Archive: January 2021

Social Initiatives

What were you doing one year ago today? Going skiing with friends? Meeting with a study group? Enjoying a warm Beaver Tail? It’s hard not to compare what we were doing last year to our current lives with pandemic restrictions. Parts of Canada have returned to normal, whereas others are seeing lockdowns as strict as last spring. In this article you will find diary entries from Cara, Max, Marie and Advik who are all facing struggles of their own. Read attentively to try and find the sources of joy hidden in each passage.

Supporting small businesses has always been a priority for many of us, but this is particularly true during the COVID-19 pandemic as many businesses have struggled to keep afloat. Melissa Zuker, founder of Toronto Market Company has made this process significantly easier for consumers in Toronto, as her company has successfully helped connect customers with local businesses both before and during the pandemic. In this article, we have interviewed her on her intentions behind starting her business, the impacts of this organization, as well as how she has adapted to the global pandemic of COVID-19.

 

Scientific News

Nanotechnology is the utilization and control of matter at an atomic or molecular level. Nanoscale devices can easily enter most cells, and some can even move out of blood vessels while circulating the body. Because of their easy access to many areas of the body, nanoscale devices have demonstrated potential in detecting diseases and delivering treatments; researchers have been examining the manner in which nanotechnology can be utilized in cancer treatment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust us into an alternate universe, to say the least. With the global population in isolation, the need to incorporate  masks in our everyday life, our withdrawal from our regular environments and stimuli as well as many troubling changes in our everyday life, psychologists believe that the situation is not only causing alterations in our anxiety and stress levels, but also changing the way we dream – from their peculiarity, the amount of dreams we have to how much we remember them.

SARS and COVID-19 are diseases that have many similarities ー in fact, the names of the viruses that cause them differ only by one number! However, they also have a multitude of differences, in terms of symptoms, differences in transmission, technologies, and pandemic durations. In this article, we discuss these aspects of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV2, in addition to generally explaining the definition of a coronavirus and how one like COVID-19 can become so much more dangerous to humans than the common cold.

Hypoxia is a dangerous symptom of SARS-CoV-2. This occurs when the body’s tissues do not receive enough oxygen, leading to irreparable damage if gone undetected for too long. Hypoxia is typically indicated by distress or shortness of breath. However, COVID-19 patients do not display any breathing difficulties despite depleted oxygen levels. This is why the phenomenon is known as “silent”—the symptom is not apparent until it becomes deadly. Although the exact cause of silent hypoxia is unknown, it is speculated that SARS-CoV-2 causes air sacs in the lungs to collapse, reducing oxygen levels but still maintaining the lung’s normal ability to expel carbon dioxide. Early detection of silent hypoxia, which can be done through devices like a pulse oximeter, prevents patients from having to be treated with highly invasive procedures when their condition worsens.

Mental illnesses are disorders of the brain. However, what many fail to recognize is that they can have a significant impact on physical health as well. Studies have shown that mental illnesses are linked to hormone imbalances, disrupted digestive system, and heart disease among others. Therefore, it’s crucial that we continue the conversation around mental health to fight the stigma and support those in need.

Informally known as the happy chemical in our brain, serotonin is a key hormone that helps stabilize our emotions, and wellbeing. It has an impact on your entire body, helping with eating, sleeping, and digestion. Serotonin also helps to reduce depression, regulate anxiety, and maintain bone health.

When a sample has finished processing, the individual who took the test will either receive a negative or positive result. These results are most accurate and reliable; however, due to contamination and a need for quality control, inaccurate test results do occur. Receiving a false-positive test means that you’re wrongfully diagnosed, and a false-negative test refers to you being wrongfully dismissed. Both can do damage to our communities, with the most dangerous case being false-negatives. False-negatives can easily result in an asymptomatic spread of the virus as the patient is not self-isolating when they should be. False positives can harm as well, causing the individual to be more fearful, doubt themselves, and lose income due to self-isolation requirements. More globally, false-positives impact our financial health, epidemiological logistics, and institutions (school closures, etc.).

