Saturday, February 26, 2022

UPS slashes pay for part-time workers as profits grow

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/26/ups-part-time-workers-pay-cuts

 

Michael Sainato
Sat 26 Feb 2022 05.00 EST

 

 Thousands of part-time workers at the United Parcel Service (UPS) around the US were recently informed that their hourly wages would be cut, eliminating raises implemented in 2021 at some hubs as a means to attract and retain workers in the tighter labor market.

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“We were told that the raise was permanent,” said Sanchez.

At the end of January, Sanchez said he was informed that his hourly wage and those of every other part-time employee at UPS would revert back to $15.33 an hour. He claimed the wage cut resulted in many workers quitting.

“Part-time workers are the backbone of the UPS operation. With inflation, $15.33 an hour is tough for workers and their families,” said Sanchez. “I work two jobs in order to make ends meet. I’m a married father of three. The $3 cut really takes a toll on our family’s budget.”
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UPS reported record profits in 2021 as it increased shipping prices; its profits grew nearly tenfold in 2021 to $12.89bn from $1.34bn in 2020. Its stock price hit a record high in February 2022. UPS is projecting more growth in 2022, with the expectation to hit 2023 financial goals a year early. The company approved a $5bn stock buyback program in August 2021.

Teamsters local unions at UPS have been holding protests against the pay cuts for part-timers, which have been up to $6 an hour in cuts for some workers.

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At least 5 million children have lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19 since March 2020, updated figures suggest

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944436

 

 News Release 24-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
The Lancet

 

The number of children estimated to have experienced the death of a parent or caregiver as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has surged to more than 5.2 million globally, according to a new modelling study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Estimates of the numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death nearly doubled in the six months from 1 May 2021 through 31 October 2021, compared with the amount after the first 14 months of the pandemic (March 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021).

Globally, the new study suggests that two out of three children orphaned from COVID-19 are adolescents aged 10 to 17 years. Additionally, in line with evidence that COVID-19 deaths disproportionally affect men [1], three out of four children worldwide who experienced the death of a parent during the pandemic lost their fathers.

Overall, children who experience the loss of a caregiver have an increased risk of poverty, exploitation and sexual violence or abuse, HIV infection, mental health challenges and severe distress, and in some contexts, increased vulnerability to gang involvement and violent extremism.

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 “We estimate that for every person reported to have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, one child is left orphaned or loses a caregiver. That is the equivalent of one child every six seconds facing a heightened risk of lifelong adversity unless given appropriate support in time.

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Study shows young, healthy adults died from COVID-19 due to ECMO shortage

 

An example of why it is important for people to get vaccinated, even when they feel they themselves are at low risk, to reduce  spreading it to others.

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944754


 News Release 25-Feb-2022
90 percent who qualified but did not receive ECMO died in hospital
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Nearly 90 percent of COVID-19 patients who qualified for, but did not receive, ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) due to a shortage of resources during the height of the pandemic died in the hospital, despite being young with few other health issues, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Approximately 90% of patients for whom health system capacity to provide ECMO was unavailable died in the hospital, compared to 43% mortality for patients who received ECMO, despite both groups having young age and limited comorbidities.

 

“Even when saving ECMO for the youngest, healthiest and sickest patients, we could only provide it to a fraction of patients who qualified for it,” Gannon said. “I hope these data encourage hospitals and federal authorities to invest in the capacity to provide ECMO to more patients.”

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“Throughout the pandemic, it has been challenging for many outside of medicine to see the real-world impact of hospitals being ‘strained’ or ‘overwhelmed,’” said co-author Matthew Semler, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at VUMC. “This article helps make those effects tangible. When the number of patients with COVID-19 exceeds hospital resources, young, healthy Americans die who otherwise would have lived.”

 

In total, the risk of death for patients who received ECMO at a specialized center was approximately half of those who did not. 

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Health care wage growth has lagged behind other industries, despite pandemic burden

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944765

 

 News Release 25-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Indiana University

 

A new analysis from Indiana University, the nonprofit Rand Corp. and the University of Michigan highlights the changes in the U.S. health care workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that the average wages for U.S. health care workers rose less than wages in other industries during 2020 and the first six months of 2021. This is in spite of the health care workforce shouldering the heavy burden of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Providence study: COVID vaccine effectiveness declines after 6 months without boosters

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944741

 

 News Release 25-Feb-2022
New data helps inform nation’s plan and prioritize booster programs
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Providence Health & Services

 

A study released in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine by Providence, one of the largest health systems in the United States, confirms the overall effectiveness of vaccines in preventing severe infection resulting in hospitalization from Covid-19, but also shows a substantial decline in protection after six months.   Completed by a team of clinicians and scientists in the Providence Research Network, the study examined data from nearly 50,000 hospital admissions between April and November of 2021, finding that vaccines were 94% effective at preventing hospitalization 50-100 days after receiving the shot but fell to 80.4% 200-250 days later, with even more rapid declines after 250 days.

In addition to examining the effectiveness of vaccines over time, the Providence study was also able to identify factors associated with reduced vaccine effectiveness.  Key risk factors for a severe “breakthrough” infection included advanced age (80+), comorbidities such as cancer, transplants, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, or heart failure, the amount of time that had elapsed since being vaccinated, and the type of vaccine one received.  For the latter factor, the study found that the Moderna vaccine offered the best overall protection over time, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offered initial protection equivalent to Moderna’s but declined more rapidly over time.  Persons receiving the Janssen vaccine also had higher odds of experiencing a severe breakthrough infection compared to Moderna. 

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Families devastated following Brazil’s deadly mudslides

 

Climate experts have warned that intense rainstorms — and their devastating effects — are going to become more frequent as the Earth’s atmosphere warms. 


https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/-feel-powerless-families-devastated-brazils-deadly-mudslides-rcna16739


Feb. 18, 2022, 9:35 AM EST
By Carolina Torres and Leonardo Coelho

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In Morro da Oficina, where Arcaminate has looked for her relatives, 80 houses disappeared in a matter of minutes. As of Friday, 117 bodies had been found, and more than 100 people were still missing. 

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Located almost 3,000 feet above sea level, Petrópolis has a population of around 300,000 and is an important tourist destination in the region. Less than an hour from the famous capital, the town attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is also known for its summer rains.

According to meteorologists, the recent storm that hit the area delivered an entire month of expected rain in just three hours. The deluge also hit a very specific part of town, soaking the already thick soil that sits above a layer of rock. The massive weight triggered mudslides that cascaded down the steep slopes, destroying dozens of homes and quickly overflowing the city’s historical center. Many in its path were trapped and could not escape.

Such rainstorms, once rare, are becoming more common — as are their devastating effects. Similar storms and floods hit Europe in July, with climate experts warning that such storms are going to become more frequent as the Earth’s atmosphere warms.

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He added that this disaster is also an example of the effects of climate change.

“Abnormal events like these rains, that used to be rare, are happening with increasing frequency here and around the world,” Artaxo said.

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U.S. sea level rise accelerating, NOAA says

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/us-sea-level-rise-accelerating-noaa-says-rcna16205

 

Feb. 15, 2022, 2:35 PM EST / Updated Feb. 16, 2022, 8:14 AM EST
By Evan Bush

 

Sea level rise is accelerating rapidly and U.S. coasts could on average see another foot of water by 2050, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report released Tuesday.

“The United States is expected to experience as much sea level rise in 30 years as we saw over the span of the entire last century,” Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said. “Current and future emissions matter, but this will happen no matter what we do about emissions.” 

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Global warming — which is driven by the use of fossil fuels — is the primary cause of sea level rise. Scientists have been observing the trend for decades as water expands because of higher temperatures, as glaciers melt and as ice sheets are diminished.

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 “A single flooding event, one that now happens every four to five years on average in coastal communities in the southeast United States, will happen four to five times every year,” Nicole LeBoeuf, an assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said.

So-called sunny day floods — when coasts are inundated not due to storms, but because of high tides — are projected to increase dramatically, too.

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The report includes five scenarios for sea level rise by 2100. The lowest limits sea level rise to about two feet in comparison to 2000. The highest scenario predicts more than 7 feet of additional sea level rise since the turn of the millennium.

