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University of Illinois at Chicago study: How to avoid raising a materialistic child

21 Oct

George Monbiot wrote in the article, Materialism: a system that eats us from the inside out:

There has long been a correlation observed between materialism, a lack of empathy and engagement with others, and unhappiness. But research conducted over the past few years seems to show causation. For example, a series of studies published in the journal Motivation and Emotion in July showed that as people become more materialistic, their wellbeing (good relationships, autonomy, sense of purpose and the rest) diminishes. As they become less materialistic, it rises….
A third paper, published (paradoxically) in the Journal of Consumer Research, studied 2,500 people for six years. It found a two-way relationship between materialism and loneliness: materialism fosters social isolation; isolation fosters materialism. People who are cut off from others attach themselves to possessions. This attachment in turn crowds out social relationships.
The two varieties of materialism that have this effect – using possessions as a yardstick of success and seeking happiness through acquisition – are the varieties that seem to be on display on Rich Kids of Instagram. It was only after reading this paper that I understood why those photos distressed me: they look like a kind of social self-mutilation.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons an economic model based on perpetual growth continues on its own terms to succeed, though it may leave a trail of unpayable debts, mental illness and smashed relationships. Social atomisation may be the best sales strategy ever devised, and continuous marketing looks like an unbeatable programme for atomisation.
Materialism forces us into comparison with the possessions of others, a race both cruelly illustrated and crudely propelled by that toxic website. There is no end to it. If you have four Rolexes while another has five, you are a Rolex short of contentment. The material pursuit of self-esteem reduces your self-esteem.
I should emphasise that this is not about differences between rich and poor: the poor can be as susceptible to materialism as the rich. It is a general social affliction, visited upon us by government policy, corporate strategy, the collapse of communities and civic life, and our acquiescence in a system that is eating us from the inside out.
This is the dreadful mistake we are making: allowing ourselves to believe that having more money and more stuff enhances our wellbeing, a belief possessed not only by those poor deluded people in the pictures, but by almost every member of almost every government. Worldly ambition, material aspiration, perpetual growth: these are a formula for mass unhappiness…. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/materialism-system-eats-us-from-inside-out

University of Illinois Chicago researchers studied how to avoid raising a materialistic child.

Science Daily reported in How to avoid raising a materialistic child:

If you’re a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. According to research, materialism has been linked to a variety of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, as well as selfish attitudes and behaviors.
But there’s some good news. A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that some parenting tactics can curb kids’ materialistic tendencies.
“Our findings show that it is possible to reduce materialism among young consumers, as well as one of its most common negative consequences (nongenerosity) using a simple strategy — fostering gratitude for the things and people in their lives,” writes researcher Lan Nguyen Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and coauthor of the study.
After studying a nationwide sample of more than 900 adolescents ages 11 to 17, Chaplin’s team found a link between fostering gratitude and its effects on materialism, suggesting that having and expressing gratitude may possibly decrease materialism and increase generosity among adolescents.
The team surveyed 870 adolescents and asked them to complete an online eight-item measure of materialism assessing the value placed on money and material goods, and a four-item measure of gratitude assessing how thankful they are for people and possessions in their lives.
The researchers then conducted an experiment among 61 adolescents and asked them to complete the same four-item gratitude measure from the first study and an eight-item materialism measure. The adolescents were randomly assigned to keep a daily journal for two weeks. One group was asked to record who and what they were thankful for each day by keeping a gratitude journal, and the control group was asked to record their daily activities.
After two weeks, the journals were collected and the participants completed the same gratitude and materialism measures as before. The kids were then given 10 $1 bills for participating and told they could keep all the money or donate some or all of it to charity.
Results showed that participants who were encouraged to keep a gratitude journal showed a significant decrease in materialism and increase in gratitude. The control group, which kept the daily activity journal, retained their pre-journal levels of gratitude and materialism.
In addition, the group that kept a gratitude journal was more generous than the control group. Adolescents, who were in the experimental group, wrote about who and what they were thankful for and donated more than two-thirds of their earnings. Those who were in the control group and simply wrote about their daily activities donated less than half of their earnings.
“The results of this survey study indicate that higher levels of gratitude are associated with lower levels of materialism in adolescents across a wide range of demographic groups,” Chaplin noted…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181019100606.htm

Citation:

How to avoid raising a materialistic child
Date: October 19, 2018
Source: University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
If you’re a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. But there’s some good news. A new study suggests that some parenting tactics can curb kids’ materialistic tendencies.
Journal Reference:
Lan Nguyen Chaplin, Deborah Roedder John, Aric Rindfleisch, Jeffrey J. Froh. The impact of gratitude on adolescent materialism and generosity. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2018.1497688

Here is the press release from University of Illinois Chicago:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 19-OCT-2018

How to avoid raising a materialistic child
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
If you’re a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. According to research, materialism has been linked to a variety of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, as well as selfish attitudes and behaviors.
But there’s some good news. A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that some parenting tactics can curb kids’ materialistic tendencies.
“Our findings show that it is possible to reduce materialism among young consumers, as well as one of its most common negative consequences (nongenerosity) using a simple strategy — fostering gratitude for the things and people in their lives,” writes researcher Lan Nguyen Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and coauthor of the study.
After studying a nationwide sample of more than 900 adolescents ages 11 to 17, Chaplin’s team found a link between fostering gratitude and its effects on materialism, suggesting that having and expressing gratitude may possibly decrease materialism and increase generosity among adolescents.
The team surveyed 870 adolescents and asked them to complete an online eight-item measure of materialism assessing the value placed on money and material goods, and a four-item measure of gratitude assessing how thankful they are for people and possessions in their lives.
The researchers then conducted an experiment among 61 adolescents and asked them to complete the same four-item gratitude measure from the first study and an eight-item materialism measure. The adolescents were randomly assigned to keep a daily journal for two weeks. One group was asked to record who and what they were thankful for each day by keeping a gratitude journal, and the control group was asked to record their daily activities.
After two weeks, the journals were collected and the participants completed the same gratitude and materialism measures as before. The kids were then given 10 $1 bills for participating and told they could keep all the money or donate some or all of it to charity.
Results showed that participants who were encouraged to keep a gratitude journal showed a significant decrease in materialism and increase in gratitude. The control group, which kept the daily activity journal, retained their pre-journal levels of gratitude and materialism.
In addition, the group that kept a gratitude journal was more generous than the control group. Adolescents, who were in the experimental group, wrote about who and what they were thankful for and donated more than two-thirds of their earnings. Those who were in the control group and simply wrote about their daily activities donated less than half of their earnings.
“The results of this survey study indicate that higher levels of gratitude are associated with lower levels of materialism in adolescents across a wide range of demographic groups,” Chaplin noted.
The authors also suggest that materialism can be curbed and feelings of gratitude can be enhanced by a daily gratitude reflection around the dinner table, having children and adolescents make posters of what they are grateful for, or keeping a “gratitude jar” where children and teens write down something they are grateful for each week, while countering materialism.
###
Coauthors of the study include Deborah Roedder John, University of Minnesota; Aric Rindfleisch, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Jeffrey Froh, Hofstra University.
The research was conducted at Villanova University. Lan Nguyen Chaplin is now at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

A key component of materialism is the level of gratitude an individual possesses.

Lifeworks wrote in Depression more prevalent in the Western world:

According to a new World Health Organization (WHO) study, published on July 25 in the journal of BMC medicine, not only are depression rates significantly higher in affluent nations but cases of major depression are on the rise throughout the world. The study concludes that depression is a severe global problem that will change from being the world’s fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, to being the second leading cause of disability by 2020. But how are we to explain these concerning findings.
The link between affluence and stress
The WHO study found that 15% of people in high income countries were likely to face an episode of depression in their lifetime, compared to 11% of people in low income countries. The highest instances of people that faced clinical depression once in their lifetime was found in France, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. These figures are in stark contrast to countries such as China and Mexico, which were found to have the lowest incidences of depression.
The researchers of the study speculate that stress might be a significant factor in the differences in the prevalence rates. Stress is known to be one of the main triggers of depression, and in nations such as the UK a still growing number of men and women succumb to the pressures that seem embedded in our value system and societal structure. The study found an important gender disparity with regards to depression, with women having a twofold increased risk of having major depressive episodes, which might in part explain why affluent nations, in which women are working and making home, stress and depression are more prevalent…. https://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/mental-health-knowledge-centre/depression/depression-in-the-western-world.html

Perhaps, what is missing is gratitude.

