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University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine study: Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone

11 Aug

The staff of Mayo Clinic wrote an excellent synopsis about Deep brain stimulation:

Overview
Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes within certain areas of your brain. These electrodes produce electrical impulses that regulate abnormal impulses. Or the electrical impulses can affect certain cells and chemicals within the brain.
The amount of stimulation in deep brain stimulation is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in your upper chest. A wire that travels under your skin connects this device to the electrodes in your brain.
Deep brain stimulation is approved to treat a number of conditions, such as:
• Dystonia
• Epilepsy
• Essential tremor
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Parkinson’s disease
Deep brain stimulation is also being studied as a potential treatment for:
• Addiction
• Chronic pain
• Cluster headache
• Dementia
• Depression (major)
• Huntington’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Stroke recovery
• Tourette syndrome
• Traumatic brain injury
Why it’s done
Deep brain stimulation is an established treatment for people with movement disorders, such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and psychiatric conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s also approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce seizures in difficult-to-treat epilepsy.
This treatment is reserved for people who aren’t able to get control of their symptoms with medications…. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

Resources:

What is deep brain stimulation?                 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/deep-brain-stimulation

Wireless communication with implanted medical devices using the conductive properties of the body https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4156009/

Science Daily reported the University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine study, Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone:

A team of scientists in Korea and the United States have invented a device that can control neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone.
Researchers, publishing in Nature Biomedical Engineering, believe the device can speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain.
The device, using Lego-like replaceable drug cartridges and powerful bluetooth low-energy, can target specific neurons of interest using drug and light for prolonged periods.
“The wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation that has never been achieved before,” said lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and University of Colorado Boulder.
Qazi said this technology significantly overshadows conventional methods used by neuroscientists, which usually involve rigid metal tubes and optical fibers to deliver drugs and light. Apart from limiting the subject’s movement due to the physical connections with bulky equipment, their relatively rigid structure causes lesion in soft brain tissue over time, therefore making them not suitable for long-term implantation. Though some efforts have been put to partly mitigate adverse tissue response by incorporating soft probes and wireless platforms, the previous solutions were limited by their inability to deliver drugs for long periods of time as well as their bulky and complex control setups.
To achieve chronic wireless drug delivery, scientists had to solve the critical challenge of exhaustion and evaporation of drugs. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the University of Washington in Seattle collaborated to invent a neural device with a replaceable drug cartridge, which could allow neuroscientists to study the same brain circuits for several months without worrying about running out of drugs.
These ‘plug-n-play’ drug cartridges were assembled into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe (thickness of a human hair), which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs (smaller than a grain of salt), for unlimited drug doses and light delivery.
Controlled with an elegant and simple user interface on a smartphone, neuroscientists can easily trigger any specific combination or precise sequencing of light and drug deliveries in any implanted target animal without need to be physically inside the laboratory. Using these wireless neural devices, researchers could also easily setup fully automated animal studies where behaviour of one animal could positively or negatively affect behaviour in other animals by conditional triggering of light and/or drug delivery.
“This revolutionary device is the fruit of advanced electronics design and powerful micro and nanoscale engineering,” said Jae-Woong Jeong, a professor of electrical engineering at KAIST. “We are interested in further developing this technology to make a brain implant for clinical applications.”
Michael Bruchas, a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this technology will help researchers in many ways.
“It allows us to better dissect the neural circuit basis of behaviour, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain tune behaviour in various ways,” he said. “We are also eager to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us develop new therapeutics for pain, addiction, and emotional disorders….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190805143525.htm

Citation:

Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone
Date: August 5, 2019
Source: University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
Summary:
A team of scientists have invented a device that can control neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone. The device could speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain.

Journal Reference:
Raza Qazi, Adrian M. Gomez, Daniel C. Castro, Zhanan Zou, Joo Yong Sim, Yanyu Xiong, Jonas Abdo, Choong Yeon Kim, Avery Anderson, Frederik Lohner, Sang-Hyuk Byun, Byung Chul Lee, Kyung-In Jang, Jianliang Xiao, Michael R. Bruchas, Jae-Woong Jeong. Wireless optofluidic brain probes for chronic neuropharmacology and photostimulation. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41551-019-0432-1

Here is the press release from the University of Washington:

NEWS RELEASE

August 5, 2019

For immediate release

Scientists manipulate brain cells using a smartphone

A soft neural implant, capable of delivering multiple drugs and color lights, might speed research on diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression and pain.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Bobbi Nodell, bnodell@uw.edu, 206.543.7129
Email Facebook Twitter Share

A team of scientists in South Korea and the United States have invented a device that can control neural circuits by using a tiny brain implant managedby a smartphone.
Publishing in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the researchers said the soft neural implant is the first wireless neural device capable of delivering multiple drugs and color lights. The device could speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain.
“The wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation that has never been achieved before,” said lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and University of Colorado Boulder.
Co-author Michael Bruchas, a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this technology will help researchers in many ways.
“It allows us to better dissect the neural circuit basis of behavior, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain tune behavior in various ways,” he said. “We are also eager to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us develop new therapeutics for pain, addiction and emotional disorders.”
The device uses Lego-like replaceable drug cartridges and powerful bluetooth low-energy to deliver drugs and light to specific neurons of interest.
Resarchers said this technology significantly overshadows conventional neuroscience methods, which usually involve rigid metal tubes and optical fibers. Apart from limiting the subject’s movement due to the physical connections with bulky equipment, their relatively rigid structure causes lesion in soft brain tissue over time, therefore making them not suitable for long-term implantation. Though some efforts have partly mitigate adverse tissue response by incorporating soft probes and wireless platforms, the previous solutions were limited by their inability to deliver drugs for long periods of time as well as their bulky and complex control setups.
To achieve chronic wireless drug delivery, scientists had to solve the critical challenge of exhaustion and evaporation of drugs. The researchers collaborated to invent the neural device, which could allow neuroscientists to study the same brain circuits for several months without worrying about running out of drugs.
These “plug and play” drug cartridges were assembled into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe, the thickness of a human hair, which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs, smaller than a grain of salt, for unlimited drug doses and light delivery.
Controlled with an elegant, simple user interface on a smartphone, the device can easily trigger any specific combination or precise sequencing of light and drug deliveries in any implanted target animal without need to be inside the laboratory. Using these wireless neural devices, researchers could also easily setup fully automated animal studies where behavior of one animal could positively or negatively affect behaviour in other animals by conditional triggering of light and/or drug delivery.
“This revolutionary device is the fruit of advanced electronics design and powerful micro and nanoscale engineering,” said Jae-Woong Jeong, a professor of electrical engineering at KAIST. “We are interested in further developing this technology to make a brain implant for clinical applications.”
The researchers at the Jeong group at KAIST, South Korea, develop soft electronics for wearable and implantable devices. The neuroscientists at the Bruchas Lab in Seattle study brain circuits that control stress, depression, addiction, pain and other neuropsychiatric disorders. This collaborative effort among engineers and neuroscientists over three years and tens of design iterations led to the successful validation of this brain implant in freely moving mice.
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea, the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Mallinckrodt Professorship.