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https://theconversation.com/how-high-above-sea-level-am-i-if-youve-googled-this-youre-likely-asking-the-wrong-question-an-expert-explains-165882

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When sea levels rise, the shape of the coastline changes with it and can move inland to a great extent. If sea levels rise by 1m, the coast can erode inland by 1km [1000m] or more. This can potentially create risk for properties even if they are currently above the height of the projected sea level rise.

[So a one foot rise can erode land inland by 1000 feet [333 yards] or more. ]

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Natural habitat maximizes the benefits of birds for farmers, food safety, and conservation

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944381

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Bringing out the best in wild birds on farms
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of California - Davis

 

A supportive environment can bring out the best in an individual — even for a bird.

After an E.coli outbreak in 2006 devastated the spinach industry, farmers were pressured to remove natural habitat to keep wildlife — and the foodborne pathogens they can sometimes carry — from visiting crops. A study published today from the University of California, Davis, shows that farms with surrounding natural habitat experience the most benefits from birds, including less crop damage and lower food-safety risks.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, was conducted at 21 strawberry fields along California’s Central Coast. It found that birds were more likely to carry pathogens and eat berries without surrounding natural habitat.

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Siblings of children with disabilities may have greater cognitive empathy

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944011

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Society for Research in Child Development

 

Having a child with a disability or a developmental delay is often a stressful experience for a family. Siblings in such families may be exposed to greater stress and challenges. There is little research about the positive effects of growing up with a sibling with disabilities. However, a new study published in Child Development by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Toronto, examines how growing up as a sibling of a child with disabilities may nurture empathy. This is one of the first studies to examine the possible positive effects of growing up with a sibling with a disability.

“The findings indicate that siblings of children with disabilities may have greater cognitive empathy (i.e., understanding of others’ thoughts and feelings), which is important as cognitive empathy is key for social skills.” said Yonat Rum, a postdoctoral researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Cambridge.

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Genomic study shows that England’s travel quarantine measures were effective – up to a limit

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943978

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Cambridge

 

Fourteen-day quarantine measures imposed on incoming travellers returning to England in summer 2020 helped prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, particularly among 16-20 year olds, say a team led by Cambridge scientists.

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“Our study shows that while travel restrictions are effective in reducing the number of imported COVID-19 cases, they do not eliminate them entirely. It’s likely that one of the main reasons that quarantine measures helped is that they put people off travelling during this period.”

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Children with higher exposure to air pollution and lower exposure to green space have 62% increased risk of ADHD

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944392

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)

 

Children living in areas with higher air pollution due to PM2.5 particles and very low levels of green space might have up to 62% increased risk of developing ADHD. On the contrary, children living in greener and less polluted areas have a 50% lower risk of developing the disorder

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https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944365

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Cognitive brain function in youth football players can be impaired by repetitive “subconcussive” head impacts
Peer-Reviewed Publication

HealthTech Connex Inc.

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The research team monitored the brain vital signs of 15 male youth football players (age 14 or under) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, during pre- and post-season play who did not sustain a concussion diagnosis during the season.

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The results of this youth football Brain Communications study showed:

    Significant brain vital sign changes in pre-to-post season cognitive processing speed.
    A significant relationship between the subconcussive brain vital sign changes and head impact exposures as measured by the total number of head impacts as well as number of games and/or practices over the season.
    The authors noted that the brain vital sign changes and total number of head impacts for the football players closely related with the results from older, Junior-A, ice hockey players from a previous study.

 

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Extreme heat linked to increase in mental health emergency care

 

 https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944180

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
On extremely hot summer days, US adults were at an increased risk of visiting emergency rooms for mental health crises related to substance use, anxiety, stress, and more.
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Boston University School of Medicine

 

On extremely hot summer days, US adults were at an increased risk of visiting emergency rooms for mental health crises related to substance use, anxiety, stress, and more.

During periods of extreme heat, clinicians should expect to see an increase in patients requiring mental health services, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers.

Published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, the study found that days with higher-than-normal temperatures during the summer season in the United States were associated with increased rates of emergency department (ED) visits for any mental health-related condition, particularly substance use, anxiety and stress disorders, and mood disorders.

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Secret pacts between tobacco companies and retailers are a bad bargain for public health

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944496


 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Study shows agreements allow tobacco manufacturers to give their products primary placement in stores, discount pricing and target specific demographics
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Tobacco companies handsomely incentivize retailers around the world to follow harsh requirements related to selling and marketing tobacco products through contracts that fly under the radar of both consumers and policymakers.

These agreements allow tobacco manufacturers to give their products primary placement in stores, discount their pricing and target specific demographics. Such rigorous control undermines ongoing public health efforts to decrease tobacco use, especially in settings where products are easily accessible, according to a new study by the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.

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While retailers were often given substantial incentives – including monetary awards, vouchers, event tickets and other lavish gifts, such as all-expenses-paid trips to Fiji, luxury cars and once-in-a-lifetime experiences – these deals came at the expense of ceding store control to tobacco companies. Compliance with requirements was often enforced at the threat of sanctions or loss of incentives, which could be detrimental to a retailer’s operation.

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Salt in soluble paracetamol/acetaminophen linked to increase risk of cardiovascular disease and death

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944213

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
European Society of Cardiology

 

Doctors have warned that people should try to avoid taking dissolving, fizzy paracetamol [also known as acetaminophen] that contains salt, following findings from a large study that shows a link with a significantly increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and death.

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 Sodium, one of the main components of salt, is often used to help drugs such as paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) dissolve and disintegrate in water. However, effervescent and soluble formulations of 0.5 g tablets of paracetamol can contain 0.44 and 0.39 g of sodium respectively. If a person took the maximum daily dose of two 0.5 g tablets every six hours, they would consume 3.5 and 3.1 g of sodium respectively – a dose that exceeds the total daily intake of 2 g a day recommended by the World Health Organization. Other formulations exist that contain an extremely small amount of sodium or none at all.

 

Too much salt in diets is known to be a major public health problem and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death among patients with high blood pressure. However, there is inconsistent evidence of a similar risk for people with normal blood pressure and it would be unethical to conduct a randomised controlled trial to look at this.

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The researchers found the risk of heart attack, stroke or heart failure after one year for patients with high blood pressure taking sodium-containing paracetamol was 5.6% (122 cases of CVD), while it was 4.6% (3051 CVD cases) among those taking non-sodium-containing paracetamol. The risk of death was also higher; the one-year risk was 7.6% (404 deaths) and 6.1% (5,510 deaths), respectively.

 

There was a similar increased risk among patients without high blood pressure. Among those taking sodium-containing paracetamol, the one-year CVD risk was 4.4% (105 cases of CVD) and 3.7% (2079 cases of CVD) among those taking non-sodium-containing paracetamol. The risk of dying was 7.3% (517 deaths) and 5.9% (5,190 deaths), respectively.

 

Prof. Zeng said: “We also found that the risk of cardiovascular disease and death increased as the duration of sodium-containing paracetamol intake increased. The risk of cardiovascular disease increased by a quarter for patients with high blood pressure who had one prescription of sodium-containing paracetamol, and it increased by nearly a half for patients who had five or more prescriptions of sodium-containing paracetamol. We saw similar increases in people without high blood pressure. The risk of death also increased with increasing doses of sodium-containing paracetamol in both patients with and without high blood pressure.”

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Low-meat and meat-free diets associated with lower overall cancer risk

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944012

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
BMC (BioMed Central)

 

Eating meat five times or less per week is associated with a lower overall cancer risk, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

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 The researchers found that the overall cancer risk was 2% lower among those who ate meat five times or less per week, 10% lower among those who ate fish but not meat, and 14% lower among vegetarians and vegans, compared to those who ate meat more than five times per week. When comparing the incidence of specific cancers with participants’ diet, the authors found that those who ate meat five times or less per week had a 9% lower risk of colorectal cancer, compared to those who ate meat more than five times per week. They also found that the risk of prostate cancer was 20% lower among men who ate fish but not meat and 31% lower among men who followed a vegetarian diet, compared to those who ate meat more than five times per week. Post-menopausal women who followed a vegetarian diet had an 18% lower risk of breast cancer than those who ate meat more than five times per week. However, the findings suggest that this was due to vegetarian women tending to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than women who ate meat.

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Humans can endure lower max temperatures and humidities than previously thought

 

So humans will be in danger of dying sooner from global warming.

