Sunday, July 31, 2016

Anti-epileptic drug linked to birth defects when taken with other drugs

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/w-adl060716.php

Public Release: 7-Jun-2016
Anti-epileptic drug linked to birth defects when taken with other drugs
Wiley

In an analysis of pregnancies in Australia from 1999 to 2014 in which women were taking anti-epileptic drugs, fetal malformation rates fell over time in pregnancies where only one drug was taken, but rates increased in pregnancies where multiple drugs were taken.

The rise in such "polytherapy" malformation rates began around 2005 when levetiracetam and topiramate use began to increase. Malformation rates were similar in polytherapy pregnancies whether or not levetiracetam was included (7.14 percent versus 8.38 percent), but were higher in polytherapy pregnancies involving topiramate (14.94 percent versus 6.55 percent).

The findings suggest that use of topiramate in conjunction with other anti-epileptic drugs may enhance its propensity to cause fetal malformations. The mechanisms involved are currently unclear.

"Although the results are based on small numbers of patients in pregnancy, we suggest that the use of topiramate, at least in combination with other anti-epileptic medications, ought to be used with caution in women who plan to become pregnant," said Dr. Frank Vajda, lead author of the Epilepsia analysis.

How Money Worries Damage the Look of Your Face

https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/07/29/How-Money-Worries-Damage-Look-Your-Face

By Lawrence Goodman
July 29, 2016

In a recent study, people with the highest levels of financial stress looked like they had aged more over a decade than people with lower levels of money woes.

Financial stress actually takes a larger toll on appearance than other types of stress.

“It may be that people who are under a lot of financial stress do not pay much attention to their appearance,” says study author Margie Lachman, professor of psychology at Brandeis University. “Stress can also accelerate the aging process.”

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Lachman and colleagues also studied how stress in general affects how old people think you are. They found that financial stress actually takes a larger toll on appearance than other types of stress. This is consistent with other research showing that money worries rate as the most significant source of stress in people’s lives.

Finally, the research suggests that people are not the best judge of their appearance when it comes to aging. The individuals who had their headshots taken were asked how old they thought they looked to others. It turned out on average they thought they looked younger than the panel of reviewers.

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Lachman says that being perceived as older than you actually are can affect behavior and lifestyle with the potential to negatively affect your health.

Almost all food and beverage products marketed by music stars are unhealthy

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/nlmc-aaf060116.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Almost all food and beverage products marketed by music stars are unhealthy
First quantifiable examination of nutritional quality of food and drink endorsements by music celebrities popular among teens
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

Recording artists are frequently the face of commercial products -- and children and adolescents are frequently their target audience. Now, a new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center finds that the vast majority of the food and beverage products marketed by some of the most popular music stars are unhealthy.

And this type of advertising is contributing to the alarming rise in childhood and teen obesity, the authors warn.

Soda and other sugary drinks, fast food and sweets are among the most common food and beverage products endorsed by famous music personalities, according to the descriptive study, which publishes June 6 in Pediatrics. Equally alarming, none of the music stars identified in the study endorsed fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Only one endorsed a natural food deemed healthy--pistachios.

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"Because of our nation's childhood and teenage obesity public health crises, it is important to raise awareness about how companies are using celebrities popular with these audiences to market their unhealthy products," said Dr. Bragg, who is also a faculty member at the NYU College of Global Public Health. "Research has already shown that food advertising leads to overeating, and the food industry spends $1.8 billion per year marketing to youth alone."

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Food & beverage companies spend $2 billion a year on youth-targeted ads, with American children seeing approximately 4,700 ads each year and teens viewing 5,900 ads per year, according to Institute of Medicine research. There were about 313 million views of the YouTube video versions for food and beverage endorsements associated with celebrities in this study's sample, although unique views could not be counted. Celebrity food endorsements promote higher product preference, and exposure to any kind of food advertising is linked to "excessive consumption," according to research.

"These celebrity endorsement deals are often worth millions of dollars each, suggesting companies find them critical for promoting products," said Dr. Bragg.

Food and beverage marketing has been identified in a variety of epidemiologic and psychology studies as a significant environmental contributor to childhood obesity. In 2012, over one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service.

Although many food and beverage companies have taken voluntary pledges not to target children under 12 years old with certain marketing, teens are not included.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Obesity and gestational diabetes in mothers linked to early onset of puberty in daughters

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/kp-oag060316.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Obesity and gestational diabetes in mothers linked to early onset of puberty in daughters
Findings add to growing body of knowledge drawn from long-term Kaiser Permanente study examining development in girls
Kaiser Permanente

Daughters of overweight mothers who develop gestational diabetes are significantly more likely to experience an earlier onset of one sign of puberty, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Research has shown that American girls are maturing earlier now than they were a few decades ago, and that early puberty increases the risk of adverse health outcomes, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and cancer in adolescence and adulthood. This study is based on long-term research on an ethnically diverse sample of 421 girls and their mothers (all members of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California) participating in the Cohort study of Young Girls' Nutrition, Environment, and Transitions (known as CYGNET).

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Insufficient sleep cycle -- especially for shift workers -- may increase heart disease risk

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/aha-isc060116.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Insufficient sleep cycle -- especially for shift workers -- may increase heart disease risk
American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report
American Heart Association

The body's involuntary processes may malfunction in shift workers and other chronically sleep-deprived people, and may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

Insufficient sleep and circadian rhythm (approximately 24-hour) disturbances both have been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes but the cause is unclear. To determine the impact of circadian rhythm disturbances on cardiovascular function in sleep-deprived people, researchers studied 26 healthy people, age 20-39. The study participants were restricted to five hours of sleep for eight days (sleep restriction) with either fixed bedtimes (circadian alignment) or bedtimes delayed by 8.5 hours on four of the eight days (circadian misalignment).

Researchers found sleep restriction combined with delayed bedtimes when compared to sleep restriction without delayed bedtimes was associated with:

an increased heart rate during the day for both fixed bedtimes and delayed bedtimes groups and even more so at night when sleep resctriction was combined with delayed bedtimes; reduced heart rate variability at night; an increase in 24-hour urinary norepinephrine excretion in the sleep resticted and delayed bedtimes group; and reduced vagal activity related to heart rate variability during deeper sleep phases (NREM); these deeper sleep phases have a restorative effect on cardiovascular function in normal individuals.

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Pictures warning of smoking dangers on cigarette packs increased quit attempts

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/tjnj-pwo060216.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Pictures warning of smoking dangers on cigarette packs increased quit attempts
The JAMA Network Journals

Affixing pictures on cigarette packets to illustrate the danger of smoking increased attempts by smokers to quit, according to the results of a clinical trial published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Reducing smoking is a top public health priority because it is a leading cause of preventable death.

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The rise of intimate partner violence during the Great Recession

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/puww-hth060616.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
The rise of intimate partner violence during the Great Recession
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Financial strain has long been one of the leading causes of family discord, but a recent study suggests that simply living through major economic recessions increases a mother's chance of suffering from domestic violence.

Researchers from Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, investigated the impact of economic distress on romantic relationships, demonstrating unexpected side effects of economic downturns.

The study, published in Demography, carefully examined whether personal economic distress and high unemployment rates would increase a mother's chances of being in a violent or controlling relationship. While mothers across the board experienced a rise in intimate partner violence during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009, those who experienced personal financial loss were even more likely to be subjected to intimate partner violence.

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The investigators also controlled for such factors as race, ethnicity, education, nativity, marital status and who all lived in the home.

Notably, the male partner does not need to lose his job or experience personal material hardship to turn to intimate partner violence, McLanahan and her co-authors found in the recent study. Rather the trigger seems to be the stress of living in a fragile economy where he might experience job loss or economic hardship at any moment, even if he hasn't already.

"Most surprising, rapid increases in unemployment rates - 50 percent or more in the past year - led to increases in men's controlling behavior, but not physical violence, among couples who did not directly experience unemployment or material hardship themselves, suggesting the fear of hard times was important for these couples," McLanahan said. "This pattern exemplifies the psychological dynamic that a loss of control in one domain, like the economy, leads men to assert greater control in another domain, in this case their intimate relationships."

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Hearing problems reduce the quality of life of older people

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/aof-hpr060616.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Hearing problems reduce the quality of life of older people
Academy of Finland

Research has found that hearing loss has wide-ranging impacts not only on older people's ability to communicate, but also on their ability to move about and participate in different hobbies and activities. This has been revealed in studies funded by the Academy of Finland whose results have been published in international scientific journals.

