Monday, September 30, 2019

Want to Make Difficult Conversations Easy? Try This 1 Counterintuitive Trick

By Scott Mautz

No one looks forward to a difficult conversation, whether it's with a troubling co-worker, a toxic boss, family, friends, or anyone else. We fear the consequences of having that discussion, picture the anger that might come spewing out, and even feel a pit in our stomach about the whole matter.


I was recently having a discussion with a coaching client about a tough conversation she needed to have and she mentioned the work of psychologist Dr. Albert Bernstein and his classic 1998 book, Dinosaur Brains.

I was immediately taken by one counterintuitive finding Bernstein shares.
Having a difficult conversation doesn't mean you have to talk very much.

For tough conversations I always pictured having to outline all the things I would say, all the counter arguments I could make, all the pointed statements to share.

Wrong approach.

Bernstein says it's far more important to listen, reflect, and observe. The more you listen, the more likely it is that they will.

And you get more of an opportunity to listen by asking fair questions rather than thinking of the next statement you're going to make. I applied this immediately to a tough conversation I had to have. I set aside all the statements and points I wanted to make, and focused on listening and asking questions in response. I found the other party was much more willing to listen right back. I'm 100 percent certain it led to a better outcome.

Bernstein also says it's important not to fall into a common trap where you're doing too much explaining. Explaining comes across as a veiled form of fighting back. It introduces unnecessary tension into the discussion. You're much better off asking questions. And as you listen to their answers, it's important to show empathy and try to truly understand, not judge. Ask yourself ,"Why are they saying this?"


Finally, when it comes to talking less and listening more, that includes at the end of your conversation, too. It's important to let them have the last word and resist the temptation to insert a last second barb that will literally undo all the progress you will have just made.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Obesity not caused by lack of willpower - psychologists

Sept. 24, 2019


Obesity levels rose by 18% in England between 2005 and 2017 and by similar amounts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This means just over one in four UK adults is obese while nearly two-thirds are overweight or obese.

But these increases cannot be explained by a sudden loss of motivation across the UK - it is a lot more complicated than that, according to the British Psychological Society report, which concludes it "is not simply down to an individual's lack of willpower".


"The people who are most likely to be an unhealthy weight are those who have a high genetic risk of developing obesity and whose lives are also shaped by work, school and social environments that promote overeating and inactivity," it says.

"People who live in deprived areas often experience high levels of stress, including major life challenges and trauma, often their neighbourhoods offer few opportunities and incentives for physical activity and options for accessing affordable healthy food are limited."


And stress caused by fat shaming - being made to feel bad about one's weight - by public health campaigns, GPs, nurses and policymakers, often leads to increased eating and more weight gain.

Comedian James Corden recently spoke out against fat shaming, saying: "If making fun of fat people made them lose weight, there'd be no fat kids in schools."


Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion

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Historians who study economic history have found that such large inequality leads to great recessions or depression.

by Jake Johnson
June 14, 2019

Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.

Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People's Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve's newly released "Distributive Financial Accounts" data series and found that, overall, "the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing, meaning they have more debts than they have assets."


"We have the worst inequality in this country since the 1920s," wrote Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "Three wealthiest people in America have as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent."


UN Panel Warns of 'Sweeping and Severe' Consequences of Climate Change

By Associated Press
Sept. 25, 2019

At a Glance

  • The report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Sea levels could rise up to 3 feet by the end of the century.
  • The international team of scientists projected for the first time that some island nations will probably become uninhabitable.

Earth is in dire straits due to climate change, and rising sea levels will cause "sweeping and severe" consequences for humans, an expert United Nations climate panel warned in a grim new report Wednesday.

The assessment was one of several findings in the oceans and ice report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued as world leaders met at the U.N.

The report noted that sea levels are rising at an ever-faster rate as ice and snow shrink. Oceans are also getting more acidic and losing oxygen.

The agency warned that if steps aren't taken to reduce emissions and slow global warming, seas will rise 3 feet by the end of the century, with many fewer fish, less snow and ice, stronger and wetter hurricanes and other, nastier weather systems.


The oceans absorb more than 90% of the excess heat from carbon pollution in the air, as well as much of the carbon dioxide itself. Earth's snow and ice, called the cryosphere, are also being eroded.


The report found:

-Seas are now rising at one-seventh of an inch a year, which is 2.5 times faster than the rate from 1900 to 1990.

-The world's oceans have already lost 1% to 3% of the oxygen in their upper levels since 1970 and will lose more as warming continues.

-From 2006 to 2015, the ice melting from Greenland, Antarctica and the world's mountain glaciers has accelerated. They are now losing 720 billion tons of ice a year.

-Arctic June snow cover has shrunk more than half since 1967, down nearly 1 million square miles.

-Arctic sea ice in September, the annual low point, is down almost 13% per decade since 1979. This year's low, reported Monday, tied for the second-lowest on record.

-Marine animals are likely to decrease 15%, and catches by fisheries in general are expected to decline 21% to 24%, by the end of century because of climate change.

"Climate change is already irreversible," French climate scientist Valérie Masson-Delmotte, a report lead author, said at a news conference in Monaco, where the document was released. "Due to the heat uptake in the ocean, we can't go back."

But many of the worst-case projections in the report can still be avoided, depending on how the world handles the emissions of heat-trapping gases, the report's authors said.


I study collapsed civilizations. Here’s my advice for a climate change apocalypse.

By Chris Begley
September 23, 2019 02:48 PM, Updated September 23, 2019 02:48 PM

I am an archaeologist and a wilderness survival instructor. Because I study societies that have collapsed, and since I teach basic outdoor skills, people ask me about what to do in a natural disaster, social upheaval, or some apocalyptic event. Right now, much of that concern relates to climate change. What I would do, where I would go, and what equipment I would take?

I understand the preoccupation with things falling apart. We face serious problems, like climate change. Perhaps because we worry, we envision the post-apocalyptic world. However, the great number of zombie fantasies and natural disaster movies suggests more than just a concern for the future. We seem to enjoy the fantasy. We like imaging life after civilization collapses. Like wiggling a loose tooth, it hurts in a good way.

I understand the appeal of these post-apocalyptic fantasies. They resonate with the rugged individualism and self-sufficiency that we imagine in ourselves. In the post-apocalypse, we would be able to start over, from a blank slate: decluttering on a global scale. Our needs would be immediate, and our focus clear. The tasks might be hard, but decisions would be easy. Life would be simple.


Any of the plausible scenarios for disaster, like unchecked climate change, will involve billions of survivors. We will find ourselves in large groups, in rapidly changing situations, and we will have to negotiate that. We will not escape the messiness of contemporary society. Any post-apocalyptic reality will not be a time machine to a mythical past we long for. It will not be a simpler, uncluttered life. We will not be able to run away. We will have to stay and fix things, and if we succeed, we may not recognize ourselves.

While the wilderness survival skills certainly can’t hurt, it will be empathy, generosity, and courage that we need to survive. Kindness and fairness will be more valuable than any survival skill. Then as now, social and leadership skills will be valued. We will have to work together. We will have to grow food, educate ourselves, and give people a reason to persevere. The needs will be enormous, and we cannot run away from that. Humans evolved attributes such as generosity, altruism, and cooperation because we need them to survive. Armed with those skills, we will turn towards the problem, not away from it. We will face the need, and we will have to solve it together. That is the only option. That’s what survival looks like.

