Wagamaga OP t1_jeb2hlf wrote

Researchers at Boston University, USA report that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain is linked to waking brain activity. Led by Stephanie Williams, and publishing in the open access journal PLOS Biology on March 30th, the study demonstrates that manipulating blood flow in the brain with visual stimulation induces complementary fluid flow. The findings could impact treatment for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, which have been associated with declines in cerebrospinal fluid flow.

Just as our kidneys help remove toxic waste from our bodies, cerebrospinal fluid helps remove toxins from the brain, particularly while we sleep. Reduced flow of cerebrospinal fluid is known to be related to declines in brain health, such as occur in Alzheimer’s disease. Based on evidence from sleep studies, the researchers hypothesized that brain activity while awake could also affect the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. They tested this hypothesis by simultaneously recording human brain activity via fMRI and the speed of cerebrospinal fluid flow while people were shown a checkered pattern that turned on and off.

Researchers first confirmed that the checkered pattern induced brain activity; blood oxygenation recorded by fMRI increased when the pattern was visible and decreased when it was turned off. Next, they found that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid negatively mirrored the blood signal, increasing when the checkered pattern was off. Further tests showed that changing how long the pattern was visible affected blood and fluid in a predictable way, and that the blood-cerebrospinal fluid link could not be accounted for by only breathing or heart rate rhythms.



Wagamaga OP t1_je62cgx wrote

Recent research offers both bad and good news on the issue.

Two separate studies from the same researcher found that firearms deaths involving preschool-aged children had increased at an alarmingly high rate in the United States in the past decade, but state laws may help curb shooting deaths among young children.

"Firearms are among the top causes of death for American children now, and no other industrialized nation has such high rates of firearm deaths," said researcher Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor of public health at New Mexico State University.

In the first study, published in the Journal of Community Health, Khubchandani and co-author James Price from the University of Toledo tracked changes in firearm death trends in preschool children from 2010 to 2020.

The study found that 1,220 children were shot and killed during that period. Firearm death rates among preschoolers increased by 75%.

About 66% of all firearm deaths in preschool children were homicides, 30% were unintentional deaths and 4% were undetermined, according to the study.

Homicides caused the most firearm deaths among white children, 61%; Black children, 65%; and Hispanic children, 81%.

"The data indicates that the worsening epidemic of firearm violence is not just limited to youth and adults, it is also affecting very young children," Khubchandani said in a university news release. "Our findings show that since the past decade, we have been losing almost 10 children every month due to firearm injuries. To prevent this problem, we will need inter-sectoral approaches, with participation from families, health care providers and policymakers."



Wagamaga OP t1_je4xswa wrote

A team of British researchers has made an exciting discovery in the great inky black of space: a gigantic black hole is roughly 30 billion times the mass of our Sun.

Something that large is almost unfathomable to the brain of the Average Joe, but thankfully space boffins at Durham University have been busily studying the cosmos and all the secrets she keeps hidden from us.

The findings, described by the research team as 'extremely exciting' have been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Durham University Astronomer James Nightingale and lead author of the study said: "This particular black hole is roughly 30 billion times the mass of our Sun.



Wagamaga OP t1_je10lxy wrote

Losing weight with lifestyle changes in an intensive behavioral weight loss program was associated with a decrease in risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes for at least five years — even if some weight was regained, according to a systematic review of research, published today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a peer-reviewed American Heart Association journal.

People affected by obesity or who are overweight are at increased risk for high cholesterol and high blood pressure — factors that heighten risk of cardiovascular disease; as well as insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Globally, overweight and obesity contributed to 2.4 million deaths in 2020, according to the American Heart Association’s 2023 Statistical Update.

Behavioral weight loss programs can help people lose and maintain a healthy weight by encouraging lifestyle and behavior changes, such as eating healthy foods and increasing physical activity. Regaining some weight is common after behavioral weight loss programs. Some observational studies suggest this weight change pattern of weight loss followed by weight regain may increase cardiovascular risk. However, according to the authors of this analysis, data from randomized trials and long-term follow-up studies is lacking.