Robert Emmons wrote Why Gratitude Is Good:

We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.
Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life…. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good

Many of the happiest individuals cultivate an attitude of gratitude. See, Wynne Parry’s 7 Tips to Cultivate Gratitude https://www.livescience.com/25900-7-tips-gratitude-happiness.html

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University of Maryland Baltimore County study: New method to address deep-seated biases in science

18 Oct

The New York Times reported in Hoaxers Slip Breastaurants and Dog-Park Sex Into Journals:

One paper, published in a journal called Sex Roles, said that the author had conducted a two-year study involving “thematic analysis of table dialogue” to uncover the mystery of why heterosexual men like to eat at Hooters.
Another, from a journal of feminist geography, parsed “human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity” at dog parks in Portland, Ore., while a third paper, published in a journal of feminist social work and titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle,” simply scattered some up-to-date jargon into passages lifted from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Such offerings may or may not have raised eyebrows among the journals’ limited readerships. But this week, they unleashed a cascade of mockery — along with a torrent of debate about ethics of hoaxes, the state of peer review and the excesses of academia — when they were revealed to be part of an elaborate prank aimed squarely at what the authors labeled “grievance studies.”
“Something has gone wrong in the university — especially in certain fields within the humanities,” the three authors of the fake papers wrote in an article in the online journal Areo explaining what they had done. “Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields.”
Their project quickly drew comparisons to a famous 1996 hoax in which the physicist Alan Sokal got a paper mixing postmodern philosophy with the theory of quantum gravity into a prestigious cultural studies journal.
But while that hoax involved a single article, the new one involved 20 papers, produced every two weeks or so, submitted to various journals over nearly a year.
The authors — Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian — said that four papers had been published; three had been accepted but not yet published; seven were under review and six had been rejected…. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/arts/academic-journals-hoax.html

Scientific method is important because it directs inquiry into a rational discussion and outcome.

William Harris wrote in How the Scientific Method Works:

Importance of the Scientific Method
The scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter. Even the best-intentioned scientists can’t escape bias. It results from personal beliefs, as well as cultural beliefs, which means any human filters information based on his or her own experience. Unfortunately, this filtering process can cause a scientist to prefer one outcome over another. For someone trying to solve a problem around the house, succumbing to these kinds of biases is not such a big deal. But in the scientific community, where results have to be reviewed and duplicated, bias must be avoided at all costs.
¬T¬hat’s the job of the scientific method. It provides an objective, standardized approach to conducting experiments and, in doing so, improves their results. By using a standardized approach in their investigations, scientists can feel confident that they will stick to the facts and limit the influence of personal, preconceived notions. Even with such a rigorous methodology in place, some scientists still make mistakes. For example, they can mistake a hypothesis for an explanation of a phenomenon without performing experiments. Or they can fail to accurately account for errors, such as measurement errors. Or they can ignore data that does not support the hypothesis…. https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-method9.htm

A University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) examined biases in scientific research.

Science Daily reported in New method to address deep-seated biases in science:

New UMBC research is helping dismantle gender and publication biases in science. A team of researchers working across disciplines has developed a new statistical technique to understand similarity, rather than difference, in the natural world. With this new technique, they’ve determined that among Eastern Bluebirds the structure of songs female birds sing is statistically indistinguishable from songs males sing….
Challenging a paradigm
Working together, the team modified a statistical method used in generic drug testing to meet their needs for ecology and animal behavior studies. The existing test helps determine whether generic and brand name drugs are “statistically equivalent,” meaning they are similar enough to be prescribed safely for the same purpose. The new modification will allow scientists in other fields to test for equivalence. Before, researchers could only report they did not find a significant difference — a very different statement than saying two things are conclusively equivalent.
“We’re really hoping this new method is going to address some issues with what kinds of data get published,” Rose says. “The most important thing about being a good scientist is to be unbiased. And the whole tradition of testing for difference really leads to incredible biases in scientists,” Omland says. He adds, “There’s a whole realm of things in nature that we find interesting and important because of their similarity.”
For example, in addition to similarities in songs between the sexes in birds, researchers could use the new test to ask if two species use the same type of habitat, respond the same way to predators, or consume the same food sources. Answers to those questions could fill long-standing knowledge gaps, or even inform conservation efforts.
“This test is really broadly applicable,” says Rose, “and we’re hoping to introduce it more to the ecology and evolution field.”
A new approach
One advantage of the new method is it accounts for unequal sample sizes. In a medical study, researchers can carefully control the size of treatment and control groups. In other fields, from ecology, to engineering, to agriculture, that’s often not possible. The new test also allows researchers to determine the equivalence of several traits simultaneously, Mathew explains. For example, in this study, the authors found that the male and female birds’ songs were statistically equivalent across five different characteristics, such as duration of each song and the range of pitches the birds produced.
Rather than testing whether two things are exactly equal, the team was looking for a way to determine if two things were “close enough,” given a defined allowable margin of difference. Because of that added layer, “There are additional challenges here,” Mathew says…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181016150725.htm

Citation:

New method to address deep-seated biases in science
A new statistical method that explicitly tests for equivalence, rather than difference, can help combat the bias against publishing
Date: October 16, 2018
Source: University of Maryland Baltimore County
Summary:
A new statistical method that tests for equivalence, rather than difference, has a role to play in dismantling gender and publication biases in science. The authors believe the technique has broad applicability across disciplines and can help remove publication bias against ”negative results,” opening the door to a broader investigation of natural phenomena.

Journal Reference:
Evangeline M. Rose, Thomas Mathew, Derek A. Coss, Bernard Lohr, Kevin E. Omland. A new statistical method to test equivalence: an application in male and female eastern bluebird song. Animal Behaviour, 2018; 145: 77 DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.09.004

Here is the press release from UMBC:

New methods to fight biases in science, starting with birds
October 18, 2018 1:28 PM
New UMBC research is helping dismantle gender and publication biases in science. A team of researchers working across disciplines has developed a new statistical technique to understand similarity, rather than difference, in the natural world. With this new technique, they’ve determined that among Eastern Bluebirds the structure of songs female birds sing is statistically indistinguishable from songs males sing.
Awareness of female birdsong is growing worldwide, thanks in part to a breakthrough paper by Karan Odom, Ph.D. ’16, biological sciences, but it’s still understood as a trait found primarily in tropical birds. Evangeline Rose, a current Ph.D. student in the same lab and first author on a new paper in Animal Behavior, wanted to look at song in a temperate species.
During Rose’s fieldwork, “I was finding that the females were singing, to me, what sounded just like male songs,” she says. “So we started thinking about equality, and equivalence, and how to test for it.” On the advice of her advisor, Kevin Omland, professor of biological sciences, she reached out to Thomas Mathew, professor of statistics, who has expertise in statistical equivalence.
Challenging a paradigm
Working together, the team modified a statistical method used in generic drug testing to meet their needs for ecology and animal behavior studies. The existing test helps determine whether generic and brand name drugs are “statistically equivalent,” meaning they are similar enough to be prescribed safely for the same purpose. The new modification will allow scientists in other fields to test for equivalence. Before, researchers could only report they did not find a significant difference—a very different statement than saying two things are conclusively equivalent.
“We’re really hoping this new method is going to address some issues with what kinds of data get published,” Rose says. “The most important thing about being a good scientist is to be unbiased. And the whole tradition of testing for difference really leads to incredible biases in scientists,” Omland says. He adds, “There’s a whole realm of things in nature that we find interesting and important because of their similarity.”
For example, in addition to similarities in songs between the sexes in birds, researchers could use the new test to ask if two species use the same type of habitat, respond the same way to predators, or consume the same food sources. Answers to those questions could fill long-standing knowledge gaps, or even inform conservation efforts.
“This test is really broadly applicable,” says Rose, “and we’re hoping to introduce it more to the ecology and evolution field.”
A new approach
One advantage of the new method is it accounts for unequal sample sizes. In a medical study, researchers can carefully control the size of treatment and control groups. In other fields, from ecology, to engineering, to agriculture, that’s often not possible. The new test also allows researchers to determine the equivalence of several traits simultaneously, Mathew explains. For example, in this study, the authors found that the male and female birds’ songs were statistically equivalent across five different characteristics, such as duration of each song and the range of pitches the birds produced.
Rather than testing whether two things are exactly equal, the team was looking for a way to determine if two things were “close enough,” given a defined allowable margin of difference. Because of that added layer, “There are additional challenges here,” Mathew says.
“Even though this methodology is out there, it hasn’t been applied—even in statistics—with this kind of data. That’s why I was very excited when they brought this project to me,” Mathew says. Rose adds, “It ended up being a really great partnership to look at these questions that hadn’t been asked before for female song, and we also ended up modifying this test in a really cool, new way.”
Changing science
As research on similarities grows, there is also a growing drive to remove the bias against publishing studies that do not find a significant difference, often termed a “negative result.” This paper “is part of an amazing drumbeat that’s building up in the scientific community,” Omland says. “There’s a broader problem with the scientific method that’s being increasingly acknowledged, and the test we’ve developed can at least play a small role, and I hope a big role, in addressing it.”
Rose, who plans to next investigate the function of female bluebird songs, says she will carry these new techniques with her as she moves through her research career. “I think in the future, I’ll be thinking about how equivalence can change the questions we’re asking, and I’ll always keep in mind that we have extra tools in the toolkit.”
Image: An Eastern Bluebird, Rose’s study organism, sits on a fence. Photo by Dolan Trout, used under CC 2.0.

Honesty in scientific research protocol is essential.

David B. Resnik, J.D., Ph.D. wrote in What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important?

