More bad news for war Veterans, the brains of some Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who survived blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and died later of other causes show a distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers throughout critical brain regions, including those that control executive function. The pattern is different from brain damage caused by car crashes, drug overdoses or collision sports, and may be the never-before-reported signature of blast injuries suffered by soldiers as far back as World War I.
You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.
How much does global warming really cost the world? Determining the Social Cost of Carbon helps put a actual dollar value on the climate damages per ton of CO2 released, and is used by — among others — policymakers to help determine the costs and benefits of climate policies. Remember, even on a global scale, the bottom line will always be profit. But now a group of economists and lawyers urge several improvements to the government’s Social Cost of Carbon figure that would impose a regular, transparent and peer-reviewed process to ensure the figure is reliable and well-supported by the latest facts.
Global warming, it’s a bigger deal than some people seem to realize. For years science has pointed to the increased carbon dioxide output as the main reason for man-made global warming. However, there has been no evidence to directly link CO2 output to global warming, well until now. Research has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted.
While everyone (but seemingly the media) is on basically the same page with the fact that global warming is a human caused problem — and one we need to fix the effects of this change are still coming to light. Human-induced changes to Earth’s carbon cycle – for example, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean acidification – have been observed for decades. However, a new study showed human activities, in particular industrial and agricultural processes, have also had significant impacts on the upper ocean nitrogen cycle.
A while back I wrote a post about mental health and jail sentences, it seems like no one takes mental health seriously and that leads to lack of care for the individual. Well a new study offers even more bad news on the mental health front. Women with symptoms of serious mental illness are significantly less likely to receive three routine cancer screenings – Pap tests, mammograms and clinical breast exams – than women in the general population, despite being at elevated risk for medical comorbidities and early death, a new study indicates.
As a Marine, there is a special place in my heart for all things military. While most protesters are busy arguing about the people who are dying overseas, there is an even more disheartening statistic — the suicide statistics of service members here at home. Suicide is an ugly word, so it’s no surprise that there is not a large movement fighting for better care and a new study done on soldiers doesn’t help.
Global warming, nothing new with that and it’s here to stay for now. But while computer models churn out bleak forecasts for the planet’s future, we also have a more conceptual understanding of what is happening as humans pump carbon dioxide into the air. Unfortunately the traditional conceptual understanding of carbon dioxide wrapping the planet in a sort of blanket that traps more heat is not quite right.
Sleep is a hot topic lately, are we getting too much, too little, how much is enough? However, most of these questions are for adults, so what about children? Well as it turns out a new study used activity monitors to track how sleep habits changed in younger and older teens as they grew during a two-year period. Key findings from this study has also lent t0 new support to recent recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics that middle and high schools avoid starting earlier than 8:30 a.m.
Genetic engineering techniques offers many different promises, some of which will obviously come sooner than others. One of those promises was a possible end to famine, while most famine in the world today is in developing countries, that could spread as population increases. To that end scientists have announced a new way to dramatically increase crop yields by improving upon Mother Nature’s offerings. The team has discovered a set of gene variations that can boost fruit production in the tomato plant by as much as 100%.
Hold on to your hats folks, we can all agree that most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. But in a new study a group of researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth’s climate. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a man-made problem, please.
We have all probably seen stories from China on the horrid air pollution there. Accompanying those reports of course are the statistics for air pollution that deaths have caused. For the record, the World Health Organization estimated that ambient air pollution caused 3.7 million premature deaths (worldwide) in 2012 alone – yet what exactly happens to your body when it encounters pollutants?
GMO food is still a hot button topic, honestly for no other reason than fear. Sure Monsanto is a big evil corporation, but the science is only as bad as what you do with it. In the modern fortified world we don’t think about vitamin deficiency or the horrible things that come with it, however vitamin A deficiency is a huge problem in developing countries. To combat this researchers have identified a set of genes that can be used to naturally boost the provitamin A content of corn kernels, a finding that could help combat vitamin A deficiency and macular degeneration in the elderly.
