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2009-10 Winners

2009-10 National First-Place Winners: $50,000 Scholarship

Shoshanna GoldinShoshanna Goldin
First Place: $50,000 Scholarship
Moravian Academy
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Energy Epidemic: Teen Perceptions and Consumption of Energy Drinks

"Teenagers are attracted to the boosts of energy and popularity energy drinks provide, but are not aware of the risks in consuming them."

Shoshanna Goldin, a high school junior, has seen the rise and fall of trends among her peers. However, when energy drinks took her school by storm, she became wary of the dangers they posed and took a stand. To help raise awareness, Shoshanna surveyed her peers on their consumption and knowledge of these stimulants.

Shoshanna discovered that teens were unaware of the amount of stimulant, side effects and risks stated on the labels. She also learned that males consume more energy drinks than females. Shoshanna hopes her research will lead health educators to include information on the subject in high school and middle school health curriculums and that the sale of energy drinks to minors is eventually prohibited.

Shoshanna became aware of epidemiology and its potential to improve an entire community's health after working at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital. Her civic involvement has led her to receive the United States Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award and Prudential Spirit of Community Service Award. Shoshanna credits the keynote speakers at the YES Competition with convincing her to pursue her passion for public health. She plans to become a pediatric neurosurgeon or an epidemiologist.

Energy Epidemic: Teen Perceptions and Consumption of Energy Drinks


Teenagers are attracted to the boosts of energy and social popularity energy drinks provide, but are not aware of the risks of consuming them. This multi-variable study examined youth consumption of energy drinks, reasons for use, awareness of ingredients, side effects, and warnings. The results indicate teenagers are using energy drinks for a variety of self-reported purposes, most frequently studying and social functions. Energy drink usage was dependent on age and gender. Older students were the most likely to consume energy drinks. Females drink fewer energy drinks than males (both per month consumption and trial incidence). The study showed that 45.5% of students consume energy drinks at least once a month; 36.5% consume two or more energy drinks in a single day. Several findings are of particular concern: 1) This study documented high incidence of energy drink consumption by children, on both a trial and regular basis. By age 12, one in three surveyed students had tried energy drinks. By age 14, 80% had tried an energy drink. Over half of 16-year-olds surveyed consume one or more energy drinks per month. 2) Males have a higher incidence of trial (70.7% of males vs. 50.8% of females) and routine consumption than females. 3) The sample studied showed a lack of awareness of levels of stimulants in, and risk pertaining to consumption of energy drinks. This naiveté makes youth vulnerable to marketers' emphasis on positive effects of energy drinks, while unaware of negative side effects and associated risks.

Gazelle Zerafati

Gazelle Zerafati
First Place: $50,000 Scholarship
The Baldwin School
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Epidemiology of Migraine in Teenage Girls, A Student Population Based Study

"The YES Competition is a valuable experience academically and socially. I have never met a more engaging group of students. Every one of the finalists was driven to serve their community, passionate about their research and supportive of each other."

Gazelle has a very personal connection to her YES project: both she and her family suffer from migraines. In her study, Gazelle surveyed female high school students to determine the prevalence of migraines among teenage girls and assess their knowledge of this common neurological disorder. Her study showed that a great majority of the students were poorly informed about migraine symptoms and treatment, and that migraine is seriously under-diagnosed and under-treated. "I was surprised to find that a large portion of the students who had migraine were not aware of it, and therefore never sought medical attention."

Gazelle, a junior in high school, volunteers at a local hospital, writes a medical column for her school newspaper and has received several science awards. She is a member of the math club and Model United Nations, and plays first violin with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Gazelle hopes to pursue a career in genetics or genetic epidemiology.

Epidemiology of Migraine in Teenage Girls, A Student Population Based Study


The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of migraine among teenage girls, and also to assess their fund of knowledge regarding this common neurological disorder. We designed and conducted a survey based on the diagnostic criteria offered by the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II). The survey also allowed us to estimate the impact of headaches upon the students' daily function by means of a standardized scale known as the Headache Impact Test 6 (HIT-6). Additionally, we obtained information about treatments the students have received for headaches, as well as about their family history of headaches. The prevalence of Definite Migraine (DM) and Probable Migraine (PM) in our cohort was 18.5% and 19% respectively, which are close to the figures reported within the adult women population. This study represents the first time that the prevalence of PM among teenagers has been studied. Overall, the majority of the students were poorly informed about migraine symptomology and treatment. Less than 20% of the girls with PM and about half of the girls with DM had ever received medical care for their migraines. Almost 80% of the subjects with DM and 70% of those with PM self medicated using over the counter (OTC) medication. Their HIT-6 scores correlated with school absences, illustrating that the HIT-6 can be used as an objective measure for headache disability. HIT-6 scores also correlated with the diagnosis of migraine, and can therefore be a simple, effective tool in headache evaluation for physicians. We show that having parents with episodic headaches increases the chance of developing migraine by 4 times, which illustrates the importance of genetic predisposition in migraine. Our findings suggest the necessity of further studies to better understand the PM category.

National Second-Place Winners: $35,000 Scholarship

Hannah Borowsky
Hannah Borowsky
Second Place: $35,000 Scholarship
Hopkins High School
Minnetonka, Minnesota
Adolescent Smokers' Perceived Risk of Cigarette Use

"I am very concerned about the health effects of smoking especially in young people. It's an area where public health can have a big impact."

Answering a question about the perceived risk of smoking on the Minnesota Student Survey left Hannah wondering how her peers felt about the topic. Hannah examined data from that very survey and unearthed some startling findings. "I was surprised to learn that almost 50% of young people perceived smoking to be highly risky, yet they smoked nonetheless."

