Vitamins supplements do not help general health, study reports

Vitamin and mineral supplements do not lead to measurable health benefits, a new study published in the journal Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports.

This research — which comes from scientists at the University of Toronto — shows that multivitamins, as well as vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C supplements have no positive or negative health effects when taken over long periods of time.

To make that discovery, the team analyzed more than 150 randomized clinical trials published between January 2012 and October 2017. They found that, not only did the supplements have no positive effects, but Niacin (B3) and antioxidants seemed to increase the risk of death.

For example, there were 2,908 deaths among 18,719 people who took vitamin D, compared to 2,968 deaths among 18,831 people in control groups.

“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said lead author David Jenkins, a professor at the University of Toronto, in a statement. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm—but there is no apparent advantage either.”

This is not the first time medical professionals have questioned supplements. Previous studies show that there is not enough evidence on the benefits or harms of multivitamins to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.

That is important because current estimates show that roughly 50 percent of Americans take at least one vitamin supplement and at least 30 percent take multivitamins.

Though such products do not do any known damage, the fact that they come with no benefits means they are not a good substitute for healthy foods.

“In the absence of significant positive data—apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease—it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals,” concluded Jenkins, according to Gizmodo. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less-processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits, and nuts.”


Hayabusa 2 spacecraft reaches asteroid Ryugu

On Tuesday, scientists successfully used the Lidar instrument to measure the distance from Hayabusa to the asteroid Ryugu for the first time.

Ryugu is a relatively primitive C-type asteroid, rich in organic and hydrated minerals and combined with water. Studying the dynamics of Ryugu will provide insights into the molecular mix that contributed to the origin of life on Earth.

The onboard Lidar (light detection and ranging) instrument is used partly as a navigation sensor for rendezvous, approach, and touchdown. It illuminates the target with pulsed laser light to measure variable distances between the two objects.

Associate professor Dr. Yoshikawa of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) said Ryugu’s shape was unexpected.

He said asteroids with this general diamond shape tended to be fast-rotating, completing one revolution every three or four hours. However, Ryugu’s spin period is relatively long – about 7.5 hours.

“Many scientists in our project think that in the past the spin period was very short – it rotated very quickly – and the spin period has slowed down. We don’t know why it slowed down, but this is a very interesting topic,” Yoshikawa told BBC News.

Hayabusa 2 will spend about a year and a half surveying the 900m-wide space rock, which is about 290 million km (180 million miles) from Earth.

During this time, it will aim to deploy several landing craft to the surface, including small rovers and a German-built instrument package called Mascot (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout).


Supreme Court upholds privacy of phone data

In a pivotal statement on digital privacy and data, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies, The New York Times reported.

“We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier’s database of physical location information,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

The 5-to-4 ruling will protect “deeply revealing” records associated with 400 million devices, the chief justice wrote. It did not matter, he wrote, that the records were in the hands of a third party — that aspect of the ruling was a significant break from earlier decisions.

The Constitution must take account of vast technological changes, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, noting that digital data can provide a comprehensive, detailed and intrusive overview of private affairs that would have been impossible to imagine not long ago.

The Times reported that the court’s four more liberal members — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — joined his opinion.

For the minority, each of the four other justices wrote a dissent, with the five opinions running more than 110 pages. Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his dissent that the distinctions drawn by the majority “will frustrate principled application of the Fourth Amendment in many routine yet vital law enforcement operations.”


Top 10 Holiday Destinations for Snow Lovers

Whilst winter is hibernation season for most, there are those amongst us who come alive in the snow. Donned in the right seasonal gear, winter is the time to explore the great outdoors and discover new hobbies and talents. If you are wondering where you should explore this winter, look no further. Below are 10 of some of the best holiday destinations for snow lovers in the USA.

10. Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
Located just outside of Boston, Waterville Valley is the place to be for those looking for a snow vacation whilst being close to the city. You have the option of renting out trailside cabins or opting for the more luxurious snow resorts in the area. If you are from New Hampshire, you can even just come for a day trip. Whichever way you choose to visit, you are in for a picturesque treat, and plenty of activities to satisfy the whole family.

