-one studies in total had sufficient data to undergo meta-analysis. Based on the content of the studies and the conducted meta-analysis, the results' limitations, strengths, and implications were discussed in detail. Although, due to the limited amount of studies, definite conclusions cannot be made, the meta-analysis revealed novel inferences and confirmed inferences made by other researchers on the role of the specific epithelial marker in metastatic breast cancer. Additionally, the study provides insight into significant gaps in the field and urges greater exploration of the topic.

Investigate the Link Between the hMLH1 Gene and Microsatellite Instability (MSI)
in Colorectal Carcinoma (CRC)

Published in December 2023

Sareena Garg

Notre Dame High School

vol 2023(2) 347 - 352

Colorectal carcinoma is one of the most common cancers in the world, with the primary causal factor being genomic instability. Microsatellite Instability is an indicator of an increased tendency of genome alterations which may be caused by defective mismatch repair pathway. hMLH1, is a critical mismatch repair pathways gene known to be mutated in Colorectal Carcinoma. Aim of the study was to better understand the relationship between hMLH1 and Microsatellite Instability in Colorectal Carcinoma using publicly available datasets. An in silco study was performed using a dataset retrieved from cBioportal and the Cancer genome atlas. The results demonstrated that low hMLH1 expression had significantly higher MSI as expected. However, it interestingly showed an inverse association between hMLH1 and fraction of genome alterations. This possibly highlights the complexity of the link between hMLH1 and Microsatellite Instability.

Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on the Long-Range Transport of Smoke
from the Canada Wildfire Event of June 2023

Published in December 2023

Rachel Kim

Bergen County Academies

vol 2023(2) 337 - 346

In the wake of the 2023 Canada Wildfires, this research analyzes the impact global warming had on intensifying the environmental effects of wildfires, focusing in on the Canada Wildfire Smoke Event. Using climate modeling techniques, this study explored the long-range transport and aerosolization of particulate matter, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Emphasis was placed on regions with the highest PM2.5 values such as Queens College, with the investigation further extending to other cities across New York City, spanning a 32-mile radius. It was discovered that PM2.5 values in New York surged to 132.23 µg/m3, marking a significant increase compared to New York City’s normal PM2.5 value of 7.88 µg/m3. Across all seven sites in NYC, the net contribution of the wildfire varied between 109 µg/m3 and 196 µg/m3. Back-trajectory analysis over a 48-hour period and dispersion analysis with and without the deposition scheme revealed that the 2023 Canada Wildfire Smoke Event significantly compromised air quality in areas like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Our backward dispersion modeling indicated that the influence of global warming during the Canada wildfire event has elevated NYC's air quality to levels that are up to 89 times higher than what might have been anticipated without such global warming influences. This observation aligns with the conclusion that rising temperatures, due to global warming, dry out the atmosphere by depleting vital moisture and relative humidity at semi-arid regions. Such conditions hinder crucial processes like coagulation and deposition, and because there is reduced atmospheric moisture, there are fewer moisture particles for smoke to attach to or interact with, meaning that it can travel longer distances without significant deposition. This research underscores the exacerbated effects of wildfires on air quality under the influence of global warming and the results accentuates the urgent need for proactive environmental strategies that address these temperature-induced atmospheric changes, along with the integration of these insights into climate models for effective global climate and air quality management.

Impact of Technology on Education

Published in December 2023

Yeondoo Lee

Henry M. Gunn High School

vol 2023(2) 328 - 336

In the wake of the 2023 Canada Wildfires, this research analyzes the impact global warming had on intensifying the environmental effects of wildfires, focusing in on the Canada Wildfire Smoke Event. Using climate modeling techniques, this study explored the long-range transport and aerosolization of particulate matter, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Emphasis was placed on regions with the highest PM2.5 values such as Queens College, with the investigation further extending to other cities across New York City, spanning a 32-mile radius. It was discovered that PM2.5 values in New York surged to 132.23 µg/m3, marking a significant increase compared to New York City’s normal PM2.5 value of 7.88 µg/m3. Across all seven sites in NYC, the net contribution of the wildfire varied between 109 µg/m3 and 196 µg/m3. Back-trajectory analysis over a 48-hour period and dispersion analysis with and without the deposition scheme revealed that the 2023 Canada Wildfire Smoke Event significantly compromised air quality in areas like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Our backward dispersion modeling indicated that the influence of global warming during the Canada wildfire event has elevated NYC's air quality to levels that are up to 89 times higher than what might have been anticipated without such global warming influences. This observation aligns with the conclusion that rising temperatures, due to global warming, dry out the atmosphere by depleting vital moisture and relative humidity at semi-arid regions. Such conditions hinder crucial processes like coagulation and deposition, and because there is reduced atmospheric moisture, there are fewer moisture particles for smoke to attach to or interact with, meaning that it can travel longer distances without significant deposition. This research underscores the exacerbated effects of wildfires on air quality under the influence of global warming and the results accentuates the urgent need for proactive environmental strategies that address these temperature-induced atmospheric changes, along with the integration of these insights into climate models for effective global climate and air quality management.

Predicting Breast Cancer Diagnoses using Supervised Classification Models

Published in December 2023

Kyle Wang

Radnor High School

vol 2023(2) 318 - 327

Machine learning has many applications in the healthcare industry with the potential to save lives, one of which is detecting and diagnosing diseases based on images or predicting the likelihood of breast cancer given gene expression data. As a result, researchers have considered using machine learning techniques for faster diagnoses, which is critical for diseases like cancer when early detection can lead to a better prognosis. This study utilized the impact of supervised classification models, RNA-seq data from control patients and breast cancer patients. Gene expression read counts were subsequently normalized during the exploratory data analysis phase and split into training and testing data to create models that would help doctors draw conclusions about the presence of breast cancer. The study then introduced a separate validation set, to which the model could be used to predict a diagnosis. The paper explored various techniques to improve accuracy, such as reducing the number of significant genes used, altering the hyperparameters of each model, and normalizing data with a zero-inflated negative binomial distribution. The research yielded results with a maximum accuracy of 90.1% was obtained with both logistic regression models, and their performances were further analyzed using sklearn (Python machine learning tool) metrics. The models also discovered that patients with the gene markers ENSG00000201908, ENSG00000216184, and ENSG00000221326 exhibited the greatest variation in gene counts between breast cancer patients and control patients, which could be worth exploring in future studies.

Mental Health and Physical Activity in Adolescents:
Analysis of 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Study Data

Published in December 2023

Nathaniel Choi

Marriotts Ridge High School

vol 2023(2) 312 - 317

The latest 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data were analyzed to explore association between mental health and physical activity. Through analyzing YRBS data, females were more likely to be impacted by mental health during Covid than males. Baseline statistics were carried out and used chi- square to test for differences. Race and sex were controlled for in the study and odds ratios were calculated for subgroups. Twenty-nine percent of youth reported mental health was most of the time or always not good. Highest reports of poor mental health were reported among American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Ninth graders were less likely to report poor mental health compared to 11th and 12th graders. The prevalence of poor mental health was 29.3 %. The results demonstrated an association between poor mental health and lack of physical. Thirty two percent of youth were overweight and obese. Controlling for race and gender, the statistically significant groups were who were found to have an association between reports of not being physically active and poor mental health were Black males and white females. In addition, white females, American Indian/Alaskan Native and Asian Females were at increased risk of reporting poor mental health during Covid pandemic among those who were not physically active for at least 60 minutes on at least 1 day. These findings point for the need for improved school–based services for mental health and the need for schools to provide mental health services or referral systems to community resources. These findings of association between mental health and physical activity were consistent with previous studies.

An Analysis of The Hyperloop's Feasibility as
a Cost Efficient Solution to Public Transportation

Published in November 2023

Aaron Chen

Oakton High School

vol 2023(2) 304 - 311

With growing concerns regarding the impact of car traffic on the environment and the poor quality of existing public transport infrastructure, especially in America, it is necessary to find a cost-efficient solution to the public transportation problem. This paper examined differences between existing public transport systems and the proposed Hyperloop to determine if the Hyperloop is feasible and effective when compared to existing methods.  Projections from multiple Hyperloop companies were compared against existing systems using data from various sources including the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's public records and studies conducted on cargo throughput for freight trains. A focus was placed on the three main aspects of throughput, speed, and cost per mile - comparing each transportation system with an average freeway lane as a baseline. To determine the efficiency of each system, each aspect was evaluated against the aforementioned baseline in order to provide an overall effectiveness for a transport method. Findings revealed that that if the Hyperloop meets expectations for twenty-foot equivalent unit throughput capacity, it may be a far faster method to transport cargo than freight trains, being able to move 2800 twenty-foot equivalent units per day, compared to the 1786 twenty-foot equivalent units per day moved by freight trains in Felixstowe and 1221 twenty-foot equivalent units per day in Southampton. As for passenger throughput, the proposed Hyperloop system may be less efficient than existing high speed rail systems, namely the California high speed rail system which it was intended to replace.

Transcriptomics of Cotton Lines with Contrasting Drought Stress Response

Published in November 2023

Shreyan Sai Kancharla

Enloe Magnet High School

vol 2023(2) 294 - 303

Abiotic stresses affect cotton growth, yield, and development accounting for ~50% of yield reduction around the world. Drought is one of the most important abiotic stresses, however the molecular mechanism and the genes involved in drought tolerance or sensitivity have yet to be completely understood. Cotton is most widely used in the textile industry and is a source of edible oil. For commercial applications, high-yielding cotton that is tolerant to drought stress is highly valuable, and understanding the molecular mechanism would unlock the path to creating higher-yielding cotton that is stress tolerant. Breeding drought-tolerant varieties also leads to sustainable cotton production. In this research, genes that are differentially expressed were identified between two drought-tolerant and two drought-sensitive lines. These results provide a deeper understanding of the genes that play a crucial role in regulation, adaptation to drought stress, and potential targets for molecular breeding. 

The Emergence of Cultural Pan-Asian Identity

Published in November 2023

Samantha J. Lee

Chino Hills High School

vol 2023(2) 286 - 293

This paper focused on the emergence of cultural or ethnicized pan-Asian identity. While politically based pan-Asian identity during the Asian American movement in the 1960s has been well documented, a cultural pan-Asian identity has newly emerged in the recent years as it hinges on the shared common culture among numerous Asian Americans, especially among second and later generations. The shift of the character of pan-Asian identity suggests that the identity of a racially minority group is bound by racializing ascriptions that a group boundary along racial lines continues to be viable.  