MRSA, not that long ago we had no idea what MRSA was… mostly because it hadn’t come into prevalence. With an increase in the use and abuse of antibiotics there has been an ever growing pressure for the pathogens we treat to mutate in order to survive, this pressure is called selective pressure and helped cause drug-resistance in pathogens. In response to the rise of these drug-resistant pathogens, doctors are routinely cautioned against over prescribing antimicrobials. But when a patient has a confirmed bacterial infection, the advice is to treat aggressively to quash the infection before the bacteria can develop resistance.
There have been a lot of theories on where HIV came from, anywhere from the mundane, it spread from other animals. To the down right crazy, the government created it to wipe out homosexuals. Well bad news for conspiracy theorists, a new study suggests that the HIV pandemic with us today is almost certain to have begun its global spread from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.
I was debating about this new study. On one hand it’s important to share all sorts of different findings. On the other hand, my faith in humanity was more than just a little shaken, but there is no point on sweeping it under the rug. So disturbing news for women on college campuses, a new study indicates that female college students who are victims of sexual assault are at a much higher risk of becoming victims again. Please hold your disgust till the end…
New guidelines for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) identify candidates for implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). These devices help protect patients from arrhythmias (an irregular heartbeat) which can limit blood flow to vital organs, like the brain for example. Identifying which pacents would benefit from an ICD has been difficult. But the new guidelines, which were recently published, will help determine the patients most likely to benefit from ICDs by testing to see which of these patients are at higher risk for sudden cardiac death.
Ebola has a nasty reputation for the way it damages the body. It’s rightfully earned when you look at the death rate. But when you look at the actual details of an Ebola infection, a surprising fact surfaces: The virus isn’t what ends up killing you, it’s your own immune system. Sure they are trying different ways to outsmart the virus, but it’s mutating… quickly. In fact, scientists have rapidly sequenced and analyzed more than 99 Ebola virus genomes. The hope it to better understand the enemy and possibly outsmart it.
Jonas Salk, you should know this name, but chances are you don’t. He was the inventor of the polio vaccine, a disease that was feared more than the atomic bomb. Today we don’t think about it, no one “gets” polio anymore. Scientists get a bad rap today with the whole “autism-vaccine” BS. But they don’t know Salk, instead of making a small [see: huge] fortune from the drug, he refused to patent it and gave it to the people for essentially free. You think this story would have a happy ending, I mean we don’t have polio anymore… right? Well the devils in the details and it’s not good.
There is a war going on and it’s not on foreign soil. This war is the fight for the status quo, a war where you are only worth your skin color, a war where you are only worth as much as your gender. This war is all around us, we see it everyday, yet we let it quietly pass us by. We do this because, in all actuality, we are losing this war. I don’t blame you if you don’t believe me, you shouldn’t. Frankly I would read this to see the history of this war in action. But where that post focused more on color, I am going to be focusing more on gender and it isn’t pretty.
Maybe I’m dating myself here, but ever see the swamp thing movie, television show, or even the comic? Call me picky, after all we are talking about a human/plant hybrid, but he never needed to talk. I know, some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me given it’s a comic, movie or tv show [depending on your level of geek], but come on, this is science!
The war on HIV, that tricky little guy has avoided every thing we could throw at it in a broad sense. Sure a few people here and there get lucky, but we have yet to actually make any sort of we’re going to kick your ass headway [don’t worry it’s the technical term for it]. That is hopefully going to change with a new scientific discovery that has enormous implications for HIV vaccine development. Researchers have uncovered novel properties of special HIV antibodies that promise to help eliminate HIV.
It’s no secret for anyone who follows me that I am a Marine veteran. It’s also no secret for anyone who follows me that I’ve had my own ups and downs in life because of my experiences. PTSD is a nightmare, one that you can’t quite shake no matter how hard you try. Then again, not everyone reacts the same way to the trauma that typically causes PTSD, not everyone walks away from war with it. The big question that scientists set out to answer was, why? And now they might just have an answer.
My wife likes to sanitize everything with bleach. I don’t really approve, but I bite my tongue because it makes her feel better. Germs are everywhere and honestly there is no way to escape them because frankly…. they are you! In hospitals it makes sense to try to fight it, to be as sanitary as possible for the health of the patients. At home it makes a little less sense, there is no need, but that hasn’t stopped the rise of antibacterial soaps. In fact, it’s hard to find a soap that isn’t antibacterial these days, which has brought with it an interesting dilemma, along with potential health issues.
