26 episodes

Hey science nerds! Welcome to Beyond the Abstract, a science podcast dedicated to discussion of the coolest cutting edge, basic science research papers in a way that just about anyone can understand. We're your hosts, Derek and Ellen, two MD/PhD students at the University of Pennsylvania who are passionate about science communication and bridging the gap between science and medicine.

In each episode, we’ll dive into a paper and talk about the experiments these scientists did, what it means for the future of research, and even potential impacts on human health and medicine. We've invited experts in these fields to help us understand and dissect these complicated but impactful papers.

We can't wait to share all this cool science with you.

Disclaimer: This podcast is for informational purposes only and NOT intended as medical advice. The views and opinions expressed are those of the hosts and guests and do not reflect the University of Pennsylvania.

Business contact: beyondabstractpod@gmail.com

Beyond the Abstract Beyond the Abstract

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 23 Ratings

Hey science nerds! Welcome to Beyond the Abstract, a science podcast dedicated to discussion of the coolest cutting edge, basic science research papers in a way that just about anyone can understand. We're your hosts, Derek and Ellen, two MD/PhD students at the University of Pennsylvania who are passionate about science communication and bridging the gap between science and medicine.

In each episode, we’ll dive into a paper and talk about the experiments these scientists did, what it means for the future of research, and even potential impacts on human health and medicine. We've invited experts in these fields to help us understand and dissect these complicated but impactful papers.

We can't wait to share all this cool science with you.

Disclaimer: This podcast is for informational purposes only and NOT intended as medical advice. The views and opinions expressed are those of the hosts and guests and do not reflect the University of Pennsylvania.

Business contact: beyondabstractpod@gmail.com

    COVID Shrinks Your Brain

    COVID Shrinks Your Brain

    COVID brain fog is a well-documented, residual symptom following COVID infection. However, how COVID infects the brain and potential causes of COVID brain fog are unclear. In this episode, Dan and Derek discuss two recent studies that show that even mild cases of COVID may have important impacts on brain structure and function.
    Douaud et al. SARS-CoV-2 is associated with changes in brain structure in UK Biobank. Nature, March 2022. PMID: 35255491
    Fernández-Castañeda et al. Mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause multi-lineage cellular dysregulation and myelin loss in the brain. bioRxiv, January 2022. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.07.475453v1
    The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

    • 26 min
    Not Just a Kiss: Mono Increases Risk for Multiple Sclerosis

    Not Just a Kiss: Mono Increases Risk for Multiple Sclerosis

    Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is best known for causing mononucleiosis, or the 'kissing disease,' in teenagers. Almost all adults get EBV at some point in their lives, even if they don't get mono. New research shows that EBV infection may have longer-lasting impacts. Using data from the American military, researchers now show that EBV infection drastically increases an individual's risk for multiple sclerosis, a debilitating autoimmune disorder. In this episode, Dan and Derek discuss how these researchers figured this out and potential ways to prevent EBV infection (and potentially multiple sclerosis) altogether.
    Bjornevik et al. Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis. Science, January 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abj8222 (10.1126/science.abj8222)
    The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

    • 21 min
    Grey Hair, Don't Care

    Grey Hair, Don't Care

    Hair greying is thought to be an irreversible event related to life stress, but the process has never been extensively studied. For the first time, researchers at Columbia University use novel techniques with hair imaging and a daily diary to demonstrate that hair greying is not only associated with stressful life events, but that the process is reversible and correlated with metabolic changes in mitochondria. Better understanding this process may give us more information on how our bodies biologically respond to psychological stressors and opens new roads to potentially reversing hair greying.
    Rosenberg et al. Quantitative mapping of human hair greying and reversal in relation to life stress. eLife, June 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.67437 (10.7554/eLife.67437)
    The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

    • 14 min
    Mind the Placenta: Linking Placenta Dysfunction to Autism

    Mind the Placenta: Linking Placenta Dysfunction to Autism

    The placenta is a transient organ of pregnancy that supports fetal growth and organ development. Placental dysfunction underlies many developmental defects, but this connection is poorly understood. Furthermore, many neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, are linked to altered brain development and are more common in men than women for unknown reasons. In this episode, Derek and Dan talk about a new paper that explores a new role for the placenta in autism spectrum disorder and how secreted placental hormones can influence brain development and even explain certain sex differences in autism. Understanding how early developmental events can affect sex-specific development gives insight to potential therapeutic interventions for neuropsychiatric disorders.
    Vacher et al. Placental endocrine function shapes cerebellar development and social behavior. Nature Neuroscience, October 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-021-00896-4 (10.1038/s41593-021-00896-4)
    The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

    • 18 min
    The Spice is Right: Mobilizing Stem Cells with Capsaicin

    The Spice is Right: Mobilizing Stem Cells with Capsaicin

    Bone marrow stem cell transplants are some of the most important tools in treating diseases like leukemia and multiple myeloma. However, harvesting enough stem cells for transplantation is often a big issue for doctors. Finding new ways to elicit stem cell mobilization from the bone marrow to improve harvesting could go a long way in improving treatment. Today's episode of Beyond the Abstract features work by scientists who find a surprising role for pain nerves, known as nociceptive neurons, in promoting stem cell mobilization. Ellen and Derek discuss how they stumbled upon this finding and how there might be more to a chili pepper than meets the eye.
    Gao et al. Nociceptive nerves regulate haematopoietic stem cell mobilization. Nature, January 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03057-y (10.1038/s41586-020-03057-y)
    The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

    • 13 min
    Vibin' Myelin: A Vaccine for Multiple Sclerosis

    Vibin' Myelin: A Vaccine for Multiple Sclerosis

    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a devastating autoimmune disease that result from the immune system attacking parts of the nervous system. For a long time, MS has been treated with broad immunosuppression using corticosteroids that puts the patient at risk for infections, but this might soon change. In today's Beyond the Abstract episode, Derek and Dan talk about a new paper that uses a novel mRNA vaccine to prevent and even treat MS, brought to you in part by BioNTech (the same company that helped develop the COVID-19 vaccine).
    Krienke et al. A noninflammatory mRNA vaccine for treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Science, January 2021. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3638 (DOI: 10.1126/science.aay3638)
    The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

1222ZH ,

Cool podcast!

Excellent podcast! Very interesting

Pudding the Corgi ,

Science rules!

Excellent podcast that takes a complex topic and makes it easy to understand. Much more enjoyable than reading a scientific paper, and pretending like I understood more than just the abstract. Derek and Ellen sound very relatable while also having a strong understanding of the topic. Definitely worth the subscription!

Plus I’ve heard Derek is a pro pastry chef.

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