Sunday, June 26, 2016

Can mountain-climbing bears rescue cherry trees from global warming?

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/cp-cmb041816.php

ublic Release: 25-Apr-2016
Can mountain-climbing bears rescue cherry trees from global warming?
Cell Press

As the planet warms, one way for plants and animals to find their way to cooler territory is to move up higher into the mountains. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 25 have found that cherry trees are indeed making their way to the mountaintops with help from an unexpected source: mountain-climbing bears.

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"Most previous studies have predicted future plant distributions under global warming based on the simple relationships between present plant distribution and environmental factors there, assuming that there are no seed dispersal limitations and no bias in dispersal direction. However, our study indicates that predicting future plant distributions can be very uncertain without considering the seed dispersal process that determines plant movement."

In the case of cherry trees, it's all about the bears.

If the goal is to seek cooler temperatures, then moving to higher altitudes is a rather useful strategy, the researchers explain. That's because the temperature change with increasing altitude is about 100 to 1,000 times greater than can be obtained by moving the same distance to the north or south.

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"We show that bears disperse seeds toward mountaintops, probably because bears climb mountains following the spring plant phenology, proceeding from the foot to the top of mountains," Naoe says.

The dispersal distance of the seeds was considered to be sufficient for the cherries to cope with global warming. The distance that the bears and martens moved the seeds corresponded to a drop in temperature of about 1.0°C or 2.0°C, enough to offset the projected global temperature rise of almost 5°C by the year 2100.

While the findings come as good news for cherry trees, they are a reminder that the movement patterns of individual plants in nature will be hard to accurately predict without careful consideration of their complex interactions with seed-dispersing animals, the researchers say. Estimates suggest that more than one-third of plants depend on animals to disperse their seeds.

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Changing climate conditions in Michigan pose an emerging public health threat

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uom-ccc042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Changing climate conditions in Michigan pose an emerging public health threat
University of Michigan

Changing climate conditions--including warmer temperatures and an increased frequency of heavy rainstorms--represent "an emerging threat to public health in Michigan," according to a new report from university researchers and state health officials.

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Based on current climate trends in Michigan and projections for the next few decades, the authors identified five health topics of concern for Michigan residents:

Respiratory diseases. Projected conditions favor increased air pollution and worsening respiratory disease. An earlier and longer growing season for plants could increase pollen levels, which in turn could exacerbate allergies and asthma.
Heat-related illnesses. Heat waves featuring high temperatures, high humidity and stagnant air masses could become more common and may lead to increased levels of heat-related illness and death.
Water-borne diseases. Across the Upper Midwest, extreme precipitation events have become more intense and more frequent over the past century. In coming decades, intense precipitation events and flooding are projected to stay the same or increase. Runoff from sewage and septic systems will remain a problem, potentially increasing the risk of water-borne diseases and, in some cases, harmful algal blooms.
Vector-borne diseases. Projections point to warmer winters, earlier springs and warmer summers, conditions suitable for mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and tick-carried diseases such as Lyme disease.
Carbon monoxide poisoning and weather-related injuries. Weather-related power outages are likely to increase, especially in the winter, leading to increased use of generators and related cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. An increased frequency of freezing rain and flooding will raise the risk of motor vehicle accidents and other types of injuries.

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Money problems and violence are related

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoi-amp042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Are money problems and violence related?
University of Iowa researchers find that the cause and effect of domestic abuse is more complicated
University of Iowa

Researchers at the University of Iowa have found an association between financial stress and severe domestic abuse, which is an important step in the effort to develop effective interventions. Their findings don't prove that one leads to the other, but they do affirm the complexity of domestic violence.

"What we don't know yet is whether financial stress makes a violent couple more violent, or is financial stress enough of a disruption in a relationship that violence begins?" says Corinne Peek-Asa, a corresponding author and director of the Injury Prevention Research Center at the UI College of Health. "Both are plausible."

What researchers did discover is more women than men report experiencing financial stressors; more women than men also report lashing out verbally and physically at their partners. But that doesn't necessarily mean women are more likely than men to respond to financial stressors with violence.

Like relationships themselves, teasing out cause and effect is complicated.

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Researchers found that more women (27.7 percent) than men (22.9 percent) experienced at least one financial stressor. A higher percentage of women than men reported experiencing three of the six types of financial stressors. Plus, a higher percent of women than men were unable to pay their utilities (17.6 percent vs. 12.7 percent), reported food insecurity (14 percent vs. 9.9 percent), and experienced disconnected phone service (10.4 percent vs. 7.8 percent).

According to the data, men and women experienced housing nonpayment, having utilities turned off, and eviction in about the same proportions.

Also, a higher number of women than men reported perpetrating threats/minor physical abuse (11.4 percent vs. 6.7 percent) and severe physical abuse (8.8 percent vs. 3.4 percent). But more men who perpetrated violence reported causing injury to their partner (32 percent vs. 21 percent). Overall, 92.9 percent of men and 86.7 percent of women reported they had committed no form of violence to their partner in the prior year.

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Music improves baby brain responses to music and speech

But not so loud as to damage their hearing.



Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Music improves baby brain responses to music and speech
University of Washington

Rock your baby in sync with music and you may wonder how the experience affects her and her developing brain.

A new study by scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that a series of play sessions with music improved 9-month-old babies' brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.

"Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech," said lead author Christina Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher at I-LABS.

"This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills," Zhao said.

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This suggests that participation in the play sessions with music improved the infants' ability to detect patterns in sounds.

"Schools across our nation are decreasing music experiences for our children, saying they are too expensive," Kuhl said. "This research reminds us that the effects of engaging in music go beyond music itself. Music experience has the potential to boost broader cognitive skills that enhance children's abilities to detect, expect and react quickly to patterns in the world, which is highly relevant in today's complex world."

Head impacts from season of high school football produce measurable change in brain cells

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/usmc-hif042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Head impacts from season of high school football produce measurable change in brain cells
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Repeated impacts to the heads of high school football players cause measurable changes in their brains, even when no concussion occurs, according to research from UT Southwestern Medical Center's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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"Our findings add to a growing body of literature demonstrating that a single season of contact sports can result in brain changes regardless of clinical findings or concussion diagnosis," said senior author Dr. Joseph Maldjian, Chief of the Neuroradiology Division and Director of the Advanced Neuroscience Imaging Research Lab, part of the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern.

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Football has the highest concussion rate of any competitive contact sport, and there is growing concern - reflected in the recent decrease in participation in the Pop Warner youth football program - among parents, coaches, and physicians of youth athletes about the effects of subconcussive head impacts, those not directly resulting in a concussion diagnosis, researchers noted. Previous research has focused primarily on college football players, but recent studies have shown impact distributions for youth and high school players to be similar to those seen at the college level, with differences primarily in the highest impact magnitudes and total number of impacts, the researchers noted.

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The findings contribute to a growing body of knowledge and study about concussions and other types of brain injury by researchers with the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. Among them:

In the first study of its kind, former National Football League (NFL) players who lost consciousness due to concussion during their playing days showed key differences in brain structure later in life. The hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory, was found to be smaller in 28 former NFL players as compared with a control group of men of similar age and education.

A study examining the neuropsychological status of former National Football League players found that cognitive deficits and depression are more common among retired players than in the general population.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Richard Rosario, Wrongly Convicted Man, Stuns Judge at Hearing



by Dan Slepian and Corky Siemaszko
June 24, 2016

A Bronx man who served 20 years in prison for a murder that more than a dozen alibi witnesses say he could not have committed threw a wrench Friday into plans to dismiss the case against him.

Richard Rosario, over the objections of prosecutors, asked the court not to drop the charges until a full investigation could be done that exonerates him.

"It's clear that I'm innocent," he said. "I've been in prison for 20 years saying that I'm innocent. I've been transparent and forthcoming with information to prove my innocence. And it seems that the NYPD and the DA's office position is that the truth doesn't matter."

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Rosario had been released a month earlier after Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said he had not gotten a fair trial for the 1996 murder of 17-year-old Jorge Collazo. She said Rosario's defense attorneys had not done enough to track down his alibi witnesses.