Through her research, Hannah discovered that lower perceptions of smoking risk were associated with being a younger teen, male, African American, having a lower GPA, and a lack of information about drugs and alcohol. "I hope my research can shape and implement more effective smoking interventions. My findings can be used to target smoking education to adolescents who may be more likely to underestimate the risks of smoking."

Hannah is the recipient of the Caring Youth Award for volunteerism and is the winner of the Minnesota State Science Fair. She enjoys running and playing the guitar. Hannah says her YES experience made her see that public health research has the potential to change not only individual health but societal health as well. She is interested in exploring a career in pediatrics, biochemistry or public service.

Adolescent Smokers' Perceived Risk of Cigarette Use


Little is known about risk perceptions of adolescents already engaged in risk behaviors. This study aimed to quantify adolescent smokers' perceived risk of smoking and to explore the association of demographic and social characteristics with this perceived risk. Data were obtained from the 2007 Minnesota Student Survey, administered to a total of 136,549 students in grades 6, 9, and 12. The 15,562 students who identified themselves as smokers were included in this study. The association between perceived risk of smoking and demographic and social characteristics was explored through bivariate and multivariate analyses. Among all smokers, 10.0% perceived no risk, 14.8% perceived slight risk, 29.3% perceived moderate risk, and 45.9% perceived high risk of smoking. Perceptions of smoking risk varied significantly across demographic and social groups in bivariate and multivariate analyses. Holding lower perceptions of smoking risk was associated with being younger, male, African American, receiving free or reduced-price lunch, having a lower GPA, more frequent cigarette use, friends' approval of smoking, and lack of information about drugs and alcohol. Sources of drug information associated with higher perceived risk of smoking were friends/peers, school, and media. Adolescent smokers' perceived risk of smoking varied from no to high risk. Variations in smoking risk perception across demographic and social groups point to potential targets for smoking education as well as strategies likely to increase the effectiveness of smoking education.

Jessica Hart

Jessica Hart
Second Place: $35,000 Scholarship
Brighton High School
Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Comparative Risk Assessment of Female Infertility and Pregnancy Problems from Exposure to Toxicants Discovered in a Residential Neighborhood Located in the Mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County, Utah

"YES is not really about winning; it is about making friends and encouraging and inspiring each other. This is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life!"

When Jessica's sister became pregnant with her first child (and subsequently experienced a miscarriage), Jessica had no idea she would uncover a problem that could impact her whole community. "I began to do research on the history of the Little Cottonwood Area (LCA) and learned that two silver smelters that operated in this area in the early 1800's had left large amounts of lead and arsenic, known to be fertility toxicants, in the soil." LCA was officially declared a superfund clean-up site by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003.

In a self-administered survey of a population of women who grew up in LCA versus the population of women who grew up in the similar but non-contaminated area of Bell Canyon (BCA), Jessica found that women between the ages of 20-30 living in LCA were more likely to have infertility or pregnancy problems than women of the same age group who lived in BCA. Many of the women surveyed reported the same fertility problem, the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS). In her research, Jessica discovered that POS can be directly caused by overexposure to lead, one of the known toxicants found in the area.

Jessica is a 2010 Sterling Scholar Finalist and a National Honor Society Senior Representative. She is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the flute, piccolo, piano, guitar and her personal favorite: the harp. This fall, Jessica will attend the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music where she will be enrolled in a Dual Degree program, majoring in genetics or epidemiology and in music.

Comparative Risk Assessment of Female Infertility and Pregnancy Problems from Exposure to Toxicants Discovered in a Residential Neighborhood Located in the Mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County, Utah


In the late 1800's two lead and silver smelters, the Davenport and the Flagstaff, operated in the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County, Utah. In 1991, it was discovered that these smelters had left behind toxic waste in the form of lead and arsenic. At the time of this discovery, the area had already been developed and over 150 families were living in and around the smelter sites. The area was officially declared a superfund clean-up site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 20031. Within the next several years, long term residents of the area noticed that many of their daughters were having fertility problems, my older sister being one of them. I hypothesized that there was a relationship between residential exposure of females to known toxicants in the contaminated area and the risk of infertility and fetal abnormalities. I conducted a population based, self-administered survey in the Little Cottonwood Area (LCA), the contaminated area, and the Bell Canyon Area (BCA), a demographically similar region nearby but not in the area of contamination, to investigate the association between residential exposure to lead and arsenic and fertility problems among females. In July and August of 2009, I personally distributed surveys to each home in the LCA and the BCA. The survey requested information about the female's age, length of residence in the area, number of normal births and infertility issues and miscarriages. Data was recorded for all females of child bearing age from 10 to over 50 years who had ever lived in the home. Results indicated that infertility was higher in the LCA in every age category; however, the only category which had a statistically significant difference (based on the chi-square test with a p value < 0.011) was the 20-30 yr old category. In that age group, the discovered ratio between females from the contaminated LCA with fertility problems to females in the uncontaminated BCA with problems was 14 to 1. From this study I discovered that 20-30 year olds who had grown up in the LCA are 14 times more likely to have fertility problems or miscarriages than females of the same age group who had grown up in the BCA.

1 ATSDR Public Health Assessment for Davenport and Flagstaff Smelters Sandy City, Salt Lake County, Utah, Pg 1

National Third-Place Winners: $20,000 Scholarship

Otana Jakpor
Otana Jakpor
Third Place: $20,000 Scholarship
Woodcrest Christian School
Riverside, California
Indoor Air Pollution: The Pulmonary Effects of Ozone-Generating Air Purifiers and Other Ozone-Generating Household Devices

"People do not think about indoor air quality despite the fact it is 25-62% more polluted than outdoor air. Many attempt to remedy the situation by using ozone-generating air purifiers, which just makes things worse."

Otana Jakpor is a spokesperson for the American Lung Association and is leading a national crusade for clean air. "My hometown of Riverside has received failing grades in both ozone and particulate air pollution, while nearby Rialto has the worst pollution problem in the nation and ranks fourth worst in the world." After reading a Consumer Reports article about air purifiers emitting high amounts of ozone into the air, Otana wondered how this affected the lungs.

