Thursday, June 30, 2016

Seeing the benefits of failure shapes kids' beliefs about intelligence

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/afps-stb042816.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Seeing the benefits of failure shapes kids' beliefs about intelligence
Association for Psychological Science

Parents' beliefs about whether failure is a good or a bad thing guide how their children think about their own intelligence, according to new research from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research indicates that it's parents' responses to failure, and not their beliefs about intelligence, that are ultimately absorbed by their kids.

"Mindsets--children's belief about whether their intelligence is just fixed or can grow--can have a large impact on their achievement and motivation," explains psychological scientist Kyla Haimovitz of Stanford University, first author on the study. "Our findings show that parents can endorse a growth mindset but they might not pass it on to their children unless they have a positive and constructive reaction to their children's struggles."

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However, parents' attitudes toward failure were linked with how their kids thought about intelligence. Parents who tended to view failure as a negative, harmful event had children who were more likely to believe that intelligence is fixed. And the more negative parents' attitudes were, the more likely their children were to see them as being concerned with performance as opposed to learning.

And the researchers found that parents' beliefs about failure seemed to translate into their reactions to failure. Results from two online studies with a total of almost 300 participants showed that parents who adopted a more negative stance toward failure were more likely to react to their child's hypothetical failing grade with concerns about their child's lack of ability. At the same time, these parents were less likely to show support for the child's learning and improvement. Their reactions to the failing grade were not linked, however, with their beliefs about intelligence.

Most importantly, additional data indicated that children were very much attuned to their parents' feelings about failure.

"It is important for parents, educators, and coaches to know that the growth mindset that sits in their heads may not get through to children unless they use learning-focused practices, like discussing what their children could learn from a failure and how they might improve in the future," says Haimovitz.

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Gestational exposure to type of antidepressants associated with adolescent depression

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/e-get042816.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Gestational exposure to type of antidepressants associated with adolescent depression
Prenatal exposure to some antidepressants associated with adolescent offspring depression
Elsevier

A study to be published in the May 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) reports that use of certain antidepressants during pregnancy can result in offspring depression by early adolescence.

Using national register data from Finland, researchers found that children exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during gestation had more chance of being diagnosed with depression after age 12, reaching a cumulative incidence of 8.2% by age 15. For children exposed to maternal psychiatric illness but no antidepressants, the incidence was 1.9%. Rates of anxiety, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses did not differ significantly between the two groups. Comparing SSRI-exposed children to children of mothers with neither antidepressant use nor psychiatric diagnosis, researchers found the rates were significantly elevated for each outcome.

Animal studies already demonstrated that exposure to SSRIs during early brain development can result in depression-like behavior in adolescence; this is the first study that follows children beyond childhood to monitor the development of depressive disorders, which typically emerge after puberty has started. The increasing rate of SSRI prescriptions to pregnant women since their introduction 30 years ago makes the study of affected children particularly urgent. Today 6% of pregnant women in the US and 4% in Finland are on SSRIs at some stage of pregnancy.

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Study links residential radon exposure to hematologic cancers in women

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/acs-slr042816.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Study links residential radon exposure to hematologic cancers in women
First population-based study to make connection; requires replication
American Cancer Society

A new report finds a statistically-significant, positive association between high levels of residential radon and the risk of hematologic cancer (lymphoma, myeloma, and leukemia) in women. The study is the first prospective, population-based study of residential radon exposure and hematologic cancer risk, leading the authors to caution that it requires replication to better understand the association and whether it truly differs by sex. It appears early online in Environmental Research.

Radon is a naturally occurring byproduct of the decay of radium, and is a known human lung carcinogen, the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Modeling studies show that radon delivers a non-negligible dose of alpha radiation to the bone marrow and therefore could be related to risk of hematologic cancers. Studies to date, however, have produced inconsistent results.

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Ocean views linked to better mental health

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/msu-ovl042816.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Ocean views linked to better mental health
Michigan State University

Here's another reason to start saving for that beach house: New research suggests that residents with a view of the water are less stressed.

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Pearson said that visibility of green space did not show the same calming effect. That could be because the study did not distinguish between types of green space.

"It could be because the blue space was all natural, while the green space included human-made areas, such as sports fields and playgrounds, as well as natural areas such as native forests," Pearson said. "Perhaps if we only looked at native forests we might find something different."

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Reptiles share sleep patterns with mammals and birds after all

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/aaft-rss042516.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Reptiles share sleep patterns with mammals and birds after all
American Association for the Advancement of Science

A new study reveals that the sleep patterns previously thought exclusive to mammals and birds - REM and slow-wave sleep patterns - are also found in reptiles. The results shake up our understanding of the evolution of sleep. Amniotes are a group of tetrapod vertebrates comprising reptiles, birds and mammals. Because slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) are thought to be exclusive to mammals and birds, it's believed that these sleep states evolved twice after mammals and birds diverged from reptiles. However, results by Mark Shein-Idelson et al. now reveal SWS and REM sleep patterns in the Australian bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps, suggesting that the sleep states may have evolved in a common ancestor of all amniotes, more than 300 million years ago.

