public posts

The select public posts from syn·op·sis, written and reviewed by iSci students at McMaster University. Each post is interdisciplinary in nature, and a wide variety of subject matter is covered. So sit back, relax, and start learning.

Those Cancer-Sniffing Fruit Flies

Over the last few decades, the importance of early cancer detection has come to the forefront of the medical field’s attention. Researchers are continuously trying to develop new diagnostic imaging techniques that can better detect cancer. Recently, animals have been of particular interest in this research due to their ability to differentiate between cancerous and Read the full article…


Artificial Intelligence: Siri-ously.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a fascinating, faulty mirror of human consciousness. It is able to demonstrate immense intellect, but cannot reflect human intuition or emotion. We tend to associate AI with robots from science-fiction movies, but it is a controversial reality in modern society that is constantly probed by human psychologists and computer engineers. Furthermore, Read the full article…



Urine: The Unsung Hero

In today’s society, humans are impatient. Since everything is available at the push of a button, they find it difficult to wait for anything, let alone time-consuming medical tests. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that everything currently available was created through thousands of years of experimentation. There are many tests that have been refined Read the full article…


Efflux Pumps as Drug Targets

FIgure 3: the RND efflux pump complex in a gram negative bacteria.

Multidrug resistance (MDR) has become a more and more prevalent issue within the last few months, as authorities say humanity has reached the post-antibiotic era, as opposed to approaching it (PBS, 2013). While currently considered to be an everyday commodity, antibiotics are important tools that form the basis of modern medicine, as they are essential Read the full article…



The Concreteness Effect: A Comparison of Apples and Facts

Figure 1: A Google search of the term “apple” yields tangible images, much like thinking the term “apple” would yield in your mind’s eye.

  Apple.   Fact.   Close your eyes and think about the two.   Which one of these words was easier to visualize in your mind when you read them? The answer is typically apple, or rather any concrete noun. More abstract terms, like “fact,” “truth,” and “reality,” are much more difficult to picture in Read the full article…


Sleep It Out

Figure 1: This image shows the convective flow of CSF though the para-arterial space, out through the (AQP4) water channels into the interstitial space. This drives the waste into ISF into the para-venous space which is taken out of the brain (Nedergaard, 2013).

On average humans spend a third of their lives sleeping (Underwood, 2013). Sleep deprivation had been shown to lead to poor decision-making, impaired learning and heightened risk of migraines and epileptic attacks. Even more severe, chronic and complete insomnia has been seen to result in death in humans (Herculano-Houzel, 2013). Yet for something so vital, Read the full article…




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