Through a series of tests, Otana studied whether air purifiers actually helped or harmed breathing. "A number of air purifiers tested created high amounts of ozone, in levels even greater than a Stage 3 Smog Alert. This had a negative impact on pulmonary function, especially among asthmatics." Otana presented her findings to the California Air Resources Board, which led to government regulation of ozone-generating air purifiers.

Otana enjoys the theater, photography and spending time with friends. She has interned at the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center at USC's Keck School of Medicine and received the President's Environmental Youth Award. Otana says, "YES was one of the most interesting and exciting academic experiences of my life." This fall she will enroll in the Baccalaureate/MD program at the University of Southern California, and plans to become a physician.

Indoor Air Pollution: The Pulmonary Effects of Ozone-Generating Air Purifiers and Other Ozone-Generating Household Devices


Even though air purifiers are marketed to asthmatics and others to improve breathing, some air purifiers emit harmful ozone-a key component of smog. This study examines the hypothesis that ozone-generating air purifiers and other household devices that generate ozone may have a negative effect on pulmonary function. According to a recent study by the California Air Resources Board, ten per cent of California households own an air purifier that may produce ozone. No published studies on the direct pulmonary effects of these air purifiers have been found on Medline. An ozone sensor was used to measure the amount of ozone generated from several types of air purifiers, food purifiers, and assorted ionizing household devices in a home environment. A room air purifier, a personal air purifier, and a food purifier, respectively, produced concentrations of ozone near the device of approximately 15 times, 9 times, and 3 times higher than a Stage 3 Smog Alert (range of error +20%). A microspirometer was used to measure pulmonary function before and after exposure to each household device (range of error +3%). A two-hour exposure to a room air purifier caused a statistically significant drop in an important measure of pulmonary function (FEV1/FVC) among asthmatic subjects, but not among the whole study sample (P<0.05) (n=24). There was a mean decrease of 11% in the FEV1/FVC ratio among the asthmatics. A three-hour exposure to a personal air purifier resulted in a statistically significant reduction in pulmonary function among the whole study sample, as well as in the asthmatic subset (P<0.05) (n=10). The mean reduction in FEV1/FVC ratio among the whole study sample was 9.6%, while it was 22.8% among the asthmatics. One asthmatic individual experienced a 29% drop accompanied by a severe asthma attack. A food purifier resulted in a reduction in the FEV1/FVC ratio of 4.2% and 9.6% among the whole study sample and the asthmatic subset, respectively (P<0.05) (n=32). Ozone-generating air purifiers and food purifiers that use ozone may impair pulmonary function.

Jeffrey WangJeffrey Wang
Third Place: $20,000 Scholarship
Auburn High School
Rockford, Illinois
A Spatial Approach to Epidemic Dynamics Using Stochastic Cellular Automata with a Case Study of Novel H1N1 in Illinois

"After YES I realized that epidemiology is about identifying a public health problem and then targeting that problem with appropriate policies. Epidemiology is a powerful tool that is capable of saving thousands of lives at once."

Jeffrey Wang attributes the media coverage surrounding the H1N1 epidemic for setting him on the path of his YES research. Wondering if he could create a mathematical model that would reproduce the spread of the epidemic, Jeffrey investigated data from his local County Health Department. A valid model "could hopefully contribute to making decisions such as quarantine or school closings."

Jeffrey developed a method to model the spread of an infectious disease. He then tested his model against actual H1N1 surveillance data in Illinois. The flexibility of his model in applying external factors, such as boundary conditions, vaccination and quarantine, makes it a potentially valuable tool for the planning and deployment of epidemic containment strategies.

Jeffrey, a high school junior, was a national finalist at the 2009 USA Biology Olympiad and is on the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council in Rockford. He enjoys dance and performs with the Rockford Dance Company. Jeffrey plans to pursue a career in biology research but also feels epidemiology is a very attractive career option.

A Spatial Approach to Epidemic Dynamics Using Stochastic Cellular Automata with a Case Study of Novel H1N1 in Illinois


Novel H1N1 first emerged in the United States in the spring of 2009, and since then claimed thousands of lives in less than one year. Its virulence and disproportionate death rate among school-age young adults, compared to seasonal influenza, elevated H1N1 to a global concern. Consequently, projecting the progression of an epidemic is vital for evaluating and controlling its impact in a population. The plethora of surveillance data available challenges researchers to test such hypotheses. The objective of this work is to design, implement and evaluate a computationally efficient model for the spatial spread of an infectious disease. The current dominant technique is to expand the Kermack-McKendrick model to a set of partial differential equations. In this work a new methodology that utilizes Stochastic Cellular Automata is proposed. This model, drawing off the behavior of the Kermack-McKendrick model, represents a discrete form of the SIR (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered) compartmentalized model. The simulation is made up of a grid of cells that evolve according to a set of probability-based infection rules. Since this technique is stochastic-based, it gives statistical insight, yielding a confidence interval rather than just a number. A t-test was used to evaluate the success of the model against real surveillance data from the 2009 H1N1 epidemic in Illinois. To confirm the validity of the model from a different angle, a value for the infection rate (?) was derived at the County level to compare with the previous literature. Afterwards, the simulation for Illinois demonstrated it could calculate the expected case number that agreed with the published data quite well (p=0.695). The flexibility of the model in applying external factors, such as boundary conditions, vaccination, and quarantine, makes it a potentially valuable tool for the planning and deployment of epidemic containment strategies.

National Finalists: $15,000 Scholarship

Jan Gong
Jan Gong
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Garden City High School
Garden City, New York
Myocardial Infarction in Chinese Populations: A Genome-Wide Association Study

"I hope that by identifying the gene associated with myocardial infarction in the Chinese population, researchers will be better able to prevent and treat the disease."