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Friends 'better than morphine'

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoo-ft042516.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Friends 'better than morphine'
Larger social networks release more pain-killing endorphin
University of Oxford

People with more friends have higher pain tolerance, Oxford University researchers have found.

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There were also two other findings of note. Both fitter people and those with higher reported stress levels tended to have smaller social networks.

Katerina explained: 'It may simply be a question of time -- individuals that spend more time exercising have less time to see their friends. However, there may be a more interesting explanation -- since both physical and social activities promote endorphin release, perhaps some people use exercise as an alternative means to get their 'endorphin rush' rather than socialising. The finding relating to stress may indicate that larger social networks help people to manage stress better, or it may be that stress or its causes mean people have less time for social activity, shrinking their network.

'Studies suggest that the quantity and quality of our social relationships affect our physical and mental health and may even be a factor determining how long we live. Therefore, understanding why individuals have different social networks sizes and the possible neurobiological mechanisms involved is an important research topic. As a species, we've evolved to thrive in a rich social environment but in this digital era, deficiencies in our social interactions may be one of the overlooked factors contributing to the declining health of our modern society.'

Costs for orally administered cancer drugs skyrocket

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uonc-cfo042616.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Costs for orally administered cancer drugs skyrocket
Patients may increasingly take on cost burden
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

New cancer drugs, taken in pill form, have become dramatically more expensive in their first year on the market compared with drugs launched 15 years ago, calling into question the sustainability of a system that sets high prices at market entry in addition to rapidly increasing those prices over time.

The findings, reported today in JAMA Oncology, show that a month of treatment with the newest cancer drugs, introduced in 2014, were on average six times more expensive at launch than cancer drugs introduced in 2000, after adjusting for inflation. In other words, orally-administered drugs approved in 2000 cost an average of $1,869 per month compared to $11,325 for those approved in 2014.

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"Patients are increasingly taking on the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductibles and co-insurance - where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than a flat copay," Dusetzina said.

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Consumers' trust in online user ratings misplaced, says CU-Boulder study

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoca-cti042816.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Consumers' trust in online user ratings misplaced, says CU-Boulder study
University of Colorado at Boulder

The belief that online user ratings are good indicators of product quality is largely an illusion, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Yet almost all retailers provide user ratings on their websites and many consumers rely on the information when making purchase decisions, according to the paper, published this month in the Journal of Consumer Research.

For the study, researchers examined user ratings for 1,272 products across 120 product categories, such as car seats, bike helmets, sunblock, air filters, smoke alarms and blood pressure monitors. Their analyses show a very low correspondence between average user ratings of products on Amazon.com and product ratings, based on objective tests, found in consumer reports.

"The likelihood that an item with a higher user rating performs objectively better than an item with a lower user rating is only 57 percent," said Bart de Langhe, author of the study and professor of marketing at CU-Boulder's Leeds School of Business. "A correspondence of 50 percent would be random, so user ratings provide very little insight about objective product performance."

In addition, user ratings do not predict the resale value of used products, found the study.

"Products with better reliability and performance retain more of their value over time," said de Langhe. "If average user ratings reflect objective quality, they should correlate positively with resale values. The fact that they don't casts more doubt on the validity of user ratings."

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Metal hip replacements implanted since 2006 more prone to failure

Sounds like executives might have cut back on spending for quality control in order to make more money for themselves?

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/b-mhr042616.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Metal hip replacements implanted since 2006 more prone to failure
Higher rate of issues in manufacturing process since this date may be to blame, say researchers
BMJ

Metal on metal hip replacements implanted since 2006 are more prone to failure and the need for further surgery, finds research looking at revision rates at one hospital trust for the DePuy Pinnacle device, and published in the online journal BMJ Open.

A higher rate of manufacturing issues since 2006, with more than a third of hips manufactured outside the stated specifications, may be to blame, suggest the researchers.

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Before 2006, only five out of 43 hips (12%) failed to meet the manufacturer's product specification. But after 2006 more than a third (36%; 43 out of 118) failed to comply.

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Peppermint tea can help improve your memory

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/bps-ptc042816.php

Public Release: 28-Apr-2016
Peppermint tea can help improve your memory
Peppermint tea can improve long-term and working memory and in healthy adults
British Psychological Society

Peppermint tea can improve long-term and working memory and in healthy adults.

This is the finding of a study by Dr Mark Moss, Robert Jones and Lucy Moss of Northumbria University who presented their research thist at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Nottingham.

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Analysis of the results showed that peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory, working memory and alertness compared to both chamomile and hot water. Chamomile tea significantly slowed memory and attention speed compared to both peppermint and hot water.

