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Why this woman in Colombia didn’t develop Alzheimer’s despite being at great risk for it

ScientiFix, our weekly feature, offers you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to their sources.

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Genetic mutation protected this woman from developing Alzheimer’s

Scientists have studied the brain of an unidentified woman in Colombia, who hails from a large family with the highest risk of Alzheimer’s, but who seems to have a genetic mutation that offers her protection against it. Her family members have another mutation that caused almost everyone to show symptoms of dementia by their 40s. The unidentified woman is also the only known human who has a defence against Alzheimer’s. More on The New York Times.

Life on Earth may have originated in deep-sea vents, finds study

Since the time of Charles Darwin, the primarily accepted theory for the origin of life has been the ‘primordial soup’ theory. But of late, more and more evidence presents itself in favour of a theory that the origin of life could have been in deep sea hydrothermal vents. These vents are also supposedly present on other planetary bodies such as moons of Jupiter and Saturn like Europa and Enceladus — thus providing a higher probability of finding more life near us. The author of a recent study explains in The Conversation.

New light-loving material follows the sun

Phototropism is the ability to follow the sun to constantly be in sunlight and many living things, including plants, exhibit it. The most notable example is the sunflower that turns to face the sun as it moves across the sky. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), claim that they have finally managed to create an artificial material that is capable of exhibiting this behaviour. It is called sunflower-like biomimetic omnidirectional tracker (SunBOT) and researchers expect it would harness 400 per cent more solar energy. Read more in Cosmos magazine.

Vitamin E acetate caused vaping illnesses & deaths in US

New evidence has surfaced suggesting that Vitamin E acetate, which is sometimes used as an additive in the marijuana-derived THC, is responsible for the spate of vaping illnesses and deaths that have plagued the United States. As a precautionary measure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has asked people to not use any THC-laced products for the time being until further research. Majority of the samples came from THC that was purchased from “informal sources”. More on CNN.

Also read: Voyager 2, which entered interstellar space in 2018, sends a message for Earth


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