Nerves that sense touch may play role in autism

This small-scale study may have uncovered a new link between the peripheral nerve system and autism.

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  • Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the CDC, autism impacts an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States.
  • An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system may play a role in autism.
  • The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture —more research is needed in this area.
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Newly-discovered flower is so rare, there is only one plant of its species

Scientists find a new species of flower in a remote part of Hawaii.

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  • Botanists have discovered a new species of flower on a remote slope in Hawaii.
  • The new plant is called Cyanea heluensis and features white, curved flowers.
  • The plant is so rare, there is only one of its kind found so far.
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7 expert perspectives on what COVID-19 means for the planet

At the height of the first wave, many people took heart from the drop in air pollution resulting from global lockdowns.

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Experts agree that the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for years, even after the immediate threat has passed.

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Microplastics have been found in human placenta

More evidence that we're drowning in microplastic particles.

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  • Italian researchers have discovered microplastic particles in human placenta.
  • Out of six collected placentas, four contained colored plastic microparticles.
  • That petrochemical pollutants are present in such a critically important organ is alarming.
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Harvard scientists advance controversial plan to dim sunlight

Researchers from Harvard receive permission for a test that may help cool Earth and fight global warming.

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  • Swedish space agency allows Harvard researchers to test a stratospheric balloon next year.
  • The balloon may eventually be used to release particles into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight.
  • The goal would be to cool Earth and fight back against global warming but the approach has critics.
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