A summer internship at Rockefeller University inspired Jan to study the genetic links to myocardial infarction (heart attacks) in the Chinese population. Previous studies have shown that the genes associated with the disease vary throughout the world. Working in the University's Laboratory of Statistical Genetics, Jan used statistical analysis to study data collected during the INTERHEART study in China. She was able to identify a gene within the Chinese population that is significantly associated with the disease.

A high school junior, Jan has won several science competitions and is a member of her school's math team. An avid reader and fencer, she also enjoys playing the cello and the piano and performs at nursing homes. Jan was so inspired by the YES keynote speakers that she is planning to pursue a career in medicine and public health.

Myocardial Infarction in Chinese Populations: A Genome-Wide Association Study


Myocardial infarction is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Although many environmental factors have been identified as risk factors for myocardial infarction, there is also a significant genetic basis for this disease. The data used in this study was collected during the INTERHEART study in China, a study to determine whether the effects of risk factors vary in different areas of the world. Previous association studies done on myocardial infarction have been in Western countries. Furthermore, a comparison of the results of the myocardial infarction studies in the West and East suggest that the genes which are associated with the disease vary in different parts of the world. The objective of this study was to determine the SNPs which may be significantly associated with myocardial infarction in Chinese populations. Allele frequency association testing and genotype association testing were used, and the p-values were corrected for multiple testing. In this study, one SNP (rs7088935) was found to be significantly associated with myocardial infarction in Chinese populations.

Joan Kim

Joan Kim
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Amity Regional High School
Woodbridge, Connecticut
Does Facebook Prevent Alzheimer's? The Relationship Between Online Social Networking and Cognitive Function in Senior Citizens

"YES is not just a competition, but a forum where everyone is directed toward the goal of improving the lives of people all over the world."

Joan was motivated to study Alzheimer's after she witnessed its effect on her grandmother. She set out to find a practical way for senior citizens to avoid this debilitating disease and turned to online social networks such as Facebook that stimulate cognitive mental activity, known to stave off the disease.

"I examined whether elderly people using online social networks had higher cognitive functions than those who did not use them, therefore lowering their chances of developing Alzheimer's." Joan's study showed that senior citizens who use online social networks have higher levels of cognitive function, making them more mentally intact and less prone to Alzheimer's. "About 45% of the participants in my study were actively using online networks."

A high school junior, Joan has won several science awards and has volunteered at the Yale New Haven Hospital for the past three years. She plans to pursue a career in diplomacy, and her YES experience piqued her interest in public health policy.

Does Facebook Prevent Alzheimer's? The Relationship Between Online Social Networking and Cognitive Function in Senior Citizens


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a form of dementia, where there is loss of cognitive function. About 30% of senior citizens (ages 60 and over) in the U.S. are diagnosed with AD, and the number will increase rapidly due to longer life spans. Many researchers agree that AD will become the most prevalent chronic illness that future generations will face. Studies have shown that constant mental activity, novelty-seeking learning, and social interactions are great factors in preventing cognitive function loss, particularly AD. Online social networks such as Facebook, require members to learn to use the sites and various computer aspects and to interact with other members. The problem examined was whether elderly people that use online social networks have higher cognitive function levels than those that do not. It was hypothesized that active elderly online social networkers do retain higher levels of cognitive function, and therefore have lower chances of developing AD. Exactly 213 senior citizens were surveyed whether or not they used an online social network(s), and given a cognitive function test called the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), validated and extensively used in both clinical practice and research. Higher scores on the test indicated higher levels of cognitive function. A t-Test was run, and it showed that the online social networking senior citizens have statistically significant higher levels of cognitive function than the non-networking. A positive correlation between online social networking and cognitive function levels can be seen. Online social networking might be an effective prevention method for AD.

Matthew Lam

Matthew Lam
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Jericho Senior High School
Jericho, New York
Epidemiological Study of Cancer Pain in New York City Chinese Immigrants and the Role of Education in Overcoming Barriers to Pain Treatment

"I want to help prove how education can overcome barriers to cancer pain treatment and thereby help improve the quality of life for minority cancer patients."

For his YES project Matthew volunteered at an oncology out-patient clinic where he observed the behaviors of Chinese cancer patients. Many of the patients would refuse pain treatment or had a very low adherence rate to pain medication and he wanted to find out why. "I noted that pain medication adherence was greatly influenced by language and education factors, despite the common view that pain barriers are a medical problem."

With the strong support of The American Cancer Society to help emphasize quality of life through effective treatment for cancer-related pain, Matthew wants to act as a voice for minority cancer patients. "I want to help formulate a new treatment model to help enhance pain therapy and lower pain barriers through education." He has helped Chinese cancer patients navigate the healthcare system, organized patient support groups and distributed educational brochures in patients' native languages.

A high school junior, Matthew received awards from the National Youth Leadership Forum's Make a Difference-Epidemiological Public Health Project Competition and has won several local and national science competitions. He plays the piano and alto saxophone and enjoys tennis and travel. About his YES experience Matthew says, "I realized how collaboration between policymakers, regulators, clinicians and patient advocates can improve a chronically ill patient's quality of life." Matthew plans to pursue a career in medicine.

Epidemiological Study of Cancer Pain in New York City Chinese Immigrants and the Role of Education in Overcoming Barriers to Pain Treatment


Studies of pain symptoms and characteristics of Chinese American cancer patients have rarely been performed. This novel study identifies factors influencing opioid adherence and explores the role of education in overcoming barriers to cancer pain treatment. Seventy-five patients were randomized into a "teaching group" and a control group. All patients participated in an initial interview and were given various questionnaire forms. The "teaching group" also received pain education. Following the initial interview, a second interview was performed 2 weeks later. The adherence rate was found to be positively correlated with male gender and higher educational level and to be inversely correlated with the Barriers Questionnaire-Taiwan form (BQT) Score. BQT scores were significantly reduced, and the adherence rate, pain intensity, average pain, and pain interference scores were significantly improved in the "teaching group".