“Many doctors and patients recognize that weight loss is often followed by weight regain, and they fear that this renders an attempt to lose weight pointless,” said study co-senior author Susan A. Jebb, Ph.D., a professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. “This concept has become a barrier to offering support to people to lose weight. For people with overweight or obesity issues, losing weight is an effective way to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”



Wagamaga OP t1_jdzfco0 wrote

Researchers found that among nearly 100 teens who underwent brain scans, those with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) tended to have thinner tissue at the brain's surface, and some signs of inflammation in a brain area key to memory and learning.

Exactly what those brain structure differences mean is not yet clear, said senior researcher Dr. Raanan Arens, chief of respiratory and sleep medicine at Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City.

But the findings -- recently published in the journal Sleep -- do suggest that OSA can lead to observable alterations in kids' brains.

Studies estimate that anywhere from 1% to 5% of children have obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which tissues in the throat constrict during sleep, causing repeated stops and starts in breathing. Loud snoring is the most obvious symptom, but daytime sleepiness and attention problems are also red flags.



Wagamaga OP t1_jdwdagy wrote

A cup of wild blueberries a day may keep low energy at bay. The berries have long been hailed as a superfood—while they’re known for a plethora of health benefits, new research from Cal Poly Humboldt proves this superfruit could help burn fat during exercise.

The study, recently published in the journal Nutrients and the first to examine wild blueberries’ fat-burning effects during exercise in non-elite athletes, suggests that wild blueberries may help accelerate fat oxidation—the process of breaking down fatty acids or burning fats for energy.

The study included 11 healthy aerobically trained males. Each was instructed to follow a diet, which included consuming 25 grams of freeze-dried wild blueberries (equivalent to 1 cup of raw fruit) daily for two weeks. Participants exercised on a bike for 40 minutes at Cal Poly Humboldt’s Human Performance Lab. Researchers collected urine and blood before and after cycling, and blood samples every 10 minutes during the workout.

Results showed participants burned notably more fat after consuming wild blueberries. For example, fat oxidation rate rose by 19.7%, 43.2%, and 31.1% at 20, 30, and 40 min after cycling.

Overall, the research found that consuming roughly 1 cup of wild blueberries daily for two weeks increases the ability to use/burn fat during moderate-intensity exercise, like cycling.

While it accelerates fat burning, it also decreases the use of carbohydrates. Burning more fat while using less carbs is significant for athletes, explains Cal Poly Humboldt Kinesiology Professor Taylor Bloedon, the study’s lead researcher.

“Increasing the use of fat can help performance, particularly in endurance activities as we have more fat stores to keep us going longer than we do carb stores,” says Bloedon. “Saving stored carbs also helps when we need to increase our intensity, often towards the end of the race or training session, or when challenged by an opponent. At these higher intensities we cannot rely on fat to fuel us as fat cannot be used as a fuel source for high-intensity activities.”



Wagamaga OP t1_jdnnp4v wrote

After six years spent tracking health outcomes among nearly 925,000 Danish seniors, investigators determined that when a man between the ages of 65 and 69 loses his wife he is 70% more likely to die in the year that follows, when compared with his non-widowed peers.

Among surviving wives, however, that rise in risk was just 27%.

Why the difference? Study author Alexandros Katsiferis said he could only offer a few theories.

"We do not have the data to accurately answer that question, so we cannot be very confident on the reasons why this phenomenon tends to happen," noted Katsiferis, a doctoral fellow with the section for epidemiology in the department of public health at the University of Copenhagen.

But he pointed out that elderly widows may be better than widowers at "absorbing the shock, [including] the hurdles of taking care of a sick husband, along with all the needs and quirks" leading up to the husband's passing.

By contrast, it could be that the "physical and emotional health [of men] relies on the willingness of their spouse to take care of them," he added. "So, when their wife is out of their life, you get this collapse."



