• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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?
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Neuroprosthetics and the Bionic Human

      Jozwik, Matthew; Gitlevich, Rebecca (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
      Historically, certain conditions have been thought of as untreatable and incurable, such as blindness and paralysis. As a result, any cases of recovery from these conditions were viewed as miraculous and unexplainable. It has not been until recently that mechanisms for many of these conditions have been extensively studied so that treatments have become not only possible, but appear increasingly inevitable. Through detailed research and experimentation, scientists and engineers have been able to develop treatments for these injuries previously thought to be untreatable. For example, the development of artificial limb interfaces has enabled motion [1] and facilitated sensation [2] in patients with spinal cord injury, while the development of spherical artificial eyes has the potential ability to give sight to the blind [3]. These treatments, which combine natural neuronal processing with prosthetic devices, are referred to as neuroprostheses. Although research for these devices is still ongoing, early results are promising, and may soon give rise to permanent solutions for these conditions.
    • Musical Memories in Alzheimer’s Patients

      Swanchara, Melissa; Gitlevich, Rebecca (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
      Alzheimer’s disease erases the past and damages the present and the future. Those who suffer the nightmare of forgetting the life they lived and the people who surround them, experience sheer confusion, frustration, and agitation. The development of learned helplessness creates a dark future for those struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. There may be one thing that could ground these patients even after severe loss of cognitive function: music. Recent studies have revealed the ability of the brain in Alzheimer’s patients to recall musical memories, which led to further investigation of the positive cognitive and emotional effects of music therapy for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
    • 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.
    • Grey Matters, Issue 2, Fall 2021

      Shah, Mansi; Gibson, Eve (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
    • 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.
    • Managed sheep grazing can improve soil quality and carbon sequestration at solar photovoltaic sites

      Towner, Elizabeth; Karas, Tom; Janski, Jake; Macknick, Jordan; Ravi, Sujith; Towner|0000-0003-1618-2411; Ravi|0000-0002-0425-9373 (2022-01-13)
      Solar energy development is land intensive and recent studies have demonstrated the negative impacts of large-scale solar deployment on vegetation and soil. Co-locating vegetation with managed grazing on utility scale solar PV sites could provide a sustainable solution to meeting the growing food and energy demands, along with providing several co-benefits. However, the impacts of introducing grazing on soil properties at vegetated solar PV sites are not well understood. To address this knowledge gap, we investigated the impacts of episodic sheep grazing on soil properties (micro and macro nutrients, carbon storage, soil grain size distribution) at six commercial solar PV sites (MN, USA) and compared that to undisturbed control sites. Results indicate that implementing managed sheep grazing significantly increased total carbon storage (10-80%) and available nutrients, and the magnitude of change correlated with the grazing frequency (1-5 years) at the study sites. Furthermore, it was found that sites that experienced consecutive annual grazing treatments benefitted more than intermittently grazed sites. The findings will help in designing resource conserving integrated solar energy and food/fodder systems, along with increasing soil quality and carbon sequestration.
    • 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.