Read more here:

Climate Risk in the Housing Market Has Echoes of Subprime Crisis, Study Finds

By Christopher Flavelle
Sept. 27, 2019

Banks are shielding themselves from climate change at taxpayers’ expense by shifting riskier mortgages — such as those in coastal areas — off their books and over to the federal government, new research suggests.

The findings echo the subprime lending crisis of 2008, when unexpected drops in home values cascaded through the economy and triggered recession. One difference this time is that those values would be less likely to rebound, because many of the homes literally would be underwater.

In a paper to be released Monday, the researchers say their findings show “a potential threat to the stability of financial institutions.” They warn that the threat will grow as global warming leads to more frequent and more severe disasters, forcing more loans to go into default as homeowners cannot or would not make mortgage payments.

“We’re talking about a loss that’s going to be borne by United States taxpayers,” said Amine Ouazad, a professor in the department of applied economics at HEC Montreal and one of the paper’s authors. He added that with between $60 billion to $100 billion in new mortgages issued for coastal homes each year, “we’re not talking about a small number.”


Asaf Bernstein, an economist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, said the findings highlighted another problem: By agreeing to buy mortgages for homes at risk from climate change, without charging a premium that reflects that risk, the federal government had effectively encouraged home construction and purchases in vulnerable areas.

“It’s basically an implicit subsidy,” Mr. Bernstein, who was not involved in the study, said.


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Trump retaliatiation against California

Trump's attempted shake down of Ukraine to try to make trouble for a political rival is just what anybody should expect from his habitual behaviour and attitudes throughout his life. Eg., his actions to get revenge at states which didn't vote for him, esp. California.

Trump Strips California’s Right to Set Tougher Auto Standards

By Marianne Lavelle
Sep 20, 2019

President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday stripped California of its authority to enact the nation's toughest auto pollution standards, setting the stage for an epic legal battle that could squelch the nascent U.S. market for petroleum-free vehicles at a critical time.

The long-anticipated move, which Trump himself touted on Twitter just days before a United Nations summit on climate change, could prove to be his administration's most consequential policy retreat from efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. When coupled with the administration's planned freeze on fuel-economy improvements, it will negate one of the largest steps that any nation has made to cut carbon emissions.


Trump Administration Threatens to Cut U.S. Highway Funds From California

By Coral Davenport
Sept. 24, 2019

The political war between California and the Trump administration escalated Monday with a letter from Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, warning that Washington would withhold federal highway funds from the state if it did not rapidly address a decades-long backlog of state-level pollution control plans.

The letter is the latest parry between President Trump and the liberal West Coast state that he appears to relish antagonizing. California’s recent actions on clean air and climate change policy have blindsided and enraged him, according to two people familiar with the matter.


Trump DOJ (Dept. of Justice) under fire over automaker probe

By Harper Neidig - 09/26/19 06:00 AM EDT

The Justice Department’s antitrust investigation into four automakers who agreed to abide by stricter emission standards being rolled out in California is reviving concerns that the Trump administration is weaponizing its competition enforcers against political rivals.

California reached the agreement with BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen in July in an effort to counter the administration’s plans to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and to set the pace for other manufacturers.


But it’s not the first time Delrahim has had to answer questions about his impartiality in enforcing antitrust law. Those questions first arose after his decision to sue to block the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner in 2017, after media reports detailed President Trump’s efforts to torpedo the deal to retaliate against CNN, a Time Warner subsidiary, over what he saw as unfavorable coverage of his administration.

The issue came up again after the department approved a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the nation’s four major wireless carriers. Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about special treatment after The Washington Post reported that T-Mobile executives had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington during trips to pitch the deal to federal regulators.


Trump is weaponizing the EPA against California

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
Updated 2:50 PM ET, Tue September 24, 2019


There is undeniable irony to California trying to enact fuel economy standards because it says the federal government's inaction endangers lives, only to be accused by the administration of endangering lives for not doing enough on air quality.
In addition to California, 36 other states and the District of Columbia all have areas that fail to meet the pollution standards under the Clean Air Act. So far, only California has been threatened by Wheeler and the EPA.

It's not the only example of Trump using federal money to make a political point. In August, a whistleblower raised concerns that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country's President to investigate Joe Biden.

He previously cut back federal funding for a California high-speed rail project.

Earlier this year he threatened to cut FEMA aid to California for forest fires.

His administration tried to take federal funding away from so-called sanctuary cities.

He stalled billions in disaster aid to Puerto Rico.

He engaged in the longest-ever partial shutdown of the federal government in an effort to force Congress to fund his border wall. When that didn't work, he declared a national emergency to take money from the Pentagon for that purpose.


Sikh deputy killed in ‘coldblooded’ shooting after making history in Texas, sheriff says

Trump and his supporters who encourage hatefulness encourage such horrible actions.

Many people think Sikhs are Muslims because they wear turbans, so they are often the target of hatred directed toward Muslims. Of course, hatred of Muslims is also very immoral.

One of the first sheriff’s deputies in the country to wear a traditional Sikh turban on duty was fatally shot from behind Friday while conducting a traffic stop in the Houston area, authorities said.

Sandeep Dhaliwal, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, was shot multiple times by one of two people in the stopped car, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters.

“He wore the turban. He represented his community with integrity, respect and pride,” Gonzalez said. “And again, he was respected by all.”

Dhaliwal, 41, was returning to his patrol car around 1 p.m. when a man got out of the stopped car with a pistol and shot him “in a coldblooded manner, ambush-style,” Gonzalez said. He said he did not know the reason for the stop or the motive for the shooting.


Dhaliwal was known to have a giving heart, Gonzalez said. He coordinated the arrival of a tractor-trailer that brought donations from California to the Houston area in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey. When a colleague’s relatives in Puerto Rico needed help after Hurricane Maria the same year, Gonzalez said, Dhaliwal joined the department’s trip to provide aid there.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Parents arrested in death of boy who had begged not to be returned to them

Justin Chan
,•September 27, 2019

The parents of a 4-year-old boy who had begged not to be returned to them have been arrested in his death, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced on Thursday.

Jose Cuatro and Ursula Juarez were apprehended months after they brought their son, Noah, to a hospital and claimed that the child had drowned in a pool at their apartment complex in Palmdale, Calif. At the time, doctors were skeptical of their story, noting evidence of injuries to Noah's body "that was suspicious in nature and consistent with possible abuse," according to police.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office concluded that Noah was the victim of a homicide.


Noah was pronounced dead on July 6 just months after he was transferred back to his parents's home. In an interview with KTLA earlier this year, Eva Hernandez, the boy's maternal great-grandmother, revealed that he was first removed from his mother's care when he was just a baby. The toddler then spent three months in and out of foster care before Hernandez took him in.

Six months later, a court ordered that Noah be returned to his parents. Following allegations of neglect, however, the 4-year-old was again placed in foster care and later transferred back to Hernandez. The great-grandmother told KTLA that, for the next two years, the child lived stably, but she acknowledged she constantly worried about Ursula's ability to care for him during the mother's visits.

"'Grandma,'" Hernandez recalled Noah telling her once. "'You can't let me go. You can't let me go.' He's looking at me, begging me not to let him go, and I had to let him go."


In May, a caseworker from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) filed a 26-page request to remove the boy from his parents's custody. By then, officials had already received at least 13 calls about suspected abuse at the Cuatros' home. Still, Noah was never returned to foster care.


tags: child abuse

Members of disbanded EPA air quality panel form independent group

True patriots.

Reuters•September 26, 2019

Former members of an air quality scientific advisory committee that was disbanded by the Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday they were forming an independent panel to continue their work.

