Advances In Medicine From H.S. Kids?

You know the names at the top of the list in cancer research: The Mayo Clinic, Boston General Hospital, Johns Hopkins, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Now you can add a few more names but they won’t come from institutions of higher learning. In fact, the medical advances from these researchers aren’t even from a university or a hospital at all. They are from a group of high school kids who are making some amazing advances in medicine at a very early age. 

The Cancer Eating Nanoparticle

Most 17-year old teenage girls spend more time shopping for new cloths, a new hairstyle, and a new boyfriend than on almost anything else, especially their studies. However this is not the case with 17 year old Angela Zhang, a high school student that spends most of her free time using bio engineering sciences and research to find new ways to fight cancer. In her research, the young miss Zhang discovered a nanoparticle that she says is kind of like a Swiss army knife being used in the fight against cancer. The particle will detect cancer cells, eradicate them and then monitor the treatment response. Her goal in the research was to find a targeted treatment for cancer. Angela Zhang’s little after-school project earned her top honors at the Siemen’s Competition in Math, Science, and Technology and a $100,000 scholarship.

Better Prosthetics

The team prize winners in medical technical advances went to Ziyuan Liu and Cassee Cain, seniors at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The two young technicians put their heads together to transform an Xbox 360 into a sensor that analyzes the walks of amputees and joint replacement patients who wear prosthetics. The judges at the competition commented that this technology could help prosthetic manufacturer’s design more efficient products and to drastically reduce medical costs by allowing clinicians to perform diagnostics and monitor patient progress from virtually anywhere. Tele-health is already becoming an accepted medical practice so expansion into prothetic aftercare could help lower costs and raise the quality care for recovering patients.

Advances in Cancer Cures

Curing cancer must be on the minds of these aspiring  young doctors and scientists because so much of their research was directed at this deadly disease. This past March the Intel Science Talent Search awarded Nithin Tumma of Fort Gratiot, Michigan a $100,000 scholarship for his research on fighting cancer.   Tumma is said to have found a way to potentially slow the spread of cancer and decrease cancer malignancy by inhibiting specific proteins. Another winner of the Intel scholarship, this one of $20,000, went to Alissa Zhang for devising a way to monitor diabetic glucose levels using body fluids other than blood, which will be a great relief to diabetics, who now have to prick their fingers and draw blood in order to monitor the level of sugar in their system.

At the Google Science Fair Shree Bose took top honors in the 17-18 year old group for discovering a way to improve treatment for ovarian cancer patients who have developed resistance to commonly used chemotherapy drugs.

Girl Scouts Take Honors Too

Among the young people making incredible discoveries and advances in medicine is a group of Girl Scouts from Ames, Iowa. The group, calling themselves the Flying Monkeys won the 2011 Global Innovation Award sponsored by First Lego League and the X Prize foundation with a prosthetic hand device they invented to help a little girl who was born with no fingers on her right hand. Due to the incredible efforts of Gaby Dempsey, Mackenzie Gewell, and Kate Murry, the 3 year old girls can now write for the first time ever.

The Future In Good Hands

With so many stories these days about the demise of the youth of America it is indeed refreshing to read about these marvelous, and incredibly bright teens already making their mark in the world. Their ambition is yet another reminder that advances in every field of medicine and science can come from the most unlikely sources and that an open mind should always be kept in looking into these sources. It is one thing to be very intelligent. It is quite another to put that intelligence to work in such a worthwhile and fruitful endeavor as the sciences. One can only imagine what these young minds will come up with as they move ahead with their studies. They set a wonderful example for everyone but especially their peers who can look to their achievements and realize that they too can make their mark in the world if they only put their hearts and minds to the task.

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