Resources:

Deep Brain Stimulation                                                   https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Deep-Brain-Stimulation

Ethical Issues in Deep Brain Stimulation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096836/

Deep Brain Stimulation for Mental Illnesses Raises Ethical Concerns https://leapsmag.com/deep-brain-stimulation-mental-illnesses-raises-ethical-concerns/

Ethical Considerations in Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment https://pjb.mycpanel2.princeton.edu/wp/index.php/2016/03/09/ethical-considerations-in-deep-brain-stimulation-treatment/

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University of Massachusetts – Amherst study: New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment

8 Aug

Science Direct reported in Tetrabromobisphenol A:

Abstract
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is one of the most prevalent flame retardants, and is used in plastic paints, synthetic textiles, and electrical devices. Despite the fact that TBBPA is excreted quickly from the body, it is detected in human plasma and milk. Owing to the structural resemblance to thyroid hormones (THs), the thyroid disruption activities of TBBPA have been investigated over the past two decades. Possible action sites are plasma TH binding protein and TH receptors. In experimental animal models, TBBPA exposure induces a decrease in plasma TH levels and a delay of TH-induced metamorphosis in animals. In studies using cell lines, TBBPA shows weak agonist and antagonist activities. These in vitro and in vivo bioassays may be powerful tools for detecting the thyroid system disruption activity of TBBPA. Although recent findings suggest diverse biological effects of TBBPA on the thyroid, reproductive, and immune systems, there is still controversy regarding these effects…. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/tetrabromobisphenol-a and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012801028000249X
Scientists are researching the effects of Tetrabromobisphenol A.

Green Sciences Policy Institute provided an overview of retardants:

Flame retardant chemicals are used in commercial and consumer products (like furniture and building insulation) to meet flammability standards. Not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do:
• Halogenated flame retardants (also known as organohalogen flame retardants) containing chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon.
• Organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carbon.
For these types of flame retardants:
• Some are associated with health and environmental concerns
• Many are inadequately tested for safety
• They provide questionable fire safety benefits as used in some products
Major uses
The major uses of flame retardant chemicals by volume in the U.S. are:
• Electronics
• Building insulation
• Polyurethane foam
• Wire and cable
Properties of Concern
Organohalogen and organophosphorous flame retardants often have one or more of the following properties of concern. Chemicals with all these properties are considered Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and present significant risks to human health and environment. https://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/flame-retardants/

University of Massachusetts Amherst reported a process to degrade flame retardant.

Science Daily reported in New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment:

A team of environmental scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and China has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.
This new process breaks down tetrabromobisohenol A (TBBPA) to harmless carbon dioxide and water. The discovery highlights the potential of using a special material, sulfidated nanoscale zerovalent iron (S-nZVI), in water treatment systems and in the natural environment to break down not only TBBPA but other organic refractory compounds that are difficult to degrade, says Jun Wu, a visiting Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge College of Agriculture and lead author of the paper published in Environmental Science & Technology….
“This research can lead to a decrease in the potential risk of TBBPA to the environment and human health,” says Wu, who began the research at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. At UMass Amherst, Wu works in the pioneering lab of Baoshan Xing, professor of environmental and soil chemistry, corresponding author of the new study and one of the world’s most highly cited researchers….
Among the most common flame retardants that hinder combustion and slow the spread of fire, TBBPA is added to manufactured materials, including computer circuit boards and other electrical devices, papers, textiles and plastics.
Associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer and hormone disruption, TBBPA has been widely detected in the environment, as well as in animals and human milk and plasma.
Although Wu and Xing’s research breaks new ground in the efforts to develop safe and effective processes to remediate groundwater and soil contaminated with TBBPA, they say more research is needed to learn how to best apply the process.
Their research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Hatch Program. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808115102.htm

Citation:

New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment
New research has potential application to remediate other difficult-to-degrade pollutants
Date: August 8, 2019
Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Summary:
A team of environmental scientists has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.

Journal Reference:
Jun Wu, Jian Zhao, Jun Hou, Raymond Jianxiong Zeng, Baoshan Xing. Degradation of Tetrabromobisphenol A by Sulfidated Nanoscale Zerovalent Iron in a Dynamic Two-Step Anoxic/Oxic Process. Environmental Science & Technology, 2019; 53 (14): 8105 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b06834

Here is the press release from UMass Amherst:

New Process Discovered to Completely Degrade Flame Retardant in the Environment
UMass Amherst research has potential application to remediate other difficult-to-degrade pollutants
August 8, 2019
Contact: Jun Wu 413-210-2729
AMHERST, Mass. – A team of environmental scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and China has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.
This new process breaks down tetrabromobisophenol A (TBBPA) to harmless carbon dioxide and water. The discovery highlights the potential of using a special material, sulfidated nanoscale zerovalent iron (S-nZVI), in water treatment systems and in the natural environment to break down not only TBBPA but other organic refractory compounds that are difficult to degrade,says Jun Wu, a visiting Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge College of Agriculture and lead author of the paper published in Environmental Science & Technology.
“This is the first research about this dynamic, oxic/anoxic process,” Wu says. “Usually, reduction or oxidation alone is used to remove TBBPA, facilitated by S-nZVI. We combined reduction and oxidation together to degrade it completely.”
Wu emphasizes that “the technique is technically simple and environmentally friendly. That is a key point to its application.”
The research is featured on the cover of ES&T, which is widely respected for publishing papers in the environmental disciplines that are both significant and original.
“This research can lead to a decrease in the potential risk of TBBPA to the environment and human health,” says Wu, who began the research at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. At UMass Amherst, Wu works in the pioneering lab of Baoshan Xing, professor of environmental and soil chemistry, corresponding author of the new study and one of the world’s most highly cited researchers.
“Our research shows a feasible and environmentally friendly process to completely degrade refractory brominated flame retardants in a combined oxic and anoxic system,” Xing says. “This is important for getting rid of these harmful compounds from the environment, thus reducing the exposure and risk.”
Among the most common flame retardants that hinder combustion and slow the spread of fire, TBBPA is added to manufactured materials, including computer circuit boards and other electrical devices, papers, textiles and plastics.
Associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer and hormone disruption, TBBPA has been widely detected in the environment, as well as in animals and human milk and plasma.
Although Wu and Xing’s research breaks new ground in the efforts to develop safe and effective processes to remediate groundwater and soil contaminated with TBBPA, they say more research is needed to learn how to best apply the process.
Their research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Hatch Program.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists risks in Fact Sheet: Assessing Risks from Flame Retardants https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-assessing-risks-flame-retardants

Resources:
COMPOUND SUMMARY – Tetrabromobisphenol A https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Tetrabromobisphenol-A

Is the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a reproductive or developmental toxicant?
Date:
February 18, 2015
Source:
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment
Summary:
Two studies examined the effects of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) at oral doses of 10,100 or 1000 mg/kg bw/day over the course of 2 generations on growth as well as behavioral, neurological and neuropathologic functions in offspring. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218092044.htm

Global Tetrabromobisphenol-A Market is Evolving with Chemicals and Materials Industry in 2019 | Get Strategic Insights. https://theindustryforecast.com/2019/07/24/global-tetrabromobisphenol-a-insights-market-sp/

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University College London study: People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed

3 Aug

Harvard Health wrote in Chocolate: Pros and cons of this sweet treat:

The reality is that ingredients in cocoa can be healthy, but the high-calorie chocolate bars that contain it aren’t necessarily good for you. Cocoa comes from roasted cacao seeds. It’s high in plant compounds called cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have beneficial effects on heart disease risks, as well as on blood flow to the brain. Chocolate is the candy that’s made by adding sugar, milk, and other ingredients to cocoa powder. Those ingredients also add fat and sugar, which counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits.
Cocoa and heart health
The flavonoids in cocoa—specifically catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidins—are thought to help the cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and preventing blood clots. When Dr. Ding and his colleagues analyzed the results of 24 studies on the effects of cocoa flavonoids on heart risks, they found that flavonoids reduced blood pressure and unhealthy LDL cholesterol, increased healthy HDL cholesterol, improved blood flow, and lowered insulin resistance (a condition in which the body doesn’t use insulin effectively, which is associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
So far, researchers have only confirmed cocoa’s short-term benefits on heart risks—not the outcomes of lowering those risks. In other words, cocoa flavonoids may counteract the high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other factors that contribute to a heart attack, but whether they actually prevent one from happening isn’t yet known. “In terms of actual direct heart attack prevention, the jury’s still out,” Dr. Ding says.
Cocoa on the brain
Scientists are also discovering that cocoa may be healthy for the brain. Another team of researchers at Harvard Medical School found that older adults who drank two cups of cocoa a day for 30 days had improved blood flow to parts of their brain needed for memory and thinking.
Another study, this one published in the journal Hypertension in 2012, offers even more direct evidence of cocoa flavonoids’ effects on the brain. Researchers in Italy found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment (mild problems with memory and thinking skills that increase the risk for dementia) who drank high-flavonoid cocoa performed better on tests of mental function and speaking ability than those who drank low-flavonoid cocoa. These studies don’t prove that cocoa can prevent dementia or other kinds of mental decline, but it does appear to play some brain-protective role.
Best cocoa sources
The average dose of flavonoids in the studies Dr. Ding reviewed was 400 milligrams a day. “The problem is, that’s about the equivalent of eight bars of dark chocolate or 30 bars of milk chocolate,” he says. “When you eat these actual chocolate bars, all the calories and sugar come with them.”
To get the health advantages of cocoa flavonoids without the fat and calories, you can buy a more concentrated cocoa product. Some cocoa supplements on the market contain up to 250 milligrams of cocoa flavonoids per serving…. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/chocolate-pros-and-cons-of-this-sweet-treat

University College London published a study about the effects of dark chocolate on those suffering depression.

Science Daily reported in People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed:

Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
The study, published in Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed.
Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants’ chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate’s effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all. The 25 per cent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all. However researchers found no significant link between any non‐dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190802145458.htm

Citation:

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed
Date: August 2, 2019
Source: University College London
Summary:
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
Journal Reference:
Sarah E. Jackson, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Igor Grabovac, Pinar Soysal, Ai Koyanagi, Liang Hu, Brendon Stubbs, Jacopo Demurtas, Nicola Veronese, Xiangzhu Zhu, Lin Yang. Is there a relationship between chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression? A cross‐sectional survey of 13,626 US adults. Depression and Anxiety, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/da.22950

Here is the press release from University College London:

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed
2 August 2019
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
The study, published in Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed.
Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants’ chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate’s effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all. The 25 per cent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all. However researchers found no significant link between any non‐dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
“However further research is required to clarify the direction of causation – it could be the case that depression causes people to lose their interest in eating chocolate, or there could be other factors that make people both less likely to eat dark chocolate and to be depressed.
“Should a causal relationship demonstrating a protective effect of chocolate consumption on depressive symptoms be established, the biological mechanism needs to be understood to determine the type and amount of chocolate consumption for optimal depression prevention and management.”
Chocolate is widely reported to have mood‐enhancing properties and several mechanisms for a relationship between chocolate and mood have been proposed.
Principally, chocolate contains a number of psychoactive ingredients which produce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabinoid, found in cannabis. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which is believed to be important for regulating people’s moods.
Experimental evidence also suggests that mood improvements only take place if the chocolate is palatable and pleasant to eat, which suggests that the experience of enjoying chocolate is an important factor, not just the ingredients present.
While the above is true of all types of chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher concentration of flavonoids, antioxidant chemicals which have been shown to improve inflammatory profiles, which have been shown to play a role in the onset of depression.
Links
• The full paper in Depression and Anxiety
• Dr Sarah Jackson’s academic profile
• UCL Behavioural Science and Health
• UCL Epidemiology & Health Care
• UCL Population Health Sciences
• UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences
• Media coverage
Image
Photo by LongitudeLatitude from Flickr
Media contact
Jake Hawkes
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8581
Email: j.hawkes [at] ucl.ac.uk
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/aug/people-who-eat-dark-chocolate-less-likely-be-depressed

Dr. Richard Foxx, MD wrote in Can There Really Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

Believe it or not, it is possible to have too much of a good thing—even when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices. Some of the pillars of health, including diet and exercise, can create health problems if they’re overdone. Yes, you really can exercise too much and eat too much of a good thing!
The truth is that we’re always learning more and more about what’s good for us and what isn’t. Furthermore, science is constantly pulling things back and forth in the realm of health. For example, one day,you hear that coffee and eggs are bad for you; the next day, they’re good for your health. But at the end of the day, both coffee and eggs are good for you—if they’re consumed in moderation. Once again, the old adage rings true: “everything in moderation…”

When it comes to health, remember the importance of moderation. Enjoy life, be sensible, and you’ll be rewarded! https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health/healthy-lifestyle-tips-moderation-key-to-healthy-living/

Everything in moderation opines Dr. Wilda.

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Aarhus University study: Infant mortality is higher for low-skilled parents

1 Jul

In 3rd world America: Money changes everything, moi wrote:

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. 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? Because 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 societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.
Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say:
It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.
Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period….http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals.

Science Daily reported in Infant mortality is higher for low-skilled parents:

Infants of women with a short-term education are more likely to die within the first year of life. In more than half of cases, the cause of death is premature childbirth and low fetal weight. This is shown by research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.
In Denmark, four out of 1,000 newborn babies die before reaching their first birthday. Now, a new research project shows that women with short-term (primary and lower secondary education less than nine years) or no education have an increased risk of their child dying during the first year. Premature birth and low fetal weight can explain 55-60 per cent of cases.
Yongfu Yu and Jiong Li from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital are behind the study….
The results have just been published in PLoS Medicine. They are based on a national population study of 1.99 million children born in Denmark in the years 1981-2015.
“To reduce the risk of premature childbirth and low fetal weight will be helpful. One way among others of doing this is by increased focus on improving the health of socially and financially disadvantaged women before and during pregnancy,” says Yongfu Yu….
“Even in a welfare society like Denmark, pregnant women with short-term education need more resources to address social challenges in order to improve the health of infants in general and reduce child mortality in particular,” says Yongfu Yu. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190627114027.htm

Citation:

Infant mortality is higher for low-skilled parents
Date: June 27, 2019
Source: Aarhus University
Summary:
Infants of women with a short-term education are more likely to die within the first year of life. In more than half of cases, the cause of death is premature childbirth and low fetal weight.

Yongfu Yu et al. Mediating roles of preterm birth and restricted fetal growth in the relationship between maternal education and infant mortality: A Danish population-based cohort study, PLOS Medicine (2019). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002831
Journal information: PLoS Medicine

Here is the press release from Aarhus University:

NEWS RELEASE 27-JUN-2019
Infant mortality is higher for low-skilled parents
Infants of women with a short-term education are more likely to die within the first year of life. In more than half of cases, the cause of death is premature childbirth and low foetal weight. This is shown by research from Aarhus University and Aarhus Un
AARHUS UNIVERSITY
Infants of women with a short-term education are more likely to die within the first year of life. In more than half of cases, the cause of death is premature childbirth and low foetal weight. This is shown by research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.
In Denmark, four out of 1,000 newborn babies die before reaching their first birthday. Now, a new research project shows that women with short-term (primary and lower secondary education less than nine years) or no education have an increased risk of their child dying during the first year. Premature birth and low foetal weight can explain 55-60 per cent of cases.
Yongfu Yu and Jiong Li from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital are behind the study.
“Despite the fall in child mortality in recent decades, there still remains a socio-economic imbalance in the infant mortality rate. Something needs to be done about that,” Jiong Li says.
The results have just been published in PLoS Medicine. They are based on a national population study of 1.99 million children born in Denmark in the years 1981-2015.
“To reduce the risk of premature childbirth and low foetal weight will be helpful. One way among others of doing this is by increased focus on improving the health of socially and financially disadvantaged women before and during pregnancy,” says Yongfu Yu.
He hopes that the results can contribute to the prevention of premature deaths in infants.
“Even in a welfare society like Denmark, pregnant women with short-term education need more resources to address social challenges in order to improve the health of infants in general and reduce child mortality in particular,” says Yongfu Yu.
###
Background for the results:
The study is a cohort study covering 1,994,618 new born babies in Denmark between 1981-2015.
The study is financed by grants from Lundbeck Foundation, the Danish Council for Independent Research, Novo Nordisk Fonden, Nordic Cancer Union, Karen Elise Jensens Fond, National Natural Science Foundation of China, the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The scientific article has been published in PLoS Medicine.
Contact:
PhD, MSc. Postdoc, Yongfu Yu
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Tel.: (+1) 4244022194
Email: yoyu@clin.au.dk
PhD, Associate Professor, Jiong Li
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Tel.: (+45) 8716 8401
Email: yoyu@clin.au.dk
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/2019-06/au-imi062719.php

Here is information about the Adverse Child Experiences Study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to the peer-reviewed publications resulting from The ACE Study. http://acestudy.org/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/study-some-of-the-effects-of-adverse-stress-do-not-go-away/

Science Daily reported in Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development:

A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research, conducted by scientists at New York University’s Center for Neural Science, reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life; this is when memories are believed to be quickly forgotten — a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia.
“What our findings tell us is that children’s brains need to get enough and healthy activation even before they enter pre-school,” explains Cristina Alberini, a professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science, who led the study. “Without this, the neurological system runs the risk of not properly developing learning and memory functions…”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160718111939.htm

Citation:

Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development
Date: July 18, 2016
Source: New York University
Summary:
A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life.
Journal Reference:
1. Alessio Travaglia, Reto Bisaz, Eric S Sweet, Robert D Blitzer, Cristina M Alberini. Infantile amnesia reflects a developmental critical period for hippocampal learning. Nature Neuroscience, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nn.4348

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

The Effects of Stress on Your Body
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body

The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-physical-effects-of-long-term-stress/all/1/

Chronic Stress: The Body Connection
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53737

Understanding Stress Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Effects
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART ©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

r. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Georgia study: How fathers, children should spend time together

16 Jun

Moi has been saying for decades that the optimum situation for raising children is a two-parent family for a variety of reasons. This two-parent family is an economic unit with the prospect of two incomes and a division of labor for the chores necessary to maintain the family structure. Parents also need a degree of maturity to raise children; after all, you and your child should not be raising each other.

Eric Schulzke of Deseret News reported in the article, Like father like child: why your future may be closely tied to your father’s income and education:

A child’s odds of breaking out of poverty or gaining a college education are heavily shaped by the father’s income and education level, says Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution.
In a couple of graphs that unpack piles of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics at the University of Michigan, Reeves breaks education and income levels down into quintiles and shows the close connection between a father’s level and how far his children go.
Whether you see that as a glass half empty or glass half full depend on your starting point, Reeves acknowledges. “If you assume that in an ideal world, where you would end up would bear no relation to where you started.” That is, he argues, if we had real equality of opportunity, 20 percent of every group would end up in the other four groups in the next generation.
Instead, 41 percent of kids whose father had top-level educational achievement stay there, and 36 percent of those who start in the bottom income bracket will remain there.
There is some mobility, of course. Of those who start in the bottom fifth of income levels, 35 percent end up in the middle class or above, which is roughly equal to the 36 percent who stay put…. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865616732/Like-father-like-child-why-your-future-may-be-closely-tied-to-your-fathers-income-and-education.html?pg=all

See, Children with married parents are better off — but marriage isn’t the reason why http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/08/children-with-married-parents-are-better-off-but-marriage-isnt-the-reason-why/ and https://drwilda.com/tag/father/ and https://drwilda.com/tag/fathers/

Science Daily reported in How fathers, children should spend time together:

New research from the University of Georgia reveals that both the type of involvement — caregiving versus play — and the timing — workday versus non-workday — have an impact on the quality of the early father-child relationship.
The study by Geoffrey Brown, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, reveals that fathers who choose to spend time with their children on non-workdays are developing a stronger relationship with them, and play activities seem particularly important, even after taking into account the quality of fathers’ parenting.
“Fathers who make the choice to devote their time on non-workdays to engaging with their children directly seem to be developing the best relationships,” said Brown, assistant professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “And on those non-workdays, pursuing activities that are child centered, or fun for the child, seems to be the best predictor of a good father-child relationship.”
However, fathers who spend lots of time helping out with child care-related tasks on workdays are developing the best relationships with their children. And men who engage in high levels of play with their children on workdays actually have a slightly less secure attachment relationship with them.
“It’s a complicated story, but I think this reflects differences in these contexts of family interaction time on workdays versus non-workdays,” Brown said. “The most important thing on a workday, from the perspective of building a good relationship with your children, seems to be helping to take care of them.”
In early childhood, the most common way to conceptualize the parent-child relationship is the attachment relationship, according to Brown. Children form an emotional bond with their caregivers, and it serves a purpose by keeping them safe, providing comfort and security, and modeling how relationships should work….
For this study, Brown and his colleagues worked with 80 father-child pairs when the children were about 3 years old. The team conducted interviews and observed father-child interaction in the home, shooting video that was evaluated off site and assigned a score indicating attachment security.
“We’re trying to understand the connection between work life and family life and how fathers construct their role. It’s clear that there are different contexts of family time,” Brown said. “Relying too much on play during workdays, when your child/partner needs you to help out with caregiving, could be problematic. But play seems more important when there’s more time and less pressure.
“Ultimately, fathers who engage in a variety of parenting behaviors and adjust their parenting to suit the demands and circumstances of each individual day are probably most likely to develop secure relationships with their children.”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190611133938.htm

Citation:

How fathers, children should spend time together
Study dives into factors that could help develop a stronger relationship
Date: June 11, 2019
Source: University of Georgia
Summary:
Fathers who spend lots of time helping out with child care-related tasks on workdays are developing the best relationships with their children.

Journal Reference:
Geoffrey L. Brown, Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Aya Shigeto, Maria S. Wong. Associations between father involvement and father–child attachment security: Variations based on timing and type of involvement.. Journal of Family Psychology, 2018; 32 (8): 1015 DOI: 10.1037/fam0000472

Here is the press release from the University of Georgia:

How fathers, children should spend time together

by Allyson Mann

As men everywhere brace for an onslaught of ties, tools, wallets and novelty socks gifted for Father’s Day, here are two questions fathers of young children should ask themselves: What activities are best for bonding with my child, and when should those activities take place?
New research from the University of Georgia reveals that both the type of involvement—caregiving versus play—and the timing—workday versus non-workday—have an impact on the quality of the early father-child relationship.
The study by Geoffrey Brown, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, reveals that fathers who choose to spend time with their children on non-workdays are developing a stronger relationship with them, and play activities seem particularly important, even after taking into account the quality of fathers’ parenting.

