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HEALTH

Wine, coffee, tea provide diverse microbes that lead to a healthier you

Do you like wine, coffee, or tea? If you do, congratulations; a new study shows that the microbes living in your gut are in better shape than the ones of soda drinkers.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a new study done by researchers in the Netherlands and Belgium show that wine, coffee, and tea drinkers have healthier microbes living inside their stomach than those who drink soda. The results of the study were collected by analyzing fecal matter from thousands of volunteers, all with a variety of diets, giving researchers plenty of information.

The first of the studies from Belgium, titled the Flemish Gut Flora Project, compared the stool from 3,500 volunteers, and the cross-checked their findings with a previous study from Holland. Both concluded that the greater the diversity in microbes the better, and wine, coffee, and tea produced the greater diversity.

“In total we found 60 dietary factors that influence the diversity. What these mean exactly is still hard to say,” said Alexandra Zhernakova, a researcher from the University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands. “But there is a good correlation between diversity and health: greater diversity is better.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that sugary drinks such as soda resulted in a lack of diversity in microbes. But then again, so did outside factors such as smoking during pregnancy. Even age and gender came into play; women were found to have more diverse microbes compared to men, and older people had a greater diversity than the younger generation.

But for all ages and genders, microbe diversity can be boosted with a morning cup of tea or a glass of wine to wind down the day. Because no matter the differences in the subject, systems geneticist Jingyuan Fu of Groningen said diverse microbes have a connection with a healthier body.

“It is becoming more and more clear that the gut microbiome serves as a sort of fingerprint that captures all kinds of signals about host health,” said Fu.

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HEALTH

Food allergy emergency visits cost more for low-income families

Children from low-income families face barriers in life that those from middle-income or high-income families just don’t face. Add a food allergy into the mix and you have a whole new set of hoops low-income children have to jump through.

According to Parent Herald, a new study from Northwestern University shows that families with an income of less than $50, 000 face higher prices raising a child with a food allergy when it came to hospital visits. Lead researcher Dr. Richi Gupta noted that those from lower-income families spent more on emergency care as affording the necessary food and the medication was not always a financial option.

“The first line management for food allergy is prevention, but costs for special foods and epinephrine auto injectors can be a barrier for many families,” said Gupta.

Researchers collected data from 1,643 caregivers across the United States. After compiling information, they sorted the data into three groups: those who earned less than $50,000, those tho earned between $50,000 and $100,000, and those who earned over $100,000.

Those from the lowest group were found to pay $1,021 each year for emergency medical visits, whereas those from the highest earning group paid only $416. However, this was the only area where a significant difference was noted with lower-income families paying more, as CBS News reported families from the lowest earning group spent less on specialized visits and non-allergenic food.

This is confusing,” said Gupta, wondering just how low-income families paid less everywhere else yet more for emergency visits. If it is the cost of medicine, Gupta noted that there are ways to get the necessities for a lower price.

“The manufacturer also has programs to help those who cannot afford the medication,” she said. “All families may not be familiar with these programs.”

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NWT_Biology NWT_Earth SCI

The Madagascar whale mysteries unraveled

Salvatore Cerchio went to Madagascar to study dolphins more than a decade ago. But on his arrival, he found schools of whales and his research focus quickly change. The waters of Madagascar are desert waters, making whale food very scarce, and the discovery of whales was by itself history making. But what was perhaps even more puzzling was that the whale species was the rare Bryde’s whale.

The whale has not been recorded anywhere outside captivity for a very long time. After this discovery, they focused entirely on the whale and attempted to unravel the mysteries of the Bryde’s whale in its natural habitat.

After nearly ten years the scientists have collected enough data to explain some of the aquatic mammals characteristics. The Bryde’s whale is not one of the big whales, but at 38 feet, it is still a massive creature. Suffice their enormous size the whales feed on shrimp found in the Madagascan coast. “What was exciting is that we got more information on their feeding than we ever had before,” said Salvatore Cerchio. “They spend their entire lives in the tropics. That is really unusual and unique because the tropics are difficult to make a living.”

They also observed that suffice the desert waters of the Madagascan coast; the whale spent its entire life there. This is a very rare whale characteristic as many whale species are migratory in nature. They also noted that mothers don’t move away from the colony once they give birth to their puppies instead they live close by. The whales were also singing, they were recorded as they hummed a rhythmic melody, with soloist leading the whole performance. This is their primary method of communication.