I tried to kill myself, more than once in fact. It was a troubling time for me and as a former active duty Marine that might not be too surprising for people to hear. I’m not proud of it and with where I am now, it seems like a pretty solid decision to stay alive, honestly if it wasn’t for my brothers in arms I might not even be typing this now. Unfortunately the statistic for suicide in the military is high enough that no one would have been shocked. Typically the “treatment” is therapy and medications, I say “treatment” in parentheses because you would have to know something was wrong first. But what if suicide was more than just in your head? What if it was in your blood too?
My friend has a glass eye, you would never notice and unless you knew the story you might not think anything of it. His older brother did it. Yes, you read that correctly, in a schizophrenic rage he gouged out his eye and almost killed him. He never held what happened against his older brother, he was sick, how could he? At least that was his logic. The courts didn’t agree, he would not be allowed to visit his brother while he resided in prison, even ten years [and several appeals] after the fact. Unfortunately he isn’t alone, new research has linked tighter Medicaid policies governing antipsychotic drugs with increased incarceration rates for schizophrenic individuals.
With the SCOTUS ruling for the Hobby Lobby case [if you have no idea what I am talking about you can read about that anywhere on the net, like here] it may seem like everyone is fighting the war against women’s care at full speed. Thankfully that isn’t the case everywhere, there are still people out there who are trying to make a difference. Introducing the world’s first toolkit is designed for GPs to use with women from the age of 40 to help them decide the best care for dealing with menopause. Thought to be the first of its kind, researchers say the toolkit has the potential to help manage menopausal conditions for women globally.
Autism, not caused by vaccines. In fact I’ve written several posts on the genetic clues to autism, now a new study offers more proof that it is purely genetic [at least in some cases]. This is huge because this is the first actual clear cut cause for certain types of Autism [or more accurately certain types of disorders falling under the Autistic spectrum]. It was a collaboration involving 13 institutions around the world — no easy feat either– and now researchers have broken new ground in understanding what causes autism.
“We finally got a clear cut case of an autism specific gene,” said Raphael Bernier, the lead author, and UW associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the clinical director of the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s.
Testosterone, to some it’s a bad word, bringing crazy images like “roid rage” and the like. To others with more than just a pop culture understanding it is a lifesaver. In fact, prescriptions for older men in the United States have increased more than three-fold over the past decade. Unfortunately recent studies linking testosterone use with increased risk of heart attack and stroke have caused widespread concern among patients and their families. The validity of those studies [and their methods] have been in question and [yet another] new study aims to help end the confusion. The new U.S.-based study of more than 25,000 older men shows that testosterone therapy does not increase men’s risk for heart attack.
The study examined 25,420 Medicare beneficiaries 66 years or older treated with testosterone for up to eight years. Studies like this one are tough to do so the researchers used public health data to wade through the claims.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This seems even more true when a new study came out that shows, when it comes to fixing deforestation and forest degradation, even good intentions can lead to bad outcomes. I hate to sound like a broken record when it comes to this whole “climate change” stuff, but it really needs to be addressed sometime…
Call out the troops, call the Marines, we need tanks, lots of tanks. Well okay, maybe not. Brute force won’t stop global warming and thanks to a new study on the subject it turns out, not much else will either. Oh there is of course the obvious lower CO2 emissions, but that’s not a big deal. I don’t know why it takes scientific studies to tell us this, but the greenhouse gas CO2 that we pump out in millions of tons — roughly 88 million tons, US of course since metric tonnes has to be different, or maybe that’s our fault — is bad for the environment.
I know we tend to think of ourselves as intelligent and generally I won’t argue otherwise, but let me just say… really?
Solar cells, they’re kind of a big deal. Good for the environment, produce power from that big ball of burning gas we call our sun, they like long walks on the beach, cool drinks and just chilling with friends… oh sorry that’s from the wife swap [the wife and I love that show]. But in all seriousness, solar is the next oil. We had an industrial revolution and now we are going to have a more eco-friendly kind of revolution. Of course the high price of solar panels has made it all but inaccessible to the general public [I know I would love to have some on my roof!]. With natural gas and other sources of power being cheaper, solar needs to learn a few new tricks to keep up. Thankfully that is exactly what scientists at the University of Liverpool have accomplished.