Wagamaga OP t1_jdlupt2 wrote

Older adults with depression are actually aging faster than their peers, UConn Center on Aging researchers report.

“These patients show evidence of accelerated biological aging, and poor physical and brain health,” which are the main drivers of this association, says Breno Diniz, a UConn School of Medicine geriatric psychiatrist and author of the study, which appears in Nature Mental Health on March 22.

Diniz and colleagues from several other institutions looked at 426 people with late-in-life depression. They measured the levels of proteins associated with aging in each person’s blood. When a cell gets old, it begins to function differently, less efficiently, than a “young” cell. It often produces proteins that promote inflammation or other unhealthy conditions, and those proteins can be measured in the blood. Diniz and the other researchers compared the levels of these proteins with measures of the participants’ physical health, medical problems, brain function, and the severity of their depression.

To their surprise, the severity of a person’s depression seemed unrelated to their level of accelerated aging. However, they did find that accelerated aging was associated with worse cardiovascular health overall. People with higher levels of aging-associated proteins were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and multiple medical problems. The accelerated aging was also associated with worse performance on tests of brain health such as working memory and other cognitive skills.



Wagamaga OP t1_jdgwfde wrote

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have developed a new method that can easily purify contaminated water using a cellulose-based material. This discovery could have implications for countries with poor water treatment technologies and combat the widespread problem of toxic dye discharge from the textile industry.

Clean water is a prerequisite for our health and living environment, but far from a given for everyone. According to the World Health Organization, WHO, there are currently over two billion people living with limited or no access to clean water.

This global challenge is at the centre of a research group at Chalmers University of Technology, which has developed a method to easily remove pollutants from water. The group, led by Gunnar Westman, Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry focuses on new uses for cellulose and wood-based products and is part of the Wallenberg Wood Science Center.

The researchers have built up solid knowledge about cellulose nanocrystals* – and this is where the key to water purification lies. These tiny nanoparticles have an outstanding adsorption capacity, which the researchers have now found a way to utilise.

“We have taken a unique holistic approach to these cellulose nanocrystals, examining their properties and potential applications. We have now created a biobased material, a form of cellulose powder with excellent purification properties that we can adapt and modify depending on the types of pollutants to be removed,” says Gunnar Westman.

Absorbs and breaks down toxins In a study recently published in the scientific journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the researchers show how toxic dyes can be filtered out of wastewater using the method and material developed by the group. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur in India, where dye pollutants in textile industry wastewater are a widespread problem.

The treatment requires neither pressure nor heat and uses sunlight to catalyse the process. Gunnar Westman likens the method to pouring raspberry juice into a glass with grains of rice, which soak up the juice to make the water transparent again.

“Imagine a simple purification system, like a portable box connected to the sewage pipe. As the contaminated water passes through the cellulose powder filter, the pollutants are absorbed and the sunlight entering the treatment system causes them to break down quickly and efficiently. It is a cost-effective and simple system to set up and use, and we see that it could be of great benefit in countries that currently have poor or non-existent water treatment,” he says.



Wagamaga OP t1_jd9ype8 wrote

NTNU has been responsible for the basic research. APIM Therapeutics has used the basic research to develop the medicine.

It has taken 18 years and more than EUR 20 million.

The medicine has now been tested on 20 cancer patients who were terminally ill. They had tried all available treatments, and as a last resort they opted to try a new option that was in the experimental stage.

Cancer stopped growing The trials took place in Australia, where there are clinics that specialize in testing new medicines.

The results are very promising and have been published in the journal Oncogene.

Seventy percent of the patients who tested the medicine were stable after six weeks. Twelve continued the medication and were stable for 18 weeks. One woman took the medication for 17 months, and was stable for over two years.

In other words, the cancer stopped growing.

The aim of the testing in Australia was not primarily to check whether the medicine worked, but rather to determine whether it was toxic to humans.

It certainly wasn't toxic.

The medicine has previously been shown to both keep cancer at bay and defeat it in laboratory and animal experiments.