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NONE

Dragonflies kings of long distance flying

There is little known about this insect apart from its peculiar looks. However, new information is emerging that it is the best long distant flyer in the world. It was previously thought that migratory birds hold the crown for long distance flight, but due to the insects flying all around the world rather than one particular route, it is indeed the greatest.

Scientists first discovered this trait when they were studying the insect’s genes. They found that the genes from insects in Asia and those in America shared a very similar structure. This would not be possible due to the distance between them unless they migrated. They further studied the finding and discovered that dragonflies from all over the world showed a very similar genetic makeup. “This is the first time anyone has looked at genes to see how far these insects have traveled,” said Jessica Ware in her report. “The insect is showing characteristics that we initially did not expect at all.”

The findings prove that the insects got around a lot, but the reason for their worldwide tour is still a mystery. Ware believes that the primary reason for its migration is mating and reproduction. It requires a wet environment to mate and therefore in times of drought in Asia it migrates to Africa where the weather is much more conducive.

They are able to fly for this long due to their body structure. They are able to widen their wingspan to help them glide on the wind. This allows them to move great distances without fatigue.

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NONE

Female suicide bomber injures eight at Grand Mosque in Turkey

A female suicide bomber wounded eight people Apr. 27, 2016 at approximately 5:30 pm (2:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time) near the Grand Mosque (also known as Ulu Cami) in Bursa, Turkey.

“The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. It is a woman, ” said a senior Turkish government official to Reuters news agency.

This bombing attack is the fifth suicide bombing Turkey has suffered in a major city in 2016.

Although it was originally reported by the Turkish minister of health that 13 people had been injured, Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu, announced that there were only eight wounded

“This was an attack aimed at our nation, our people, our peace. Eight of our citizens were wounded. Thank God, no citizen was critically wounded,” said Davuto?lu via a state television broadcast from Ankara. He did not explain why the injury count was lowered.

Many of the wounded walked away from the attack dazed and with minor cuts from broken windows and debris. Some have already been discharged from the hospital.

“This attack will not give cause for Turkey to retreat in its determined stance in fighting terrorism,” continued Davuto?lu, who said that although Turkish forces were still investigating the attack, no militant had come forward to take responsibility.

Turkey, which is part of a coalition fighting against terrorism, is surrounded by Islamic State and Kurdish militant threats alike.

Two bombing attacks on Turkish cultural capital, Istanbul (also known as Constantinople and Byzantium), earlier in 2016 were claimed by the Islamic State and two in political capital, Ankara, were claimed by a Kurdish radical group.

 

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NWT_Biology NWT_Earth SCI

MIT develop smallest solar-cell

The solar cell is believed to be the next proficient power source for many small devices. But as devices get smaller and efficient, the need to have a source of energy with this same properties is a priority. MIT have created such a cell that would work for most small low-power devices. They have created the thinnest and lightest solar cell to date.

The head researcher in this project, Vladimir Bulovic, from MIT, said that they created this power source by combining all the critical steps to one. They formed the substrate of the cell and the protective overcoat in one process. He also said that the substrate is built in place and sides not need to move around. It also does not require any further maintenance such as washing or being taken off from the vacuum during fabrication.

“You can come up with the substrate as you grow the device, “said Vladimir Bulovic.” We are still in experimental stages, but we have noted considerable progress in making this solar cell a reality. We hope our research will lead to better power sources.”MIT are also using organic material in place of perylene, and a polymer called DBP to create both the overcoat and substrate.

Usually, perylene is used as an overcoat for biomedical devices to offer protecting to the apparatus. Using DBP for the cell has enabled the company to create the power source at room temperatures in a vacuum. It also does not need the use of harsh chemicals or elevated temperatures to merge the elements together. This makes the whole process economically viable and safer.

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NONE PHYS

CERN releases data on fundamental physics of the universe

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has released a wealth of information about the most basic physics of the universe.

The Washington Post reports that CERN’s new public release of 300 terabytes of data is equivalent to the storage capacity of 20,000 Gmail accounts.  The data release is CERN’s largest to date.

The data was collected by various instruments included along the length of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile particle accelerator.  LHC experiments involve smashing subatomic particles at close to the speed of light to reveal yet more particles, with the overall goal of learning more about how the universe works at the most fundamental level.

The data, available through CERN’s website, is presented in both “education” and “research” formats.  The education section delivers data sets and visuals designed for end users to engage in data analysis without requiring advanced knowledge of particle physics.  The research section offers access to raw data.