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The decision appeared to close the book on a torturous case that that was chronicled in "Conviction," a streaming documentary series produced by Dateline NBC that, among other things, tracked down most of the 13 witnesses who confirmed Rosario was more than 1,000 miles away in Florida when Collazo was gunned down on a Bronx street.

Rosario's conviction was vacated in March the day after the documentary went online.

"I've been in prison for 20 years for a crime I didn't commit, "Rosario said at the time. "My family didn't deserve this. I didn't deserve this, and nor does the family of the victim."

At that point, Rosario had already served 20 years of a 25-to-life sentence for the Collazo murder.

The Bronx DA's office had long resisted revisiting the case and Rosario's conviction had been upheld many times by appellate courts. But Clark began looking into the case even before she took office in January and dispatched investigators to Florida to check out Rosario's alibis.

tags: convicted innocent, convicted innocence

Friday, June 24, 2016

New study finds laundry detergent packets more dangerous than other types of detergent

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/nch-nsf042216.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
New study finds laundry detergent packets more dangerous than other types of detergent
Researchers urge families with young children to use traditional detergent instead of packets
Nationwide Children's Hospital

A new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center found that exposure to laundry detergent packets is more dangerous to young children than exposure to other types of laundry and dishwasher detergent.

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In addition, the most serious clinical effects such as coma, trouble breathing, heart problems, and death, were only seen in children exposed to the chemicals in laundry detergent packets. The risks of having a clinical effect, a serious medical outcome, hospitalization, or intubation were significantly higher for children who had been exposed to the chemicals in a laundry detergent packet than for those exposed to any other type of laundry or dishwasher detergent. At least one child a day in the U.S. was admitted to the hospital due to a laundry detergent packet exposure. The two child deaths in this study were both associated with exposure to laundry detergent packets.

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Experts recommend that families with children younger than 6 years old use traditional detergent instead of packets. "Many families don't realize how toxic these highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are," says Marcel J. Casavant, MD a co-author of the study, chief of toxicology at Nationwide Children's Hospital and medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center. "Use traditional laundry detergent when you have young kids in your home. It isn't worth the risk when there is a safer and effective alternative available."

Parents and child caregivers can help children stay safer by following these tips:

People who have young children that live in or visit their home should use traditional laundry detergent, which is much less toxic than laundry detergent packets.
Store all laundry detergent including packets up, away, and out of sight - in a locked cabinet is best for laundry packets.
Close laundry detergent packet packages or containers and put them away immediately after use.
Save the national Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) in your cell phone and post it near your home phones.

Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect children's lung health

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/bidm-ell042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect children's lung health
By age 8, children living close to major roadways have decreased lung function
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

According to new research led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) pulmonologist and critical care physician Mary B. Rice, MD, MPH, improved air quality in U.S. cities since the 1990s may not be enough to ensure normal lung function in children. The findings were recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, a journal of the American Thoracic Society.

Rice and colleagues found that children exposed to higher levels of air pollution, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and soot (black carbon), had worse lung function than those living in less polluted areas. By age eight, children living within 100 meters of a major roadway had lung function that was on average 6 percent lower than that of children living 400 meters or more away.

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Vitamin D insufficiency, low rate of DNA methylation in black teens may increase disease risk

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/mcog-vdi042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Vitamin D insufficiency, low rate of DNA methylation in black teens may increase disease risk
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Low levels of vitamin D in black teens correlates with low activity of a major mechanism for controlling gene expression that may increase their risk of cancer and other disease, researchers report.

Their study measured vitamin D levels as well as levels of global DNA methylation in 454 healthy individuals age 14-18. In this group, 99 percent of the white teens had adequate vitamin D levels, 66 percent of the black teens were vitamin D-deficient and all the black teens had lower levels of methylation compared to their white peers, said Dr. Haidong Zhu, molecular geneticist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

When they looked at another group of 58 young black individuals also with low vitamin D and methylation levels who received varying doses of vitamin D supplements for 16 weeks, they found a dose response: the more vitamin D received, the higher the methylation activity, said Zhu, corresponding author of the study in the journal PLOS ONE.

"While much work remains, there appears to be a connection between healthy vitamin D levels and levels of DNA methylation," Zhu said. "We want to understand underlying mechanisms for how vitamin D insufficiency causes cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune system problems."

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Infants who ate rice, rice products had higher urinary concentrations of arsenic

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/tjnj-iwa042116.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Infants who ate rice, rice products had higher urinary concentrations of arsenic
The JAMA Network Journals

Although rice and rice products are typical first foods for infants, a new study found that infants who ate rice and rice products had higher urinary arsenic concentrations than those who did not consume any type of rice, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Arsenic exposure from rice is a concern for infants and children. Infant rice cereal may contain inorganic arsenic concentrations that exceed the recommendation from the Codex Alimentarius Commission of the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations of 200 ng/g for polished white rice, the new European Union regulations of 100 ng/g for products aimed at infants, and the proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration limit for infant rice cereal.

The consumption of rice in early childhood has not been well described in the United States and there are only limited data from other regions of the world. Some epidemiologic evidence suggests that arsenic exposure in utero and early in life may be associated with adverse effects on fetal growth, and on infant and child immune and neurodevelopment outcomes.

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Study results indicated that based on 129 urine samples at 12 months, arsenic concentrations were higher among infants who ate rice or foods mixed with rice compared with infants who ate no rice. Also, total urinary arsenic concentrations were twice as high among infants who ate white or brown rice compared with those who ate no rice. The highest urinary arsenic concentrations were seen among infants who ate baby rice cereal; urinary arsenic concentrations were nearly double for those who ate rice snacks compared with infants who ate no rice, according to the study.

The authors note their study group from northern New England using private, unregulated water systems may affect the generalizability of their results. Also, other dietary sources of arsenic, such as apple juice, may further contribute to urinary arsenic concentrations.

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Climate Change is Tipping Scales Toward More Wildfires

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/western-wildfires-climate-change-20475

June 23, 2016

The 2016 wildfire season has barely begun and dozens of large wildfires have already raged through Western states, with hundreds of thousands of acres burned. This comes on the heels of a 2015 wildfire season that was the worst on record in the U.S., with more than 10 million acres burned.

These are not just random events. Climate change is producing conditions ripe for wildfires, tipping the scales in favor of the dramatic increases in large wildfires we have seen across the West since the 1970s. Snowpack is melting earlier as winter and spring temperatures rise, and in most states an increasing percentage of winter precipitation is falling as rain, meaning there is often less snowpack to begin with. Summer temperatures are rising, particularly in Southwestern states, where the number of extremely hot days is steadily increasing, creating more days where forests and grasslands are dried out and ready to burn.

In 2015, far below-average snowpack in California and the Pacific Northwest created exceptionally dry conditions across the West, and the region experienced fires of a size rarely seen. Washington’s Okanogan Complex fire was the largest group of fires on record for the state. And multiple years of searing drought in California contributed to several fires that were among the state’s top 10 most destructive fires on record.

A Climate Central analysis of 45 years of U.S. Forest Service records from the western U.S. show that the number of large fires on Forest Service land is increasing dramatically. The area burned by these fires is also growing at an alarming rate.


Across the Western U.S., the average annual number of large fires (larger than 1,000 acres) burning each year has more than tripled between the 1970s and the 2010s.
The area burned by these fires has shown an even larger increase: in an average year, more than six times as many acres across the West were burned in the 2010s than in the 1970s.

The fire season is 105 days longer than it was in the 1970, and is approaching the point where the notion of a fire season will be made obsolete by the reality of year-round wildfires across the West.

The situation in some individual states is more extreme:

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And the conditions are likely to get worse in the next several decades. Climate Central’s States at Risk project analyzed historical climate data and downscaled climate projections from 29 different global climate models. We found that in most western states, the climate conditions that can stoke summer wildfires are projected to increase substantially in the relatively short period between now and 2050. Arizona is expected to see more than a month of additional high-risk fire days by 2050.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vitamin D insufficiency, low rate of DNA methylation in black teens may increase disease risk

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/mcog-vdi042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Vitamin D insufficiency, low rate of DNA methylation in black teens may increase disease risk
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Low levels of vitamin D in black teens correlates with low activity of a major mechanism for controlling gene expression that may increase their risk of cancer and other disease, researchers report.

