Recent Submissions

  • United States in Somalia: An Autopsy

    Khanna, Yesh (2022-02)
    During the Cold War, the Horn of Africa region served as a battleground for proxy warfare between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and KGB, the foreign intelligence acengy of the Soviet Union. Ethiopia was heavily backed by the CIA, whereas the KGB backed Siad Barre's authoritarian regime in Somalia. In 1977, Somalia and Ethiopia went to war against each other for control over the Ogaden region. This war turned out to be a disaster for Somalia, and Barre became more repressive, leading to anti-government protests and Barre fleeing Somalia in 1991. The immediate aftermath of this was the resurgence of clan violence which resulted in the collapse of whatever was left of the Somali government; this further led the country into economic chaos. The warlords, who headed these clans, found the perfect weapon to inflict damage upon one another: food. As Dr. Richard W. Steward writes in his brocher The United States Army in Somalia, 1992-1994: "as Somalia lapsed into sectarian and ethnic warfare, regional warlords drew upon clan loyalty to establish independent power bases. This situation led to a struggle over food supplies with each clan raiding the storehouses and depots of the others. Coupled with a drought, these actions brought famine to hundreds of thousands of the nation's poor." As a result, around a million Somalis started to flee to the neighboring urban areas where various non-governmental organizations were providing humanitarian assistance; additionally, around another one million Somalis were forced into exile.
  • 1971: The Bloodied Legacy of the United States in South Asia

    Khanna, Yesh (2021-05)
    In 1971, South Asia saw one of the most horrific genocides in modern history. It took place in East Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh) under the oversight of General Yahya Khan. This genocidal campaign was named Operation Searchlight; its primary objective was to 'suppress' the members and sympathizers of the Awami League - the Bengali nationalist political party, led by Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman - protesting for greater autonomy of East Pakistan. Later, they started demanding complete secession and the creation of 'Bangladesh'. The military crackdown began on March 25th in Dhaka and neighboring areas with the Pakistani army killing civilians, firing indiscriminately at unarmed university students, and raping women. Even though the U.S. consulate in Dhaka witnessed these horrors and reported each and every update to Washington, the Nixon administration not only chose to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed by the Pakistani army in East Pakistan but secretly approved of Yahya's crackdown.
  • Friction in China-Japan Relations: Causes and Challenges

    Khanna, Yesh (2021-09)
    Because of its location, Japan has an array of unique neighbors, though not all of them hold a warm attitude toward the country. China is one such example - the recent actions of the Chinese government pertaining to the Senkaku Islands, its growing military might, and the country's hegemonic aspirations are all reasons why the Japanese Ministry of Defense classifies China as the biggest current threat to Japan. Given the facts that Japan is one of the United States' most strategic allies and China is the biggest threat to the United States' superpower status, it becomes more important than ever to better understand the history and the future of relations between the two countries. This piece explores various causes of Japan-China tensions and the strategic challenges that China poses to Japan.
  • Grey Matters, Issue 2, Fall 2021

    Shah, Mansi; Gibson, Eve (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: Down the Rabbit Hole

    Ataher, Aleena (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    A young girl, age seven, wakes up one more morning to find her limbs have grown dramatically overnight. Her arm, once a mere ten inches, now extends fifteen feet from her body, while her hands have shrunk to a size similar to that of a blueberry. Her leg, once a comfortable few feet from her body, has narrowed to just centimeters in width. Amid her confusion, she recalls a situation similar to her own in a story she once read about a girl who follows a rabbit down a hole: Lewis Caroll’s popular children’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. British psychiatrist Dr. John Todd noticed this same resemblance during the 1950s when six of his adolescent patients came to him complaining of migraines and epileptic episodes, simultaneously reporting symptoms parallel to Alice’s experiences.
  • Brain in Harmony: The Role of Music in Rehabilitation of People with Multiple Sclerosis