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944592


 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Humans can endure lower max temperatures and humidities than previously thought
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Penn State

 

As climate change nudges the global temperature higher, there is rising interest in the maximum environmental conditions like heat and humidity to which humans can adapt. New Penn State research found that in humid climates, that temperature may be lower than previously thought.

It has been widely believed that a 35°C wet-bulb temperature (equal to 95°F at 100 percent humidity or 115°F at 50 percent humidity) was the maximum a human could endure before they could no longer adequately regulate their body temperature, potentially causing heat stroke or death over a prolonged exposure.

Wet-bulb temperature is read by a thermometer with a wet wick over its bulb and is affected by humidity and air movement. It represents a humid temperature at which the air is saturated and holds as much moisture as it can in the form of water vapor, and that a person’s sweat will not evaporate at that skin temperature.

But in their new study, the researchers found that the actual maximum wet-bulb temperature is lower – about 31°C wet-bulb or 87°F at 100 percent humidity – even for young, healthy subjects. The temperature for older populations, who are more vulnerable to heat, is likely even lower.

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 Kenney added that it’s important to note that using this temperature to assess risk only makes sense in humid climates. In drier climates sweat is able to evaporate from the skin, which helps cool body temperature. Unsafe dry heat environments rely more on the temperature and the ability to sweat, and less on the humidity.

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https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944175

 

 News Release 23-Feb-2022
Serious allergic reactions to food among children stabilize since guideline changes
Peer-Reviewed Publication

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

 

The rate of increase in serious allergic reactions to food among children has flattened since changes to Australian infant feeding guidelines, a new study has found.

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Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) infant feeding and food allergy prevention guidelines changed in response to published studies over the past 15 years, from a recommendation to ‘delay’ allergenic foods (1999 to 2007) to ‘not delay’ (2008) and then later to ‘introduce early and often’ (since 2016).

In the 1990s most guidelines recommended avoiding allergenic foods until age 1-3 years and avoidance of these foods in infancy became widespread. By 2008, this advice was removed in Australia and New Zealand based on increasing evidence that delaying allergenic foods had been associated with an increased food allergy risk. 

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 “In children, aged 1 to 4 years, the yearly rate of increase dropped from 17.6 per cent a year between 1999 to 2007, to 6.2 per cent a year between 2008 to 2015 and then 3.9 per cent a year since 2016.

“A slowing in the rates of increase in food anaphylaxis admissions also occurred in those aged 5-14 years, born after the 2008 changes. These changes were not seen in older teens aged 15 and over who were born before 2008, who could not have benefited from the changing guidelines.

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Professor Tang said it was important not to be complacent as overall food anaphylaxis hospital admission rates had still increased and there was an unmet need for effective treatments that could induce remission.

“The absence of an absolute drop in anaphylaxis admissions is disappointing, although it is possible that other environmental factors such as microbial exposures, diet and vitamin D levels may be driving the increased admission rates,” she said.

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The results come after a MCRI led study last year also found changes to the guidelines had led to a 16 per cent decrease in peanut allergy among infants and noted a significant increase in parents introducing peanut into their babies’ diet.

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Severe COVID-19 affects pregnancy outcomes

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944123

 

 News Release 24-Feb-2022
Does severe COVID-19 affect pregnancy outcomes?
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Wiley

 

New research published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica indicates that severe COVID-19 in pregnancy increases the risk of pre-labor caesarean birth, a very or extreme preterm birth, stillborn birth, and the need for admission to a neonatal unit.

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 “This new analysis shows that certain pregnant women admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 face an elevated risk of severe disease. However, it shows once again the strongly protective effect of vaccination against severe disease and adverse outcomes for both mother and baby,” said senior author Marian Knight, FMedSci, of the University of Oxford.

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Prenatal exposure to phthalates may affect infants’ health

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944358

 

 News Release 24-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Wiley

 

Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals that are used in plastics and as food additives. A recent study in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry examined whether prenatal exposure to phthalates in maternal and cord blood affects birth outcomes in infants.

Results from the study involving 65 mother-infant pairs suggest that phthalates have potentially estrogenic effects in female infants and anti-androgenic effects in male infants. Also, higher levels of several different phthalates were associated with smaller head circumference in all infants. 

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Walkable neighborhoods can reduce prevalence of obesity, diabetes

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944132

 

 News Release 24-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
The Endocrine Society

 

People who live in walkable neighborhoods with access to parks and other outdoor activities are more active and less likely to have diabetes or obesity, according to a new paper published in the Endocrine Society’s journal, Endocrine Reviews.
 

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Child abuse actually decreased during COVID. Here's why

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944585

 

 News Release 24-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus

 

Against the dismal health landscape of the pandemic, researchers have discovered some good news about family well-being. Physician Robert Sege, a Tufts University School of Medicine professor of medicine and pediatrics and director of the Center for Community-Engaged Medicine at Tufts Medical Center, and his colleague Allison Stephens found that three different statistical indicators of child abuse—emergency department visits, abusive head trauma admissions, and reports to child welfare offices—dropped sharply in the spring of 2020, precisely as the world shifted into lockdown. This surprised some experts, who feared child abuse would rise as families—under the duress of closed schools, job disruptions, and myriad other pandemic stressors—tried to find their way through. Sege, whose research focuses on child abuse prevention, addressed the paradox in a recent interview.

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We have known for a long time that supports for families—food benefits, utility assistance, all those things—decrease child abuse. And in particular, paid parental leave, which we just got in Massachusetts in 2021, decreases abusive head trauma in infants. All of these things point to these external social factors as crucial: If you give families enough to not be pushed over the edge, then they don’t abuse their children. This is really important.

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 tags: child abuse,

Newly diagnosed diabetes in patients with COVID-19 may simply be a transitory form of the blood sugar disorder

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944648

 

 News Release 24-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Massachusetts General Hospital

 

 Many COVID-19 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes during hospital admission may in fact have a temporary form of the disease related to the acute stress of the viral infection and may return to normal blood sugar levels soon after discharge, a study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found. These patients are more likely to be younger, non-white, and on Medicaid or uninsured compared to individuals with previously diagnosed diabetes, suggesting many of these “new-onset” cases may simply be pre-existing but undiagnosed diabetes in individuals with limited access to healthcare services, according to the study published in Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.

High rates of newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus (NDDM) have been reported in COVID-19 hospital admissions around the world. It is still unclear, however, if this phenomenon represents truly new diabetes or previously undiagnosed cases, what the cause of these elevated blood sugars may be, and whether patients’ blood sugars improve after resolution of COVID-19 infection. Pre-existing diabetes in people with COVID-19 has been associated with higher rates of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, and death.

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Drought, pesticides take a toll on Chile's crucial honeybees

 

I suggest reading the whole article:

 

https://apnews.com/article/business-agriculture-chile-flowers-plants-ceb14b0940d609714d7261cdb45ea653

 

A drought has gripped Chile for 13 years and the flowers that fed Carlos Peralta’s honeybees around the central town of Colina have grown increasingly scarce.

He said he had lost about 300 hives since the start of November and was left with a choice: try to keep the 900 that remained alive with an artificial nectar or move them to a place where flowers and pollen are more abundant.

“If the bees die, we all die. ... The bee is life,” he said, referring to the insects’ key role in pollinating plants both wild and commercial, helping Chile maintain its role as a major fruit exporter.

So Peralta decided to move his operations some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) to the south, to Puerto Montt.

Andrés González, a regional expert on biodiversity for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said a reduced population of pollinating insects “has to do ... with the use of pesticides and fertilizers, monocultures, droughts caused in great part by climate change and by bad management of (water) resources.”

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Wildfires likely to increase by a third by 2050, warns UN

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/23/climate-crisis-driving-increase-in-wildfires-across-globe-says-report-aoe

 

Phoebe Weston
@phoeb0
Wed 23 Feb 2022 01.00 EST

 

Wildfires that have devastated California, Australia and Siberia will become 50% more common by the end of the century, according to a new report that warns of uncontrollable blazes ravaging previously unaffected parts of the planet.

The escalating climate crisis and land-use change are driving a global increase in extreme wildfires, with a 14% increase predicted by 2030 and a 30% increase by 2050, according to a UN report involving more than 50 international researchers.