“Fathers who make the choice to devote their time on non-workdays to engaging with their children directly seem to be developing the best relationships,” said Brown, assistant professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “And on those non-workdays, pursuing activities that are child centered, or fun for the child, seems to be the best predictor of a good father-child relationship.”
However, fathers who spend lots of time helping out with child care-related tasks on workdays are developing the best relationships with their children. And men who engage in high levels of play with their children on workdays actually have a slightly less secure attachment relationship with them.
“It’s a complicated story, but I think this reflects differences in these contexts of family interaction time on workdays versus non-workdays,” Brown said. “The most important thing on a workday, from the perspective of building a good relationship with your children, seems to be helping to take care of them.”
In early childhood, the most common way to conceptualize the parent-child relationship is the attachment relationship, according to Brown. Children form an emotional bond with their caregivers, and it serves a purpose by keeping them safe, providing comfort and security, and modeling how relationships should work.
Decades of research have focused on mother-child attachment security, but there’s much less research on the father-child relationship and how a secure attachment relationship is formed.
For this study, Brown and his colleagues worked with 80 father-child pairs when the children were about 3 years old. The team conducted interviews and observed father-child interaction in the home, shooting video that was evaluated off site and assigned a score indicating attachment security.
“We’re trying to understand the connection between work life and family life and how fathers construct their role. It’s clear that there are different contexts of family time,” Brown said. “Relying too much on play during workdays, when your child/partner needs you to help out with caregiving, could be problematic. But play seems more important when there’s more time and less pressure.
“Ultimately, fathers who engage in a variety of parenting behaviors and adjust their parenting to suit the demands and circumstances of each individual day are probably most likely to develop secure relationships with their children.”
College of Family and Consumer Sciences Research                https://news.uga.edu/how-fathers-children-should-spend-time-together/

If you are a young unmarried woman of any color, you probably do not have the resources either emotional or financial to parent a child(ren). If you don’t care about your future, care about the future of your child. If you want to sleep with everything that has a pulse, that is your choice. BUT, you have no right to choose a life of poverty and misery for a child. As for those so called “progressives?” Just shut-up.
There are some very uncomfortable conversations ahead for the African-American community about the high rate of unwed mothers, about the care of women during pregnancy, and about early childhood education in the homes of children.Most important, about the lack the active involvement of fathers of some children.
Time to start talking. The conversation is not going to get any less difficult.

See:
We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Penn State University study: Eastern forests shaped more by Native Americans’ burning than climate change

26 May

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wrote about the benefits of prescribed burning:

Definition Prescribed burning is the deliberate use of fire to help manage a forest. It is a complex management tool and should be used by only those who are trained and experienced in its use.

Benefits Hazard Reduction Prescribed burning helps to eliminate fuels such as pine needles, hardwood leaves, fallen branches, and herbaceous vegetation that accumulate on the forest floor. These fuels increase the chance of destruction of young stands if a wildfire erupts.

Control of Understory Vegetation Prescribed burning helps control low-quality hardwoods and shrubs. Understory vegetation competes with pines for moisture and nutrients, and may interfere with regeneration….

Definition Prescribed burning is the deliberate use of fire to help manage a forest. It is a complex management tool and should be used by only those who are trained and experienced in its use.

Benefits Hazard Reduction Prescribed burning helps to eliminate fuels such as pine needles, hardwood leaves, fallen branches, and herbaceous vegetation that accumulate on the forest floor. These fuels increase the chance of destruction of young stands if a wildfire erupts.

Control of Understory Vegetation Prescribed burning helps control low-quality hardwoods and shrubs. Understory vegetation competes with pines for moisture and nutrients, and may interfere with regeneration. https://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/references/public/AL/338_js_PrescribedBurning.pdf

Native Americans used prescribed burning as a forest management practice. See, Indian Use of Fire in Early Oregon https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/anthropogenic_fire/#.XOte93dFzIU

Science Daily reported in Eastern forests shaped more by Native Americans’ burning than climate change:

Native Americans’ use of fire to manage vegetation in what is now the Eastern United States was more profound than previously believed, according to a Penn State researcher who determined that forest composition change in the region was caused more by land use than climate change.
“I believe Native Americans were excellent vegetation managers and we can learn a lot from them about how to best manage forests of the U.S.,” said Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Native Americans knew that to regenerate plant species that they wanted for food, and to feed game animals they relied on, they needed to burn the forest understory regularly.”
Over the last 2,000 years at least, according to Abrams — who for three decades has been studying past and present qualities of eastern U.S. forests — frequent and widespread human-caused fire resulted in the predominance of fire-adapted tree species. And in the time since burning has been curtailed, forests are changing, with species such as oak, hickory and pine losing ground.
“The debate about whether forest composition has been largely determined by land use or climate continues, but a new study strongly suggests anthropogenic fire has been the major driver of forest change in the East,” said Abrams. “That is important to know because climate change is taking on an ever larger proportion of scientific endeavor.”
But this phenomenon does not apply to other regions, Abrams noted. In the western U.S., for example, climate change has been much more pronounced than in the East. That region has received much more warming and much more drought, he explained.
“Here in the East, we have had a slight increase in precipitation that has ameliorated the warming,” said Abrams.
To learn the drivers of forest change, researchers used a novel approach, analyzing both pollen and charcoal fossil records along with tree-census studies to compare historic and modern tree composition in the forests of eastern North America. They looked at seven forest types in the north and central regions of the eastern United States. Those forest types encompass two distinct floristic zones — conifer-northern hardwood and sub-boreal to the north, and oak-pine to the south.
The researchers found that in the northernmost forests, present-day pollen and tree-survey data revealed significant declines in beech, pine, hemlock and larches, and increases in maple, poplar, ash, oak and fir. In forests to the south, both witness tree and pollen records pointed to historic oak and pine domination, with declines in oak and chestnut and increases in maple and birch, based on present-day data.
“Modern forests are dominated by tree species that are increasingly cool-adapted, shade-tolerant, drought-intolerant pyrophobes — trees that are reduced when exposed to repeated forest burning,” Abrams said. “Species such as oak are largely promoted by low-to moderate-level forest fires. Furthermore, this change in forest composition is making eastern forests more vulnerable to future fire and drought.”
Researchers also included human population data for the region, going back 2,000 years, to bolster their findings, which recently were published in the Annals of Forest Science. After hundreds of years of fairly stable levels of fire caused by relatively low numbers of Native Americans in the region, they report, the most significant escalation in burning followed the dramatic increase in human population associated with European settlement prior to the early 20th century. Moreover, it appears that low numbers of Native Americans were capable of burning large areas of the eastern U.S. and did so repeatedly.
After 1940, they found, fire suppression was an ecologically transformative event in all forests…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190521162443.htm

Citation:

Eastern forests shaped more by Native Americans’ burning than climate change
Date: May 21, 2019
Source: Penn State
Summary:
Native Americans’ use of fire to manage vegetation in what is now the Eastern United States was more profound than previously believed, according to a researcher who determined that forest composition change in the region was caused more by land use than climate change.

