Scientists call for ban on glitter, say it’s a global hazard

Original Article

NEW YORK (CBS) — Arts and crafts enthusiasts have known for years that glitter tends to attach itself everywhere and never seems to come off.

Scientists now say the sticky decorations are an ecological hazard that needs to be banned across the globe.

Environmental scientists are arguing that the risk of pollution, specifically to the oceans, is too great to ignore and the tiny plastic particles need to be outlawed.

“I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” Dr. Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand’s Massey University said.

Microplastics are defined as plastics that are less than five millimeters in length.

The small size of the craft supply reportedly makes glitter appealing for many animals, who eat the dangerous objects.

A study by Professor Richard Thompson claimed that plastics were found in a third of all fish caught in Great Britain.

“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” Thompson said. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”

Some British nurseries have already banned the products from their facilities as the country is expected to officially ban items that contain microbeads in 2018.

“There are 22,000 nurseries in the country, so if we’re all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we’re doing terrible damage,” director of Tops Day Nurseries Cheryl Hadland told the BBC.

In America, only seven states have passed legislation to restrict the use and sale of microbeads in products such as facial scrubs and body washes. California became the first to place a ban on the products in 2015.

Bread made of insects to be sold in Finnish supermarkets

Original Article

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — One of Finland’s largest food companies is selling what it claims to be a first: insect bread.

Markus Hellstrom, head of the Fazer group’s bakery division, said Thursday that one loaf contains about 70 dried house crickets, ground into powder and added to the flour. The farm-raised crickets represent 3 percent of the bread’s weight, Hellstrom said.

“Finns are known to be willing to try new things,” he said, and according to a survey commissioned by Fazer “good taste, freshness” were among the main criteria for bread.

According to recent surveys of the Nordic countries, “Finns have the most positive attitudes toward insects,” said Juhani Sibakov, head of Fazer Bakery Finland’s innovation department.

“We made crunchy dough to enhance taste,” he said. The result was “delicious and nutritious,” he said, adding that the Fazer Sirkkaleipa (Finnish for Fazer Cricket Bread) “is a good source of protein and insects also contain good fatty acids, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.”

“Mankind needs new and sustainable sources of nutrition,” Sibakov said in a statement. Hellstrom noted that Finnish legislation was changed on Nov. 1 to allow the sale of insects as food.

The first batch of cricket breads will be sold in major Finnish cities Friday. The company said there is not enough cricket flour available for now to support sales nationwide but the aim is to have the bread available in 47 bakeries in Finland in a subsequent round of sales.

In Switzerland, supermarket chain Coop began selling burgers and balls made from insects in September. Insects can also be found on supermarket shelves in Belgium, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization has promoted insects as a source of human food, saying they are healthy and high in protein and minerals. The agency says many types of insects produce less greenhouse gases and ammonia than most livestock — such as methane-spewing cattle — and require less land and money to cultivate.

Immortality Is Impossible, Say Scientists Sutdying the Mathematics of Aging

Original Article

By Peter Hess

While healthcare has dramatically extended our lifespans by preventing certain causes of death, aging still inevitably takes its fatal toll. And, as scientists report in a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, that’s not going to change: Whether it’s by cancer or run-of-the-mill cell destruction, aging and death is mathematically inescapable.

In the paper published Monday, Joanna Masel, Ph.D., and Paul Nelson, Ph.D., both of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, provide mathematical evidence that aging and eventual death must happen, no matter how we intervene in the aging process.

They explain that every cell in the body is tasked with two opposing missions: ensuring its own survival and supporting the organism it’s a part of. Masel and Nelson reason that this endless push and pull between those missions means that aging is unstoppable.

“If you have [no competition] or too little, then damaged cells accumulate and you get senescence,” Masel tells Inverse. “And if you have more than zero, then you get cancer. Either way, you get decreasing vitality with age.”

The team came to this conclusion by creating a mathematical model of cell competition within an organism. Cells in a human body, they explain, face a unique set of forces under the dynamic of competition: On one hand, cells need to work together for the body to function properly. But on the other hand, those cells must compete with each other for survival, and natural selection among those cells means that competition allows only the fittest cells to survive. This competition, the authors explain, results in cancer as the cells that inevitably find ways to game the system are the ones that end up growing uncontrollably.

When a human ages normally, the survival of any individual cell is sacrificed in the name of the organism’s health. In other words, a certain portion of each cell’s output is devoted to collective health instead of individual health. Ultimately, the triumph of cooperation over competition means that bodies accumulate dead or dying cells in a way that eventually leads to what we know as aging.

Natural selection is a process that’s more commonly liked with the genetic evolution of a population of individuals than of cells, but previous research has shown it plays a role in aging too as the cells in your body need to survive and work together in order for a person to live. Nelson, a postdoc in Masel’s lab, says the new research makes an even stronger statement about how the process of natural selection affects human aging.

“Even if selection were perfect, we would still get aging because the cells in our body are evolving all the time,” says Nelson.