"In our recent studies, we've observed that older people with hearing problems have a more limited life space, and that these problems lower their quality of life," says Doctoral Student Hannele Polku.

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According to the results, people who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their life space than those who considered their hearing to be good. During the two-year monitoring period, the people who were hard of hearing were twice as likely as others to limit their life space only to nearby areas. The life space of those with good hearing, on the other hand, remained more often unlimited.

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"According to our study, audiometrically measured hearing alone is not a sufficient measure of how people experience their hearing problems and how these affect their everyday lives. For example, a person with many everyday social contacts and communication with others may feel that even a minor hearing loss may affect their everyday functioning. On the other hand, a person more inclined to enjoy domestic tasks carried out on one's own doesn't experience the same number of problems due to a change of a similar degree in hearing," says Polku.

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Evidence of hearing damage in teens prompts researchers' warning

In my neighborhood, it is the parents who subject their children to very loud music.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/mu-eoh060316.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Evidence of hearing damage in teens prompts researchers' warning
McMaster University

New research into the ringing-ear condition known as tinnitus points to an alarming level of early hearing damage in young people who are exposed to loud music, prompting a warning from a leading Canadian researcher in the field.

"It's a growing problem and I think it's going to get worse," says Larry Roberts of McMaster's Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, the only Canadian author of a paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports. "My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing."

The researchers interviewed and performed detailed hearing tests on a group of 170 students between 11 and 17 years old, learning that almost all of them engage in "risky listening habits" - at parties, clubs and on personal listening devices - and that more than a quarter of them are already experiencing persistent tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears that more typically affects people over 50.

Further testing of the same subjects - all students at the same school in São Paulo, Brazil - showed that even though they could still hear as well as their peers, those experiencing tinnitus were more likely to have a significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise, which is considered a sign of hidden damage to the nerves that are used in processing sound, damage that can foretell serious hearing impairment later in life.

Roberts explained that when the auditory nerves are damaged, brain cells increase their sensitivity to their remaining inputs, which can make ordinary sounds seem louder. Increased loudness perception is an indication of nerve injury that cannot be detected by the audiogram, the standard clinical test for hearing ability. Neuroscience research indicates that such "hidden hearing loss" caused by exposure to loud sounds in the early years deepens over the life span, worsening one's hearing ability later in life.

"The levels of sound exposure that are quite commonplace in our environment, particularly among youth, appear to be sufficient to produce hidden cochlear injuries." says Roberts. "The message is, 'Protect your ears.'"

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Late-term birth associated with better school-based cognitive functioning

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/tjnj-lba060216.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Late-term birth associated with better school-based cognitive functioning
The JAMA Network Journals

Better measures of school-based cognitive function were associated with late-term infants born at 41 weeks but those children performed worse on a measure of physical functioning compared with infants born full term at 39 or 40 weeks, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Evidence suggests full-term infants have better health and cognitive outcomes in childhood and into adulthood. Late-term gestation (pregnancy) is associated with increased risk of perinatal health complications. But it is unknown what long-term cognitive and physical outcomes are associated with late-term gestation.

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Late-term infants outperformed full-term infants in all three cognitive dimensions (higher average test scores in elementary and middle school, a 2.8 percent higher probability of being gifted, and a 3.1 percent reduced probability of poor cognitive outcomes) compared to full-term infants. However, late-term infants also had a 2.1 percent higher rate of physical disabilities at school age and higher rates of abnormal conditions at birth, according to the results.

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Larger wine glasses may lead people to drink more

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoc-lwg060316.php

Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
Larger wine glasses may lead people to drink more
University of Cambridge

Selling wine in larger wine glasses may encourage people to drink more, even when the amount of wine remains the same, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge. In a study published today in the journal BMC Public Health, researchers found that increasing the size of wine glasses led to an almost 10% increase in wine sales.

Alcohol consumption is one of the leading risk factors for disease and has been linked to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and liver disease.

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1 hour of driving a day = 2.3kg (5.1 lb) more weight and 1.5cm (0.6 in) wider waist, study reveals



Public Release: 6-Jun-2016
1 hour of driving a day = 2.3kg (5.1 lb) more weight and 1.5cm (0.6in) wider waist, study reveals
Men more likely than women to put on weight due to time spent behind the wheel
Australian Catholic University

People who drive an hour or more a day are 2.3kg heavier and 1.5cm wider around the waist compared to people who spend 15 minutes or less in their cars, research has revealed.

These findings from a research study led by Professor Takemi Sugiyama from the Australian Catholic University's Institute of Health and Ageing, show the convenience of car travel has a significant impact on public health. And men are more likely than women to put on weight due to time spent behind the wheel,

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Psychopathy not always a disadvantage



Public Release: 3-Jun-2016
Psychopathy need not be a disadvantage
Fearless and stress-resistant -- yet still inconspicuous at work: How it works is shown in a study at the University of Bonn
University of Bonn

Persons with high psychopathy values are egotistic, scheming, and sabotage their colleagues unscrupulously to look better themselves. For employers they are a super-meltdown - but is that really true? A study by the University of Bonn shows that some people with psychopathic traits are seen by their colleagues as quite helpful and cooperative. One of the prerequisites for this, however, is that they possess marked social skills.

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not all "psychopaths" are the same. Instead, at least two different facets of personality come together in psychopathy. They can occur together, but do not have to.

"We speak of independent personality dimensions", explains Nora Schütte of the Institute of Psychology of the University of Bonn. "The first is referred to as fearless dominance. People with this character trait want to get their way, have no fear of the consequences of their actions, and can withstand stress very well. We also speak of primary psychopathy. The second dimension is self-centered impulsivity: Persons with high values here lack an inner brake. Their self-control is thus weak, and they therefore do not have any consideration for others. They are referred to as secondary psychopaths".

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Participants whose questionnaires indicated a high level of fearless dominance were nevertheless sometimes described by their colleagues as helpful, cooperative, and pleasant associates. "But that was true only when these primary psychopaths also had marked social skills", says Nora Schütte. "Above all that included skills that are generally important at work - such as the gift of making others feel well".

For employees with great self-centered impulsivity, the study showed a completely different picture: Their colleagues consistently described them as destructive in their dealings, not very helpful, and weak in performance - regardless of their social skills. "These persons with high values in secondary psychopathy thus really do have the postulated negative effects upon their work environment", emphasizes Schütte. "And to a much greater degree than when we examine both groups together".

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Professor Blickle adds: "Persons with a high degree of fearless dominance can even be selfless heroes in everyday life, such as life-savers, emergency physicians, or firefighters".

Cancer patients miss appointments, prescriptions due to inability to afford care

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uonc-cpm060316.php

Public Release: 3-Jun-2016
Cancer patients miss appointments, prescriptions due to inability to afford care
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Financial pressures kept cancer patients from filling prescription medications and attending their doctors' visits, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers found in a new study.

More than one-in-four cancer patients surveyed reported they had to pay more for medical care than they could afford, and 18 percent of those patients said they were unable to afford prescription medications.

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"You can prescribe the best drug in the world, but if patients can't afford it, and they can't get it, then it won't be effective," said Greg Knight, MD, chief fellow in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology and Oncology, who was the first author of the study abstract. "We saw a significant portion of patients in our study who were stretching their prescriptions or not coming to the doctor's office."

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Of patients indicating that they had to pay more than they could afford for medical care, 18 percent did not fill their prescription medications, and 11.5 percent of patient did not attend doctor's visits during the past year because they couldn't afford them.

Knight said that missing a prescription fill or doctor's appointment can be critical for cancer patient outcomes.

"Patients with cancer can be on highly regimented therapy that can have significant side effects that need to be closely monitored," he said. "These patients represent a particularly vulnerable population because of the treatments they are receiving and require close monitoring for both response and known side effects of their treatment."

Patients are facing higher out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions through increases in deductibles, which is the amount patients pay before their benefits kick in, and less generous insurance benefits overall, said Stacie Dusetzina, PhD, a UNC Lineberger member and assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

"Additionally, prices for drugs are increasing which can directly impact patient spending if their plans use coinsurance - where the patient pays a percentage of the price rather than a fixed copayment," said Dusetzina, who was a co-author of the study. "With many anticancer medications priced at $10,000 or more per month, those costs can add up fast and would be difficult for most people to afford."