The 20 experts are scheduled to review the science on particulate matter pollution and health beginning at a two-day meeting in Virginia on Oct. 10.

Dubbed the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel, the group plans to issue a report on whether the current federal particulate matter standard is adequate, members said.

Their announcement came as the EPA is also currently reviewing national air quality standards for particulate matter.

Members of the independent group previously served on the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Particulate Matter Review Panel, which was disbanded last October by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The seven-member CASAC still exists.

Critics have said the move was part of an effort under Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, to cut the EPA's reliance on science when writing regulations.


How to use the new clipboard on Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Windows 10 allows you to save multiple items to the clipboard and choose the one you want to paste.

Ctrl + V still pastes the most recent copied or cut item.
Ctrl + Shift + V pastes the most recent copied or cut item without formatting.

Windows + V is used for the new feature

Trump admin ignored its own evidence of climate change's impact on migration from Central America

By Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley
Sept. 20, 2019

Research compiled one year ago by Customs and Border Protection pointed to an overwhelming factor driving record-setting migration to the U.S. from Guatemala: Crop shortages were leaving rural Guatemalans, especially in the country's western highlands, in extreme poverty and starving.

An internal report that was circulated to senior Homeland Security officials and obtained by NBC News showed that migration surged from those areas of Guatemala without reliable subsistence farming or wages from commercial farming jobs. More than 100,000 Guatemalans headed north last year, and many more followed in fiscal year 2019, making Guatemala the single largest country contributing to undocumented immigration across the U.S. southwest border this year.

Scientists have said the increase in poverty and food insecurity driving migration are due to multiple factors, one of which is climate change.

The acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, Kevin McAleenan, has publicly sounded the alarm about Guatemala's food scarcity.

But inside the Trump White House, that message was largely ignored in both policy decisions and messaging around what should be done to stem the flow of migrants. Last October, a month after the CBP report was finalized, President Donald Trump announced he was considering suspending foreign aid to Guatemala, which included money used to mitigate the affects of climate change on small farms.


Scientists say food insecurity can be traced to several factors. A fungus known as coffee leaf rust is rapidly expanding due to climate change throughout the Dry Corridor, a transnational area stretching through Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In so doing, it is killing the region's cash crop, coffee. That, along with global competition plus a years-long drought, has made the plant virtually worthless. Other crops are suffering too, making jobs in commercial farming to supplement income hard to come by as well, leaving entire communities without food to sell, or money to buy food to eat.


While visiting Chiquimula and Zacapa with the World Food Program and Pons in August, NBC News observed villages where children were suffering from malnutrition, including one, Las Sopas, where five children died last year of starvation. Today, the World Food Program, which also does not directly rely on funding from the United States government, is feeding the village's children at the community's school in an emergency response.


Slow-Moving Atlantic Storms Like Imelda and Dorian are Growing More Common

Dr. Jeff Masters · September 24, 2019, 4:58 PM EDT

Recovery efforts are underway in southeast Texas after the devastating rains unleashed last week by Tropical Storm Imelda, the fifth-wettest tropical cyclone in continental U.S. history. Imelda made landfall as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds southwest of Galveston, Texas, on September 17, less than two hours after getting named. At landfall, Imelda was traveling northward at just 5 mph, and it maintained a generally northward motion at between 3 and 7 mph for the next 48 hours, gradually weakening. This excruciatingly slow pace allowed Imelda to dump rains of up to 43.39” over southeast Texas, causing catastrophic flooding that killed five. Imelda’s price tag will undoubtedly be in the billions.


Imelda, Dorian, Florence, Harvey, and Idai are examples of storms we have been seeing more often in recent decades: ones that move more slowly over land, resulting in increased flooding and damage. The forward speed of tropical cyclones (which includes all hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions) has decreased globally by about 10% since 1949, according to a 2018 paper in the journal Nature by NOAA hurricane scientist Dr. Jim Kossin. As a result of their slower forward motion, these storms are now more likely to drop heavier rains, increasing their flood risk. Most significantly, the study reported a 20% slow-down in storm translation speed over land for Atlantic storms, a 30% slow-down over land for Northwest Pacific storms, and a 19% slow-down over land for storms affecting the Australia region. (See my June 2018 post, Observed Slowdown in Tropical Cyclone Motion May Portend More Harvey-Like Rainstorms.)


In a June 2019 reply, Dr. Kossin responded to their concerns, acknowledging that they might be valid over ocean areas, but not over land, where positions are measured directly—not by satellite. He presented new data showing that the highest quality and longest-running storm speed dataset that we have for tropical cyclones—for ones over land in the continental U.S. beginning in 1900—has showed a significant slowdown, which should be independent of the introduction of satellite measurements. Kossin's analysis of a 118-year data set over the continental U.S. from 1900 to 2017 found a 17% slowdown in the forward speed of tropical cyclones over land.

A June 2019 paper by Timothy Hall and James Kossin (open access) found that in addition to moving slower over land, North Atlantic tropical cyclones have become increasingly likely to “stall” near the coast, spending many hours in confined regions: at least 48 hours inside of a circle 400 km in diameter. In an email, Dr. Hall affirmed that Imelda fit well within their definition of a stalling tropical cyclone, since it spent 52 hours inside of a circle 200 km in diameter; Harvey and Florence also were stalling storms by their definition.

The 2018 study by Kossin and 2019 study by Hall and Kossin did not attempt to attribute the slowdown and stalling behavior to human-caused climate change, saying: “there is not at present a clear mechanism explaining the observed tropical cyclone speed reduction.” However, in an email, Dr. Kossin said, “the vast majority of the models consistently predict a slowing of the tropical circulation due to human-caused global warming. So, in my opinion, given that tropical cyclones are somewhat passively carried along in these winds, a reasonable hypothesis is that they are slowing down with warming. This is fairly compelling evidence for a human fingerprint on the slowing we're observing.”


Texas experienced its second-hottest August on record last month, and this near-record heat heated up the waters of the western Gulf of Mexico, helping fuel Tropical Storm Imelda’s rains. Water temperatures in the western Gulf of Mexico on September 16, prior to Imelda’s formation, were near 30°C (86°F)—about 1°C (1.8°F) warmer than average. For each degree Celsius of ocean warming, about 7% more water vapor can evaporate into the air, and hurricanes can act to concentrate this moisture to generate much heavier rains than a simple linear 7% increase in rainfall per degree C of ocean warming. Human-caused global warming made near-record hot temperatures like Texas and the western Gulf of Mexico experienced in August more likely to occur.


Census: US inequality grew, including in heartland states

Associated Press•September 26, 2019

The gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

Income inequality in the United States expanded from 2017 to 2018, with several heartland states among the leaders of the increase, even though several wealthy coastal states still had the most inequality overall, according to the figures.

The nation's Gini Index, which measures income inequality, has been rising steadily over the past five decades.


A variety of factors were at play, from a slowdown in agricultural trade and manufacturing to wages that haven't caught up with other forms of income, economists say.

While some states have raised the minimum wage, other states such as Kansas haven't. At the same time, the sustained economic growth from the recession a decade ago has enriched people who own stocks, property and other assets, and have sources of income other than wages, said Donna Ginther, an economist at the University of Kansas.

"We've had a period of sustained economic growth, and there are winners and losers. The winners tend to be at the top," Ginther said. "Even though we are at full employment, wages really haven't gone up much in the recovery."