9. Sisters, Oregon
Close to Portland and Eugene, Sisters is a dream vacation spot for those who need to unplug for the day and just enjoy the wintery outdoors. This is a very family friendly destination, with guided snowmobile tours, cross-country skiing, and the option to just enjoy the slopes. For out of town guests, there are also beautiful resorts in the area that offer breathtaking views and additional activities for all ages.

8. Snowshoe, West Virginia
Located in the snow state, Snowshoe is one of the most popular vacation destinations for snow lover across the country. There are plenty of lodging options in the area and they are all surrounded by the natural beauty that is Snowshoe. There are also plenty of activities to do outside of skiing and snowboarding, making this a popular family-friendly destination for those wanting to do a bit of everything.

7. Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania
If you are looking for a skiing adventure, Hidden Valley is the place you need to be. Hidden Valley Resort is a popular spot for vacationers, boasting 26 slopes and trails, as well as terrain parks. And for those who are not skiers, there is also snow tubing with designated lanes to keep everyone safe. This is a family-friendly snow vacation with plenty of kid-friendly options in the area as well.

6. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Extreme skiers and thrill seekers, this is the place for you. With is gargantuan mountain peaks and steep slopes, Jackson Hole is the dream destination for those who are experienced and looking for something to challenge their inner daredevil. There are plenty of slopes to choose from, and none will disappoint. This is not an ideal destination for young children, but seasoned skiers will thoroughly enjoy Jackson Hole and all it has to offer.

5. Stowe, Vermont
This little town in the Green Mountains attracts an international crowd during the snow season. Stowe is world renowned for its snowfall and its popular ski resort. There is also an annual Stowe Winter Carnival held in mid-January each year – a must-attend for snow lovers. This is a family-friendly destination, and there is plenty to explore in Stowe besides the snow activities.

4. Boyne Falls, Michigan
Maybe skiing isn’t really your thing but you still love winter getaways. If so, Boyne Falls is simply calling your name. This winter wonderland is decked with over 60 slopes that are best for tubing, zip-lining, casual boarding, skiing and hiking. This is the vacation for everyone in the family, and the bonus is that this turns into the state’s largest water park once the weather warms up.

3. Midway, Utah
Midway was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics cross-country and biathlon events – what more needs to be said? You are guaranteed to experience world-class trails and hiking paths in Midway. The town itself has a certain charm that you will not find elsewhere, and there are plenty of activities and places to warm up with delicious eats.

2. Galena, Illinois
Looking for historic architecture and small-town charm? Galena is the winter destination that you have been looking for. Whether you are looking to rent a mansion and live like a king, or unplug in a secluded cabin, there is something here for everyone. You will be surrounded by dreamy snow covered backdrops. There are also plenty of family-friendly resorts for those looking to hit the slopes.

1. Wenatchee, Washington
Family friendly. Check. Affordable. Check. Breathtaking views. CHECK. What more could you possibly want from a winter snow vacation? Wenatchee is a well-loved destination for those looking to take their family on a winter vacation that won’t break the bank. There are plenty of well-priced lodging options including family resorts. There is also a multitude of activities – both on and off the slopes – so you are guaranteed that everyone will find something to love. This is also a great vacation for novice skiers who are looking to get more experience on friendlier slopes.

HEALTH HND_Cancer HND_Disease

Healing after breast cancer surgery may cause the disease to spread

The wound healing that follows breast cancer surgery may cause the disease to spread, a new study in Science Translational Medicine reports.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in today’s world. However, as much as scientists know about it, they have long wondered why patients are more likely to have the disease spread in the first 18 months after a lumpectomy or mastectomy.

In the new study, a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that trend exists because, after the immune system works to heal the surgical scar, it stops restraining any cells that move from the tumor site. That then allows them to grow in other places of the body.

That occurs because the immune system needs to trigger cells to move to new locations in order to close an open wound.