The most common reasons for delays in care for patients with affordability issues were a lack of health insurance (11 percent), and being unable to afford general household expenses (18 percent).

Five percent of the patients who reported their medical expenses were more than they could afford said they had delayed care because they didn't have transportation, while 7 percent said they couldn't take time off work.

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Meaningful work not created -- only destroyed -- by bosses, study finds

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uos-mwn060316.php

Public Release: 3-Jun-2016
Meaningful work not created -- only destroyed -- by bosses, study finds
University of Sussex

Bosses play no role in fostering a sense of meaningfulness at work - but they do have the capacity to destroy it and should stay out of the way, new research shows.

The study by researchers at the University of Sussex and the University of Greenwich shows that quality of leadership receives virtually no mention when people describe meaningful moments at work, but poor management is the top destroyer of meaningfulness.

Published in MIT Sloan Management Review, the research indicates that, rather than being similar to other work-related attitudes, such as engagement or commitment, meaningfulness at work tends to be intensely personal and individual, and is often revealed to employees as they reflect on their work.

Thus what managers can do to encourage meaningfulness is limited, though what they can do to introduce meaninglessness is unfortunately of far greater capacity.

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Professor Bailey says: "In experiencing work as meaningful, we cease to be workers or employees and relate as human beings, reaching out in a bond of common humanity to others.

"For organizations seeking to manage meaningfulness, the ethical and moral responsibility is great, since they are bridging the gap between work and personal life."

The authors identified five qualities of meaningful work:

1. Self-Transcendent. Individuals tend to experience their work as meaningful when it matters to others more than just to themselves. In this way, meaningful work is self-transcendent.

2. Poignant. People often find their work to be full of meaning at moments associated with mixed, uncomfortable, or even painful thoughts and feelings, not just a sense of unalloyed joy and happiness.

3. Episodic. A sense of meaningfulness arises in an episodic rather than a sustained way. It seems that no one can find their work consistently meaningful, but rather that an awareness that work is meaningful arises at peak times that are generative of strong experiences.

4. Reflective. Meaningfulness is rarely experienced in the moment, but rather in retrospect and on reflection when people are able to see their completed work and make connections between their achievements and a wider sense of life meaning.

5. Personal. Work that is meaningful is often understood by people not just in the context of their work but also in the wider context of their personal life experiences.

The researchers also identified the 'seven deadly sins' of meaninglessness, including disconnecting people from their values, overriding peoples' better judgment and disconnecting people from supporting relationships.

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Vaccinating mothers against flu can protect newborns

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoms-nsf060216.php

Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
New study finds that vaccinating mothers against flu can protect newborns
Finding could help to significantly reduce flu disease and mortality in poor developing world countries
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Each year, influenza causes between 250,000 and half a million deaths around the world. Pregnant women and young infants have a higher risk of complications related to influenza; these complications can easily lead to death. The problem is particularly severe in the developing world, where access to health care is often limited, and health centers and hospitals are scarce and under-resourced. Babies are particularly vulnerable because there is no influenza vaccine approved for infants younger than six months.

Now a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) in Baltimore, and the Center for Vaccine Development of Mali (CVD-Mali), has shown that immunizing mothers against flu can decrease by 70 percent the risk of their infants getting flu during the first four months after birth. This is the largest study to date to show that maternal vaccination against influenza is feasible and effective, even in one of the world's least developed countries. The study was published today in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Researchers find link between increasing unemployment rates and increases in the risk of children becoming overweight during economic downturn

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/jhub-htg060216.php

Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
How the Great Recession weighed on children
Researchers find link between increasing unemployment rates and increases in the risk of becoming overweight during economic downturn
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers have found that increases in unemployment in California during the Great Recession were associated with an increased risk for weight gain among the state's 1.7 million public school students, suggesting that economic troubles could have long-term health consequences for children.

The researchers, publishing online June 1 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, say that for every one percentage point increase in county-level unemployment between the years of 2008 and 2012, the school children had a four percent increased risk of becoming overweight. The average change in unemployment over the time period was 5.4 percentage points, putting the increased risk that a child would become overweight at 21 percent.

Prior research has shown that even small changes in weight - between five and 10 percent - in children and adolescents can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases in the future.

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In 2008, just as the recession was beginning, 28 percent of the children in the state's public schools were considered overweight. While the percentage of overweight children peaked at 40 percent in 2009, it slipped but was still at 37 percent in 2012.

"Unemployment not only impacts adults," Oddo says. "Children are impacted and it's not something we really talk about."

While the researchers found a link between increases in unemployment and an increased risk that a child would be overweight, they can only speculate about the reasons behind their findings. They believe that in times of belt-tightening, families may have changed their food purchasing habits or school districts could have cut back on sports leagues or after-school activities promoting exercise.

"We think they likely gained weight because with decreased economic resources, families may be trading more expensive healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables for cheaper, higher calorie alternatives such as highly processed convenience food," says the study's senior author Jessica C. Jones-Smith, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School. "The stuff that is convenient and tasty is also high in calories and may be the kind of food people turn to in these economically constrained times."

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Attitudes toward women key in higher rates of sexual assault by athletes

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/ncsu-sat060216.php

Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
Study: Attitudes toward women key in higher rates of sexual assault by athletes
North Carolina State University

An online study of male undergraduates shows that more than half of study participants on intercollegiate and recreational athletic teams - and more than a third of non-athletes - reported engaging in sexual coercion, including rape. The increased risk of sexual coercion by athletes was linked to "traditional" beliefs about women and a higher belief in rape "myths," which are used to justify sexual assault.

Previous research has shown that male college athletes are more likely than college students in general to commit sexual violence or engage in sexual coercion. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education called for colleges and universities to institute efforts to educate athletes and address sexual violence.

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"We found that 54.3 percent of the intercollegiate and recreational athletes and 37.9 percent of non-athletes had engaged in sexually coercive behaviors - almost all of which met the legal definition of rape," Desmarais says.

"As high as these numbers are, they may actually under-represent the rates of sexual coercion, since the study relied on self-reported behavior," Desmarais says.

Non-athletes were much less likely to believe in rape myths, such as that if a woman is drunk or doesn't fight back, it isn't rape. And non-athletes were less likely to harbor more traditional, and frequently negative, beliefs about women, such as that "Women should worry less about their rights and more about becoming good wives and mothers."

In addition, the researchers found that there was no difference between recreational and intercollegiate athletes in regard to their views toward women, belief in rape myths or sexual behavior.

After analyzing the data, researchers found that belief in rape myths, and more traditional beliefs about women, played a key role in the increased likelihood that athletes would commit sexual assault.

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Study of almost 49,000 obese patients shows that mortality is much lower in those who have obesity surgery compared with those who don't

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/eaft-soa060116.php

Public Release: 2-Jun-2016
Study of almost 49,000 obese patients shows that mortality is much lower in those who have obesity surgery compared with those who don't
European Association for the Study of Obesity

A study of almost 49 000 obese patients shows that those who do not have obesity surgery are much more likely to die from any cause than those who do have surgery, after an average of 5 year's follow-up. The study, presented at this year's European Obesity Summit, is by Christina Persson, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and colleagues.

Obesity is associated with increased mortality in numerous diseases. Bariatric surgery has shown to prevent obesity related mortality and morbidity. However, there is a lack of population-based prospective studies examining overall mortality in patients who undergo gastric bypass. The objective of this study was to assess overall mortality in obese individuals undergoing bariatric surgery compared to non-surgical obese patients.

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The study population comprised 48,693 patients 18-74 years of whom 22,581 underwent bariatric surgery (gastric bypass 92.8%) while there were 26,112 obese patients who did not undergo surgery.

The mortality rate was higher in the non-surgical group (4.21%) compared to the surgical group (1.11%) (7.7 vs. 2.1 deaths per 1000 people per year). Mean follow-up time for the surgical group was 5.4 years and 5.5 for the non-surgical group. The overall mortality decreased by 57% in the surgery group (age adjusted hazard ratio 0.43) compared with the non-surgical group. This 57% reduction was the same when adjusting for age alone or age and previous comorbidity and other factors (including sex, coronary heart disease, valvular disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, stroke and atrial fibrillation).

The most common cause of death in the non-surgical group was cardiovascular disease, followed by cancer. In the surgical obese patients, the most common cause of death was external causes of mortality (such as accidents and suicide), followed by cardiovascular disease and cancer. Although accidents and suicide were the main causes of death in the surgical group, the incidence of death from these causes was still lower than in the non-surgical group.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Politics, not ignorance, may pollute support for pro-science solutions

It can be embarrassing to be a human!



