Agriculture
Making the most of a meal
Seeds of the Future
Fast-flying fungal spores
Amphibians
Salamanders
Salamanders and Newts
Tree Frogs
Animals
Armadillo
Killer Flatworms Hunt with Poison
Insect Stowaways
Behavior
Lightening Your Mood
Pondering the puzzling platypus
Video Game Violence
Birds
Birds We Eat
Owls
Nightingales
Chemistry and Materials
Spinning Clay into Cotton
Atom Hauler
Batteries built by Viruses
Computers
Nonstop Robot
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Ferocious Growth Spurts
Digging Dinos
A Rainforest Trapped in Amber
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Getting the dirt on carbon
Life trapped under a glacier
Earth Rocks On
Environment
A Vulture's Hidden Enemy
Blooming Jellies
Power of the Wind
Finding the Past
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Early Maya Writing
Fish
Goldfish
Skates
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Food and Nutrition
The Color of Health
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Who vs. Whom
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Detecting True Art
Losing with Heads or Tails
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Human Body
Gut Microbes and Weight
The tell-tale bacteria
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Invertebrates
Dust Mites
Millipedes
Giant Squid
Mammals
Wildcats
Rats
Tigers
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Electric Backpack
Plants
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Seeds of the Future
Reptiles
Tortoises
Garter Snakes
Pythons
Space and Astronomy
Cousin Earth
Tossing Out a Black Hole Life Preserver
No Fat Stars
Technology and Engineering
Sugar Power for Cell Phones
Crime Lab
Shape Shifting
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Flying the Hyper Skies
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Reach for the Sky
Weather
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
The solar system's biggest junkyard
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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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