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Gum disease linked with higher risk of hypertension

News Release 24-Sep-2019
European Society of Cardiology

People with gum disease (periodontitis) have a greater likelihood of high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a study published today in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Senior author Professor Francesco D'Aiuto of UCL Eastman Dental Institute, UK, said: "We observed a linear association - the more severe periodontitis is, the higher the probability of hypertension. The findings suggest that patients with gum disease should be informed of their risk and given advice on lifestyle changes to prevent high blood pressure such as exercise and a healthy diet."


Simple lifestyle modifications key to preventing large percentage of breast cancer cases

News Release 24-Sep-2019
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

Expert reports estimate that one in three breast cancer cases could be prevented by lifestyle modifications. Those modifications include such basics as weight management, physical activity, nutrition, and alcohol consumption, among others. The latest research on risk management and most current lifestyle recommendations will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women in the United States and around the globe. Numerous studies focused on breast cancer prevention have already been completed, many of which point to the same conclusion; lifestyle modifications offer the best and easiest form of prevention.


Today's obesity epidemic may have been caused by childhood sugar intake decades ago

News Release 23-Sep-2019
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Current obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary changes that took place decades ago, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

"While most public health studies focus on current behaviors and diets, we took a novel approach and looked at how the diets we consumed in our childhood affect obesity levels now that we are adults," said Alex Bentley, head of UT's Department of Anthropology and lead researcher of the study, which was published in Economics and Human Biology.

Consumption of excess sugar, particularly in sugar-sweetened beverages, is a known contributor to both childhood and adult obesity.


Child abuse associated with physiologically detected hot flashes

News Release 24-Sep-2019
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

Childhood abuse has been shown to lead to an array of health problems later in life. A new study now shows that such abuse may be linked with physiologically detected hot flashes. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25-28, 2019.


"Our investigation found that childhood sexual and physical abuse were associated with more frequent hot flashes during sleep when measured at a single time point. We also learned that women with a history of emotional abuse showed an increase in hot flashes five years later, whereas their non-abused counterparts showed a decrease in hot flashes five years later," says Mary Carson, lead author of the study from the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.


tags: child abuse

Self-silencing may lead to increased risk of stroke

News Release 24-Sep-2019
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

Expressing your true feelings is not only good for your mental health, but it could also be important for your physical health. A new study associates self-silencing (inhibiting one's self-expression) with greater carotid plaque buildup which could lead to a stroke and other cardiovascular problems. Study results will be presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, September 25 to 28, 2019.

Individuals engage in a range of behaviors to maintain close relationships, some of which may be costly to their own health. One such behavior is self-silencing, which is sometimes used to avoid conflict or relationship loss.


The long-term effects of disasters on seniors with diabetes: evidence from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

News Release 23-Sep-2019
University of South Florida (USF Innovation)

Older individuals and those with chronic conditions are especially at risk following natural disasters. Researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) investigated the short- and long-term effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on older individuals with diabetes. They found those who lived in areas impacted by the 2005 hurricanes had a 40% higher one-month mortality rate than those who lived in unaffected counties. The increased risk persisted even ten years later, at which point the affected individuals had a 6% higher mortality rate.


Affordable Care Act slashed the uninsured rate among people with diabetes

News Release 23-Sep-2019
University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided health insurance for an estimated 1.9 million people with diabetes, according to a newly published study.

In 2009 and 2010, 17 percent of adults who were under the age of 65 and had diabetes were uninsured. After the ACA took effect, that percentage declined by 12 percentage points and by 27 percentage points among those with low income.

Coverage gains were particularly strong among people whose diabetes was undiagnosed. In 2009 and 2010, approximately one in four adults under age 65 with undiagnosed diabetes lacked health insurance coverage. After the ACA was implemented, the uninsured rate in this group dropped by 17 percentage points to eight percent.


The researchers estimate that, of the 1.9 million people with diabetes who gained coverage under the ACA, 1.2 million had low income (defined in the study as below 138 percent of the federal poverty level).


Boosting daily nut consumption linked to less weight gain and lower obesity risk

News Release 23-Sep-2019

Increasing nut consumption by just half a serving (14 g or ½ oz) a day is linked to less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity, suggests a large, long term observational study, published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

Substituting unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, French fries, and crisps (potato chips) with a half a serving of nuts may be a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies the aging process, suggest the researchers.

On average, US adults pile on 1lb or nearly half a kilo every year. Gaining 2.5-10 kilos in weight is linked to a significantly greater risk of heart disease/stroke and diabetes.

Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre, but they are calorie dense, so often not thought of as good for weight control. But emerging evidence suggests that the quality of what's eaten may be as important as the quantity.


More than 70% of hospital data breaches include sensitive demographic or financial info that could lead to identity theft

News Release 23-Sep-2019
American College of Physicians


More than 70 percent of hospital data breaches include sensitive demographic or financial information that could lead to identity theft or fraud. A brief research report is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

When a hospital data system is hacked, criminals gain access to sensitive health, demographic, and financial information that compromise patient privacy and financial security.


Children exposed to secondhand smoke at higher risk for atrial fibrillation

News Release 23-Sep-2019
American College of Cardiology

Children of parents who smoke had a significantly increased chance of developing atrial fibrillation later in life, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The findings highlight a new association between secondhand smoke exposure and heart rhythm disorder risk.


News Release 20-Sep-2019 Study suggests flavored e-cigarettes may worsen asthma A study into the impact of flavored e-cigarettes, on allergic airways disease, suggests that some flavors may worsen the severity of diseases such as asthma University of Technology Sydney

News Release 20-Sep-2019
University of Technology Sydney

A study into the impact of flavoured e-cigarettes, on allergic airways disease, suggests that some flavours may worsen the severity of diseases such as asthma.


The researchers found some flavoured e-cigarettes, even in the absence of nicotine, can worsen disease severity.

"The exact effects on features of asthma were dependent upon the specific flavour, suggesting not all flavoured e-cigarettes will have the same consequences on lung health," Dr Chapman said.

In this study the flavour Black Licorice exaggerated airway inflammation whereas Cinnacide had the opposite effect, suppressing airway inflammation. Additionally, Cinnacide increased airway sensitivity and Banana Pudding flavour exaggerated the level of tissue scarring. All e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine suppressed airway inflammation, consistent with the known anti-inflammatory properties of nicotine.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Former Thomas Cook bosses under fire for excessive pay

Currently, a British pound sterling is equal to U.S. $1.24

Kalyeena Makortoff and Rob Davies
Mon 23 Sep 2019 18.36 EDT

While thousands of holidaymakers were waiting in overseas airports for the government’s emergency airlift to get them home and Thomas Cook staff were losing their jobs, former bosses of the stricken travel firm came under fire for receiving payouts worth more than £35m in the last 12 years.

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, who led the acquisition spree that saddled the company with more than £1bn of debt, was handed more than £17m in just over four years as boss of Thomas Cook, boosted by bonuses awarded for slashing 2,800 jobs following the merger with MyTravel. He quit in 2011 as the tour operator came close to collapse.

His successor was Harriet Green, who was paid £4.7m for less than three years plus a share bonus worth a further £5.6m. She handed a third of that award to charities after the deaths of two children from carbon monoxide poisoning in Thomas Cook accommodation in Corfu.

Green also claimed £80,000-a-year to cover her hotel bills at the five-star Brown’s hotel in London, where she lived during the week.

Peter Fankhauser, who was in charge when the company collapsed, was handed £8.3m, including £4.3m in bonuses.


Meanwhile, a group of international hedge funds who bet against Thomas Cook have made big profits from its collapse.