Public Release: 1-Jun-2016
Politics, not ignorance, may pollute support for pro-science solutions
Penn State

Mentioning politics in a message about an environmental issue may turn people -- even people informed about the issue -- away from supporting a pro-science solution, according to a team of researchers.

In a study, conservative participants who were asked to react to a message about excess water runoff showed lower support for an environmental science improvement project when the message was framed around global warming terminology, according to Lee Ahern, associate professor of advertising and public relations, Penn State. The effect was even stronger among those conservatives with more knowledge about the issue, he added.

"It's the framing of the issue that's really important," said Ahern. "This is really a message for scientists and science communicators: don't pollute and politicize the information environment around the issue, because once you do that, people's political identities are going to get engaged."

This study, along with others, has established that having more knowledge about science does not necessarily translate into more support for pro-science policies, according to Ahern, who added that, in this case, the environmental solution was to add more green surface infrastructure, such as green roofs.

•••••

Ahern said that all political ideologies, not just conservatives, are susceptible to this type of motivated reasoning.

"This is not unique to conservatives," said Ahern. "It works both ways. Studies have been done on other issues, for example, nuclear power and genetically modified organisms, that have shown similar effects among liberals."

The researchers suggest that scientists hoping to reach consensus on solutions should avoid political rhetoric in their communication.

"This is really a message for the scientists, not necessarily the public," said Ahern. "It's interesting for people to understand what's happening, but the people who really need to change what they are doing are the scientists and science communicators."
But it's those in the fossil fuel industries who have made global warming a political issue. Similarly for those in other polluting industries.

•••••

Street lighting disrupts pollinating moths

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/nu-sld052716.php

Public Release: 1-Jun-2016
Street lighting disrupts pollinating moths
Newcastle University

Street lights change the natural behaviour of moths and disrupt nocturnal pollination, new research has shown.

The study, published today in the scientific journal Global Change Biology, reveals the shift in moth activity in street-lit areas from vegetation level to lamp-post height and the impact this is having on their ability to pollinate flowers.

The role played by moths in plant pollination has until now been largely overlooked as previous studies have focussed on daytime pollinators, such as bees.

•••••

"We all know moths are attracted to light - some people might grumble about finding them flitting around in the bathroom or banging against the window.

"Where there are street lights, our research indicates that the moths are being attracted upwards, away from the fields and hedgerows. This is likely to cause disruption of night-time pollination by moths, which could be serious for the flowers which rely upon moths for pollination, and of course there could be negative effects on the moths themselves as well."

Dr Darren Evans, Reader in Ecology and Conservation at Newcastle University and one of the authors on the paper, adds:

"Our research shows that light pollution significantly alters moth activity and this in turn is disrupting their role as pollinators.

"There is a great deal of concern at the moment about our falling pollinator populations and the knock-on effect on plant pollination. Our research suggests that it's a process that is being damaged on two fronts - night and day - and together the impact could be significant."

•••••

Shift work unwinds body clocks, leading to more severe strokes

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/tau-swu060116.php

Public Release: 1-Jun-2016
Shift work unwinds body clocks, leading to more severe strokes
Research finds living against our body clocks is detrimental to our health
Texas A&M University

Statistics show that some 15 million Americans don't work the typical nine-to-five. These employees (or shift workers), who punch in for graveyard or rotating shifts, are more prone to numerous health hazards, from heart attacks to obesity, and now, new research, published in Endocrinology, shows shift work may also have serious implications for the brain.

"The body is synchronized to night and day by circadian rhythms--24-hour cycles controlled by internal biological clocks that tell our bodies when to sleep, when to eat and when to perform numerous physiological processes," said David Earnest, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "A person on a shift work schedule, especially on rotating shifts, challenges, or confuses, their internal body clocks by having irregular sleep-wake patterns or meal times."

According to Earnest, it's not the longer hours--or the weird hours--necessarily that is the problem. Instead, it is the change in the timing of waking, sleeping and eating every few days that "unwinds" our body clocks and makes it difficult for them to maintain their natural, 24-hour cycle. When body clocks are disrupted, as they are when people go to bed and get up at radically different times every few days, there can be a major impact on health. Earnest and his colleagues have found that shift work can lead to more severe ischemic strokes, the leading cause of disability in the United States, which occur when blood flow is cut off to part of the brain.

•••••

Earnest and his team, including colleague Farida Sohrabji, Ph.D., also a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics and director of the Women's Health in Neuroscience Program, found that subjects on shift work schedules had more severe stroke outcomes, in terms of both brain damage and loss of sensation and limb movement than controls on regular 24-hour cycles of day and night.

Of interest, their study--supported by the American Heart Association--found that males and females show major differences in the degree to which the stroke was exacerbated by circadian rhythm disruption; in males, the gravity of stroke outcomes in response to shift work schedules was much worse than in females.

"These sex differences might be related to reproductive hormones. Young women are less likely to suffer strokes, as compared with men of a similar age, and when they do, the stroke outcomes are likely to be less severe. In females, estrogen is thought to be responsible for this greater degree of neuroprotection," Sohrabji said. "Essentially, estrogen helps shield the brain in response to stroke." However, older women approaching menopause show increasing incidence of ischemic stroke and poor prognosis for recovery, compared with men at the same age.

Some of Earnest's previous work has shown that a high-fat diet can also alter the timing of internal body clocks, as well as dramatically increase inflammatory responses that can be a problem in cardio- and cerebrovascular disease (conditions caused by problems that affect the blood supply to the brain--which includes stroke).

•••••

Antarctic coastline images reveal 4 decades of ice loss to ocean

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoe-aci060116.php

Public Release: 1-Jun-2016
Antarctic coastline images reveal 4 decades of ice loss to ocean
University of Edinburgh

Part of Antarctica has been losing ice to the ocean for far longer than had been expected, satellite pictures reveal.

A study of images along 2000km of West Antarctica's coastline has shown the loss of about 1000km2 of ice - an area equivalent to the city of Berlin - over the past 40 years.

Researchers were surprised to find that the region has been losing ice for such a length of time. Their findings will help improve estimates of global sea level rise caused by ice melt.

A research team from the University of Edinburgh analysed hundreds of satellite photographs of the ice margin captured by NASA, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

They found that ice has been retreating consistently along almost the entire coastline of Antarctica's Bellingshausen Sea since satellite records began.

The team also monitored ice thickness and thinning rates using data taken from satellites and the air. This showed that some of the largest changes, where ice has rapidly thinned and retreated several miles since 1975, correspond to where the ice front is deepest.

Scientists suggest the loss of ice is probably caused by warmer ocean waters reaching Antarctica's coast, rather than rising air temperatures.

•••••

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New evidence shows Affordable Care Act is working in Texas

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/ru-nes053116.php

Public Release: 31-May-2016
New evidence shows Affordable Care Act is working in Texas
Report shows state's uninsured rate drops by nearly one-third and is lowest since 1999
Rice University

The percentage of Texans without health insurance has dropped by 30 percent since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect, cutting the state's uninsured rate below 1999 levels. That's one of the conclusions of a new report released today by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF).

The report found the uninsured rate among Texas adults dropped from 26 percent in September 2013 to 18 percent in March 2016. Researchers also discovered a steady decline in the uninsured rate for every age, ethnic and income-level group across the state.

"These latest numbers confirm the continuing downward trend in the number of uninsured Texans that began as the ACA was implemented," said Elena Marks, EHF's president and CEO and a nonresident health policy fellow at the Baker Institute. "For more than a decade prior to the ACA, the uninsured rate remained above 20 percent and was rising. It's now clear that it's moving in the opposite direction, and the ACA deserves the credit."

The report found that Texans between the ages of 50 and 64 experienced the largest decrease in their percentage of uninsured. The group's uninsured rate plummeted from 21 percent to 10 percent since the ACA went into effect -- a drop of more than 51 percent.

"For the older group, the ACA made health insurance much more affordable, because the law limits insurers from charging older adults no more than triple the cost for the same health insurance plans as younger adults," said Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at the Baker Institute and director of the institute's Center for Health and Biosciences, a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "However, limiting premium variation by age made Marketplace policies less attractive to younger adults, which is why their uninsured rate fell less."