Dr Mark Moss said: "It's interesting to see the contrasting effects on mood and cognition of the two different herbal teas. The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of chamomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use."

Sedentary lifestyle associated with coronary artery calcium, UTSW researchers find

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/usmc-sla042716.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Sedentary lifestyle associated with coronary artery calcium, UTSW researchers find
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that sedentary behavior is associated with increased amounts of calcium deposits in heart arteries, which in turn is associated with a higher risk of heart attack.

Researchers at UT Southwestern have previously shown that excessive sitting is associated with reduced cardiorespiratory fitness and a higher risk of heart disease. The latest research - part of UT Southwestern's Dallas Heart Study - points to a likely mechanism by which sitting leads to heart disease.

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Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

In 14 - 24 years.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/ncfa-wlo042716.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s
Deoxygenation due to climate change threatens marine life
National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Scientists know that a warming climate can be expected to gradually sap oceans of oxygen, leaving fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and other marine life struggling to breathe. But it's been difficult to determine whether this anticipated oxygen drain is already having a noticeable impact.

"Loss of oxygen in the ocean is one of the serious side effects of a warming atmosphere, and a major threat to marine life," said NCAR scientist Matthew Long, lead author of the study. "Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, it's been challenging to attribute any deoxygenation to climate change. This new study tells us when we can expect the impact from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability."

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The entire ocean--from the depths to the shallows--gets its oxygen supply from the surface, either directly from the atmosphere or from phytoplankton, which release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis.

Warming surface waters, however, absorb less oxygen. And in a double whammy, the oxygen that is absorbed has a more difficult time traveling deeper into the ocean. That's because as water heats up, it expands, becoming lighter than the water below it and less likely to sink.

Thanks to natural warming and cooling, oxygen concentrations at the sea surface are constantly changing--and those changes can linger for years or even decades deeper in the ocean.

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Using the simulations to study dissolved oxygen gave the researchers guidance on how much concentrations may have varied naturally in the past. With this information, they could determine when ocean deoxygenation due to climate change is likely to become more severe than at any point in the modeled historic range.

The research team found that deoxygenation caused by climate change could already be detected in the southern Indian Ocean and parts of the eastern tropical Pacific and Atlantic basins. They also determined that more widespread detection of deoxygenation caused by climate change would be possible between 2030 and 2040. However, in some parts of the ocean, including areas off the east coasts of Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia, deoxygenation caused by climate change was not evident even by 2100.

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Using the same model dataset, the scientists created maps of oxygen levels in the ocean, showing which waters were oxygen-rich at the same time that others were oxygen-poor. They found they could distinguish between oxygenation patterns caused by natural weather phenomena and the pattern caused by climate change.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Diver Snaps First Photo of Fish Using Tools

The June 2016 copy of Scientific American has an article on tool use by fish.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/07/diver-snaps-first-photo-fish-using-tools

By Rebecca Kessler Jul. 8, 2011

While exploring Australia's Great Barrier Reef, professional diver Scott Gardner heard an odd cracking sound and swam over to investigate. What he found was a footlong blackspot tuskfish (Choerodon schoenleinii) holding a clam in its mouth and whacking it against a rock. Soon the shell gave way, and the fish gobbled up the bivalve, spat out the shell fragments, and swam off. Fortunately, Gardner had a camera handy and snapped what seem to be the first photographs of a wild fish using a tool.

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The tuskfish caught on camera was clearly quite skilled at its task, "landing absolutely pinpoint blows" with the shell, Brown says. A scattering of crushed shells around its anvil rock suggests that Gardner didn't just stumble upon the fish during its original eureka moment. In fact, numerous such shell middens are visible around the reef.

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High lead levels force workers in Congress building to drink bottled water

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/29/congress-building-water-lead-levels

Oliver Milman
Wednesday 29 June 2016

Concerns about dangerous lead in drinking water have reached Congress – quite literally. It’s been discovered that a key congressional office building has high lead levels in its water supply, with workers being provided with bottled water to consume instead.

A recent routine test found the elevated lead levels in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington DC, according to an email sent out by William Weidemeyer, the House office buildings superintendent.

According to Politico, Weidemeyer’s memo to lawmakers and their staff states that the lead levels are “slightly above the EPA standard”.

“Although the cause of the increase remains under investigation, in an abundance of caution all drinking water sources and office-provided water filtration units in the building will be turned off beginning at 10pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016,” the email reads.

The five-story Cannon House Office Building has provided office space for members of Congress since 1908. The building, which is connected to the Capitol via a tunnel, is undergoing a $750m renovation, which started in January last year.

Washington DC has had previous brushes with lead-in-water problems, with the city exposed as having lax testing practices 10 years ago. Subsequent reporting, including by the Guardian, has shown that lead levels in dozens of US cities have been downplayed by testing that can obscure the true amount of contamination.