The following is a rough and general summary of some ethical principals that various codes address*:
Honesty
Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures, and publication status. Do not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent data. Do not deceive colleagues, research sponsors, or the public.
Objectivity
Strive to avoid bias in experimental design, data analysis, data interpretation, peer review, personnel decisions, grant writing, expert testimony, and other aspects of research where objectivity is expected or required. Avoid or minimize bias or self-deception. Disclose personal or financial interests that may affect research.
Integrity
Keep your promises and agreements; act with sincerity; strive for consistency of thought and action.
Carefulness
Avoid careless errors and negligence; carefully and critically examine your own work and the work of your peers. Keep good records of research activities, such as data collection, research design, and correspondence with agencies or journals.
Openness
Share data, results, ideas, tools, resources. Be open to criticism and new ideas.
Respect for Intellectual Property
Honor patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. Do not use unpublished data, methods, or results without permission. Give proper acknowledgement or credit for all contributions to research. Never plagiarize.
Confidentiality
Protect confidential communications, such as papers or grants submitted for publication, personnel records, trade or military secrets, and patient records.
Responsible Publication
Publish in order to advance research and scholarship, not to advance just your own career. Avoid wasteful and duplicative publication.
Responsible Mentoring
Help to educate, mentor, and advise students. Promote their welfare and allow them to make their own decisions.
Respect for colleagues
Respect your colleagues and treat them fairly.
Social Responsibility
Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research, public education, and advocacy.
Non-Discrimination
Avoid discrimination against colleagues or students on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or other factors not related to scientific competence and integrity.
Competence
Maintain and improve your own professional competence and expertise through lifelong education and learning; take steps to promote competence in science as a whole.
Legality
Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies.
Animal Care
Show proper respect and care for animals when using them in research. Do not conduct unnecessary or poorly designed animal experiments.
Human Subjects Protection
When conducting research on human subjects, minimize harms and risks and maximize benefits; respect human dignity, privacy, and autonomy; take special precautions with vulnerable populations; and strive to distribute the benefits and burdens of research fairly.
* Adapted from Shamoo A and Resnik D. 2015. Responsible Conduct of Research, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press). https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/index.cfm

Research often forms the basis of policy decisions and laws. It is vital that research used as the basis of those decisions be conducted as far as possible in a manner free of bias and in accord with ethical research guidelines.

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University of Birmingham: Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease

13 Oct

The Food and Agriculture Organization wrote in Chapter 2 – Health risks associated with wastewater use:

The survival of pathogens and how they infect a new host needs to be understood in developing a programme to eliminate or minimize health risks. The importance and complexity of the rural health problem for those living and working where wastewater is used is beyond the scope of this document. The focus of this document will be on the concern with those who handle, prepare or eat the crop after it has been harvested. The health issues associated with wastewater use for the handlers, preparers and consumers of the crop can be broken down into a series of questions (each will be covered in more detail in subsequent sections of this document):
What types of pathogens are likely to be present in the wastewater?
How many and what types of pathogens reach the field or crop?
Are these pathogens likely to survive in sufficient numbers and for sufficient time to be infectious to the handler or consumer?
How significant is the infection route for the various pathogens?
Which crops carry the highest potential for carrying infections to the handler or consumer?
Are there guidelines or limits available to measure the potential for health risk?
Types of pathogens present in wastewater
Wastewater or natural water supplies into which wastewater has been discharged, are likely to contain pathogenic organisms similar to those in the original human excreta. Disease prevention programmes have centred upon four groups of pathogens potentially present in such wastes: bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths. There have been extensive reviews published on the range of these pathogenic organisms normally found in human excreta and wastewater. The most complete reviews are Feachem et al. (1983), Rose (1986) and Shuval et al. (1986a). The following short discussion is extracted from those reviews and is presented to establish a basic understanding of the pathogens and their abundance.
Bacteria. The faeces of a healthy person contains large numbers of bacteria (> 1010/g), most of which are not pathogenic. Pathogenic or potentially pathogenic bacteria are normally absent from a healthy intestine unless infection occurs. When infection occurs, large numbers of pathogenic bacteria will be passed in the faeces thus allowing the spread of infection to others. Diarrhoea is the most prevalent type of infection, with cholera the worst form. Typhoid, paratyphoid and other Salmonella type diseases are also caused by bacterial pathogens.
Viruses. Numerous viruses may infect humans and are passed in the faeces (> 109/g). Five groups of pathogenic excreted viruses are particularly important: adenoviruses, enteroviruses (including polioviruses), hepatitis A virus, reoviruses and diarrhoea-causing viruses (especially rotavirus).
Protozoa. Many species of protozoa can infect humans and cause diarrhoea and dysentery. Infective forms of these protozoa are often passed as cysts in the faeces and humans are infected when they ingest them. Only three species are considered to be pathogenic: Giardia lamblia, Balantidium coli and Entamoeba histolytica. An asymptomatic carrier state is common in all three and may be responsible for continued transmission.
Helminths. There are many species of parasitic worms or helminths that have human hosts. Some can cause serious illnesses and the ones that pass eggs or larval forms in the excreta are of importance in considering wastewater use. Most helminths do not multiply within the human host, a factor of great importance in understanding their transmission, the ways they cause disease and the effects that environmental change will have on their control. Often the developmental stages (life cycles) through which they pass before reinfecting humans are very complex. Those that have soil, water or plant life as one of their intermediate hosts are extremely important in any scheme where wastewater is used directly or indirectly.
The helminths are classified in two main groups: the roundworms (nematodes) and worms that are flat in cross section. The flatworm, in turn, may be divided into two groups: the tapeworms which form chains of helminths “segments” and the flukes which have a single, flat, unsegmented body. Most of the roundworms that infect humans and also the schistosome flukes have separate sexes. The result is that transmission depends upon infection with both male and female worms and upon meeting, mating and egg production within the human body….
Relative health risk from wastewater use
The discussion in the previous sections show that a broad spectrum of pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, helminths and protozoa is present in wastewater and they survive for days, weeks and at times months in the soil and on crops that come in contact with wastewater. Early approaches to measuring the health risk from these pathogenic micro-organisms centred on detection. Based upon the fact that these micro-organisms could survive, detection in any of these environments was sufficient to indicate that a public health problem existed. It was then assumed that such detection showed evidence that a real potential for disease transmission existed (Shuval et al., 1986a; Shuval, 1991). This is a “zero-risk” approach. Throughout the years a number of standards and guidelines have been developed on this zero-risk approach. This led to standards for wastewater use that approached those of drinking water especially where vegetable crops were being grown…. http://www.fao.org/docrep/w5367e/w5367e04.htm

A University of Birmingham study questions the use of waste water in certain circumstances for use in agriculture.

Science Daily reported in Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease:

Urban farmers growing vegetables to feed millions of people in Africa’s ever-growing cities could unwittingly be helping to spread disease by irrigating crops with wastewater, a new study reveals.
Experts discovered that wastewater collected from canals used for urban agriculture in Burkina Faso was rich in virulent human pathogens which cause gastroenteritis and diarrhea — a major cause of death in low and middle-income countries.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham led an international team from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Germany in studying wastewater samples from three canals in the capital Ouagadougou — a city of 2.2 million inhabitants.
After identifying a wide range of antibiotic resistance genes in the water, they concluded that using wastewater for urban agriculture in the city posed a high risk of spreading bacteria and antimicrobial resistance among humans and animals.
With the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa expected to rise from 400 million (2010) to 1.26 billion in 2050, according to UN estimates, agriculture in towns and cities is recognised as a vital way of contributing to food security and alleviating poverty….
Dr Blaise Bougnon from the University of Yaounde (Cameroon), commented: “Some 200 million urban dwellers are reported to be engaged in urban agriculture world-wide and, in some cases, produce up to 90 per cent of cities’ demand for perishable vegetables, according to UN research.
“Over 80 per cent of domestic and industrial wastewater generated in low and middle-income countries is discharged untreated into the environment. Because of its low cost, availability and nutrient content, urban agriculture relies on wastewater for irrigation.”
There is an increasing number of bacteria that are multi-resistant against common antibiotics and cannot be treated by current therapies. Antibiotic resistance has led to the need for more expensive drugs, which many cannot afford, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality.
Between 50 and 90 per cent of antibiotics administered to humans and animals are excreted as a mixture of parent drug and metabolite forms, with significant levels of active drug ending up in the environment, where they may persist in soil and aquatic ecosystems.
The study found evidence in the canal water samples of pathogens commonly responsible for waterborne diseases which could lead to people directly or indirectly exposed to these wastewaters suffering from acute diarrhea, chronic gastritis, and gastroenteritis.
In low and middle-income countries 842,000 people die annually from diarrhea, according to the World Health Organisation, because of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181012102225.htm

Citation:

Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease
Date: October 12, 2018
Source: University of Birmingham
Summary:
Urban farmers growing vegetables to feed millions of people in Africa’s ever-growing cities could unwittingly be helping to spread disease by irrigating crops with wastewater, a new study reveals.
Journal Reference:
Blaise P. Bougnom, Cheikna Zongo, Alan McNally, Vito Ricci, François X. Etoa, Sören Thiele-Bruhn, Laura J.V. Piddock. Wastewater used for urban agriculture in West Africa as a reservoir for antibacterial resistance dissemination. Environmental Research, 2019; 168: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.09.022

Here is the press release from the University of Birmingham:

Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease
October 12, 2018, University of Birmingham

Urban farmers growing vegetables to feed millions of people in Africa’s ever-growing cities could unwittingly be helping to spread disease by irrigating crops with wastewater, a new study reveals.
Experts discovered that wastewater collected from canals used for urban agriculture in Burkina Faso was rich in virulent human pathogens which cause gastroenteritis and diarrhoea – a major cause of death in low and middle-income countries.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham led an international team from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Germany in studying wastewater samples from three canals in the capital Ouagadougou – a city of 2.2 million inhabitants.
After identifying a wide range of antibiotic resistance genes in the water, they concluded that using wastewater for urban agriculture in the city posed a high risk of spreading bacteria and antimicrobial resistance among humans and animals.
With the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa expected to rise from 400 million (2010) to 1.26 billion in 2050, according to UN estimates, agriculture in towns and cities is recognised as a vital way of contributing to food security and alleviating poverty.
Professor Laura Piddock, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection, commented: “Using wastewater for agricultural irrigation represents a very serious health risk, not least as it increases exposure to faecal pathogens. Wastewater appears to be a ‘hot spot’ for antibiotic resistant bacteria in Burkina Faso.”
“We urgently need further investigations to determine the extent that exposed populations are affected by this health issue. There is also an urgent need to improve global access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in low and middle-income countries to help prevent bacterial resistance spreading from the environment to people.”
Dr. Blaise Bougnon from the University of Yaounde (Cameroon), commented: “Some 200 million urban dwellers are reported to be engaged in urban agriculture world-wide and, in some cases, produce up to 90 per cent of cities’ demand for perishable vegetables, according to UN research.
“Over 80 per cent of domestic and industrial wastewater generated in low and middle-income countries is discharged untreated into the environment. Because of its low cost, availability and nutrient content, urban agriculture relies on wastewater for irrigation.”
There is an increasing number of bacteria that are multi-resistant against common antibiotics and cannot be treated by current therapies. Antibiotic resistance has led to the need for more expensive drugs, which many cannot afford, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality.
Between 50 and 90 per cent of antibiotics administered to humans and animals are excreted as a mixture of parent drug and metabolite forms, with significant levels of active drug ending up in the environment, where they may persist in soil and aquatic ecosystems.
The study found evidence in the canal water samples of pathogens commonly responsible for waterborne diseases which could lead to people directly or indirectly exposed to these wastewaters suffering from acute diarrhoea, chronic gastritis, and gastroenteritis.
In low and middle-income countries 842,000 people die annually from diarrhoea, according to the World Health Organisation, because of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Explore further: Scientists map the distribution of antimicrobial resistance across Chinese major cities
More information: Blaise P. Bougnom et al. Wastewater used for urban agriculture in West Africa as a reservoir for antibacterial resistance dissemination, Environmental Research (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.09.022
Journal reference: Environmental Research
Provided by: University of Birmingham

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-irrigating-vegetables-wastewater-african-cities.html#jCp

The International Water Management (IWMI) Institute researches water issues.

The IWMI listed crucial research issues in the safe use of waste water in agriculture:

Studies in Pakistan, Ghana, Vietnam and Mexico have examined both the positive and negative impacts of wastewater reuse for agriculture. Current IWMI work on wastewater can be found here http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/publications/briefs/wle-towards-sustainable-intensification-briefs/
Key research questions
• What are the dangers of uncontrolled wastewater irrigation in terms of public health and pollution?
• How can the nutrient value of wastewater be assessed?
• What sustainable practices are being used that can be transferred to benefit poor rural areas in other countries?
• From a public health perspective, which crops are the best candidates for wastewater irrigation and which should be avoided? http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/issues/water-and-health/wastewater-use-for-agriculture/
The Water Project researches issues related to water supply and sustainabliy.
According to the Water Project’s article, Facts about Water: Statistics of the Water Crisis:
783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide. 2
319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without access to improved reliable drinking water sources 16                                                                                                              Sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions with the greatest drinking water spending needs, with the greatest investment needs in rural areas. 17
Two thirds or about 102 million of the 159 million people still using surface water live in Sub-Saharan Africa 14
1 in 9 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. 13
443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases. 4
In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. 5
1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are without improved sanitation facilities. 14
695 million of a global 2.4 billion people living without improved sanitation facilities live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 16
Exposure to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene is a leading cause of cholera and a variety of infectious and tropical diseases in the African Region. 15
Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. 8
Of Sub-Saharan healthcare facilities, 42% lack an improved water source within 500m, 16% lack improved sanitation, and 36% lack soap for hand washing. 14
Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to be the family member responsible for fetching water. 2
The physical and time burden of water hauling was found to fall primarily on women and girls who make up 72% of those tasked with fetching water. 14
Women and girls are responsible for water collection in seven out of ten households in 45 developing countries. 14
Over half of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have access to water and sanitation facilities. Without toilets, girls often drop out at puberty. 3
Less than one in three people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a proper toilet. 2
In Sub-Saharan Africa, in the 38 countries for which data is available, hand washing prevalence is at best 50%. 16
84% of the people who don’t have access to improved water, live in rural areas, where they live principally through subsistence agriculture. 2                                                              The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can, weighs over 40 lbs when full. 9
Almost two-thirds, 64% of households rely on women to get the family’s water when there is no water source in the home. 2
Globally we use 70% of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% on domestic uses. 1
Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. 6
According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34! 12
By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health! 7
The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; the same as an entire year’s labor in all of France! 10
Research has shown that for every 10% increase in women’s literacy, a country’s whole economy can grow by up to 0.3%. 11
• Citations
1. AQUASTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “Water Use.” http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/water_use/index.stm
2. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010.” Available at http://www.wssinfo.org/
3. UNICEF. “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” Updated May 2010. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_45481.html
4. United Nations Development Programme. “Human Development Report 2006: Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis.” 2006. Available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2006/
5. United Nations. Statement by Secretary General Koffi Annan. June 2003. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sgsm8707.doc.htm
6. WHO/UNICEF. “Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done.” 2009. available at http://www.unicef.org/health/index_51412.html.
7. World Health Organization. “Costs and benefits of water and sanitation improvements at the global level.” http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/wsh0404/en/
8. UNEP / UN-Habitat “Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development. Available at http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/sickwater/
9. Jerry cans carry approx. 5 gallons of water so if a single gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, 5 gallons are 41.5 pounds.
10. United Nations Development Programme. “Resource Guide on Gender and Climate Change.” 2009. Available at http://www.undp.org/climatechange/library_gender.shtml
11. UNICEF. “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” Updated May 2010. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_45481.html
12. World Health Organization. Executive Summary of “Costs and benefits of water and sanitation improvements at the global level.” http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/wsh0404summary/en/
13. Based on 87% of the global population using imprtoved sources. Found in WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010.” Available at http://www.wssinfo.org/
14. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation “2015 Report and MDG Assessment” Available from: http://www.wssinfo.org/
15. World Health Organization “WHO in the African Region” Available from: http://www.afro.who.int/en/clusters-a-programmes/hpr/protection-of-the-human-environment/programme-components/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=122
16. World Health Organization “Key Facts from 2015 JMP Report” Available from: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/JMP-2015-keyfacts-en-rev.pdf?ua=1
17. World Health Organization “Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach MDG target and universal coverage” Available from: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/2012/globalcosts.pdf

Research about use of waste water is crucial because of the challenges the world faces about adequate water supply.

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Harvard study: Large-scale US wind power would cause warming that would take roughly a century to offset

11 Oct

Argonne National Laboratory described wind power in Wind Energy Basics:

Basic information on wind energy and wind power technology, resources, and issues of concern.
Wind Energy and Wind Power
Wind is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth’s surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth’s terrain, bodies of water, and vegetative cover. This wind flow, or motion energy, when “harvested” by modern wind turbines, can be used to generate electricity.
How Wind Power Is Generated
The terms “wind energy” or “wind power” describe the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity to power homes, businesses, schools, and the like.
Wind Turbines
Wind turbines, like aircraft propeller blades, turn in the moving air and power an electric generator that supplies an electric current. Simply stated, a wind turbine is the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity.
Wind Turbine Types
Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups; the horizontal-axis variety, like the traditional farm windmills used for pumping water, and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor. Most large modern wind turbines are horizontal-axis turbines.
Turbine Components
Horizontal turbine components include:
• blade or rotor, which converts the energy in the wind to rotational shaft energy;
• a drive train, usually including a gearbox and a generator;
• a tower that supports the rotor and drive train; and
• other equipment, including controls, electrical cables, ground support equipment, and interconnection equipment.
Turbine Configurations
Wind turbines are often grouped together into a single wind power plant, also known as a wind farm, and generate bulk electrical power. Electricity from these turbines is fed into a utility grid and distributed to customers, just as with conventional power plants.
See Wind Energy Photos page for wind farm photographs.
Wind Turbine Size and Power Ratings
Wind turbines are available in a variety of sizes, and therefore power ratings. The largest machine has blades that span more than the length of a football field, stands 20 building stories high, and produces enough electricity to power 1,400 homes. A small home-sized wind machine has rotors between 8 and 25 feet in diameter and stands upwards of 30 feet and can supply the power needs of an all-electric home or small business. Utility-scale turbines range in size from 50 to 750 kilowatts. Single small turbines, below 50 kilowatts, are used for homes, telecommunications dishes, or water pumping.
See Wind Energy Photos page for wind turbine photographs.
Wind Energy Resources in the United States
Wind energy is very abundant in many parts of the United States. Wind resources are characterized by wind-power density classes, ranging from class 1 (the lowest) to class 7 (the highest). Good wind resources (e.g., class 3 and above, which have an average annual wind speed of at least 13 miles per hour) are found in many locations (see United States Wind Energy Resource Map). Wind speed is a critical feature of wind resources, because the energy in wind is proportional to the cube of the wind speed. In other words, a stronger wind means a lot more power. http://windeis.anl.gov/guide/basics/

Harvard Researchers found wind power could cause warming.