Arctic sea ice shrinks to 2nd-lowest mark on record

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
,USA TODAY•September 23, 2019

Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest level on record last week, according to statements released Monday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

Sea ice affects Arctic communities and wildlife such as polar bears and walruses, and it helps regulate the planet’s temperature by influencing the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean.

"If you decrease the amount of sea ice, you start warming up the Arctic, and when you start warming up the Arctic, you start changing the circulating of the jet stream, which brings weather to us here," NASA scientist Nathan Kurtz said.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

What is morality

Sept. 19, 2019

Reviewing Jonathon Haidt's list of conservative values, I realized that the one that that considers respect for authority as a moral value enabled many men in positions of authority and power to get away with sexually abusing many children and others under their power.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Global warming makes it harder for birds to mate, study finds

News Release 17-Sep-2019
University of East Anglia


The study examined the threatened grassland bird Tetrax tetrax, or little bustard, classified as a 'Vulnerable' species in Europe, in order to test how rising temperatures could affect future behaviour.

The males spend most of their time in April and May trying to attract females in a breeding gathering known as a 'lek'. In leks, to get noticed, males stand upright, puff up their necks, and making a call that sounds like a 'snort'. They also use this display to defend their territory from competing breeding males.

The international team of researchers - from the UK, Kenya, Portugal, Spain and Brazil - found that high temperatures reduced this snort-call display behaviour. If temperatures become too hot, birds may have to choose between mating and sheltering or resting to save their energy and protect themselves from the heat.


Emphasizing social play in kindergarten improves academics, reduces teacher burnout

News Release 17-Sep-2019
University of British Columbia

Emphasizing more play, hands-on learning, and students helping one another in kindergarten improves academic outcomes, self-control and attention regulation, finds new UBC research.

The study, published today in the journal PLoS One, found this approach to kindergarten curriculum also enhanced children's joy in learning and teachers' enjoyment of teaching, and reduced bullying, peer ostracism, and teacher burnout.


Nutrition programs alone are not enough to support healthy brain development

News Release 17-Sep-2019
University of California - Davis

A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, shows that caregiving programs are five times more effective than nutrition programs in supporting smarter, not just taller, children in low- and middle-income countries.

The research, published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, examined 75 early intervention programs and their effects on children's growth and brain development. Researchers have known adequate nutrition during pregnancy and childhood improve both conditions. But children growing up in poverty face a variety of risk factors that could govern growth and development differently.


Prado says interventions that promote caregiving and learning, such as parents playing games, singing songs and telling stories with their children, have far bigger effects on children's cognitive skills, language skills and motor development.


Complexity of plastics make it impossible to know which are dangerous

News Release 17-Sep-2019
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

A lot of people worry about microplastics and plastic pollution, but not as many of us are aware of the large number of chemicals we encounter in plastic products that we use every day.

Researchers know of more than 4,000 chemicals that are currently used in plastic food packaging. But with more than 5,000 different types of plastic on the market, the number of chemicals used to make plastics is likely even larger.

"The problem is that plastics are made of a complex chemical cocktail, so we often don't know exactly what substances are in the products we use. For most of the thousands of chemicals, we have no way to tell whether they are safe or not," says Martin Wagner, a biologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). "This is because, practically speaking, it's impossible to trace all of these compounds. And manufacturers may or may not know the ingredients of their products, but even if they know, they are not required to disclose this information."


"We studied eight types of plastics commonly used to make everyday products, such as yogurt cups and bath sponges, and examined their toxicity and chemical composition. Three out of four products contained toxic chemicals," Lisa Zimmermann, Wagner's colleague and first author of the study, says.

The researchers used cell cultures to investigate the effects of the mix of chemicals in each product. They found that many plastics contain chemicals that induced general toxicity (six out of ten products), oxidative stress (four out of ten) and endocrine-disrupting effects (three out of ten).

It is impossible to pinpoint specifically which chemicals were the culprits: the research group discovered more than 1,400 substances in plastics but identified only 260 of them. That means that most of the plastic chemicals remain unknown and cannot be assessed for their safety.

Given that, the authors were able to conclude that plastic chemicals in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PUR) were the most toxic. Compared to PVC and PUR, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) were less toxic.


Exercise could slow withering effects of Alzheimer's

News Release 17-Sep-2019
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Exercising several times a week may delay brain deterioration in people at high risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to a study that scientists say merits further research to establish whether fitness can affect the progression of dementia.

Research from UT Southwestern found that people who had accumulation of amyloid beta in the brain - a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease - experienced slower degeneration in a region of the brain crucial for memory if they exercised regularly for one year.


Big data, bench science suggests drug may slow Parkinson's progression in people

News Release 16-Sep-2019
University of Iowa Health Care

A drug used to treat enlarged prostate may also be able to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.

The surprising finding, published Sept. 16 online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is the result of an international collaboration involving researchers in China and at the University of Iowa that combines basic molecular biology with big data.


Earth warming more quickly than thought, new climate models show

Marlowe HOOD
,AFP•September 17, 2019

Greenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere mainly by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth's surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday.

By 2100, average temperatures could rise 7.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue unabated, separate models from two leading research centres in France showed.

That is up to two degrees higher than the equivalent scenario in the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change's (IPCC) 2014 benchmark 5th Assessment Report.

The new calculations also suggest that the Paris Agreement goals of capping global warming at "well below" two degrees, and 1.5C if possible, will be challenging at best, the scientists said.


With only one degree Celsius of warming so far, the world is coping with increasingly deadly heat waves, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones made more destructive by rising seas.


other models developed independently have come to the same unsettling conclusion, Boucher confirmed.

"The most respected ones -- from the United States, and Britain's Met Office -- also show a higher ECS" than the previous generation of models, he said.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Huge decline in songbirds linked to common insecticide

By Stephen Leahy
Sept. 12, 2019

The world's most widely used insecticide has been linked to the dramatic decline in songbirds in North America. A first ever study of birds in the wild found that a migrating songbird that ate the equivalent of one or two seeds treated with a neonicotinoid insecticide suffered immediate weight loss, forcing it to delay its journey.

Although the birds recovered, the delay could severely harm their chances of surviving and reproducing, say the Canadian researchers whose study is published today in Science.

“We show a clear link between neonicotinoid exposure at real-world levels and an impact on birds,” says lead author Margaret Eng, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Saskatchewan Toxicology Center.


Neonicotinoids, introduced in the late 1980s, were supposed to be a safer alternative to previous insecticides. But study after study has found that they play a key role in insect decline, especially bees. The EU banned the use of the chemicals in 2018 because they were killing pollinators. This study is another link in the chain of environmental problems, one showing that the use of neonicotinoids is harming birds, and that bird populations are at risk as a result, Eng said in an interview.


90% of the world's population just experienced the hottest summer on record

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer

The Northern Hemisphere, which holds 90% of the world's population, just experienced its hottest meteorological summer on record, tied with 2016, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Monday.

For the year-to-date, 2019 is the third-warmest year on record after 2016 and 2017.

According to NOAA, nine of the 10 highest June-through-August global land and ocean surface temperatures have occurred since 2009.


It was the second-hottest summer at a global level, according to NOAA, along with the second-hottest August on record for the planet.


South America, Africa, Europe, the Gulf of Mexico and the Hawaiian region had a temperature departure from average for the summer months that ranked among the three warmest such periods on record. Africa, for example, had its warmest June-through-August period on record, according to NOAA's report.