Closed Loop Wearable Device for Parkinson’s Tremor Monitor and Suppression

Published in November 2023

Aryan Ganesh

Christopher Verdes Peninsula High School

vol 2023(2) 280 - 285

Parkinson's disease does not have a permanent cure, medication is one of the primary methods used to manage tremors. However, the process of managing medication dosages can involve a lot of trial-and-error approaches, and tremors can still appear at different times of the day, requiring further dosage adjustments. Monitoring tremor patterns in Parkinson’s patients is very important for accurate dosage planning. In this study, a simple, compact, and affordable sensor based closed-loop wearable device was developed to monitor and control tremor for assisting Parkinson’s patients. The system detected tremors using an accelerometer and displays tremor data on a LED-display. This tremor data was read by a micro-controller prior and then preprocessed using moving average of the tremor intensity. The tremor count was then displayed on the LED-display and a dashboard using Adafruit cloud platform. The device was tested on a Parkinson’s patient to measure tremor parameters such as tremor acceleration and tremor count. The system was tested fifteen times on a Parkinson’s patient and was able to detect the tremors successfully every time it was tested. This system also includes a tremor suppression capability by applying a counterforce whenever the tremor count went past threshold count. In order to control the tremors, the threshold count is determined to be 27 counts. However, the repeatability of the amount of counterforce and tremor suppression needs to be improved.

A Review: Stem Cell Therapy for Neurological Disorders

Published in November 2023

Zishi Li

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

vol 2023(2) 272 - 279

The nervous system has limited self-regeneration ability, and many drugs used to treat neurological disorders often incur serious side-effects. Conventional treatment methods are often ineffective at targeting diversified pathologies of neurological diseases and breaching the blood-brain barrier. Consequently, stem cell therapy appears to be a viable option for treatment. Under right conditions, stem cells can be guided to differentiate into neurons and glial cells, providing vital regeneration of cells and tissues not possible with conventional treatment methods. Additionally, stem cell therapies are minimally invasive and less damaging to the patient’s body. Stem cell transplants have been shown overall to be supportive measures of treatment and delay progression of neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases. Currently, mesenchymal stem cell treatments are the most widely explored as mesenchymal stem cells are relatively easy to harvest and transplant. With additional research done on optimal administration routes and microenvironmental factors that affect the efficacy of engraftment, other types of stem cells could also become viable options of treatment clinically. Yet, many difficulties must be overcome in research before stem cell therapies become safe and effective treatments. Risks associated with stem cell treatments include teratoma, tumorigenesis, and inflammation. Most significantly, transplanted stem cells incompatible with the host body could trigger immunorejection, causing grafts to fail. The review assessed levels of success achieved in research and evaluate clinical trials done on stem cell treatments of neurodegenerative disorders, neuromuscular diseases, hemorrhages, spinal cord injuries, as well as other supportive roles stem cells play in treatment.

Adolescent Brain Development

Published in November 2023

Anika Kumar

Woodinville High School

vol 2023(2) 262 - 271

This paper reviews recent research on the factors that impact adolescent brain development. Numerous research studies have analyzed the biological and psychological changes that underlie this transitional period within the lifespan. Nevertheless, many remain at a level that can be difficult for the general public to understand, causing the public to associate adolescence with only danger and risk and not providing adolescents with the opportunity for exploration. Therefore, this literature review aims to compile research on the main factors that affect adolescent development in a comprehensible paper to provide a more accurate depiction of adolescence. This paper will begin with a discussion on adolescence and a background on the current adolescent research. The paper will then be divided into six sections describing the most extensively researched and critical factors influencing the adolescent brain. This includes the effects of puberty, emotional development, risk-taking, social environments, sleep, and learning and decision-making on the developing adolescent. Finally, this paper will conclude with key findings to broaden the understanding of adolescence beyond a time of ‘storm and stress’ to help shift the adolescent narrative and how society can best support them by giving adolescents the space to navigate through hardships and complete their goals as they define the future.

Effects of Financial Literacy on Well-being and
Financial Perception among High School Students

Published in November 2023

Justin Shin

Ames High School

vol 2023(2) 253 - 261

High school students face financial obligations and activities in today's financial environment. Understanding the determinants of financial perception and consumption attitudes is important for improving financial well-being among high school students. The commonly accepted relationship between financial literacy and financial well-being is often examined among the adult population but rarely examined among high school students. The study aimed to assess the magnitude of the influence of financial literacy on financial perception and consumption attitudes among high school students. In addition, the author also investigated the role of lifestyle depletion on financial perception and consumption attitudes to identify the magnitude of this influence. High school students in the U.S. were given an online survey with questions about financial literacy, lifestyle depletion, financial perception, and consumption attitudes. Data were analyzed using multiple regression tests. The findings indicate that teenagers with higher financial literacy perceive their financial situation more positively and are more likely to have saving-oriented consumption attitudes. On the other hand, teenagers with higher levels of lifestyle depletion perceive their financial situation more negatively and are more likely to endorse saving-oriented consumption attitudes. This study contributes to the literature by showing the differential roles of financial literacy and lifestyle depletion on financial perception and consumption attitudes. The discussion includes the importance of financial literacy education and the role of lifestyle depletion in the financial well-being of high school students.

Healthcare Workers Experiencing PTSD during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published in November 2023

Xinyue Gong

Northwood High School

vol 2023(2) 247 - 252

Under the pressure of the COVID- 19 pandemic, mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became more prevalent, especially among healthcare workers (HCW). This article examines the impacts of PTSD on HCWs during COVID- 19, analyzing the causes and risk factors, long term impacts, as well as existing coping methods. Specific stress factors from the pandemic include an increased workload and the fear of being infected. Other factors such as age and gender can also increase the risk of inflicting PTSD. Even though studies have reported that most PTSD symptoms persist for a lifetime, there are some helpful coping mechanisms already in use to help alleviate the symptoms. Through analyzing the causes, impacts, and coping methods of PTSD, it is probable that better treatments for this condition can be developed to help HCWs and many others who are struggling with similar situations.

An In Vitro Study on the Phytotoxic Effects of Glyphosate on Spinacia oleracea

Published in October 2023

Khaled Khraished

Asamiah International School

vol 2023(2) 235 - 246

Glyphosate is the most common non-selective herbicide to date. Evidence shows increasing glyphosate misuse and mishandling, prompting noticeable glyphosate residues on many non-targeted plants. This study investigates, in vitro, the phytotoxicity of 0.00 % (control), 0.05 %, 0.10 % and 0.20 % glyphosate v/v% concentrations on Spinacia oleracea’s photosynthetic rate (1/min) and total chlorophyll content (µg chlorophyll/g tissue) physico-chemical biomarkers. A large leaf tissue was subjected to each glyphosate concentration for 2.0 min, where 300 mg samples were taken pre- and post-glyphosate treatment for chlorophyll extraction and spectrophotometric quantification. Moreover, excess treated tissue were made down to 15 small identical disks for the indirect measurement of the photosynthetic rate via photosyn- thetic flotation technique. Our results indicate immediate adverse phytotoxic effects on both photosyn- thetic biomarkers. Short-term exposure to the lowest glyphosate concentration (0.05 %) had considerably decreased the photosynthetic rate from the control, reaching to the maximum of 71.4 % for the highest glyphosate concentration (0.20 %). Each glyphosate concentration resulted in a statistically significan (p < 0.01) lower total chlorophyll content than their initial values. All absolute total chlorophyll content percentage changes for all glyphosate concentrations were significantly different (p < 0.05) from the con- trol, yet 0.05 % and 0.10 % glyphosate concentrations’ results show no significance in their difference at α = 0.05. Observations revealed the possible 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase competitive inhibition and the decrease in magnesium ion bioavailability for chlorophyll biosynthesis, calling for more caution when handling this chemical.

Predicting Election Outcomes from Facial Images of Candidates
Using an Unbiased Machine Learning Model

Published in October 2023

Raymond Lin, Jadelyn Tran

Webber Academy

vol 2023(2) 226 - 234

In the past, studies on psychology have shown that humans can create instantaneous judgments of a stranger’s personality and characteristics, just based on a picture of their face. The most successful study reached a 72.4% accuracy in predicting election outcomes. There had been machine learning studies that tried to replicate this success, but some kind of human input and therefore bias were often present. This project aimed to create a bias-free and independent machine learning model that only uses the image of political candidates to predict their success. With no other information than a candidate’s face, the model achieved a 70.43% accuracy predicting election results. Not only did the different approaches in this experiment give a quantitative way to compare different types of human thinking, but it can also be used as a benchmark for future research that further investigates the relationship between facial traits, human judgments, and machine learning.

Recent Advancements of Cherenkov Radiation for Cancer Imaging and Treatment

Published in October 2023

Andrew Lee

Avon Old Farms School

vol 2023(2) 214 - 225

Since successful bioimaging in 2009, many studies have explored Cherenkov Radiation’s potential value in medical diagnostics and treatment. By highlighting major accomplishments to date, this review proposes that Cherenkov Radiation has strong potential to become a novel class of modality in cancer molecular imaging. The basic principles of Cherenkov Radiation are explained. Variable conditions such as threshold energy and refractive index of tissues are described in the context of cancer diagnostics. Cherenkov luminescence imaging and tomography are outlined, as well as the milestone clinical trials with respective strengths and weaknesses. Application of Cherenkov in radiation dosimetry is discussed. Current research in Cherenkov photodynamic therapy is introduced, with many studies implying better penetrance than conventional therapy. Finally, current limitations of Cherenkov Radiation, especially its inability to reach deeper anatomical structures are examined. Despite significant challenges to overcome, applications of Cherenkov Radiation are gaining momentum in the field of oncology.