Science Daily reported in Large-scale US wind power would cause warming that would take roughly a century to offset:

All large-scale energy systems have environmental impacts, and the ability to compare the impacts of renewable energy sources is an important step in planning a future without coal or gas power. Extracting energy from the wind causes climatic impacts that are small compared to current projections of 21st century warming, but large compared to the effect of reducing US electricity emissions to zero with solar. Research publishing in the journal Joule on October 4 reports the most accurate modelling yet of how increasing wind power would affect climate, finding that large-scale wind power generation would warm the Continental United States 0.24 degrees Celsius because wind turbines redistribute heat in the atmosphere.
“Wind beats coal by any environmental measure, but that doesn’t mean that its impacts are negligible,” says senior author David Keith, an engineering and public policy professor at Harvard University. “We must quickly transition away from fossil fuels to stop carbon emissions. In doing so, we must make choices between various low-carbon technologies, all of which have some social and environmental impacts.”
“Wind turbines generate electricity but also alter the atmospheric flow,” says first author Lee Miller. “Those effects redistribute heat and moisture in the atmosphere, which impacts climate. We attempted to model these effects on a continental scale.”
To compare the impacts of wind and solar, Keith and Miller started by establishing a baseline for the 2012-2014 US climate using a standard weather forecasting model. Then they added in the effect on the atmosphere of covering one third of the Continental US with enough wind turbines to meet present-day US electricity demand. This is a relevant scenario if wind power plays a major role in decarbonizing the energy system in the latter half of this century. This scenario would warm the surface temperature of the Continental US by 0.24 degrees Celsius.
Their analysis focused on the comparison of climate impacts and benefits. They found that it would take about a century to offset that effect with wind-related reductions in greenhouse gas concentrations. This timescale was roughly independent of the specific choice of total wind power generation in their scenarios….
More than ten previous studies have now observed local warming caused by US wind farms. Keith and Miller compared their simulated warming to observations and found rough consistency between the observations and model.
They also compared wind power’s impacts with previous projections of solar power’s influence on the climate. They found that, for the same energy generation rate, solar power’s impacts would be about 10 times smaller than wind. But both sources of energy have their pros and cons.
“In terms of temperature difference per unit of energy generation, solar power has about 10 times less impact than wind,” says Miller. “But there are other considerations. For example, solar farms are dense, whereas the land between wind turbines can be co-utilized for agriculture.” The density of wind turbines and the time of day during which they operate can also influence the climatic impacts.
Keith and Miller’s simulations do not consider any impacts on global-scale meteorology, so it remains somewhat uncertain how such a deployment of wind power may affect the climate in other countries….
Keith and Miller also have a related paper, “Observation-based solar and wind power capacity factors and power densities,” being published in Environmental Research Letters on October 4, which validates the generation rates per unit area simulated here using observations. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004112553.htm

Citation:

Large-scale US wind power would cause warming that would take roughly a century to offset
Date: October 4, 2018
Source: Cell Press
Summary:
Extracting energy from the wind causes climatic impacts that are small compared to current projections of 21st century warming, but large compared to the effect of reducing US electricity emissions to zero with solar. Researchers report the most accurate modelling yet of how increasing wind power would affect climate, finding that large-scale wind power generation would warm the Continental United States 0.24 degrees Celsius because wind turbines redistribute heat in the atmosphere.
Journal Reference:
Lee M. Miller, David W. Keith. Climatic Impacts of Wind Power. Joule, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2018.09.009
________________________________________
Cite This Page:
Cell Press. “Large-scale US wind power would cause warming that would take roughly a century to offset.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004112553.htm>.

Here is the article summary from Joule:

Climatic Impacts of Wind Power
Author links open overlay panelLee M.Miller13David W.Keith12
Show more
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2018.09.009Get rights and content
Highlights
• Wind power reduces emissions while causing climatic impacts such as warmer temperatures
• Warming effect strongest at night when temperatures increase with height
• Nighttime warming effect observed at 28 operational US wind farms
• Wind’s warming can exceed avoided warming from reduced emissions for a century
Context & Scale
Wind power can impact the climate by altering the atmospheric boundary layer, with at least 40 papers and 10 observational studies now linking wind power to climatic impacts. We make the first comparison between the climatic impacts of large-scale wind power and site-scale observations, finding agreement that warming from wind turbines is largest at night. Wind power’s climatic impacts will continue to expand as more are installed.
Do these impacts matter? How do these impacts compare to the climate benefits of reducing emissions? We offer policy-relevant comparisons: wind’s climatic impacts are about 10 times larger than solar photovoltaic systems per unit energy generated. We explore the temporal trade-off between wind’s climatic impacts and the climate benefits it brings by reducing emissions as it displaces fossil fuels. Quantitative comparisons between low-carbon energy sources should inform energy choices in the transition to a carbon-free energy system.
Summary
We find that generating today’s US electricity demand (0.5 TWe) with wind power would warm Continental US surface temperatures by 0.24°C. Warming arises, in part, from turbines redistributing heat by mixing the boundary layer. Modeled diurnal and seasonal temperature differences are roughly consistent with recent observations of warming at wind farms, reflecting a coherent mechanistic understanding for how wind turbines alter climate. The warming effect is: small compared with projections of 21st century warming, approximately equivalent to the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing global electricity generation, and large compared with the reduced warming achieved by decarbonizing US electricity with wind. For the same generation rate, the climatic impacts from solar photovoltaic systems are about ten times smaller than wind systems. Wind’s overall environmental impacts are surely less than fossil energy. Yet, as the energy system is decarbonized, decisions between wind and solar should be informed by estimates of their climate impacts. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S254243511830446X

As with various energy sources there are pros and cons.

Energy.Gov lists the pros and cons of wind energy:

Advantages of Wind Power
• Wind power is cost-effective. Land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today, costing between two and six cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the wind resource and the particular project’s financing. Because the electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price over a long period of time (e.g. 20+ years) and its fuel is free, wind energy mitigates the price uncertainty that fuel costs add to traditional sources of energy.
• Wind creates jobs. The U.S. wind sector employed more than 100,000 workers in 2016, and wind turbine technician is one of the fastest-growing American jobs of the decade. According to the Wind Vision Report, wind has the potential to support more than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and supporting services by 2050.
• Wind enables U.S. industry growth and U.S. competitiveness. Wind has an annual economic impact of about $20 billion on the U.S. economy, The United States has a vast domestic resources and a highly-skilled workforce, and can compete globally in the clean energy economy.
• It’s a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, which emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide—causing human health problems and economic damages. Wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain, smog, or greenhouse gases.
• Wind is a domestic source of energy. The nation’s wind supply is abundant and inexhaustible. Over the past 10 years, cumulative wind power capacity in the United States increased an average of 30% per year, and wind now has the largest renewable generation capacity of all renewables in the United States.
• It’s sustainable. Wind is actually a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the Earth’s surface irregularities. For as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid.
• Wind turbines can be built on existing farms or ranches. This greatly benefits the economy in rural areas, where most of the best wind sites are found. Farmers and ranchers can continue to work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction of the land. Wind power plant owners make rent payments to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land, providing landowners with additional income.
CHALLENGES OF WIND POWER
• Wind power must still compete with conventional generation sources on a cost basis. Depending on how energetic a wind site is, the wind farm might not be cost competitive. Even though the cost of wind power has decreased dramatically in the past 10 years, the technology requires a higher initial investment than fossil-fueled generators.
• Good wind sites are often located in remote locations, far from cities where the electricity is needed. Transmission lines must be built to bring the electricity from the wind farm to the city. However, building just a few already-proposed transmission lines could significantly reduce the costs of expanding wind energy.
• Wind resource development might not be the most profitable use of the land. Land suitable for wind-turbine installation must compete with alternative uses for the land, which might be more highly valued than electricity generation.
• Turbines might cause noise and aesthetic pollution. Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to conventional power plants, concern exists over the noise produced by the turbine blades and visual impacts to the landscape.
• Turbine blades could damage local wildlife. Birds have been killed by flying into spinning turbine blades. Most of these problems have been resolved or greatly reduced through technological development or by properly siting wind plants. https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy

This Harvard study highlights there is no one energy solution for sustaining the global economy.