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While vitamin D deficiency is well-known to be more common in black individuals, who are also known to have generally have lower rates of global DNA methylation, this is the first study to begin to tie those two pieces together, said Dr. Yanbin Dong, geneticist and cardiologist at MCG's Georgia Prevention Institute and the study's senior author.

"This is the first evidence associating low vitamin D levels with hypomethylation," Dong said. "If you don't have enough vitamin D, you don't have enough methylation."

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Low levels of methylation, or hypomethylation, generally leave your entire genome more vulnerable to environmental damage, such as oxidative stress, and disease, Zhu said.

The result, for example, can be some bad genes get turned on, like so-called oncogenes, while tumor-suppressing genes get dialed down. "Basically more things can go wrong," Zhu said. "Methylation is kind of like a brake that controls gene expression," Dong said. "If that brake is removed or damaged, the gene can go in all kinds of directions, and most of the time, it's unfavorable ones."

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Hearing aid use is associated with improved cognitive function in hearing-impaired elderly



Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Hearing aid use is associated with improved cognitive function in hearing-impaired elderly
Study suggests hearing loss contributes to sensory-specific cognitive decline
Columbia University Medical Center

A study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that older adults who used a hearing aid performed significantly better on cognitive tests than those who did not use a hearing aid, despite having poorer hearing. The study was published online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The researchers also found that cognitive function was directly related to hearing ability in participants who did not use a hearing aid.

More than half of adults over age 75 have hearing loss, yet less than 15 percent of the hearing impaired use a hearing aid device. Previous studies have shown that the hearing-impaired elderly have a higher incidence of fall- and accident-related death, social isolation, and dementia than those without hearing loss. Studies have also demonstrated that hearing aid use can improve the social, functional, and emotional consequences of hearing loss.

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"Our study suggests that using a hearing aid may offer a simple, yet important, way to prevent or slow the development of dementia by keeping adults with hearing loss engaged in conversation and communication," said Dr. Lalwani.

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Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect children's lung health

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/bidm-ell042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect children's lung health
By age 8, children living close to major roadways have decreased lung function
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

According to new research led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) pulmonologist and critical care physician Mary B. Rice, MD, MPH, improved air quality in U.S. cities since the 1990s may not be enough to ensure normal lung function in children. The findings were recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, a journal of the American Thoracic Society.

Rice and colleagues found that children exposed to higher levels of air pollution, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and soot (black carbon), had worse lung function than those living in less polluted areas. By age eight, children living within 100 meters of a major roadway had lung function that was on average 6 percent lower than that of children living 400 meters or more away.

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"The federal government implemented strict air quality regulations in the 1990s, but we wanted to know if they were enough to protect lung function in children," said Rice, who is also an instructor at Harvard Medical School. "Fine particulate matter levels in Boston declined more than 30 percent between 1996 and 2006, but we still found that children who were more heavily exposed to PM2.5 had lower lung function on average and higher risk of clinically reduced lung function."

At the age of eight, study participants underwent lung function tests. The researchers found that children living the closest to major highways, and those with higher exposure to PM2.5 or black carbon had lower lung function than those who were less heavily exposed to pollution. In addition, children who experienced greater improvements in air quality after the first year of life, either due to a move or changes in local pollution, had better lung function compared to those whose air quality did not improve as much.

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Taking low-dose aspirin could increase cancer survival by 20 percent

Too much aspirin might be counter-productive because aspirin reduces the immune system.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/cu-tac041816.php

Public Release: 20-Apr-2016
Taking aspirin could increase cancer survival by 20 percent
Study prompts call for more research into aspirin as an additional cancer treatment
Cardiff University

Patients receiving cancer treatment could increase their chance of survival by up to 20% and help stop their cancer from spreading by taking a low-dose of aspirin, new research suggests.

In a systematic review of the available scientific literature a team from Cardiff University's School of Medicine found a significant reduction in mortality and cancer spread by patients who took a low-level dose of aspirin in addition to their cancer treatment (average study follow-up length over 5 years).

"There is a growing body of evidence that taking aspirin is of significant benefit in reducing some cancers," said Professor Peter Elwood who led the research published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Whilst we know a low-dose of aspirin has been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer, its role in the treatment of cancer remains uncertain. As a result, we set out to conduct a systematic search of all the scientific literature."

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"Our review, based on the available evidence, suggests that low-dose aspirin taken by patients with bowel, breast or prostate cancer, in addition to other treatments, is associated with a reduction in deaths of about 15-20%, together with a reduction in the spread of the cancer.

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"One of the concerns about taking aspirin remains the potential for intestinal bleeding. That's why we specifically looked at the available evidence of bleeding and we wrote to all authors asking for further data. In no study was serious or life-threatening bleeding reported."

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Risks of harm from spanking confirmed by analysis of 5 decades of research

This matches my experience of babysitting from the ages of 12 to 24, with children whose parents had different parenting styles, and in my own family when I was a child.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uota-roh042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Risks of harm from spanking confirmed by analysis of 5 decades of research
University of Texas at Austin

The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.

The study, published in this month's Journal of Family Psychology, looks at five decades of research involving over 160,000 children. The researchers say it is the most complete analysis to date of the outcomes associated with spanking, and more specific to the effects of spanking alone than previous papers, which included other types of physical punishment in their analyses.

"Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors," says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. "We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents' intended outcomes when they discipline their children."

Gershoff and co-author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, found that spanking (defined as an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities) was significantly linked with 13 of the 17 outcomes they examined, all in the direction of detrimental outcomes.

"The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children. Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do," Grogan-Kaylor says.

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The researchers looked at a wide range of studies and noted that spanking was associated with negative outcomes consistently and across all types of studies, including those using the strongest methodologies such as longitudinal or experimental designs. As many as 80 percent of parents around the world spank their children, according to a 2014 UNICEF report. Gershoff notes that this persistence of spanking is in spite of the fact that there is no clear evidence of positive effects from spanking and ample evidence that it poses a risk of harm to children's behavior and development.
[The result is widespread violence in society.]

Both spanking and physical abuse were associated with the same detrimental child outcomes in the same direction and nearly the same strength.

"We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors," she says. "Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree."

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Role of animals in mitigating climate change varies across tropical forests

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uol-roa042216.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Role of animals in mitigating climate change varies across tropical forests
University of Leeds

Large animals play a key role in mitigating climate change in tropical forests across the world by spreading the seeds of large trees that have a high capacity to store carbon, new research co-led by the University of Leeds has said.

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In tropical forests of the Americas, Africa and South Asia, a large majority of tree species depend on animals for seed dispersal. Tree species with large seeds attain greater adult sizes than those having smaller seeds. Using simulations, the researchers showed that declines of large animals will result in forests having fewer large trees - and hence carbon losses from these forests over time - as they play an important role in seed dispersal.

In contrast, a relatively large proportion of large-statured tree species in tropical forests of South East Asia depend on wind and gravity rather than animals for seed dispersal. In these forests, the loss of animal dispersers will not have as pronounced an effect on carbon storage.

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Vaccinations are more effective when administered in the morning

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uob-vam042216.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Vaccinations are more effective when administered in the morning
University of Birmingham

New research from the University of Birmingham has shown that flu vaccinations are more effective when administered in the morning.

The findings, published in the journal Vaccine, suggest administering vaccinations in the morning, rather than the afternoon, could induce greater, and thus more protective, antibody responses.

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In two of the three given influenza virus strains, those in the morning cohort saw a significantly larger increase in antibody concentration one month following vaccination, when compared with those in the afternoon cohort. In the third strain, there was no significant difference between morning and afternoon.

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The influenza vaccination is part of the seasonal vaccination programme carried out by general practices across the UK, and in many other countries, with a particular focus on patients over 65 years old.