Right now solar cells are inefficient at about 15% of the power actually converted to usable electricity. It is unfortunate then that solar cells need to be coated in a cadmium chloride to reach that paltry efficiency. I’ll let you in on a little secret, if it wasn’t for that coating we would only see about a 2% power conversion. Yeah damned if you do damned if you don’t stuff. That’s because that coating is roughly $0.30 a gram, doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up quick. Not to mention that there is a little problem with it being very toxic, incredibly hard to handle safely and hard to dispose of after solar cell decommission [I know… details, details].
Things are heating up. It’s no secret that the mercury is rising and we are to blame. Sure, there is a lot of uncertainty, for example how long we have until we simply cannot reverse global warming, or worse, how long we have before we cannot survive on the planet. That would be a good question to answer; maybe it will get the people who can actually do something to fix it, to make a change.
The planet works in sometimes-unforeseen ways, sometimes that is good and sometimes that is bad. The hope was that global warming might be offset – if only for a short time – by the increased energy in the system [meaning longer warm periods], which would increase the growing season. It is unfortunate then, that this turns out not to be the case.
Haters gonna hate, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since the internet has been born you’ve probably heard this phrase. Well now there is a new study that shows all that time spent hating, might mean less work doing.
The study, published in the journal Social Psychology might sound like more of a joke than actual science, but it is, in fact very real. Previous research done by the team have already shown that haters [and likers] are predisposed to be that way. Assuming that our disposition motivates behavior, the team suggested that people who like many things (those with positive dispositional attitudes) also do many things during the course of a week, while people who dislike many things (those with low dispositional attitudes) do very few things with their time.
Black box warnings, I’m all too familiar with them. A quick look in the medicine cabinet and you would see why. In fact I’m surprised the door shuts some days. No, I’m not a druggy, by any means. I have problems and frankly who doesn’t? These days, like millions of Americans I find some sort of comfort in pill form. It’s not perfect, but most days you wouldn’t know I had my own problems. It’s unfortunate then that the black box warning labels we see on just about every type of antidepressant may be doing more harm than good.
Organic, All natural, and packed full of antioxidants; sounds healthy, doesn’t it? Unsurprisingly however, if something is trying to tout how healthy it is, it probably isn’t. Of course all those buzzwords have to mean something… don’t they?
According to a new research study conducted by scholars at the University of Houston, health-related buzzwords, such as “antioxidant,” “gluten-free” and “whole grain,” lull consumers into thinking packaged food products labeled with those words are healthier than they actually are.
We have the technology: we can rebuild you, better, stronger, faster. Well we may have been able to build the six million dollar man better than before, but as it turns out, we can’t do the same for the environment.
For anyone actually listening to science [and I really hope you all are] it isn’t getting any cooler. Thanks to the rising CO2 levels in the world it’s only going to get hotter and with it, the weather more extreme. Yet some people out there — and unfortunately for us, the people with the power to actually make a change– simply don’t care. To them, even if it gets hotter, we can fix it. After all we have the technology.
Sure, I could do a poll right now, how many of you are science fans? I figure if you are reading my blog then the answer is most [if not all] of you are. Unfortunately, that result isn’t the norm. Whether you blame it on lack of education, or just simply because it is “cool” to be ignorant; science is most definitely not as mainstream as it could be.
Why do more people know about the latest celebrity gossip, than the latest scientific advancements is beyond me. Sometimes it feels like pseudoscience has more of a following than actual science. Frustrating when I see my insurance covers things like acupuncture –which does not work– but not root canals — which do, in fact, serve a purpose.
Why can’t you eat soup in the Matrix? Because there is no spoon.
Dumb joke, I know, but I have another one for you. What do you call a free-range chicken that is mass produced? Caged.
Welcome to the matrix… for chickens. With the popular consumer demand for free-range chicken, but not enough space for all those chickens, what do you do? Like the modern society we are, we turn to technology to solve the problem.
America loves it’s oil. Screw renewables, right? Because let’s face it, the world can be cleaned by someone else. As easily upset pretentious apes, us humans have few comforts in the changing world like fossil fuels. Our old friends coal, gas, and oil, they would never hurt us; they kick started the industrial revolution!