    Gibson, Eve (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Imagine you are running a marathon. You are on your last mile, struggling to keep a steady pace as your body starts to feel the exhaustion from a prolonged exertion of energy. You try your best to keep up with the person in front of you, but it is not enough. Instead, you choose to focus on the music playing on someone's speaker nearby. The strong beat influences you to synchronize with the music, matching each stride to the beat, creating a steady running pace. Focusing solely on the synchronization of your running to the music, a wave of energy fills your body and melts away the exhaustion you were feeling earlier. Before you know it, the last mile flies by and you cross the finish line, coming back to your body. This instinctive synchronization shows the impact of music on neurological and physical functioning. By uncovering the neurological mechanisms behind this synchronization process, clinicians can further explore possible treatment methods that utilize music to benefit individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Music-based interventions engage the whole brain which has the potential to facilitate neuroplastic changes and rehabilitation of people with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) through rhythmic neural entrainment.
  • Machine Learning Applications to the Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Diseases

    Post, Cristen (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Imagine you are enjoying a game of Pictionary with your family. As the picturist, you pick up a card from the deck. The card reads “umbrella” as you flip it over. You quickly start sketching an umbrella as the sand timer begins its one minute countdown. As you draw, a family member analyzes the drawing to guess the word. This game of Pictionary is analogous to machine learning, which is a type of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is broadly defined as the use of computer algorithms in a way that imitates critical analysis and thinking analogous to humans. Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows computer algorithms to make accurate predictions based on a set of data. As children, we are shown pictures of objects, including umbrellas, and are taught that the image of an umbrella correlates to the word umbrella. This is the process of learning. Having seen umbrellas multiple times, our brains learn to associate the image with the word and can now recognize umbrellas. Similar to how our brains learn, machine learning allows for a set of computer algorithms (also known as a model) to learn by being shown a set of data and taught the patterns among it. The model can then make predictions based on a new set of data by applying the patterns it learned. As artificial intelligence (AI) improves efficiency and accuracy, it is emerging as a powerful tool to aid in providing solutions in multiple complex fields. Medicine is an example of a field that AI is used for, particularly the areas of diagnosis and treatment. Since neurodegenerative diseases at present have no cures, early diagnosis and avoiding misdiagnosis are crucial to ensuring patients have a good quality of life [3]. This article will investigate the application of machine learning techniques to the diagnosis and treatment planning of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Focal Dystonia: The Root Causes Underpinning the Yips

    Gibson, Eve (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Cases of the yips have popped up from time to time in all different sports from MLB pitchers suddenly not being able to find the strike zone to professional golfers missing very short putts. A theory proposed by researchers to explain the yips is a motor dysfunction known as focal dystonia [2]. Dystonia describes a wide variety of movement disorders which are defined by intermittent or constant muscle contractions that create irregular and repeated movements [3]. It is worth noting that the yips affect not only gymnasts and golfers, but also a wide variety of skilled professionals, as the yips target fine motor skills and muscle memory [4]. The name of the phenomenon and the affected body regions vary depending on the area of expertise of the individual affected by this dystonia. Amongst golfers it is known as the yips, for professional gymnasts it is the twisties, and professional musicians call it musician’s dystonia [5]. What happens when the mind gets in the way of the body? Severe performance anxiety may be a catalyst for the yips. Psychological stress manifesting in muscular defects makes finding a treatment plan difficult and case specific. If the yips is not purely psychological, but is a motor control disorder, then how does a healthcare professional go about treating the symptoms?
  • Running on Empty: How COVID Has Affected Our Social Skills

    Kohol, Jaya (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Being away from others can impact our state of mind. The lack of social interaction may invite feelings of isolation and loneliness. But, what does it look like on a biopsychosocial level when one experiences prolonged isolation? Scientists have taken a deep dive into discovering what this does to our minds. With lockdown restrictions being enforced across the world, incidences of psychosocial problems, which affect the individual and their social group, have increased.Isolation due to COVID-19 has had several negative effects on the population, but has especially put a strain on our social skills. This article will explore how COVID has impacted the way we communicate and will communicate with others.
  • Discoveries in the Genetics of Psychiatric Disorders