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A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council this week revealed that more than than 18 million Americans are served drinking water by providers that have violated federal laws concerning lead in water. Despite this, only 3% of water utilities have faced any penalty over these violations, which include the failure to properly test or treat water.

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When DNA Implicates the Innocent

It is more useful to exonerate people in certain cases.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-dna-implicates-the-innocent/

The criminal justice system’s reliance on DNA evidence, often treated as infallible, carries significant risks

In December 2012 a homeless man named Lukis Anderson was charged with the murder of Raveesh Kumra, a Silicon Valley multimillionaire, based on DNA evidence. The charge carried a possible death sentence. But Anderson was not guilty. He had a rock-solid alibi: drunk and nearly comatose, Anderson had been hospitalized—and under constant medical supervision—the night of the murder in November. Later his legal team learned his DNA made its way to the crime scene by way of the paramedics who had arrived at Kumra's residence. They had treated Anderson earlier on the same day—inadvertently “planting” the evidence at the crime scene more than three hours later. The case, presented in February at the annual American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in Las Vegas, provides one of the few definitive examples of a DNA transfer implicating an innocent person and illustrates a growing opinion that the criminal justice system's reliance on DNA evidence, often treated as infallible, actually carries significant risks.

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No doubt DNA evidence remains an invaluable investigative tool, but forensic scientists and legal scholars alike emphasize that additional corroborating facts should be required to determine guilt or innocence. Like all forms of evidence, DNA is only one circumstantial clue. As such, Anderson's case serves as a warning that a handful of wayward skin cells should not come to mean too much.

Even a little air pollution may have long-term health effects on developing fetus

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/jhub-sea042716.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Study: Even a little air pollution may have long-term health effects on developing fetus
Researchers find biological evidence linking air pollution to intrauterine inflammation, a condition associated with adverse pregnancy and child outcomes
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Even small amounts of air pollution appear to raise the risk of a condition in pregnant women linked to premature births and lifelong neurological and respiratory disorders in their children, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

Fine particles from car exhaust, power plants and other industrial sources are breathed into the lungs, but the scientists have now found evidence of the effects of that pollution in the pregnant women's placentas, the organ that connects her to her fetus and provides blood, oxygen and nutrition. They found that the greater the maternal exposure to air pollution, the more likely the pregnant women suffered from a condition called intrauterine inflammation, which can increase the risk of a number of health problems for her child from the fetal stage well into childhood.

The researchers, reporting online April 27 in Environmental Health Perspectives, say the findings add to the growing evidence that the air a pregnant woman breathes could have long-term health consequences for her child and that current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air pollution standards may not be stringent enough to protect her developing fetus.

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The researchers found that pregnant women who were exposed to the highest levels of air pollution were nearly twice as likely as those exposed to the lowest levels to have intrauterine inflammation and it appeared that the first trimester might be a time of highest risk. These results held up even when researchers accounted for factors including smoking, age, obesity and education levels.

Intrauterine inflammation is one of the leading causes of premature birth, which occurs in one of every nine births in the United States and one in six African-American births, the researchers say. Babies born prematurely can have lifelong developmental problems. Researchers have linked preterm birth to both autism and asthma.

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the researchers say that the placenta - which is typically discarded after birth - offered vital clues to the condition and could be the source of other important health information.

"The placenta may be a window into what is going on in terms of early life exposure and what it means for future health problems," Wang says. "This organ is discarded, but testing it is non-invasive and could be a valuable source of all kinds of environmental information."

Sympathy for Istanbul


I'm sorry for the people of Instanbul, who are victims of the barbaric gang IS.

Contamination in North Dakota linked to fracking spills

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/du-cin042716.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Contamination in North Dakota linked to fracking spills
Metals, salts and radioactivity in brine-laden wastewater years later
Duke University

Accidental wastewater spills from unconventional oil production in North Dakota have caused widespread water and soil contamination, a new Duke University study finds.

Researchers found high levels of ammonium, selenium, lead and other toxic contaminants as well as high salts in the brine-laden wastewater, which primarily comes from hydraulically fractured oil wells in the Bakken region of western North Dakota.

Streams polluted by the wastewater contained levels of contaminants that often exceeded federal guidelines for safe drinking water or aquatic health.

Soil at the spill sites was contaminated with radium, a naturally occurring radioactive element found in brines, which chemically attached to the soil after the spill water was released.

At one site, the researchers were still able to detect high levels of contaminants in spill water four years after the spill occurred.

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"The magnitude of oil drilling in North Dakota is overwhelming," Vengosh said. "More than 9,700 wells have been drilled there in the past decade. This massive development has led to more than 3,900 brine spills, mostly coming from faulty pipes built to transport fracked wells' flowback water from on-site holding containers to nearby injection wells where it will be disposed underground."

