Savannah Cady and Tyler VanDyke are both high school freshmen from Craig County who attend Roanoke Valley Governor School. During a recent Student Project Forum, the two came in second place in the Animal Science category.
They were presented with a certificate of achievement by Superintendent Jeanette Warwick at the February School Board meeting.
“That is quite an accomplishment for their very first project forum,” Warwick announced. “We are very proud of you.” Both were given a congratulations hand clap from the Board and all attendees who were present.
Their project was mandatory for the Fundamentals Of Research class they were taking.
Cady shared, “With my family having the medical background it does, I knew I wanted to test a medicine as my independent variable, and Pseudoephedrine is known to change heart rate.”
VanDyke added, “We chose this experiment because it could help understand the effects of pseudoephedrine dosages, which could help first responder’s better care for overdose patients.”
They explained that the project took about a week to complete, and an additional week to design and create their presentation board.
VanDyke explained the purpose of their project, “we wanted to analyze the effect of Pseudoephedrine on the heart rate of Daphnia magna. It’s a medicine used to help nasal congestion.”
Their hypothesis was that if “Daphnia magna were exposed to various concentration amounts of pseudoephedrine for three minutes, then the largest concentration amount would increase the D-magnas heart rate the most.”
They noted on their project that pseudoephedrine, “sometimes known as the brand name Sudafed” is also the primary ingredient used in creating methamphetamine.
They explained, “Pseudoephedrine, taken orally, is used to treat sinus pressure, swollen nasal tissues and nasal discharge by decreasing swelling. It can cause a small yet significant increase on diastolic blood pressure. The average dosage of pseudoephedrine in a human is one or two 30mg pills, which are not pure pseudoephedrine, per four to six hours.”
In their research they stated, “In the long run, methamphetamine can cause permanent damage to the heart and nervous system, resulting in an increase of the heart rate. (However, it is not known how much the heart rate increases in beats per minute and if pseudoephedrine is part of the cause of this happening.)”
Therefore, they used the D magna as a human model to see the effects of pseudoephedrine on the heart rate as an increased dosage amount of pseudoephedrine is introduced to the D magna.
Their goal was to determine how many times a person’s heartbeats after taking pseudoephedrine or methamphetamine, which would tell them the dosage someone had taken.
“If the heartrate increased, we wanted to see how much it would do so,” Cady said.
Their conclusion was: “Pseudoephedrine does have an effect on the heart rate of Daphnia magna, increasing it as the concentration of the pseudoephedrine solution increases, supporting the experimental hypothesis.”
Both shared they enjoyed the project. “Doing this helped my team-work skills, and adaptability, along with bettering my understanding of scientific research, and how to publish said research,” Cady said.
“From the experiment, we personally learned that pseudoephedrine does cause an increase of the heart rate and how to perform a more advanced experiment,” VanDyke added.
Cady also shared that the most difficult part of the project for her was “making sure everything was formatted correctly, and it was all up to standard.”
“Also, to finish it in one week. The reason why is because we needed more time to test everything that needed to be, but we only had a short time frame,” VanDyke noted.
Both share positive sentiments about attending Governor School.
VanDyke said, “My favorite part about attending the Governor’s School is the unique and challenging opportunities offered by the school.”
Cady added that she enjoys, “How integrated the learning is, both with technology and other classes there. I use my formulas for science class in math. They also focus on real-world applications of what we’re learning.”