The last couple of weeks have been extremely stressful for most of us. With the holidays quickly approaching, you may think so what exactly do I have to be thankful for this year. Well, here is a list of some pretty great things that have happened in 2016

  1. New chemotherapy breakthroughs have significantly increased the survival rate for pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers out there, 97% of patients do not survive past 5 years after diagnosis. New studies on immunotherapy and gene targeted therapy have showed that the combination of chemotherapy with gemcitabine will raise the 5-year survival rate from 15-17% to 29%.

  1. Giant pandas are no longer endangered.

Giant Pandas have been endangered since 1990 and serve as the symbol for species preservation, but their numbers are no longer dwindling. The Chinese government pushed through major conservation efforts by funding 67 panda reserves and penalizing panda poaching. Now, thanks to them, the number of pandas in the wild is stabilizing.

  1. Drinking coffee has proven to decrease the rates of cancer and suicide.

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This is good news for everyone who needs a cup of coffee just to make it to lecture hall semi-functioning. Harvard health has reported that antioxidants in coffee can protect cells against certain types of cancers. Regular coffee drinkers are also 20% lesser of being depressed and have a lower chance of committing suicide.

  1. California has set the US record for most solar powered homes.

California has powered over 6 million homes this year, which is almost half of all the installed solar capacity in the country. Studies show that at this rate, 50% of t California will be solar powered by 2020.

  1. Huge advancements in Alzheimer’s research have been made.

This year’s society for neuroscience conference brought up some interesting studies regarding genetic and molecular biomarkers for Alzheimer’s. Researchers for the University of Cambridge presented finding that allow for the diagnosis of the disease earlier in life.

  1. Two brothers saw color for the first time thanks to specially-designed glasses.

Two color-blind brothers were able to see color for the first time ever due to glasses designed by EnChroma. These glasses are especially designed to allow people with colorblindness to experience color and  were done so by using genetic research for colorblindness.

  1. Portugal ran its entire nation solely on renewable energy for four days straight.

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Portugal is one of the leaders in renewable energy, with 48% of their country running on renewable energy annually. This year, Portugal was able to power the entire country for four days straight solely on clean energy.

  1.   A teacher in Colombia delivers books to children in rural villages via donkey.

A professor named Luis Soriano has been delivering books to children in need on the back of a donkey which he cleverly named Bibloburro. He stated that in Colombia, children have to travel over 40 minutes to get to a library or school, this way children have an easier access to educational tools.

  1.   Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

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Underground railroad conductor, Harriet Tubman, will replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill. She will make history as the first woman and African American on American currency. Unfortunately the new bills are not due to arrive until 2030.

  1.  Bank firm pays for college tuition for the children of employees who died in the 9/11 attacks

A banking firm that lost 66 employees in the 9/11 attacks have so far paid for the entire college education of  54 children of these employees. They have stated that they will pay for the education of the remaining 22 children as they come of age.

These are just a few things worth being thankful for but there are many, many more. Every second of every day a new life comes into the world. Everyday someone beats cancer, overcomes depression, or decides to live another day. Although it can be hard to find the good within all the bad, it’s there and we should be thankful that we’re here at an amazing University surrounded by caring human beings.

 

Picture credits: YouTube, European Union, ABC News, & Thrillist.

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