Current Event Summaries by Sam H.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Sam H.

  1. Sam Hurley says:


    Title of article- Drinking Tea Improves Brain Health, Studies Suggests
    Author’s Name- National University of Singapore
    Title of website- Science Daily
    Publishing Date- September 12, 2019

    Scientists can now conclude that drinking tea on a regular basis can improve one’s neurological health. A study conducted by Assistant Professor Feng Lei at the National University of Singapore. It stated that adults who regularly drink tea have better and more organized brain regions. Assistant Professor Lei and his research team gathered data about the health, lifestyle, and mental well-being of 36 adults over the age of 60. The team also put the subjects through many tests and body scans. This happened over a long period of time, specifically 3 years. The results showed the subjects who drank green, oolong, or black tea, frequently every week exhibited more efficient interconnected brain regions. Assistant Professor Feng used an analogy to describe his findings. He said that road traffic is like the regions of the brain. When the systems of roads are organized, traffic can flow easily with the use of fewer resources. Then he related back to his findings saying that when brain regions are better structured and organized, the transfer of information can be done more efficiently. Assistant Professor Lei and his team want to furthermore dissect the individual compounds in tea and see the effects they have on cognition.

    Personal Reaction:
    When I first saw the article, I was very intrigued to know how a simple and common drink can fundamentally improve one’s neurological health. Before I read this article, I knew little to no information about the health benefits of drinking tea. This article taught me that tea is very important in many areas of the human body, such as the neurological and cardiovascular areas. The more these types of studies are carried out, the more tea will become a regular drink for the majority of adults. Chapter 2 talks about different carbon-based molecules and their functions. Tea is composed of many molecules that function by benefiting people’s health.

  2. Sam Hurley says:

    Title of article- Wild Animals’ Immune Systems Decline with Age, Sheep Study Finds
    Author’s Name- University of Edinburgh
    Title of website- Science Daily
    Publishing Date- September 19, 2019

    Summary: A process called immunosenescence is resulting in the decline of many animals’ ability to fight off harmful organisms. Immunosenescence occurs in humans and animals and happens because of old age. A lacking immune system causes major health issues for humans. It often reduces their ability to fight off infectious organisms and substances. It also reduces immunity over long periods of time, for example, vaccinations. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh sought out to experiment on the effect immunosenescence has on old or aging animals. The experiment started in 1990. They experimented with about eight hundred Soay sheep. They injected a common worm into their intestinal system to see how well their immune system could fight the parasitic worm. Over the next fifteen years, the scientists took blood samples from the sheep. The results showed that the level of antibodies fighting the worm in the sheep decreased in numbers as they got older. With these results, some of the professors and doctors determined that immunosenescence plays a big role in animal populations and that the average age of farmed animals is likely to increase in the future. They also determined that through better and more precise farming practices, it could potentially increase the life-span of various livestock species.

    Personal Reaction: At some moments throughout my life, I have always wondered what could or will happen to me in the future. Additionally, I always want to know more about the anatomy of the human body. When I read the article, I learned a lot about the human intestinal system and, additionally, the animal intestinal system. Immunosenescence alarms me a bit because now I know that my intestinal functions will weaken when I get older. So I if a parasitic organism in presence in my body, my body will not remove it as easily. Since this article connects immune malfunctions of humans and animals, I was able to get an idea of how closely related animals are to humans. I recall in Chapter 1 that the text talked about conducting scientific experiments, and an experiment, with variables, was conducted in this article.

  3. Sam Hurley says:

    Title of article- This May be the First Known Exoplanet with Rain and Clouds of Water Droplets
    Author’s Name- Lisa Grossman
    Title of website- Science News
    Publishing Date- September 11, 2019

    Summary: Astronomers have discovered a distant exoplanet, about 2.5 times that radius and 8 times the mass, of Earth and may contain liquid water. The exoplanet’s name is K2 18b. It is about 110 light-years away from Earth and orbits an unnamed red, dwarf star. Due to the fact that liquid water is present, its relative distance from its star is about the same distance Earth is from the Sun. Astronomers call this “the habitable zone.” Prior to discovering K2 18b had an atmosphere, Benneke, an institute for researching exoplanets, assembled a team to see if K2 18b had signs of an atmosphere by using the Hubble Space Telescope. They were able to detect an atmosphere because the molecules in the atmosphere absorbed specific wavelengths of the Sun’s light. After some analyzation and assessing from some experts, they made a conclusion and said that K2 18b indeed had an atmosphere while containing molecules essential for life, like water molecules. Tsiaras, one of the experts, said that out of all of the exoplanets containing water, K2 18b is the best candidate for habitability. Benneke went further into research on K2 18b by using two more telescopes, the Kepler Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope and simulated its climate. They observed that there is a water cycle. Unlike Earth, the water droplets on K2 18b do not hit the ground. Instead, they evaporate at a point in the atmosphere when temperature and pressure are very high. Astronomers still have questions about this exoplanet. Is it a gas giant or a rocky planet? Does it contain life? Can life evolve?

