As a professor at the college level, I use modern, peer-reviewed scientific articles as teaching tools. The use of scientific articles allows me to stress the importance of critical thinking and for the student to see that science is a living, breathing, ever-changing, ever-growing ‘organism’. The science we knew even 50 years ago pales in comparison to what we know now. Of course, much is based on older scientific ideas, serendipity, and technology. The rest is based on research.
I want the students to know that the aspirin they are taking for a headache or a cramp came from active research; or the medication their unfortunate parent is taking to help with cancer therapy did not originate in the bottle they have! So, for several years, I have been assigning papers to the students (in small groups) to read, present, and disseminate the research findings as if they themselves did it.
We have learned a great deal; for example:
- (Black) American men are more likely to get prostate cancer. However, we discovered in our reading that a simple zinc supplement could help prevent the onset of prostate cancer.
- Turmeric, a spice known for centuries has curcumin as part of its ingredients. The consumption of this color-adding spice may stave off breast cancer, due mainly to the anti-oxidative properties of curcumin.
- Alzheimer’s disease is also a growing problem in the aging community. We are living longer and therefore need extended health care, especially mental health care. A dietary amount of lithium inhibits a known enzyme in the pathway for Alzheimer’s disease development.
drink lots of water;
do not drink to excess;
avoid drugs that can be easily abused;
eat highly colored foods;
and, add a few key metal nutrients to the diet, not just calcium and iron, but the ones we seldom speak of: lithium, zinc, and chromium.
We may live to see the new millennium, after all!
About Rose Mary Stiffin, Ph.D.
Rose Mary Stiffin was raised and educated in Indianola, Mississippi, notably the Delta hometown of the blues legend, BB King.
She received a Bachelor of Art degree in chemistry from Mississippi Valley State University in 1974, a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry from Mississippi State University in 1981. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Tennessee in Memphis in 1995. She did her post-doctoral work at the world-famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn and has written several grants, including a $1 million dollar grant from NNSA to start a radiochemistry program and a grant to support the development of its sister program, radio-biology, funded by NRC. She is currently chair of the Division of Health and
Natural Sciences at Florida Memorial University, a small HBCU located in Miami Gardens.
Stiffin has written several short stories and had some of them published in the Imagine literary magazine. She also has been published in the Algonquin Quarterly (“The Water Buffalo and Pink Flamingo”) and in an anthology For Your Eyes Only (“Casino Blues”). She has written several novels, including “Walk in Bethel,” Reflections” and “Groovin’ on the Half Shell.”