Journal Reference:
Marc D. Abrams, Gregory J. Nowacki. Global change impacts on forest and fire dynamics using paleoecology and tree census data for eastern North America. Annals of Forest Science, 2019; 76 (1) DOI: 10.1007/s13595-018-0790-y

Here is the press release from Penn State:

Eastern forests shaped more by Native Americans’ burning than climate change

Jeff Mulhollem

May 21, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Native Americans’ use of fire to manage vegetation in what is now the Eastern United States was more profound than previously believed, according to a Penn State researcher who determined that forest composition change in the region was caused more by land use than climate change.
“I believe Native Americans were excellent vegetation managers and we can learn a lot from them about how to best manage forests of the U.S.,” said Marc Abrams, professor of forest ecology and physiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Native Americans knew that to regenerate plant species that they wanted for food, and to feed game animals they relied on, they needed to burn the forest understory regularly.”
Over the last 2,000 years at least, according to Abrams — who for three decades has been studying past and present qualities of eastern U.S. forests — frequent and widespread human-caused fire resulted in the predominance of fire-adapted tree species. And in the time since burning has been curtailed, forests are changing, with species such as oak, hickory and pine losing ground.
“The debate about whether forest composition has been largely determined by land use or climate continues, but a new study strongly suggests anthropogenic fire has been the major driver of forest change in the East,” said Abrams. “That is important to know because climate change is taking on an ever larger proportion of scientific endeavor.”
But this phenomenon does not apply to other regions, Abrams noted. In the western U.S., for example, climate change has been much more pronounced than in the East. That region has received much more warming and much more drought, he explained.
“Here in the East, we have had a slight increase in precipitation that has ameliorated the warming,” said Abrams.
To learn the drivers of forest change, researchers used a novel approach, analyzing both pollen and charcoal fossil records along with tree-census studies to compare historic and modern tree composition in the forests of eastern North America. They looked at seven forest types in the north and central regions of the eastern United States. Those forest types encompass two distinct floristic zones — conifer-northern hardwood and sub-boreal to the north, and oak-pine to the south.
The researchers found that in the northernmost forests, present-day pollen and tree-survey data revealed significant declines in beech, pine, hemlock and larches, and increases in maple, poplar, ash, oak and fir. In forests to the south, both witness tree and pollen records pointed to historic oak and pine domination, with declines in oak and chestnut and increases in maple and birch, based on present-day data.
“Modern forests are dominated by tree species that are increasingly cool-adapted, shade-tolerant, drought-intolerant pyrophobes — trees that are reduced when exposed to repeated forest burning,” Abrams said. “Species such as oak are largely promoted by low-to moderate-level forest fires. Furthermore, this change in forest composition is making eastern forests more vulnerable to future fire and drought.”
Researchers also included human population data for the region, going back 2,000 years, to bolster their findings, which recently were published in the Annals of Forest Science. After hundreds of years of fairly stable levels of fire caused by relatively low numbers of Native Americans in the region, they report, the most significant escalation in burning followed the dramatic increase in human population associated with European settlement prior to the early 20th century. Moreover, it appears that low numbers of Native Americans were capable of burning large areas of the eastern U.S. and did so repeatedly.
After 1940, they found, fire suppression was an ecologically transformative event in all forests.
“Our analysis identifies multiple instances in which fire and vegetation changes were likely driven by shifts in human population and land use beyond those expected from climate alone,” Abrams said. “After Smokey Bear came on the scene, fire was mostly shut down throughout the U.S. and we have been paying a big price for that in terms of forest change. We went from a moderate amount of fire to too much fire to near zero fire — and we need to get back to that middle ground in terms of our vegetation management.”
Also involved in the research was Gregory J. Nowacki, with the Eastern Regional Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
The Agricultural Experiment Station of Penn State funded this research.
(MEDIA CONTACTS)
Jeff Mulhollem
jjm29@psu.edu
Work Phone:
814 863-2719
A’ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
Work Phone:
814-865-9481
Last Updated May 21, 2019

The Royal Parks of the United Kingdom summarized the benefits of urban trees. The Royal Parks wrote in Why are trees so important?

Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store stabilise the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter.
Not only are trees essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future.
It’s critical that woodlands, rainforests and trees in urban settings, such as parks, are preserved and sustainably managed across the world….
Trees benefit health
The canopies of trees act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air. Each individual tree removes up to 1.7 kilos every year. They also provide shade from solar radiation and reduce noise….
Trees benefit the environment
Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and the carbon that they store in their wood helps slow the rate of global warming.
They reduce wind speeds and cool the air as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves. It’s estimated that trees can reduce the temperature in a city by up to 7°C.
Trees also help prevent flooding and soil erosion, absorbing thousands of litres of stormwater.
Trees boost wildlife
Trees host complex microhabitats. When young, they offer habitation and food to amazing communities of birds, insects, lichen and fungi. When ancient, their trunks also provide the hollow cover needed by species such as bats, woodboring beetles, tawny owls and woodpeckers.
One mature oak can be home to as many as 500 different species. Richmond Park is full of such trees, which is one of the reasons it has been designated a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Trees strengthen communities
Trees strengthen the distinctive character of a place and encourage local pride. Urban woodland can be used as an educational resource and to bring groups together for activities like walking and bird-watching. Trees are also invaluable for children to play in and discover their sense of adventure.
Trees grow the economy
People are attracted to live, work and invest in green surroundings. Research shows that average house prices are 5-18% higher when properties are close to mature trees. Companies benefit from a healthier, happier workforce if there are parks and trees nearby.
Trees protect the future
Soon, for the first time in history, the number of people with homes in cities will outstrip those living in the countryside. Parks and trees will become an even more vital component of urban life. We must respect them and protect them for the future…. https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/the-regents-park/things-to-see-and-do/gardens-and-landscapes/tree-map/why-trees-are-importantcarbon,