Gradient-Based Neural Model Prediction Control
for Continuous-Time Control of Quadrotors

Published in October 2023

Joonyong Choi

Korea International School, Jeju Campus

vol 2023(2) 203 - 213

This research proposes a novel deep learning-based control model for quadrotors utilizing gradient-based neural model prediction. The primary objective of this research is to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of quadrotor motion prediction through optimization techniques related to deep neural networks. The proposed model in this research outperforms conventional approaches for quadrotor motion control regarding the accuracy of quadrotor trajectory prediction, which would eventually contribute to precise autonomous control of quadrotors prospected to be widely implemented in drone-related businesses and industries. The model especially becomes more accurate as it adjusts the system to reduce the deviations calculated from the cost function, which occurs during the process of quadrotor motion prediction. Using these techniques, the quadrotor’s trajectory and routes were accurately measured through multiple trials, driving the quadrotor to the predetermined destinations accurately with high precisions as well. Therefore, the developed model successfully fulfilled this research’s primary objective of developing a deep neural network-based deep learning model to accurately predict quadrotor trajectory for autonomous control. The results gained in this research are highly impactful in both academia and industries as they provide direct and significant benefits on the quadrotor motion development endeavors, aiding control system development and broadening the range for applications of quadrotors across various sectors of industries.

Presence of Phosphorus and its Effects on the Habitability of Exoplanets

Published in October 2023

Shreyan Deo

Delhi Public School

vol 2023(2) 194 - 202

Could phosphorus be the key to unlocking life beyond our planet? In this review paper, the various dimensions of phosphorus's significance in Exoplanetary habitability are comprehensively explored. Starting with fundamental concepts, including the definition of Exoplanets and the array of factors shaping their habitability, the paper proceeds to elucidate phosphorus's pivotal role in supporting potential life. Contemporary methods for estimating phosphorus content through parent star observations are examined, alongside an intricate analysis of the phosphorus cycle's interrelation with carbon and oxygen cycles. The discourse extends to the feasibility of sustaining a phosphorus cycle on Waterworlds devoid of extensive landmasses. The critical phosphorus compound, phosphine gas, is highlighted as a key biosignature gas, with detection techniques and limitations expounded upon. The review also briefly engages with the phosphine detection controversy in Venus's clouds and its potential implications. In conclusion, current limitations and future prospects for advancing phosphorus-related studies in extraterrestrial contexts are discussed, underscoring the pursuit's significance. Overall, this comprehensive review seeks to establish phosphorus as a potential indicator of Exoplanetary habitability.

Chemical Composition Analysis on Amethyst

Published in October 2023

Yinghan Zhang

Beijing No 2 Middle School, Tongzhou Campus

vol 2023(2) 189 - 193

Amethyst is one of the most popular ornaments in Chinese culture. Here, aiming at clarifying the component of amethyst, chemical analysis by energy dispersive X-ray spectrum and powder X-ray diffraction, combined with Raman and infrared absorption spectrum, was carried out. Energy dispersive X-ray spectrum suggested that its dominant elements is silicon and oxygen in the atomic concentration ratio of 18.98:43.01, with tiny iron, cobalt or manganese in the mass percentage less than 1%. Further, X-ray diffraction demonstrated that its main phase is crystalline quartz, with the transition metals embedded in the crystal lattice, and the conclusion of which was also confirmed by lattice dynamics analysis based on Raman and infrared absorption spectra. Through our study, the component of amethyst was clarified.

The Impact of Climate Change on Animal Behavior:
The Arctic Marine and Northeast Pacific Ecosystems

Published in October 2023

Cecilia Yang

The Harker School

vol 2023(2) 178 - 188

Climate change affects ecosystems worldwide and the entire biosphere. Although the effects of climate change have been extensively studied, comparisons of its effects on animal behavior across ecosystems are lacking. To narrow this gap, this review compared the changing behavior of marine mammals in the Northeast Pacific ecosystem to that in the Arctic marine ecosystem. This review highlighted the similarities and differences in the migration, predation, distribution, and reproductive behavior of selected animals in response to climate change. This review focused on marine mammal species central to each ecosystem: sea otters, seals, dolphins, orcas, and whales in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean and polar bears, seals, whales, orcas, and walruses in the Arctic. By comparing the Northeastern Pacific ecosystem and the Arctic marine ecosystem, researchers can gain an in-depth understanding of the changes in animal behavior due to climate change across wide geographies and suggest a new method of observing the impact of climate change globally to enable more accurate ecosystem predictions.

The Influence of Food Allergies on Health-Related Quality of Life

Published in October 2023

Isabel Louie

Sacred Heart Academy

vol 2023(2) 166 - 177

Since the 1990s, the prevalence of food allergies has grown. Individuals with food allergies must prepare for potentially life-threatening allergic reactions. Previous research has shown that food allergies contribute to increased anxiety because of avoidance of allergens, ultimately contributing to the health-related quality of life of both the patient with the allergy and the parents of a child with a food allergy. It is necessary to investigate the impact of health-related quality of life with an inclusive demographic of participants, a component past studies lack, to better create food allergy management strategies. The influence of food allergies on health-related quality of life was closely examined through the distribution of three surveys: a general health-related quality of life questionnaire based on a number of reported unhealthy days, and a food allergy-specific health-related quality of life adolescent and parental burden questionnaire. 113 adolescents and 274 parents completed these surveys after providing informed consent. Adolescents with a food allergy had fewer overall unhealthy days than non-allergic adolescents, but reported a greater number of unhealthy mental and physical health days. Adolescents with long- term health impairments reported a greater number of overall unhealthy days than adolescents with food allergies. Parents of a child with a food allergy reported experiencing a larger quantity of overall and physically unhealthy days than parents of a child without a food allergy, though no significant conclusion could be drawn regarding the connection between the parental burden associated with food allergies to health-related quality of life.

A Comparative Study on the Regulation of Inflammation by Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide and Exocarpium Citri Grandis

Published in October 2023

Runmei Li

Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University

vol 2023(2) 161 - 165

Inhibition of inflammation has important clinical value, and the present study was proposed to compare the effects of Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide (LBP) with those of Exocarpium Citri Grandis (ECG) in the regulation of inflammation. In this study, bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was used to induce the production of inflammatory factors by macrophage cell line MSC-2 cells to construct a cell model of inflammation. LBP and ECG extracts were used to act on this inflammatory cell model, and qPCR was used to detect the changes of inflammatory factors IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-6. The results showed that LBP down-regulated IFN-γ and IL-6, while TNF-α increased in the inflammatory cell model; the extract of ECG down-regulated all the above three cytokines. In regulating the secretion of inflammatory factors, ECG may be more advantageous, while LBP is recommended to be used with caution for inflammatory diseases in the presence of high TNF-α level.

How the Financial Status of a Person can Affect Their Ability to Take Unpaid Maternity Leave and as a Result, Lead to Gender, Health, and Financial Inequalities.

Published in October 2023

Sanam Mehta

Syosset High School

vol 2023(2) 154 - 160

Introduction: Maternity leave allows a mother and child to bond while healing emotionally and physically from childbirth. In the United States, however, not all employers have a paid maternity leave policy, and women often shorten their leave after childbirth for fear of losing their job. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a US federal policy created with the aim to allow women to take maternity leave while securing their employment when they return. However, this is taken as unpaid leave. Additionally, access to FMLA unpaid leave is not universally available. Two case studies of mothers describing their difficulties with FMLA while recovering from childbirth were analyzed for themes and commonalities to help identify factors that may result in inequities across race, financial status, health and employment in a qualitative study. The case studies are examples that can be applied to many in the US. Financial status and job insecurity made taking unpaid maternity leave more difficult, and what influenced the amount of time spent on unpaid leave were found. Paid maternity leave is not always available for women, and they sometimes have to accept unpaid maternity leave via FMLA. This leads to inequities and additional financial, emotional and health burdens.

Crack and Powder Cocaine: Exploring Disparities in
Cocaine-Related Laws and Their Enforcement

Published in October 2023

Alexandra Vassilev

Westford Academy

vol 2023(2) 146 - 153

The widespread use of cocaine in the US in the 1980s and the subsequent War on Drugs brought about many long-lasting effects on racial disparities in the justice system. An uneven sentencing ratio between the two forms of a widely used drug, crack and powder cocaine, was set by politicians to prevent further usage, but it appears that for decades Black users were put at an unfair disadvantage in the legal and law enforcement systems. While this extreme ratio has been brought down in recent years, the law still holds that users who possess crack cocaine are punished more severely. This paper draws on Donald Black’s theory of law to try to offer an explanation of this disparity. The paper argues that Black’s theory provides a useful framework for highlighting how social inequalities shape the legal and law enforcement systems and are then also reflected in the ongoing bias which affects the levels of punishment of different social groups. Specifically, the paper argues that a combination of factors related to inequalities of not just race but also socio-economic status needs to be considered in explaining, and trying to find solutions, to the persistent disparities in how the use of crack and powder cocaine is coded in law and how the law is enforced.

Traffic Sign Detection and Recognition with Deep Learning, CNNs, YOLOv3, and Keras

Published in September 2023

Aniket Gupta

Silver Creek High School

vol 2023(2) 137 - 145

The growing industry of transportation being integrated with Artificial Intelligence has contributed to applications regarding driving assistance and autopilot software. With this application being relatively new, more research still needs to be done to improve these algorithms' recognition/classification of traffic signs. In order to improve modern driving softwares, I proposed designs for a basis for an object detection model and a functioning neural network classification model to be used as an end-to-end solution. The object detection model serves as a locator of a traffic sign in an image to be inputted into the classification model to determine the identity of the sign. The detection model was designed using Keras and YoloV3. During the development phase for the classification model, I used a previously made model as a basis and used image processing techniques of deep learning, OpenCV, and the multi-layers of convolutional neural networks to modify it. Subsequently, I used the German Traffic Sign Recognition Benchmark (GTSRB) for training which contains over 50,000 images of German traffic signs for training and validation. The classification model resulted in 99.71% training accuracy and 98.7% - 99.21% validation accuracy. Furthering, this study discussed each of the convolutional layers used for the classification model and how it was changed from the original model.