As part of the study, the team mapped the distribution of the 3,900 spill sites to show how they were associated with the intensity of the oil drilling.

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"Unlike spilled oil, which starts to break down in soil, these spilled brines consist of inorganic chemicals, metals and salts that are resistant to biodegradation," said Nancy Lauer, a Ph.D. student of Vengosh's who was lead author of the study. "They don't go away; they stay. This has created a legacy of radioactivity at spill sites."

Soil samples collected downstream from spill sites contained higher levels of radioactivity than soil at the spill sites themselves, Lauer noted. This suggests that radium builds up in the soil as the spilled brine flows through the environment.

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One of the state's largest spills to date occurred in 2014, when an underground pipeline leak caused approximately 1 million gallons of brine to flow down a ravine and into Bear Den Bay, about a quarter mile upstream from a drinking water intake on Lake Sakakawea.

"Many smaller spills have also occurred on tribal lands, and as far as we know, no one is monitoring them," Vengosh added. "People who live on the reservations are being left to wonder how it might affect their land, water, health and way of life."

Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/osu-cbs042716.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected
Oregon State University

The pavement sealcoat products used widely around the nation on thousands of asphalt driveways and parking lots are significantly more toxic and mutagenic than previously suspected, according to a new paper published this week by researchers from Oregon State University.

Of particular concern are the sealcoat products based on use of coal tar emulsions, experts say.

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Sealcoats are products often sprayed or brushed on asphalt pavements to improve their appearance and extend their lifespan. Products based on coal tar are most commonly used east of the U.S. continental divide, and those based on asphalt most common west of the divide.

The primary concern in sealcoats are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are common products of any type of combustion, and have been shown to be toxic to birds, fish, amphibians, plants and mammals, including humans.

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It found some PAHs in coal tar sealcoats that were 30 times more toxic than one of the most common PAH compounds that was studied previously in these products by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The OSU study also showed that new PAH compounds found in coal tar sealcoats had a carcinogenic risk that was 4 percent to 40 percent higher than any study had previously showed. Among the worst offenders were a group of 11 "high molecular weight" PAH derivative compounds, of which no analysis had previously been reported.

By contrast, the study showed that sealcoats based on asphalt, more commonly used in the West, were still toxic, but far less than those based on coal tar. Use of coal tar sealcoats, which are a byproduct of the coal coking process, is most common in the Midwest and East.

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A 2011 report from the USGS outlined how PAH compounds from sealcoat products can find their way into soils, storm waters, ponds, streams, lakes, and even house dust, as the compounds are tracked by foot, abraded by car tires, washed by rain and volatilize into the air. They reported that the house dust in residences adjacent to pavement that had been treated with a coal tar-based sealcoat had PAH concentrations 25 times higher than those normally found in house dust.

Some states and many municipalities around the nation have already banned the use of coal tar-based sealcoats, due to the human, wildlife and environmental health concerns. In the European Union, use of coal tar-based sealcoats is limited or banned.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy linked to reduced depressive relapse risk

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/uoo-mct042516.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy linked to reduced depressive relapse risk
Those who received MBCT, and in many cases tapered or discontinued antidepressant medication, were 23% less likely to relapse to major depression
University of Oxford

The largest meta-analysis so far of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for recurrent depression has found that MBCT is an effective treatment option that can help prevent the recurrence of major depression. The study used anonymised individual patient data from nine randomized trials of MBCT. It suggests that for the millions of people who suffer recurrent depression it provides a treatment choice and an alternative or addition to other approaches such as maintenance anti-depressants.

Major depression is a significant public health problem. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point. MBCT is a group-based psychological treatment that helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences and learn skills that reduce the likelihood of further episodes of depression. This meta-analysis, included data from trials that compared MBCT to usual care as well as to other active treatments such as maintenance antidepressants -- the current mainstay approach to prevention of depressive relapse.

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Stabilizing the blogger Post Settings panel


If you have a blog on blogger.com, you might have recently experienced an annoying problem. The right panel, with settings such as Labels only fully appears when you move the cursor into that area.

While trying to type in labels, it kept sliding most of the way closed, and I had to keep moving the cursor.

I finally discovered that if I click in the Labels area after clicking the button, that the panel would remain open until I moved back to the main part of the blog.

Silent epidemic? Head injury may be linked to lasting sleep problems

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/aaon-seh042116.php

Public Release: 27-Apr-2016
Silent epidemic? Head injury may be linked to lasting sleep problems
American Academy of Neurology

People who have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may still have sleep problems a year and a half after being injured, according to a study published in the April 27, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. In addition, people with TBI may also be unaware of just how much their sleep is disturbed.

Every year in the United States, 1.7 million people experience a TBI and there is evidence that the rate of TBI is rising worldwide.