Europe was baked by multiple scorching heat waves throughout the summer that spread record high temperatures across the continent, making Paris surpass its hottest temperature ever recorded. Germany and France had their third-warmest summers on record, while Austria had its second-warmest summer.

In July, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and the United Kingdom all set new all-time high temperature records.


Alaska is one area that has suffered the most from the heat. Eight of Alaska's top 13 warmest days on record were in 2019.

"The Anchorage airport reached 90 degrees for the first time in that weather station's history on July 4. Anchorage also topped 80 degrees eight times this year, the most ever since record keeping of the weather began there in 1917," Sojda said.


Faster pace of climate change is 'scary', former chief scientist says

By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst
16 September 2019

Prof Sir David King says he's been scared by the number of extreme events, and he called for the UK to advance its climate targets by 10 years.

But the UN's weather chief said using words like “scared” could make young people depressed and anxious.

Campaigners argue that people won't act unless they feel fearful.

Speaking to the BBC, Prof King, a former chief scientific adviser to the government, said: “It’s appropriate to be scared. We predicted temperatures would rise, but we didn’t foresee these sorts of extreme events we’re getting so soon.”

He said the world had changed faster than generally predicted in the fifth assessment report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

He referred especially to the loss of land ice and sea ice, and to the weather extremes in which he said warming probably played a role.

Several other scientists contacted by the BBC supported his emotive language.

The physicist Prof Jo Haigh from Imperial College London said: “David King is right to be scared – I’m scared too."

“We do the analysis, we think what’s going to happen, then publish in a very scientific way.

"Then we have a human response to that… and it is scary.”


Dr Taalas agrees polar ice is melting faster than expected, but he’s concerned that public fear could lead to paralysis – and also to mental health problems amongst the young.

“We are fully behind climate science and fully behind the (upcoming) New York climate summit", he said.

“But I want to stick to the facts, which are quite convincing and dramatic enough. We should avoid interpreting them too much.


Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, told us he’d been anticipating changes like these for four decades, although he hadn't been certain when they would arrive.

“I have a sense of the numbing inevitability of it all,” he said.

Few of the scientists we contacted had faith that governments would do what was needed to rescue the climate in time.

They’re alarmed that global warming of just over 1C so far has already created a new normal in which historic temperature records will inevitably be broken more often. This is the predictable side of climate change.


Prof King said the world could not wait for scientific certainty on events like Hurricane Dorian. “Scientists like to be certain,” he said.

“But these events are all about probabilities. What is the likelihood that (Dorian) is a climate change event? I’m going to say ‘very high’.

“I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but what I can say is that the energy from the hurricane comes from the warm ocean and if that ocean gets warmer we must expect more energy in hurricanes.”

He continued: “If you got in a plane with a one in 100 chance of crashing you would be appropriately scared.

“But we are experimenting with the climate in a way that throws up probabilities of very severe consequences of much more than that.”


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Summer heatwaves caused 1,500 extra deaths in France: health minister

Sept. 8, 2019

Heatwaves in June and July caused about 1,500 more deaths than usual in France over that period, though the figure was far lower than in the summer of 2003, the country’s health minister said on Sunday.

A total of 1,465 more people than usual died during the hot spells in June and July, up 9.1% on the average for the period, health ministry data shows.


Australia concluded China was behind hack on parliament, political parties

Colin Packham
September 15, 2019 / 7:08 PM / Updated 5 hours ago

Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.


The report, which also included input from the Department of Foreign Affairs, recommended keeping the findings secret in order to avoid disrupting trade relations with Beijing, two of the people said. The Australian government has not disclosed who it believes was behind the attack or any details of the report.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

At least 6 dead as torrential rain floods coastal Spain

Global warming has caused increased moisture in the air, and more stalling of weather patterns, leading to increased numbers and severity of extreme precipitation events. If you voted for climate denialists, you chose this.

September 14, 2019 / 4:24 PM / CBS/AP

Record rainfall claimed two more lives in southeastern Spain as it caused widespread flooding. The overall death toll rose to six from the storms, authorities said Saturday.

An estimated 3,500 people are missing, according to BBC News.

Emergency rescue workers saved thousands of people during the storm that slammed into the Mediterranean coastal regions of Valencia, Murcia and eastern Andalusia this week. Local authorities said some towns and cities reported their heaviest rainfall on record.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Catastrophes set to drive 2020 reinsurance rates higher

Carolyn Cohn, Lena Masri
Sept. 3, 2019

Big insurance losses from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters over the past two years are set to push reinsurance renewal rates higher in January, ratings agencies said.


Dorian One of Strongest, Longest-Lasting Hurricanes on Record in the Atlantic

James Bruggers
Sep 7, 2019

Hurricane Dorian spun away from North Carolina's Outer Banks on Friday as one of the longest-lasting named storms and the most powerful on record to hit the Bahamas, and it wasn't finished yet—a hurricane warning had been posted for Nova Scotia, Canada.
It hit Canada as a category 2 hurricane.


Dorian had struck the northern Bahamas' Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands as one of the strongest Category 5 storms on record in the Atlantic, making landfall on Sept. 1 with 185 mile-per-hour winds and even higher gusts. It stalled there for more than 36 hours, its wind, rain and storm surge overwhelming the two low-lying islands and damaging or destroying more than 13,000 houses, nearly half the islands' dwellings, according to the American Red Cross.


"What has happened in the Bahamas is like nothing I have ever seen in my career, and I have been doing this for more than 30 years," said Rob Young, a professor of geosciences and natural resources and director of the Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines.

Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor in the Florida International University Department of Earth and Environment, and an expert on hurricanes, likened the destruction to a bombing. "The sheer devastation in the northern Bahamas is pretty much unprecedented," he said.


Dorian's size, rainfall and stalling behavior reflected what scientists expect to see more of as the planet warms.

Global warming, fueled by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations from activities like burning fossil fuels, can exacerbate extreme weather, and it contributes to sea-level rise that then worsens the impact of storm surges. Warmer air also holds more moisture, so storms can dump more rain, particularly when they stall as Dorian did.


Dorian was also among the longest-lasting named storms, Klotzbach said.

As of Friday evening, it had been a named storm for more than 13 days, nine of them as a hurricane.

"It's quite unusual for a hurricane to remain a hurricane for as many days as Dorian has," said climate scientist Michael Mann, a professor and director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Mann said that can be attributed in part to a very warm Atlantic Ocean, and also to the path the storm took, which he described as a matter of chance. The result, he said, is that Dorian remained a "threat to human lives for days on end."


Boy who spent Disney money to help Hurricane Dorian evacuees gets free Disney World trip

Jennifer Sangalang, Florida Today Published 3:47 p.m. ET Sept. 9, 2019 | Updated 3:49 p.m. ET Sept. 9, 2019

Jermaine Bell got the surprise of a lifetime Sunday — his 7th birthday — after Mickey Mouse and Disney World cast members arrived at his Jacksonville, Florida, home to thank him for helping Hurricane Dorian victims.

The boy had saved up for a year to visit Animal Kingdom in Orlando, but instead used the money to help those fleeing the storm.

Disney rewarded his grand gesture with a grand gesture of its own, reports Florida Today, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.

As Dorian ravaged the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane last week, Jermaine, who had been visiting his grandmother in South Carolina, bought hundreds of hot dogs, bags of chips and bottled water. Standing on the highway holding signs to get the attention of people driving out of the city, he served the food to hurricane evacuees.


Mickey's birthday gift to Jermaine? A VIP Disney getaway for him and his family later this month.