Statistical Evaluation of the Correlations between Socioeconomic Factors and
the Amount of Trihalomethane in Drinking Water in the State of NY

Published in September 2023

Stephanie Lee

Horace Mann Upper School

vol 2023(2) 131 - 136

Trihalomethanes are common byproducts of disinfection processes in public water systems. The relationships between the total amount of trihalomethanes in public water systems in New York and the corresponding socioeconomic variables were studied. A significant amount of chemical and demographic information representing 81% of the NY state population, was obtained from the NY State Department of Health, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Census Bureau. Statistical tools such as Pearson Coefficients with P-values, Grubbs test, and Mean Comparison using Student's t-test were adopted to evaluate the correlations of total trihalomethanes concentration and various socioeconomic factors. Data analysis found negative correlations between the total amount of trihalomethanes and socioeconomic factors, such as mean household income, Asian percentage, and Hispanic percentage. In addition, the water source and the size of the public water system are considered critical factors. The lowest concentrations of total trihalomethanes were detected in communities served by groundwater with higher median household income and higher Asian populations.

Breakthroughs in Honey Bee Health:
Local Summer Weather Humidity Conditions Influence Winter Colony Survival (Part III)

Published in September 2023

Kaitlyn N. Culbert

Toms River High School

vol 2023(2) 122 - 130

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are a vital species in our ecosystem. They pollinate 73% of the world’s cultivated crops and have an economic impact of $20 billion in the United States and $183 billion dollars globally. Unfortunately, in 2006, beekeepers reported colony losses of 60-90%. Commercial beehives in the US have decreased over 50% in the last 70 years. The greatest single contributor to the decline of honey bee health is the Varroa destructor mite. Currently, all commercially available thymol-centered systems are gel-based and work by direct contact with the mite. These systems are also highly dependent on temperature and humidity for effectiveness. An earlier laboratory investigation (Part I) and field study (Part II) examined the use of thymol-based essential oil for miticide efficacy and the effective use of mist diffusers to eliminate the dependence of the essential oils on temperature and humidity conditions. Recognizing the significance and impact of hive humidity to Varroa mite survival and honey bee Varroa mortality, a linear regression model analysis was developed to investigate the significance of weather-related variables, particularly temperature and humidity, to colony loss. Weather data was collected from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centers for Environmental Information. Percent colony loss data was provided by the Bee Informed Partnership from 2009-2021 for the state of New Jersey. To date, this research represents the first and only available study examining local weather-related humidity variables to colony losses. The summer humidity-related weather variables of relative humidity, dewpoint, vapor pressure deficit, and temperature were found to be statistically significant to the percent of winter colony losses.

Enhancing American Football Analytics:
Classifying Play Videos as Run or Pass using Deep Learning

Published in September 2023

Kyle Zhou

Sunset High School

vol 2023(2) 115 - 121

High school football coaches often rely on reviewing past season game footage to develop winning strategies. Identifying recurring patterns in the opposing team's offensive plays through video analysis helps coaches plan effective defensive tactics. However, accurately classifying play types from video clips using automated methods remains challenging and obtaining a sizable dataset of labeled plays for training models is difficult. This paper proposes a machine learning-based approach that utilizes the MoViNets model for action recognition. To overcome the challenge of limited labeled video clips, this paper utilized transfer learning to fine-tune MoViNets models that are pre-trained using a large dataset Kinetics-600. Extensive experiments were conducted to determine the optimal sampling scheme for the videos and compared the performance of two variants of MoViNets, the smaller A0 model and the scaled-up A3 model. The results show that using 24 frames sampled at 2 frames per second yields the best classification performance, and the A3 model achieves 81% accuracy on the test dataset, outperforming the A0 model's 74%. Ongoing data collection is expected to further improve the model's accuracy, potentially enabling automated play type classification.

Evaluating the Effect of Potential Career-Altering Injuries on NBA Athletes

Published in September 2023

Derek Gao

Lexington High School

vol 2023(2) 106 - 114

This project aimed to evaluate the effect of three major injuries on the post-recovery performance of athletes in the National Basketball Association (NBA): anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, Achilles tendon tears, and meniscus tears. All three are crucial in stabilizing the body during strenuous movements, such as pivoting, jumping, or accelerating. Recovery from these injuries takes many months and can change an athlete's career trajectory. A dataset with every NBA player who has suffered one of the three named injuries in the past twelve seasons was curated (n=113), with information about each player's overall impact on the court before and after injury and some characteristics that may determine post-injury performance. The data was run through various data analysis models, including multiple regression and decision tree classification. This study was the first to use newer statistical metrics such as LEBRON to evaluate player performances, as well as the first to combine the three injuries for direct comparison. The return rates for ACL, Achilles, and meniscus injuries were 85.7%, 96.3%, and 88.6%, respectively. Results indicated that age and average minutes per game pre-injury were the most important factors in determining a player’s post-recovery performance. Furthermore, Achilles injuries harmed offensive impact more than ACL or meniscus injuries. However, they were more likely the result of over-usage and, therefore, less likely to end a player’s career. Finally, those who previously suffered a similar injury performed significantly worse than those who did not.

Lyme Disease: A Grand Challenge

Published in September 2023

Roman Frankel

Score Academy Boca Raton

vol 2023(2) 96 - 105

Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis), first discovered in 1908, is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with around 476,000 new cases per year. As a global disease, the impact of Lyme disease is such that it should be thought of as one of the Grand Challenges in Global Health. Despite its pervasiveness, there are very few approved tests that are accurate in detecting it. Similarly, there are even fewer treatments for Lyme disease after it passes its initial stages. It is vital for the medical community and the general public to further educate themselves on the early symptoms of Lyme disease and the overall prevalence of vector-borne illnesses so that they can be treated before they suffer immense repercussions. Moreover, further research needs to be done into treatments, testing, and the impact of climate change on disease risk.

The Importance of Social Class and Gender in Identity

Published in August 2023

Maia Getz, Conrad Warner

Score Academy Boca Raton 

vol 2023(2) 91 - 95

Identity plays a predominant role in today’s society. According to the Oxford Dictionary, identity is “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.” Despite its rather simple definition, identity is extremely important in society because it drives political affiliation, school selection, occupational paths, and other important components of life. Social class and gender are two important aspects of identity. An individual’s social class is correlated with political views, finances, education, and opinions about minorities and immigrants. Divisions created by gender also influence identity. Historically, women have often been discriminated against because of society's views of gender roles. Although there are multiple examples of women being treated differently than men, this is particularly prevalent in politics. This article examined how social class and gender can have a negative or positive impact on an individual and society in terms of various opportunities ranging from education, finances, and politics. It will be necessary for changes to continue to occur in social class and gender inequalities in order to improve upon an individual’s identity, resulting in societal inclusion and evolution. We will discuss ideas to resolve these socioeconomic inequalities and the lack of political opportunities for women.  

Measuring the Effect of the Pandemic on Music Practicing Time and Motivation

Published in August 2023

Darian Liu

Lynbrook High School 

vol 2023(2) 84 - 90

The COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on the world as a whole. The pandemic had a particular impact on musicians, replacing live performances and in-person lessons with recorded performances and remote lessons during lockdown. Disruptions and uncertainty caused by the pandemic have created great change in the lives and schedules of music students, which has been observed by several recent studies. Such studies focus on adult classical musicians, but this study aims to observe school-age music students. In the current study, American music students filled out a survey measuring demographic data and descriptive data about practice time, feelings of threat, and feelings of uncertainty. I hypothesized that practice time would be affected by the pandemic, as well as feelings of motivation, threat, and uncertainty. I found that none of the above held a strong correlation with practice time. However, I also found a significant relationship (p<0.05) between years played and motivation to practice. Changes in lesson format positively affected student motivation and practice times, and overall motivation and effectiveness of lessons were positively affected by years of musical experience.

Stem Cell Therapies for Lung Cancer Patients with a History of Tobacco Use 

Published in August 2023

Ruhika Muralidhar

Dublin High School 

vol 2023(2) 78 - 83

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. There are two main types of lung cancer, small cell carcinoma, and non-small cell carcinoma. Non-small cell carcinoma is more common and less aggressive than small cell carcinoma. Lung cancer is more commonly diagnosed in its later stages, making it harder to treat in the long run. The leading cause of small cell carcinoma is smoking and using tobacco products. The current treatments generally do not have a high success rate, specifically for patients with small cell lung cancer. A new treatment method that can change the course of cancer treatment in the future: stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy can repair the lungs of small cell carcinoma patients and provide them with the needed cells for their lungs to return to normal function. The stem cells would be removed from the skin or blood of the patient and genetically transformed into embryonic stem cells, which provide more utility for the stem cells in the body. Once they are modified, these stem cells can be transferred to the body through in vitro scaffolds, tissue-engineered scaffolds, and local injections. After the transfer has occurred, the stem cells would be able to rebuild the lungs and help the body return to normal conditions.

Barriers to Eating Disorder Treatment: 
A Review of Socioeconomic Obstacles and Gaps in the Healthcare System

Published in August 2023

Deshna Shekar

Evergreen Valley High School 

vol 2023(2) 69 - 77

With an increasing number of cases every year, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses globally. However, more than half of the diagnosed patients do not receive suitable treatment. This paper identified the barriers to both mental and physical care in eating disorder treatment and their impacts on patients’ course of recovery. The reasons for these obstacles are highlighted based on patients’ personal experiences and information compiled from different online sources, such as research articles and surveys found through Pubmed and Google Scholar. Research, surveys, and patients’ feedback highlighted that treatment barriers are primarily due to high financial costs for care, stigma surrounding recovery, bias against minorities, inconsistent treatment, and insufficient outpatient care. Furthermore, from a medical standpoint, primary care physicians only have surface level knowledge on how to provide treatment to patients but end up having to do so because there are a limited number of eating disorder specialists. If patients are diagnosed and given adequate care in the beginning stages and throughout their eating disorders, then not only will they be more likely to avoid falling into critical mental and physical conditions, but they will likely reach the point of recovery quicker and more efficiently. 

