Sunday, August 17, 2025


Blogger said I need to post a notice about cookies if theirs doesn't show up, to satisfy European laws. I don't see theirs on my page, maybe because of something to do with my page setup.
So here it is.
Blogger keeps cookies.
I might have apps that keep cookies, I don't know.
I do not personally keep cookies.

Monday, November 04, 2024

The structure of this blog

I have several blog posts that are at the top of my blog for extended periods of time, because I believe they are of continuing usefulness. So when you look at my blog, the fact that the first few are the same doesn't mean I haven't updated the blog recently.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

DDT exposure in grandmothers linked to obesity, earlier periods in granddaughters


News Release 14-Apr-2021
Young women today may face increased health risks linked to breast cancer due to effects from the banned toxic pesticide lasting over three generations
Public Health Institute


In the first study to report on the health effects of exposure to a toxic environmental chemical over three human generations, a new study has found that granddaughters whose grandmothers were exposed to the pesticide DDT have higher rates of obesity and earlier first menstrual periods. This may increase the granddaughters' risk for breast cancer as well as high blood pressure, diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases.

The research by the Public Health Institute's Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS) and the University of California at Davis was published today in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. It suggests that effects from the pesticide DDT -- despite being banned in the U.S. nearly 50 years ago -- may contribute to the falling age of first periods and increases in obesity rates among young women today.

The study found that the risk of obesity in young adult granddaughters was 2 to 3 times greater when their grandmothers (who were not overweight) had higher levels of o,p'-DDT (a contaminant of commercial DDT) in their blood during or just after pregnancy. Granddaughters were twice as likely to have earlier first menstrual periods when their grandmothers had higher o,p'-DDT blood levels. DDT and its related chemicals, including o,p'-DDT, are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals, compounds that can alter and interfere with natural hormones that are essential for development.


Lower COVID-19 rates seen in US states with higher adherence to mask wearing

News Release 14-Apr-2021
New evidence supports mask wearing in public as key to reducing spread of COVID-19


A new state-by-state analysis shows a statistical association between high adherence to mask wearing and reduced rates of COVID-19 in the U.S. Charlie Fischer and colleagues at the Boston University School of Public Health in Massachusetts present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on April 14.


The analysis showed that, out of 15 states that did not require people to wear masks in public, 14 had high COVID-19 rates. Meanwhile, eight states had self-reported adherence rates of 75 percent of greater, and none of these states had a high COVID-19 rate. States with the lowest adherence rates had the greatest likelihood of high COVID-19 rates in the subsequent month.

The eight states with at least 75-percent adherence to mask wearing had a mean COVID-19 rate of 109.26 per 100,000 residents in the subsequent month, while the mean COVID-19 rate was 239.99 for states with less than 75 percent adherence.


Bearded dragon embryos become females either through sex chromosomes or hot temperatures

News Release 15-Apr-2021


Bearded dragon embryos can use two different sets of genes to become a female lizard--one activated by the sex chromosomes and the other activated by high temperatures during development. Sarah Whiteley and Arthur Georges of the University of Canberra report these new findings April 15th in the journal PLOS Genetics.

In many reptiles and fish, the sex of a developing embryo depends on the temperature of the surrounding environment. This phenomenon, called temperature-dependent sex determination, was discovered in the 1960s, but the molecular details of how it happens have eluded scientists despite half a century of intensive research. Researchers investigated the biochemical pathways required to make a female in the new study by studying this phenomenon in bearded dragons. Male bearded dragons have ZZ sex chromosomes, while females have ZW sex chromosomes. However, hot temperatures can override ZZ sex chromosomes, causing a male lizard to develop as a female.


Later school start times let students get adequate sleep

News Release 15-Apr-2021
Oxford University Press USA


A new study in SLEEP, published by Oxford University Press, demonstrates the significant benefits of later school start times for middle and high school students' sleep schedules.

Sleep is essential to a student's overall health, social development, and academic achievement, yet lack of sleep is common among children and adolescents. Biological changes to sleep cycles during puberty make falling asleep early difficult for adolescents. This, coupled with early school start times, means that students often end up with insufficient sleep. 


How common is stroke in people critically ill with COVID-19?


News Release 15-Apr-2021
American Academy of Neurology


A large, year-long study has found that among people with COVID-19 who were hospitalized in an intensive care unit (ICU), 2% experienced a stroke after they were admitted to the ICU. The preliminary study released today, April 15, 2021, will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 73rd Annual Meeting being held virtually April 17 to 22, 2021. The study also found that hemorrhagic stroke, a bleeding stroke, was associated with a higher risk of death among people in the ICU, but ischemic stroke, a stroke caused by a blood clot blocking an artery, was not.