Marit Otterlei is behind all the research. She is a professor of molecular medicine at NTNU



Wagamaga OP t1_jd77oo0 wrote

Professors Cho Jae-rim and Kim Chang-soo of Yonsei University College of Medicine’s Prevention Medicine Class and Professor Roh Young of the Neurology Department at Gachon University Gil Medical Center conducted the study.

Air pollutants enter the lungs through the respiratory tract and cause inflammation, which causes various diseases throughout the body, especially the inflammation of nerves when it reaches the brain. The research team confirmed through previous studies that air pollutants affect the atrophy of the cerebral cortex. Still, no evidence exists that this phenomenon led to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's.

Cortical changes in the cerebral cortex are closely related to brain diseases, including Alzheimer's. The average cerebral cortex thickness in healthy ordinary people is 2.5 millimeters, but that of patients with Alzheimer's was thinner, with 2.2mm.

The researchers studied the effects air pollution has on brain health using three primary air-polluting materials – ultrafine dust (PM2.5), fine dust (PM10), and nitrous oxide (NO2) – as indicators in 640 healthy adults 50 and older with no brain diseases in Seoul, Incheon, Wonju and Pyeongchang for 32 months from August 2014.

The result showed that the thickness of the cerebral cortex decreased as the concentration of air pollutants increased. For instance, when the concentration of fine dust and ultrafine dust increases by 10μg/, and nitrogen dioxide increases by 10ppb, the thickness of the cerebral cortex decreases by 0.04mm, 0.03mm, and 0.05mm.



Wagamaga OP t1_jd4b32j wrote

A team of international astronomers have discovered a galaxy that has changed classification due to unique activity within its core. The galaxy, named PBC J2333.9-2343, was previously classified as a radio galaxy, but the new research has revealed otherwise. The work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

PBC J2333.9-2343, located 656 844 372 light years away, has now been classified as a giant radio galaxy that is 4 million light years across and happens to have a blazar in its core; a blazar is an active galactic nucleus (AGN) with a relativistic jet (a jet travelling close to the speed of light) directed towards an observer. Blazars are very high energy objects and are considered to be one of the most powerful phenomena in the Universe. The research has revealed that in PBC J2333.9-2343, the jet changed its direction drastically by an angle of up to 90 degrees, going from being in the plane of the sky, perpendicular to our line of sight, to pointing directly towards us.

A blazar jet is made of elemental charged particles like electrons or protons that move at velocities close to the speed of light. These move in circles around a strong magnetic field, causing the emission of radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. In PBC J2333.9-2343, the jet is thought to originate from or close to the supermassive black hole in its centre.

With the jet pointing in our direction, the emission is strongly enhanced and can easily exceed that coming from the rest of the galaxy. This in turn drives high-intensity flares stronger than those coming from other radio galaxies, thus changing its categorisation.



Wagamaga OP t1_jct2bt9 wrote

Scientists have found a novel way to block the transportation of mutant RNA and subsequent production of toxic repeat proteins which lead to the death of nerve cells in the most common genetic subtypes of motor neurone disease (MND) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

The new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), also showed that using a peptide to stop the transport of mutant repeated RNA molecules and production of toxic repeat proteins actually increases the survival of C9ORF72 nerve cells - protecting them against neurodegeneration.

The Sheffield team previously discovered the abnormal transportation of the rogue RNAs copied from the C9ORF72 gene - known to be the most frequent cause of MND and FTD - is caused by excessive stickiness of a cell transporter named SRSF1.

Instead of using conventional drugs, which are inefficient in disrupting the stickiness of the SRSF1 protein, or invasive therapies to edit or modulate the activity of defective genes, the new study found that a small peptide incorporating a cell-penetrating module can stick to SRSF1 and effectively block the transportation of the rogue repeat RNA.



Wagamaga OP t1_jcqu6fj wrote

The researchers have called for more sophisticated diagnostic criteria and clinical record keeping to address their findings.