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“From Australia to Canada, the United States to China, across Europe and the Amazon, wildfires are wreaking havoc on the environment, wildlife, human health and infrastructure,” the foreword of the report said, adding that while the situation “is certainly extreme, it is not yet hopeless”.

Although “landscape fires” are essential for some ecosystems to function properly, the report looks specifically at “wildfires”, which it defines as unusual free-burning vegetation fires that pose a risk society, the economy or environment. This month, researchers found global heating could cause “megafires resistant to fire-suppression practices” in southern California. In the US, nearly 3m hectares (7.7m acres) of land were burned by wildfires last year, with blazes becoming increasingly hard to fight.

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Wildfires have exacerbated the climate crisis by destroying carbon-rich ecosystems such as peatlands, permafrost and forests, making the landscape more flammable. Restoring ecosystems such as wetlands and peatlands helps prevent fires from happening and creates buffers in the landscape.

Climate change increases the conditions in which wildfires start, including more drought, higher air temperatures and strong winds. Equally, carbon emissions from wildfires are at an all-time high. Tackling the climate crisis is a key priority in wildfire prevention, the report said.

-----

 

 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

COVID-19 genetic risk variant protects against HIV

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943854

 

 News Release 21-Feb-2022
A COVID-19 risk variant inherited from Neandertals reduces a person’s risk of contracting HIV by 27 percent
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

 

Some people become seriously ill when infected with SARS-CoV-2 while others have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. In addition to risk factors such as advanced age and chronic diseases, like diabetes, our genetic heritage also contributes to our individual COVID-19 severity risk.

In the autumn of 2020, Hugo Zeberg at Karolinska Institutet and MPI-EVA and Svante Pääbo at MPI-EVA showed that we inherited the major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 from Neandertals. In the spring of 2021, the same researcher duo studied this variant in ancient human DNA and observed that its frequency has increased significantly since the last ice age. In fact, it has become unexpectedly common for a genetic variant inherited from Neandertals. Hence, it may have had a favourable impact on its carriers in the past. “This major genetic risk factor for COVID-19 is so common that I started wondering whether it might actually be good for something, such as providing protection against another infectious disease”, says Hugo Zeberg, who is the sole author of the new study in PNAS.

----- 

However, since HIV only arose during the 20th century, protection against this infectious disease cannot explain why the genetic risk variant for COVID-19 became so common among humans as early as 10,000 years ago. “Now we know that this risk variant for COVID-19 provides protection against HIV. But it was probably protection against yet another disease that increased its frequency after the last ice age”, Zeberg concludes.

[I saw ele

where that

Sexual assault, sexual harassment linked to higher long-term hypertension risk in women

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943885

 

 News Release 22-Feb-2022
Journal of the American Heart Association Report
Peer-Reviewed Publication
American Heart Association

 

Women who have experienced sexual assault, workplace sexual harassment or both are at higher long-term risk of developing hypertension than women who have no history of these types of trauma, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a peer-reviewed, open access journal of the American Heart Association.

-----

 

High BMI in upper teens a risk factor for severe COVID-19

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/944079

 

 News Release 22-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Gothenburg

 

Men with a high body mass index (BMI) in their upper teens had an elevated risk of severe COVID-19, requiring hospitalization, later in life, University of Gothenburg researchers show in a register study.

-----

 

Evidence grows for vaping’s role in gum disease

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943624

 

 News Release 22-Feb-2022
Research confirms unique community of bacteria and immune responses among people who use e-cigarettes
Peer-Reviewed Publication
New York University

 

A series of new studies by researchers at NYU College of Dentistry highlights how e-cigarettes alter oral health and may be contributing to gum disease. The latest, published in mBio, finds that e-cigarette users have a unique oral microbiome—the community of bacteria and other microorganisms—that is less healthy than nonsmokers but potentially healthier than cigarette smokers, and measures worsening gum disease over time.

-----

 tags: drug use, drug abuse,

Daily activities like washing dishes reduced heart disease risk in senior women

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943850

 

 News Release 22-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of California - San Diego

 

Seniors take note, running or brisk walking is not the only way to reduce the risk of heart disease. Simply being “up and about” performing routine activities, referred to as daily life movement, including housework, gardening, cooking and self-care activities like showering can significantly benefit cardiovascular health.

Compared to women with less than two hours per day of daily life movement, those women with at least four hours of daily life movement had a 43% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, 43% lower risk of coronary heart disease, 30% lower risk of stroke and notably, a 62% lower risk of cardiovascular disease death.

-----

 

Smoking before and after conception is linked to delayed embryonic development

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943836

 

 News Release 22-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

 

Smoking by mothers during the period immediately before and after conception is linked to a delay in embryonic development, smaller foetuses at the time of the 20-week ultrasound scan, and lower birth weight.

-----

 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Exercise can help older adults retain their memories

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943658

 

 News Release 17-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Pittsburgh

 

We all know exercise is good for us, but that still leaves plenty of questions. How much exercise? Who benefits the most? And when in our lives? New research led by University of Pittsburgh psychologists pools data from dozens of studies to answer these questions, showing that older adults may be able to prevent declines in a certain kind of memory by sticking to regular exercise.

------

 “From our study, it seems like exercising about three times a week for at least four months is how much you need to reap the benefits in episodic memory.”

Episodic memory is the kind that deals with events that happened to you in the past. It’s also one of the first to decline with age. 

-----


Pressure to feel good associated with poorer individual wellbeing in happier countries

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943396

 

 News Release 17-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Scientific Reports

 

In countries with higher national happiness, citizens who perceive societal pressure to be happy report poorer wellbeing than those in countries with lower national happiness, finds a study published in Scientific Reports.

----- 

The authors found that societal pressure to be happy and not sad was reported across almost all countries from their sample and was significantly correlated with citizens reporting poor wellbeing, but there were variations when comparing between countries. Poor wellbeing included reduced life satisfaction, experiencing fewer and less intense positive emotions and more symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. For most wellbeing indicators, the relationship between societal pressure to be happy and poor wellbeing was almost twice as strong in countries with higher World Happiness Index scores than in countries with lower national happiness scores.

Countries included in the study that were rated as having higher happiness in the World Happiness Index included The Netherlands and Canada, while countries rated with lower happiness included Uganda and Senegal.

Egon Dejonckheere, lead author, said: “The level of happiness individuals feel pressured to achieve may be unattainable and reveal differences between an individual’s emotional life and the emotions society approves of. This discrepancy between an individual and society may create a perceived failure that can trigger negative emotions. In countries where all citizens appear to be happy, deviations from the expected norm are likely more apparent, which makes it more distressing.”

-----


Study strengthens case that vitamins cannot treat COVID-19

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943870

 

 News Release 17-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Toledo

 

A new review of COVID-19 hospitalization data by researchers at The University of Toledo has found that taking immune-boosting supplements such as vitamin C , vitamin D and zinc do not lessen your chance of dying from COVID-19.

-----

Their analysis did find that treatment with vitamin D may be associated with lower rates of intubation and shorter hospital stays, but the researchers say more rigorous study is needed to validate that finding.

Vitamin C and zinc were not associated with shorter hospital stays or lowering the chance a patient would be put on a ventilator.

While the study predominately looked at patients who were already sick and hospitalized with COVID-19 when given the supplements, researchers did analyze a smaller subset of individuals who had been taking vitamin D prior to contracting the virus. They found no significant difference in the mortality rate of that population either.

-----

 

 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Michigan beef found to contain dangerous levels of ‘forever chemicals’

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/11/michigan-beef-dangerous-levels-forever-chemicals

 

Tom Perkins
Fri 11 Feb 2022 06.00 EST

 

Cattle from a small south-east Michigan farm that sold beef to schools and at farmers’ markets in the state have been found to contain dangerous levels of PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals” that can pose a serious risk to human health.

The news comes after consumer groups in 2019 warned that using PFAS-laden sewage sludge as fertilizer would contaminate dairy, beef, crops and other food products. However, at the time a Michigan agricultural regulator publicly assured the state’s dairy farmers her agency wouldn’t test milk for the toxic chemicals as they didn’t want to inflict economic pain on the $15bn industry, she said.