Despite this, the influenza virus is responsible for between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths each year worldwide. The age-related decline in immunity reduces the ability of older adults to produce adequate antibody responses following vaccination, compromising the given protection.

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Patient attitudes to diabetic foot ulcers have 'significant effect' on survival

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uon-pat042516.php

Public Release: 25-Apr-2016
Patient attitudes to diabetic foot ulcers have 'significant effect' on survival
University of Nottingham

New research by health psychologists has shown that the beliefs and expectations of people with diabetic foot ulcers about their illness have a significant independent effect on their survival.

The study was led by researchers at The University of Nottingham. It set out to expand on an area of previous research which, in some studies, linked depression to poorer clinical outcomes for diabetic ulcer patients.

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People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are susceptible to leg and foot ulcers because of nerve damage and the narrowing of arteries to the feet and lower leg. Small injuries to the foot can fail to heal and turn into ulcers which can become infected and hard to treat, sometimes leading to amputation and even death.

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"Our analysis examined whether patients' beliefs about their ulcer predicted survival, after taking into account the effects of depression and other clinical factors that might be expected to influence mortality. We found that, although depression was not a significant predictor, patients who believed their ulcers were associated with greater symptoms died more quickly. These patients also believed that their ulcers would have more serious consequences for them, believed they would last a long time, found them distressing and believed they had little control over them. This constellation of beliefs appears to have been common in people who died more quickly in this study."
[Maybe these beliefs caused them to take less action to treat the ulcers and reduce their occurrence.]

Although this study is limited by the modest number of participants and the observational design, the findings suggest that negative beliefs about one's illness, alongside other clinical factors, may influence survival in people with diabetic foot ulcers.

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Birth defects, pregnancy terminations and miscarriages in users of acne drug

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/cmaj-pat042016.php

ublic Release: 25-Apr-2016
Birth defects, pregnancy terminations and miscarriages in users of acne drug
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Canada's program that aims to prevent pregnancy in women who use the powerful acne drug isotretinoin (Accutane) is not effective, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Of the women taking the drug, 30% to 50% do not comply with the program's requirements, which, given the severe harm the drug can cause to a fetus, represents poor performance of the pregnancy prevention program.

"Poor adherence with the Canadian pregnancy prevention guidelines means that Canada, inadvertently, is using pregnancy termination rather than pregnancy prevention to manage fetal risk from isotretinoin," states lead author Dr. David Henry, senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and executive co-lead of the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES). "It appears that not all doctors and patients are sticking closely to the guidelines to prevent pregnancy during treatment with isotretinoin."

Isotretinoin (commonly marketed as Accutane when first released) is used to treat severe acne and has been approved in Canada since 1983. It can severely harm a fetus, causing craniofacial, cardiac and central nervous system defects, as well as a high likelihood of miscarriage or medical termination. The average age of isotretinoin users in Canada is estimated to be 24 years, and half of all prescriptions are written for females.

Canada's program recommends informed written consent, two negative pregnancy tests before beginning treatment and the use of two reliable birth control methods during treatment.

Numerous studies in Canada and internationally have indicated poor adherence to pregnancy prevention guidelines among women taking isotretinoin.

•••••

Despite the recommendations that women take strict precautions to prevent pregnancy while taking isotretinoin, the researchers found that only one-quarter to one-third of women filled birth control prescriptions while taking isotretinoin, nearly identical to rates in the previous 12 months. However, the researchers note that they were not able to track the use of birth control pills obtained without plan coverage (perhaps from a free clinic) or directly from a supply from a doctor, or the use of intrauterine devices or barrier methods.

"It is clear from this experience and from studies in Europe that modifying contraceptive behaviour in this setting is difficult," said Dr. Brandace Winquist, a coauthor of the study. Nevertheless, medical practitioners and patients must be constantly reminded of the risks of isotretinoin to the fetus and implement effective contraceptive measures."

Monday, June 20, 2016

'Mediterranean' diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks & strokes in heart patients

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/esoc-dl042116.php

Public Release: 24-Apr-2016
'Mediterranean' diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks & strokes in heart patients
European Society of Cardiology

A "Mediterranean" diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease, according to a study of over 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world. The research also showed that eating greater amounts of healthy food was more important for these people than avoiding unhealthy foods, such as refined grains, sweets, desserts, sugared drinks and deep-fried food - a "Western" diet.

The study, which is published today (Monday) in the European Heart Journal [1], showed that for every 100 people eating the highest proportion of healthy "Mediterranean" foods, there were three fewer heart attacks, strokes or deaths compared to 100 people eating the least amount of healthy foods during nearly four years of follow-up from the time the participants joined the study.

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Fructose alters hundreds of brain genes, which can lead to a wide range of diseases

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoc--fah042116.php

Public Release: 22-Apr-2016
Fructose alters hundreds of brain genes, which can lead to a wide range of diseases
UCLA scientists report that diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse the damage
University of California - Los Angeles

A range of diseases -- from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, and from Alzheimer's disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- are linked to changes to genes in the brain. A new study by UCLA life scientists has found that hundreds of those genes can be damaged by fructose, a sugar that's common in the Western diet, in a way that could lead to those diseases.

However, the researchers discovered good news as well: An omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose.

"DHA changes not just one or two genes; it seems to push the entire gene pattern back to normal, which is remarkable," said Xia Yang, a senior author of the study and a UCLA assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology. "And we can see why it has such a powerful effect."

DHA occurs naturally in the membranes of our brain cells, but not in a large enough quantity to help fight diseases.

"The brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and of integrative biology and physiology, and co-senior author of the paper.

DHA strengthens synapses in the brain and enhances learning and memory. It is abundant in wild salmon (but not in farmed salmon) and, to a lesser extent, in other fish and fish oil, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and fruits and vegetables, said Gomez-Pinilla, who also is a member of UCLA's Brain Injury Research Center.

Americans get most of their fructose in foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener made from corn starch, and from sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts. The Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2014. Fructose is also found is in most baby food and in fruit, although the fiber in fruit substantially slows the body's absorption of the sugar -- and fruit contains other healthy components that protect the brain and body, Yang said.

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Sleep loss detrimental to blood vessels

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoh-sld042116.php

Public Release: 22-Apr-2016
Sleep loss detrimental to blood vessels
University of Helsinki

Lack of sleep has previously been found to impact the activation of the immune system, inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism and the hormones that regulate appetite. Now University of Helsinki researchers have found that sleep loss also influences cholesterol metabolism.

•••••

The study established that the genes which participate in the regulation of cholesterol transport are less active in persons suffering from sleep loss than with those getting sufficient sleep. This was found both in the laboratory-induced sleep loss experiment and on the population level.

While analysing the different metabolites, the researchers found that in the population-level data, persons suffering from sleep loss had fewer high-density HDL lipoproteins, commonly known as the good cholesterol transport proteins, than persons who slept sufficiently.

Together with other risk factors, these results help explain the higher risk of cardiovascular disease observed in sleep-deprived people and help understand the mechanisms through which lack of sleep increases this risk.

"It is particularly interesting that these factors contributing to the onset of atherosclerosis, that is to say, inflammatory reactions and changes to cholesterol metabolism, were found both in the experimental study and in the epidemiological data," Aho says.

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Zinc deficiency may contribute to increased inflammation among HIV-positive individuals

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoma-zdm042216.php

Public Release: 22-Apr-2016
Zinc deficiency may contribute to increased inflammation among HIV-positive individuals
UMass Amherst research suggests lack of key mineral may link to chronic inflammation
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

In a new study, University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers Krishna Poudel and colleagues report that zinc deficiency may contribute to chronic inflammation among HIV-positive individuals. Theirs is believed to be the first investigation to explore the association between serum zinc levels and inflammation among people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, while taking their anti-retroviral therapy (ART) into account.

As the authors note, zinc functions as an anti-inflammatory agent, and zinc deficiency is a common micronutrient abnormality seen in people with HIV. But more work is needed to determine whether zinc supplements might help to reduce inflammation and further, to identify a subpopulation of patients who might benefit from this, they add.