Good dental health may help prevent heart infection from mouth bacteria

News Release 15-Apr-2021
American Heart Association Scientific Statement
American Heart Association


Maintenance of good oral health is more important than use of antibiotics in dental procedures for some heart patients to prevent a heart infection caused by bacteria around the teeth, according to a new American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement published today in the association's flagship journal, Circulation.


Water scarcity footprint reveals impacts of individual dietary choices in US


News Release 15-Apr-2021
University of Michigan

A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to the carbon footprint of the foods we eat, with much of the focus on the outsize contribution of meat production and especially beef.

But much less is known about the implications of individual U.S. dietary choices on other environmental concerns, such as water scarcity.

In a study scheduled for online publication April 15 in the journal Nature Food, researchers from the University of Michigan and Tulane University present a water scarcity footprint that measures the water-use impacts of U.S. diets, taking into account regional variations in water scarcity.

Meat consumption is the top contributor to the water scarcity footprint of the average U.S. diet, accounting for 31% of the impacts, according to the study. And within the meat category, beef's contribution is about six times higher than chicken's.

But other foods that require lots of water or that are mainly grown in U.S. regions where water is scarce--including certain fruits, nuts and vegetables--also have high water-scarcity footprints, the researchers say.


The study also includes examples of dietary substitutions that consumers can make to reduce their personal water scarcity footprint. For example, they can:

    Replace some high water-intensity tree nuts (almonds, walnuts and cashews) with peanuts or seeds.

    Limit consumption of high water-intensity vegetables and replace them with lower-intensity vegetables such as fresh peas, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale.

    Replace some beef with other protein sources, such as chicken, pork, soybeans, dry edible beans, peanuts or sunflower seeds.

The concept of the water scarcity footprint is akin to the more familiar carbon footprint, which estimates the greenhouse gas emissions produced by specific human activities, products and processes. One key difference: Greenhouse gas emissions boost levels of heat-trapping gases globally, while the impacts of dietary choices on water scarcity are mainly local.


Study strengthens links between red meat and heart disease


News Release 15-Apr-2021
European Society of Cardiology


An observational study in nearly 20,000 individuals has found that greater intake of red and processed meat is associated with worse heart function. The research is presented at ESC Preventive Cardiology 2021, an online scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1

"Previous studies have shown links between greater red meat consumption and increased risk of heart attacks or dying from heart disease," said study author Dr. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh of Queen Mary University of London, UK.2,3 "For the first time, we examined the relationships between meat consumption and imaging measures of heart health. This may help us to understand the mechanisms underlying the previously observed connections with cardiovascular disease."


In surprising twist, some Alzheimer's plaques may be protective, not destructive


News Release 15-Apr-2021
Salk scientists find brain's immune cells form some plaques as a defense in Alzheimer's, suggesting a new therapeutic direction
Salk Institute

One of the characteristic hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the buildup of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain. Most therapies designed to treat AD target these plaques, but they've largely failed in clinical trials. New research by Salk scientists upends conventional views of the origin of one prevalent type of plaque, indicating a reason why treatments have been unsuccessful.


Estrogen status - not gender - protects against heightened fear recall


News Release 15-Apr-2021


A new study shows that markers of fear recall differ between men and women, but in a hormone-dependent manner.

Aberrant fear-memory processing in the brain is thought to underlie anxiety disorders, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying these disorders remain poorly understood, but recent studies suggest that neural oscillations in the prefrontal cortex can reflect the strength of fear recall activity, providing a physiological measure.

Women suffer from anxiety disorders at twice the rate of men and indeed the literature shows that there are sex differences in fear recall behaviors, but this area of study has not been extended to neural oscillations. Additional studies suggest a modulatory role for the female sex hormone estradiol (E2) for fear recall and extinction recall.

The new study led by Ursula Stockhorst, PhD, at the University of Osnabrück, Germany, specifically shows that peripheral and brain markers of fear recall differ in a hormone-dependent manner between men and women.


Meatpacking plants increased COVID-19 cases in US counties


News Release 15-Apr-2021
University of California - Davis


An estimated 334,000 COVID-19 cases are attributable to meatpacking plants, resulting in $11.2 billion in economic damage, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of California, Davis. The study was published in the journal Food Policy.

It found that beef- and pork-processing plants more than doubled per capita infection rates in counties that had them. Chicken-processing plants increased transmission rates by 20 percent. The study looked specifically at large meatpacking plants generating more than 10 million pounds per month.


