The top three news stories of the week, as chosen by our resident students. This week’s top stories include a new island with Martian similarities, how climate change can really break hearts and a new potential ‘cure’ for cancer.
By Claudia Owczarek
Baby island with a Martian landscape
The birth of a baby island within the nation of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean was accidentally spotted by the NASA satellites. At the end of 2014, a volcanic plum was observed and once the eruption was over, in January 2015, a new land appeared. Later on, scientists discovered that the newborn island has something unusual. It’s one of only three volcanic islands to live longer than a few months in the past 150 years. This gives scientists a great opportunity to study longevity and erosion that shapes new islands and it could be the closest example of ancient Mars before its oceans evaporated away and its volcanoes became dormant.
Click here to read more about this new discovery!
Climate change may hurt babies’ heart
A study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that, from 2025, the extreme heat caused by climate change could increase the number of babies born with heart defects in the United States. It’s unclear why a pregnant woman’s heat exposure can lead to a congenital heart defect in a baby, but animal studies suggest that heat could cause cell death in fetuses and interact with heat-sensitive proteins that are important in development. An earlier study from the same group of researchers found that women’s exposure to high temperatures during pregnancy was linked to an increased risk of congenital heart defects in babies.
Yet another ‘miraculous’ cure for cancer
Scientists at an Israeli biotech company announced that a complete cure for cancer will be available in a year’s time. The potential treatment is known as a ‘multi-target toxin’. This consists of several cancer-targeting peptides combined with a peptide toxin that would kill cancer cells specifically. However, this conclusion seems to have been drawn on very preliminary studies and no results have been published to back up these claims, as it’s traditional in the science community. In fact, the approach has only been studied in a single exploratory study in mice, the results of which are supposedly ‘consistent and repeatable’. Furthermore, the claim that one treatment can cure all cancers doesn’t seem too likely.
Click here to read more about this interesting story.