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Have students write their own movie review with this fun lesson plan and worksheet

The words “movie day” probably evoke fond memories from our own international journal childhoods: Teachers rolling out the TV/VCR cart; the classroom lights flickering out; everyone scooting their desks to get a better view or a seat near a friend; and, if we were lucky, maybe even the smell of freshly microwaved popcorn. Today, when it comes to watching movies in school, the technology has changed (no more squinting to see a tiny TV in the corner!), but our students love movie days just the same — if not more.
Sometimes showing a movie in class is just the right call. Some movies can help illustrate big, complex ideas. Others help us explore detailed topics in ways that just aren’t possible otherwise. And the best movies help us enrich students’ learning about the much wider world outside of our classroom’s walls.

And to top it off, classroom movies are a great way to help students practice their media literacy skills. Active viewing is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally, but it’s something all students can practice and learn. And in today’s media-saturated world, kids need all the help they can get when it comes to different ways of thinking about what they’re seeing on screens of all sizes.

Fun Neutrals That Aren’t Beige

If you’re working with interior desain clients who want to keep things simple without being too bland, there are a few tricks you can try when it comes to selecting a color palette. Many clients are turned off by the idea of a beige look because it seems uninteresting and dull.

For starters, it might be worth explaining to them that there are a variety of shades in the beige family that are much more visually appealing than the classic color they might be envisioning.

However, in the spirit of bringing more interesting suggestions to the table, if you’d rather avoid suggesting beige altogether, there are a handful of unexpected neutrals that are equally versatile when it comes to simple design.

Purple might seem like an unexpected suggestion in terms of neutrals and simplicity, but if you select a shade that has a fair amount of gray or brown mixed into it, those will work as neutralizers, and will greatly soften the purple look.

If your clients are interested in experimenting with some purple, start by suggesting a lavender or a warm shade of mauve – these are both gentler, more natural looking hues that provide just a subtle hint of color.

Blue-grey is an incredibly common pick when it comes to neutral with a twist. This is an especially practical choice if you’re working on a master bedroom redesign. Not only does this color family bring a very soothing, relaxing energy to any space, it’s also very easy to mix and match with colorful accents.

Again, if you choose any one of your client’s favorite colors but opt for a shade that has the right amount of grey or brown mixed in, you’re left with a more subtle version of that color, which can then be easily used as your neutral base.

This gray-green look has the same soothing effect we mentioned above, and is a popular pick for bathroom designs because of the earthy, spa-like effect it adds to a space.

Plant product suggests promise in mouse version of parkinsons disease

An extract from three plant species reduced signs of motor disturbances in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease and lessened the associated molecular defects of the cellular recycling process known as autophagy, a study showed.

Further research is needed to confirm that the active component of the plant extract could serve as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s. But such a therapy might be able to restore autophagy-related deficiencies found in patients with the neurodegenerative disease, the scientists said.

The study, “Extract of Polygala tenuifolia, Angelica tenuissima, and Dimocarpus longan Reduces Behavioral Defect and Enhances Autophagy in Experimental Models of Parkinson’s Disease,” was published in the journal NeuroMolecular Medicine.

A common theme underlying various proposed causes of Parkinson’s disease is autophagy — a process to degrade, recycle, and eliminate unused proteins and other cellular components.

Some mutations linked to familial Parkinson’s are found in genes related to autophagy. These alterations cause an accumulation of toxic proteins that leads to cell damage and death.

A water-based extract called WIN-1001X, found in three plant species — Polygala tenuifolia, Angelica tenuissima, and Dimocarpus longan — has been shown to have protective properties by modulating autophagy in brain cells from mice with chemically induced Parkinson’s.

Further research identified a specific component in the extract, called onjisaponin B, that was responsible for activating autophagy processes.

Based on these findings, investigators centered at the Natural Product Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, examined the impact of an optimized extract of WIN-1001X in Parkinson’s-induced rodent models.

The optimized plant extract was prepared with a 20% ethanol solvent to increase fat-based components.

To induce Parkinson’s-like symptoms, the mice were injected with a compound called MPTP, which led to neurotoxicity in cells that produce dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical messenger deficient in Parkinson’s patients that is used by nerve cells to communicate and control body movements.

The researchers used a rotating rod test to measure motor coordination in the mice. The animals injected with MPTP showed significantly less time on the rod compared with control mice. Induced mice then treated with WIN-1001X showed a significant recovery compared with MPTP mice.

Approach to the telemedicine bodily exam

Fruit Compound May Have Potential to Prevent and Treat Parkinson’s Disease, Mouse Study Suggests
Yellow ribbon structure of PARIS on a white background
An illustration of PARIS with the crystal structure of Farnesyltransferase, the enzyme that enables farnesylation. Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have added to evidence that the compound farnesol, found naturally in herbs, and berries and other fruits, prevents and reverses brain damage linked to Parkinson’s disease in mouse studies.

The compound, used in flavorings and perfume-making, can prevent the loss of neurons that produce dopamine in the brains of mice by deactivating PARIS, a key protein involved in the disease’s progression. Loss of such neurons affects movement and cognition, leading to hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as tremors, muscle rigidity, confusion and dementia. Farnesol’s ability to block PARIS, say the researchers, could guide development of new Parkinson’s disease interventions that specifically target this protein.

“Our experiments showed that farnesol both significantly prevented the loss of dopamine neurons and reversed behavioral deficits in mice, indicating its promise as a potential drug treatment to prevent Parkinson’s disease,” says Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Results of the new study, published July 28, in Science Translational Medicine, detail how the researchers identified farnesol’s potential by screening a large library of drugs to find those that inhibited PARIS.

In the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, a buildup of PARIS slows down the manufacture of the protective protein PGC-1alpha. The protein shields brain cells from damaging reactive oxygen molecules that accumulate in the brain. Without PGC-1alpha, dopamine neurons die off, leading to the cognitive and physical changes associated with Parkinson’s disease.

To study whether farnesol could protect brains from the effects of PARIS accumulation, the researchers fed mice either a farnesol-supplemented diet or a regular mouse diet for one week. Then, the researchers administered pre-formed fibrils of the protein alpha-synuclein, which is associated with the effects of Parkinson’s disease in the brain.

The researchers found that the mice fed the farnesol diet performed better on a strength and coordination test designed to detect advancement of Parkinson’s disease symptoms. On average, the mice performed 100% better than mice injected with alpha-synuclein, but fed a regular diet.

When the researchers later studied brain tissue of mice in the two groups, they found that the mice fed a farnesol-supplemented diet had twice as many healthy dopamine neurons than mice not fed the farnesol-enriched diet. The farnesol-fed mice also had approximately 55% more of the protective protein PGC-1alpha in their brains than the untreated mice.

In chemical experiments, the researchers confirmed that farnesol binds to PARIS, changing the protein’s shape so that it can no longer interfere with PGC-1alpha production.