“As scientists, we should take the release of data from publicly funded research very seriously,” Salvatore Rappoccio of CERN said in a statement. “In addition to showing good stewardship of the funding we have received, it also provides a scientific benefit to our field as a whole.”

“We are very pleased that we can make all these data publicly available,” Kati Lassila-Perini of the CMS Collaboration at CERN said. “We look forward to how they are utilized outside our collaboration, for research as well as for building educational tools.”

CERN scientists hope that students and professionals in the field will use the data to corroborate results and extend research further into investigating the physics at work behind every facet of the cosmos.

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NONE

First biological super computer created

The conception of the first biological super computer is well on its way to completion. The concept revolves around the creation of energy from living cells to power the computer. The computer is powered by ATP proteins, the main energy source in cells. In the presence of the Protein molecules, the computer generates enough electricity to run all its functions in a new power efficient method. T

he best part about this is that the system is self-reliant and does not need any plugins or stimulation. The energy source comes from only the essential parts of the cell and therefore not the whole cell is required. The ATP ions are secluded and combined forming a network similar to a city with different sized components. The system is efficient as only a specific amount of electricity is released to a part at a time. This results in less power wastage.

“We’ve managed to create a very complex network in a tiny area, this started as a back of an envelope idea, after too much rum I think, with drawings of what looked like small worms exploring mazes,” said Dan Nicolau, Sr. from McGill University. “Now that this model exists as a way of successfully dealing with a single problem, there are going to be many others who will follow up and try to push it further, using different biological agents.”

The program is looking to combine the biological computer with the tradition hardware set up, creating a hybrid. They argue that this would offer advantages from both the computers that neither individually would bring.

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NWT_Biology NWT_Earth

MIT now able to predict killer waves

The sea can be a dangerous place, especially when a ship experiences killer waves. The waves are notorious for appearing out of nowhere and can cause significant devastation. They suddenly appear and can rise to eight feet without warning, causing damage to even a large ship. They are so unpredictable because of the way they form and how quickly they manifest.

Rogue waves are formed when a group of smaller waves share their energy and merge to form one big monstrosity. The current swells up, and that is what causes the wave to rise and crush with such force.

Scientists have previously used mathematical equations on each wave using probability and statistics to see where next it will form. However, this approach is expensive and time-consuming. By the time, they discover where the wave will form it usually has already caused devastation. MIT have come up with a new approach to this problem. They observe groups of waves running along each other in the ocean. They study the intensity and energy level and note the energy exchange rate between the waves of water. The more the energy exchange, the higher the probability of the formation of a rogue wave.

“It’s precise in the sense that it’s telling us very accurately the location and the time that this rare event will happen, said Sapsis said, from MIT. “We have a range of possibilities, and we can say that this will be a dangerous wave, and you’d better do something.”

MIT says they can predict an occurrence two or three minutes before it strikes giving the crew enough time to prepare and shut down the ship’s electronics and equipment.

Categories
Science

Polar bears forced to swim without rest thanks to melting ice

Is ice melting really a good thing? As we watch with delight how winter melts into spring we can’t forget how the disappearing ice farther north means disaster for polar bears. It also means more time in the water trying to stay afloat.

According to Bangor Daily News, polar bears monitored closely by scientists and environmentalists are seen swimming longer distances to find slabs of ice big enough to fit on. These long distances can take weeks and are often completed without food or rest, something biologist Andrew Derocher notes the large mammals are not used to.

“Ice is changing so quickly that we’re finding the bears are getting caught in places where they’re finally coming to the realization, ‘I just can’t stay here,’ ” said Derocher. “These kinds of long-distance swims are not what they evolved to undergo.”

While polar bears are capable of swimming, long distances observed by  scientists are not what they are built for. This rings even more true for the cubs.

“With cubs, if they have to undergo a long distance swim it’s basically a death sentence,” said Derocher.

Polar bears, young and old, aren’t the only ones in danger from the ever-dwindling ice. USA Today reported that in Alaska polar bears would forgo swimming to roam the land, putting the animals dangerously close to humans.

“The weather has changed a lot, and it has made the animals change their behavior,” said Clyde Oxereok of Wales, Alaska, where they have had to set up polar bear patrols to keep school children safe.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently setting up operations to monitor the bears, those in Alaska and around the globe, more carefully.