Using R.N.A. to Kill Cancer

Scientists may have found a molecular bounty hunter—a tiny snippet of R.N.A. called microRNA 31—that can kill wayward cancer cells hiding in parts of the body far from the initial tumor.

If cancer can be stopped once it has spread, lives will be saved. A small section of R.N.A. seems effective at killing breast cancer cells. "A tiny snippet of R.N.A. called microRNA-31 or miR-31 can kill breast cancer cells that have spread to the lungs. The microRNA turns off production of proteins that cells use to build skeletons and cling to each other, researchers at M.I.T. and the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, show in a paper published in the March 15 Genes & Development. The microRNA didn’t affect the initial tumor. Therapies that can stop cancer once it has spread may eliminate up to 90 percent of cancer deaths."

Is life after 75 worth living? This UPenn scholar doubts it.

What makes a life worth living as you grow older?

Culture & Religion
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
  • The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
  • Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
Keep reading Show less

Brazil's Amazon fires: How they started — and how you can help.

The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."

Politics & Current Affairs
  • For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
  • Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
  • There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
Keep reading Show less

Study: Sending emojis is linked to scoring more dates, sex

Emojis might contain more emotional information than meets the eye.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new study shows that people who frequently used emojis in text messages with potential dates engaged in more sexual activity and had more contact with those dates.
  • However, the study only shows an association; it didn't establish causality.
  • The authors suggest that emojis might help to convey nuanced emotional information that's lacking in strictly text-based messaging.
Keep reading Show less