In education and, by extension, the entire world, intelligence is defined by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. With COVID-19  health measures in effect, certain types of learners (i.e., kinesthetic learners) are at an enormous disadvantage. In order to better understand why there is such a large displacement with academic achievement right now, we must understand intelligence as a concept. Looking at comprehensive studies like the Minnesota Twins, or the Transracial Adoption Study, we can infer that when placed in the correctly suited environment, a student’s full potential can be reached. Online school puts a large quantity of students (especially grade school-aged children) at an inequitable disadvantage. This is another trickle effect that the virus has had on our society.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses and one of the two genera belonging to the family Coronaviridae, that cause upper-respiratory tract illnesses and intestinal infections. Four of the seven known human coronaviruses only cause mild to moderate disease. The other three, that emerged in the past 20 years, are highly contagious and lead to widespread illness and death worldwide. As we all know, the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 that caused COVID-19 has upended our daily lives and changed how we learn, work, and interact. This article discusses the origin, evolution, and spread of these viruses, answering the significant question of: how did human coronaviruses arise and evolve, and are they still evolving?

Hustle culture is a social standard. More often than not, people feel that they have to work themselves to the maximum capacity in order to achieve this standard, and this can lead to unhealthy schedules, unreasonable expectations, and lack of self-care. On top of this, several studies from all over the world have shown that there are numerous negative effects to psychological and physiological functioning when people neglect the importance of a work-life balance.

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists, researchers, and medical professionals from around the world have been working tirelessly to develop a vaccine to combat the virus. Although there have been many significant developments and successes with this process, many are still skeptical about getting the COVID vaccine. A survey shows that over 10% of respondents say they are "afraid of needles" and prefer to take an orally administered drug. This article will discuss the key differences between an antiviral drug and a vaccine and which method is more effective in combating viruses.

 

Vaccine Updates

It takes 70% of people to be vaccinated and immune to achieve herd immunity for the remaining 30%. Given the 94 to 95% efficacy of the current vaccines, Canada would need to vaccinate at least another 27 407 546  people to reach this level of communal immunity. However, how will we achieve that level of mass vaccination when some 60% of people are unwilling to take the vaccine? What is driving this vaccine reluctance? John Mukherjee from Canadian pharmaceutical company Biodextris and the CEO of Emergence Creative, Raj Pannu,  discuss Vaccine Reluctancy and its Effects on Vaccine Roll Out. Being at the frontiers of vaccine development and vaccine rollout, both Mukherjee and Pannu were able to break down what vaccine reluctance towards the COVID-19 vaccines entails and what it means for public health.

 

Advice/Tips

As always, the new year comes with a spurt of motivation and a whole wave of new year’s resolutions. However, studies show that around 80% of new year’s resolutions fail simply because they are not designed in a way that primes success. Creating a goal is one thing, but making a plan and following through with it requires organization and commitment. With these steps in mind, positive changes in life will come more naturally.

As a student, getting a job can be a new and difficult task to tackle, and it’s important to make informed decisions when it comes to taking on a part-time job. This article explores both the pros and cons of student jobs, as well as a variety of tips surrounding the process of looking for and applying to jobs. Resumes, cover letters, references, interviews, and job-searching are all subjects that are covered in this guide.

Here at R2AC, we understand the important role that music plays in a student’s life. From stress management, to study aid and leisure, there is a genre out there suited for everyone. We’ve compiled a talent-filled list of recommendations that range from somber and down-cast to motivational and spiritually uplifting.

 
 

Other News

In this article, we interviewed Ashley Mo, a 15-year-old innovator who absolutely loves all STEM, especially emerging technologies. She explains some of her projects and her recent article about using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect asymptomatic COVID-19 infections, based off of research conducted at MIT. Ashley speaks of how she has gotten to where she currently is in her life as an innovator, as well as her current work writing articles about all things tech and future interests.

Would you ever try eating a bug? Although it may seem gross, entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, has been around for thousands of years. Today, around 1900 documented species of insects are eaten around the world. According to anthropologists, it was believed that insects provide human reproductive success, medicinal benefits, and in many cultures, were seen as delicacies. Despite the decline of this practice, especially in western cultures, insects are nutrient-rich and a far more sustainable food source than traditional livestock.

Through contact tracing and the spike in cases, medical and political officials have concluded that Canadian teens and young adults make up a considerable number of new cases. We understand that remaining in oscillation is far from ideal, but it is absolutely necessary. Those who are listening to the health guidelines feel the same way you do, but the longer you remain at home translates to a shorter wait time until things return to normal. By adhering to health guidelines, we’re that much closer to making more memories and experiencing life just as we used to.

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