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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Public Health & Health Science Division, ULAB

There are 21 publications in this collection, published between 2021 and 2022.
Research Publications, 2020-2021 (13)

Maternal Mortality Rates and their Correlation to Food Deserts

Maternal mortality is defined as the number of deaths related to complications during or after childbirth. Food deserts are defined as regions that have limited access to affordable and healthy food options. This study utilized R to analyze data from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service’s Food Access Research Atlas and maternal mortality rates from the UCSF paper “Maternal Morbidity and Outcomes Including Mortality, California 2001-2006.” to search for an association between the two variables. The research atlas maps areas in Northern California with low access to grocery stores, as well as provides information on food access throughout the United States using census tracts. The independent variable in this study is food access and the dependent variable is maternal mortality. After analyzing the data collected using R, correlation graphs were created and intercepts and R values were identified. This information was used to further understand the relationship between food access and maternal mortality. For this study, we focused our scope on the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma, which are located in Northern California.

Effects of SARS-CoV-2 B1.1.7 Spike Mutations on Vaccine Efficacy

This is a literature review on the effects of spike mutations in the B1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant and its effect on vaccine efficacy. This paper has organized the pertinent literature on the researched effects of vaccine efficacy and explores a number of mutations in the spike protein. The search was conducted on PubMed and the criteria for inclusion was based on relevance to specifically mutations in the B1.1.7 variant, being a primary source, conducted after January of 2021, and its reproducibility and pertinence to the research topic. There are 16 fully extracted studies discussed in the results, with a brief overview of the conducted experiment in relation to the papers’ conclusions. The strengths of this paper are distilling the molecular methods of these individual papers and being able to compare and contrast diverse experiments on the same mutations. However, due to the diversity of experiments discussed in this paper, the landscape of SARS-CoV-2 mutations and vaccine efficacy are difficult to distill. The discussed papers were evaluated on the possible threats of the mutations and the comparable effect of known mutations. This is an important step for evaluating transmissibility and virulence. This literature review further shows the need to have a standard set of experiments that can be used to evaluate the effect of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants and its effect on vaccine efficacy in order to make

Monotherapy vs Combination Therapy for the Management of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition resulting from the death of neural cells that causes a deprivation in cognitive functionality, communication, and motor skills in patients. The condition has an inordinate impact on older populations, with 90% of all cases affecting those 65 years or older. As the most common type of dementia, comprising approximately 70% of all dementia cases, Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5 million people in the United States. The rate of the condition’s extent among the population is increasing exponentially, with the number of people enduring Alzheimer’s estimated to triple by 2060 in the United States.

Due to the widespread impact of Alzheimer’s, developing treatments that govern the symptoms of the condition is an immense priority for researchers all over the globe. In the spirit of the venture to aid patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, also known as AD, researchers have in recent years been testing several monotherapies, as well as the combination of these drugs to examine the most viable treatment plan for Alzheimer’s for several stages, ranging from mild to moderate to severe AD. Monotherapies are selective agents with a single therapeutic action that may or may not have other less-significant side effects. Combination therapies encompass multimodal agents including drug cocktails and multifunctional molecules that combine multiple mechanisms of therapeutic action which may have a wider range of side effects. This paper will explore the effects of combining monotherapies and the efficacy of several drugs on Alzheimer’s patients by examining donepezil, memantine, the combination of donepezil and memantine, rivastigmine, rasagiline, and ladostigil.

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Research Publications, 2021-2022 (8)

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Children and Adults: A Review of the Differences in Biology, Treatment, and Prognosis

This paper analyzes the difference between Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in adults and children. Specifically, it discusses the biological differences in cancer subtypes seen between these two groups, how they affect the possible treatment options, and how these differences play a role in the disparity in prognostic outcomes. In addition, this paper also examines how the age differences play a role in risk management for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

A Review of the Relation Between Music and Plasticity

Although music has been called the universal language, its unifying effects aside, music seems to be universal in a particular biological phenomenon: plasticity. Music experience (defined as either playing, listening to, or creating music) has garnered responsibility for a broad range of processes that can ultimately be unified under the broad umbrella of ‘plasticity’ (Strait, 2012). Plasticity can take many forms and can be developed through numerous avenues. Music is able to play a part in many of those avenues. From the molecular to the individual level, and from the clinical to the basic-science realms, the effects of music on plasticity are intriguing, and its implication in numerous medical settings or neurological functions cannot be understated.

A Literature Review on the Implementation of CRISPR Systems and Other Biomedical Tools on Therapeutic Interventions against Tuberculosis

Due to antimicrobial resistance, current treatments for tuberculosis (TB) are very limited and have very low efficacy. Existing therapeutics are inadequate for the ongoing epidemic of drug resistance TB. The evolutionary push of mutations created is destabilizing global TB control, thereby needing new novel therapies for treatment and screening purposes. In this paper, we propose two potential pathways that target TB through IFN-I signaling and the AhR pathway which allows for more accurate and efficient early screening of TB. Targeting these pathways impacts TB outcome by increasing treatment efficacy and strengthening host defense. IFN-I signaling and the AHR pathway can be seen as potential targets for host directed therapies.

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