AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: South Korea

90 and Counting…

Life expectancy is continuously rising, and is expected to rise immensely in various countries around the world. The U.S however, is not increasing as drastically.

A recent study was done to predict the average life expectancy for 35 countries in the year 2030. The greatest increases were seen in females born in South Korea and males born in Hungary. The smallest increases were people born in Macedonia.

South Korean females are expected to live 6.6 years longer than they would have if they were born in 2010. Their life expectancy is 90.8 years old. WOW!

France had the second highest life expectancy for females, with 88.6 years.

Japan came in third with a predicted life expectancy of 88.4 years, not too far behind France.

The reason this news is so shocking is because scientists once believed that it would be impossible to have a life expectancy exceed 90 years, but South Korea has surpassed it. This barrier will be broken.

Professor Magid Ezzati said, “I don’t believe we’re anywhere near the upper limit of expectancy – if there even is one”.

For men, the greatest increase was in Hungary, with an estimated increase of 7.5 years more than 2010. The life expectancy is 78.2 years for boys born in 2030.

Like the females, South Korean males had the highest predicted life expectancy for 2030, with a whopping 84.1 years. Australia and Switzerland were not far behind with life expectancies of 84 years old.

The United States did not increase much. For women it was expected to increase by 2.1 years and for men it was expected to increase by 3 years. This would mean 83.3 years for women and 79.5 for men.

Researchers in the study noted that life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is already lower than most other high-income countries and that it is projected to fall further behind. Some reasons for this set back are that the U.S. has the highest homicide rates, highest death rates for women and children, and the highest average BMI of any high-income country. It is also the only country out of the 35 in the study that does not provide universal health care, so many people have unmet health care needs due to cost.


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Magnets: Fun Toy or Deadly Tool?

Taken by: USCPSC

Cancer is one of the most well known diseases, yet it is one of the hardest to treat. The research of different treatments for cancer is ongoing and innovative. According to a recent study in South Korea magnets may be the next step in cancer treatment. A way for magnets to assist the body in targeting and killing off cancer cells has been discovered and is being researched and developed.

A problem with current cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy is that they can only be targeted to a certain extent. With this experimental form of cancer treatment, using magnets, the body’s natural functions are used to kill the cells in a tumor. The human body naturally goes through a process called apoptosis, or the process of programed cell death. Apoptosis is used by the body when it is first developing allowing fingers and toes to grow individually, and it is used daily to kill off skin cells that have been damaged by weather. The researchers in South Korea are using this process to target and kill off the cancer cells.

The researchers applied zinc-doped iron oxide nanoparticles to colon cancer cells. This allows for the cells to naturally bind with antibodies, which then bind to the death receptors on the cancer cells. The researchers then applied a magnetic field, which caused  the death receptors to send out a signal telling the system to attack the cell. When this occurs chemicals are sent out and the cells of the tumor that had zinc-doped iron oxide nanoparticles on them were killed.

Sadly this innovative new cancer fighting technique has its downsides. In their experiments only half the exposed cells were killed although none of the cells they weren’t targeting were harmed. And when this method was tested on zebra fish some grew abnormal tails, which means that this method may be innovative but it still has plenty of testing to go through before it will be used on humans.

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