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McGill University study: AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years

7 Oct

The National Institute on Aging described Alzheimer’s disease in What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?:

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease—those with the late-onset type—symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).
These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s, too.
This damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential in forming memories. As neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
How Many Americans Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.5 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimer’s. Many more under age 65 also have the disease. Unless Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. This is because increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
What Does Alzheimer’s Disease Look Like?
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s, though initial symptoms may vary from person to person. A decline in other aspects of thinking, such as finding the right words, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, but not everyone with MCI will develop the disease.
People with Alzheimer’s have trouble doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may ask the same questions over and over, get lost easily, lose things or put them in odd places, and find even simple things confusing. As the disease progresses, some people become worried, angry, or violent…. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease

Artificial Intelligence (AI) might provide clues to the early detection of Alzheimer’s.

Live Science described AI in What Is Artificial Intelligence?:

One of the standard textbooks in the field, by University of California computer scientists Stuart Russell and Google’s director of research, Peter Norvig, puts artificial intelligence in to four broad categories:
The differences between them can be subtle, notes Ernest Davis, a professor of computer science at New York University. AlphaGo, the computer program that beat a world champion at Go, acts rationally when it plays the game (it plays to win). But it doesn’t necessarily think the way a human being does, though it engages in some of the same pattern-recognition tasks. Similarly, a machine that acts like a human doesn’t necessarily bear much resemblance to people in the way it processes information.
• machines that think like humans,
• machines that act like humans,
• machines that think rationally,
• machines that act rationally.

Even IBM’s Watson, which acted somewhat like a human when playing Jeopardy, wasn’t using anything like the rational processes humans use.
Tough tasks
Davis says he uses another definition, centered on what one wants a computer to do. “There are a number of cognitive tasks that people do easily — often, indeed, with no conscious thought at all — but that are extremely hard to program on computers. Archetypal examples are vision and natural language understanding. Artificial intelligence, as I define it, is the study of getting computers to carry out these tasks,” he said….
Computer vision has made a lot of strides in the past decade — cameras can now recognize faces Other tasks, though, are proving tougher. For example, Davis and NYU psychology professor Gary Marcus wrote in the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery of “common sense” tasks that computers find very difficult. A robot serving drinks, for example, can be programmed to recognize a request for one, and even to manipulate a glass and pour one. But if a fly lands in the glass the computer still has a tough time deciding whether to pour the drink in and serve it (or not).

Common sense
The issue is that much of “common sense” is very hard to model. Computer scientists have taken several approaches to get around that problem. IBM’s Watson, for instance, was able to do so well on Jeopardy! because it had a huge database of knowledge to work with and a few rules to string words together to make questions and answers. Watson, though, would have a difficult time with a simple open-ended conversation.
Beyond tasks, though, is the issue of learning. Machines can learn, said Kathleen McKeown, a professor of computer science at Columbia University. “Machine learning is a kind of AI,” she said.
Some machine learning works in a way similar to the way people do it, she noted. Google Translate, for example, uses a large corpus of text in a given language to translate to another language, a statistical process that doesn’t involve looking for the “meaning” of words. Humans, she said, do something similar, in that we learn languages by seeing lots of examples.
That said, Google Translate doesn’t always get it right, precisely because it doesn’t seek meaning and can sometimes be fooled by synonyms or differing connotations….
The upshot is AIs that can handle certain tasks well exist, as do AIs that look almost human because they have a large trove of data to work with. Computer scientists have been less successful coming up with an AI that can think the way we expect a human being to, or to act like a human in more than very limited situations…. https://www.livescience.com/55089-artificial-intelligence.html

AI might prove useful in diagnosing cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.

Science Daily reported in AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years:

A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, a computational neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and his colleagues from the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, designed an algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data. This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.
“At the moment, there are limited ways to treat Alzheimer’s and the best evidence we have is for prevention. Our AI methodology could have significant implications as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ that would help stream people onto the right pathway for treatment. For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” says Chakravarty, an Assistant Professor in McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry.
The findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. The researchers trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients. They replicated their results within the study on an independently collected sample from the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Ageing.
Can the predictions be improved with more data?
“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data. It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even farther into the future,” says Chakravarty. With more data, the scientists would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 564,000 Canadians had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in 2016. The figure will rise to 937,000 within 15 years.
Worldwide, around 50million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Presently, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004155421.htm

Citation:

AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years
Algorithms may help doctors stream people onto prevention path sooner
Date: October 4, 2018
Source: McGill University
Summary:
A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

Journal Reference:
Nikhil Bhagwat, Joseph D. Viviano, Aristotle N. Voineskos, M. Mallar Chakravarty. Modeling and prediction of clinical symptom trajectories in Alzheimer’s disease using longitudinal data. PLOS Computational Biology, 2018; 14 (9): e1006376 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006376

Here is the press release from McGill University:

AI Could Predict Cognitive Decline Leading to Alzheimer’s Disease in the Next 5 Years
News
Algorithms may help doctors stream people onto prevention path sooner
PUBLISHED: 4OCT2018
A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, a computational neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and his colleagues from the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, designed an algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data. This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.
“At the moment, there are limited ways to treat Alzheimer’s and the best evidence we have is for prevention. Our AI methodology could have significant implications as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ that would help stream people onto the right pathway for treatment. For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” says Chakravarty, an Assistant Professor in McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry.
The findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. The researchers trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients. They replicated their results within the study on an independently collected sample from the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Ageing.
Can the predictions be improved with more data?
“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data. It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even farther into the future,” says Chakravarty. With more data, the scientists would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 564,000 Canadians had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in 2016. The figure will rise to 937,000 within 15 years.
Worldwide, around 50million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, may contribute to 60–70% of cases. Presently, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease.

This work was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences andEngineering Research Council of Canada, the Fonds de recherche du Québec—Santé, Weston Brain Institute, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Alzheimer’s Society, Brain Canada, and the McGill University Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives – Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
The article “Modeling and prediction of clinical symptom trajectories in Alzheimer’s disease” was published in PLOS Computational Biology
For information and interviews
Bruno Geoffroy
Press Information Officer – Media Relations Office
CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (Douglas Mental Health University Institute)
Tel.: 514-630-2225, ext. 5257 //relations.medias.comtl [at] ssss.gouv.qc.ca”>relations.medias.comtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin described why early detection is important:

Early diagnosis is key.
There are at least a dozen advantages to obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis when cognitive symptoms are first noticed.
1. Your symptoms might be reversible.
The symptoms you are concerned about might be caused by a condition that is reversible. And even if there is also an underlying dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosis and treatment of reversible conditions can improve brain function and reduce symptoms.

2. It may be treatable.
Some causes of cognitive decline are not reversible, but might be treatable. Appropriate treatment can stop or slow the rate of further decline.
3. With treatments, the sooner the better.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-causing diseases is typically most effective when started early in the disease process. Once more effective treatments become available, obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis will be even more crucial.

4. Diagnoses are more accurate early in the disease process.
A more accurate diagnosis is possible when a complete history can be taken early in the disease process, while the person is still able to answer questions and report concerns and when observers can still recall the order in which symptoms first appeared. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis can be difficult once most of the brain has become affected.
5. It’s empowering.
An earlier diagnosis enables the person to participate in their own legal, financial, and long-term care planning and to make their wishes known to family members.
6. You can focus on what’s important to you.
It allows the person the opportunity to reprioritize how they spend their time – focusing on what matters most to them – perhaps completing life goals such as travel, recording family history, completing projects, or making memories with grandchildren while they still can.
7. You can make your best choices.
Early diagnosis can prevent unwise choices that might otherwise be made in ignorance – such as moving far away from family and friends, or making legal or financial commitments that will be hard to keep as the disease progresses.
8. You can use the resources available to you.
Individuals diagnosed early in the disease process can take advantage of early-stage support groups and learn tips and strategies to better manage and cope with the symptoms of the disease.
9. Participate or advocate for research.
Those diagnosed early can also take advantage of clinical trials – or advocate for more research and improved care and opportunities.
10. You can further people’s understanding of the disease.
Earlier diagnosis helps to reduce the stigma associated with the disease when we learn to associate the disease with people in the early stages, when they are still cogent and active in the community.
11. It will help your family.
An earlier diagnosis gives families more opportunity to learn about the disease, develop realistic expectations, and plan for their future together – which can result in reduced stress and feelings of burden and regret later in the disease process.
12. It will help you, too.
Early diagnosis allows the person and family to attribute cognitive changes to the disease rather than to personal failings – preserving the person’s ego throughout the disease process….                             https://alzwisc.org/Importance%20of%20an%20early%20diagnosis.htm

AI’s role in treatment of Alzheimer’s is an example of better living through technology.