"This is the longest prospective and most comprehensive study about sleep quality and TBI to date," said study author Lukas Imbach, MD, of the University Hospital Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland. "We found that the majority of those with TBI, no matter how severe, had long-term sleep disturbances, yet didn't know."

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Changing the order of items in the Facebook News Feed


I saw from a comment on a post in my newsfeed that some people don't know that you have things appear in your news feed with the most recent first.

To do this, in the left panel, near the top, click on the arrow to the right of the "News Feed" button, and select "Most Recent" from the drop-down box.

Why parents in the U.S. have the biggest "happiness gap"

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-parents-in-the-us-arent-as-happy-as-childless-couples/

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas HealthDay June 29, 2016, 9:58 AM

Parents in the United States are not quite as happy as their childless peers, a new report reveals.

The analysis of 22 industrialized countries found that the largest "happiness gap" between those who have kids and those who don't can be found in America.

That's thanks to the dearth of workplace policies enabling employees of U.S. companies to have a more flexible schedule or take paid time off for illness, vacations or the birth of a child, the researchers said.

"The United States, without any standard paid leave available to mothers or parents -- or any standard vacation or sick leave to support raising a dependent child -- falls strikingly behind all the other countries we examined in terms of providing for parents' happiness and overall well-being," said researcher Matthew Andersson. He is an assistant professor of sociology at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas.

For the report, researchers from Baylor, the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., compared data from the United States, European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Russia.

The research revealed that countries with government-mandated paid leave policies have a smaller "happiness gap" between parents and couples who don't have kids.

"In fact, in those places [with leave policies], parents might be slightly happier," Andersson said in a Baylor news release.

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"Another striking finding was that giving money to parents in child allowances or monthly payments had less effect on parental happiness than giving them the tools such as flexible work time," the researchers said in the report.

The researchers said programs like subsidized child care actually improve the happiness of society as a whole, "with an extra happiness bonus for parents of minor children."

•••••

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Culture, crowding and social influence all tied to aggressive driving behavior

This describes drivers in Atlanta, Georgia. But several years ago, when I went to Birmingham, Alabama, there was a big contrast. Drivers were considerate. In Georgia, if you put on a turn signal, usually people will try to block you from changing your lane, so if I'm going to need to turn left, I get in the left lane well ahead of time. If I don't, chances are I won't be able to get into the left lane when I need to, and will miss my turn. But in Birmingham, when I put on my turn signal, people let me over, so I didn't have to get in the left lane so far ahead.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/osu-cca042616.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
Culture, crowding and social influence all tied to aggressive driving behavior
Oregon State University

A study of angry, competitive and aggressive driving suggests that these dangerous behaviors are becoming a worldwide phenomenon of almost epidemic proportions, and are a reflection of a person's surrounding culture, both on the road and on a broader social level.

The research was done with drivers in China where competitive driving is very common. It concluded that such behavior is more pronounced in men than in women, and is partly a reaction to overcrowded road networks. The study also implies that different social conditions might ultimately translate into better drivers.

•••••

At its worst, aggressive driving can be seen as "road rage" leading to serious or fatal accidents. In lesser forms it is viewed as "competitive" behavior that includes speeding, crowding or lane-hopping that drivers often use to gain a few minutes in an urban rush hour. In all its variations, this behavior is a problem that appears to be increasing. The American Automobile Association estimated that 56 percent of accidents involve aggressive driving.

"China is a good place to study competitive driving because it's very common there," said Haizhong Wang, an assistant professor of transportation engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. "Roads are overcrowded, there's less traffic control, and many drivers are younger or have little training or experience."

The problems in China as it becomes increasingly crowded with drivers, however, reflect similar concerns at varying levels around the world, Wang said. Urban areas and road networks are becoming more crowded and congested. Research such as this may help to better understand the underlying human and psychological behaviors that come into play.

In this analysis, the researchers concluded that drivers in congested situations generally believed that the chaotic traffic state was responsible for their competitive behavior, and they had no option other than to compete for space, the right-of-way, and gain advantages through speed and spacing. In simple terms, it was right and proper that they should try to keep up with or get ahead of traffic; that was the example being set for them, and they drove that way because everyone else did.

However, the study also suggested that "personality traits draw on and are influenced by aspects of one's social environment." The researchers said in their report that this indicates some countries and cultures may be more susceptible due to their social environment, and that improvements in that arena would also be seen in driving behavior.

"The choice to be competitive versus cooperative always starts with culture, by the influences around us and the way other people behave," Wang said. "And it's clear there's a role for education and experience, where studies have shown the value of young drivers participating in driver education programs and receiving positive guidance from their parents and peers."

•••••

As more areas around the world see increasing traffic congestion, Wang said, part of the psychological challenge will be to retain a sense of personal responsibility, avoid mimicking dangerous behaviors of other drivers, and strive for a level of tolerance, courtesy and personal cooperation essential for safe driving.