•••••

June solstice full moon

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/june-solstice-full-moon-in-2016

By Bruce McClure in Astronomy Essentials | June 20, 2016

Watch for a full-looking moon on the eve of the June solstice (June 19, 2016) and a full moon on the solstice itself (June 20). From what we’ve been able to gather (sources below), this is the first full moon to fall on the June solstice since the year 1967, which some recall as the year of the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon centered on San Francisco, London and other places around the globe. There’ve been a number of near misses of full moons on June solstices, however. And we are indeed talking about the June solstice, not solstices in general. In fact, there was a full moon eclipse on the December solstice in 2010.

Reliably, the phases of the moon recur on or near the same calendar dates every 19 years. It’s the “or near” that causes the full moon to miss the solstice on that 19th year, sometimes. Nineteen years from this year’s solstice – on June 20, 2035 – the full moon will not fall on the same date as the June solstice. It’ll be another near miss, with the full moon falling on June 20, 2035, and the solstice arriving one day later.

It appears as if the full moon and June solstice won’t fall on the same calendar date again until June 21, 2062.

Be aware that, as we’re figuring all this, we’re using Universal Time (UT or its variant UTC), what used to be called Greenwich Mean Time. Universal Time is the favorite of astronomers because it applies to Earth as a whole. What if we used other time zones? Well, for instance, if we use U.S. time zones, the last full moon and the June solstice actually coincided on June 21, 1986.

•••••

There’s something else special about this full moon, in addition to its falling on the solstice. It marks the fourth of four full moons in between the March 2016 equinox and the June 2016 solstice. Usually, there are only three full moons in one season (between an equinox and solstice, or vice versa), but sometimes there are four.

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Sea anemones bear live young, nurture them

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/p-lau042216.php

Public Release: 22-Apr-2016
Live-bearing anemone undergoes major shifts in nutrition as young develop
Brooding anemone uses multiple feeding strategies to nourish young
PLOS

The offspring of a brooding sea anemone transition from using egg yolks to pre-natal, then post-natal, parental feeding during their development, according to a study published April 22, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Annie Mercier from Memorial University, Canada, and colleagues.

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It is critical to screen patients with rheumatoid arthritis for hearing impairment

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/bsp-iic042216.php

Public Release: 22-Apr-2016
It is critical to screen patients with rheumatoid arthritis for hearing impairment
The objective of this review is to evaluate published clinical reports related to hearing impairment in patients with RA. Furthermore, we discuss possible pathologies and associated factors as well as new treatment modalities
Bentham Science Publishers

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is the commonest autoimmune arthritis affecting 1% of the general population. Despite its main articular manifestations, RA can involve extra-articular organs including the auditory system.

•••••

Trump wants to win

I sometimes see people opining that Trump doesn't really want to be president. This after top Republicans met with him, and the result was that he toned down his rhetoric, reading from a teleprompter. Now Corey Lewandowski has been dismissed from Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Lewandowski said that his strategy to "let Trump be Trump" has been successful. This strategy was successful during the primaries, so it is no surprise Trump continued with it during the primaries.

Now that the primaries are over, and he is competing with Clinton, the polls show that he will lose. The dismissal of Lewandowski appears to indicate that he is unhappy about the prospect of losing, and plans to make changes to avoid that.


http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-idUSKCN0Z61L5

Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:20pm EDT
Related: Election 2016, Politics
Trump fires campaign manager Lewandowski, gives Manafort the job
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON | By Emily Flitter and Emily Stephenson
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis)

Donald Trump fired Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager who helped him win the Republican Party's presidential nominating contests but has clashed with other advisers on how to appeal to the broader general electorate, several people with knowledge of the decision said on Monday.

•••••

Lewandowski was often at odds with Paul Manafort, a prominent strategist Trump hired in April partly for having experience on presidential campaigns that Lewandowski lacked, according to people close to the campaign.

Manafort will take over as campaign manager, accordi

•••••

Some of Trump's staff viewed Lewandowski as opposing strategic changes and staff hires urged by Manafort as needed to take on Clinton, the likely Democratic Party candidate, according to three people close to the campaign.

•••••

Lewandowski, a former New Hampshire field director for a conservative advocacy group, argued that Trump's unconventional campaigning style did not need to be changed after it proved successful in the last few months of primary contests.

Lewandowski repeatedly defended that strategy with a line that became his mantra: "Let Trump be Trump."

•••••

How to claim free Ticketmaster vouchers

See the link below for details.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-to-claim-free-ticketmaster-vouchers/

by Andrea Park CBS News June 20, 2016, 4:23 PM

If you bought a ticket through Ticketmaster between late 1999 and early 2013, you may have vouchers for free tickets waiting for you, thanks to a class-action lawsuit over ticket fees and other charges.

Customers who purchased tickets through the company -- which is part of Live Nation -- between October 21, 1999, and February 27, 2013, are eligible. The vouchers are good for four years.

About 50 million people are eligible for vouchers, reports Billboard.

•••••
Ah, one of those great products for which the executives get huge income by stinting on quality control.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/anton-yelchin-jeep-appears-to-have-not-yet-gotten-recall-fix/

June 20, 2016

The SUV that rolled down a driveway and killed "Star Trek" actor Anton Yelchin was being recalled because the gear shifters have confused drivers, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly, government records show.

Yelchin died when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway early Sunday, pinning the 27-year-old against a brick mailbox pillar and a security fence.

Jeep Grand Cherokees were in the process of being recalled because the gear shifters have confused drivers, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly.

CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports sources have confirmed reports that it appears Yelchin's car had not yet been given the fix necessary to prevent the issue.

Additionally, a LAPD spokesperson confirmed to CBS News the vehicle was on when it rolled back, which is very much in line with the complaints about the defect in the Jeep.

While the Jeeps do offer an alert on the dash and an audible tone if you push the off button while the car is not in park, it does not have a fail-safe like other car makers. Vehicles from other manufacturers with electronic shifters have a fail-safe that turns the car off or shifts automatically to park if a driver pushes the off button and opens the door.

Last month, Van Cleave reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating more than 850,000 vehicles. Most were 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with "e-shift" transmissions. Those transmissions lack the typical grooves and sensation of moving the car into park, drive or reverse..

Most 2015 model year Grand Cherokees were part of a global recall of 1.1 million vehicles announced by Fiat Chrysler in April.

•••••

Vietnam drought leaves one million in urgent need of food aid - EU

http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N19C3B5

June 20, 2016

BANGKOK, June 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An El Niño-induced drought in Vietnam has left 1 million people in urgent need of food assistance and 2 million people lacking access to drinking water, Europe's humanitarian aid agency said.

The country's worst drought in 90 years coupled with seawater intrusion into the Mekong River delta have destroyed fruit, rice and sugar crops in the world's third-largest rice exporter after India and Thailand.

"The disruption in precipitation patterns has affected the livelihoods, food security and access to safe water of the people of Vietnam," Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said in a statement.

•••••

tags: severe weather, extreme weather

Greenland Hits Record 75°F, Sets Melt Record As Globe Aims At Hottest Year

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/06/15/3788651/greenland-record-globe-hottest-year/

by Joe Romm Jun 15, 2016

Last Thursday [June 9, 2016], Greenland’s capital hit 75°F, which was hotter than New York City. This was the highest temperature ever recorded there in June — in a country covered with enough ice to raise sea levels more than 20 feet.

It comes hot on the heels of the hottest May on record for the entire globe, according to NASA. As the map above shows, May temperature anomalies in parts of the Arctic and Antarctic were as high as 17°F (9.4°C) above the 1951-1980 average for the month.

And this all follows the hottest April on record for the planet, which followed the hottest March on record, the hottest February on record, and the hottest January on record. NASA says there is a 99 percent chance this will be the hottest year on record — even though the current record-holder for hottest year, 2015, had blown out the previous record-holder, 2014.

•••••

NASA reports that some parts of Greenland were 36°F (20°C) warmer than “normal” — and remember, in this map, the new “normal” is the 2001–2010 average, which means it already includes a century of human-caused warming.