-----

Sludge isn’t the only route PFAS takes into the nation’s food. It’s also found in pesticides, rain, packaging and water used on crops, and testing is increasingly finding the chemicals in vegetables, seafood, meat, dairy and processed foods. Consumer groups say regulators are failing to keep the dangerous compounds out of food, a problem highlighted by the Michigan contamination.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of over 9,000 compounds that are used to make products heat, water and stain resistant. They are dubbed “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally break down, and they are so effective that they are used in thousands of products across dozens of industries.

The chemicals are also linked to a range of serious health problems like cancer, liver disease, kidney issues, high cholesterol, birth defects and decreased immunity.

Still, the US Department of Agriculture has largely been absent from the PFAS discussion while the US Food And Drug Administration hasn’t yet established health limits for food. The agency only conducts limited annual testing and recently adjusted its methodology so it will only catch what consumer groups say are extremely high contamination levels, and ignore relatively low to moderate levels that can still pose a health risk.

In 2019, the FDA initially found 182 food samples to be contaminated with PFAS, but, after changing its methodology part way through the study, that figure dropped to 78, drawing accusations that it was intentionally covering up contamination. [Note: during the Trump administration.]

-----

 

 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/15/us-west-megadrought-worst-1200-years-study

 

Gabrielle Canon in Los Angeles
@GabrielleCanon
Tue 15 Feb 2022 07.27 EST


The American west has spent the last two decades in what scientists are now saying is the most extreme megadrought in at least 1,200 years. In a new study, published on Monday, researchers also noted that human-caused climate change is a significant driver of the destructive conditions and offered a grim prognosis: even drier decades lie ahead.

-----

In the summer of 2021, both Lake Mead and Lake Powell – the largest reservoirs in North America – reached record-low levels. Nearly 65% of the American west is experiencing in severe drought according to the US drought monitor, even after record rainfall hit some areas late last year. For the first time, federal official curbed allocations from the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water and power for more than 40 million people. Wildfires in the last two years have left behind more blackened earth than ever before and performed feats never thought possible.

So far conditions this year have not helped to turn the situation around. California saw one of the driest Januaries on record. February has already delivered heat waves that broke records across the state. By the start of this month, the snowpack has dwindled to below-average, melting rapidly after reaching 160% of average at the start of the year. Forecasts show there’s little short-term relief in sight.

-----

Still, Smerdon cast the conclusions in a more hopeful light. The extreme events taking place right in people’s backyards may spur understanding and action. “Knowing is half the battle,” he says. “We have a lot of challenges in front of us but we all have agency in the face of this. And there are pathways we can take that are much more sustainable and involve much less risk than the burn baby burn approach that we would take if we didn’t do anything.”


Thursday, February 10, 2022

A routine prenatal ultrasound can identify early signs of autism

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942879

 

 News Release 9-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

 

A routine prenatal ultrasound in the second trimester can identify early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka Medical Center has found.

-----

 The researchers examined data from hundreds of prenatal ultrasound scans from the fetal anatomy survey conducted during mid-gestation. They found anomalies in the heart, kidneys, and head in 30% of fetuses who later developed ASD, a three times higher rate than was found in typically developing fetuses from the general population and twice as high as their typically developing siblings.

Anomalies were detected more often in girls than in boys and the severity of the anomalies was also linked to the subsequent severity of ASD.

-----


 

Frequent use of over-the-counter pain relievers associated with risk of tinnitus

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942764

 

 News Release 9-Feb-2022
Frequent use of over-the-counter analgesics associated with risk of tinnitus
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Brigham and Women's Hospital

 

 
    Frequent use of NSAIDs or acetaminophen or regular use of COX-2 inhibitors was associated with an almost 20 percent higher risk of tinnitus
    Frequent use of moderate-dose aspirin was associated with a 16 percent higher risk among women under 60, but frequent low-dose aspirin use did not elevate risk

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Babies in bike trailers exposed to higher levels of pollutants than their parents, Surrey study finds

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942858

 

 News Release 9-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Surrey

 

Babies and children sitting in bicycle trailers breathe in more polluted air than the adults riding the bikes that pull them --- but trailer covers can help halve air pollution levels, according to research from the University of Surrey.

In research published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances, Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) found that on journeys typical of school or nursery runs, the average concentration of coarse air pollution particles in a bike trailer is 14% higher than at cyclist height and 18% higher than cyclist height in the afternoons when parents or carers typically collect children.

The researchers found that young children were exposed to even higher concentrations of air pollution during peak morning periods at urban pollution hotspots, such as traffic lights.

Air pollution is a leading cause of death in children under the age of five.

-----

 

One out of Three People Exposed to Potentially Harmful Pesticide

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942613

 

 News Release 9-Feb-2022
New study suggests children at high risk of exposure to a popular weed killer
Peer-Reviewed Publication
George Washington University

 

One out of three people in a large survey showed signs of exposure to a pesticide called 2,4-D, according to a study published today by researchers at the George Washington University. This novel research found that human exposure to this chemical has been rising as agricultural use of the chemical has increased, a finding that raises worries about possible health implications.

“Our study suggests human exposures to 2,4-D have gone up significantly and they are predicted to rise even more in the future,” Marlaina Freisthler, a PhD student and researcher at the George Washington University, said. “These findings raise concerns with regard to whether this heavily used weed-killer might cause health problems, especially for young children who are very sensitive to chemical exposures.”

 -----

 Other key findings of the new study:

    As the use of the herbicide increased during the study period so did human exposures.
    Children ages 6-11 had more than double the risk of increasing exposure to 2,4-D.
    In addition, women of childbearing age had nearly twice the risk of increased exposure compared to men in the same age group.
    Human exposures are likely to rise even more in the near future as this herbicide’s use continues to go up.

-----

Exposure to high levels of this chemical has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and other health issues. While scientists don’t know what the impact of exposure to lower levels of the herbicide might be, they do know that 2,4-D is an endocrine disruptor and this study shows children and women of childbearing age are at higher risk of exposure.

Children can be exposed if they play barefoot on a lawn treated with the weed-killer or if they put their hands in their mouths after playing outside, where the soil or grass might be contaminated with the chemical. People also can be exposed by eating soybean-based foods and through inhalation. The now widespread use of 2,4-D on GMO soybeans and cotton leads to more 2,4-D moving in the air, which can expose more people to this chemical, according to the researchers.

-----

Consumers who want to avoid exposures to pesticide can purchase organically grown food, which is less likely to be grown with weed killers. They can also avoid using 2,4-D or other pesticides on their lawn or garden, the researchers said.


 

States increasingly require employers to provide paid sick leave— but even more states block local paid sick policies

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942313

 

 News Release 10-Feb-2022
States increasingly require employers to provide paid sick leave— but even more states block local paid sick policies
No federal regulation and uneven state paid sick leave laws put workers in certain states and industries at risk
Peer-Reviewed Publication
New York University

 

More than a quarter of U.S. jobs are guaranteed paid sick leave thanks to state laws enacted over the past decade, according to a new study from researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health. Twelve states have passed laws requiring employers to provide sick leave as of 2020.

 

However, a growing number of states without paid sick leave laws prohibit local governments in their states from creating their own sick leave regulations, worsening inequities given the lack of universal coverage by employers.

 

Providing sick employees paid time off helps workers seek medical care, recover from illness more quickly, and is even linked to a lower risk of death. Paid sick leave also benefits employers—allowing people to stay home when sick limits the spread of infectious diseases in the workplace, as outbreaks can lead to widespread absenteeism and lost productivity.

-----

 The United States is one of few high-income countries without a national law guaranteeing paid sick leave, funded by either employers or the state. Most U.S. workers rely on their employers for paid sick leave; 77 percent of the private workforce and 92 percent of government workers are covered this way. But paid sick leave is uneven across industries, with 

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Older people in good shape have fitter brains

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942995

 

 News Release 10-Feb-2022
Seventy- to eighty-year-olds who train for better fitness are better at solving cognitive tasks and are less likely to suffer cognitive impairment
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

 

“Our findings suggest that being fit can protect against mild cognitive impairment in older people,” says Ekaterina Zotcheva.

-----

“The Generation 100 study has been going on for almost ten years now. After the study participants had been exercising for five years, we tested the cognitive function of almost 1000 of them.”

"The men and women who had maintained or increased their physical fitness during the study had better brain health than those whose fitness had declined over the five years," says Zotcheva.

The cognitive test that the participants took is the same one that is often used to check whether people are at risk of developing dementia.