“It’s not the actual surgery, but instead, it’s the post-surgical wound response,” explained study co-author Robert Weinberg, a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to USA Today. “It is provoking already disseminated cells to begin to grow into clinically detectable metastases.”

While that is not good news, the team behind the research also found that a simple anti-inflammatory drug known as ketorolac helped slow the unwanted spread. They found that a few days of anti-inflammatory therapy kept the immune brake engaged in mice and prevented spread. Small studies also showed similar effects in humans. However, more research is needed before any results can be confirmed.

Though surgeons often stay away from anti-inflammatory drugs after surgery because they can cause bleeding, the findings show that the benefits could outweigh the risks.

Nearly every person who dies from breast cancer does so by the initial tumor spreading to other areas of the body. The drug could help stop such issues, potentially saving many lives in the future.

“The pieces fit really well together — what we see in humans and what they have demonstrated in mice,” said Hanna Dillekas, a researcher at Haukeland University Hospital in Norway who was not involved in the study, according to UPI.


10-year-old boy shatters Michael Phelp’s record

10-year-old Clark Kent Apuada placed first in all seven events at the Far Western Long Course Championships in California, highlighted by the 100-meter butterfly, in which he broke a record set by Olympian Michael Phelps at the same meet back in 1995.

“Most people just call me Clark, but now, when I beat Michael Phelps’ record, they start calling me Superman,” he said. “I thought to myself, yeah if I had positive thoughts, positive things would happen.”

“It’s the coolest thing in the world because that’s all he talked about,” said Travis Rianda, Apuada’s swim coach. “It wasn’t like, ‘I want to be better than Michael Phelps,’ or anything like that. His first goals were, ‘I want to be a scientist, an Olympic gold medalist for the United States and I want to be a black belt.’ He’s on track for all three of those.”

In addition to breaking Phelps’ record by 1.1 seconds, Apuada also won six other races at the meet. Technically, Apuada can’t qualify for the Olympics just yet, but the Olympics is his ultimate goal.

Michael Phelps himself has already noticed his talent, taking to Twitter to say, “Big congrats to Clark Kent for smashing that meet record!!! Keep it up dude!! Dreambig.”

Apuada has only been swimming competitively for four years, but with sky-high dreams and a name to match, he just may be a real-life superhero.

Phelps is the long course world record holder in the men’s 100 meter butterfly, 200 meter butterfly, and 400 meter individual medley as well as the former long course world record holder in the 200 meter freestyle and 200 meter individual medley.

He has won 82 medals in major international long course competition, of which 65 were gold, 14 silver, and 3 bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships.


5 Easy Ways to Save Money for Your Dream Trip in 2020

On the eve of a new year, instead of a list of resolutions, how about a list of destinations you want to go — and how to get there?

Making a bucket list can often feel like daydreaming, especially with far-off destinations like Bali and the Maldives. Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank, however, and even if you’re living off a modest salary, here are the steps to take to reach your travel goals.

1. Start investing in a travel fund
Putting aside money directly into a fund for travel, particularly in an account that you cannot easily withdraw from, makes it easier to visualize goals. With new investment apps, like Acorns, for example, travelers don’t need to be a financial wizard to start investing — and grow their money faster than it would in an average savings account.

Acorns rounds up users’ credit and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and puts that money in an investment account. Users can supplement their contributions by setting up weekly or monthly deposits into the account.

2. Automate your savings
Similar to putting money into an investment fund, automatically depositing a portion of each paycheck into a savings account makes it easier to achieve savings goals.

Miron Lulic, CEO of the finance advising website SuperMoney, told us that a savings account is the first thing someone should think about with each paycheck, budgeting the rest of your check around that amount.

“Pay yourself first,” he said.

3. Assess your current expenses — and make cuts
Figuring out where you spend most of your money already goes a long way toward figuring out what you’re doing right — and more importantly what you might be doing wrong.

Track your expenses for a month to see where your biggest expenses are, or download an app like Clarity or Mint that does it for you. Clarity gives you a list of monthly expenses, from cable and electronic bills, to streaming services. It can be a good reminder to cut out services you no longer use or didn’t even know you subscribed to, from Pandora and Spotfiy to Hulu or Amazon Prime.

