The top three news stories of the week, as chosen by our resident students. This week’s top stories include strange risk factors associated with cancers, differences in brain age between genders and a new method to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts.

By Yifei Gu

Odd things that increase your risk of cancer

Too much body weight might increase the risk of cancer, a study shows that people who were overweight or obese faces double the risk of different types of cancers. This may be due to the fact that they might harbour higher levels of inflammation, or they may express higher levels of hormones that lead to cell growth. Being tall is also to have shown to increase the risk of cancer as a study from 2018 shows that for an extra 10 centimetres of height, your chance of getting cancer increases by 10%. Although the mechanism is not very clear, the researchers believe that a likely hypothesis could be that tall people have more cells in their bodies, which in turn have more cells that could become cancerous.

Read more about this study here.

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Women have ‘younger brains’ than men

A study analysing 200 brain scans of adults by looking at the measure of the brain’s metabolism that is known to change with age shows that, based on these metabolic levels, brains of women on average appear to be 3 years younger than men. The findings need to be confirmed in follow up studies but the researchers have hypothesised that by having a metabolically ‘younger brain’ might be helpful with ageing-related changes that are happening in the brain e.g. women may experience less of a decline in thinking abilities as they age. More studies are needed to understand the differences between the brains of both genders, and whether or not it will affect diseases during brain ageing such as Alzheimer’s, is interesting to test.

Click here to read more about this study.

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Using rockets to study weather patterns

In 2017, China built the world’s first robotic ship for launching ‘sounding rockets’ that are used to help meteorologists better understand the atmosphere over Earth’s oceans by monitoring the meteorological environment. The profile provided by these sounding rockets can greatly improve the accuracy of weather forecasts at coastal zones. The unmanned ship has a great advantage of not needing to have people inside which makes for expensive, and sometimes, dangerous expeditions. After initial tests, the team hopes to deploy a large amount of these ships to study even more complicated phenomena such as typhoons and hurricanes by equipping them with more advanced sensors and detectors.

Read more about this fascinating story here!

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