The test assesses short-term memory, execution function and the ability to orient oneself in time and space. Scoring below a certain number indicates a risk of mild cognitive impairment.

“We know that mild cognitive impairment can lead to dementia for some individuals. The greater the increase in a participant’s fitness level during the five years of the study, the lower their probability was of developing mild cognitive impairment,” says Zotcheva.

-----

 

Vaccinated patients less likely to need critical care during omicron surge

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/943139

 

  News Release 10-Feb-2022
New study by Cedars-Sinai and CDC compares hospitalizations during Omicron and Delta variant surges
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

 

The highly contagious omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 became the dominant strain in the United States in mid-December 2021, coinciding with a rise in hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19. Among those admitted during the omicron surge, vaccinated adults had less severe illness compared with unvaccinated adults and were less likely to land in intensive care, according to a new study by Cedars-Sinai and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Overall, the omicron-period group had a lower likelihood of being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and were also less likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation compared with the delta-period group,” said Matthew Modes, MD, a pulmonologist at Cedars-Sinai and co-first author of the paper.

Investigators also found that during the omicron period fewer patients died while hospitalized (4.0%), compared with those admitted when the delta variant was dominant (8.3%).

-----

 

 

The IRS wants more staff to cut its backlog, but $25K salaries aren’t going to draw job-seekers, watchdog says

 

republicans have reduced funding of the IRS so that they won't have the ability to audit the super-rich.

 

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/it-is-a-challenge-the-irs-wants-more-staff-to-cut-its-backlog-but-25k-salaries-arent-going-to-draw-job-seekers-watchdog-says-11644362209


 By Andrew Keshner
Last Updated: Feb. 9, 2022 at 9:28 a.m. ET
First Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 6:16 p.m. ET


The Internal Revenue Service has way too many unprocessed tax returns from last year — and far too few job applications for workers who will help the agency dig out of the backlog.

Though the IRS is seeking to fill 5,000 positions at several campuses across the country, only 179 positions have been filled so far, according to Erin Collins, national taxpayer advocate at the IRS.

At same time, the IRS is facing a backlog that, as of late December, included 6 million unprocessed 2021 tax returns and another 2.3 million amended returns.
The pay for the clerical jobs wading through the paperwork isn’t exactly enticing, Collins said in congressional testimony Tuesday. Many of the roles connected to submission-processing start at a federal-worker pay grade that’s just under $25,000 a year, she said.

At a time when employers are raising wages to draw in and keep workers during a labor shortage, “it is not surprising that the IRS is having difficulty finding enough suitable job applicants,” she wrote in testimony to a House of Representatives Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee.

-----

The backlog is the result of temporary IRS office closures early in the pandemic, juggled against the agency’s duties distributing three rounds of stimulus checks, Child Tax Credit payments and various tax-law changes. For years, the IRS workload has been increasing as its headcount has been contracting, the agency said.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Preventing pandemics costs far less than controlling them

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942510

 

 News Release 4-Feb-2022
Tens of billions spent on habitat and surveillance would avoid trillions of annual costs
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Duke University

 

 We can pay now or pay far more later. That’s the takeaway of a new peer-reviewed study, published Feb. 4 in the journal Science Advances, that compares the costs of preventing a pandemic to those incurred trying to control one.   

“It turns out prevention really is the best medicine,” said Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University, who was co-lead author of the study. “We estimate we could greatly reduce the likelihood of another pandemic by investing as little as 1/20th of the losses incurred so far from COVID into conservation measures designed to help stop the spread of these viruses from wildlife to humans in the first place.”

A smart place to start, the study shows, would be investing in programs to end tropical deforestation and international wildlife trafficking, stop the wild meat trade in China, and improve disease surveillance and control in wild and domestic animals worldwide.

-----

 

Slight increased risk of congenital abnormalities in infants exposed to opioid medications in utero

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941956

 

 News Release 7-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Canadian Medical Association Journal

 

A new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) https://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.211215 shows a small increased risk of congenital abnormalities in infants exposed to opioid medications in the first trimester of pregnancy.

-----

 Among the infants included in the study, 2% (11 903) were exposed in utero to opioid analgesics, such as codeine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, tramadol, and morphine. The study found an increased risk, albeit low, of major anomalies with exposure to tramadol and morphine, and minor anomalies with exposure to codeine, hydromorphone and oxycodone. Specific congenital anomalies observed included gastrointestinal and genital anomalies, neoplasms and tumours, and ankyloglossia.

This large study adds to earlier evidence from studies conducted in Sweden and Norway and from a recent study of pregnant US Medicaid beneficiaries that suggested a small increased risk of congenital anomalies, an important finding for a pregnant person who may be prescribed opioids for pain relief.

-----

tags: drug use, drug abuse,

Getting more sleep reduces caloric intake, a game changer for weight loss programs

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942359

 

 News Release 7-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Chicago Medical Center

 

 In a randomized clinical trial with 80 adults, published February 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Tasali and her colleagues at UChicago and the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that young, overweight adults who habitually slept fewer than 6.5 hours a night were able to increase their sleep duration by an average of 1.2 hours per night after a personalized sleep hygiene counseling session. The sleep intervention was intended to extend time in bed duration to 8.5 hours — and the increased sleep duration compared to controls also reduced participants’ overall caloric intake by an average of 270 kcal (calories) per day.

“Over the years, we and others have shown that sleep restriction has an effect on appetite regulation that leads to increased food intake, and thus puts you at risk for weight gain over time,” said Tasali. “More recently, the question that everyone was asking was, ‘Well, if this is what happens with sleep loss, can we extend sleep and reverse some of these adverse outcomes?”

-----


COVID-19 linked to serious health complications during pregnancy

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942595

 

 News Release 7-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Utah Health

 

Pregnant individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are about 40% more likely to develop serious complications or die during pregnancy than those who aren’t infected with the virus, according to a nationwide study led by a University of Utah Health obstetrician. 

-----

“We already knew that pregnant people are at higher risk for the complications of COVID-19 itself,” says Torri D. Metz, MD, MS, a maternal-fetal medicine  specialist and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at U of U Health who led the multi-center effort. “Our research is among the first to find that infection with SARS-CoV-2 can elevate the risk of serious consequences related to progression of common pregnancy complications such as developing high blood pressure, having postpartum bleeding, or acquiring an infection other than SARS. This is why we need to make sure pregnant individuals are vaccinated.”

-----

Compared to those who had mild (flu-like) symptoms or were asymptomatic, pregnant individuals who had moderate or severe symptoms, requiring treatment with supplemental oxygen or ICU care, were about three times (26.1% vs. 9.2%) more likely to have serious pregnancy complications.

These problems included eclampsia, severe high blood pressure, kidney failure and other end organ damage caused by high blood pressure, sepsis from infections other than SARS-CoV-2, and endometritis requiring prolonged administration of intravenous antibiotics.

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Regular paracetamol (acetaminophen) use linked to higher blood pressure, study finds

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942544

 

 News Release 7-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Edinburgh

 

Long-term paracetamol [also known as acetaminophen] use could increase the risk of heart disease and strokes in people with high blood pressure, a study suggests.

Patients who have a long-term prescription for the painkiller, usually used for the treatment of chronic pain, should opt for the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time, researchers say.

-----

 Those prescribed paracetamol saw a significant increase in their blood pressure, compared with those taking the placebo.

This rise was similar to that seen with NSAIDs, and might be expected to increase the risk of heart disease or stroke by around 20 per cent, experts say.

-----


Coronavirus booster vaccination also protects cancer patients

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942713

 

 News Release 8-Feb-2022
Many cancer patients can build up sufficient immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus after the third vaccination or “booster”
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Medical University of Vienna

 

People with cancer are often given immunosuppressive treatments that weaken their innate immune defences. This puts them at high risk of severe disease, should they become infected by Coronavirus. A study conducted by MedUni Vienna has now shown that many of these people can build up sufficient immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus after the third vaccination or “booster”. The results were recently published in the internationally renowned journal European Journal of Cancer.

-----

 

Golfing cockatoos reveal ability to use combined tools

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942691

 

 News Release 8-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Birmingham

 

Cockatoos have shown an extraordinary ability to complete a task by combining simple tools, demonstrating that this cognitive ability is not found only in primates.