New paper shows how disease can affect economies for generations


News Release 15-Apr-2021
Oxford University Press USA


A new paper in the Review of Economic Studies indicates that disease can alter the social networks and economic growth of countries for generations, even after the disease itself is eradicated.

Social networks are an important determinant of a country's growth as they affect the diffusion of ideas and the rate of technological progress. But social networks also diffuse diseases that can rapidly spread and dampen growth.

As ideas and germs diffuse through the same human interactions, the network structure of a country ultimately depends on its epidemiological environment. In countries with low prevalence of infectious diseases, high diffusion networks are more likely to emerge as they are better suited to diffuse technology and foster growth. On the other hand, in countries characterized by high prevalence of infectious diseases, low diffusion networks are more likely to emerge as limited connectivity protects people from epidemics. This insight has become particularly pertinent as economists reflect on the long term economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Spending time on household chores may improve brain health


News Release 15-Apr-2021
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care


Engaging in household chores may be beneficial for brain health in older adults. In a recent Baycrest study, older adults who spent more time on household chores showed greater brain size, which is a strong predictor of cognitive health.

"Scientists already know that exercise has a positive impact on the brain, but our study is the first to show that the same may be true for household chores," says Noah Koblinsky, lead author of the study, Exercise Physiologist and Project Coordinator at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI). "Understanding how different forms of physical activity contribute to brain health is crucial for developing strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults."


Penn study suggests those who had COVID-19 may only need one vaccine dose


News Release 15-Apr-2021
Second vaccine important for those who have not had COVID-19 to reach strong immunity
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


People who have recovered from COVID-19 had a robust antibody response after the first mRNA vaccine dose, but little immune benefit after the second dose, according to new research from the Penn Institute of Immunology. The findings, published today in Science Immunology, suggest only a single vaccine dose may be needed to produce a sufficient antibody response. The team found that those who did not have COVID-19--called COVID naïve--did not have a full immune response until after receiving their second vaccine dose, reinforcing the importance of completing the two recommended doses for achieving strong levels of immunity.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Study shows tanning bed ban would reduce skin cancer rates in minors and cut healthcare costs

It would also reduce skin aging.


News Release 12-Apr-2021


A recent study indicates that a U.S. ban on the use of tanning beds among minors would prevent thousands of cases of melanoma in adolescents and would save millions of dollars in healthcare costs. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Indoor tanning has been linked to an increased risk of melanoma, with the highest risk in those who start using tanning beds at a young age. Unfortunately, the use of tanning beds is a common practice among U.S. adolescents.

Despite the risk of indoor tanning, only a handful of countries have implemented policies to ban tanning beds. Such bans have the potential to save lives and treatment-related costs but come with costs of policy implementation and enforcement, as well as lost revenue to the tanning industry.

The team's simulations revealed that fully adhering to a ban would prevent 15,101 melanoma cases and 3,299 melanoma recurrences among 17.1 million minors, saving $61 in direct and indirect healthcare costs per minor. When including intervention costs and economic losses to the tanning bed industry, banning still saved $12 per minor and a total of $205.4 million over the lifetimes of 17.1 million minors.


Study finds Americans eat food of mostly poor nutritional quality - except at school

News Release 12-Apr-2021
Results over 16 years also show persistent disparities by race and ethnicity
Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus


Whether eating out or buying food from the grocery store, Americans of all ages are, for the most part, eating poorly everywhere--except at school. The information comes from a new dietary trends study, which also reveals persistent or worsening disparities in meal quality from restaurants, grocery stores, and other sources--but not school--by race, ethnicity, and income.


By 2018, the most recent year for which national data is available, meals with the lowest nutritional quality came from restaurants, where 65% of adult meals and 80% of children's meals were of poor quality. Entertainment venues and food trucks were next, with 44% of adult meals and 52% of children's meals being of poor nutritional quality. At work sites, 51% of adult meals eaten were of poor dietary quality.

Grocery stores were better sources of food, with 33% of adult meals eaten and 45% of children's meals being of poor quality. Schools were best, where only 24% of meals consumed by children were of poor nutritional quality.


Prehistoric Pacific Coast diets had salmon limits


News Release 12-Apr-2021
Washington State University


 Humans cannot live on protein alone - even for the ancient indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest whose diet was once thought to be almost all salmon.

In a new paper led by Washington State University anthropologist Shannon Tushingham, researchers document the many dietary solutions ancient Pacific Coast people in North America likely employed to avoid "salmon starvation," a toxic and potentially fatal condition brought on by eating too much lean protein.