    Sigler, Danni (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    What makes schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders different from one another? Conceptually, both are thought to arise from early changes in brain development, and thus belong to the broader category of neurodevelopmental conditions [1]. Today, a particular neurodevelopmental or psychiatric diagnosis is defined by its specific symptomatology – the sum and constellation of an individual’s troubling behaviors and experiences.It was only in the past few decades that scientists have been able to study the biological origin of such neurodevelopmental disorders by examining their genetic contributions. This has been a rapidly advancing area of research and medicine. In certain cases, genetic diagnoses can now help understand and treat individuals with developmental conditions based on their specific genetic profile, in a more personalized and sophisticated fashion than symptom-based diagnoses alone could allow. Since an accurate and informative diagnosis is the cornerstone of good clinical decision making, it is important to acknowledge how advances in genetics are now enriching the diagnosis of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders.
  • Step Aside Suboxone, There's a New Treatment in Town

    Gitlevich, Rebecca (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Though the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the fabric of American society in the span of less than two years, the far more insidious opioid epidemic has been slowly picking the nation apart for much longer. Declared a public health emergency by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2017, the epidemic has claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people in the United States of America. Ibogaine can not only protect the body from opioids’ dangerous physical effects, but also help break the deadly cycle of addiction. Rather than sideline its use, the neuroscience community should focus on improving ibogaine’s safety and incorporating it into current rehabilitation therapy to create holistic, augmented recovery plans.
  • Studying Into a Sleep Disorder

    Jozwik, Matthew (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Most students assume that fighting sleep to cram in extra study time is a harmless venture; however, it may in fact be more serious than most people ever think to consider if it becomes habitual. The issue of troubled sleep extends well beyond staying up late one night to prepare for an exam. Disturbances in sleep and poor sleep quality appear to be present in high percentages among college students, and this article will investigate the correlation between college life and sleep disorders/disturbances, as well as effects on academic and everyday performance.
  • The Use of Eyewitness Testimony as Evidence in Criminal Cases

    Shah, Pushti (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Eyewitness testimony in court is shown to highly sway the opinion of jurors. Jurors trust a confident eyewitness and believe they are telling the truth and that their testimony is accurate [1]. Therefore, it is important that the individuals allowed to testify are accurate in their recollections. The enhanced ability to extract and examine DNA and the widespread usage of DNA as evidence in recent years has exonerated innocent individuals convicted of crimes that occurred before forensic DNA evidence was well understood. Out of those exonerated by DNA evidence, 75% were sentenced based on faulty eyewitness testimony [2]. Stress conditions significantly impact how memories are stored and how well they can later be recalled [3]. Therefore, the investigator questioning style must take stress levels and type of event witnessed into consideration. This has the potential to inform eye witness interviewing techniques and thereby improve the reliability of testimony, ultimately reducing the number of wrongful convictions.
  • The Laughing Brain: The Neuroscience Behind Comedy

    Sposit, Chelsea (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Imagine yourself sitting in front of your television watching Saturday Night Live (SNL). Michael Che just blurted a line on the Weekend Update segment “the CDC [is] warning people not to eat raw cookie dough because it may contain germs that cause diarrhea, but on the bright side, you can eat cookie dough without gaining weight!” [1]. Not much thought goes into your laughter– as it is an innate physical reaction that comes as naturally as crying [2]. But, have you ever wondered why that line evoked such a reaction from you, but not from your mom who was also watching the show alongside you? In the neuroscientific community, there is a dearth of knowledge on the science behind comedy [3]. Following that intrigue, this article will investigate the neuroscience behind laughter and comedy by utilizing existing research to foster a strong understanding of this topic and potential areas to be investigated in the future.
  • Cultural Biases Surrounding the Diagnoses of Mental Illness

    Moola, Esther (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Being biased is a part of human nature. Humans have shown biases throughout history with the creation of distinct stereotypes and reputations for groups of people. Biases in a society can be considered a part of the functioning of that society, until it negatively affects the health and well-being of the individual. Not only recognizing, but also terminating biases is one of the most prominent issues in the field of medicine. How can a medical professional give a proper diagnosis based on the patient if they maintain their personal biases towards the patient’s race, ethnicity, cultural group, or economic standing? It is the biases of the medical professional that contribute to an unjust health system that lacks holistic understanding of the patient. In order to remove these biases when stepping into a medical building, a medical professional must not only recognize the unique background of a patient, but must also determine what biases they as an individual have towards any aspects of that background.
  • Social Media and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