-----

 In their experiment, the team devised a game of golf for one species of bird, the Goffin’s cockatoo, which is known for its problem solving skills and its ability to use single tools such as sticks to open up nut and seed shells.

The birds had to manipulate a ball through a hole into a closed box, and then use a stick to push the ball to one side of the box where it triggers a trapdoor mechanism. This in turn releases a cashew nut for the bird.

Three of the cockatoos figured out how to use the stick to manoeuvre the ball into the right position to release the treat – showing a high level of tool innovation.

Lead researcher Dr Antonio Osuna-Mascaró, from the University of Veterinary Medicine, in Vienna, said: “One of the most amazing aspect of the process was to observe how these animals each invented their own individual technique in how to grip the stick and hit the ball, sometimes with astonishing dexterity. One of the birds operated the stick while holding it between the mandibles, one between the beak tip and tongue and one with his claw, similar to a primate.”

-----


Agricultural fungicides may be driving antimicrobial resistance

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942795

 

 News Release 8-Feb-2022
Drugs used to treat life-threatening fungal infections are becoming less effective at fighting certain fungi
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of Georgia

 

New research from the University of Georgia has shown, for the first time, that compounds used to fight fungal diseases in plants are causing resistance to antifungal medications used to treat people.

The study focused on Aspergillus fumigatus, the fungus that causes aspergillosis, a disease that causes life-threatening infections in 300,000 people globally each year. 

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Changing your diet could add up to a decade to life expectancy, study finds

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941971

 

 News Release 8-Feb-2022
A new model, available as an online calculator, estimates the impact of dietary changes on life expectancy
Peer-Reviewed Publication
PLOS

 

 News Release 8-Feb-2022
Changing your diet could add up to a decade to life expectancy, study finds

A new model, available as an online calculator, estimates the impact of dietary changes on life expectancy
Peer-Reviewed Publication

PLOS

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Sunday, February 06, 2022

How Western civilization could collapse

People who study economic history tell us that big economic inequality has consistently lead to big economic recessions and depressions in the past.

I recommend reading the whole article at the following link:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170418-how-western-civilisation-could-collapse

By Rachel Nuwer
18 April 2017

The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.

Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change.

•••••

While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, mathematics, science and history can provide hints about the prospects of Western societies for long-term continuation.

Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, uses computer models to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that can lead to local or global sustainability or collapse. According to findings that Motesharrei and his colleagues published in 2014, there are two factors that matter: ecological strain and economic stratification. The ecological category is the more widely understood and recognised path to potential doom, especially in terms of depletion of natural resources such as groundwater, soil, fisheries and forests – all of which could be worsened by climate change.

That economic stratification may lead to collapse on its own, on the other hand, came as more of a surprise to Motesharrei and his colleagues. Under this scenario, elites push society toward instability and eventual collapse by hoarding huge quantities of wealth and resources, and leaving little or none for commoners who vastly outnumber them yet support them with labour. Eventually, the working population crashes because the portion of wealth allocated to them is not enough, followed by collapse of the elites due to the absence of labour. The inequalities we see today both within and between countries already point to such disparities. For example, the top 10% of global income earners are responsible for almost as much total greenhouse gas emissions as the bottom 90% combined. Similarly, about half the world’s population lives on less than $3 per day.

For both scenarios, the models define a carrying capacity – a total population level that a given environment’s resources can sustain over the long term. If the carrying capacity is overshot by too much, collapse becomes inevitable. That fate is avoidable, however. “If we make rational choices to reduce factors such as inequality, explosive population growth, the rate at which we deplete natural resources and the rate of pollution – all perfectly doable things – then we can avoid collapse and stabilise onto a sustainable trajectory,” Motesharrei said. “But we cannot wait forever to make those decisions.”

Unfortunately, some experts believe such tough decisions exceed our political and psychological capabilities. “The world will not rise to the occasion of solving the climate problem during this century, simply because it is more expensive in the short term to solve the problem than it is to just keep acting as usual,” says Jorgen Randers, a professor emeritus of climate strategy at the BI Norwegian Business School, and author of 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years.

[I sadly agree. We aren't even dealing with antibiotic resistance in time, and we don't have a powerful business group working to block action on it, as has been happening with climate change.
•••••

While we are all in this together, the world’s poorest will feel the effects of collapse first. Indeed, some nations are already serving as canaries in the coal mine for the issues that may eventually pull apart more affluent ones. Syria, for example, enjoyed exceptionally high fertility rates for a time, which fueled rapid population growth. A severe drought in the late 2000s, likely made worse by human-induced climate change, combined with groundwater shortages to cripple agricultural production. That crisis left large numbers of people – especially young men – unemployed, discontent and desperate. Many flooded into urban centres, overwhelming limited resources and services there. Pre-existing ethnic tensions increased, creating fertile grounds for violence and conflict. On top of that, poor governance – including neoliberal policies that eliminated water subsidies in the middle of the drought – tipped the country into civil war in 2011 and sent it careening toward collapse.

•••••

Whether in the US, UK or elsewhere, the more dissatisfied and afraid people become, Homer-Dixon says, the more of a tendency they have to cling to their in-group identity – whether religious, racial or national. Denial, including of the emerging prospect of societal collapse itself, will be widespread, as will rejection of evidence-based fact. If people admit that problems exist at all, they will assign blame for those problems to everyone outside of their in-group, building up resentment. “You’re setting up the psychological and social prerequisites for mass violence,” Homer-Dixon says. When localised violence finally does break out, or another country or group decides to invade, collapse will be difficult to avoid.

•••••

On the other hand, Western societies may not meet with a violent, dramatic end. In some cases, civilisations simply fade out of existence – becoming the stuff of history not with a bang but a whimper.

•••••

Some of these forecasts and early warning signs should sound familiar, precisely because they are already underway. While Homer-Dixon is not surprised at the world’s recent turn of events – he predicted some of them in his 2006 book – he didn’t expect these developments to occur before the mid-2020s.

Western civilisation is not a lost cause, however. Using reason and science to guide decisions, paired with extraordinary leadership and exceptional goodwill, human society can progress to higher and higher levels of well-being and development, Homer-Dixon says. Even as we weather the coming stresses of climate change, population growth and dropping energy returns, we can maintain our societies and better them. But that requires resisting the very natural urge, when confronted with such overwhelming pressures, to become less cooperative, less generous and less open to reason. “The question is, how can we manage to preserve some kind of humane world as we make our way through these changes?” Homer-Dixon says.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Early humans placed the hearth at the optimal location in their cave – for maximum benefit and minimum smoke exposure

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941778

 

 News Release 31-Jan-2022

Early humans placed the hearth at the optimal location in their cave – for maximum benefit and minimum smoke exposure
Spatial planning in caves 170,000 years ago:
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Tel-Aviv University

 

A groundbreaking study in prehistoric archaeology at Tel Aviv University provides evidence for high cognitive abilities in early humans who lived 170,000 years ago. In a first-of-its kind study, the researchers developed a software-based smoke dispersal simulation model and applied it to a known prehistoric site. They discovered that the early humans who occupied the cave had placed their hearth at the optimal location – enabling maximum utilization of the fire for their activities and needs while exposing them to a minimal amount of smoke.

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Weight loss reduces the risk of growths linked to colorectal cancer

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941365

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Oxford University Press USA

 

A new paper in JNCI Cancer Spectrum, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that overweight and obese people who lose weight may reduce their chances of later developing colorectal adenoma – a type of benign growth or polyp in the colon or rectum that could lead to colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer and the third leading cause of death from cancer among men and women in the United States.

Over the past 30 years, obesity has increased in the United States and worldwide, leading to increased development of many chronic diseases. Obesity is a known risk factor for colorectal adenoma and colorectal cancer.

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The investigators found that, compared to stable weight, weight loss in adulthood (defined as loss greater than or equal to 1.1 pounds per 5 years) was associated with a 46% reduced risk for colorectal adenoma. This was particularly true among adults who were initially overweight or obese. The investigators also reported that weight gain in adulthood was associated with an increased chance of adenoma, particularly for weight gain greater than 6.6 pounds over 5 years. Findings for weight loss and weight gain appeared stronger among men than women. The researchers believe that the findings suggest the importance of healthy weight maintenance throughout adulthood in preventing colorectal adenoma. Additionally, adults who are overweight or obese may be able to reduce their risk for developing colorectal adenoma by losing weight.