Let’s face it folks, global warming isn’t coming… it’s already here. We have study after study showing the effects. It’s time to ditch the medieval technology and move toward the future. Solar has been a good option, wind being another good choice. Both have drawbacks of course, no one likes wind farms and the solar farms don’t fare too much better.
Climate change talks, it’s like yelling at a wall and hoping it becomes a window. For over two decades, members of the United Nations have tried to forge an agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Thankfully a new paper published offers a different approach to the problem using game theoretical modeling. (more…)
Biofuels seem to be all the rage these days, not a bad thing since that whole global warming thing [that people are scared to admit is real] is going on. It is then, very unfortunate that every biofuel or even “green alternative” has an achilles heel the size of Texas keeping it from becoming our fossil fuel replacement.
Useless Loony Fact: I shudder every time I have to use the word “Green” referring to anything other than the color. Oh and Jesus roundhouse kicks a panda in the face, so save the pandas and stop using the word green for anything but the color]
It was a disaster that ended up as one of the worst oil spills in modern history, the Deepwater Horizon didn’t just leak, it gushed. The depth of the well made the spill extremely difficult to repair and it required an incredible engineering feat to solve the problem.
Unfortunately, the problem was not immediately resolved when the leak was stopped. Between 492,000 – 627,000 tonnes of oil were dumped into the ocean, but it wasn’t just oil that was dumped, 500,000 tons of natural gas was also dumped into the Gulf of Mexico offshore waters over during the period of 84 days.
With the seemingly insurmountable cleanup effort, many were probably breathing a sigh of relief over the reports following the disaster that naturally-occurring microbes had consumed much of the gas and oil.
Vermont, not quite the armpit of the United States, but not a place I would live [personally speaking of course]. Still, looking at history Vermont was the first to ban slavery [good], but now they are the first to do something else too, they are looking to ban all food that is genetically modified if it is not properly labeled [bad].
This bill is set to start a wildfire across the US with food scares, like any science scare, is easy to start and hard to stop [if at all]. Genetically modified food has helped cushion the ever growing population and the need to feed that population. People will [undoubtedly] argue otherwise, but all food is genetically modified one way or another.
Fire, brimstone, four horsemen, doomsday seems pretty bleak in the biblical context. From a scientific perspective, global warming and the need for fresh water will probably plunge people into chaos, which seems like a more likely doomsday model. Unfortunately there are other ways in which the world could come crashing down around us, today I wanted to shed light on just one of those ways.
The most plausible [in my opinion] doomsday scenario comes not from an external force but from our imagination. Let me explain, most money that we deal with is just a placeholder, a social construct, a number on a screen and when dealing with the stock market, it gets even fuzzier, you can essentially make bets for money on [you guessed it] money.
Part of getting an education isn’t about learning what to think, it is about learning how to find good information. When it comes to scientific literature [especially on-line], it’s hard to separate the good from the bad if you don’t know what to look for. With the emergence of pseudoscience in the mainstream I think it’s important to go over a few red flags when it comes to claims being made.
Testosterone, the “big T”, you can’t turn on the TV without someone talking about it. In fact, despite the bad [and almost completely false] press about the effects of testosterone, the amount of prescriptions in the US has tripled since 2001. Rightfully so, anyone on testosterone therapy will tell you how incredible the effects can be on day to day life.
Unfortunately testosterone therapy has it’s own smear campaign [analogous to the anti vaccination movement], surprising considering the number of people on TRT [Testosterone Replacement Therapy] I know. People throw around terms like roid rage [which is not real] when TRT is brought up, or depression, which as the evidence shows is the exact opposite of what TRT does [can you see my frustration yet?].
Science is losing an unseen war and like any war it isn’t without its casualties. The true body count won’t be evident, not at first. This isn’t a war over land, or freedoms, it is a war on ignorance, a fight for the future. Science has brought us a level of comfort and connectivity we have never really seen. Unfortunately that connectivity is being used against us, allowing people with dubious motives to shout from the rooftops bold faced lies and a call for people to follow.
Roughly two weeks ago [April 16th] about 240 girls were abducted from a school in north-eastern Nigeria. From reports the scene played out like something from a B list movie, six flatbed trucks roll up to a school, armed men storm the building, and just like that, they were taken. Unfortunately Liam Neeson won’t be saving the day.