Does Science Have Any Good News for Us in 2020?
2020 has certainly given us some scary, rough, and down right unfortunate news headlines, but I’m happy to report the world of science has some good news to share from here on Earth, up in space, and even inside your brain!
COVID-19 dominated the news landscape for basically the whole year, but now medical researchers at two different companies have shared the good news about potential vaccines! Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna both have announced vaccines with 90% and 94.5% efficacy respectively. The Moderna offering can even be stored in most normal refrigerators, giving more hope for distribution and access to citizens. There are still challenge ahead in getting final approvals and then distribution to our entire nation and beyond, but at least we now have a few potential vaccine contenders!
There’s also some good news up in space. On Monday November 16th around 11pm four astronauts safely arrived at the International Space Station via the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Three NASA astronauts and one from Japan’s space agency now join the 64th expedition crew on the ISS to further our collective scientific knowledge. They also became the latest residents of the space station, which has continuously been occupied by humans since Nov 2000.
Also, all this good news is actually good for you in the long run too. A recent study by the Association for Psychological Science showed that individuals with a positive outlook tend to have better memory retention in older age. A 9 year longitudinal study observed that older individuals who had a positive affect - more cheerful, jovial, self-assured people - performed better on a memory test where they had to recall words 15 minutes after hearing them. Scientists have been studying the health benefits of positive affect for a while, and this discovery adds further understanding of how our psychological and physical well-being are intertwined.
So, enjoy some of this good news and let it lift your outlook. It might just improve your memory!
The beauty of science is that while it may often be the reason we get bad news, it's also how we react, plan, and actively approach things to make good news too. Smart minds across the globe have been doing this since the dawn of our species. Science, discovery, curiosity, and understand have all played vital roles in the many advances that have brought us to where we are today. This year has been a particularly challenging for all of us, but science has been working overtime to learn from new information, communicate among science communities globally, and attempt to work on ways to keep as many people safe as possible. After a long challenging year we figured we would take a moment to give some props to science for the good news that it had to offer recently.
All this good news may feel off-brand from the 2020 news cycles, but…hey, we’ll take good news where we can get it! As always stay tuned for more science updates and stay safe out there everyone!