The study led by Ms Amira Skeggs, a clinical researcher in the School of Psychology, has been published in the Journal of Neurology. It focuses on one of three types of the disease known as behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). In February, American actor Bruce Willis announced he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

“Frontotemporal dementia refers to a set of younger-onset dementia syndromes, which are typically diagnosed before the age of 65,” Ms Skeggs said.

“Our findings suggest that current diagnostic methods might be less accurate at identifying symptoms in Australians from culturally diverse backgrounds.

“When it comes to neurodegenerative syndromes like bvFTD, culturally diverse people can have a later onset of the disease compared to monolingual Australians because they have other factors which could increase their resilience or cognitive reserve.”

Cognitive reserve is a kind of fortification that helps the brain weather progression of neurodegeneration before symptoms of mental decline emerge. This reserve is built up over an active lifetime and is influenced by a range of factors.

“There is a tendency for culturally diverse patients, particularly those who come to Australia, to have higher levels of cognitive reserve,” Ms Skeggs said.

“Multilingualism, education, working in a complex profession for a long time, all of these factors add up and make you more resilient to cognitive decline – up to a point.



Wagamaga OP t1_jcqffup wrote

The football players were both amateur and professional. Sweden was a prominent football nation during the 20th century and many of the players from the top division were competing at the highest international level. However, due to ideals of sportsmanship and amateurism, football clubs in Sweden were not allowed to pay salaries to their football players until the late 1960s.

In recent years, there have been growing concerns about exposure to head trauma in football (soccer) and whether it can lead to increased risk of neurodegenerative disease later in life. A previous study from Scotland suggested that footballers were 3.5 times more likely to develop neurodegenerative disease. Following this evidence, certain footballing associations implemented measures to reduce heading in younger age groups and training settings.

Peter Ueda, assistant professor at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, says, “While the risk increase in our study is slightly smaller than in the previous study from Scotland, it confirms that elite footballers have a greater risk of neurogenerative disease later in life. As there are growing calls from within the sport for greater measures to protect brain health, our study adds to the limited evidence-base and can be used to guide decisions on how to manage these risks.”



Wagamaga OP t1_jcju97z wrote

Researchers from the University of Waterloo found employees often kept working despite wanting to pause. One potential reason is employees may have felt pressure to continue working to get everything done on time.

"Our research provides a comprehensive account of the processes involved in the decision to take a break and provides insights into how employees and managers can make more effective use of breaks at work, potentially improving both well-being and performance," said James Beck, professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Waterloo.

To conduct the study, researchers asked 107 employees about their reasons for taking a break and not taking one. They then surveyed another 287 employees twice daily over five days about their sleep quality, fatigue, performance concerns, workload, and the number of breaks they take each day.

The researchers also found that although previous research has shown that breaks can benefit employee well-being and performance, they may resist taking breaks if they feel supervisors discourage breaks in their workplace. Although there may be a misconception that breaks are unproductive, Phan notes that many employees take breaks because they are committed to staying focused and maintaining high levels of performance.

"We recognize that it may not always be possible for employees to take more breaks, but if employers can promote employee well-being by addressing the conditions that can make work unpleasant, they may be able to reduce the number of breaks needed," said Dr. Vincent Phan, first author of the study, which he led as part of his doctoral thesis in industrial and organizational psychology at Waterloo.



Wagamaga OP t1_jca7cac wrote

The COVID-19 pandemic was fertile ground for conspiracy theories and misinformation on Twitter, and Bill Gates was a frequent target. A new study, which analyzes well-known conspiracy theories about the role of Bill Gates during the pandemic is published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

K. Hazel Kwon, Ph.D., from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, and co-authors analyzed 313,088 tweets surrounding Bill Gates over a nine-month period in 2020.

The investigators define conspiracy theories as "explanatory narratives about the ultimate causes of significant social and political events, with claims of secret plots by powerful actors."