Researchers also found the percentage of uninsured Texans who earned annual incomes between $16,000 and $47,000 dropped by more than 42 percent. The group's uninsured rate declined from 23 percent in 2013 to 13 percent in 2016.

"Texans with low to moderate incomes were able to use federal subsidies to help pay for health insurance premiums for ACA Marketplace plans," Ho said. "Those subsidies made coverage affordable for many who could not have purchased plans without that help."

In fact, Ho and Marks note that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 84 percent of the 1.3 million Texans now enrolled in ACA Marketplace health insurance plans received subsidies to help pay for premiums.

Researchers said that while it's evident the ACA has helped drop the uninsured rate in Texas, it's also clear that a significant number of Texans with the lowest incomes remain uninsured. The report found that 46 percent of Texans earning less than $16,000 a year don't have health insurance.

•••••

Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/pu-hpu052616.php

Public Release: 31-May-2016
Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants
Purdue University

A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.

•••••

The pollen samples represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes, including neonicotinoids - common corn and soybean seed treatments that are toxic to bees. The highest concentrations of pesticides in bee pollen, however, were pyrethroids, which are typically used to control mosquitoes and other nuisance pests.

"Although crop pollen was only a minor part of what they collected, bees in our study were exposed to a far wider range of chemicals than we expected," said Krupke. "The sheer numbers of pesticides we found in pollen samples were astonishing. Agricultural chemicals are only part of the problem. Homeowners and urban landscapes are big contributors, even when hives are directly adjacent to crop fields."

•••••

"If you care about bees as a homeowner, only use insecticides when you really need to because bees will come into contact with them," she said.

•••••

High blood pressure linked to short-, long-term exposure to some air pollutants

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/aha-hbp052516.php

Public Release: 31-May-2016
High blood pressure linked to short-, long-term exposure to some air pollutants
American Heart Association rapid access journal report
American Heart Association

Both short- and long-term exposure to some air pollutants commonly associated with coal burning, vehicle exhaust, airborne dust and dirt are associated with the development of high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

•••••

In the first study to simultaneously estimate the effects of short-term and long-term exposure to air pollutants on hypertension by meta-analysis, researchers focused on these air pollutants:

sulfur dioxide (SO2), which mainly comes from the burning of fossil fuel;
nitrogen oxide (NOx), which comes from fossil fuels burned at power plants and vehicle exhaust;
Particulate matter (PM) are particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, smoke and liquid droplets. (PM 2.5 is smaller than a speck of dust, and the most common and hazardous type of air pollution. PM10 includes both PM2.5 and PM2.5-10).

The meta-analysis found high blood pressure was significantly associated with:

short-term exposure to SO2, PM2.5 and PM10; and
long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is produced from combustion, and PM10.

•••••

Looking to beat the heat and save money?

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/cu-ltb053116.php

Public Release: 31-May-2016
Looking to beat the heat and save money?
Concordia researcher shows cool roofs cut energy consumption year-round
Concordia University

As the summer heats up, so do cities. That's true not just for hot places like Los Angeles and Phoenix, but also for cooler capitals like Ottawa and Reykjavik.

Regardless of latitude, urban temperatures are typically several degrees higher than those of nearby suburban and rural areas. The resulting "heat islands" mean increased discomfort, higher air-conditioning bills and denser smog.

A major culprit? Hot roofs baked by the sun. The solution? Cooling down those roofs by using reflective surfaces -- and doing so even if those cities are covered in snow for several months of the year.

A new study published by researchers from Concordia University in Montreal in Energy and Buildings confirms that, contrary to the belief that cool roofs won't work in colder climates, they actually provide net energy -- and monetary -- savings.

•••••

"In cooler climates, installing cool roofs may even prevent buying an air conditioner altogether. Even in non-air-conditioned buildings, cool roofs improve comfort during hot summer days. And in extreme cases, these roofs may even save lives by reducing the risk of heat stroke."

•••••

Tobacco smoke makes germs more resilient

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uol-tsm053116.php

Public Release: 31-May-2016
Tobacco smoke makes germs more resilient
UofL dental researcher explores microbiological mechanisms as World Health Organization urges for a day of abstinence from tobacco use
University of Louisville

The mouth is one of the "dirtiest" parts of the body, home to millions of germs. But puffing cigarettes can increase the likelihood that certain bacteria like Porphyromonas gingivalis will not only set up camp but will build a fortified city in the mouth and fight against the immune system.

University of Louisville School of Dentistry researcher David A. Scott, Ph.D., explores how cigarettes lead to colonization of bacteria in the body. Scott and his research team have identified how tobacco smoke, composed of thousands of chemical components, is an environmental stressor and promotes bacteria colonization and immune invasion.

Scott says since this initial finding several years ago, a recent literature review published in Tobacco Induced Diseases revealed that cigarette smoke and its components also promote biofilm formation by several other pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Klebsiella pneumonia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Biofilms are composed of numerous microbial communities often made up of complex, interacting and co-existing multispecies structures. Bacteria can form biofilms on most surfaces including teeth, heart valves and the respiratory tract.

"Once a pathogen establishes itself within a biofilm, it can be difficult to eradicate as biofilms provide a physical barrier against the host immune response, can be impermeable to antibiotics and act as a reservoir for persistent infection," Scott said. "Furthermore, biofilms allow for the transfer of genetic material among the bacterial community and this can lead to antibiotic resistance and the propagation of other virulence factors that promote infection."

One of the most prevalent biofilms is dental plaque, which can lead to gingivitis - a gum disease found in almost half the world's population - and to more severe oral diseases, such as chronic periodontitis. Bacterial biofilms also can form on heart valves resulting in heart-related infections, and they also can cause a host of other problems.

•••••

Hydropower dams worldwide cause continued species extinction

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uos-hdw053016.php

Public Release: 30-May-2016
Hydropower dams worldwide cause continued species extinction
University of Stirling

New research led by the University of Stirling has found a global pattern of sustained species extinctions on islands within hydroelectric reservoirs.

Scientists have discovered that reservoir islands created by large dams across the world do not maintain the same levels of animal and plant life found prior to flooding.

Despite being hailed as conservation sanctuaries that protect species from hunting and deforestation, islands undergo sustained loss of species year on year after dam construction, a pattern otherwise known as 'extinction debt'.

These findings represent a significant environmental impact that is currently missing from assessment procedures for proposed new dams.

Isabel Jones, PhD researcher at the University and Lead Author, said: "We found a devastating reduction in species over time in the majority of reservoir islands we studied. On average, islands have 35 per cent fewer species than nearby mainland sites, however one South American bird community suffered as much as 87 per cent loss of species on reservoir islands.

•••••

Narcotic painkillers prolong pain in rats, says CU-Boulder study

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uoca-npp052416.php

Public Release: 30-May-2016
Narcotic painkillers prolong pain in rats, says CU-Boulder study
Findings may have far-reaching implications for humans
University of Colorado at Boulder

The dark side of painkillers - their dramatic increase in use and ability to trigger abuse, addiction and thousands of fatal overdoses annually in the United States is in the news virtually every day.

Brace for another shot across the bow: Opioids like morphine have now been shown to paradoxically cause an increase in chronic pain in lab rats, findings that could have far-reaching implications for humans, says a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Led by CU-Boulder Assistant Research Professor Peter Grace and Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins, the study showed that just a few days of morphine treatment caused chronic pain that went on for several months by exacerbating the release of pain signals from specific immune cells in the spinal cord. The results suggest that the recent escalation of opioid prescriptions in humans may be a contributor to chronic pain, said Grace.

•••••

Baby talk words with repeated sounds help infants learn language

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uoe-btw052716.php

Public Release: 27-May-2016
Baby talk words with repeated sounds help infants learn language
Babies find it easier to learn words with repetitive syllables rather than mixed sounds, a study suggests.
University of Edinburgh

Babies find it easier to learn words with repetitive syllables rather than mixed sounds, a study suggests.

Assessments of language learning in 18-month-olds suggest that children are better at grasping the names of objects with repeated syllables, over words with non-identical syllables.

Researchers say the study may help explain why some words or phrases, such as 'train' and 'good night', have given rise to versions with repeated syllables, such as choo-choo and night-night.

The researchers say such words are easier for infants to learn, and may provide them with a starter point for vocabulary learning.