Resources:
What Is Alzheimer’s?                                                                            https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: the Basics https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/understanding-alzheimers-disease-basics

What’s to know about Alzheimer’s disease? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php

Alzheimer’s Disease                                         https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm

What is Artificial Intelligence? https://www.computerworld.com/article/2906336/emerging-technology/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html

Artificial Intelligence: What it is and why it matters https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html
Brain                                                                                                            https://drwilda.com/tag/brain/

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Health Services Center in Winnipeg study: Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs

30 Sep

Nursing School Hub.com reported in Top 10 Most Common Diseases Found in Hospitals:

1. Norovirus
Noroviruses are generally called “the flu” by many patients, most of whom believe that the symptoms of the resulting gastroenteritis are somehow linked to influenza itself. Norovirus infections typically result in diarrhea, vomiting, and the long-lasting feeling of an upset stomach. Though these symptoms are exceedingly unpleasant, and may last for several days at a time, healthcare professionals cannot treat them with antibiotic drugs. Patients, therefore, are advised to make sure that they attempt to eat meals at regular intervals, and they’re advised to stay hydrated so that the body does not suffer through the effects of dehydration after a few days of symptoms.
2. Mycobacterium abscessus
One of the most serious sources of hospital acquired infections is mycobacterium abscessus. This bacterium is generally known to be the cause of such serious illnesses as leprosy and tuberculosis, and it can be found in any number of compounds. The bacteria have been known to exist in soil, dust, or water, and it has even been known to infect medications and to reside on medical equipment. This represents a very serious concern in today’s busiest medical environments, and many hospitals have procedures in place specifically to prevent against the spread of this bacteria and the potential infection of new patients who come to the hospital with other ailments.
If infection from this bacteria does result, patients are most likely to notice irritable infections of the skin and soft tissues, though a slight minority may actually experience lung infections that can be quite serious and severe. Medical treatment is almost always required for a full and quick recovery from any kind of mycobacterium abscessus infection.
3. Klebsiella
Another very serious source of hospital acquired infections is the bacteria known as Klebsiella. This gram-negative bacteria almost always infects patients after a visit to the hospital, as it seems to be particularly at home on medical equipment in patient treatment areas. Infection by this bacteria can result in a number of serious ailments, including an infection of the bloodstream, infection of any open wounds or surgical sites, or the onset of a very serious form of pneumonia. Treatment is generally quick and straightforward, although some antimicrobial strains of the bacteria have required added research and more serious forms of treatment in a small minority of today’s patients.
4. Influenza
Without a doubt, one of the most common and persistent types of viral infection is influenza. The disease comes and goes with varying degrees of potency every year but most medical professionals estimate that between 5 percent and 20 percent of the American population is infected each year. Influenza is also responsible for annual hospitalization of as many as 200,000 Americans. Typically, those hospitalized by the disease are those at the extreme young or old ends of the spectrum, though it’s not entirely unheard of for healthy, young adult sufferers to experience complications. This community-based virus is easy to contract, especially when cases have been cited near the hospital’s location during the height of what is known as “flu season.”
5. Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an infection that results from a common form of bacteria more widely called just Pseudomonas. The infection is quite common in medical settings, though it targets a specific group of people. In almost every case, a bout of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in those patients who are already experiencing vastly weakened or suppressed immune systems as a result of a larger medical condition during their stay in a medical environment or long-term care facility. Treatment of this bacterial infection is generally pursed through the prescription of high dosage antibiotics, and the problem generally eases within 24 to 48 hours of first treatment.
6. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Abbreviated as MRSA, this staph bacteria has evolved over time to become immune to many of the most popular antibacterial drugs. Indeed, MRSA can often not be treated with either penicillin or amoxicillin, with most patients requiring higher doses of more nontraditional antibiotics in order to defeat the condition. It often manifests itself in the form of a skin infection in most patients, and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as any signs or symptoms have been noticed by the patient. Staph bacteria does represent one of the most aggressive bacterial threats to the human body.
7. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci
VRE is so named because this bacterial infection is resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. Infections of this nature are most common in medical settings, especially when a patient is admitted to the hospital for long-term care and nursing. Most sufferers experience symptoms that affect the intestines, which can result in a case of upset stomach, minor vomiting, or even occasional diarrhea. The good news for those suffering from this bacterial infection, though, is that treatment is rather quick and easy with alternative antibiotics in heavier doses.
8. Tuberculosis (TB)
Most often, the transmission of tuberculosis in medical and nursing environments is done on a patient-to-patient basis. Typically, this is because one patient with the disease is simply not isolated from the rest of the hospital’s population. In other cases, it’s because the patient simply was not aware that they suffered from TB at the time of their admission to the facility. Most forms of TB can be treated and minimized, though particularly aggressive strains of the disease have shown a great deal of resistance to antibiotics that are typically used to treat the condition.
9. Vancomycin-intermediate or Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Known in the medical community as either VISA or VRSA, these two diseases are actually quite common among those patients who have medical equipment attached to their body on a long-term or permanent basis. Those with kidney problems are particularly predisposed to infection, as are those patients who commonly use a catheter tube before, during, or after some kind of serious surgery.
The two forms of staphylococcus are so named because they are moderately or entirely resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. Treatment can be conducted using other antibiotic drugs, however, and most patients are able to recover from this infection when it is caught early, treated effectively, and prevented on a proactive basis going forward. Unlike viral infections, however, bacterial infections can occur again at any time. For this reason, increased vigilance is urged of those who are connected to medical devices that penetrate the skin, enter the body, and assist with daily functions like kidney function, urination, and many others.
10. Staphylococcus aureus
In what might be the least invasive and least concerning disease commonly found in hospitals, Staphylococcus aureus is actually present in just under one third of the entire population. The condition is associated with negative effects on the skin, as it is typically a skin infection. The side effects of the disease most often manifest themselves in small, pimple-like growths that ebb and flow over the course of the infection. Treatment with antibiotics is effective in virtually every case, and this less severe form of staphylococcus can be eradicated in just a few days after treatment has commenced.
Plenty of Threats: A Bacterial or Viral Infection is All Too Common
The very nature of today’s hospitals means that patients are exposed more than ever to the potential for both viral and bacterial infections, placing their health at risk in at least ten ways during every visit. The good news is that virtually every common infection or disease transmitted at today’s hospitals can be treated with either extended vigilance or a robust dose of antibiotics. In fact, many of these diseases are considered relatively minor in the grand scheme of hospital infections and the diseases treated at today’s medical centers….. https://www.nursingschoolhub.com/most-common-diseases-found-in-hospitals/

An Elsevier reported study said hospital surfaces may harbor dangerous germs.

Science Daily reported in Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs:

Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The longitudinal, prospective, pilot study tracked the contamination rate of ten freshly laundered privacy curtains in the Regional Burns/Plastics Unit of the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. While the curtains had minimal contamination when they were first hung, the curtains that were hung in patient rooms became increasingly contaminated over time — and by day 14, 87.5 percent of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In contrast, control curtains that were not placed in patient rooms stayed clean the entire 21 days.
None of the rooms where the curtains were placed were occupied by patients with MRSA. Four curtains were placed in a four-bed room; four were placed in two double rooms; and two controls were placed in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact. Researchers took samples from areas where people hold curtains, suggesting that the increasing contamination resulted from direct contact….
By day 21, almost all curtains exceeded 2.5 CFU/cm, the requirement for food processing equipment cleanliness in some locations, such as the United Kingdom….
The study authors acknowledge the small sample size of this pilot study and recommend additional research to understand the clinical consequences of contaminated curtains. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180927215701.htm

Citation:

Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs
Date: September 27, 2018
Source: Elsevier
Summary:
Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research.
Journal Reference:
Kevin Shek, Rakesh Patidar, Zeenib Kohja, Song Liu, Justin P. Gawaziuk, Monika Gawthrop, Ayush Kumar, Sarvesh Logsetty. Rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains in a burns/plastic ward: A longitudinal study. American Journal of Infection Control, 2018; 46 (9): 1019 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2018.03.004

Here is the press release:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 27-SEP-2018 Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs: New study
ELSEVIER
Arlington, Va., September 27, 2018 – Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The longitudinal, prospective, pilot study tracked the contamination rate of ten freshly laundered privacy curtains in the Regional Burns/Plastics Unit of the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. While the curtains had minimal contamination when they were first hung, the curtains that were hung in patient rooms became increasingly contaminated over time – and by day 14, 87.5 percent of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In contrast, control curtains that were not placed in patient rooms stayed clean the entire 21 days.
None of the rooms where the curtains were placed were occupied by patients with MRSA. Four curtains were placed in a four-bed room; four were placed in two double rooms; and two controls were placed in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact. Researchers took samples from areas where people hold curtains, suggesting that the increasing contamination resulted from direct contact.
“We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for cross-contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed,” said Kevin Shek, BSc, the study’s lead author in the article. “The high rate of contamination that we saw by the fourteenth day may represent an opportune time to intervene, either by cleaning or replacing the curtains.”
By day 21, almost all curtains exceeded 2.5 CFU/cm, the requirement for food processing equipment cleanliness in some locations, such as the United Kingdom.
“Keeping the patient’s environment clean is a critical component in preventing healthcare-associated infections,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “Because privacy curtains could be a mode of disease transmission, maintaining a schedule of regular cleaning offers another potential way to protect patients from harm while they are in our care.”
The study authors acknowledge the small sample size of this pilot study and recommend additional research to understand the clinical consequences of contaminated curtains.
###
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Patients have little information to guide them in their choice of hospitals regarding infection practices of hospital.

