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Critical Thinking
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VOL. 2, ISSUE 1

08.29.2016

STORIES IN THIS NEWSLETTER:

Alzheimer’s Drug

Zika Update

Greenland Fossils

Earth-like Planet

Elephant Births

TEST OF EXPERIMENTAL ALZHEIMER’S DRUG FINDS PROGRESS AGAINST PLAQUES
From NPR: “An experimental drug dramatically reduced the toxic plaques found
in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease, a team reports in the
journal Nature .
Results from a small number of patients who received a high dose of the drug,
called aducanumab, hint that it may also be able to slow the loss of memory and
thinking.
"If that hint of a clinical benefit is confirmed, it would be a game changer in the
fight against Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the
Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix. Reiman wrote a commentary that
accompanies the study in Nature.” Continue reading here.

ZIKA AROUND THE WORLD: WHERE DO WE STAND?
From CNN: “Zika continues its march around the world. Moving from Africa to
French Polynesia to Central and South America, the disease is now active in the
United States and Asia, and is likely to continue to spread.
Zika arrives in a country via the bloodstreams of globe-trotting vacationers and
businesspeople, all returning home from areas where Zika is actively circulating.
It's not like you can stop it: Four out of five people with Zika have no symptoms,
so most of those passengers are unaware they carry the virus in their blood.”
Continue reading here.

GREENLAND MAY BE HOME TO EARTH’S OLDEST FOSSILS
From ScienceNews: “A melting snow patch in Greenland has revealed what could
be the oldest fossilized evidence of life on Earth. The 3.7-billion-year-old
structures may help scientists retrace the rise of the first organisms relatively
soon after Earth’s formation around 4.5 billion years ago (SN: 2/8/14, p. 16),
the discoverers report online August 31 in Nature.
Unlike dinosaur bones, the new fossils are not preserved bits of an ancient
critter. The Greenland fossils are mounds of minerals a few centimeters tall that
may have been deposited by clusters of microbes several hundred million years
after Earth formed. The shape and chemical composition of the mounds, called
stromatolites…” Continue reading here.

SCIENTISTS FIND EARTH-LIKE PLANET CIRCLING SUN’S NEAREST NEIGHBOR
From Reuters: “Scientists have discovered a planet that appears to be similar to
Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to
find out if life exists elsewhere in the universe, research published on Wednesday
showed.
The relative proximity of the planet, known as Proxima b, gives scientists a better
chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has
an atmosphere and water, which is believed to be necessary for life.” Continue
reading here.

SLOW BIRTH RATE FOUND IN AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
From BBC: “Scientists have found that the animals start to breed at a later age
and with longer intervals between calves than other elephant species.
The researchers say it means it could take decades for this species to recover
from recent dramatic declines. The study is published in the Journal of Applied
Ecology.
Prof George Wittemyer, from Colorado State University, US, and the chair of the
scientific board of Save the Elephants, said: "I don't think any of us realised how
sensitive this species was.” Continue reading here.

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Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society
President: Alexis Bailey
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