•••••

Why robin eggs are blue

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uocp-wre052716.php

Public Release: 27-May-2016
Why robin eggs are blue
Mystery of blue-green bird eggs solved: Researchers show that egg color protects the embryo from harmful sunlight
University of Chicago Press Journals

People have always wondered why many birds lay bright blue eggs. David Lahti of the City University of New York and Dan Ardia of Franklin & Marshall College tested the hypothesis that pigmentation might help an egg strike a balance between two opposing and potentially damaging effects of the sun: light transmission into light-colored eggs, and heating up of dark-colored eggs. As predicted, more intensely blue eggshells shielded the interior from light, including dangerous UV radiation--but more intense color also caused eggs to absorb more light and heat up, which can be even more dangerous in brighter environments. These two patterns--termed by the authors "pigment as parasol" and the "dark car effect"--combined with a knowledge of the nesting behavior and habitats of birds, can lead to predictions as to why the eggs of some birds vary across species from blue to white. Darker eggs are predicted in moderate light to shield the embryo, but in brighter nests the dangers of egg heating predict lighter colored eggs. Whereas camouflage from predators is still probably the single most important factor governing the evolution of dull and mottled egg colors, for the brighter colors the biophysical evidence points to the sun.

Electronic media keeping kids from communicating with parents

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uom-ste052616.php

Public Release: 27-May-2016
Small talk: Electronic media keeping kids from communicating with parents
University of Michigan

-It happens in many households. Kids are tapping on their cell phones or are preoccupied by their favorite TV show as their parents ask them a question or want them to do a chore.

It's not just teens caught up in electronic media, but also preschoolers. In fact, there is little mother-child dialogue or conversation while children ages 3 to 5 are using media, such as TV, video games and mobile devices, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Unlike previous research that has relied on self-reports by parents tracking their children's media usage, the U-M study used enhanced audio equipment to track the home environment of preschoolers as they interacted with parents in 2010 and 2011.

•••••

Children of mothers with graduate degrees had less electronic media exposure than kids of mothers with high school degrees and/or some college courses, the study showed.

The kids whose moms had advanced degrees often watched educational programs. In addition, these highly educated mothers were more likely than other mothers to discuss media with their children, said Nicholas Waters, the study's lead author and survey specialist at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

"Importantly, children of mothers with less than a graduate degree were exposed to media without any dialogue related to the media content for the vast majority of the time," said co-author Sarah Domoff, a research fellow with the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

This is important, she said, because parents' "active mediation" of television and other types of media may mitigate risks associated with media exposure.

•••••

Women may be able to reduce breast cancer risk predicted by their genes

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/jhub-wmb052416.php

Public Release: 26-May-2016
Women may be able to reduce breast cancer risk predicted by their genes
New model shows how healthy lifestyle choices can mitigate genetic, family history
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Women with a high risk of developing breast cancer based on family history and genetic risk can still reduce the chance they will develop the disease in their lifetimes by following a healthy lifestyle, new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

White women who are at high risk but who had a low body mass index (a marker for obesity), who did not drink or smoke and who did not use hormone replacement therapy, had roughly the same risk as an average white women in United States, the researchers found. The average chance that a 30-year-old, white woman will develop breast cancer before she is 80 is about 11 percent.

The researchers found that roughly 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be prevented by modifying known risk factors - say, by drinking less alcohol, losing weight and not taking hormone replacement therapy. More importantly, the study found that a larger fraction of total preventable cases would occur among women at higher levels because of genetic risk factors, family history and a few other factors that cannot be modified.

•••••

"People think that their genetic risk for developing cancer is set in stone," says the study's senior author Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Bloomberg School. "While you can't change your genes, this study tells us even people who are at high genetic risk can change their health outlook by making better lifestyle choices such as eating right, exercising and quitting smoking."

•••••

The findings are currently applicable only to white women because further studies are needed to understand the association of the genetic variants with risk of breast cancer for other ethnic groups.

The common gene variations studied by the researchers are quite different from the well known rare mutations in genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2, where having a single variant can mean a very high risk of developing breast cancer.

•••••

Chatterjee says he hopes that once women understand that their genes do not completely predict their cancer destiny, they will work even harder to make lifestyle changes that can potentially reduce the risk they will develop the deadly disease.

"Everyone should be doing the right things to stay healthy but motivating people is often hard," he says. "These findings may be able to help people better understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle at a more individualized level."

Trump says he’s a great negotiator, but the evidence says otherwise

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2016/07/26/trumps-deal/

Don Moore, professor, Haas School of Business | July 26, 2016

•••••

Whenever Trump has shown ignorance or confusion on domestic or foreign policy issues, he has fallen back on the argument that, as a brilliant dealmaker, he has what it takes to “make America great again.” He says he would do this by renegotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), relations with China, the Iran nuclear deal and partnerships with key allies such as NATO, Japan, and South Korea. If Clinton is to prevail against Trump’s perceived business qualifications, she’ll have to dismantle the painstakingly cultivated image of Trump as a great negotiator.

•••••

The two of us have studied negotiation for a combined 40 years, have taught tens of thousands of students and executives, and advised on countless corporate and government negotiations. Because we would welcome a great negotiator as president, we were keenly interested in examining the evidence of Trump’s alleged negotiation prowess. We evaluated his wealth, his deals, and his approach to negotiation. The evidence is damning.

Let’s start with his wealth. Trump boasts, “I have made myself very rich.” Credible objective sources estimate his net worth at between $2.9 and $4.1 billion. While wealth is a poor measure of deal-making skill (Bernie Madoff was richer than Trump), there is special reason to doubt that Trump’s wealth can be traced to negotiation ability. It’s been reported that if Trump had simply invested the fortune he received from his father in an S&P 500 index fund in 1982 and made no deals, he would have $8 billion now. In other words, Trump’s deal-making has actually cost him billions of dollars. The airline he bought in 1988 for roughly $365 million closed down in 1992. The football team he bought in 1984 ended with the demise of United States Football League just two years later. His hotels and casinos have struggled to make money, declaring bankruptcy four times.

Even on the campaign trail, we have seen obvious negotiation failures. By one estimate, the Trump campaign paid three times what the Sanders campaign did to run commercials during the same time slots on the same stations. Meanwhile, he has undermined numerous other deals. Both NBC and Univision declined to air Trump’s Miss USA pageant last year after he disparaged Mexican immigrants. Companies in the Arab world have severed ties with Trump after his comments about Muslims. At home, the list of U.S. companies that are severing ties with the Republican National Convention is getting longer.

•••••

If he somehow manages to prevail in November, Trump will not be the first charlatan or confidence man to have profited from the long con. The art of illusion he knows well. The art of the deal he does not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fasting-like diet reduces multiple sclerosis symptoms

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uosc-fdr052616.php

Public Release: 26-May-2016
Fasting-like diet reduces multiple sclerosis symptoms
Fasting-like diet switches on a process in which the body kills bad cells and begins to generate new healthy ones
University of Southern California

Evidence is mounting that a diet mimicking the effects of fasting has health benefits beyond weight loss, with a new USC-led study indicating that it may reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Scientists discovered that the diet triggers a death-and-life process for cells that appears critical for the body's repair.

"During the fasting-mimicking diet, cortisone is produced and that initiates a killing of autoimmune cells," said Valter Longo, the study's lead author and professor who directs the USC Longevity Institute at the Davis School of Gerontology. "This process also leads to the production of new healthy cells."

The new study, published in the journal Cell Reports, included mice and human patients who have multiple sclerosis.

•••••

These latest findings follow studies by the same USC lab that showed cycles of a similar but shorter fasting-mimicking diet, when paired with drug treatments for cancer, protect normal cells while weakening cancerous ones. In a separate study published last year, the lab found that the diet can cut visceral belly fat and reduce markers of aging and diseases in mice and humans.

"We started thinking: If it kills a lot of immune cells and turns on the stem cells, is it possible that maybe it will kill the bad ones and then generate new good ones?" Longo said. "That's why we started this study."

•••••

Finally, the researchers found that the fasting-mimicking diet promotes regeneration of the myelin - the sheath of proteins and fats that insulate nerve fibers in the spine and brain that was damaged by the autoimmunity.

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Study dispels myth about millionaire migration in the US

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/asa-sdm052316.php

Public Release: 26-May-2016
Study dispels myth about millionaire migration in the US
American Sociological Association

The view that the rich are highly mobile has gained much political traction in recent years and has become a central argument in debates about whether there should be "millionaire taxes" on top-income earners. But a new study dispels the common myth about the propensity of millionaires in the United States to move from high to low tax states.