The researchers point to evidence in California that people offset stored salmon protein with acorns; in Oregon and Washington, they ate root crops like camas as well as more fat-heavy fish such as eulachon. Further north, where plants are more limited, communities often ate marine mammals with high fat content such as seals and walrus. In far north interior, where there are few plants and the salmon runs can go thousands of miles inland, this was particularly challenging. Lean dried salmon was an important food source, and people circumvented salmon starvation through trading for oil with coastal peoples or obtaining fat through processing bone marrow from caribou and elk.

The authors focus on the limits of salmon, which used to be considered a "prime mover" of Pacific Northwest populations, but their analysis also has implications for the study of historical human nutrition. If their argument is correct, it is unlikely that any human society was fully driven by pursuit of protein alone as their diets had to be more complex.

"People try to come up with one 'paleo-diet,' but there was no one specific ideal diet," said Tushingham. There were nutritional baselines that they had to cover, and nutritional limits that they couldn't exceed. There were many good solutions. It depended on where you lived and the history of your community." 

Combining mask wearing, social distancing suppresses COVID-19 virus spread


News Release 13-Apr-2021
American Institute of Physics


 Studies show wearing masks and social distancing can contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but their combined effectiveness is not precisely known.


"Neither social distancing nor mask wearing alone are likely sufficient to halt the spread of COVID-19, unless almost the entire population adheres to the single measure," author Maurizio Porfiri said. "But if a significant fraction of the population adheres to both measures, viral spreading can be prevented without mass vaccination."


Scientists identify severe asthma species, show air pollutant as likely contributor


News Release 13-Apr-2021
For the first time, an analysis identifies non-atopic childhood asthma as more than a set of symptoms, but a distinct disease, driven by early exposure to Benzo[a]pyrene from fossil fuel combustion
Lehigh University


Asthma afflicts more than 300 million people worldwide. The most severe manifestation, known as non-Th2, or non-atopic childhood asthma, represents the majority of the cases, greater than 85%, particularly in low-income countries, according to Hyunok Choi (, an associate professor at the Lehigh University College of Health ( Yet, whether non-Th2 is a distinct disease (or endotype) or simply a unique set of symptoms (or phenotype) remains unknown.

"Non-Th2 asthma is associated with very poor prognosis in children and great, life-long suffering due to the absence of effective therapies," says Choi. "There is an urgent need to better understand its mechanistic origin to enable early diagnosis and to stop the progression of the disease before it becomes severe."

Studies show that nearly 50% of the children whose asthma is poorly controlled are expected to emerge as severe adult cases. Yet, a one-size-fits-all treatment approach, currently the norm for asthma, is ineffective and, says Choi, and partially responsible for asthma's growing economic burden.

"The primary reason for lack of therapeutic and preventive measures is that no etiologic, or causal, driver has ever been identified for the non-Th2 asthma," says Choi.

Now, for the first time, an epidemiological study, led by Choi, has shown that not only is non-Th2 a distinct disease, its likely inducer is early childhood exposure to airborne Benzo[a]pyrene, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion. Choi and her colleagues are the first to demonstrate air pollution as a driver of the most challenging type of asthma, the severe subtype which is non-responsive to current therapies.


There is no 'one size fits all' approach to treat severe asthma; this study shows why


News Release 13-Apr-2021
University of Pittsburgh


Wheezing, coughing that doesn't stop, a pale and sweaty face: clinically, severe asthma attacks look very similar from patient to patient. But biologically, not all severe asthma is the same--and a team of scientists has, for the first time, identified the key difference in people, a finding that has important implications for treatment. //


Life expectancy lower near superfund sites


News Release 13-Apr-2021
Lower still for those with low incomes
University of Houston


Living near a hazardous waste or Superfund site could cut your life short by about a year, reports Hanadi S. Rifai, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Houston. The study, published in Nature Communications and based on evaluation of 65,226 census tracts from the 2018 Census, is the first nationwide review of all hazardous waste sites and not just the 1,300 sites on the national priority list managed by the federal government.

The analysis shows a decrease of more than two months in life expectancy for those living near a Superfund site. When coupled with high disadvantage of sociodemographic factors like age, sex, marital status and income, the decrease could be nearly 15 months, according to the analysis. Prior studies confirmed that those living near hazardous waste sites generally have greater sociodemographic disadvantage and, as a result, poorer health. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.7 years, and millions of children have been raised within less than a one-mile radius from a federally designated Superfund site. ps://


UBCO engineer cautions pregnant women about speed bumps


 News Release 13-Apr-2021
The slower the better while driving over them, says researcher
University of British Columbia Okanagan campus


Slow down. Baby on board.