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How fuel poverty hurts our health

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941962

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
How fuel poverty ‘gets under the skin’
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of East Anglia

 

The rocketing price of fuel could be making people’s physical and mental health worse – according to a new study from the University of East Anglia.

Researchers investigated how fuel poverty – not having enough money to heat your home - impacts health and wellbeing.

They found that not being able to keep homes warm enough affects people’s levels of life satisfaction.

But they also found that it impacts people’s physical health by causing higher levels of inflammation, measured by fibrinogen, a blood-based biomarker.

Dr Apostolos Davillas, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We know that exposure to cold temperatures is associated with increased blood pressure, inflammation and cardiovascular mortality risks regardless of age or gender.

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And they were careful to adjust for other confounding factors that could be affecting people’s health such as lifestyle factors, including whether they smoke, eat their five-a-day, or get enough exercise.

Dr Davillas said: “We looked at those people in the study who experienced high fuel costs as a percentage of their household income or who felt that their home is not warm enough during winter. And we found a causal link between fuel poverty and poorer wellbeing, as well as an increased inflammatory biomarker called fibrinogen.

Dr Hui-Hsuan Liu, from the Department of Comparative Biomedical Science, Royal Veterinary College, said: “Fibrinogen helps the body to stop bleeding by promoting blood clotting, but it is also an inflammatory biomarker. Elevated fibrinogen levels have been strongly linked to higher risk of coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and an increased risk of death.

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Impossible to prevent children from ingesting microplastics

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941768

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

 

Plastic breaks down into microplastics and even smaller nanoplastics. These plastics can be found almost everywhere around the globe.

Researchers can now confirm the presence of microplastics in the placenta and in newborns. The possible effects of nano- and microplastics on children's health and development intensifies the interest in this topic.

“It’s quite possible that children are more exposed to microplastics than adults, similar to children’s greater exposure to many other environmental toxic chemicals,” says Kam Sripada.

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 Plastic comes in thousands of different forms. Microplastics don’t just contain plastic, but carry a variety of toxic chemicals as well.

Plastic might have phthalates and metals added for colour, stabilization or as a biocide, for example. Several of these substances are harmful to children's health. When microplastics end up outdoors – for example as particles from car tires – this plastic core is often coated with air pollution and car exhaust.

“Nano- and microplastics are so miniscule that they can travel deep into the lungs and can also cross into the placenta. At the same time, they transport dangerous chemicals with them on their journey. That’s why we believe that nano- and microplastics can be a health risk for children,” says Sripada.

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Early childhood exposure to lead in drinking water associated with increased teen delinquency risk

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941985

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Indiana University

 

Exposure to lead in drinking water, especially from private wells, during early childhood is associated with an increased risk of being reported for delinquency during teenage years, according to a new study by Indiana University researchers.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that children who get their water from private wells before age 6 have higher blood lead levels and, as a result, have a 21% higher risk of being reported for any delinquency after age 14, and a 38% increased risk of having a record for a serious complaint, such as felony property or weapons offenses and misdemeanor assault.

"We know that lead exposure early in life has been linked to lower IQ, reduced lifetime earnings and an increased risk for behavioral problems and criminal activity," said Jackie MacDonald Gibson, author of the study and chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. "This research highlights the need for recognition of the risks to children relying on private well water and for new programs to ensure they have access to clean drinking water. Failing to do so imposes burdens not just on the affected children and their families but also on society at large."

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In addition to finding a correlation between lead exposure and behavioral problems in teens, the study also found that blood lead levels were approximately 11% higher in children relying on private wells, compared to children provided with community water service.

The Biden administration recently announced a federal action plan to replace lead pipes that connect some 10 million homes to community water systems. But Gibson said that while this plan is an essential step forward in decreasing children's risk of exposure to lead in drinking water, it does not solve the problem of children's exposure to lead from private well water.

Currently, 13% of U.S. households rely on private wells. Domestic wells are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act and are therefore rarely tested for lead or treated to prevent lead dissolution from household plumbing and fixtures, Gibson said.

She noted that lead in water from any source causes equal harm, but children with private well water are more susceptible to being exposed to lead in water because most private well owners do not have corrosion control systems in place to prevent leaching of lead from well components, plumbing and fixtures into household water. In contrast, community water systems are required to monitor their water for lead and to establish corrosion control systems if elevated levels of lead are detected.

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Study finds COVID-19 less severe in fully vaccinated

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941181

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Radiological Society of North America

 

 The clinical and imaging characteristics of COVID-19 breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated patients tend to be milder than those of partially vaccinated or unvaccinated patients, according to a new multicenter study published in the journal Radiology.

 

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide now exceeds 270 million with an overall mortality rate of approximately 2%.

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 The researchers noted that observed differences in clinical characteristics may reflect differences in vaccination priorities based on underlying comorbidities. During the study period, high-risk groups, such as individuals over 65 years old, health care workers and people with disabilities were priority targets for COVID-19 vaccination. Therefore, elderly patients and patients with at least one comorbidity were more common in the vaccinated group than in unvaccinated group in the study.

 

“Despite these differences, mechanical ventilation and in-hospital death occurred only in the unvaccinated group,” Dr. Jeong said. “Furthermore, after adjusting for baseline clinical characteristics, analysis showed that fully vaccinated patients were at significantly lower risk of requiring supplemental oxygen and of ICU admission than unvaccinated patients.”


​​Large-scale study shows declining soybean resistance to stem and root rot

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942067

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
American Phytopathological Society

 

Phytophthora stem and root rot results in approximately $50 million in annual losses for Canadian soybean production and is especially devastating because it can attack soybean plants at all growth stages. To combat this disease, growers turn to soybeans with resistance genes known as Rps. However, the large-scale deployment of Rps genes has led to the rapid evolution of the causal pathogen, Phytophthora sojae, which undermines the efficacy of Rps.

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Texas A&M study shows paternal alcohol use increases frequency of fetal development issues

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/942063

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Research from the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences found that prenatal exposure to alcohol in males can manifest in the placenta.
Peer-Reviewed Publication
Texas A&M University

 

Prenatal visits have traditionally focused almost exclusively on the behavior of mothers, but new research from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) continues to suggest that science should be looking more closely at the fathers’ behavior as well.

Dr. Michael Golding, an associate professor in the CVMBS’ Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology (VTPP), has spent years investigating the father’s role, specifically as it relates to drugs and alcohol, in fetal development.

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 In a November publication in the FASEB Journal, Golding’s team showed that the epigenetic factor of prenatal exposure to alcohol in males can manifest in the placenta.

According to Kara Thomas, VTPP graduate student and the lead author on the paper, their data shows that in mice, offspring of fathers exposed to alcohol have a number of placenta-related difficulties, including increased fetal growth restriction, enlarged placentas, and decreased placental efficiency.

“The placenta supplies nutrients to the growing fetus, so fetal growth restriction can be attributed to a less efficient placenta. This is why placental efficiency is such an important metric; it tells us how many grams of fetus are produced per gram of placenta,” Thomas said. “With paternal alcohol exposure, placentas become overgrown as they try to compensate for their inefficiency in delivering nutrients to the fetus.”

However, the mystery also deepened.

While these increases happened frequently in male offspring, the frequency varied greatly based on the mom; however, the same increases were far less frequent in female offspring. Golding believes this suggests that although that information is passed from the father, the mother’s genetics and the offspring’s sex also play a role.

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tags: drug use, drug abuse,

Exercise program could improve cancer treatment outcomes

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/941774

 

 News Release 1-Feb-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London

 

A moderate exercise programme could improve the success of chemotherapy treatment in oesophageal cancer patients, according to results from a study at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The research, which involved 40 oesophageal cancer patients, shows that exercise can be safely included as part of cancer treatment. It was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Moderate exercise was also shown to reduce some of the negative effects of chemotherapy on fitness, meaning that it could help to make chemotherapy an option for more patients. The authors say the results indicate a larger study is needed to confirm the findings.

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 The study was led by Mr Andrew Davies, consultant in upper gastro-intestinal surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’. He said: “This is a small study, but a promising one, as it shows how a moderate exercise programme could help to improve the success of chemotherapy treatment. We want to confirm this effect in further studies, but conceivably this may benefit patients with other types of cancer and be a cost-effective way to improve the effectiveness of treatment.”

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