Science Fair a family affair for sisters
Nearly 800 local students participated in this year's Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair.
Many a teenager has gulped down chocolate milk, but for one Cape Coral eighth-grader the all-America drink tastes like a lifesaver for her sister.
She has Type 1 diabetes and sometimes her sugar level drops too low, explained Shreeya Desai, a Gulf Middle School student who participated in the Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair this year. Desai’s project was selected to go on to the state science fair in April and netted her a four-year scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University. Nearly 800 students gathered this month at Alico Arena for the public display of their work.
Her other sister Shirvani Desai, a Cape Coral High School senior, also participated.
Judges also honored nine other Cape Coral students who participated in the inventors division. Overall, about 800 students showed their work to the public at Alico Arena earlier this month.
Desai’s project was to determine how her diabetic sister, Shrina, could quickly regain the proper sugar level in her body. When someone’s sugar level drops too far a trip to the emergency room, may be required.
“The project helped her decide which foods to eat. I wanted to understand more about it,” Desai said. “Chocolate milk had the fastest reaction.”
Low-fat or skim milk is an acceptable drink as long as a portion is controlled to prevent calories and carbohydrates from adding up, according to the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org).
Patients with diabetes should consult with their doctors before changing their diet.
Type 1 diabetes results when the pancreas cannot produce insulin to regulate the sugar level in a person’s body, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose or sugar levels that result from the body’s inability to produce or use insulin.
An estimated 26 million people or about 8 percent of the U.S. population have diabetes, according to the national association. The disease costs about $174 billion a year for treatment and in lost work and productivity.
The disease can be deadly, accounting for more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two-thirds of the deaths involved heart disease or stroke, but there are other serious conditions related to diabetes. They include high blood pressure, blindness, kidney problems and the possibility that amputation of the lower legs might be required.
Desai said she hopes to share her findings with friends and others.
Her sister Shirvani also delved into a medical challenge. She evaluated the fluorescence of proteins, which are used in medical research.
Her project started after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power in the northeast leaving researchers trying to purify proteins in the dark.
Some of the research is time sensitive, so the ability of proteins to give off light becomes useful to researches even when power is off, Desai said. The project deepened her interest in medical studies when she heads off to college later this year. Her interests are in biology and chemistry.
An interest in medical issues winds through the family. One parent is a dentist and the other is a podiatrist, Shirvani said.
The inventors fair judges also choose to honor nine students who attend schools in Cape Coral.
Cape Coral Elementary Jonathan Dziwanowski won the elementary division with his school bus Stop sign project. Other honors were won by:
- Caden Troyer and Elizabeth Perdue of Cape Elementary
- Alex Barrera and Cecilia Schreiber of Diplomat Middle
- Conor Dougherty of Gulf Middle
- Bruno Ferrayra and Robert Batista of Skyline Elementary
Don Ruane has spent over 30 years as a journalist writing on various topics around Southwest Florida. He currently serves as Senior Correspondent for CapeCoral.com and writes a weekly article that publishes every Tuesday. Don can be reached by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter #second reader or on Facebook also @second reader.