Science Simplified

Every visit to the doctor creates a new medical record. There’s documentation of the visit, the medications taken, medical procedures, and so much more. Medical records allow our doctors to track important information about their patients, and also allow patients to review their own medical history. Did you know that medical records can also be used for research?

In our last two blog posts in this series we covered the structure of a research article (part 1) and tips for critically reading a research article (part 2). In part 3 of this series, we are focusing on a few last tips for evaluating research articles. Are you reading a Research Article or a News Article? One of the first things you should think critically about when you read about a new research study or scientific discovery is whether you are reading the primary research article or a news article.

One of the biggest questions we have here at TESS is, “how does SLC13A5 Epilepsy lead to seizures and other neurological problems?” One way researchers are currently tackling this question is using a technique called RNA sequencing, or "RNAseq". In this article, we’ll talk all about RNAseq, what it is, how it’s performed, and why it’s relevant to SLC13A5 epilepsy.

Reading a scientific research article can be really daunting. Scientists who have studied a specific topic for many years are more likely to use “jargon” or very specific and complex terms that even scientists in other fields may not understand, let alone someone without a science background. So how do you begin approaching a research article you are interested in? Last month, we wrote a blog post about the anatomy of a research article, which is a great place to start—making sure you are familiar with all the parts and sections of the paper. Now, in this month’s blog, we will talk about how to approach reading and understanding those sections.

Have you ever wondered how to read a scientific paper? Reading a scientific paper, also called a research article, is different from reading a newspaper article. It can be intimidating to know what you are looking at because there are so many parts. Scientists spend a long time training to write and read these articles and it is not always obvious what each part is for, that’s what this blog is for! After reading this blog, you should be equipped to understand the anatomy of a research article—a first step to interpreting the information communicated within. A following blog post will cover how to critically evaluate a scientific research paper.

Scientists use a range of different model organisms, including animal models, to investigate research questions. Using animal models is critical to learn about diseases such as SLC13A5 Epilepsy. Scientists use animal models because they allow us to learn things we cannot learn from other methods. They also allow scientists to test potential new treatments to understand if the treatment would work in humans. Each animal model has its strengths and weaknesses. How do scientists decide which one to use? This article will review some animal models that are commonly used in research and why scientists may choose one over the other.

Have you ever wondered how our brains make sense of the world? The answer lies in the billions of specialized structures in our brain called neurons. Neurons are the fundamental building blocks for learning, memory, and movement.

Scientific research can be categorized as basic, translational, or clinical. Basic research is curiosity-driven and asks fundamental questions (How? What? Why?) about the core building blocks of life. The purpose of basic research is to understand how nature works. Translational research is more focused and applies information from basic research to ask how scientists can use this knowledge to improve human health. It takes basic facts of how life works and translates them for use in potential therapeutics. Clinical research takes the successes of translational research and tests whether they are safe and effective in treating disease in human clinical trials.

Our DNA is the foundational instruction manual that our bodies use to create everything: from our fingernails to our beating hearts. But how does DNA, a molecule not visible to the eye, have so much control over how our bodies are built and function?