As we reported in mid-April, rainfall plus scorching temperatures over the country jump-started the summer melt season weeks early. On April 11, a remarkable 12 percent of Greenland’s massive ice sheet was melting — “smashing by a month the previous records of more than 10 percent of the ice sheet melting,” according to the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

The record temperatures in June also led to an unusually high ice melt — covering nearly 40 percent of the ice sheet:

•••••

Greenland holds the second-biggest chunk of land-locked ice in the world (after Antarctica), and its melt, by itself, could raise sea levels 20 feet.

Moreover, recent studies have suggested human-caused climate change is acting to melt the ice sheet faster than previously expected. An April study “found that the climate models commonly used to simulate melting of the Greenland ice sheet tend to underestimate the impact of exceptionally warm weather episodes on the ice sheet.”

•••••

Better data needed to stop sixth mass extinction

I would say what is needed is better behaviour on the part of humans. We know a lot about what we should do. Better data will only help if we make use of it.
We have the data on the dangers of overuse of antibiotics, but that hasn't caused us to stop doing so.



Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Better data needed to stop sixth mass extinction
Call for better data as study reveals just 5 percent of datasets meet a 'gold standard' needed for effective biodiversity conservation
World Wildlife Fund

To prevent a new mass extinction of the world's animal and plant life, we need to understand the threats to biodiversity, where they occur and how quickly change is happening. For this to happen, we need reliable and accessible data. A new study published in Science today reveals those data are largely missing. We are lacking key information on important threats to biodiversity such as invasive species, logging, bush meat harvesting, and illegal wildlife trade.

•••••

In some cases, the data needed for effective conservation policy already exists but are not accessible due to associated costs, commercial considerations or intellectual property arrangements. "Agreements between conservation organizations and private companies can help address this," says Brian O'Connor, Programme Officer for UNEP-WCMC's Science Programme. "For example, an agreement between UNEP-WCMC and IHS Company provides detailed and comprehensive data on oil and gas activity worldwide for use in biodiversity assessments."

Governments are another valuable future source of information. "Open Government Initiatives such as those in the UK and US have made more than 200,000 datasets freely available, including several that are relevant to environmental conservation," says Piero Visconti, Postdoctoral Scientist at UNEP-WCMC. "We encourage more initiatives of this kind."

This work has already started to have an impact on conservation. "We are working with TRAFFIC and UNEP to analyse legal and illegal wildlife trade to address one of the critical knowledge gaps we identified in this study," concludes Neil Burgess, Head of Science at UNEP-WCMC.

The authors of the study stress that filling these data gaps need not start from scratch. Several existing datasets, such as those dealing with invasive species on islands around the world, can be scaled up if appropriately resourced.

Unhealthy ozone days could increase by more than a week in coming decades

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/agu-uod042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Unhealthy ozone days could increase by more than a week in coming decades
American Geophysical Union

If emission rates continue unchecked, regions of the United States could experience between three and nine additional days per year of unhealthy ozone levels by 2050, according to a new study.

"In the coming decades, global climate change will likely cause more heat waves during the summer, which in turn could cause a 70 to 100 percent increase in ozone episodes, depending on the region," said Lu Shen, a graduate student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and lead author of the new study.

California, the Southwest, and the Northeast would be the most affected, each possibly experiencing up to nine additional days of dangerous ozone levels, with much of the rest of the country experiencing an average increase of 2.3 days, according to the new study published today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

This increase could lead to more respiratory illness with especially dangerous consequences for children, seniors, and people suffering from asthma.

•••••

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Finding sleep's sweet spot

I'm a night owl, and if I go to bed early, I don't sleep well, spend a lot of time in bed awake. Now that I am retired and can go to bed when I am sleepy and sleep until I am refreshed, I am much healthier. With summer here, I am trying to get to bed earlier so I can get up and do some yard work before it gets too hot. Haven't been successful so far!

And I have some neighbors who come home late at night with their car stereos booming, disturbing everybody's sleep.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uod-fss042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Finding sleep's sweet spot
Study connects early bedtime and 'adequate' sleep with heart healthy choices
University of Delaware

No one is telling you what time to go to bed with this, but researchers are making a strong case that the duration and timing of your sleep are closely associated with whether your behavior is heart-healthy.

Night owls should take special note of a new study by University of Delaware researcher Freda Patterson and collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the University of Arizona College of Medicine, who found that the early-to-bed, early-to-rise approach aligns much better with cardiovascular health.

Sleep deficits and poor-quality sleep have been linked to obesity and a myriad of health problems, but this study shows that when it comes to promoting healthy hearts, it's not a matter of getting more sleep. It's a matter of getting adequate sleep at optimal times.

Doing that seems to reduce the kind of behaviors - smoking, sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices - that put hearts in harm's way.

•••••

The study defined short sleep as less than six hours, adequate sleep as seven to eight hours, and long sleep as nine hours or more. Respondents were categorized by their self-reported sleep-timing or "chronotype" - whether they considered themselves a morning person, more morning than evening, more evening than morning, or an evening person.

•••••

"We know that people who are active tend to have better sleep patterns, and we also know that people who do not get their sleep are less likely to be active," Patterson said. "A pressing question for practitioners and researchers is how do you leverage one to improve the other?"

•••••

Gender stereotyping may start as young as 3 months -- study of babies' cries shows

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uos-gsm042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Gender stereotyping may start as young as 3 months -- study of babies' cries shows
University of Sussex

Gender stereotyping may start as young as three months, according to a study of babies' cries from the University of Sussex.

Adults attribute degrees of femininity and masculinity to babies based on the pitch of their cries, as shown by a new study by researchers from the University of Sussex, the University of Lyon/Saint-Etienne and Hunter College City University of New York. The research is published in the journal BMC Psychology.

The study found:

Adults often wrongly assume babies with higher-pitched cries are female and lower pitched cries are male

When told the gender of the baby, adults make assumptions about the degree of masculinity or femininity of the baby, based on the pitch of the cry

Adults generally assume that babies with higher-pitched cries are in more intense discomfort

Men who are told that a baby is a boy tend to perceive greater discomfort in the cry of the baby. This is likely to be due to an ingrained stereotype that boy babies should have low-pitched cries. (There was no equivalent finding for women, or for men's perception of baby girls.)

Despite no actual difference in pitch between the voices of girls and boys before puberty, the study found that adults make gender assumptions about babies based on their cries.

•••••

Adults who are told, or already know, that a baby with a high-pitched cry is a boy said they thought he was less masculine than average. And baby girls with low-pitched voices are perceived as less feminine. There is already widespread evidence that gender stereotypes influence parental behaviour but this is the first time we have seen it occur in relation to babies' cries.

•••••

"The finding that men assume that boy babies are in more discomfort than girl babies with the same pitched cry may indicate that this sort of gender stereotyping is more ingrained in men. It may even have direct implications for babies' immediate welfare: if a baby girl is in intense discomfort and her cry is high-pitched, her needs might be more easily overlooked when compared with a boy crying at the same pitch.

•••••

Increasing cases of anaphylaxis among children

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/muhc-ico042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Increasing cases of anaphylaxis among children
McGill University Health Centre

Anaphylaxis, known to be a sudden and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, seems to be increasing among children, according to a new study led by a team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). The findings, published this week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), reveal that the percentage of emergency department (ED) visits due to anaphylaxis doubled over a four-year period based on data collected from the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC (MCH-MUHC).

•••••

It is estimated that almost 600,000 Canadians will experience anaphylaxis in their lifetime and that more than half of the individuals who had anaphylaxis were not equipped with life-saving epinephrine. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to an allergen which can include certain foods, medications, insect venom or latex, for example. The allergic response is marked by swelling, hives, lowered blood pressure, and dilated blood vessels. In severe cases, the reaction can be life-threatening."

•••••

The study shows that between 2011 and 2015, the annual percentage of ED visits to the MCH-MUHC due to anaphylaxis rose from 0.20% to 0.41%, with the largest annual increase between 2013-14 and 2014-15. The team also observed that the majority (80.2%) of anaphylaxis cases were triggered by food, principally peanut and tree nut, and that children who did not receive epinephrine prior to arrival at the ED were more likely to receive multiple (two or more) doses of epinephrine at the hospital.