The findings showed that each conspiracy theory is not an isolated event; instead, they are highly dynamic and interwoven. "Most conspiracy theories that emerged in our dataset were complementary to one another," stated the investigators. "Such findings allude that individuals' beliefs in one conspiracy theory may reinforce another, which leads to more sharing behaviors in digital space."



Wagamaga OP t1_jc1j8oa wrote

Scientists have called for a legally-binding treaty to ensure Earth’s orbit isn’t irreparably harmed by the future expansion of the global space industry.

In the week that nearly 200 countries agreed to a treaty to protect the High Seas after a 20-year process, the experts believe society needs to take the lessons learned from one part of our planet to another.

The number of satellites in orbit is expected to increase from 9,000 today to over 60,000 by 2030, with estimates suggesting there are already more than 100 trillion untracked pieces of old satellites circling the planet.

While such technology is used to provide a huge range of social and environmental benefits, there are fears the predicted growth of the industry could make large parts of Earth’s orbit unusable.

Writing in the journal Science, an international collaboration of experts in fields including satellite technology and ocean plastic pollution say this demonstrates the urgent need for global consensus on how best to govern Earth’s orbit.

They acknowledge that a number of industries and countries are starting to focus on satellite sustainability, but say this should be enforced to include any nation with plans to use Earth’s orbit.

Any agreement, they add, should include measures to implement producer and user responsibility for satellites and debris, from the time they launch onwards. Commercial costs should also be considered when looking at ways to incentivise accountability. Such considerations are consistent with current proposals to address ocean plastic pollution as countries begin negotiations for the Global Plastics Treaty.

The experts also believe that unless action is taken immediately, large parts of our planet’s immediate surroundings risk the same fate as the High Seas where insubstantial governance has led to overfishing, habitat destruction, deep-sea mining exploration, and plastic pollution.



Wagamaga OP t1_jbykkl5 wrote

People living with diabetes can be at a higher risk of nerve damage in parts of their body, known as neuropathy. If nerves are damaged in the feet, ulcers can develop, which can lead to amputations if left unchecked.

While symptoms of neuropathy can be treated, at the moment there aren’t any treatments that can reverse or halt the nerve damage.

For some people, neuropathy can also cause debilitating pain, which can be very difficult to treat with over-the-counter painkillers. People tend to be offered antidepressants to manage their pain, but this isn’t always successful and can come with a risk of side effects.

A hot topic in pain relief Capsaicin is a molecule found in chillis, which gives them their fiery kick. It can also help to block pain signals from nerves when it’s applied to skin, making them less sensitive to pain. So capsaicin creams and skin patches – which stick to areas where nerves have been damaged – can be really helpful to reduce pain.

There’s also evidence that capsaicin can boost healing in some skin conditions like psoriasis. But we don’t yet know if capsaicin can help to treat the underlying cause of nerve pain, and how to reverse damage.

With our funding, a team of researchers at Imperial College London and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals recruited 75 people with diabetes and neuropathy. They investigated the effects of treating their feet with a patch containing 8% capsaicin (a licensed treatment for neuropathy called Qutenza), with one application for 30 minutes.

They wanted to figure out how the patch works to relieve pain, by looking at whether it could improve nerve damage over the course of three months.

50 of the participants had neuropathic pain, of which 32 were treated with the capsaicin patch and 18 received the current standard care for their pain. The other 25 participants didn’t have pain, but their neuropathy was still treated with the capsaicin patch.

During the study, participants were asked to keep a pain diary where they rated and described their pain, filled in questionnaires about their symptoms, and had their nerve sensitivity tested. They also gave samples of skin from their feet at the start and end of the study, and the researchers counted and analysed the nerves.

What the study found After three months, the team found that those who’d been treated with the capsaicin patch reported that their pain had reduced significantly, compared to those treated with standard care.

Excitingly, everyone who’d been treated with the capsaicin patch appeared to have more new nerves in their skin samples at the end of the study. This suggests that part of capsaicin’s role in lowering pain is by helping to heal the nerves and triggering them to grow back.



