Health Sciences

A focus on environmental inequities

A Penn symposium will confront issues of inequitable access to a clean and safe environment and the unequal burden borne by vulnerable communities, particularly low-income and underrepresented minority populations, when it comes to environmental threats.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Consuming alcohol leads to epigenetic changes in brain memory centers

What drives the biology behind alcohol cravings has remained largely unknown. A new Penn study shows how a byproduct of the alcohol breakdown produced mostly in the liver travels to the brain’s learning system and impacts behavior around environmental cues to drink.

Penn Today Staff

The science of sensations

To confront the ills of the opioid epidemic, scientists must develop a fundamental understanding of the biology of pain. Biologist Ishmail Abdus-Saboor’s work is setting the stage for screening alternative drugs and uncovering new pathways that an opioid-alternative could target.

Katherine Unger Baillie

Providing a ‘LIFT’ to first-generation med students

All new students face challenges in the transition to college, but for first-generation, low-income (FGLI) students, it’s a whole new world. Providing a community for these students helps counter feelings of isolation and the “impostor” syndrome that FGLI students may experience.

Penn Today Staff



In the News


WHYY (Philadelphia)

Dental school grads find it hard to beat back student debt

Dean Mark Wolff of the School of Dental Medicine said dental school tuition has increased because dentistry, in general, has gotten more expensive. “You used to get the X-rays in your mouth taken with film, put inside your mouth. Today, we put sensors inside the mouth, capture it directly into the computer,” he said. “Film used to cost a few dollars a pack. That sensor is a $7,000 sensor.”

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U.S. News & World Report

Antarctic study shows isolation, monotony may change the human brain

Alexander Stahn of the Perelman School of Medicine led a study that found a volume decrease in the hippocampi of explorers who spent 14 months at a research station in Antarctica. “It was an average of about 7%, which is really big in terms of brain changes,” he said.

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WHYY (Philadelphia)

Why mandated nurse-to-patient ratios have become one of the most controversial ideas in health care

Linda Aiken of the School of Nursing said that mandated nurse-to-patient ratios result in fewer complications, infections, and injuries, as well as lower mortality rates.

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The Washington Post

Do NAD-boosting supplements fight aging? Not according to current research

Joseph Baur of the Perelman School of Medicine said that while supplements claiming to increase NAD levels and improve longevity are unlikely to do harm, they’re ineffective when it comes to actually extending human life. “There have been several short-term clinical trials that have been mostly disappointing,” he said.

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Men’s Health

Wait, is it safe to take cold medicine when you’re breastfeeding?

Anna Graseck of the Perelman School of Medicine said, “Over-the-counter cold medicines are generally safe for breast feeding moms,” but warned that anything containing the decongestants pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can impact the milk supply.

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