Despite efforts, childhood obesity remains on the rise

At a restaurant, I saw a mother telling her obese son to eat more, after he was full.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/dumc-dec042016.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
Despite efforts, childhood obesity remains on the rise
Duke University Medical Center

The alarming increase in U.S. childhood obesity rates that began nearly 30 years ago continues unabated, with the biggest increases in severe obesity, according to a study led by a Duke Clinical Research Institute scientist.

"Despite some other recent reports, we found no indication of a decline in obesity prevalence in the United States in any group of children aged 2 through 19," said lead author Asheley Skinner, Ph.D., associate professor at Duke. "This is particularly true with severe obesity, which remains high, especially among adolescents."

•••••

Reporting online April 26 in the journal Obesity, the researchers found that for 2013-2014, 33.4 percent of children between the ages of 2 through 19 were overweight. Among those, 17.4 percent had obesity, which includes a range from the lower end of the designation criteria to the higher end.

These rates were not statistically different than those from the previous reporting period of 2011-2012. Across all categories of obesity, a clear, statistically significant increase continued from 1999 through 2014.

"Most disheartening is the increase in severe obesity," Skinner said.

The prevalence of severe obesity - correlated to an adult body mass index of 35 or higher - accounted for the sharpest rise from the previous reporting period. Among all overweight youngsters in the 2012-14 reporting period, 6.3 percent had a BMI of at least 35, which was defined as class II obesity. Another 2.4 percent of those had severe obesity, defined as class III, which was consistent with an adult BMI of 40 or more.

For the previous reporting period, 5.9 percent of youngsters had class II obesity, and 2.1 percent of those were at class III levels.

•••••

Abnormally low blood flow indicates damage to NFL players' brains

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/ip-alb042616.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
Abnormally low blood flow indicates damage to NFL players' brains
Researchers used sophisticated neuroimaging and powerful predictive analytics to reveal decreased blood flow in specific brain regions and correlate these findings with cognitive and behavioral impairment, reports Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
IOS Press

The discovery of brain pathology through autopsy in former National Football League (NFL) players called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has raised substantial concern among players, medical professionals, and the general public about the impact of repetitive head trauma. Using sophisticated neuroimaging and analytics, researchers have now identified abnormal areas of low blood flow in living professional football players. These findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, raises the potential for better diagnosis and treatment for persons with football related head trauma.

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Study shows vivid language used to assure whistleblowers of protection instead evokes fear

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/fau-ssv042616.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
Study shows vivid language used to assure whistleblowers of protection instead evokes fear
Florida Atlantic University

A new study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and Providence College has found that vivid language intended to assure potential whistleblowers they will be protected from retaliation is instead likely to evoke fear and make them less likely to report misconduct.

"When you start listing all the protections that you're giving them you start raising their awareness of the risks and dangers," said James Wainberg, Ph.D., a professor of accounting at FAU's College of Business and co-author of the study with Stephen Perreault, Ph.D., assistant professor at Providence College School of Business. "It serves to raise their level of anxiety and has the opposite of its intended effect. All the protections are really a list of the things that can go wrong."

It's the first study to demonstrate that promoting explicit whistleblower protections can have the unintended consequence of actually inhibiting reporting of misconduct by intensifying the perceived risk of retaliation.

•••••

A 2014 Global Fraud Study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that whistleblower tips are by far the most common fraud detection method, accounting for more than 42 percent of all cases. That's more than twice the rate of any other detection method. The study also found that employees account for nearly half of all tips that led to the discovery of fraud.

•••••

Rather than describing explicit protections offered from retaliation, they wrote, organizations could instead more explicitly describe the organization's commitment to good corporate governance and ethical behavior.

•••••

An Icelandic success story of prevention of adolescent substance use

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/ru-ais042616.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
An Icelandic success story of prevention of adolescent substance use
Reykjavik University

In 1998 substance use amongst adolescents in Iceland was one of the highest in Europe. By 2015, it was amongst the lowest.

•••••

There are three core elements to the YiE programme: a community based approach, collaboration between researchers, policy makers and people in the field, and evidence based work.

•••••

A number of measures have been implemented in Iceland in the last two decades to boost protective factors and minimise risk of substance use among adolescents, based primarily on results from the YiE study. These include raising the legal age of adulthood from 16 to 18 years, increasing the age limits to buy tobacco and alcohol from 18 to 20 years, and imposing strict regulations for selling tobacco and alcohol, including a ban on advertising. Financial support for organised sports and healthy lifestyle activities has also been increased considerably during this time. The government has also set and upheld strict rules on minimum outdoor hours of children and teenagers, and parents have been urged to spend more time with their children.

•••••

Despite their small brains -- ravens are just as clever as chimps

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/lu-dts042616.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
Despite their small brains -- ravens are just as clever as chimps
Lund University

A study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden shows that ravens are as clever as chimpanzees, despite having much smaller brains, indicating that rather than the size of the brain, the neuronal density and the structure of the birds' brains play an important role in terms of their intelligence.