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Tighter enforcement along the US-Mexico border backfired, researchers find

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/pu-tea042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Tighter enforcement along the US-Mexico border backfired, researchers find
Princeton University

The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the United States, according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money.

"Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home," said Douglas Massey, one of the researchers and the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton.

Advocated by bureaucrats, politicians and pundits, the militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico transformed undocumented Mexican migration from a circular flow of predominantly male workers going to a few states into a settled population of about 11 million in all 50 states, Massey said. From 1986 to 2010, the United States spent $35 billion on border enforcement and the net rate of undocumented population growth doubled, he said.

•••••

"Greater enforcement raised the costs of undocumented border crossing, which required undocumented migrants to stay longer in the U.S. to make a trip profitable," he said. "Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing. As the costs and risks rose, migrants naturally minimized border crossing -- not by remaining in Mexico but by staying in the United States."

•••••

"Mass immigration from Mexico has ended and won't be coming back owing to the decline of Mexican fertility from 6.5 children per woman in the 1960s to around 2.2 children per woman today, roughly replacement level," Massey said. "Labor force growth in Mexico has dropped sharply and Mexico is now becoming an aging society in which fewer and fewer people are in the migration-prone ages of 15-30, so the pressure is off in a demographic sense."

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1.5 C vs 2 C global warming: New study shows why half a degree matters

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/egu-1cv041816.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
1.5 C vs 2 C global warming: New study shows why half a degree matters
European Geosciences Union

European researchers have found substantially different climate change impacts for a global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C by 2100, the two temperature limits included in the Paris climate agreement. The additional 0.5°C would mean a 10-cm [4 in.]-higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves, and would result in virtually all tropical coral reefs being at risk.

•••••

"We found significant differences for all the impacts we considered," says the study's lead author Carl Schleussner, a scientific advisor at Climate Analytics in Germany. "We analysed the climate models us

•••••

We considered 11 different indicators including extreme weather events, water availability, crop yields, coral reef degradation and sea-level rise."

•••••

The team, with researchers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands, identified a number of hotspots around the globe where projected climate impacts at 2°C are significantly more severe than at 1.5°C. One of these is the Mediterranean region, which is already suffering from climate change-induced drying. With a global temperature increase of 1.5°C, the availability of fresh water in the region would be about 10% lower than in the late 20th century. In a 2°C world, the researchers project this reduction to double to about 20%.

In tropical regions, the half-a-degree difference in global temperature could have detrimental consequences for crop yields, particularly in Central America and West Africa. On average, local tropical maize and wheat yields would reduce twice as much at 2°C compared to a 1.5°C temperature increase.

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On a global scale, the researchers anticipate sea level to rise about 50 cm [20 in.] by 2100 in a 2°C warmer world, 10 cm [4 in.] more than for 1.5°C warming. "Sea level rise will slow down during the 21st century only under a 1.5°C scenario," explains Schleussner.

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Plastic below the ocean surface

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uod-lbt042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Plastic below the ocean surface
Current measurement methods may be vastly underestimating the amount of plastic in the oceans.
University of Delaware

Plastics are all around us. They are found in containers and packing materials, children's toys, medical devices and electronics.

Unfortunately, plastics are also found in the ocean.

A 2015 paper published in Science estimates that anywhere from 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic were dumped into the ocean in 2010 alone. One metric ton equals approximately 2,200 pounds, roughly the weight of a Mazda Miata.

As we celebrate Earth Day on Friday, April 22, new research by University of Delaware physical oceanographer Tobias Kukulka provides evidence that the amount of plastic in the marine environment may be greater that previously thought.

Plastic in the ocean becomes brittle over time and breaks into tiny fragments. Slightly buoyant, these microplastics often drift at the surface where they can be mistaken for food by birds, fish or other marine wildlife. Microplastics have turned up in the deep ocean and in Arctic ice, too.

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One technique scientists use to try and quantify how much plastic is in the marine environment is to drag a tow net over the surface for a few miles, then count the number of plastic fragments. This number is then used to calculate a concentration considered representative of the amount of plastic in the area.

But Kukulka isn't so sure this method provides an accurate picture of what's happening.

"My research has shown that ocean turbulence actually mixes plastics and other pollutants down into the water column despite their buoyancy," Kukulka said. "This means that surface measurements could be wildly off and the concentration of plastic in the marine environment may be significantly higher than we thought."

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In the summer, for example, strong surface heating by the sun warms up the ocean's top layer, decreasing the water's density and trapping the plastic at the surface. When the surface cooled, the water density increased and caused the plastic to sink into the water column.

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While the research team's findings shed new light on the growing plastics problem, Kukulka said the research also can be applied to oil and other pollutants, even to the distribution of nutrients in the water and phytoplankton, ocean drifters that form the base of the marine food web.

"Broadly, these plastics pieces can be used as a physical tracer to help answer bigger questions about ocean processes and their implications for other ocean pollutants," he said.

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Inspirational managers may harm workers' health



Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Inspirational managers may harm workers' health
University of East Anglia

Managers who inspire their staff to perform above and beyond the call of duty may actually harm their employees' health over time, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The findings suggest that constant pressure from these 'transformational leaders' may increase sickness absence levels among employees. They also indicate that some vulnerable employees in groups with transformational leaders may in the long term have increased sickness absence rates if they ignore their ill-health and frequently show up for work while ill, known as presenteeism.

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Transformational leadership has previously been associated with positive employee well-being, better sleep quality, fewer depressive symptoms and reduced general absenteeism in the short term.

However, the new study suggests that a transformational leader who encourages their group to make an extra effort at work may exacerbate sickness absence, as high levels of presenteeism may result in reduced opportunities for recovery along with the risk of spreading contagious conditions, such as the common cold, in the long term.

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"Such leaders express values to perform above and beyond the call of duty possibly at the expense of employees' health because they have a self-interest in demonstrating low sickness absence rates in their work groups. This pattern may be a particular problem in organisations where managers are rated according to their ability to control sickness absence levels."

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Prof Daniels said: "The assumption that 'more transformational leadership is better' does not hold over time. As role models, transformational leaders should display healthy behaviours when motivating people, they should monitor and check them, and encourage workers to look after their own health. Managers need to strike a balance, they can still encourage staff to perform well, but in a way that is not at the expense of their health and well-being."

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UM study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uomm-usl042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
UM study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.

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tudy findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study's Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders.

"Going from a low to a high level of greenness at the block level is associated with 49 fewer chronic health conditions per 1,000 residents, which is approximately equivalent to a reduction in the biomedical aging of the study population by three years," said Brown.

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From a design standpoint, study co-author Joanna Lombard, M.Arch., professor of architecture, noted that the goals of the County's Parks and Open Spaces Masterplan already call for residents to have access to greenspace from the minute they walk outside of their homes, through tree-lined streets, as well as greens, parks, and open spaces within a 5 to 10 minute walk of their home, all of which have been shown to be linked to better health outcomes.

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In examining the results by income level and by race, the research showed that the health benefits of greenness were proportionately stronger among all racial and ethnic groups in lower income neighborhoods. Brown said this aspect of the findings suggests that incorporating more green -- trees, parks and open spaces -- in low income neighborhoods could also address issues of health disparities, which have been recently highlighted in research journals and the national media.

José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and chair of public health sciences, and founder of the University of Miami Built Environment, Behavior, and Health Research Group, pointed out that augmenting greenness, particularly in warm climates, potentially contributes to the effectiveness of other aspects of walkability. "Providing a green feature," said Szapocznik, "has been associated with safety, increased time outdoors, physical activity, and social interaction, and may potentially reduce disease burdens at the population level and enhance residents' quality of life."