The team came to this conclusion by creating a mathematical model of cell competition within an organism. Cells in a human body, they explain, face a unique set of forces under the dynamic of competition: On one hand, cells need to work together for the body to function properly. But on the other hand, those cells must compete with each other for survival, and natural selection among those cells means that competition allows only the fittest cells to survive. This competition, the authors explain, results in cancer as the cells that inevitably find ways to game the system are the ones that end up growing uncontrollably.

When a human ages normally, the survival of any individual cell is sacrificed in the name of the organism’s health. In other words, a certain portion of each cell’s output is devoted to collective health instead of individual health. Ultimately, the triumph of cooperation over competition means that bodies accumulate dead or dying cells in a way that eventually leads to what we know as aging.

Natural selection is a process that’s more commonly liked with the genetic evolution of a population of individuals than of cells, but previous research has shown it plays a role in aging too as the cells in your body need to survive and work together in order for a person to live. Nelson, a postdoc in Masel’s lab, says the new research makes an even stronger statement about how the process of natural selection affects human aging.

“Even if selection were perfect, we would still get aging because the cells in our body are evolving all the time,” says Nelson.

 

 

 

Plague warning in NINE countries – including Brit holiday hotspots

Original Article

By Corey Charlton

PLAGUE warnings have been issued for NINE countries surrounding Madagascar amid fears the disease could spread via sea trade and flight routes.

The outbreak is considered a much bigger threat to the region than in previous years because it has taken on its pneumonic form – meaning it is airborne and spread by sneezing and coughing.

 WHO has issued alerts for nine countries surrounding Madagascar where the outbreak has occurred

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WHO has issued alerts for nine countries surrounding Madagascar where the outbreak has occurred

And experts say the epidemic could still worsen as the death tolls hits 124 and more than 1,300 are left infected.

The medieval disease famously wiped out ONE THIRD of Europe’s population in the 13th and 14th centuries in one of the most devastating pandemics in human history known as the Black Death.

Dr Ashok Chopra, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas, told The Sun Online the crisis in Madagascar had yet to peak.

He warned it was possible for the deadly plague to move further into the region given the regular flights going in and out of the country.

 Red Cross officials work in Antananarivo, Madagascar, where the plague has struck

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Red Cross officials work in Antananarivo, Madagascar, where the plague has struck
 A doctor from the local Ministry of Health staffs a heath care checkpoint

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A doctor from the local Ministry of Health staffs a heath care checkpoint

“If they are travelling shorter distances and they’re still in the incubation period, and they have the pneumonic (form) then they could spread it to other places.

“We don’t want to have a situation where the disease spreads so fast it sort of gets out of control.”

He added: “Most of the cases in the past have been of the bubonic plague but if you look at this particular outbreak, 70 per cent of the cases are pneumonic plague, which is the most deadly form of the disease.

“If the treatment is not given in a very short period of time these people will end up dying.”

Dr Ibrahima-Soce Fall says World Health Organisation are working to prevent the spread of plague on Madagascar

 Some 1,300 people have been infected by the deadly medieval disease

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Some 1,300 people have been infected by the deadly medieval disease
 If they do not receive antibiotics immediately, the disease is extremely deadly

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If they do not receive antibiotics immediately, the disease is extremely deadly

Plague symptoms include sudden fevers, head and body aches, vomiting and nausea.

Dr Chopra added that it spreads “very rapidly”, as seen by the number of cases in Madagascar doubling within a week.


BLACK DEATH IS BACK These are the signs and symptoms of the bubonic plague


Speaking from Madagascar, Christine South, head of IFRC’s emergency operations, said: “With anything like this there is a possibility that somebody could be infected and get on a plane.

“We have done preparedness support to some of the neighbouring countries.”

However, she added that she believed the plague outbreak may now be stabilising but medical staff would have a clearer understanding of this over the next few days.

The nine countries the WHO has warned of being at risk are:

  • Kenya
  • Ethiopia
  • South Africa
  • Mozambique
  • Tanzania
  • Reunion
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Comoros
 Tourists have been warned to stay away from Madagascar after the outbreak of plague left more than 120 dead

GETTY – CONTRIBUTOR
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Tourists have been warned to stay away from Madagascar after the outbreak of plague left more than 120 dead
 The Black Death decimated the population of Europe when it swept through the continent in the 1300s

ALAMY
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The Black Death decimated the population of Europe when it swept through the continent in the 1300s
 The Black Death often conjures up chilling images of masked plague doctors, who would stuff fresh herbs and spices in their 'beaks' to deal with the smell

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The Black Death often conjures up chilling images of masked plague doctors, who would stuff fresh herbs and spices in their ‘beaks’ to deal with the smell

According to the World Health Organisation, the disease – which has struck heavily populated cities – sparked a false alarm in the Seychelles after a traveller reported symptoms of the disease.

WHO stated: “The risk of regional spread is moderate due to the occurrence of frequent travel by air and sea to neighbouring Indian Ocean islands and other southern and east African countries.”

