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  • Water Fountain

    The ACHS Student Council has purchased a new Elkay ezH2O water bottle filling station located near the library. It was installed at the beginning of November. The filling station keeps track of and displays the number of 20 oz. plastic water bottles saved. Students have said that it helps a lot, especially for basketball players who need to fill up their bottles before and during practices. The filling station is more efficient than the old fountain making it easier to fill up water bottles in between classes.

    The Elkay company has been in business since 1920. According to the Elkay website, the filling stations were introduced in 2010 and gained popularity for their ability to reduce plastic bottle waste headed for landfills.

     

  • Advanced Bio Field Trip

    On November 14, the Advanced Biology class went to a lecture about cancer and genetics in Terre Haute, Indiana. Sam Rhine led the three and half hour lecture.

    One of the first things we talked about is the cure to cancer. What is the cure for cancer? First off, there won’t be a single cure for cancer. There are over two hundred different types of cancer, and most likely, each one will have a different cure.

    We talked about the cause of cancer as well. Cancer occurs when gene mutations occur. Gene mutations can be caused by smoking, a lack of exercise, radiation, and more. The DNA gets damaged which causes an unbalance between mitosis and apoptosis. Mitosis is the production of cells while apoptosis is the removal of unneeded cells. When this unbalance occurs, an abundance of cells form. This is called a tumor.

    Some tumors form over a long period of time. For example, the colon cancer tumors don’t usually reach a life-threatening stage until they have been in your body for about 30 years. When a tumor forms, it then invades surrounding cells. The cancer is then able to get into the blood or lymphatic system infecting other organs and tissues. This process is known as metastasis and it is very dangerous.  

    We also talked about treatments to cancer. Chemotherapy is one treatment, which consists of medication or a combination of medications that induces apoptosis in the cancer’s cells. The downside is this affects the good cells, too. Chemotherapy can weaken your immune system and this often causes the patient to get infections that the body would normally fight off. Other complications such as anemia can occur too.

    Radiation, another treatment for cancer, works by damaging the cancer’s DNA. It is similar to chemotherapy when it comes to damaging cells. It also damages healthy cells and that can lead to some of the same complications that chemotherapy has.

    One of the more intriguing things we talked about was gene editing and the tool that allows scientists to edit genes known as CRISPR. One thing scientists are working on now is replacing defective genes with functioning genes. A baby born in twenty years may have no chance of acquiring cancer. If a defective gene gets detected in the embryo, it could be replaced with a working gene. Although this is where science is heading, there are some moral issues to address. If the gene that controls whether or not you get Huntington’s disease can be changed, the gene that controls how tall you get could be changed too. If you could, would you change your child’s genes to increase their IQ by twenty points? This may be a question that parents in twenty years will have to answer.