Anisha Mudalier

Anisha Mudalier
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Pacific Ridge School
Carlsbad, California
An Epidemiological Analysis of Youth-Onset Diabetes Mellitus in India

"YES allows students to actively participate in hands-on explorations of real scientific and global problems. This was truly an inspirational and educational experience."

Anisha, a high school junior, was inspired to focus her YES project on diabetes when she learned that many members of her extended family suffered from the condition. Adding to that was the high prevalence of diabetes among the South Asian community, especially in children and teens.

Her research reinforced the need to implement community intervention programs including health education and screening and detection initiatives in an effort to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Anisha is one of one of 16 national Caroline D. Bradley Scholars. She has won several science awards and is active in Science Olympiad and Model United Nations. She is particularly proud of her work with House of India, which works with the international charity Feed the Children. Anisha expects to major in public health and public policy and is interested in helping to improve health in global communities, especially in developing nations.

An Epidemiological Analysis of Youth-Onset Diabetes Mellitus in India


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a progressive disease and its complications cause a lot of suffering, premature mortality, and increased healthcare expenditures in developed and developing nations across the world. Of significant concern is the increasing prevalence of DM and its complications in children and adolescents, especially in the Asian Indian population. The objective of my study was to describe the clinical features of type 1 and type 2 DM in a young Indian population. Records of 189 consecutive patients with youth-onset diabetes (onset ? 25 years) were retrospectively reviewed at a tertiary care center in India. This study's findings confirm literature about the clinical features of youth-onset type 1 and type 2 DM in Asian-Indian subjects. Type 1 DM patients (n=96) were significantly younger and leaner than type 2 DM patients (n=93) (Mean Age Onset—type 1 DM: 14 years, type 2 DM: 19 years; p<0.001) (Mean BMI—type 1 DM: 18.1 kg/m2, type 2 DM: 25.6 kg/m2; p<0.001). Of special note is the increased prevalence of dyslipidemia and microvascular and macrovascular complications in this Asian Indian population, especially in those with type 2 DM (Dyslipidemia—type 1 DM: 16.7%, type 2 DM: 66.7%; p<0.001) (Diabetic Retinopathy—type 1 DM: 8.3%, type 2 DM: 32.3%; p<0.001) (Cardiovascular Disease—type 1 DM: 1.0%, type 2 DM: 23.7%; p<0.001). This new knowledge necessitates the implementation of community intervention programs, which include health education and screening and detection initiatives. It is important to try and prevent DM with initiatives aimed at reducing the prevalence of obesity among young children. These could include education efforts at the primary school level to encourage children to eat a healthy diet and to increase physical activity.

Carl Nist-Lund

Carl Nist-Lund
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Canterbury School
Fort Meyers, Florida
Emerging Threats of Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Southwest Florida, Specifically Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

"My project can be used to reduce or prevent new dengue cases by helping develop effective public health campaigns targeted to potential dengue habitats found in homes in Southwest Florida."

The recent devastation in Haiti made Carl appreciate the contributions that health workers make to earthquake survivors. He also began to wonder about the different diseases they might catch while they worked in the affected areas. After hearing about the recent cases of dengue fever in Key West, Florida, the first U.S. cases of endemic dengue in 40 years, he decided to focus his YES project on mosquito-borne diseases and center his study around Southwest Florida, where he lives.

Using mathematical analysis, Carl found a statistically significant difference in the sources of standing water around homes in different parts of Lee County. He hopes that the information from his study could be used to craft cost-effective public health messages about how to eliminate or reduce potential habitats for these mosquitoes in Southwest Florida.

Carl has won several academic competitions and enjoys playing the oboe and taking part in triathlons. Regarding his YES experience, Carl says he was glad to have the opportunity to learn about the ideas of students from across the nation. Currently a high school junior, he hopes to study mathematics and science in college and ultimately become a biochemical engineer.

Emerging Threats of Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Southwest Florida, Specifically Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever


According to the WHO in 2009, "dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world." In November 2009, endemic transmission of dengue in the United States was documented for the first time in forty years. This observational study assesses the prevalence of potential breeding grounds for the primary vector mosquito Aedes aegypti in the homes of students in one school in Lee County, Florida. The top three sources of standing water from the survey were: flower pots, un-potted plants with standing water on leaves or underneath, and recycling bins. All identified sources of standing water were sorted into six major categories: moveable items, garbage and recycling containers, recreational objects, larger landscaping, home architecture, and waterways. Geographic distribution of habitat prevalence was detailed through mapping the addresses of respondents. Chi-Square tests of independence demonstrated a statistically significant difference of distribution of these categories in four major regions of Lee County. With this data, prevention messages can be targeted to the areas where they will be the most effective. Comparing the WHO's global list of major urban dengue habitats and those identified in the Lee County survey showed none of the major global habitats (discarded containers, tires, and large appliances), but rather micro-habitats specific to our more affluent society, such as recycling bins, kayaks, and birdbaths. Specific measures that will protect potentially infected U.S. humanitarian aid workers returning from dengue-endemic areas such as Haiti, include prompt surveillance of persons with possible dengue and reduction of vector habitat in both Haiti and the Southern United States.

Haley Shopp

Haley Shopp
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Grace Preparatory Academy
Arlington, Texas
Effects of Vaccination on Spread of Influenza Strain H1N1

"Seeing a lot of schools shut down for an epidemic that could easily be prevented by vaccination prompted me to study exactly how much vaccination is necessary to stop the epidemic."