"Absolute brain size is not the whole story. We found that corvid birds performed as well as great apes, despite having much smaller brains", says Can Kabadayi, doctoral student in Cognitive Science.

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Time spent working rotating night shift and risk of heart disease

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/tjnj-tsw042216.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
Time spent working rotating night shift and risk of heart disease
The JAMA Network Journals

Among female registered nurses, working a rotating night shift for 5 years or more was associated with a small increase in the risk of coronary heart disease, according to a study appearing in the April 26 issue of JAMA.

•••••

In the NHS, the association between duration of shift work and CHD was stronger in the first half of follow-up than in the second half, suggesting waning risk after cessation of shift work. Longer time since quitting shift work was associated with decreased CHD risk among shift workers in the NHS2.

•••••

New land snail species from Australia shows dissection not necessary to identify molluscs

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/pp-nls042616.php

Public Release: 26-Apr-2016
New land snail species from Australia shows dissection not necessary to identify molluscs
Pensoft Publishers

Dissection might prove unnecessary when identifying new molluscs after scientists Corey Whisson, Western Australian Museum, and Dr Abraham Breure, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, the Netherlands, and Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium, described a previously unknown land snail based on its genitalia, yet without damaging the specimen in the slightest. The new species is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The biologists described the first new Australian land snail species of this family for the last 33 years thanks to micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and reconstruction with specialised software. This novel method, likely applied for identification of molluscs for the first time in history, uses X-rays to create cross-sections of the genitalia, so that a 3D model can be created without damaging the specimen. This can be then compared to known related taxa's genitalia in order to show if there are enough differences to prove species delimitation.

The scientists note that despite the satisfying results, micro-CT is time-consuming and "quite laborious" approach. "However, in the case of a single or just a few specimens, this may be an alternative to destructive dissection," says Dr Abraham Breure in his personal blog.

•••••

Regret-xit: why some Brexit supporters wish they could take back their vote

Reminds me of how Nader voters allowed GW Bush to get a large enough percentage of the vote to be able to steal the election from Al Gore.

I hope Bernie supporters don't enable Trump to win.

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/24/12024634/brexit-supporters-regret-vote

Updated by Katherine Hicks on June 24, 2016

Less than 24 hours after the United Kingdom voted to "Brexit," those who supported the referendum are already voicing their regret, saying they didn’t think their vote would matter.

•••••

In an interview on BBC’s Victoria Live, one man who voted "Leave" said, "I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain."

•••••

More and more people have come out of the woodwork to express their regret at voting to leave the EU. Some cited deceit from the Leave side as the reason for their misguided votes, others expressed regret in response to the economic repercussions.

•••••

Monday, June 27, 2016

Texas high court sides with family who let kids skip schoolwork in wait of 'rapture'



The Texas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a family who were homeschooling their children but not teaching them, since they believed they would soon be “raptured.”

The Lone Star State’s highest court voted 6-3 in favor of the family on a technicality. Laura and Michael McIntyre claimed their Fourteenth Amendment right had been violated when the El Paso school district attempted to discover whether their children were learning. The district had also filed charges of truancy, but later dropped them.

At the heart of the issue is the question of where to draw the line between individual parents' liberties to educate their own children and requirements designed to ensure that homeschooled children are learning at an acceptable rate. While the court ruled in favor of the family in this specific instance, they did not address the more fundamental issue, a development that could be important as the number of Americans choosing to homeschool their children rapidly grows.

•••••

Ms. McIntyre started educating some of her nine children about 10 years ago

•••••

The RNC Plans To Turn Bernie Backers Against Hillary Clinton’s VP Pick

SOP for the GOP.

It's obvious from Facebook that this has already been going on during the primaries.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/clinton-vp-choice_us_577027f7e4b0f1683239e34a

Sam Stein
June 26, 2016

The Republican National Committee is planning to cleave liberal voters away from Hillary Clinton as part of a campaign to counteract her forthcoming pick of a vice presidential running mate.

In a detailed memo outlining its strategy to combat Clinton's VP choice, the committee says it will frame the selection as both a cynical play to certain constituencies and as an emotional letdown for voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary.

The goals, the memo says, are to "drive wedges between these top contenders and either Clinton and/or traditional Democrat constituencies, such as labor, environmentalists, and gun control advocates, and other traditional left-wing constituencies;" and "[w]here applicable, frame the choice as an insult to the large, deep base of Bernie Sanders supporters who are struggling with the notion of supporting Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democrat nominee."

Titled "Project Pander," the RNC's strategy memo also reveals which candidates the committee views as most likely to be selected. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) occupy the top tier; Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) are in the second.

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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.

•••••

"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.

•••••

"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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

"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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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."

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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.

•••••

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."

•••••

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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