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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Clinical and Self-Diagnosed Mental Health During Covid-19

Clinical and Self-Diagnosed Mental Health During Covid-19

(2022)

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues that we face today, and yet they are often not addressed or treated insufficiently. They can lead to various other mental disorders and even impact physical health. Previous research conducted on this topic focused on the social determinants of mental health as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our study aims to determine the impacts that social factors in addition to the pandemic have on individuals’ perceptions of mental health and their decision to seek clinical or personal treatment. A survey sent to students at the University of California, Berkeley was used to gauge the magnitude of anxiety/depression that respondents experienced as a result of their individual experiences with regards to collegiate life and the COVID-19 pandemic. It was found that participants that had doctors who thoroughly explained the effects of medications instilled more trust in their patients, which led to greater compliance with treatment prescriptions and higher satisfaction. The compassion of instructors also played a role in alleviating mental health issues during stressful periods in students’ lives. Overall, there was a wide range of opinions as responses were affected by many individual circumstances.

Cover page of Examining the Interaction of Genes and Epidemiology on Castleman Disease

Examining the Interaction of Genes and Epidemiology on Castleman Disease

(2022)

Castleman Disease is a rare disorder in which a person experiences an overgrowth of cells in the lymph nodes. Research on Castleman Disease is, at the moment, very elementary due to the lack of patient population size and previous research. Currently, the only research on Castleman disease covers understanding classifications of the disorder, possible causes ranging from immune deficiencies to cytokines, and genetics (Jiang et al., 2020). Because of the disease’s rarity, scientists have not conducted much research; thus, there is still no cure for this disease, and its cause is largely unknown. We analyzed research publications from sources such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and NIH. This paper will study the development of Castleman Disease in relation to the interplay between genetic and epidemiological factors, as evidenced by the associations between Castleman Disease and specific DNA mutations, HIV, and HHV-8.

Cover page of Effect of Psychiatric Disorders on Pain Perception: A Literature Review

Effect of Psychiatric Disorders on Pain Perception: A Literature Review

(2022)

Our paper discusses findings on the correlation between pain perception and psychiatric disorders. The psychiatric disorders we chose to study are Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Major Depression, and Parkinson’s Disease. We performed a literature review on 30 articles, with at least 6 studies per illness. We hypothesized that pain perception is altered by psychiatric disorders. Whether pain perception was increased or decreased depended on the type of mental illness. We reviewed research articles that induced pain in healthy controls and patients and recorded the difference in pain tolerance and threshold. The pain stimulus varied from electrical, emotional (photo), thermal, and ischemic. Our findings showed that for schizophrenia and bipolar depression there is a very strong case for a decreased pain sensitivity on account of the disorder. Depression had more of a nuanced result as thermal pain decreased pain sensitivity, ischemic pain increased pain sensitivity, and electrical stimulation was inconclusive. Parkinson’s Disease showed a generalized increase in pain sensitivity on account of the disorder itself, but the correlation was not very concrete. Finally, anxiety did not have any significant differences in general but PTSD specifically had an increase in pain sensitivity. As a result of our research, we found that our hypothesis was correct: pain perception was altered across all psychiatric disorders surveyed. Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, and Schizophrenia resulted in general decreases in pain perception while Anxiety and Parkinson’s disease showed increases in pain perception.

Cover page of A Review of the Relation Between Music and Plasticity

A Review of the Relation Between Music and Plasticity

(2022)

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.

Cover page of RT-LAMP AND CRISPR APPLICATIONS IN COVID-19 DETECTION

RT-LAMP AND CRISPR APPLICATIONS IN COVID-19 DETECTION

(2022)

SARS-CoV-2, more commonly known as COVID-19, is a novel coronavirus that has spread on a global scale since its emergence in late 2019. The ongoing pandemic fueled researchers to study new COVID-19 detection methods that are more efficient and accurate alongside new mutations that are coming to light. COVID-19 testing has been heavily dominated by the utilization of polymerase chain reactions (PCR). However, PCR testing often takes an extended period of time before individuals receive their results and requires the precision of skilled personnel to handle scientific equipment and conduct readings. PCR testing requires a large number of resources to conduct, making it difficult for individuals within the general community to conveniently and quickly get tested in the case of close exposure. Thus, researchers around the world have been looking for alternative methods of COVID-19 detection that not only are fast and convenient for test-takers but also maintain the same degree of accuracy. Researchers studying genome editing and subsequent CRISPR-Cas systems have found applications to aid in COVID-19 detection. The CRISPR-Cas system coupled with pre-existing Reverse Transcriptase Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) methods was discovered to be a viable means of detecting COVID-19 in humans. The combined RT-LAMP and CRISPR-Cas system form of COVID-19 testing proves useful in practice because it requires less machinery, fewer trained individuals to monitor the reactions, and is an overall simpler procedure to perform in larger numbers; subsequently making this new form of COVID-19 detection more viable on a worldwide level. This discussion intends to explore the different experiments on utilizing this new and effective COVID-19 detection method. The drawbacks and limitations of the experiment will also be outlined, as well as implementing this detection method in hopes to revolutionize the future of worldwide disease detection.

Cover page of Computational Analysis of Administered COVID-19 Vaccines in California Based on Racial Demographics

Computational Analysis of Administered COVID-19 Vaccines in California Based on Racial Demographics

(2022)

Our study aims to analyze COVID-19 vaccine administration in California based on various racial demographics using data collected from the California Open Data Portal (“California Grants Portal,” n.d). This analysis will focus on the months following the CDC’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna (Spikevax), and Janssen (J&J). Our goal is to examine COVID-19 vaccine equity and accessibility for various racial demographic groups in California, including American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, Black people or African Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders or other Pacific Islanders, and Whites. In our research study, we found that Whites were administered all COVID-19 vaccines at a much higher rate in the early months of the CDC’s EUA in comparison to other racial demographic groups in California. In addition, another significant finding was how other racial demographic groups, including American Indian or Alaska Natives, Asians, Black or African Americans, and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders did not reach the same level of administered COVID-19 vaccines between December 2020 to December 2021, whereas Latinos did reach that same level but only after almost a year following the CDC’s EUA, approximately around Sepetember 2021 to December 2021. Furthermore, the results of our research suggest larger societal implications regarding vaccine equity and accessibility.

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

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

(2022)

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.

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

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

(2022)

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.