Mechanical Design in Modular Reconfigurable Robotics: A Literature Review

Published in August 2023

Owen Y. H. Lai

Newport High School 

vol 2023(2) 62 - 68

This paper reviews recent research on mechanical aspects of modular reconfigurable robots (MRRs). Many newer MRRs have developed unique designs and hardware updated from the older, basic designs. The author compiled research of recent innovations in MRRs to include in the contents of this paper. The paper will first begin with reviewing the background of the MMRs and the influences it took on to create it. MMRs were inspired by the idea of one joining together with others to achieve a task not possible for a single individual. Based on this idea, MMRs have modules that form different structures by attaching to one another in different positions. With these unique differences to other robotics, the paper then discusses the numerous benefits MRRs brings to the table compared to traditional robots. The discussion of MRRs’ benefits also goes into territory of applications in space as MRRs could be used for in extraterrestrial expansion. Further in this paper, reoccurring designs of MRRs are analyzed, comparing older designs to recent ones. Here, the paper goes over recent MRRs and review their designs and mechanisms in depth, breaking down how they are built and how they work. The paper then examines the sensing in MRRs and recent innovations in making modules more aware of their surroundings. The differences between old and recent for both internal and external sensing used in modules will also be discussed and covered. Throughout this paper, the discussions of the similarity and lack of change/innovation from old MMRs to recent MRRs will be covered. Then finally, the paper will conclude with key findings determined by the author and what further research needs to be done on the topic.

How Can We Accelerate the Early Identification of Biomarker
Glycoprotein NMB for The Early Detection of Breast Cancer

Published in August 2023

Harshita Jinaga

American School of Bombay 

vol 2023(2) 57 - 61

The current methods for screening for any type of breast cancer involve the use of radiation levels or some form of waves. Widely used methods are CT scans, mammograms, MRIs, and ultrasounds, majority requiring the use of harmful radiation. A mammogram uses low energy x-rays to examine the human breast, a CT scan involves the usage of ionizing radiation, and an ultrasound transmits sound waves into the body. By identifying specific biomarkers like Glycoprotein NMB which are overexpressed in conditions like TNBC, we can find a more efficient and less harmful method of diagnosis. Usage and identification of these biomarkers to diagnose TNBC would also help with quicker and earlier detection compared to existing screening measures. The results of clinical trials experimenting with Glycoprotein NMB and various cancers point in a positive direction.

Effect of Coating Seeds with Micronutrients and Bacterial Consortia 
on Stomatal Conductance and Yield of Cluster Bean

Published in August 2023

Sachin Vashisht, Dhruva Shankara, Punya Shree, Suvratha Herur, Shreeadithya Kashyap

Samvida School 

vol 2023(2) 48 - 56

The study aims to evaluate the effect of coating seeds with micronutrients in combination with bacterial consortia on stomatal conductance and yields of cluster bean. Greenhouse experiments were carried out during August – December 2021 at Prayoga Institute of Education Research, Bangalore, India. The experiment consisted of 8 different treatments laid out in a randomized block design with five replications. Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are known to influence plant growth by various direct or indirect mechanisms. In search of efficient PGPR strains with multiple activities, a total of 10 bacterial strains were isolated from different rhizosphere soil and plant root nodules in the vicinity of Prayoga campus. These test isolates were screened in vitro for their plant growth-promoting traits like the production of Indoleacetic acid, production of Ammonia and Phosphate solubilization and three isolates were selected to develop consortia in different combinations. The micronutrients and bacterial consortia were applied to the seeds in combination as per the studied treatments and drought stress was created during growth stage. The study result revealed improved yields with a decrease in stomatal conductance due to plant adaptation to the stress induced by drought. There was a significant difference in the seed yield of treated treatments with that of the untreated control. Stomatal conductance (mmol m−2 s−1) of five randomly tagged plants was recorded by using a leaf porometer after 40 days and seed yield was recorded. Hence, coating seeds with bacterial consortia and micronutrients had a significant influence on the stomatal conductance and seed yield of cluster bean and this approach can serve as an effective strategy to enhance cluster bean crop performance.

An AI-Powered Assistive Device for the Visually Impaired

Published in July 2023

Katherine Hua

Woodbridge High School 

vol 2023(2) 40 - 47

Global studies report that 253 million people suffer from visual impairment. Most rely on traditional aids including Braille, white canes and guide dogs which lack versatility and adaptability. This study intended to utilize A.I. text, object recognition models and ultrasonic technology to create an effective vision aid. The prototype was constructed using a Raspberry Pi board with a Pi camera, ultrasonic sensor, earbuds, and other peripherals. Text and object recognition algorithms were implemented to convert printed text and real objects captured by the camera’s live video feed to text output. Then, the text-to-speech code programmed in the device helped convert its text output to speech that could be heard through earbuds. Additionally, the ultrasonic sensors were programmed to determine the distance to the objects by measuring the time between emitting and receiving the reflected ultrasonic waves. During testing, the system recognized all sample words in 2.5 seconds on average and sample sentences in 6.4 seconds with 100% accuracy. Additionally, the device took 2.9 seconds on average to detect 80% of tested objects accurately and could detect large objects such as cars as far as 584cm away. The functional testing indicated that the prototype could inform users of recognized words and sentences, the types of detected objects, and their distance through audio. Thus, the results support the hypothesis that an AI-powered electronic device has the potential to provide reliable visual assistance to the visually impaired in their daily life.

Mechanics of HTLV - 1 Driven ATL

Published in July 2023

Shivam Mohanty

Round Rock High School 

vol 2023(2) 36 - 39

HTLV-1 (Human T-lymphotropic virus 1) is a retrovirus that can lead to the development of Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL), a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, after a long latency period. Despite its low incidence rate, ATL is difficult to treat and has a poor prognosis with a median survival rate of 8 months and a 4-year survival rate of 12%. Recent research has suggested that ATL is host-driven, with low genetic diversity across endemic regions, challenging the previous assumption that ATL is solely caused by viral proteins. Blood sample studies from infected patients have revealed low genetic diversity, indicating the involvement of host genetic factors in ATL development. Host cancer genetic markers have also been found near the integration sites of the viral genome. This review highlights the correlation between patient genetics and HTLV-1 driven ATL, and how understanding the role of genetic markers and genes can lead to the development of new treatments or vaccines to improve patient outcomes.

A Study on the Effects of Physical Appearance on Psychological Status
and Cosmetic Surgery Preference: Differences by Generation

Published in July 2023

Gueyin Kim

Kankuk Academy of Foreign Studies

vol 2023(2) 28 - 35

Physical appearance is not only a factor that influences an individual’s attractiveness, but it can also have an impact on one’s psychological status. In order to determine the correlation between one’s physical appearance and self- esteem, a survey on participants of different genders and various generations was conducted. The questionnaire consisted of a Rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSE) and 14 additional items related to respondents’ self-perception, social perceptions towards appearance, personal experiences of cosmetic surgery, and viewpoints on cosmetic surgery. Correlation analysis showed that the responses of each section of the questionnaire indeed had a significant correlation, meaning that the respondent’s physical attractiveness, self-esteem, and thoughts on plastic surgery were associated. Through gender-specific and age-specific analysis, the results of different participant groups were compared. Results indicated that generally, the older age group exhibited a weaker correlation between their appearance and self-esteem compared to the younger age groups. This phenomenon was discussed in detail and possible explanations for this phenomenon were presented. First, a tendency of older generations to prioritize values other than superficial standards was explained. When forming a self-perception, they were more likely to have standards such as social success and wealth rather than only physical attractiveness. Secondly, a possibility of the decline of cognition and perception caused by brain aging was suggested as a reason for the elderly to be less sensitive about their appearance compared to younger individuals.

Development of a Conceptual Design for a Future Mars Rover Mission

Published in July 2023

Rishabh N. Srinivas

Sharon High School

vol 2023(2) 13 - 27

Mars is a widely unexplored planet with few rovers able to gather data on Mars. To hasten the progress of interplanetary research, we as humans need to develop the technology to explore other planets. The current solution is to send vehicles to planets such as Mars. Space Agencies such as NASA have been sending rovers and landers to mars for years. The scientists' effort has brought forth a lot of data about the red planet, and without them, these results could not be possible, and more innovation is needed to continue. Rovers are very complex but can simplify tools within subsystems within the entire rover system. It's detrimental to the function of the rover that every tool performs perfectly. With the development of a conceptual design for this rover, we could significantly decrease the time it would take to uncover the mysteries of Mars. In this paper, I researched details about previous rover missions to figure out a new plan to send a rover to mars. This outline includes the rocket for taking the rover to mars, the landing sequence, the landing location, the path the rover should take, and a basic understanding of what the rover would include and how it would appear. In addition to finalizing a landing location and identifying all working systems, the rover design (shown in the figures below) passed the computational tests with minimal stresses when applied when simulating forces present on Mars.

The Emergence of Losers in the South African Economy as a Result of Trade Liberalization

Published in July 2023

Sriya Bandyopadhyay

The American School of Dubai

vol 2023(2) 6 - 12

Trade liberalization is the process of reducing government-imposed restrictions on international trade. In South Africa, trade liberalization has been a key aspect of economic policy since the end of Apartheid in the 1900s. The nation has sought to increase its competitiveness by removing trade barriers, implementing more liberal trade policy frameworks, and anticipating the demands of South Africans for foreign goods and of foreign countries for South African goods. The results of trade liberalization have been mixed, with some industries benefiting greatly from this liberalization while others have struggled due to a lack of government support. Despite these challenges, South Africa continues to pursue business that its natural reserves and technological advancements can accommodate and is experiencing rising demand. This paper analyzes the mining, vehicle manufacturing, and agricultural industries in South Africa. Recent policy actions and trade transactions demonstrate that all three industries are experiencing growth. However, too much liberalization (lack of government support) is posing a threat to the extraction of certain precious metals, while the inconsistent distribution of foreign investment in vehicle manufacturing is causing the emergence of losers among a small number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Relationship Between Maternal Immune Activation and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published in July 2023

Avery Erwin

North Shore Country Day School

vol 2023(2) 1 - 5

Maternal immune activation (MIA) has been linked to higher incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As maternal inflammation has been associated with viral infection and environmental stressors, much research has been dedicated to studying these connections. However, even with the research dedicated to understanding the links between MIA and ASD, how inflammation causes ASD remains unclear. This review aims to summarize the research focused on understanding the links between autism and maternal inflammation during pregnancy. We will focus on defining maternal immune inflammation, understanding how it develops, and how it can lead to ASD. Finally, we will explore new research objectives for prevention and therapeutic intervention in MIA induced ASD. Bringing these ideas into a central article will highlight common themes in MIA/ASD research as well as bring new experimental avenues to the forefront of researcher’s minds.

