Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Nov 30, 2021 in Stuff You Should Know

A Vaccine for Alzheimer’s?

The news is full of stories about the COVID-19 vaccine, but there is another vaccine being tested that could make just as big a difference in the lives of many Americans. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and kills more than 120,000 Americans per year. An estimated six million Americans are affected right now,

However, after twenty years of research, a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is ready to start trials on a nasal vaccine that could potentially prevent Alzheimer’s, or at least slow down its progression. The key ingredient is a substance called Protollin, which stimulates the immune system to produce extra white blood cells. Those cells then migrate to the brain and begin to clear out the buildup of plaque in the brain that cause memory problems in Alzheimer’s patients.

This initial trial will involve just sixteen individuals, all of whom are already exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s. The testing will last for about six months. At this point, researchers are just trying to figure out the correct dosage. Once they do, a much larger trial will be necessary. That trial will involve 150 patients who will be observed over a period of several years. If the vaccine works, it could be given to people who are at risk for the disease, before they ever exhibit symptoms, to prevent it altogether. And it’s possible that this research will help develop treatments for other neurodegenerative disorders (diseases that cause a breakdown of the brain cells) as well.

Dig Deeper Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affects people of color in the United States. Why? Use Internet resources to learn more about this and write a short paragraph reporting what you discover.

Deaf Football Team Wins Division Title

The California School for the Deaf in Riverside, California, has 168 students, from preschool through twelfth grade. It is one of only two high schools for deaf students in California. It is the only all-deaf public school in the southern California. They also have a very successful football team. The Cubs haven’t always been victorious. They have losing records for their last seven seasons. The Cubs beat Avalon High School 64-51 in the semi-finals–and won the division title for the first time in the school’s 68-year history. Unfortunately, on Saturday November 27, 2021, the team lost to Faith Baptist, 74 to 22, and will not advance to the state championship.

The team’s coach says that their sudden winning streak is due to their especially talented and cohesive team of players this season. But he also points out that while some people may see deafness as a handicap in football, it can be an advantage. For example, players and coaches can communicate with each other using hand signals from anywhere. There is no need for a huddle or time out. Also, deaf players often have heightened visual senses that make them more aware of where other players are positioned on the field.

Parents and school officials say that the victorious season is about so much more than just winning football games. It shows the whole country that being deaf is not a disadvantage, and that deaf students can achieve anything that hearing students can.

Dig Deeper Are there any schools for deaf students located near you? If you don’t know, use Internet resources to learn more about these schools, and if they have football or other sports teams as part of their program.

Navajo Nation Museum Spreads Language Through Movies

The most widely spoken indigenous language in the United States is Navajo. However, this Native American language is rapidly disappearing. As of 2017, about 171,000 people could speak Navajo fluently. Only about 7,600 spoke it exclusively. The number of Navajos who speak their native language has continued to decrease since the 1980s.

To help fight this trend, the Navajo Nation Museum has spent the past several years dubbing iconic American films into Navajo. The museum started with Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 2013. It translated Finding Nemo in 2016. In November 2021, the museum released A Fistful of Dollars, a classic “spaghetti Western” starring Clint Eastwood. Originally released in 1964, it was the actor’s first film, and the one that made him famous. Why this particular movie? Elders in the Navajo community started asking for a Navajo-dubbed Western. Many Westerns of this era portray harmful stereotypes of Native American people. A Fistful of Dollars was chosen specifically because it has no Native American characters in it at all.

The Navajo-dubbed version was supposed to come out in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused many delays. Over the next month, it will be shown in theaters on the Navajo Nation reservation.

Dig Deeper Learn more about the Navajo Nation Museum–based in Window Rock, Arizona–by visiting the Museum’s website at http://navajopeople.org/nnm/. Write a paragraph describing some of the exhibits and events.

Right to Repair

Have you ever had to spend time at the Apple store trying to get your iPhone repaired? Maybe you had a cracked screen or you had battery problems. Beginning in early 2022, Apple will be instituting a Self-Service Repair program, which allows you to fix your phone (or Mac) yourself, using genuine Apple parts and tools. This will potentially save Apple users time and money.

technician with a tool in his hand repairing a mobile phone
Are you comfortable repairing your own iPhone? You will have a chance starting in 2022.

Why now? You can thank the Biden administration, which has cracked down on electronics makers, for their difficult and expensive repair process. The Federal Trade Commission has now issued “right to repair” rules that say electronics makers can’t prevent independent repair shops, or individual people, from fixing their devices themselves.

So how does it work? Customers will go online to the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store, which has more than two hundred individual parts and tools available. You’ll then register with your device’s serial number, and the company will ship you the necessary parts. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 model parts will be the first ones available, followed by Mac computer parts. But despite the convenience, there are risks involved. Apple is clear that if you accidentally break your device while trying to fix it, your warranty might be voided. And there’s no customer service number to call if you make a mistake. You can take your device into the Apple store, but there will be an additional fee to repair it.

What Do You Think? Based on what you’ve read, if your Apple device breaks, would you try to fix it yourself or take it to a professional? Explain.