Wagamaga OP t1_jbseesx wrote

Research around a new breathing device developed by pulmonologists at the University of Cincinnati offers promise for improving their lives.

The new device not only improves symptoms of breathlessness and quality of life for people with COPD, it also offers benefits for people dealing with stress and anxiety and those practicing mindfulness, meditation or yoga.

The research was published in the journal Respiratory Care.

The device, called PEP Buddy, was created by Muhammad Ahsan Zafar, MD, and Ralph Panos, MD. Zafar is an associate professor in the Department of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the UC College of Medicine while Panos is a professor emeritus in pulmonary and critical care at the UC College of Medicine and is the director of national tele-ICU program for the U.S. Veterans Affairs.

“Dr. Panos and I both see patients with COPD, and it’s a huge population,” says Zafar. “Their life really changes when they have COPD. They were active individuals but now they’re debilitated and limited, so we wanted to come up with something easy that helps improve their life.”

For people with COPD, it takes longer to get inhaled air out of their lungs with each breath due to tighter air tubes. Therefore, when they breathe fast, like during physical activities, air is retained in the lungs. This air stacking or “dynamic hyperinflation” is the main reason for breathlessness and also leads to lower oxygen levels. As the breathing gets difficult during physical activity, people become less and less active and more isolated.



Wagamaga OP t1_jbppl4f wrote

A team of climate scientists from France, Russia and Germany has found that ancient viruses dormant for tens of thousands of years in permafrost can infect modern amoeba when they are revived. For their study, reported on the open-access site Viruses, the group collected several giant virus specimens from permafrost in Siberia and tested them to see if they could still infect modern creatures.

Prior research has shown that permafrost—frozen soil—is an excellent preservative. Many carcasses of frozen extinct animals have been extracted from permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere. Prior research has also shown that plant seeds lying dormant in permafrost can be coaxed to grow once revived. And there is evidence suggesting that viruses and bacteria trapped in permafrost could infect hosts if revived. In this new effort, the researchers tested this theory.

The effort by the research team followed up on prior work in 2014 that showed a 30,000-year-old virus could be revived—and that it could be infectious. The team followed up on that effort by reviving a different virus in 2015 and allowing it to infect an amoeba. In this new effort, the team collected several virus specimens from multiple permafrost sites across Siberia for lab testing.

For safety reasons, the research team collects only so-called giant viruses and only those that can infect amoeba, not humans or any other creature. In reviving the virus samples, the team found that they were still capable of infecting amoeba. They also found, via radiocarbon dating of the permafrost in which they were found, that the viruses had been in a dormant state for between 27,000 and 48,500 years



Wagamaga OP t1_jbdzich wrote

Surprisingly, the research team found that populations from different regions associated with the Gravettian culture, which was widespread across the European continent between 32,000 and 24,000 years ago, were not closely related to each other. They were linked by a common archaeological culture: they used similar weapons and produced similar portable art. Genetically, however, the populations from western and southwestern Europe (today's France and Iberia) differed from contemporaneous populations from central and southern Europe (today's Czech Republic and Italy).

Furthermore, the gene pool of the western Gravettian populations is found continuously for at least 20,000 years: their descendants who are associated with the Solutrean and Magdalenian cultures stayed in southwestern Europe during the coldest period of the last Ice Age (between 25,000 and 19,000 years ago) and later spread north-eastward to the rest of Europe. "With these findings, we can for the first time directly support the hypothesis that during the Last Glacial Maximum people found refuge in the climatically more favourable region of southwestern Europe" says first author Cosimo Posth.

The Italian peninsula was previously considered to be another climatic refugium for humans during the LGM. However, the research team found no evidence for this, on the contrary: hunter-gatherer populations associated with the Gravettian culture and living in central and southern Europe are no longer genetically detectable after the LGM. People with a new gene pool settled in these areas, instead. "We find that individuals associated with a later culture, the Epigravettian, are genetically distinct from the area‘s previous inhabitants," says co-author He Yu. "Presumably, these people came from the Balkans, arrived first in northern Italy around the time of the glacial maximum and spread all the way south to Sicily."



