Let’s start with the ABSTRACT! This portion of a journal article is essentially a summary of (a) what is known, (b) what the scientists want to investigate, (c) how they did it, (d) what they found, and (e) why it matters. An abstract is the first thing that a biologist reads to decide if they would like to spend their valuable time reading any more of the paper, so it’s important for the writers to “hook” the reader in this short text and get them to care about the research inside.
Immunosuppression after measles is known to predispose people to opportunistic infections for a period of several weeks to months. Using population-level data, we show that measles has a more prolonged effect on host resistance, extending over 2 to 3 years. We find that nonmeasles infectious disease mortality in high-income countries is tightly coupled to measles incidence at this lag, in both the pre- and post-vaccine eras. We conclude that long-term immunologic sequelae of measles drive interannual fluctuations in nonmeasles deaths. This is consistent with recent experimental work that attributes the immunosuppressive effects of measles to depletion of B and T lymphocytes. Our data provide an explanation for the long-term benefits of measles vaccination in preventing all-cause infectious disease. By preventing measles-associated immune memory loss, vaccination protects polymicrobial herd immunity.
Please read the following abstract of a scientific article about malaria, and prepare a written response addressing each of the questions at the bottom of the abstract. I have guided you a little here by color-coding some of the text and questions together (measles vaccine abstract, above).
Here is the annotated version of the article published in Science. These annotations are written to help you better understand what is being discussed in the abstract, and even in the rest of the paper if you are interested.
You are probably going to have to Google some words to understand what they are.
Abstract from Science Journal article (Title: Antibodies to PfSEA-1 block parasite egress from RBCs and protect against malaria infection)
Novel vaccines are urgently needed to reduce the burden of severe malaria. Using a differential whole-proteome screening method, we identified Plasmodium falciparum schizont egress antigen-1 (PfSEA-1), a 244-kilodalton parasite antigen expressed in schizont-infected red blood cells (RBCs). Antibodies to PfSEA-1 decreased parasite replication by arresting schizont rupture, and conditional disruption of PfSEA-1 resulted in a profound parasite replication defect. Vaccination of mice with recombinant Plasmodium berghei PbSEA-1 significantly reduced parasitemia and delayed mortality after lethal challenge with the Plasmodium bergheistrain ANKA. Tanzanian children with antibodies to recombinant PfSEA-1A (rPfSEA-1A) did not experience severe malaria, and Kenyan adolescents and adults with antibodies to rPfSEA-1A had significantly lower parasite densities than individuals without these antibodies. By blocking schizont egress, PfSEA-1 may synergize with other vaccines targeting hepatocyte and RBC invasion.
1. What do biologists already know?
2. What are these scientists wanting to investigate?
3. How did they find this? (What organism did they use, what data did they collect, etc.?)
4. What did they find?
5. Why do they suggest that their findings matter?
6. What questions might YOU ask based on these results? (Remember, the scientific method never stops after results!)
-This could be a technical question based on the study, an idea for what they could investigate in a future research project, or a conceptual/understanding question (How does _____ work?)
7. Vaccines have been a controversial topic lately. What have you heard about vaccines? What, if any evidence, have you seen to back those ideas? Please be respectful of one another in this debate.
*You may want to do your own version of color-coding for this, and then be sure to answer those seven questions in your own words (AKA: don’t simply copy and paste what you see in the abstract.