6 Things You Need To Know Today (October 12, 2017)

Photo: @pondlife_pondlife

1. New York City's single-celled inhabitants have a super-popular Instagram account.

Named @pondlife_pondlife, the account, run by scientist Sally Warring, the educational account showcases the variety of single-celled life in various locations around the city. (The Cut)

2. Your smoothie staple is under fire.

Thanks to an invasive fungus called fusarium, our Cavendish bananas (which make up a whopping 99 percent of all the ones we eat in the United States) are quickly dying off. Time to freeze a few months' worth of bananas immediately. (The Washington Post)

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3. Scientists believe they have discovered the source of Old Faithful's water supply.

The geyser, named for its incredible reliability, spews water and steam every 90 minutes like clockwork. Using natural vibrations as a guide, scientists listened for seismic waves and discovered a region of porous rock, 200 meters across and 50 meters thick. They believe this porous rock holds millions of liters of magma-heated water and serves as an underground tank that will keep Old Faithful supplied with water for many years to come. (Science Mag)

4. Gene therapy might be the future of brain disease treatment.

In a groundbreaking new study, doctors were able to use gene therapy to halt the progress of a fatal neurodegenerative brain disease called adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD. Doctors treated 17 children with ALD with gene therapy; two years later, 15 were functioning normally. While gene therapy has long been controversial, new successes and treatment methods (using disabled HIV to insert the genes into human cells, for instance) open the door to experimentation with many diseases. (NYT)

5. Calling all long-distance runners!

A new study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness is helping us understand what happens to the body during half-marathons and marathons. The short answer? Running is hard on the body, but there is a lot you can do to recover and prevent injury so it doesn't affect your performance. (NYT)

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6. Simplifying cancer screenings could pose a huge risk for minority women.

Back in September, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force drafted recommendations for women between the ages of 30 and 64 that would simplify the testing for HPV and cervical cancer. This new methodology may be oversimplified, making for worse cancer detection, particularly in Latina and black women, who have the highest rates of cervical cancer in the United States. (NPR)

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