    Personal Reaction: I was really fascinated by this article. Since I was young, I have always loved astronomy and wanted to know the future of space exploration. Since our planet is running out of resources and space, humanity needs a solution. One solution that experts have suggested is finding a planet that exhibits similar characteristics has Earth, such as contains water, lies within the inhabitable zone, and contains an atmosphere. For me, this planet is great for inhabiting life, however, it is really far away, and by the time we have reached K2 18b, we would have probably found another one or humanity would be in a huge crisis. Nonetheless, I am glad that I read this article and learned about a planet just like Earth.

  4. Sam Hurley says:

    Title of article- Cracking How Tardigrades Survive the Extremes
    Author’s Name- University of California
    Title of website- Science Daily
    Publishing Date- October 1, 2019

    Tardigrades are microscopic invertebrates that are very resilient to the environment around them. They are able to survive in very chemically dangerous environments and very cold temperatures. Scientists at the University of California took these traits and tested them on the cosmic level. They would test to see if they would survive while being transported to the moon. Looking further into the organism, they found that there was a protein called Dsup present in the cells of it. This protein is vital in protecting DNA from interacting with hydroxyl radicals, which are neutral atoms of a hydroxide ion. When they react with one another, DNA can be damaged. This is why X-rays cause harm to animal cells. One of the professors believes that this feature was not to specifically protect radiation from cells, but it was a feature inherited to withstand the hydroxyl radicals in its environment that it inhabits. This feature is called anhydrobiosis. For the future, scientists believe that this biological information can lead to developing cells like the tardigrades; able to sustain life while inhabiting harsh or extreme environments. They say, in order to carry out these findings, Dsup can be altered to protect DNA in different types of cells.

    Personal Reaction:
    I thought if I read this article that I would be learning about general animalistic adaptations. In actuality, I learned a lot of new features about an animal cell. The article got really into detail about how tardigrades can survive extreme environments. I never really knew what Dsup was until now, and after I read the article, I learned its function and place in a cell. In class, we are currently learning functions and structures of various organelles in a cell. I know that DNA is in the nucleus and it contains and stores genetic information. I found out that Dsup protects the DNA from harmful compounds. I can apply this new knowledge for when I am learning in class to get a better understanding of the intellect about organelles I am absorbing. I know that in Chapter 2 it says that there is a demand for the DNA inside the nucleus to be protected. I can conclude that the tardigrades’ nucleus is very proficient at protecting DNA.

  5. Sam Hurley says:
    Title of article- How Climate Change Is Already Altering Oceans and Ice, and What’s to Come
    Author’s Name-Maria Temming
    Title of website- ScienceNews
    Publishing Date- September 25, 2019

    Summary: Climate change has had a drastic impact on the cryosphere. Climate change has been fueled by us humans. We pollute the environment by emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Glaciers are one of the many things in nature being affected by climate change. Its ice sheets are melting at a much faster rate, such as the ice sheets in Greenland. The Greenland ice sheet has lost about 2.5 trillion tons of ice in close to 9 years, from 2006 to 2015. As a result, sea levels around the world have risen about .77 millimeters a year. Another place affected by this is the Arctic Circle. The ice reflects the sunlight shining onto it so it doesn’t melt as quickly. This is why there must be a lot of ice sheets, however, climate change has reduced the number of ice sheets. Therefore, the ice has melted and ocean levels have risen. Scientists say that there is a one percent chance that there will be little to no ice sheets. Yet another environmental factor climate change has affected is the oceans. Because of the excess heat, some marine organisms are being scorched, such as coral reefs, and there has been an increase in toxic algal blooms, which is when algae grow too rapidly and release very toxic chemicals that severely harm other organisms. Toxic algal blooms have been present in the past, but climate change has been responsible for 90 percent of them in the past 9 years. Finally, the severity of weather has increased in many places around the world. This means there will likely be more rainfall, stronger winds, and more frequent, extreme storms.
    Personal Reaction:
    I feel like human-driven climate change is a big issue in today’s society. People are just polluting the Earth and as a result, nature is suffering. I really believe that this will get worse in the future unless society comes to realize what terrible crimes it is committing to nature. However, the information in the article was quite useful and understandable. I really like how this article included predictions on what is to come if climate change progresses. The predictions are shocking in the fact that things will get really bad and the Earth could really suffer if the correct actions aren’t taken.

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