Scaling an Ensemble ML Algorithm for the Classification of
Tree Species Through Satellite Imagery

Published in June 2023

Neiv Gupta

Monta Vista High School

vol 2023(1) 228 - 234

Dry conditions in the Western United States have increased the frequency and severity of forest fires in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Organizations and cities are actively working towards developing a better understanding of forest structure and dynamics. While tree species classification models in the past have dealt with smaller regions and fewer trees, we hypothesized that it is possible to scale the area and number of trees analyzed by our model without sacrificing model accuracy by adding additional variables to satellite imagery, such as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI), Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), crown ratio, tree height, and tree diameter. We compared the results of applying the Random Forest (RF) Machine Learning (ML) algorithm to a dataset containing satellite imagery alone and with a dataset containing satellite imagery augmented with object-specific attributes (OSA) such as crown shape, tree height, and tree diameter. We then trained and tested the algorithm across two large and different regions with similar tree species prevalence.  After the addition of OSA to training data, the results from the experiment demonstrated a mean classification accuracy increase from 66.4% to 90.2%, thus allowing the ML model to scale over larger regions.

Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Pathophysiology of Under- Funded Autoimmune Diseases and Potential Treatments

Published in June 2023

Aarushi Mupparti, Niki Itharaja, Neal Itharaja

Dublin High School

vol 2023(1) 222 - 227

The immune system is a body system made up of cells, organs, and proteins that work together to defend the body against foreign invaders. However, there are times when the immune system attacks and kills its healthy tissue and cells, a condition known as autoimmunity. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system doesn’t know the difference between the body’s cells and foreign pathogens, so it attacks its cells. This paper will examine two autoimmune diseases: Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is often separated into five types. Lupus is mostly characterized by the inflammation it causes throughout the body, including a noticeable facial butterfly rash. Over 5 million people are affected by Lupus and there is no cure for Lupus, but trials have had varying results depending on the severity of the disease, with some treatments including NSAIDs inhibitors. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by fatigue, impaired vision, and tremors. MS is caused when the immune system destroys the protective sheath of nerve fibers, disrupting the flow of information in the nervous system, and causing nerve damage. There are about 2.3 million people diagnosed with MS. As of 2022, Lupus received over $139 million in funds while MS received over $20 million. Although MS and Lupus are both autoimmune diseases that affect a significant population, they do not receive nearly as much funding when compared to diseases like Cancer or Parkinson’s. This paper is dedicated to increasing awareness of the widespread effects of autoimmune diseases and the need for more funding. We have compiled background information and statistics using credible search engines and peer-reviewed studies for collective understanding.

Elucidating the Epigenetic Mechanisms that Modulate Biological Age

Published in June 2023

Salem Wang

North Farmington High School

vol 2023(1) 214 - 221

In recent years, changes in the epigenome have emerged as a key component in the aging process. DNA methylation, histone acetylation and methylation, and chromatin landscape remodeling are the most well researched of the types of epigenetic modifications. To best elucidate their functions, they should be understood as interacting parts in the context of an integrated epigenetic approach and not as exclusive mechanisms. Each type of modification undergoes some predictable changes with aging but may display variation depending on the individual, cell type, or organism. These epigenetic modifications correlate to changes in phenotypes common with aging and to increased susceptibility to age-related diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease. While age may cause these changes, epigenetic modifications also contribute to aging by altering gene expression and interacting with other agents of aging to further the progression. Therefore, the scope of this review looks at epigenetic modifications as an effect and driver of aging.

Developments and Challenges with Earthquake Detection, Prediction and Protection

Published in June 2023

Jason Dong

Troy High School, Fullerton, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 207 - 213

Earthquakes have influenced life on Earth since civilization began. With urbanization and increased population densities across the globe, earthquakes pose a high threat to life and infrastructure alike. Although as a society, we have not yet developed a consistent method of earthquake prediction, developing technologies that are fundamentally based on different fields should allow us to attack this problem from multiple fronts. Research into the rapidly growing field of geosciences, specifically geophysics, is more important now than ever. In this review, the history of humanity’s documentation of earthquakes is explored, such as early earthquake quantification methods and seismograph development. Currrent detection methods and data analysis research into earthquake modeling are also reviewed here as they are currently our only means of prediction, and reveal the hopeful directions improved prediction in the future. Lastly, an interesting branch of earthquake prediction is explored, which involves animal behavior and the corresponding electric field phenomena correlated with earthquakes.

On the Normality of the Distribution of Colors of m&m Candy

Published in June 2023

Ankita S. Achanta

George School, Newtown, PA USA

vol 2023(1) 199 - 206

This investigation explores the shape of the distributions of colors of m&m candy. Statistical tests: kurtosis, skewness, and Shapiro-Wilk were used to assess normality of the distribution of the colors. Kurtosis measures “peakedness” and skewness measures distortion of a distribution. The Shapiro-Wilk test outputs a categorical yes/no, to indicate normality. Distributions of colors were also visually assessed for normality through histograms. This investigation also considers how normality varies based on sample size and different samples of the same size. It was hypothesized that if m&m candy colors are randomly allocated to packets, with an adequately large sample size, they would follow a normal distribution (skewness =0, kurtosis = 3, Shapiro-Wilk test result = yes). The results support that increasing sample size does not make kurtosis and skewness closer to normally distributed with small samples (n<50). Also, there is evidence that normality varies within samples of the same size, based on skewness/kurtosis. Finally, approximate probability density functions (PDFs) were created for each color distribution. With the functions, probabilities of getting a certain number of candies of a given color were calculated. Based on the PDFs, it was found that the probability of getting a packet with only blue m&ms is higher than that of a packet with only red m&ms, though both are highly unlikely. There are certain limitations related to this investigation. It is possible due to the small group sizes that the kurtosis/skewness values did not approach normality. Experimentation with larger sample sizes (group size > 100 each) would facilitate more accurate estimation of probabilities.

Influence of pH on Coordination Reactions of Humic Acid with Metal Ions

Published in June 2023

Keilah Om

Dominican Academy, New York, NY USA

vol 2023(1) 194 - 198

The coordination reactions of Humic acid with metal ions were studied. Using the ion exchange equilibrium method, we can find the stability constants of complexes (log K) and the coordination number (x) of these reactions. The results showed that in the reactions of HA-Fe(3+), HA-Zn(2+), and HA-Cd(2+), the stability constants of complexes and coordination numbers increased as the pH increased and when ionic strength and temperature conditions were kept the same. For the reaction of HA-Mn(2+), the stability constants of complexes increased as the pH increased, and the coordination number increased as the pH increased during the range of 3.0 to 5.0; however, it decreased when the pH was increased from 5.0 to 7.0.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Sleep Quality during the COVID-19 Outbreak
in Adolescents & Parents: A Web-Based Cross-Sectional Survey

Published in May 2023

Kaylin Spinelli

Sacred Heart Academy, Hempstead, NY USA

vol 2023(1) 188 - 193

Many previous studies have shown that one’s anxiety is often heightened during disease pandemics. The present study found evidence that essential workers and their families are at an increased risk for anxiety, stress and sleep disruption. 160 female adolescents and 75 of their parents completed surveys measuring anxiety and sleep quality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The two samples, although drawn from the same community, were not linked. All adolescents attend an all-girls academy in suburban New York. T-tests and regression analyses suggest that essential workers and their families are at elevated risk for mental illness.

Code-switching: An Analysis of Causes, Benefits, and Perceptions

Published in May 2023

Carey Chang

The Harker School, San Jose, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 182 - 187

Code-switching is the linguistic phenomenon of alternating between two languages or dialects during a conversation. This paper explores the various factors that influence the practice of code-switching, focusing on those that are sociolinguistic, conversational, or a combination of both. By examining these factors, this paper aims to shed light on the complexities of code-switching and how it reflects larger societal attitudes toward language and identity. Through these factors, the paper sets to prove that code-switching is natural and predictable, making it something not to be discouraged or looked down upon as many teachers or parents believe. As such, this paper also addresses the issue of prescription versus description in code-switching research, arguing that linguists should adopt a descriptive approach to language, rather than a prescriptive one.

The Relevance of Semaglutide in Obesity and Diabetes

Published in May 2023

Jonathan Yoo

Hawthorne Christian Academy, Hawthorne, NJ USA

vol 2023(1) 174 - 181

In spite of strides made in the field of medicine in relation to diabetes, there still remains a prominent percentage of people in the world who suffer from either Obesity or Type 2 Diabetes. Presently, there is no cure for these diseases, and the need for change is clear; therefore, medicine that can help curb the numbers of both diseases is crucial. Fortunately, Semaglutide is a new breakthrough in weight loss medication and has potential to treat Type 2 Diabetes patients as well. This paper aims to explain in depth the history of weight loss treatments, diabetes treatments, and the mechanisms of insulin and Semaglutide. Furthermore, to put this treatment in context, this paper dives deeply into the subtopics of continuous glucose monitoring, glucose management, current insulin research, and present treatment and preventative measures for diabetes today. Drawing from an array of studies, statistics, and scholarly articles, this paper shows the relevance of Semaglutide in a world with rising Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, and the possible contributions it could have to these widespread diseases. Further research studies and analysis are being conducted daily in hopes of solidifying these first steps towards a cure and prevention.

LED Array Development: Highlights and Challenges of Red Light Therapy

Published in May 2023

Hilary Yeung

St. Clement’s School, Toronto, ON Canada

vol 2023(1) 169 - 173

Red light therapy (RLT) is a recent development that faces much uncertainty due to its novel nature. In essence, it has been found that the light photons trigger respiratory chain components which in turn activate a signaling cascade, and thus result in a cellular response. Some of these biological reactions aid in healing, skin repair, inflammation reduction, and functional improvement. Although such knowledge has been retained, scientists still struggle to understand how RLT truly works and the risks that are paired along. Though limited research has been conducted, this form of therapy allows for a wide variety of applications due to the numerous dosimetry parameters. As parameters have countless combinations, RLT can be used for people of varying ages, skin conditions, illnesses, and health backgrounds. Though seeming positive, such wide combinations leave room for the unpredictability of specific settings that pertain to each user. An additional concern is a basic accessibility; RLT has yet to be integrated into mainstream health improvement. In all, RLT provides optimistic solutions for high-performing humans, though much more research is required to uncover all the risks.