4. Increase your 401K contribution
Lulic told us that one of the biggest financial mistakes people make is to immediately change their lifestyle the moment they receive a raise or a bonus. Whether you’re receiving a meager Christmas bonus or seeing a big promotion, think twice before rushing out to lease a new apartment or cut up your subway card.

Instead, increase your 401K contribution. As many employers match employees’ contribution, you’re essentially getting free money. “That mentality of saving is a big thing,” said Lulic.

While your retirement fund won’t get you to Fiji tomorrow, it will help your greater financial picture.

5. Use rewards wisely
Credit cards that earn rewards for travel expenses such as flights or hotels can be invaluable resources when it comes to making dream trips happen. The internet is full of success stories of millennials who have traveled the world using only their points from rewards cards.

These tips and tricks can be applied by travelers of all stripes. However, beware the trap of opening several credit cards at once only to find yourself weighed down by debt: First pay off balances, then go after rewards.


Pregnant ichthyosaur specimen unearthed in England

A newly discovered ichthyosaur fossil has six to eight small embryos within its ribs, a new study published in Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society reports.

Ichthyosaurs are ancient dolphin-like reptiles that existed during the early Jurassic period. Though they are often mistaken for dinosaurs, they came about long before the massive reptiles took over the Earth. Ichthyosaurs have many interesting traits, and one of the most unusual is that they gave birth to live young rather than eggs.

The new specimen — which lived about 180 million years ago — is unique because, though many ichthyosaurs have been discovered throughout Britain, only five are known to have embryos.

Paleontologists found the specimen eight years ago near Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. Not only is it one of the few fossils with embryos, it also has the most embryos ever discovered in an Ichthyosaur fossil and it is the first such specimen unearthed from the Toarcian Stage of the Jurassic.

“It represents the geologically-youngest occurrence of ichthyosaur embryos thus far recorded from the UK and the first such occurrence to be reported from Yorkshire,” the team wrote in their study, according to Tech Times.

Researchers spent a lot of time analyzing the stomach contents. Though there is a chance they did not come from the creature, it is unlikely the ancient reptile would swallow so many newborn fetuses at the same time. In addition, the embryos do not show erosion from stomach acid.

The new fossil is featured at the Yorkshire’s Jurassic World, and it could help shed light on a lesser known period of ancient history.

“This is an incredible find and the research by Dean and Mike has helped us confirm it is the first example of fossilized ichthyosaur embryos to be found in Yorkshire,” said Sarah King, curator of natural science at the Yorkshire Museum who was not involved in the discovery, according to Science Alert.


Top 10 US Cities for Living on $40k

You won’t need to worry about finances in these cities. Live comfortably for $40, 000 a year by packing up and moving to these fine American towns!

10. Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Population: 115,300, median home price: $127,300, sun shining days per year: 188. One short hour north of Milwaukee, you’ll find this tiny Midwestern town on the shores of glorious Lake Michigan.   The opening of the Sheboygan River is the area’s main draw and a hotspot for surfing and sailing. You will love Sheboygan’s free and affordable events and activities, and you won’t want to miss the annual Brat Days festival, a celebration of the city’s most famous culinary export.

9. Eugene, Oregon

Population: 358,300, median home price: $222,000, sun shining days per year: 155.   Nestled in the lush Willamette Valley, Eugene has “carefully cultivated its image as an outdoor lover’s paradise,” or so says The AARP Magazine. You will enjoy regular farmer’s market visits, hiking and biking trails, museums, vineyards, and galleries.

8. Cleveland, Ohio

Population: 2 million, median home price: $124,000, sun shining days per year: 166.   Sitting on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is home to the NFL’s Browns and a growing population of baby boomers and millennials. LeBron James may be the big draw for NBA fans, but there is also a strong art and music community, complete with spunky nightlife and award-winning restaurants.

7. Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Population: 258,000, median home price: $208,200, sun shining days per year: 226.   Located in the Florida panhandle, Fort Walton Beach residents know how to party and relax to live outdoor music while lounging on the beach. It’s a relaxing yet active city thanks to surging tourism and nearby Eglin Air Force Base.

6. Abilene, Texas

Population: 168,600, median home price: $106,500, sun shining days per year: 243.   Abilene is stereotypical Texan: charming, authentic, and packed with good barbecue.   Less than a three-hour drive from Dallas, Abilene is where you will find Depression-era cultural gems, the Paramount Theatre, the Grace Museum, plus the Dixie Pig, the oldest restaurant in town, where you can grab a $5 breakfast.

5. Bristol, Virginia, and Tennessee
Population: 308,000, median home price: $115,000, sun shining days per year: 201.   Bordering both Virginia and Tennessee, the city of Bristol sits at the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and is the home of country music. Live and sometimes free bluegrass and country music events are a city staple, along with outdoor activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and golfing. If you’re a NASCAR fan, twice each year, residents gather at the famous Bristol Motor Speedway for events.

4. Cheyenne, Wyoming

Population: 96,400, median home price: $191,800, sun shining days per year: 236.   Residents enjoy a small-town feel and a Wild West atmosphere. Cowboys and rodeos remain a staple and uphold the city’s roots. The area is continually welcoming new residents thanks to a growing technology industry. The low cost of living plus parks and festivals keep daily life affordable.

3. Cañon City, Colorado

Population: 16,300, median home price: $146,700, sun shining days per year: 250.   A quick hour south of Colorado Springs, Cañon City, is a sleepy town that’s where adventure seekers spend their day’s rafting, rock climbing, fishing, and hiking near the Arkansas River. The historic downtown district is gaining new life, and unemployment is incredibly low, thanks to several state and federal prisons in the area.

2. Rochester, New York

Population: 1.08 million, median home price: $126,600, sun shining days per year: 165. New York state’s third largest city lies on the Southern shore of Lake Ontario and has exceptional schools, libraries, art institutions, and parks. Highland Park, the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed arboretum, hosts the annual Lilac Festival. And for over 110 years, Rochester’s Public Market continues to offer fresh produce, locally made food, and bargain merchandise to residents and visitors alike.

1. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Population: 248,400, median home price: $202,000, sun shining days per year: 211.   Sioux Falls is the largest area city and boasts of high ranks of happiness, tons of outdoor activities, a strong sense of community, and a friendly spirit. Sculpture Walk is a free hotspot and no state income tax and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country to boot.


6 Things to Do if You Damage a Hotel Room

It’s not hard to accidentally create some damage in a hotel room, especially if you’ve gotten just a little tipsy or the kids have had a hyperactivity attack. So, what do you do? Regardless of who created the problem, there’s six things you should keep in mind.

1. Alert the hotel. In many cases, you will find them to be very understanding. We all know that stuff happens.

2. Based on the degree of the damage, most managers will remain reasonable and be easier to deal with if you’ve delivered a sincere apology. That little taste of honesty can make all the difference.

3. The things that hotels may not be empathic to is irresponsibility and malicious intent. So, you want to avoid those messages and words.

4. If the hotel deems malicious behavior, you can count on paying for the damages and any needed repairs. If the damage is so severe the room can’t be rented, you could easily be charged for every night it’s out of commission. And if any of your neighbors complained, you may have to pick up their bills as well.

5. Irresponsibility can go either way. You may get a pass for an accidentally broken lamp. The hotel realizes that a $50 light is cheaper to replace than your patronage, especially if you’re a frequent guest. But it is critical that you tell the hotel and don’t let them discover it after you’re gone.

6. On the other hand, if you cause a fire from smoking, which is a no-no, they may throw the book at you. Sneaking in a pet is another annoyance for hotel managers. They don’t care how cute or quiet they are; they just aren’t welcomed, guests. Expect a fine if you get caught, and you may be asked to leave with no refund of your room fees.

Accidents happen, but being honest and fully disclosing spills, breaks, and tears is key to obtaining a pass or at least a lessened penalty. Always check the hotel policies!