Just 1 month in greener play areas could boost kids’ immune systems, study says

The researchers say their findings support the idea that low biodiversity in modern living environments could lead to "uneducated" immune systems.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Making outdoor play areas greener and more biodiverse could improve children's immune systems in one month, a new study suggests.

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1 in 5 vegetative patients is conscious. This neuroscientist finds them.

This week, Big Think is partnering with Freethink to bring you amazing stories of the people and technologies that are shaping our future.

  • What if vegetative patients are conscious? Neuroscientist Adrian Owen, author of Into The Gray Zone and a professor at Western University in Canada, is using fMRI technology to try to reach the people who may still be aware of their surroundings.
  • Consciousness has traditionally been assessed by asking patients to respond to verbal commands. Through brain imaging, Dr Owen and his team were able to prove that these tests are inadequate, and it's estimated that 20 percent of vegetative patients are conscious but are physically incapable of communicating it.
  • "Communication is the thing that really makes us human," says Dr. Owen. "If we can give these patients back the ability to make decisions, I think we can give them back a little piece of their humanity."
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Study calls out the genes that make cancer cells so hard to kill

Researchers from the University of Toronto published a new map of cancer cells' genetic defenses against treatment.

Credit: CI Photos/Shutterstock
  • Developing immunotherapies for cancers is made more difficult by how different tumors are from each other.
  • Some cancers are actually made worse by immunotherapy.
  • A piece falls into place on the complicated puzzle of genetic interactions of cancer cells.
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    Coronavirus aggressively invades lung cells in chilling new images

    The images were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and show how prolific coronavirus can become in a mere four days.

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that spreads through human airways.
  • New images taken with a scanning electron microscope show coronavirus swarming over bronchial cells.
  • The images further stress the importance of preventative measures such as handwashing and wearing a mask in public.
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    Chadwick Boseman's death is tragic. Here's what you need to know about colon cancer.

    Despite Boseman's young age, this cancer is increasingly common in people under 50.

    Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney
    • Though Chadwick Boseman was only 43, rates of cancer in people under 50 have been increasing since 2006.
    • African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to get this cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from it than other racial groups.
    • Preventive measure include better diet, exercise, regular screenings, and a reduction in smoking and drinking.
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