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What We're Reading


Welcome back BMSA readers! We’ll be continuing on with a monthly WWR series for the 2020-2021 year, and this will be the first entry on that list. As always, enjoy our finest selection of articles for the most pleasurable of perusing—this time, there are more to choose from! Please email any suggestions or concerns to sdai32@uwo.ca, so that we can make the WWR series the best it can be.


A flesh-eating parasite carried by dogs is making its way to North America

Courtesy of The Conversation

Contributor Si-Cheng Dai


As if one infectious disease making its way across the globe wasn’t already enough, we have another that is making its appearance: leishmaniasis. The illness is caused by flesh-eating parasites known as Leishmania, and is transferred through sandfly bites. The disease is a serious onesome forms lead to intense scarring, and others to death. North America’s issue with leishmaniasis stems from its lax canine import laws, which allow dogs from tropical areas to enter borders with minimal documentation. The disease is zoonotic, meaning it is transferred from animals to humans, and man’s best friend is unfortunately also Leishmania’s best carrier. To stop the spread of leishmaniasis in its tracks, we need to develop an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms by which these parasites confer symptoms, create new drugs, and increase awareness of cases. The earlier we act, the better.


Dispute between telehealth giants heats up as Teladoc sues Amwell for patient infringement

Courtesy of Fiercehealthcare.com

Contributor Claire Millard


Monetary and injunctive relief is being sought by Teladoc under patient laws.


Telehealth company Teladoc, and telemedicine cart supplier Amwell, have recently engaged in a dispute concerning infringement on a number of Teladoc’s patients. This is the latest conflict in a series of issues that have been arising due to the increase in digital health care. Amwell, has been accused of infringing on Teladoc’s patients in relation to their telehealth carts. Teladoc is a major telehealth company that provides comprehensive virtual care to patients through the use of these carts which are digital scope and stethoscopes.The issue of intellectual property rights in the digital health space is the basis of Teladoc’s action and, I am sure, many more lawsuits to come in the growing age of technological advances.


Slice and dice: What COVID-19 does to the heart

Courtesy of healthing.ca

Contributor Sabrina Ke


Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has been regarded as just a respiratory infection. However, recent studies on the aftermath of a COVID-19 infection as well as its lesser-known symptoms and side effects reveal that COVID-19 is more complicated than just a simple lung disease. In particular, a study done by Gladstone Institue indicated that the virus has many symptoms and effects that could characterize it as a heart disease. When examining human heart cells infected with the SARS-COV-2 and heart tissues from deceased COVID-19 patients, the researchers made the alarming discovery that the muscle fibres required to keep the heart beating had been sliced into small fragments by the virus. The damage caused by the virus to the heart muscles makes it impossible for the heart to beat and function properly. One researcher goes as far as to say that “It’s the cell equivalent of being brain dead,”. Although much is still unknown about the virus, new studies on the virus hope to better understand and treat the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Schoolchildren Seem Unlikely to Fuel Coronavirus Surges, Scientists Say

Courtesy of The New York Times

Contributor Saniyah Qureshi 


The ongoing debate continues across politicians, researchers, and the general public regarding the decision to keep schools open and the consequent spike of covid-19 cases. Many feared that the reopenings of schools, whether it be full time or in a hybrid styled manner would ultimately stroke community transmission of the virus. However, according to data emerging from random testing conducted in the US and Britain, elementary schools appear to produce few infections as research supports that children under 10 are mostly unaffected by the virus. However, Dr. Michael Beacher confirms that this does not mean younger children avoid infection as he believes, the research is not reflective of children infected and transmission rates. It’s crucial to ensure that children are being prioritized, hence, whether to remain open or closed, the child’s development through social skills, and safety are all factors we must consider as well as incoming data of transmission rates. 


Why your brain falls for misinformation and how to avoid it 

Courtesy of The Future of Science In America: The Election Issue

Contributor Simi Juriasingani 


In the age of social media, misinformation is one of the most rampant problems being faced by humankind. This article by Dr. Gleb Tsipurky does a great job of summarizing some of the key tendencies and concepts that explain why our brains falls for misinformation. In addition to explaining ideas that may be familiar, such as confirmation bias and cognitive fluency, this piece explores several niche concepts that contribute to the spread of misinformation. The illusory truth effect and how it contributes to the struggle of overcoming implausible information that we have encountered repeatedly is particularly interesting. Additionally, this article highlights some easy principles that can help us avoid misinformation and is a must-read for anyone with an account on any social media platform. Adopting the truth-oriented behaviours outlined in this piece could really help limit the spread of misinformation. 


The Year of Blur: How isolation, monotony, and chronic stress are destroying our sense of time

Courtesy of The New York Times

Contributor: Nicole Lagace


Ever catch yourself struggling to figure out whether it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday? Turns out, it is more difficult to keep track of time due to the ways our lifestyles have changed due to Covid-19. This article highlights how the lack of event boundaries, which are major changes in our environment that cause our brains to compartmentalize one memory from another, can make it more difficult for our brain to process and store information as distinct events. Lucy Cheke, a psychologist at Cambridge University, states that the lack of pattern separation that occurs due to our more repetitive lifestyles causes our memories to blur. While our lives spent at home are much more monotonous, it is blanketed by a combination of ongoing chronic stressors that also muddle our sense of time. Between the global pandemic, adapting to online school, racial unrest, and the looming turbulent presidential election in the US, there is definitely a lot on everyones’ minds. Chronic stressors like these can push the mind to focus more on what it is perceiving in the present – which results in us feeling like we’re living day by day, stuck in limbo, without placing our current memories in the context of the past and the future. We now live in a world where the lines between our days become blurred, and the year feels both strangely long, and shorter than ever.



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