Agriculture
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Amphibians
Newts
Toads
Salamanders
Animals
A Meal Plan for Birds
Not Slippery When Wet
Odor-Chasing Penguins
Behavior
How Much Babies Know
Seeing red means danger ahead
A Recipe for Happiness
Birds
Turkeys
Swans
Swifts
Chemistry and Materials
Cooking Up Superhard Diamonds
Big Machine Reveals Small Worlds
Spinning Clay into Cotton
Computers
Fingerprint Evidence
New twists for phantom limbs
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Meet your mysterious relative
Dino-Dining Dinosaurs
Downsized Dinosaurs
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
The Rise of Yellowstone
The Pacific Ocean's Bald Spot
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Environment
An Ocean View's Downside
A Change in Leaf Color
Acid Snails
Finding the Past
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Fakes in the museum
Early Maya Writing
Fish
Sharks
Goldfish
Electric Eel
Food and Nutrition
Chocolate Rules
How Super Are Superfruits?
Healing Honey
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Subject and Verb Agreement
Who vs. That vs. Which
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Exam Preparation
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Human Body
A New Touch
A Long Haul
Sun Screen
Invertebrates
Lice
Wasps
Krill
Mammals
Siberian Husky
Felines
Polar Bear
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Speedy stars
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
Getting the dirt on carbon
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Bright Blooms That Glow
Reptiles
Alligators
Black Mamba
Rattlesnakes
Space and Astronomy
Tossing Out a Black Hole Life Preserver
Saturn's Spongy Moon
An Icy Blob of Fluff
Technology and Engineering
Beyond Bar Codes
Bionic Bacteria
Crime Lab
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Charged cars that would charge
Robots on a Rocky Road
Weather
Arctic Melt
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
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Disease Detectives

Anytown, U.S.A., has a serious problem. One of its residents is very sick. Doctors suspect avian influenza. The disease, also called bird flu, can be devastating. "If we do nothing," says Taylor Jones, the freckle-faced mayor of Anytown, "most likely, 70 percent of people in this town will die." While Jones and an epidemiologist use computer models to assess the town's risk, a virologist scans mucus samples to prepare a diagnosis. The patient, a 33-year-old named Joe Plastic, lies in a hospital isolation unit. He's struggling to breathe. "He's starting to die," says Dr. Jayne Thompson. The virologist, Kushal Naik, has more bad news. "Joe is positive for avian flu, but that's not the worst part," Naik says. "We have nine specimens from other hospitals that are also positive. It's spreading." This crisis ends quickly, however, mainly because it's fictional. The team, ranging in age from 11 to 15, is tackling one of six 90-minute challenges at this year's Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC). Each fall, DCYSC brings 40 middle school science fair champs to Washington, D.C., to compete for more than $100,000 in scholarships, prizes, and the honor of being named "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year." Winners must combine problem solving with quick thinking, teamwork, and the ability to explain complicated ideas clearly. Gut navigation This year's team competition, which had a medical theme, took place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. Most challenges involved real-world medical problems. And cutting-edge NIH researchers were there to help. "We try to deal with issues in the news," says Steve "Jake" Jacobs, head DCYSC judge. "NIH provided us with an opportunity available nowhere else on the planet." NIH researcher Ronald Summers, for example, studies virtual colonoscopy, a new way to screen for cancer of the colon (or large intestine). The technique combines X-ray–like computerized tomography (CT) scans with computer software to create three-dimensional videos of the inside of the colon. Doctors can then check the images for polyps, mushroomlike growths that can become cancerous. The new diagnostic method is more comfortable for patients than the standard procedure. In that procedure, "you insert the scope into the patient's bottom and thread it through," Summers says. "A light and digital camera show you everything." To compare the standard and new methods, students tried out each one. To perform a mock CT exam, they navigated through virtual images of five colons to spot the polyps in each. For the standard method, students threaded a 63-inch-long scope through a plastic model of a human colon. A screen displayed what was inside. Steering the probe through the twists and folds of the colon was difficult. "I have no idea what I'm looking at," Otana Jakpor, 12, admitted at one point. Teammate Jack Grundy, 13, punctured the fake patient's intestinal wall by mistake. Before the challenge ended, the colon explorers regrouped with teammates who had been injecting glowing proteins into see-through fish embryos. Together, the team needed to make a 3-minute, kid-to-kid video about new ways to look inside organisms. Lunchtime Downstairs, a different group of finalists battled another public health crisis: obesity. First, the team had to assemble a 500-calorie lunch from a selection of foods whose nutritional labels were hidden. The team picked a chicken wrap, a banana, carrot sticks, Fig Newtons, and milk. The students were dismayed to learn that they'd overshot their mark: The lunch they'd assembled packed a walloping 885 calories. Next, they used a chart, a treadmill, and their mathematics skills to figure out how much exercise it would take for a 125-pound person to burn off such a lunch. After arguing about who would actually do so much exercise, they settled on four choices: an hour of basketball, an hour of tennis, 30 minutes of walking, and 30 minutes of lawn mowing. Finally, the team created a podcast about energy balance and weight control. "If people realized they had to do all that [exercise to burn off the calories in] a cookie, they might change their minds," Joseph Church, 14, said. Collin McAliley, 13, was unconvinced. "It's such a good cookie, though," he said. Grand prize DCYSC involved more than challenges, dinners, meeting people, and having fun. On the final morning, the finalists visited an elementary school in Washington, D.C. They fielded questions, demonstrated science experiments, and helped kids with their science projects. At the awards ceremony, the grand prize, a $20,000 scholarship, went to Nolan Kamitaki, 14, of Waiakea Intermediate School in Hilo, Hawaii. Jacob "Pi" Hurwitz, 14, of Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville, Md., received a $10,000 scholarship. His nickname reflects his ability to recite 320 decimal digits of the number pi. Amy David, 15, of Pinedale Middle School in Wyo., won third place and a $5,000 scholarship. "One reason we're happy to have such bright, energetic people getting into science is that you are the next generation of leaders," NIH's Anthony Fauci told the finalists. "You are choosing a life of discovery and a probing of the unknown. It's a most unusual and extraordinary life."

Disease Detectives
Disease Detectives








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