Haley was concerned that the populations hardest hit by the H1N1 epidemic appeared to be schools. "Many students were not only getting the infection but also missing quite a bit of school." In her research, Haley compared the initial outbreak of an H1N1 outbreak in the Mansfield Independent School District with the second outbreak when vaccines were available.

By modeling the effects of varying levels of vaccination on the spread of the H1N1 influenza in the district, she hoped to determine an optimal vaccination rate that could help the government implement the vaccination without having to administer it to the entire population. During the course of her research, she was surprised by how low that rate was in light of the fact that the illness could easily be prevented by vaccination.

Haley belongs to several student organizations including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the National Honor Society, and the school chapel praise team. A cheerleader and a musician who plays piano and guitar, she also enjoys reading and tutoring. Her participation in YES, Haley says, "was a really fun, amazing experience." This fall, Haley will attend Dallas Baptist University and plans to study mathematics.

Effects of Vaccination on Spread of Influenza Strain H1N1


The recent H1N1 Influenza outbreak that began in Mexico in April 2009 sparked a worldwide epidemic. This new strain of influenza was particularly contagious because no one had a natural immunity to it. Thus, many communities and populations were overtaken by the spread of this infection. Another unique trait of the H1N1 Influenza was the age groups it affected. While the seasonal flu generally affects the elderly more than any other age group, the H1N1 Influenza has the highest percentage of cases in persons between the ages of five and twenty-four. As a result, schools were greatly affected by this outbreak. In the initial outbreak, no vaccine was available. The H1N1 vaccination was released in early October of 2009. This vaccine has the potential to reduce the severity and length of a second outbreak of H1N1 Influenza. This study models the initial outbreak of the H1N1 in a single school district and compares it to a second outbreak with varying levels of the population vaccinated.

2009-10 Regional Finalists

Congratulations to the 2009-10 YES Regional Finalists.


Forest Fisher, Frontier Charter School, Anchorage, "The Effects of Vitamins on American Children with Seizures"


Vivek Choksi, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto, "Risk Factors for Cardiac Death in the Veteran Population"

Xinyue Fang, Torrey Pines High School, San Diego, "Wildfire Air Pollutants and Asthma Hospital Admissions: An Observational Study on the 2007 Southern California Wildfires"

Catherine Lu, Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, "Relation Between Home Environment and Pain Frequency for Children with Sickle Cell Disease"

Anuv Ratan, Claremont High School, Claremont, "An Epidemiological Analysis of the Effect of Socio-economic Geography on Depression Rates in Adolescents."

Michelle Tseng, Folsom High School, Folsom, "Epidemiological Analysis of Meningitis Transmission in a Case Study Population"

Pui Yu, Walnut High School, Walnut, "Examining Psychological and Psychosocial Predictors of Depressive Symptomology Among Late Adolescents"


Devon Smith, Arapahoe High School, Centennial, "The Role in Paleolithic Foods in Combating Obesity"


Preetam Dutta, Jonathan Law High School, Milford, "The Relationship between Sepsis and Brain Damage in Preterm Newborns: Is Gestational Age a Modifier?"

Vinay Kadiyala, Greenwich High School, Greenwich, "Memory Loss in Nursing Home Residents of South Asia"


Nolan Kamitaki, Waiakea High School, Hilo, "The Effect of Various Medical Responses on the Spread of Infectious Diseases Within a Partially Stochastic Multiple-City Simulation"


Sarah Suh, Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, "Examining and Comparing the Most Used Coping Strategies of High School Freshmen and Seniors"


Margaret Forshag, Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans, "Let the Sleeping Girl Lie: The Effects of Five Factors on Sleep in Adolescent Girls"

Zhenzhen Shi, Caddo Parish Magnet High School, Shreveport, "The Effect of Lifestyle Factors on Weight and Blood Pressure in Chinese Youth"


Kaitlin Keane, East Jordan High School, East Jordan, "Comparison of Two Means Statistical Analysis of Girls' and Boys' Body Image"


Omar Bushara, The International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie, "The Relationship between Cow's Milk Allergy and Health Problems due to Inadequate Calcium Intake"

Jennifer St. Peter, Park Center Senior High International Bacalaureate World School, Brooklyn Park, "A New View: Ethnic/Racial Differences in Teens' Perspective of Weight, Eating and Exercise"


Jacob Lyonfields, Parkway West High School, Ballwin, "Racial Disparities in Survival of Head and Neck Cancer Patients: Evaluation of the SEER-Medicare Database"

New Jersey

Katharine Close, High Technology High School, Lincroft, "The Effects of Location and Age on the Level of Physical Activity Performed by Residents of the United States and the District of Columbia in 2007"

John Paul Mikhaiel, Academy For Medical Science Technology, Hackensack, "Just How Angelic Is the "Health Halo?""

Matthew Warshauer, High Technology High School, Lincroft, "An Examination of Fatal Motor Vehicle Collisions by Age, Gender, and Time"

New York

John Di Capua, Byram Hills High School, Armonk, "The Use of the i-gel Laryngeal Airway Device for Rescue Breathing by Lay Responders: A Comparative Study of Three Airway Techniques"

Katelynn Catalano, Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, "Microvascular Abnormalities in Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus Patients"

Puja Chabra, Lawrence High School, Cedarhurst, "A Lot on my Plate: The Effect of the Family Dinner as Insulation against Body Image Dysfunction among Adolescent Girls"

Pegah Eftekharzadeh, Valley Stream North High School, Franklin Square, "Body Composition Change in Children and Adolescents treated with Antidepressants, Antipsychotics and Psychostimulants."