Surprising result in new study of marital status, gender, and frailty

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/mali-sri042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Surprising result in new study of marital status, gender, and frailty
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

The well-accepted association between marital status, health, and risk of functional impairment in older individuals is generally true, but a new study on frailty found unexpected, gender-specific differences. Notably, widowed women had a lower risk of frailty than did married women, according to the study published in Journal of Women's Health,

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predicted that unmarried elderly people would have a higher risk of becoming frail than their married peers. Marital status has traditionally been associated with reduced risk of disability and death. For this study, the researchers evaluated a group of men and women >65 years of age for more than 4 years.

The authors' prediction held true for elderly men, with those never married or widowed having a higher risk of developing frailty. However, widowed women had a significantly lower risk of becoming frail than did married women, according to the findings reported in "Marital Status and Frailty in Older People: Gender Differences in the Progetto Veneto Anziani Longitudinal Study". The authors identify the factors contributing to frailty that were more influenced by marital status.

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http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jwh.2015.5592

As shown in Tables 1 and 2, widowed individuals were significantly older than the other groups. After adjusting for age, widowed men and women who had never married had significantly lower BMI values than the other groups. When between-groups demographic differences were considered, individuals who had never married were better educated and physically more active, while married people were more often current smokers and had higher SPPB scores. Widowed participants more often lived alone and had higher monthly incomes than the married or never married groups. Both widows and widowers were more depressed than the other groups. Married people had the highest scores for independence in IADL and, for women, in ADL too. As for comorbidities, both genders in the married group showed less cognitive impairment and pre-frailty status than the widowed and unmarried. There was a higher prevalence of OA and fractures among widowed men and single women, while singles of both genders had the lowest percentages of cancer.

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sociological studies have suggested that unmarried status is more disadvantageous for men than for women, and that marriage protects the male gender more than the female one.3,29 In fact, the presence of a wife may bring material benefits for men in terms of household management and healthcare, whereas women are more likely to feel stressed and find their role restrictive and frustrating.30 Since women generally have a longer lifespan than men, married women may also suffer from the effects of caregiver burden, since they often devote themselves to caring for their husband in later life.31–33 These factors might contribute to the lower risk of depression in unmarried women, in accordance with the report from Gurin et al., who found that women had more marital problems and less wellness in marriage than men.30 The same study also found that single women experienced less discomfort than single men, greater job satisfaction and higher activity levels at work, and a lower risk of social isolation, since single women maintained stronger relationships with family or friends.30 Consistently with this picture, the higher educational level and better economic status seen among the single women in our study may well reflect a social condition that would promote a greater psychological and physical well-being. Finally, widows cope better than widowers with the stress deriving from the loss of a partner and widowhood, with a significant increase in the risk of depression only in the latter. Many studies have shown that women are less vulnerable to depression than men in widowhood,9,34 probably because they have greater coping resources and are better able to express their emotions.35–37 These aspects may help to explain the lower risk of exhaustion seen in single women, who are likewise more socially integrated than single men, and consequently less exposed to frailty.
[Also, woman are more nurturing than men. Many men will happily sit around watching television, expecting their wife to do all the housework. Even a woman who misses her dead husband can feel a sense of relief from the burden of taking care of him.]

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Study points to how low-income, resource-poor communities can reduce substance abuse

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoc--spt042116.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Study points to how low-income, resource-poor communities can reduce substance abuse
UC Riverside-led research focused on African Americans in the Arkansas Mississippi Delta
University of California - Riverside

Cocaine use has increased substantially among African Americans in some of the most underserved areas of the United States. Interventions designed to increase connection to and support from non-drug using family and friends, with access to employment, the faith community, and education, are the best ways to reduce substance use among African Americans and other minorities in low-income, resource-poor communities, concludes a study led by a medical anthropologist at the University of California, Riverside.

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"African Americans within such contexts often face multiple obstacles to accessing formal drug treatment services, including access to care and lack of culturally appropriate treatment programs," said lead researcher Ann Cheney, an assistant professor in the department of social medicine and population health in the Center for Healthy Communities in the UC Riverside School of Medicine. "Despite these obstacles, many initiate and maintain recovery without accessing formal treatment. They do so by leveraging resources or what we refer to as 'recovery capital' - employment, education, faith community - by strategically connecting to and obtaining support from non-drug using family and friends."

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"Recovery without treatment, also called natural recovery, is common and perhaps even more prevalent among ethnic and racial minorities than among Whites," Cheney explained. "Cocaine use varies along racial lines and social class and is increasingly a problem among African Americans in rural Arkansas."

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Cheney and her colleagues found that nearly three-quarters of the participants (72 percent) reported at least one attempt in their lifetimes to reduce or quit cocaine use, motivated by:

Social role expectations (desires to be better parents or caregivers and responsible persons, prevent harming their children, become more present in their children's lives, prevent hurting loved ones).
Fatigue (participants were tired of the drug lifestyle and its effects on their physical and mental health).
Criminal justice involvement (incarceration forced participants to quit cocaine use).
Access to recovery capital (most participants accessed substance use treatment programs or self-help groups at some point in their lives).
Abstinence-supporting networks (these helped participants reduce cocaine use and/or achieve temporary recovery outside of rehab).
Pro-social lives and activities (participation in church, leisure-time activities were critical to reducing cocaine use).
Religion and spirituality (faith in the divine helped participants reduce or quit cocaine use).

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According to Cheney, ideally, the best approach would be for interventions to increase users' access to resources that would allow them to live more conventional lifestyles (e.g., employment, stable housing) and meaningful lives (e.g., non-drug using friends, faith or supportive communities).

"This approach is ideal in resource-poor communities - as long as interventions are tailored to local contexts and cultures," she said.

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tags: drug use, drug abuse

Crayfish may help restore dirty streams, Stroud study finds

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/swrc-cmh041916.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
Crayfish may help restore dirty streams, Stroud study finds
Stroud study finds crayfish may benefit insects, reduce sediment settling in impaired streams
Stroud Water Research Center

While macroinvertebrates are a tasty food source for crayfish, a new study reveals a surprising finding: When crayfish were present in in-stream experimental enclosures, macroinvertebrate density was higher, not lower.

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The scientists placed wire-mesh enclosures, some with crayfish inside and some without, in the creek. At the conclusion of the 2-week experiment, populations of macroinvertebrates such as caddisflies, which can indicate better water quality, were higher in the crayfish enclosures despite being a food source for crayfish.

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So even if the crayfish were eating some of the macroinvertebrates, we think that all of the fine sediment that had been suspended and washed away created a more macroinvertebrate-friendly habitat."

Many macroinvertebrates don't like to live in streams with high sediment loads. It's a type of pollution that degrades freshwater streams and can be traced to land-use changes like agriculture and development.

Daniels said, "Crayfish show the potential to alleviate some of the problems seen in impaired streams. Every organism has its part in an ecosystem, and we're still learning what the individual roles are."

For American youth, rich-poor gap in life expectancy narrowing: Free

Maybe due to things like the WIC nutrition program for poor pregnant women and children, school lunch programs, food stamps.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/aaft-fay041816.php

Public Release: 21-Apr-2016
For American youth, rich-poor gap in life expectancy narrowing: Free
American Association for the Advancement of Science

The life expectancy gap between America's rich and poor is shrinking for the young, a new study reports. In fact, life expectancy at birth has been improving for virtually all income groups born in 1990 onward. The results reveal that many of the U.S. policies directed at improving the health of the young and the poor may have been successful. Previous research suggests that disparities in mortality inequality have widened since the start of the 21st century - with Americans in the top income bracket gaining several years of life expectancy while those at the bottom have gained almost nothing, or even experienced a life expectancy decline. Critically, however, much of this work was based on studies that calculate life expectancy at age 40 or age 50, ignoring improvements that have been occurring at younger ages (and that have been shown to be important predictors of a cohort's health and mortality later in life).

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They found that while mortality inequality at older ages has been increasing (consistent with results from previous studies), mortality inequality for poor children up through poor adults age 20 has actually been on rapid decline. These mortality improvements were most pronounced in poorer counties, the researchers say, implying a strong decrease in mortality inequality. Since these younger groups will form the future adult U.S. population, this research suggests that inequality in old age mortality is likely to decline going forward.