Monday, September 09, 2019

Positive childhood experiences tied to better adult mental health

By Lisa Rapaport
,Reuters•September 9, 2019

Kids who have more supportive experiences with family, friends, and people in their school and community may be less likely to have psychological or relationship troubles in adulthood, a new study suggests.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) like abuse, neglect, violence, and parental absence have long been linked to lasting negative effects on physical and mental health, researchers note in JAMA Pediatrics. But less is known about whether positive experiences make it easier for kids to cope, or what happens with children whose lives have mix of negative and positive experiences

For the current study, researchers surveyed 6,118 adults about how often in childhood they felt able to talk to family and friends about feelings; felt their family stood by them during difficult times; enjoyed participating in community traditions; felt a sense of belonging in high school; felt supported by friends; had at least two nonparent adults who took an interest in them; and felt safe and protected by an adult in their home.

Overall, adults who reported six to seven of these positive childhood experiences were 72% less likely to have depression or at least 14 poor mental health days each month than adults who reported no more than two positive childhood experiences. Even three to five positive experiences were tied to a 50% lower likelihood of depression or poor mental health than two or fewer.

These associations held true even when respondents reported multiple adverse childhood experiences.


"Without positive nurturance, children's stress hormones can get stuck on high and this impacts how their brain develops in ways that can make it hard for them to experience safety, relaxation and to become open, curious and learn to have positive relationships with others," Bethell said by email.


The US had to extract a top spy from Russia after Trump revealed classified information to the Russians in an Oval Office meeting

Sonam Sheth
,Business Insider•September 9, 2019

The US was forced to extract a top-secret source from Russia after President Donald Trump revealed classified information to two Russian officials in 2017, CNN reported on Monday.

A person directly involved with the discussions told the outlet the US was concerned that Trump and his administration routinely mishandled classified intelligence and that their actions could expose the covert source as a spy within the Russian government.


Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence

September 09, 2019


More than two dozen current and former high-ranking Liberty University officials and close associates of Falwell spoke to me or provided documents for this article, opening up—for the first time at an institution so intimately associated with the Falwell family—about what they’ve experienced and why they don’t think he’s the right man to lead Liberty University or serve as a figurehead in the Christian conservative movement.

In interviews over the past eight months, they depicted how Falwell and his wife, Becki, consolidated power at Liberty University and how Falwell presides over a culture of self-dealing, directing university resources into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and family have stood to make personal financial gains. Among the previously unreported revelations are Falwell’s decision to hire his son Trey’s company to manage a shopping center owned by the university, Falwell’s advocacy for loans given by the university to his friends, and Falwell’s awarding university contracts to businesses owned by his friends.


Liberty employees detailed other instances of Falwell’s behavior that they see as falling short of the standard of conduct they expect from conservative Christian leaders, from partying at nightclubs, to graphically discussing his sex life with employees, to electioneering


In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the run-up to Trump’s presidential campaign, Cohen hired John Gauger, a Liberty University employee who runs a private consulting firm, to manipulate online polls in Trump’s favor.


Ross threatened to fire top NOAA staff after office contradicted Trump on Dorian

Feel like I'm living in Russia or China.

By Justin Wise - 09/09/19 04:01 PM EDT

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly threatened to fire top employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after officials contradicted President Trump’s claim that Alabama could be impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

Trump faced pushback from meteorologists last week after stating that Alabama would potentially feel the effects of Dorian. The warning, which came via tweet, prompted the National Weather Service's Birmingham branch to emphasize on Twitter that the state would not be affected by the storm.


Ross contacted acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs two days later and asked him to fix issues related to the perception that the agency had contradicted Trump, The New York Times reported Monday, citing three people familiar with the discussion. The newspaper said that Jacobs initially objected.

He was then told that political staff at NOAA would be dismissed if the situation wasn't resolved.

The threat was followed by an unsigned NOAA statement affirming Trump's claims and disavowing the tweet from the National Weather Service in Birmingham about the hurricane.


Friday, September 06, 2019

Even moderate drinking in pregnancy can affect a child's IQ

November 14, 2012
University of Bristol
Relatively small levels of exposure to alcohol while in the womb can influence a child's IQ, according to a new study using data from over 4,000 mothers and their children.


Four genetic variants in alcohol-metabolising genes among the 4,167 children were strongly related to lower IQ at age eight. The child's IQ was on average almost two points lower per genetic modification they possessed.

But this effect was only seen among the children of women who were moderate drinkers. There was no effect evident among children whose mothers abstained during pregnancy, strongly suggesting that it was the exposure to alcohol in the womb that was leading to the difference in child IQ. Heavy drinkers were not included in the study.


FSU researchers find furry friends ease depression, loneliness after spousal loss

News Release 5-Sep-2019
Florida State University

As Healthy Aging Month is underway this September, Florida State University researchers have found the companionship of a pet after the loss of a spouse can help reduce feelings of depression and loneliness in older adults.


PTSD linked to increased risk of ovarian cancer

News Release 5-Sep-2019
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Women who experienced six or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in life had a twofold greater risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who never had any PTSD symptoms, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Moffitt Cancer Center.

The findings indicate that having higher levels of PTSD symptoms, such as being easily startled by ordinary noises or avoiding reminders of the traumatic experience, can be associated with increased risks of ovarian cancer even decades after women experience a traumatic event. The study also found that the link between PTSD and ovarian cancer remained for the most aggressive forms of ovarian cancer.

The findings were published in Cancer Research, on September 5, 2019.


Students who do not date are not social misfits

News Release 5-Sep-2019

Prior research identified four distinct dating trajectories from 6th to 12th grade: Low, Increasing, High Middle School, and Frequent. In a new study published in the Journal of School Health, researchers found that adolescents who were not in a romantic relationship had good social skills and low depression, and fared better or equal to peers who dated.


Research warns of the far-reaching consequences of measles epidemic and failure to vaccinate

News Release 5-Sep-2019
European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) 5th Vaccine Conference will hear that the risks of failing to vaccinate children may extend far beyond one specific vaccine, although currently the most urgent problem to address is the resurgence of measles.

Measles, a highly contagious infectious disease, is serious, causing fever, rash and other symptoms in most children and complications including pneumonia and brain inflammation. In 2018, across the globe measles killed approximately 1 in every 75 children infected with the virus, leading to over 100,000 deaths.

Furthermore, research by Assistant Professor Michael Mina, MD of Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA and colleagues from his own and other groups suggests that infection with measles in unvaccinated children increases their risk of other, subsequent severe, non-measles infectious diseases in the 2-3 years following infection. Thus, after surviving measles, children may fall ill or die from other infections which they previously developed immunity to, but this immunity was erased by the measles virus.


Study links hearing aids to lower risk of dementia, depression and falls

News Release 5-Sep-2019
Study of Medicare HMO participants, whose insurance covers part of hearing aid cost, reveals disparities in use and difference in incidence of major conditions after 3 years
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Older adults who get a hearing aid for a newly diagnosed hearing loss have a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, depression or anxiety for the first time over the next three years, and a lower risk of suffering fall-related injuries, than those who leave their hearing loss uncorrected, a new study finds.

Yet only 12% of those who have a formal diagnosis of hearing loss actually get the devices - even when they have insurance coverage for at least part of the cost, the study shows. It also reveals gaps in hearing aid use among people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, geographic locations and genders.


When the researchers looked at the path that patients who received hearing aids took over three years, compared with those who didn't get the devices, significant differences emerged.

In all, the relative risk of being diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, within three years of a hearing loss diagnosis was 18% lower for hearing aid users. The risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety by the end of three years was 11% lower for hearing aid users, and the risk of being treated for fall-related injuries was 13% lower.