"The most striking finding in our study is how little elites seem willing to move to exploit tax advantages across state lines," said Cristobal Young, an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University and the lead author of the study. "Millionaire tax flight is occurring, but only at the margins of significance."

In any given year, Young and his fellow researchers found that roughly 500,000 individuals file tax returns reporting incomes of $1 million or more (constant 2005 dollars). From this population, only about 12,000 millionaires change their state each year. The annual millionaire migration rate is 2.4 percent, which is lower than the migration rate of the general population (2.9 percent). The highest rates of migration are seen among low-income tax filers: migration is 4.5 percent among people who earn around $10,000 a year.

•••••

"We tend to think of migration as a form of freedom and one of the privileges enjoyed by the rich. In practice, migration comes with high social and economic costs -- uprooting one's family, breaking away from one's social networks, and restarting in a new place."

The study finds that family responsibilities are a key factor that limit migration among top-income earners. "Very affluent people are much more likely to be married and to have school-age children, which makes moving more difficult," Young said.

Young also noted that most millionaires today are "the working rich" and do not live off inherited wealth, but instead rely on earnings from employment. "They work as lawyers, doctors, managers, and financial executives," he said. "They are at the peak of their careers and typically earn million-dollar incomes only for several years. People avoid potentially disruptive moves when they are performing at the very top of their game."

•••••

While millionaire migration is extremely limited, there is a grain of truth in the worries about millionaire tax flight, the study finds. "When millionaires do migrate, they are more likely to move to a state with a lower tax rate, and that state is almost always Florida," Young said.

There are nine states without a state income tax, but only Florida disproportionally attracts millionaires from higher tax states, Young said. The other states, such as Texas, Nevada, and New Hampshire, do not.

"My guess is that if Florida established a 'millionaire tax,' elites would still find Florida appealing because of its climate and geography -- and patterns of elite migration wouldn't really change," Young said.

•••••
The study also looked at the millionaire population along the borders between states with different tax rates. "In these narrow geographic regions, you would expect millionaires to cluster on the low tax side of the border, but we see very weak evidence of this," Young said.

As for policy implications, Young said "millionaire taxes" result in minimal tax flight among millionaires and help states raise revenue to improve education, infrastructure, and public services, while reducing inequality.

"Our research indicates that 'millionaire taxes' raise a lot of revenue and have very little downside," Young said.

Children's social and academic functioning is impeded when their families move more often

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/sfri-csa052016.php

Public Release: 25-May-2016
Children's social and academic functioning is impeded when their families move more often
Society for Research in Child Development

America is a mobile society, with most children and their families moving once or more during childhood. Moving can bring new opportunities if families relocate to safer, more comfortable homes, or to communities with better schools. However, previous research has found that more frequent residential moves can lead to stress and disrupt children's routines, with negative repercussions for healthy development. Now a new study has found that each additional residential move that children experience is associated with a corresponding decline in reading and math scores, as well as less positive social skills and higher rates of emotional and behavioral problems. The study compared children who move frequently with those who don't move or who move less frequently.

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They found that moving is differentially harmful for children's well-being--that is, the effects depend on when the moves occur. "Moves during both early and middle childhood were associated with decreases in children's social skills and increases in emotional and behavior problems, and these effects lasted for years," explains Rebekah Levine Coley, professor of applied developmental and educational psychology at Boston College, who led the study.

"In contrast, moves during middle childhood and early adolescence--after children had started school--had shorter-term effects on children's reading and math skills, and those effects diminished over time," Coley adds. The study also found that while residential and school mobility was associated with small decreases in children's functioning, these detriments could accumulate over multiple moves.

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Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies' cognitive development

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uoaf-pfc052516.php

Public Release: 25-May-2016
Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies' cognitive development
UAlberta study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Most people have heard the old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." It's an old truth that encompasses more than just apples--eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, found that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age.

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"We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruit moms had, the higher their child's cognitive development."

The study examined data from 688 Edmonton children, and controlled for factors that would normally affect a child's learning and development such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane's study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age.

"It's quite a substantial difference--that's half of a standard deviation," Mandhane explains. "We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop--and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother's diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later."

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While the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption as potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birthweight--conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars--have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada's Food Guide and consult with their doctors.

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Poor communities a 'hotbed' of entrepreneurial creativity, but need help to grow long-term

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/uotr-pca052516.php

Public Release: 25-May-2016
Poor communities a 'hotbed' of entrepreneurial creativity, but need help to grow long-term
University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

Necessity can be the mother of invention, but without financial and business development support, many impoverished entrepreneurs can't get past the start-up phase of establishing a unique new business.

Using a national survey on entrepreneurship, researcher Laura Doering showed in a recent study that low-income entrepreneurs in Panama were just as likely as wealthier people to start early-stage businesses selling new products. But they had lower rates of sustaining those businesses into long-term profitability.

When Prof. Doering interviewed low-income entrepreneurs in the Central American country, she found that their frequent urgency to quickly turn a profit so they could support themselves, as well as the longer time required for their often equally poor customers to adopt the new product, contributed to the low long-term success rate.

"Poorer entrepreneurs often don't get the chance to profit from the creativity that they're bringing to market," says Prof. Doering, who is an assistant professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

"It helps us understand why entrepreneurship generally doesn't serve as an avenue for economic mobility for the poor."

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The paper suggests that these entrepreneurs can be helped over the start-up hurdle through the creation of business incubation centres in which entrepreneurs can develop and refine their novel business ideas. Cash grants for the most promising ideas, rather than loans, could also ease the pressure to quickly turn a profit while also allowing the ability to give consumers discounts while they get acquainted with a new service or product.

The paper's focus on the dynamics behind self-employment among the poor highlights an area that has received scant attention by sociologists studying why poor people have difficulty breaking out of poverty.

"Most of the existing literature assumes that poor entrepreneurs aren't engaged in this kind of novel entrepreneurial process," said Prof. Doering. "I was surprised to see the extent to which they were."

The future of sonar in semiheated oceans

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/asoa-tfo051316.php

Public Release: 25-May-2016
The future of sonar in semiheated oceans
Naval researchers are studying the effect of climate change on underwater sound propagation and sonar
Acoustical Society of America

Scientists are studying how climate change will affect the speed of sound under water to help prepare the U.S. Navy for operating in progressively warmer oceans.

Light doesn't travel very far underwater so the navy uses sound to transmit messages. The speed of underwater sound depends on a combination of temperature, salinity and pressure. It's a complicated equation, but temperature is the biggest factor, says Glen Gawarkiewicz, an oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Understanding sound speed is crucial for transmitting messages, detecting enemy submarines and avoiding marine animals. As climate change elevates temperatures, understanding underwater sound speed will become increasingly important.

"[We] haven't had to deal with this issue of climate change until the last 15 years, but the temperature changes are significant enough that it really is having an impact on how sound travels in the ocean," Gawarkiewicz said.

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Global economic downturn linked with at least 260,000 excess cancer deaths

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/htcs-ged052416.php

Public Release: 25-May-2016
Global economic downturn linked with at least 260,000 excess cancer deaths
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The economic crisis of 2008-10, and the rise in unemployment that accompanied it, was associated with more than 260,000 excess cancer-related deaths--including many considered treatable--within the Organization for Economic Development (OECD), according to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Imperial College London, and Oxford University. The researchers found that excess cancer burden was mitigated in countries that had universal health coverage (UHC) and in those that increased public spending on health care during the study period.

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"Higher unemployment due to economic crisis and austerity measures is associated with higher number of cancer deaths. Universal health coverage protects against these deaths. That there are needless deaths is a major societal concern," said Rifat Atun, professor of global health systems at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. He added that increased joblessness during the economic crisis may have limited people's access to health care, leading to late-stage diagnoses and poor or delayed treatment.

"Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide so understanding how economic changes affect cancer survival is crucial," says lead author Mahiben Maruthappu from Imperial College London, UK. "We also found that public healthcare spending was tightly associated with cancer mortality--suggesting healthcare cuts could cost lives."

Although previous studies have shown connections between economic changes and rates of suicides, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality, only a few had examined the relationship between economic downturns and cancer outcomes, especially in countries with underdeveloped social security and health care systems.