“Nine countries and overseas territories have been identified as priority countries in the African region for plague preparedness and readiness by virtue of having trade and travel links to Madagascar.

“These countries and overseas territories include Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, La Réunion (France), Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania.”

The disease remains endemic in rural parts of the African island but the rise in the pneumonic version of the illness has sparked particular concern.

The World Health Organisation said that this year, plague arrived earlier than expected, and the infection is also spreading in urban centres and in areas that until now had not been affected.

Elsewhere this week, a man who caught the bubonic plague from his pet cat and nearly suffered an agonising death has revealed what it was like to lose all fingers and toes to the deadly disease.

Paul Gaylord, who lives in a remote part of Oregon, spoke about the horrific symptoms he suffered as the Black Death threatened his life – and even turned his hands black.

 

Kid’s Spend Less Time Outdoors Than Prisoners.

Original Article

By Sara Burrows

Imagination Grove (a nature play area) at Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean, IL, June 2011.

Imagination Grove (a nature play area) at Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean, IL, June 2011.

While inmates at maximum security prisons in the U.S. are guaranteed at least 2 hours of outdoor time a day, half of children worldwide spend less than an hour outside, reports TreeHugger.com.

 

A survey of 12,000 parents in 10 countries found that one-third of children (ages 5 to 12) spend less than 30 minutes outside each day. The survey, sponsored by Unilever laundry detergent brands OMO and Persil, inspired a new marketing campaign – “Dirt is Good – Free the Children.”

The short film below – documenting prisoners’ responses to the survey – is part of that campaign:

Prisoners at a maximum security facility in Indiana called outdoor time the “highlight” of their day.  “You take all your problems and frustrations and just leave them out there,” one prisoner said. Another said “it keeps his mind right.”

 

When asked how they would feel about having their “yard time” reduced to one hour a day, inmates responded that it would build more anger and resentment. One inmate said it would be “torture.” A prison guard said it would be “potentially disastrous.”

The prisoners are shocked upon learning that most children have less than an hour of outdoor time per day, one of them calling the news “depressing.” Another said if he could have one wish granted it would be that he could take his kid to a park.

Another study found that one in nine children “have not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months.”

Huffington Post reported recently that with children today spending only half the time their parents did outdoors, we are producing an “unsociable, unimaginative and inactive generation.” Only half of children have ever built a sandcastle at the beach or had a picnic outside of their own yard, and over a third have never played in the mud. Also, about half of children opt for screen time alone over playing with others outdoors.

 

In addition to “unsociable, unimaginative and inactive” – our culture’s lack of outdoor time is producing children who are physically and mentally ill:

“We are physically active when we spend time outdoors, so we are less likely to become obese. When sunshine hits our skin, we form Vitamin D, which helps with a number of health issues. Peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that time spent outside lowers rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and some forms of cancer. Kids with ADHD focus better when they spend time outdoors. And, nature time leads to more positive moods, as well as lower stress and anxiety.”

Antibiotic Resistance Could Spell End Of Modern Medicine, Says Chief Medic.

England’s chief medical officer has repeated her warning of a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” as she urged world leaders to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Prof Dame Sally Davies said that if antibiotics lose their effectiveness it would spell “the end of modern medicine”. Without the drugs used to fight infections, common medical interventions such as caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements would become incredibly risky and transplant medicine would be a thing of the past, she said.

“We really are facing – if we don’t take action now – a dreadful post-antibiotic apocalypse. I don’t want to say to my children that I didn’t do my best to protect them and their children,” Davies said.

Health experts have previously said resistance to antimicrobial drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer. In recent years, the UK has led a drive to raise global awareness of the threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Each year about 700,000 people around the world die due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

The UK government and the Wellcome Trust, along with others, have organised a call to action meeting for health officials from around the world. At the meeting in Berlin, the government will announce a new project that will map the spread of death and disease caused by drug-resistant superbugs.

BBC Radio 4 Today(@BBCr4today)

England’s chief medical officer has renewed her warning about what she’s described as a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” #r4todaypic.twitter.com/3EAUvmOTAv

October 13, 2017

Davies said: “This AMR is with us now, killing people. This is a serious issue that is with us now, causing deaths. If it was anything else, people would be up in arms about it. But because it is hidden they just let it pass.

“It does not really have a ‘face’ because most people who die of drug-resistant infections, their families just think they died of an uncontrolled infection. It will only get worse unless we take strong action everywhere across the globe. We need some real work on the ground to make a difference or we risk the end of modern medicine.”

She added: “Not to be able to effectively treat infections means that caesarean sections, hip replacements, modern surgery, is risky. Modern cancer treatment is risky and transplant medicine becomes a thing of the past.”

Davies said that if the global community did not act then the progress that had been made in Britain may be undermined.

She estimated that about one in three or one in four prescriptions in UK primary care were probably not needed. “But other countries use vastly more antibiotics in the community and they need to start doing as we are, which is reducing usage,” she said. “Our latest data shows that we have reduced human consumption by 4.3% in 2014-15 from the year before.”