Rebecca Hellmich, Ossining High School, Ossining, "The Accuracy of Alcohol Serving Size Estimations Made by High School Adolescents during a Free-Pour Paradigm"

Susan Li, Suffern High School, Suffern, "Revisiting the Gateway Drug Hypothesis: A Temporal Analysis of Drug Use Patterns among Adolescents"

Nisha Singh, Briarcliff High School, Briarcliff Manor, "Adolescent Responses to Gain- and Loss-Framed Smoking Cessation Videos"

Kevin Xu, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Factors Related to Mammography Adherence"

North Carolina

Akash Ganapathi, North Carolina School of Science and Mathemathics, Durham, "An Investigation of Health Determinants Associated with Disparities in Lung Cancer Survival"


Rachael Billock, Bellbrook High School, Bellbrook, "Computer Simulations of Disease Spread by Different Movement Styles of Biological Disease Carriers"

Mallika Marar, Columbus Academy, Gahanna, "Epidemiology of Concussions among United States High School Athletes"

Alexus Talbott, Ohio Connections Academy, Worthington, "Objective Measurements of Personal and Environmental Contacts in a College Computer Lab: Applications to Infection Modeling"


Brent Heard, Upper St. Clair High School, Pittsburgh, "On the Correlation of Air Pollution Exposure and Cognitive Reasoning"

Tara Jain, Moravian Academy, Bethlehem, "Assessment of Heart Rate Variability as a Marker of Sudden Cardiac Death"

Chelsea Monroe, Muncy Junior Senior High School, Muncy, "The Efficacy of the Muncy School District Wellness Program on the Level of Tooth Decay"


Sarah Kramer, Science Hill High School, Johnson City, "Advanced Placement (AP) Classes and Anxiety in High School Students"

Duolin Xu, Baylor School, Chattanooga, "Arsenic Levels in Water and the Relationship with Fetal Development: A Cohort Study"


Bhaskari Burra, Plano Senior High School, Plano, "The Effects of Splenectomy on Pediatric Sickle Cell Patients with Histories of Acute Splenic Sequestration Crises"

Ahkil Sood, Clear Springs High School, League City, "Environmental Toxins and Liver Cancer"

Gaelle Sharma, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Effects of Environmental Contamination on Cancer Mortality Along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers"


Christopher Bujnowski, Academy for Math Engineering and Science, Salt Lake City, "Pollution Sensors: Peak Flow Values in Adolescents Year 2"

Samuel Merrill, East High School, Salt Lake City, "The Effect of High Altitude on Neural Tube Defects"

Michael Ricks, East High School, Salt Lake City, "The Effect of Hospital Size on Newborn Health in Peru"


Austin Selick-Bottos, Loudoun County Academy of Science, Sterling, "Analysis of the Spread of Influenza and the Impact of Current and Future Vaccines Using a System of Differential Equations"

Sarah Smith, Millbrook High School, Winchester, "Genetic Associations with Alzheimer's Disease"


Caitlyn Bastable, Newman Catholic High School, Wausau, "Gatorade versus Water - The Effects on the Blood Glucose Levels of Athletes"

Amrit Kanwar, Logan High School, La Crosse, "Health Status and Frailty in Assisted Living and Nursing Home Residents"

2009-10 Semifinalists: $1,000 Scholarship

Congratulations to the 2009-10 Semifinalists.


Aislinn Dunne, Dos Pueblos High School, Goleta, "Effects that Listening to Music via Electronic Means have on the Hearing of the Teenage Population"

Kirsten Mengell, Dublin High School, Dublin, "An Epidemiology Study to Find a Correlation between Sleep and Depression"

Ganesh Rajasekar, Rancho Bernardo High School, San Diego, "Caffeine Awareness and Caffeine Consumption in High School Students"

Sophia Sangar, Buhach Colony High School, Atwater, "Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes Mellitus - A Dangerous Duo for the Heart"

Sarah Wong, Modesto High School, Modesto, "Factors Associated with an Epidemic of Vitamin D Insufficiency in a New Generation of Adolescents"

Shannon Wongvibulsin, Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo, "How Eating Habits Influence Sickness Frequency in Teenagers"


Shelby Raye, Manatee High School, Bradenton, "High on What? Risk Taking & Drug Use of Adolescents"


Samantha Moorhead, Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody, "Personality, Illness, and Injury in High School Students"

Akshata Shirahatti, Northview High School, Duluth, "A Study of the Effects of using Social Networking Sites on Sleep Patterns in High School Students"


Emily Pritt, Home School, Walkersville, "Moderate Drinking in Pregnancy and the Risk of Low Birth Weight"

Danielle Thiemeyer, Francis Scott Key High School, Union Bridge, "Exploring the Relationship and Causes of Tinea and Tinea pedis Among Athletes and Non-Athletes"


Alan Wells, Home School, Weston, "Pink Bug, Blue Bug: How Does Susceptibility to Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E-coli Food-borne Illness in the U.S. Depend on Gender?"


Fatimah Farooq, Dearborn Center for Math Science and Technology, Dearborn Heights, "Comparing the Relationship of Hemochromatosis and Congestive Heart Failure"

Jack Kiraly, Dearborn Center for Math, Science and Technology, Dearborn Heights, "Diet and Arthritis"


Zelalem Adefris, Woodbury High School, Woodbury, "The Perception of HIV/AIDS among Minnesotan Teenagers"

Carrie Danielson, Mora High School, Mora, "An Emotional Tune: Examining Correlations Between Student Involvement in Music Programs and Factors Contributing to Mental Health"

New Mexico

Emily TenCate, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos, "Achoo: Modeling the Spread of the Flu"

New York

Sarah Albala, John Jay Senior High School, Cross River, "Obesity and Depression: Differential Responses to Environmental Stress"

Max Blum, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Fries with That? The Impact of Calorie Information on Meal Selection and Restaurant Perceptions"

Barri Bruno, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, "An Exploratory Study on the Effect of Music on Linguistic Productivity in Low Functioning Children with Autism"

Ming Chen, Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar, "Potential Mercury Exposure through Fish Consumption and Health Symptoms in Adults and Children by Race"

Brian Chen, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Perceptions of a Drinker's Popularity, Intelligence, and Attractiveness as a Function of a Target's Drinking Habits and Gender"

Catherine Curran, Plainedge High School, North Massapequa, "The Digital Disease: Does Electronic Communication Cause Stress In Today's Teenagers?"