The Effects of Different Materials Used in Non-Aqueous Lithium Air 
Battery Electrolytes on Ionic Conductivity and Durability

Published in April 2023

Aditya Vishwa

Westview High School, Portland, OR USA

vol 2023(1) 161 - 168

Batteries are increasingly important in moving away from fossil fuels towards a more sustainable future; they are currently used in many different applications, such as cars, portable electronics, and drones, but certain applications of batteries, such as in large aircraft, are limited by their gravimetric energy density. While many high energy density batteries have been synthesized, most lack high durability and are unable to withstand many charge and discharge cycles without losing considerable energy storage capacity. For example, lithium air batteries have one of the highest gravimetric energy densities of any battery, but because lithium ions are not able to flow freely from the anode to the cathode and vice versa. This paper examines recent advancements in lithium air battery materials and explores any potential developments for lithium air battery viability. It also discusses the various issues that plague lithium air battery advancement, and its place in the future of green energy and a viable source of energy storage.

COVID-19: Survey on Situation, Enthusiasm and
Attitude for Vaccination of SARS-CoV-2 Boosters

Published in April 2023

Ming-Liu Li and Ya-Dan Huang

Guangdong Country Garden School, China

vol 2023(1) 150 - 160

COVID-19 has become a global phenomenon and a top priority for the world, making vaccine implementation a key tool for countries to address the problem. Boost refers to one additional supplementary vaccination following the completion of two doses of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, resulting in more than a 10-fold increase in antibody levels. The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine can maintain human immunity to the virus after antibodies have waned for some time. This study conducted a survey of the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in Guangdong Province, investigating SARS-CoV-2 vaccination among students and some educators, knowledge of the vaccine, attitudes, and the status of booster needle vaccination. Excel and SPSS software were used to analyze 166 samples. Five hypotheses were tested according to the data analysis, which are about the vaccination situation of SARS- CoV-2 vaccine, the relationship between people's understanding of the vaccine and the vaccination rate, people's attitude and enthusiasm towards the vaccine and the side effects of the booster injection of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. This survey suggests that Policy-influenced vaccination intentions, rather than personal knowledge and understanding of the vaccine, were more strongly associated with the vaccination rates. , providing better reference to other pandemic and to areas with low vaccination coverage.

Comprehensive Review on Atopic Dermatitis and Therapeutic Potentials

Published in April 2023

Crystal Shin

Northwood High School, Irvine, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 137 - 149

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a type of a skin-related allergy that affects all demographics worldwide, but mostly common amongst the younger population. It is characterized by itchy, red, and swollen skin, and there is currently no cure available. Disease etiology largely arises due to a combination of genetics and environmental influences, coupled with other types of comorbidities such as asthma and hay fever disease. AD largely is associated with a compromised epithelial tissue layer, which leads to decreased water retention and facilitated entry of allergens into the body, which further exacerbates the pathophysiology of the disease. Mechanistically, the progression of AD can be attributed to the overall imbalance of Th1 and Th2 cells, which disturbs the homeostasis between pro- inflammatory and anti-inflammatory polarizations of innate and adaptive immunity. Therefore, most of the current medications that help ameliorate AD’s pathogenesis include drugs that inhibit Th2 differentiation and polarization by targeting the activity of IL-13 and IL-4, both of which are implicated in the production of Th2 cells that subsequently induce IgE-mediated allergic reactions. The purpose of this review article is to comprehensively explore the biology of AD, including risk factors, diagnosis, pathophysiology, and the current available treatments.

Understanding the Relationship Between Religiosity, Religious Affiliation, Prior
Knowledge of Nanotechnology, and the Ethical Attitudes of Nanotechnology

Published in April 2023

Rumaysa Ahmad

Granada Hills Charter High School, Granada Hills, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 121 - 136

Nanotechnology has been a critical field of study through its integration of many appliances. With public trust conflicting with the acceptance of nanotechnology, researchers have established that certain variables - such as prior knowledge of nanotechnology, religion, and religiosity - play a significant role in shaping people’s ethical perceptions of nanotechnology and, eventually, their public opinions. Therefore, this study focuses on finding and building the relationships between knowledge, religion, religiosity, and ethical concern of nanotechnology among teenagers in Granada Hills, California, to understand the influence of these variables on student perceptions of nanotechnology. A correlational study using quantitative data including a demographic survey, a 15-question Centrality of Religiosity Scale, prior knowledge evaluation, and an ethical concern section was administered to high school students from two schools in Granada Hills. Pearson product-moment correlations, ANOVA, and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The results depicted that there was a negative relationship between knowledge and mean ethical concern, a negative relationship between knowledge and mean religiosity, a positive relationship between mean religiosity and mean ethical concern, and a positive correlation between age and mean knowledge of nanotechnology, all with weak coefficients. Ethical concerns were also explored, and students were found to be the most concerned about nanotechnology getting in the “wrong hands” and the loss of freedom and privacy. Additional research should be conducted on greater populations that consider different sociodemographic, affective, sociodemographic, or cognitive variables.

Liquid-Liquid Extraction Method for Low-cost, Low-energy 
Desalination of Seawater and Brackish Water

Published in March 2023

Deven Chakrabarti

Moorestown High School, Moorestown, NJ USA

vol 2023(1) 113 - 120

More than a third of the world’s population lives in countries that use more than 40% of their available supply of freshwater each year, an unsustainable level of demand. Most such countries have access to a sustainable water resource: seawater. However, desalination is currently too expensive for many of the communities that need it most. This paper presents a new desalination method: solvent-based liquid-liquid extraction that exploits the selective solubility of freshwater over saltwater in a particular class of polar organic solvents at certain temperatures below 100°C. For once such solvent, N-cyclohexyl pyrrolidone, the calculated desalination efficiency at 3 hours was 99.6%. Optional purification with a standard material yielded acceptably pure water. The method holds promise for development as a simple, low-energy, low-cost, low-waste process that can make desalination feasible in a broader range of coastal and marine applications.

Brainwave Music: A Scientific Review of Psychological Effects and Future Innovations

Published in March 2023

Sihe Wang

Beijing No.4 High School International Campus, Beijing China

vol 2023(1) 100 - 112

This literature review introduces brainwave music (BWM), a revolutionary type of music generated using digitally filtered brainwaves as displayed in electroencephalography (EEG) impulses. The review summarizes the previous studies on the applications of BWM in different fields and presents a vision for future innovative uses. The review also explains how EEG data is used to map mental state to music with similar arousal levels, and how BWM can be used in clinical or psychological settings. Additionally, the review discusses how brainwave music can have positive effects on various mental states such as anxiety, sleep, and more. The review also highlights the importance of portability and operability in future brainwave music applications, and the potential for incorporating visual elements such as video and flashes to enhance the experience. Overall, brainwave music combines neurology, science, and music therapy to improve focus, energy, stress, anxiety, pain, and sleep.

 The Secret World of Crows (Corvus): Biology, Behavior, & Cognitive Abilities

Published in March 2023

Marina Seidl et al.,

Northwest Academy, Portland, OR USA

vol 2023(1) 89 - 99

Crows are an enigma to the world of biology—still under-researched and the extent of their cognitive abilities remains unknown. Throughout millennia, crows have influenced human cultures, including artwork, literature, poetry, and language. From reverence to repulsion, human perceptions of crows have evolved throughout history. As a recurring avian symbol in human society, our goal was to summarize recent and historical research on the complex and intricate minds of crows and ravens, while creating artwork in response to our work. In addition, we wanted to inform the public of crows’ ecological importance and presence in urban environments. This manuscript synthesizes recent scientific discoveries of crows and ravens and includes our original artwork as figures. Exploring crow behavior and biology, this review paper is organized into five thematic sections characterizing the life of a crow—neuroscience, communication, learning, urban habitat, and interactions with humans.

The Unknown Death Toll of COVID-19: 
How The Pandemic Killed One Million Americans Long Before 2022

Published in March 2023

John Dong

Campolindo High School, Moraga, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 83 - 88

In this paper, I intend to convince the reader that the actual number of deaths caused both directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States of America has been much more than officially reported. According to an excess death regression model which accounts for circumstantial and unreported COVID deaths, there are approximately 130,000 additional pandemic-related deaths in 2020 and 140,000 in 2021. Adding the officially reported 831,000 COVID deaths in these two years, the pandemic may have caused over 1 million deaths much sooner than the officially reported date, May 24th, 2022.

Dendrimers and Cancer Therapy: A Review and Analysis

Published in February 2023

Alexander Xu

Apex Learning Virtual High School, Richardson, TX USA

vol 2023(1) 76 - 82

Over the past two decades, dendrimers have emerged as a novel class of nanoparticles for cancer therapy and detection. They come in many varieties and are used to carry molecules like drugs or to act as imaging agents. They are composed of branches radiating out from a core, holding drugs between their branches or at the ends of them. Dendrimers are useful because of their customizability. They can be used for actively delivering drugs to tumors or for detecting cancer. Dendrimers have various traits that make them good for drug delivery, including their stability, water solubility, and uniformity. However, dendrimers also have limitations, displaying toxicity, or noting accumulate enough in the intended areas, and their interactions with the body are little known. Therefore, modifications to dendrimer structures are underway to solve some of the issues that their use presents. Overall, dendrimers show great potential in cancer therapy, but additional work needs to be done to enhance their specificity and effectiveness. They are important in the design of personalized cancer therapies, which we believe are the future of effective cancer treatment. 