The study also confirms previous studies' findings that people with hearing loss had much higher rates of dementia, depression and fall injuries than the general population.

The reasons for this are complicated, and can include loss of social interaction, loss of independence, loss of balance and less stimulation to the brain. Some researchers also believe that the loss of nerve impulses from the ear to the brain, and loss of cognitive ability leading to dementia, could be part of the same aging process.


High blood pressure treatment may slow cognitive decline

News Release 5-Sep-2019
American Heart Association Meeting Report - Presentation #004; Session 05A
American Heart Association

High blood pressure appears to accelerate cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults and treating high blood pressure may slow down the process, according to a preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

The findings are important because high blood pressure and cognitive decline are two of the most common conditions associated with aging, and more people are living longer worldwide.


Single traumatic brain injury can have long-term consequences for cognition

News Release 4-Sep-2019
American Association for the Advancement of Science

A single incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to long-lasting neurodegeneration, according to a study of 32 individuals. In addition to clarifying the little-understood chronic effects of TBI, the study's methods could improve the diagnosis and monitoring of brain damage in patients who have suffered an injury. Research has shown that TBI can trigger progressive accumulation of tau, a protein associated with neurodegeneration that plays a major role in Alzheimer's disease.


Thursday, September 05, 2019

Healthiest lifestyle linked to 75% reduction in diabetes risk, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death in those already with diabetes

News Release 4-Sep-2019
Healthiest lifestyle linked to 75% reduction in diabetes risk, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death in those already with diabetes

People with the healthiest lifestyle have a 75% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with the least healthy lifestyle, according to a new study in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes). Amongst those individuals with type 2 diabetes, a healthy lifestyle is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a lower risk of death from all causes, including CVD and cancer.


An Anthem Against Silence

See link below to see whole poem, and to hear Amanda Palmer reading this poem

By Maria Popova

“Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent,” biologist Rachel Carson wrote to her most beloved friend as she was about to catalyze the modern environmental movement with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring.


the words she cited, though frequently misattributed to Abraham Lincoln, turned out to be the opening lines of a piercing poem titled “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919), from her 1914 book Poems of Problems (public domain | public library), written at the peak of the Women’s Suffrage movement and just as WWI was about to erupt.


To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Global heating made Hurricane Dorian bigger, wetter – and more deadly

Michael Mann and Andrew E Dessler
Wed 4 Sep 2019 02.00 EDT


While the science has yet to come in on the specifics of just how much worse climate change made Dorian, we already know enough to say that warming worsened the damage. Because it’s not a coincidence that Dorian was one of the strongest landfalling storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, with the strongest sustained peak winds east of Florida, and the strongest ever to hit the Bahamas. This comes less than a year after Florida withstood the first landfalling category 5 hurricane in decades, on 5 October – the latest ever in the season for a storm that strong.

On a basic physics level, we know that warm waters fuel hurricanes, and Dorian was strengthened by waters well above average temperatures. The fact that climate change has heated up our oceans means Dorian was stronger than it would have been had we not spent the past 150 years dumping carbon pollution into the atmosphere. Sea surface temperatures were more than 1C warmer in the region where Dorian formed and strengthened than they were before we started burning fossil fuels.


Empirically, there is a roughly 7% increase in maximum sustained wind speeds of the strongest storms for each 1C of warming. Since destructive potential is proportional to the third power of the wind speed, that corresponds to a 23% increase in potential wind damage. We saw that wind damage in the heartbreaking scenes of total devastation that have come in from the Bahamas.

We know that the warmer air gets, the more moisture it can hold – and then turn into flooding rains in a storm like this. And we know that as climate change has melted glaciers and ice around the world, that water has gone into the oceans. The extra water, along with the expansion of water as it’s warmed, means that sea levels have been raised. That means when a storm like Dorian makes landfall, there’s more water for its storm surge, already bolstered by stronger winds, to push further inland.

All that extra water makes hurricanes even more deadly, since it’s generally not the wind but the water that kills people. So although Dorian’s 220mph gusts were incredibly dangerous (and sped up thanks to climate change), it was the 20-plus feet of storm surge and torrential rains that were the most destructive elements.

But there are two other ways that warming has probably worsened Dorian’s damage. One is that all that warm water allowed for the storm to ramp up quickly, undergoing what is known as rapid intensification as it exploded from a moderate category 2 to extreme category 5 over just two days. A recent study has shown that this is getting more common because of climate change, and indeed the past few years have seen many similar examples of this effect in action. Dorian was the fourth category 5 storm in just the last four years.

So while climate change is making it so hurricanes can spin up quickly, it may also be slowing down how fast hurricanes move. Instead of moving across a coast and dissipating as normal, in recent years these storms are lingering longer in place, which means more flooding as the water piles up. For example, that’s exactly what we saw in Houston during Harvey, and in North Carolina during Florence.


'Extreme partisan gerrymandering': North Carolina judges rule legislative maps violate state Constitution

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY
,USA TODAY•September 3, 2019

Officials in North Carolina have two weeks to redraw the state’s legislative district maps following a court's decision Tuesday that strikes down the current districts for "extreme partisan gerrymandering" intended to benefit Republicans in the state's General Assembly.


Specifically, the court found: “The effect of these carefully crafted partisan maps is that, in all but the most unusual election scenarios, the Republican Party will control a majority of both chambers of the General Assembly. In other words, the Court finds that in many election environments, it is the carefully crafted maps, and not the will of the voters, that dictate the election outcomes in a significant number of legislative districts and, ultimately, the majority control of the General Assembly."

State lawmakers now have until September 18 to draw new legislative districts.

Additionally, the entire process must be conducted in full public view, including that all map-drawing be done at public hearings with any relevant computer screen visible to legislatures and observers, the court also ordered Tuesday.


Teens who eat lots of fast food and avoid fruits and vegetables may be more likely to have depression

Gabby Landsverk
,INSIDER•September 3, 2019

Teens with unhealthy eating habits may be more likely to have depression, according to new research.

A high-sodium, low-potassium diet (such as one with a lot of fast food and not much produce) was linked to more severe symptoms of depression.

These results suggest eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could help improve mental health. But more research is needed to address other diet and lifestyle factors, as the study doesn't prove cause and effect.


The effect of climate change on suicide rates

Mar. 29, 2019
By Michelle Horton

As global temperatures rise, climate change’s impacts on mental health are becoming increasingly evident. Recent research has linked elevated temperatures to an increase in violence, stress and decreased cognitive function leading to impacts such as reduced test scores, lowered worker productivity and impaired decision-making.

Adding to the concern, a Stanford study led by economist Marshall Burke also finds a link between increased temperatures and suicide rates. The research, published in Nature Climate Change, concluded that up to 21,000 additional suicides will occur by 2050 within the United States and Mexico if unmitigated climate change continues to warm the Earth at the current projected rates.


They found that hotter than average temperatures increase both suicide rates and the use of depressive language on Twitter. They also concluded that socioeconomic status had little to no impact, meaning wealth does not help insulate populations from suicide risk.

“One claim you often hear is that it’s the socioeconomically disadvantaged that are going to be affected by climate change. Our results suggest that at least in the case of mental health, impacts are going to cut across the income distribution and could affect any of us,” Burke said.

He and his team then used global climate model projections to predict how future temperatures could affect suicide rates. They found climate change could increase suicide rates by 1.4 percent in the United States and 2.3 percent in Mexico by 2050.