Eric Guleksen, Smithtown High School West, Smithtown, "The Effects of Acne Medications on Mental Health In Teenagers"

Nicholas Ippolito, Pelham Memorial High School, Pelham, "Quantitative Image Analysis for Multiple Myeloma and Leukemia"

Matthew Katz, Commack High School, Commack, "An Epidemiological Comparison Between Youth Ice Hockey and Lacrosse Injuries"

Lindsey Keeney, Ossining High School, Ossining, "Neighborhood Walkability and Availability of Supermarkets in New York City: An Investigation of Food Availability and Health Related Disorders"

Lauren Kobrick, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Unsafe At Any Speed: A Comparison of Teenage Perceptions of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Marijuana"

Sheila Krishnan, Tappan Zee High School, Orangeburg, "School Absenteeism for Influenza-like Illness and Outbreaks of Influenza."

Ariel Lefland, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Albumin and Markers of Inflammation as Predictors of Worsening BMD in Patients Treated With Corticosteroids for PMR and GCA"

Qiaoyi Li, Briarcliff High School, Briarcliff Manor, "Using a Molecular Expression Diagnostic Test to Quantify the Level of Immunosuppression in Cardiac Transplant Patients"

Neha Madhusoodanan, Lawrence High School, Cedarhurst, "Cognitive Status Changes Based on Time of Day in Nursing Home Patients with or Without Dementia"

Emily Mauser, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, "A Retrospective Chart Review of Patients' Perception of Menstrual Migraine Prophylaxis"

Brian Ralph, Smithtown High School West, Smithtown, "The Risk of an Adolescent Turning to Drugs in Relation to Participation in Hobbies/Activities and Perception of Role Models"

Malcolm Reid, Briarcliff High School, Briarcliff Manor, "Effects of BMI and Bariatric Surgery on the Prevalence of Osteoporosis at Various Body Sites"

Araliya Senerat, Francis Lewis High School, Fresh Meadows, "Are Fast Food Restaurants to Blame for Childhood Obesity?"

David Skwiersky, Wheatley High School, Old Westbury, "Aspirin Dosage and The Prevention of Cardiovascular Events"

Samantha Stein, Abraham Joshua Heschel School, New York, "Presentation, Treatment, and Patient Characteristics of 101 Patients Diagnosed with Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 1992 to 2007."

Ikadshi Thukral, Plainedge High School, North Massapequa, "License to Abuse: An Intergenerational Study of Marital Values Held by Asian Indian-Americans"

Gwendoline Tilghman, The Chapin School, New York, "H1N1 Novel Influenza A Outcomes for Potentially Prophylactic Variables"

Ari Weisfuse, Abraham Joshua Heschel School, New York, "NYC Arc GIS Modeling of H1N1 Pandemic Flu"


Ashley Hoehn, Ottoville High School, Ottoville, "Influences of Cinnamomum cassia on Pre-diabetic Characteristics"

Karen Kruzer, West Geauga High School, Chesterland, "Identification and Prevention of MRSA Transfered Between Community and Medical Settings on Mobile Phones"

Jane Lodwick, Beaumont School, Cleveland Heights, "The Prevalence and Severity of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients with Abdominal Overweight"


Jin Hwang, Radnor High School, Radnor, "Are Chlorinated Pools Bad for Your Respiratory health? Examining the Relationship Between Chlorinated Indoor Pools and Risk in Respiratory Health among Competitive Adolescent Swimmers"


Katherine Campbell, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Breathing Easy: An Analysis of the Effect of Day Care Attendance on the Risk of Developing Asthma in Pediatric Populations"

Cassie Chan, John B Alexander High School, Laredo, "The Prevalence of GDM in Women"

Caroline Cooper, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Investigating Emotional Trauma During Pregnancy and Development of Childhood Allergies"

Vishal Desai, L.V. Hightower High School, Missouri City, "Built Environment Influences on Physical Activity Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities"

Toby Glazer, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "The Correlation between Perinatal Factors and Diabetes Mellitus Type 1"

Julia Hosch, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "The Effects of High Humidity on the Transmission of 2009 H1N1"

Jiny Jimmy, L.V. Hightower High School, Missouri City, "The Influence of Tobacco Retail Outlets on Smoking Cessation During A Specific Quit Attempt"

Samuel Leonard, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Assessing Vitamin D Levels: Is Protection from Influenza Related?"

Tess Michaels, Plano West Senior High School, Plano, "EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF AUTISM: The Use of Antioxidant Biomarkers in Urine for Early Detection and Treatment of Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders"

Lauren Peters, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Does Preference for Sweet Foods Correlate to Obesity?"

Katherine Proa, John B. Alexander High School, Laredo, "The Occurence of Panic Attacks in Adolescence"

Manav Raj, Westlake High School, Austin, "The Analysis of Leading Cause-Specific Mortality Rates in Young Adults in Two Recent Recessions in the United States"

Olivia Waits, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Analysis of the Effects of Training Intensity Upon the Relative Risk of Traumatic Brain Injury in High School Athletes"

Lindsey West, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "A Study of the Impact of Exposure to Locker Rooms on Susceptibility of Developing Novel H1N1 Flu Strain"


Jason Ya, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, "Clinical Conditions Associated with Plasma Levels of Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies and Soluble Cluster of Differentiation Markers"


Chris Discolo, Eastlake High School, Sammamish, "Marijuana's Effects On the Immune Systems of High School Students"