In Silico Drug Target Identification via Methylation Factors
with Implementation in TP53 Liver Cancer Gene

Published in February 2023

Sahithi Pogula

Hopkinton High School, Hopkinton, MA USA

vol 2023(1) 70 - 75

The limitations of drug discovery are infamous, with a single drug development setting back an institution millions of dollars and decades of time with only a 0.1% rate of success. Novel identification of target leads for drugs through currently unused epigenetic measures reduces these hurdles, incredibly expediting the drug pipeline. Here we identified two novel approaches for reducing liver cancer. In the first approach, this project focuses on reducing the hypermethylation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) by modulating the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) biological pathway. Using pattern search and similarity indexes, Algorithm-1 can identify potential positions of pathway induction by comparing aberrant sequences with normal sequences and using a CpG island pattern trigger. Algorithm-1 identified the TP53 liver cancer gene at positions 33-35. In the second approach, this project focuses on inhibiting spliceosome factors that are responsible for 5mC production. Using machine learning methods and pattern search, such spliceosome factors are identified. Algorithm-2 identified the Prp9 protein. Both the proposed solutions provide new insight into a cure for Liver Cancer never previously explored through traditional methods of drug discovery.

The Effects of Colored Surgical Masks on Emotion Recognition 
and Perception in Adolescents

Published in February 2023

Phuong Bui

Christchurch School, Christchurch, VA USA

vol 2023(1) 64 - 69

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many studies have explored the effects of face masks on emotion recognition, yet no studies were conducted to explore the effect of different colored face masks on emotion recognition. This paper investigated the effect of four colors: red, black, green, and blue, compared to white, on perception of emotional intensity and recognition accuracy. 34 high schoolers were tested through a survey consisting of 120 images of models wearing surgical masks with photoshopped color stimuli. A significant effect was found in the colors red and green. Red enhances the perceived emotional intensity, and green confuses people into thinking the expression is disgust.

 Lifestyle Factors that Impact Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Published in February 2023

Medha Sarkar

Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 53 - 63

While there have been decades of research looking into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the true underlying pathogenesis continues to be a focus of active mechanistic studies. Even so, there is little holistic understanding of what processes or therapies help alleviate the decline of memory and cognition. As a result, it is difficult for caregivers and healthcare providers to have tangible actions to focus on that are validated to maintain or improve an Alzheimer’s patient’s function and quality of life. Here, we present a literature review of the currently available research to examine which social and physiological factors, such as music, exercise, diet, and more, affect the disease progression and, of those, which slow it. We then summarize the currently available treatment options for Alzheimer’s dementia based on the previous findings. For example, melatonin improves disrupted circadian rhythms, while aerobic exercise and Mediterranean diets give neurons protection against beta-amyloid dysfunction through increased brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Additionally, SSRI drugs can help maintain brain mass while music therapy can temporarily activate preserved brain regions that enable positive moods.

Breakthroughs in Honey Bee Health, Continuous-Release Mist Diffusion 
of Thymol-Based Essential Oils: Part II - The Field Study

Published in February 2023

Kaitlyn N. Culbert

Toms River High School North, Toms River, NJ USA

vol 2023(1) 46 - 52

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are pivotal pollinators in agricultural and natural ecosystems; however, since the winter of 2006-2007, honey bee colonies have been disappearing. The greatest single contributor to the decline of honey bee health is the Varroa mite. Synthetic chemicals are used to control Varroa, but the mites are developing resistance. Essential oils (EO) may be a viable alternative. EO are cheaper, environmentally-friendly, pose fewer health risks to bees and consumers, and Varroa have not developed resistance to the oils. Currently, all commercially available thymol-centered systems are gel-based and work by direct contact with the mite. These systems are also highly dependent on temperature and humidity for effectiveness. Following the laboratory investigation (Part I), this field study (Part II) examined the use of thymol-based EO for miticide efficacy as well as the use of mist diffusers to eliminate any dependence of the essential oils on temperature and humidity conditions. Miticide efficacy was recorded as: thyme>oregano>rosemary>control (vegetable glycerin). Across all tested EO, the highest miticide activity occurred during the first two weeks of treatment. A brief cost analysis demonstrated using mist diffusers was more cost-effective than commercially available thymol-based systems (US$3.20 versus US$15-$18 per application). Continuous-release mist diffusion permits the disbursement of EO throughout the entire hive and effectively provided early elimination of mites as they emerged from the brood cell, while remaining safe for honey bees.

Mutation Pathogenicity and the Viability of HSP Therapy 
for Mutated HEX-A in Tay-Sachs Disease

Published in January 2023

Aditya Shrinivasan

Evergreen Valley High School, San Jose, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 37 - 45

This work explored three different concepts. First, docking studies were performed with various mutant HexA structures and Arimoclomol (a Heat Shock Protein inducer), with statistical analysis to establish any correlation between noted binding affinity and either mutation pathogenicity or mutation type. This was followed by the review of Arimoclomol and Heat Shock Therapy as a potential therapeutic option for Tay Sachs disease, exploring the possibility for a future clinical trial. Finally, a gene mutation pathogenicity prediction model was developed using classification with the available dataset of HEXA gene mutations to experimentally determine the pathogenicity of any HEXA mutation. The statistical analysis found no correlations between either the mutation type or mutation pathogenicity and binding affinity. This leads to the conclusion that amino acid alterations don’t play a role in causing pathogenicity and benignity in a mutation and that the mutation type doesn’t affect the strength of interaction between a potential treatment and the mutant protein. The mutation pathogenicity prediction model study indicated that due to the lack of sufficient features and further compounded by the low correlation between the few features, the accuracy of the resulting model was not very high. Additionally, Arimoclomol was recommended for a clinical trial with Tay Sachs Disease.

Effect and Significance of Temperature on the Speed of Electromagnetic Waves

Published in January 2023

Una Ding

Uppingham School, Uppingham, Rutland, United Kingdom

vol 2023(1) 33 - 36

This project investigates the effect of temperature on the speed of electromagnetic wave when passing through water. In this experiment, a laser beam is fired through a semi-circular refraction dish containing water at an angle where the beam total internally reflected. After measuring the critical angle, calculations were made to derive the refractive index of water and ultimately the laser speed. The refractive index of water and hence speed of electromagnetic wave could be calculated. At the end of the investigation, there are no observable changes in the critical angle. Further research revealed that as the temperature increases, the speed of electromagnetic wave increases. However this change is negligible as the temperature range investigated is narrow. This effect’s cause is a slight decrease in liquid density, which decreases the refractive index of water when it is heated as a result.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Right Median Nerve Stimulation in the Treatment of
Coma: A Review of Previous Studies, Mechanisms of Action, and Future Potentials

Published in January 2023

Chloe Y. Chan

Lowell High School, San Francisco, CA USA

vol 2023(1) 21 - 32

Disorders of consciousness affect a large percentage of patients with brain trauma, and diagnosed patients face a high mortality rate. Recently though, two types of nerve stimulation have proved promising effects: vagus and right median nerve stimulation. Because of their extensive projections throughout the regions of the brain responsible for consciousness, the vagus and right median nerves have been targeted for studies of nerve stimulation in the treatment of coma and have proven effective in improving the states of consciousness in comatose patients. Although complete mechanisms are still unknown, many studies have corroborated the idea that delivering electrical pulses through such stimulation can elevate levels of brain activity in the stagnant coma-state brain, especially in sleep-wake cycle related brain regions such as the reticular activating system, locus coeruleus, parietal cortex, and thalamus. By activating the neurons in these parts of the brain, neural pathways — noradrenergic, cholinergic, GABAergic, dopaminergic, and orexin pathways — are enhanced. These pathways have shown to interact with each other in a complex manner still not yet thoroughly explored, but have proven to collectively increase arousal in coma patients. Furthermore, nerve stimulation seems to have positive effects on the physiological healing of the brain from traumatic brain injury, one of the root causes of coma, through increasing cerebral blood flow. Taken together, these studies point towards right median and vagus nerve stimulation as a promising treatment that can help better the outcome of coma.

Novel Therapies in the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Published in January 2023

Eshaan Gandhi

Indian Hill High School, Cincinnati, OH USA

vol 2023(1) 13 - 20

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, caused by the degenerative progression of dopaminergic neurons located in the substantia nigra pars compacta, which results in the decreased production of dopamine — a necessary neurotransmitter to maintain homeostasis. However, the ultimate cause of damage done to these neurotransmitters is unknown, as it has been found that the development of Lewy Bodies, overproduction of calcium ions, and other protein mutations can all cause dopaminergic neurons to be deficient. The development of PD causes deteriorating symptoms such as bradykinesia, motor tremors, muscle stiffness, and impaired balance. No cure for Parkinson’s disease has been developed, in which researchers have instead developed therapies to combat the degenerative symptoms that result from PD. Recently, there has been an amplification in research and generation of medical pharmacologic therapies and invasive surgical therapies, such as Deep Brain Stimulation, to alleviate symptoms. Although current pharmacologic therapies function to a certain degree, they are not effective over long periods, which is how PD becomes increasingly damaging. Similarly, there is a lack of definitive disease-modifying therapies such as alpha-synuclein antibodies, LRRK2 antibodies, exenatide, and isradipine. These disease-modifying pharmaceuticals, surgical therapies, and future treatments must continue to be researched for safety, longevity, and effectiveness to promote optimal quality of PD patients.

Through the One-Sided Mirror: Effects of Commodification on an 
Individual's Cultural Perception

Published in January 2023

Muxin Yao

Phillips Academy, Andover, MA USA

vol 2023(1) 1 - 12

Earlier literature and research have examined cross-cultural differences in cognition and behavior across a multitude of fields, spanning sociology, business, and psychology. The scope of such research on cultures has mainly focused on describing the culture, or the individual as part of that culture; in comparison, there has been little investigation of the effects of cultural interactions. Research thus far has investigated subjects such as consumer cultural reactance, as well as responses to cultural identity threats. However, despite this literature, and research on the disparity between internal and external perceptions of self, little literature exists regarding how one views their cultures. Foreign audiences may see a culture different from the people who identify with that culture. This disparity may be further emphasized during cultural branding and marketing when only limited aspects of that culture may be emphasized for monetization. This paper aims to explore how these differences in cultural and self-perception affect one’s perception of their own culture and one’s behavior with respect to that change after the culture has undergone commodification and marketing to a foreign audience. We focus on the nuance within this and how the behaviors may change depending on whether the culture is individualist or collectivist, the level of identification to a culture, and the salience of monetary profit from commodification. Through this, we hope to utilize the literature on cultures, on self vs. other perceptions, and on the commodification of in-groups vs. out-groups to develop a framework for assessing identifier reactions to cultural commodification and intercultural interaction.

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