Reuters reported in ‘Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll:

Fifteen years after the U.S. declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat, the crisis is only worsening, a Reuters investigation finds, as government agencies remain unwilling or unable to impose reporting requirements on a healthcare industry that often hides the problem…. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-uncounted-surveillance/

Patients are on their own when asking about a particular hospital’s superbug and infectious control practices.

Resources:

Hospital Cleaning Best Practices: How to Keep Patients and Staff Safe https://www.kaivac.com/a_433-Hospital-Cleaning-Best-Practices-How-to-Keep-Patients-and-Staff-Safe

The most dangerous germs in the hospital may be those you bring with you http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/most-dangerous-germs-hospital-may-be-those-you-bring-you

How gloves & gowns can spread germs in hospitals http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com/germs-gloves-gowns/

10 Ways to Stave Off Hospital Superbugs and Other Nasty Germs https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-ways-protect-yourself-superbugs/

Germs https://drwilda.com/tag/germs/
http://www.webmd.com/children/features/childhood-illnesses-get-the-facts

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BMJ Study: Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold

23 Sep

Cutting sugar in a child’s diet is important to improving the child’s health. Science Daily reported in ‘Healthy’ foods differ by individual:

Ever wonder why that diet didn’t work? An Israeli study tracking the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week suggests that even if we all ate the same meal, how it’s metabolized would differ from one person to another. The findings, published November 19 in Cell, demonstrate the power of personalized nutrition in helping people identify which foods can help or hinder their health goals.
Blood sugar has a close association with health problems such as diabetes and obesity, and it’s easy to measure using a continuous glucose monitor. A standard developed decades ago, called the glycemic index (GI), is used to rank foods based on how they affect blood sugar level and is a factor used by doctors and nutritionists to develop healthy diets. However, this system was based on studies that average how small groups of people responded to various foods.
The new study, led by Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, found that the GI of any given food is not a set value, but depends on the individual. For all participants, they collected data through health questionnaires, body measurements, blood tests, glucose monitoring, stool samples, and a mobile-app used to report lifestyle and food intake (a total of 46,898 meals were measured). In addition, the volunteers received a few standardized/identical meals for their breakfasts.
As expected, age and body mass index (BMI) were found to be associated with blood glucose levels after meals. However, the data also revealed that different people show vastly different responses to the same food, even though their individual responses did not change from one day to another.
“Most dietary recommendations that one can think of are based on one of these grading systems; however, what people didn’t highlight, or maybe they didn’t fully appreciate, is that there are profound differences between individuals–in some cases, individuals have opposite response to one another, and this is really a big hole in the literature,” says Segal, of Weizmann’s Department of Computer Science and Applied Math…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151119133230.htm

Sugar can be problematic in an individual’s diet.

Jillian Kubala, MS, RD wrote in the Heathline article, 11 Reasons Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You:

Here are 11 reasons why eating too much sugar is bad for your health.
1. Can Cause Weight Gain
2. May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
3. Has Been Linked to Acne
4. Increases Your Risk of Diabetes
5. May Increase Your Risk of Cancer
6. May Increase Your Risk of Depression
7. May Accelerate the Skin Aging Process
8. Can Increase Cellular Aging
9. Drains Your Energy
10. Can Lead to Fatty Liver
11. Other Health Risks
Aside from the risks listed above, sugar can harm your body in countless other ways….
Summary Consuming too much sugar may worsen cognitive decline, increase gout risk, harm your kidneys and cause cavities

Many who are attempting a healthy diet include yogurt as a food choice. A BMJ study examines whether all yogurt choices are healthy.

Science Daily reported a BMJ, formerly British Medical Journal, study, Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold:

Yogurt may be an “unrecognised” source of dietary sugar, particularly for young children, who eat a lot of it, highlight the researchers.
The evidence suggests that yogurt and other fermented dairy products aid digestive and overall health. A good source of ‘friendly’ bacteria, they also contain protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin B.
UK and US dietary guidelines recommend low fat and low sugar dairy products, and the researchers wanted to assess how far yogurt products, particularly those marketed to children, meet these guidelines. Children up to the age of 3 in the UK eat more yogurt than any other age group.
They therefore assessed the nutrient content of almost 900 yogurts and yogurt products, which were available from five major UK online supermarket chains in October/November 2016. Between them, these chains account for 75 per cent of the market share.
All the products were grouped into eight categories: children’s, which included fromage frais; dairy alternatives, such as soy; desserts; drinks; flavoured; fruit; natural/Greek; and organic.
Low fat and low sugar were classified according to European Union regulations, currently used for the front of pack food traffic light labelling system used in the UK: 3 g of fat/100g or less or 1.5 g or less for drinks; and a maximum of 5 g of total sugars/100 g.
The sugar content varied enormously both within and across the categories, the analysis showed. But, with the exception of natural/Greek yogurts, the average sugar content of products in all the categories was well above the low sugar threshold.
Fewer than one in 10 (9%) qualified as low sugar, almost none of which were in the children’s category. This is “concerning,” given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, say the researchers.
Unsurprisingly, desserts contained the most total sugar, at an average 16.4 g/100 g, an amount that represents more than 45 per cent of energy intake. These were followed by products in the children’s, flavoured, fruit, and organic categories.
In these categories, total average sugars ranged from 10.8 g/100 g in children’s products to 13.1 g/100 g in organic products. This compares with an average of 5g /100 g for natural/Greek yogurts.
By and large, average fat content was either below or just above the low fat threshold. Desserts had the highest fat content and the broadest range, averaging 5.2 g/100 g.
This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause, added to which it covered only products sold in five supermarket chains…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180918195345.htm

Citation:

Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold
Organic products, perceived as healthier options, among some of the worst offenders
Date: September 18, 2018
Source: BMJ
Summary:
The sugar content of most types of yogurt is well above the recommended threshold, reveals an analysis of the nutrient content of available UK supermarket products. And organic varieties, often viewed as healthier options, contain some of the highest average sugar content, at 13.1 g/100 g, the findings indicate.
Journal Reference:
J Bernadette Moore, Annabelle Horti, Barbara A Fielding. Evaluation of the nutrient content of yogurts: a comprehensive survey of yogurt products in the major UK supermarkets. BMJ Open, 2018; 8 (8): e021387 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021387

Here is the press release from BMJ (British Medical Journal):

PUBLIC RELEASE: 18-SEP-2018
Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold
Organic products, perceived as healthier options, among some of the worst offenders
BMJ
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Yogurt may be an “unrecognised” source of dietary sugar, particularly for young children, who eat a lot of it, highlight the researchers.
The evidence suggests that yogurt and other fermented dairy products aid digestive and overall health. A good source of ‘friendly’ bacteria, they also contain protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin B.
UK and US dietary guidelines recommend low fat and low sugar dairy products, and the researchers wanted to assess how far yogurt products, particularly those marketed to children, meet these guidelines. Children up to the age of 3 in the UK eat more yogurt than any other age group.
They therefore assessed the nutrient content of almost 900 yogurts and yogurt products, which were available from five major UK online supermarket chains in October/November 2016. Between them, these chains account for 75 per cent of the market share.
All the products were grouped into eight categories: children’s, which included fromage frais; dairy alternatives, such as soy; desserts; drinks; flavoured; fruit; natural/Greek; and organic.
Low fat and low sugar were classified according to European Union regulations, currently used for the front of pack food traffic light labelling system used in the UK: 3 g of fat/100g or less or 1.5 g or less for drinks; and a maximum of 5 g of total sugars/100 g.
The sugar content varied enormously both within and across the categories, the analysis showed. But, with the exception of natural/Greek yogurts, the average sugar content of products in all the categories was well above the low sugar threshold.
Fewer than one in 10 (9%) qualified as low sugar, almost none of which were in the children’s category. This is “concerning,” given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, say the researchers.
Unsurprisingly, desserts contained the most total sugar, at an average 16.4 g/100 g, an amount that represents more than 45 per cent of energy intake. These were followed by products in the children’s, flavoured, fruit, and organic categories.
In these categories, total average sugars ranged from 10.8 g/100 g in children’s products to 13.1 g/100 g in organic products. This compares with an average of 5g /100 g for natural/Greek yogurts.
By and large, average fat content was either below or just above the low fat threshold. Desserts had the highest fat content and the broadest range, averaging 5.2 g/100 g.
This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause, added to which it covered only products sold in five supermarket chains.
But write the researchers: “While yogurt may be less of a concern than soft drinks and fruit juices, the chief sources of free sugars in both children and adults’ diets, what is worrisome is that yogurt, as a perceived ‘healthy food,’ may be an unrecognised source of free/added sugars in the diet.”
This is particularly true of the organic yogurts analysed, they say. “While the organic label refers to production, the well documented ‘health-halo effect’ means that consumers most often underestimate the caloric content and perceive the nutritional contents of organic products, including yogurts, more favourably.”
They conclude: “Not all yogurts are as healthy as perhaps consumers perceive them, and reformulation for the reduction of free sugars is warranted.”
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Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/b-sco091418.php

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Related:

Dr. Wilda Reviews Book: ‘Super Baby Food’ http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/dr-wilda-reviews-book-super-baby-food/

The Truth About Sugar                                                                            https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-effects-of-sugar#1

Good & Bad Sugars                                                                     https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/good-bad-sugars-7608.html

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