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The researchers found that increases in unemployment were associated with increased mortality from all the cancer types included in the study. The association was strongest for treatable cancers, suggesting that lack of access to care may have been a factor in these excess deaths. Also, comparing estimates of expected cancer deaths with actual deaths from 2008-10, they found that the recent global economic crisis was linked with more than 260,000 excess cancer deaths among the 35 member states of the OECD alone.

Adverse health effects persisted for several years after initial increases in unemployment, the study found. In addition, excess cancer deaths were a more significant problem in middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

In countries with UHC--defined in the study as countries that have legislation mandating UHC, more than 90% health care coverage, and more than 90% skilled birth attendance--the link between unemployment and excess cancer deaths disappeared, suggesting that greater access to health care played a key role in mitigating the problem. Twenty-six OECD countries were listed in the study as having UHC, while nine--Barbados, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Poland, Russia, the U.S., and Uruguay--did not have it.

Researchers also found that increases in public sector health spending helped blunt the negative health impact of unemployment increases.

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Weather Disasters Can Fuel War in Volatile Countries

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/weather-disasters-can-fuel-war-20557

July 25, 2016

Following the warmest two years on record and spikes in violence that fueled a global refugee crisis, climate scientists on Monday reported that armed fighting is prone to follow droughts, heatwaves and other weather-related calamities in turbulent countries.

Nearly a quarter of deadly armed conflicts in the countries with the most diverse ethnic makeups from 1980 to 2010 were found to have occurred at around the same time as an extreme weather event.

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Donges and three other European researchers detected the pattern after analyzing extreme weather events that inflicted heavy economic damages, and outbreaks of fighting that left at least 25 dead in a year. The results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“What’s much more important is that this number is highly statistically significant and robust,” Donges said. “You cannot explain it by chance.”

The findings have ominous implications for prospects of peace on a warming planet. They’re the kinds of warnings that the Pentagon has been issuing for years, with climate change being linked to conditions that can fuel war and brutality.

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Greenhouse gas pollution and rising temperatures are causing droughts, floods and other natural disasters to become more severe. Climate change can also influence the likelihood that such extreme weather events will happen at all.

The new research honed in on “ethnically fractionalized countries,” such as Liberia and Afghanistan, where violent clashes can be fueled by religion and culture — or by shortages of land, water, food and other resources needed for survival and prosperity. Such countries tend to be among the poorest.

“The countries in this group, they’re countries that are very conflict prone,” Donges said.

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“Many of the factors that increase the risk of civil war and other armed conflicts are sensitive to climate change,” the group wrote. As an example, they mentioned “economic shocks” caused by extreme weather events, “which may become more intense due to climate change.”

It was these links — between economic shocks caused by extreme weather and armed conflicts — that were probed by Monday’s study.

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Monday’s findings were “consistent” with the idea that “weather events and climate change don’t cause violent conflicts,” said Robert McLeman, a geographer at Wilfrid Laurier University who studies environmental change. He wasn’t involved with Monday’s study. “But, in places where conditions are ripe for violence to occur, climate events increase the chances of it actually happening.”

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More Mosquito Days Increasing Zika Risk in U.S.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/more-mosquito-days-increasing-zika-risk-in-us-20553

Published: July 27th, 2016

Hot and humid summer weather across the U.S. brings with it the rise of the mosquito season, and this year the threat of the Zika virus makes that more than a minor nuisance. Mosquito species found in the Lower 48 states are known to transmit this disease, thriving in tropical and subtropical climates. As the climate warms and humidity increases across the nation, the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, like Zika, is becoming more prevalent for Americans.

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Nationwide, 76 percent of major cities have seen their mosquito season grow over that time.

Analysis based on ideal climate conditions for Asian Tiger Mosquitoes: between 50-95°F and relative humidity greater than 42%.

Climate Central’s States at Risk project has analyzed how the length of the mosquito season has been changing across hundreds of metropolitan areas across the Lower 48 states. We found that in most of the country, rising temperatures and humidity since the 1980s have driven an increase in the number of days each year with ideal conditions for mosquitoes. Warming temperatures lead to more evaporation, which puts more water vapor in the atmosphere and increases humidity. The overall increase in mosquito days in the U.S. is likely increasing the risk of several mosquito-borne diseases, including the Zika virus.

Cities like Baltimore and Durham, N.C., have seen their annual average mosquito season grow by nearly 40 days since the 1980s.

Dozens of cities across the Midwest, Northeast, and along the Atlantic Coast have all seen their mosquito seasons grow by at least 20 days over the past 35 years.

More than 20 major U.S. cities have ideal climate conditions for mosquitoes at least 200 days each year.

In a few hot Southern cities, rising extreme heat since the 1980s has actually caused the mosquito season to begin to decrease (though there are still hundreds of days each year with ideal conditions for mosquitoes in these locations).

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North Korea says Trump isn't screwy at all, a wise choice for president

North Korea has repeatedly broken past agreements to discontinue its nuclear bomb developments.



Jun 2, 2016
SEOUL | By Jack Kim

North Korea has backed presumptive U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump, with a propaganda website praising him as "a prescient presidential candidate" who can liberate Americans living under daily fear of nuclear attack by the North.

A column carried on Tuesday by DPRK Today, one of the reclusive and dynastic state's mouthpieces, described Trump as a "wise politician" and the right choice for U.S. voters in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

It described his most likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, as "thick-headed Hillary" over her proposal to apply the Iran model of wide sanctions to resolve the nuclear weapons issue on the Korean peninsula.

Trump instead has told Reuters he was prepared to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang's nuclear program, and that China should also help solve the problem.

North Korea, known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is under U.N. sanctions over its past nuclear tests. South Korea and the United States say its calls for dialogue are meaningless until it takes steps to end its nuclear ambitions.

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The North has for years called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South as the first step toward peace on the Korean peninsula and demanded Washington sign a peace treaty to replace the truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Its frequently strident rhetoric also often threatens nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States.

A Third Woman Alleges She Was Sexually Assaulted By Donald Trump

If Trump were a Democrat, these accusations would be all over the news. If women weren't afraid of Trump going after them, suing them and forcing them to pay huge legal fees to defend themselves, how many more cases would there be?

http://www.nationalmemo.com/a-third-woman-alleges-she-was-sexually-assaulted-by-donald-trump/

http://www.nationalmemo.com/a-third-woman-alleges-she-was-sexually-assaulted-by-donald-trump/

By Kali Holloway / AlterNet
July 22, 2016

On Wednesday, in the midst of the Republican National Convention, new allegations emerged of sexual assault committed by Donald Trump. This is the third woman who has accused the GOP presidential nominee of sexual assault.

The latest allegations of unwanted sexual contact by Trump come from Jill Harth, a makeup artist and business associate of the billionaire in the early 1990s. According to Harth, Trump sexually harassed her on numerous occasions, including cornering her in his daughter Ivanka’s bedroom and attempting to have sex with her. In 1997, Harth filed a lawsuit detailing Trump’s alleged repeated efforts to force her to have sex with him, as well as a number of other outrageous and inappropriate behaviors.

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“If it’s not consensual and somebody pushes you up against a wall and is all over you? If I hadn’t pushed him away, I’m sure he would’ve just went for it. He was aggressive. And he has a sense of entitlement. And he thinks everybody’s in love with him -- every woman. I’ve heard him say things like this.”

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Although there’s been scant coverage of the allegations, Harth is the third woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault. In June, a lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court accusing Trump of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1994, the same era as Harth’s attack. That attack allegedly took place during a party held at the home of Trump’s admitted billionaire friend, Jeffrey Epstein, who in 2008 served 13 months in jail for soliciting underage girls for sex.

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In the next section, she adds that “Immediately following this rape, Defendant Trump threatened Plaintiff that, were she ever to reveal any of the details of the sexual and physical abuse of her by Defendant Trump, Plaintiff and her family would be physically harmed if not killed.”

Another anonymous woman, identified as “Tiffany Doe,” corroborates those charges, and says she witnessed the rape. As AlterNet previously noted, “Tiffany Doe testified that between 1991 and 2001, Epstein put her on his payroll, tasking her with bringing underage girls to parties.”

The earliest charge of rape against Trump come from his first wife, Ivana Trump. The allegations were made during a deposition taken during the contentious divorce between the two. The book, written by reporter Harry Hurt III and revisited in a Daily Beast article last year, includes a graphic description of a “violent assault” on Ivana by Trump. Before the book was released, Ivana recanted her accusations in a statement provided by Trump’s own lawyers:

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