So says UBC Okanagan researcher and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hadi Mohammadi. His new research, conducted in collaboration with Sharif University of Technology, determines that accelerating over speed bumps poses a danger for pregnant women and their fetuses.

"There is lots of research about the importance of movement for women during pregnancy," explains Mohammadi, who teaches in the School of Engineering. "Our latest research looked specifically at the impacts of sudden acceleration on a pregnant woman."

Using new modelling based on data from crash tests and fundamental dynamic behaviours of a pregnant woman, Mohammadi and his co-authors found that accelerating over speedbumps raises concern. If driven over quickly, they caution this can lead to minor injuries to the fetal brain, cause an abnormal fetal heart rate, abdominal pain, uterine contraction, increasing uterine activity and further complications.

Occupants in a vehicle, especially pregnant women, are subjected to relatively large forces suddenly and over a short period when a vehicle accelerates over a speedbump, he explains. 


In fact, they advise slowing a vehicle to less than 45 km/h [28mph]when hitting a speedbump, and preferably as low as 25km/h [15 mph] to reduce risk to the fetus.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Chronic sinus inflammation appears to alter brain activity


News Release 8-Apr-2021
Study findings may help explain patients' complaints of poor concentration and other cognitive symptoms that accompany sinusitis
University of Washington School of Medicine/UW Medicine


The millions of people who have chronic sinusitis deal not only with stuffy noses and headaches, they also commonly struggle to focus, and experience depression and other symptoms that implicate the brain's involvement in their illness.

New research links sinus inflammation with alterations in brain activity, specifically with the neural networks that modulate cognition, introspection and response to external stimuli.


"We know from previous studies that patients who have sinusitis often decide to seek medical care not because they have a runny nose and sinus pressure, but because the disease is affecting how they interact with the world: They can't be productive, thinking is difficult, sleep is lousy. It broadly impacts their quality of life. Now we have a prospective mechanism for what we observe clinically."


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Study calls for urgent climate change action to secure global food supply


News Release 8-Apr-2021
Curtin University


New Curtin University-led research has found climate change will have a substantial impact on global food production and health if no action is taken by consumers, food industries, government, and international bodies.

Published in one of the highest-ranking public health journals, the Annual Review of Public Health, the researchers completed a comprehensive 12-month review of published literature on climate change, healthy diet and actions needed to improve nutrition and health around the world.

Lead researcher John Curtin Distinguished Emeritus Professor Colin Binns, from the Curtin School of Population Health at Curtin University, said climate change has had a detrimental impact on health and food production for the past 50 years and far more needs to be done to overcome its adverse effects.

"The combination of climate change and the quality of nutrition is the major public health challenge of this decade and, indeed, this century. Despite positive advances in world nutrition rates, we are still facing the ongoing threat of climate change to our global food supply, with Sub-Saharan Africa and part of Asia most at risk" Professor Binns said.

"For the time being, it will be possible to produce enough food to maintain adequate intakes, using improved farming practices and technology and more equity in distribution, but we estimate that by 2050 world food production will need to increase by 50 per cent to overcome present shortages and meet the needs of the growing population.

"Our review recommends that by following necessary dietary guidelines and choosing foods that have low environmental impacts, such as fish, whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, berries, and olive oil, would improve health, help reduce greenhouse gases and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which in turn would improve food production levels in the future."


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Training in compassion improves the well-being of relatives to people with mental illness

I suggest reading the whole article.


News Release 7-Apr-2021
Aarhus University


If relatives of people with mental illness become better at accepting the difficult emotions and life events they experience - which is what training in compassion is about - their anxiety, depression and stress is reduced. These are the results of a new study from the Danish Center for Mindfulness at Aarhus University.

Being a relative of a person with a mental illness can be very burdensome. It can feel like a great responsibility, and many people struggle with feelings of fear, guilt, shame and anger. A new study from the Danish Center for Mindfulness shows that eight weeks of training in compassion can significantly improve the well-being of relatives.

Compassion is a human quality that is anchored in the recognition of and desire to relieve suffering. In other words, compassion occurs when we come into contact with our own or others' suffering and feel motivated to relieve our own or others pain.

"After completing the course, the relatives had increased their well-being on several parameters. They could deal with the illness in a new and more skillful way, and we saw that the training reduced their symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress," says psychologist and PhD student Nanja Holland Hansen, who is behind the study.

And the positive results were maintained after a six month follow-up.