Wagamaga OP t1_jb95r4t wrote

There is an extensive catalogue of services covered by fake interaction resale panels. You can buy any form of interaction from any global or local service,” says one of the study’s authors, Juan Tapiador, a professor in UC3M’s Computer Science Department. Another conclusion reached by the researchers is the level of “customisation” of these services. For example, for many interactions (playing music, watching videos or “likes” on social media) you can choose the geographical origin of the account that will do so and the gender (male or female). “A third interesting finding is the disparity in prices between providers of the same service, which suggests that this is still a developing market where the market value of this service is unknown”, adds Juan Tapiador.

According to the study’s results, the cheapest rates include buying direct traffic to a website, getting “likes” on Instagram or getting views on multimedia platforms. For example, 1000 “likes” on Instagram cost 1.3 euros, while 2 euros can get 1000 views on YouTube or 1000 plays on Spotify. Interestingly, several services are offered for free so customers can check their quality and thus be convinced to invest in different ones. This way, for less than 9 cents you can get 1000 views on TikTok, SoundCloud or Instagram/IGTV. Buying Instagram followers is more expensive: for 4.3 euros you can get 1000. And then there are other more expensive services because they involve some personalisation, such as reviews on Google or TripAdvisor, which range at around 1 euro per text.

As Narseo Vallina-Rodríguez, associate research lecturer at IMDEA Networks and another of the work’s authors, says, “potential consumers of this type of service can be anyone depending on the type of review: from influencers who want to promote their channels on social media to brands trying to promote the visibility of their products”.

This study, recently published in the scientific journal Computers & Security, is part of a wider research project on the ecosystem of services that provide fake activity and identity services on the internet. The aim of this research is to quantify and analyse the evolution of the global market price of services that (re)sell artificial interactions on social media and content distribution platforms, something that has rarely been studied in academic literature, according to the researchers.



Wagamaga OP t1_javfd57 wrote

A new study based on a massive dataset of posts collected from Facebook pages and groups in the runup to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election finds that visual misinformation is widespread across the platform, and that it is highly asymmetric across party lines, with right-leaning images five to eight times more likely to be misleading.

In “Visual misinformation on Facebook,” published this week in the Journal of Communication, scholars from Texas A&M University’s Department of Communication & Journalism, Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, and the George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics collected and analyzed nearly 14 million posts from more than 14,000 pages and 11,000 public groups from August through October 2020.

From this corpus, the researchers arrived at a representative data set of political images, and another of images that specifically depicted political figures. An analysis found that 23% of political images in a sample contained misinformation, while 20% of those that depicted a political figure were misleading.



Wagamaga OP t1_ja02sbo wrote

Curtin University researchers believe rising sea temperatures are to blame for the plummeting number of invertebrates such as molluscs and sea urchins at Rottnest Island off Western Australia, with some species having declined by up to 90 per cent between 2007 and 2021.

Lead author Adjunct Professor Fred Wells, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences, said the west end of Rottnest Island had suffered a “catastrophic decline” in biodiversity.

“Since 1982, we have monitored biodiversity of marine molluscs and echinoderms including sea snails, clams, starfish and sea urchins on rocky reefs at Rottnest Island, Cottesloe, Trigg Point and Waterman,” Professor Wells said.

“Despite being sanctuary zones with the highest level of protection from human activities, we found that Radar Reef and Cape Vlamingh at Rottnest Island had suffered a catastrophic decline in biodiversity between 2007 and 2021, likely due to exposure to the warm Leeuwin Current.

“By contrast, the metropolitan coastline, which is not under the influence of the Leeuwin Current, was found to have well-preserved biodiversity and species richness.

“Overall, at the west end of Rottnest Island, the rocky reefs are badly depleted with a decline of 90 percent or more in biodiversity and density of molluscs.”