    Sigler, Danni (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    The prevalence of social media in today’s society has increased greatly over the past ten years, especially amongst adolescents who are growing up with the internet and media influencing how they view themselves and the world around them. Social media’s uprise has not only influenced society but also mental health. This influence can be more detrimental at a young age because the adolescent brain is still developing. It is also at this time where symptoms of mental illness, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), can begin to develop [1]. It is important to notice the effects media has on adolescents’ mental health during this developmental moment in their lives. This increased presence of social media could potentially increase the severity of Body Dysmorphic Disorder symptoms.
  • Trapped Within

    Armstrong, Bridget (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    Imagine you hear someone talking to your loved ones, “I’m sorry…. their chance of survival is small”. What is this? What's going on? ‘Maybe this is a dream’, you start to think to yourself as you try to wake yourself up. You are unsuccessful in waking up, and you still see complete darkness. You start to hear a doctor talk to your family about ending life support. You are conscious, afraid, your heart is racing, and to make matters worse, you realize you cannot move or speak. “How can I tell them that I am still here and alive?” you say to yourself in your head. This is merely a glimpse of what locked-in syndrome may feel like. If you have ever experienced or heard of sleep paralysis, where you are conscious, but unable to move your body, except your eyes, then you can begin to appreciate what individuals living with locked-in syndrome experience continuously. Instead of your experience lasting for a few minutes, like sleep paralysis, locked-in syndrome could be something you are trapped in for the rest of your life. This article examines the world of locked-in syndrome, its etiologies, types of locked-in syndrome, and what diagnosis/treatment looks like.
  • Is Myelin Repair Possible?

    George, Caroline (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2022-01)
    In the body, myelin is the coating over the axons, the “wires'' carrying our body’s signals. The insulator around the wires acts the same way myelin acts as an insulator in the brain. The signals in the neurons of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) become slowed and unprotected as their axons lose the coating that protects them. MS is an incurable demyelinating disease, where patients can experience weakened motor function, pain, impaired memory and other cognitive issues. MS patients endure such degeneration because their central nervous system cells lose the ability to communicate quickly. However, scientists may have discovered a drug that allows myelin production regardless of the presence of toxic proteins; this article will investigate the neuroscience behind Tolebrutinib as well as its results and limitations.
  • Out of Focus: The Science of Brain Fog

    George, Caroline (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    For some that were infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), symptoms of the virus remain long after their initial illness, in what is known as ‘long COVID’. The term ‘long COVID’ was first coined by Elisa Perego, who talked about her experiences with lingering COVID-19 symptoms after her recovery on Twitter [1]. Medically, a person is given the diagnosis of long COVID-19 if their symptoms last for four weeks and cannot be explained by any other cause [2]. Currently, it is unknown why this illness occurs in some patients, but not others. Those with long COVID tend to experience a variety of symptoms, including brain fog. Brain fog, medically known as clouding of consciousness [3], is used to describe difficulties focusing and thinking that is sluggish [4]. While the relation between COVID and brain fog is currently unknown, what we know now about brain fog can help us to figure out why this link occurs and ways to treat this.
  • Neuroscience Behind Anxiety: Cognitive Effects Across Anxiety Disorders

    Barron, Molly (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    It’s normal to feel anxious about everyday stressors, like the first day of school, getting a tattoo, or finances. But at a certain point, anxiety can become much more than just a worrisome feeling. Clinical anxiety is an apprehensive expectation or an excessive worry that remains constant and is difficult to control [1]. The distinction between anxiety and clinical anxiety is important to point out. To say you have clinical anxiety, diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, is to say that anxiety causes significant distress or impairment in daily functioning [2]. It is important to note that mental illness carries a stigma in our society. Because of this, there are common misconceptions surrounding mental illnesses, namely anxiety. Clinical anxiety is as real as any physical illness—it should be treated with the same compassion. A major consequence of anxiety is that it can impair cognition, otherwise known as “information processing” in the brain [3]. Specific areas of cognition affected by clinical anxiety may include attention/control, memory, executive functioning, sensory-perceptual processing, etc. [3]. The highlight of this analysis will be the effects of clinical anxiety on attention specifically. By examining the relationship between clinical anxiety and cognition, we are able to address a common symptom of anxiety. With the help of applicable scientific findings, the goal of this article is to unpack the altered cognitive performance brought on by clinical anxiety.

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