See, Envisioning a Great Green City: Nature needs cities. Cities need nature. https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-insights/perspectives/envisioning-a-great-green-city/

Resources:

Urban Forestry & Energy Conservation Bibliography https://articles.extension.org/pages/71120/urban-forestry-energy-conservation-bibliography

Urban Forestry Bibliography Created by the Forest Service … https://www.milliontreesnyc.org/downloads/pdf/urban_tree_bib.pdf

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Loyola University Health System study: Groundbreaking study could lead to fast, simple test for Ebola virus

12 May

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described Ebola:

What is Ebola Virus Disease?
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It is caused by an infection with a group of viruses within the genus Ebolavirus:
• Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus)
• Sudan virus (species Sudan ebolavirus)
• Taï Forest virus (species Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
• Bundibugyo virus (species Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
• Reston virus (species Reston ebolavirus)
• Bombali virus (species Bombali ebolavirus)
Of these, only four (Ebola, Sudan, Taï Forest, and Bundibugyo viruses) are known to cause disease in people. Reston virus is known to cause disease in nonhuman primates and pigs, but not in people. It is unknown if Bombali virus, which was recently identified in bats, causes disease in either animals or people.
Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. Scientists do not know where Ebola virus comes from. However, based on the nature of similar viruses, they believe the virus is animal-borne, with bats being the most likely source. The bats carrying the virus can transmit it to other animals, like apes, monkeys, duikers and humans.
Ebola virus spreads to people through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from EVD. This can occur when a person touches the infected body fluids (or objects that are contaminated with them), and the virus gets in through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also spread to people through direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or primates. People can get the virus through sexual contact as well.
Ebola survivors may experience difficult side effects after their recovery, such as tiredness, muscle aches, eye and vision problems and stomach pain. Survivors may also experience stigma as they re-enter their communities….. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html

Ebola is a virus caused disease.

Medical News Today described the symptoms of Ebola:

Symptoms of Ebola
The time interval from infection with Ebola to the onset of symptoms is 2-21 days, although 8-10 days is most common. Signs and symptoms include:
• fever
• headache
• joint and muscle aches
• weakness
• diarrhea
• vomiting
• stomach pain
• lack of appetite
Some patients may experience:
• rash
• red eyes
• hiccups
• cough
• sore throat
• chest pain
• difficulty breathing
• difficulty swallowing
• bleeding inside and outside of the body
Laboratory tests may show low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes. As long as the patient’s blood and secretions contain the virus, they are infectious. In fact, Ebola virus was isolated from the semen of an infected man 61 days after the onset of illness. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280598.php

Those infected with Ebola or suspected of being exposed are isolated:

Ebola prevention
It is still unknown how individuals are infected with Ebola, so stopping infection is still difficult. Preventing transmission is achieved by:
• ensuring all healthcare workers wear protective clothing
• implementing infection-control measures, such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant
• isolation of Ebola patients from contact with unprotected persons
Thorough sterilization and proper disposal of needles in hospitals are essential in preventing further infection and halting the spread of an outbreak.
Ebola tends to spread quickly through families and among friends as they are exposed to infectious secretions when caring for an ill individual. The virus can also spread quickly within healthcare settings for the same reason, highlighting the importance of wearing appropriate protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves.
Together with the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a set of guidelines to help prevent and control the spread of Ebola – Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers In the African Healthcare Setting. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280598.php

The World Health Organization provided statistics about Ebola. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ebola-virus-disease

The CBC printed the Thompson Reuters article, Ebola outbreak in Congo expected to last into mid-2019, WHO says:

The Ebola outbreak in northeastern Congo, which has already killed more than 200 people, is expected to last until mid-2019, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.
“It’s very hard to predict timeframes in an outbreak as complicated as this with so many variables that are outside our control, but certainly we’re planning on at least another six months before we can declare this outbreak over,” WHO emergency response chief Peter Salama told reporters.
The outbreak in Congo’s North Kivu province has caused 333 confirmed and probable cases of the deadly virus, and is now the
The location of the disease is perhaps the most difficult the WHO has ever encountered, due to a dense and mobile local population, insecurity caused by two armed groups, and its spread by transmission in health centres, Salama said.
One of the major drivers of the spread of the disease was due to people visiting the several hundred “tradi-modern” health centres in the town of Beni, he said.
“Those facilities, we believe, are one of the major drivers of transmission,” he said.
The tradi-modern facilities were unregulated, informal, and varied from being a standalone structure to a room in someone’s house, and were not set up to spot Ebola, let alone tackle cases of the disease.
Many had no running water for handwashing, and patients — who generally opted for injectable medicine because they felt it gave them a stronger form of medicine — would reuse needles.
“With the injections come the risks,” Salama said.
There had been an epidemiological breakthrough around late October, when a change in the age distribution of Ebola patients revealed that many of them were children being treated for malaria in the tradi-modern health centres. https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/congo-ebola-outbreak-to-last-into-2019-1.4903475

Conditions present in the Congo are similar to many impoverished parts of the globe.

Science Daily reported in Groundbreaking study could lead to fast, simple test for Ebola virus:

In a breakthrough that could lead to a simple and inexpensive test for Ebola virus disease, researchers have generated two antibodies to the deadly virus.

The antibodies, which are inexpensive to produce, potentially could be used in a simple filter paper test to detect Ebola virus and the related Marburg virus. (If the filter paper turns color, the virus is present.)
Corresponding author Ravi Durvasula, MD, and colleagues report their findings in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. Dr. Durvasula, a world leader in global infectious diseases research, is a professor and chair of the department of medicine of Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. First author Adinarayana Kunamneni, PhD, is a research assistant professor in Loyola’s department of medicine.
Ebola and Marburg viruses can cause severe bleeding and organ failure, with fatality rates reaching 90 percent in some outbreaks. The diseases spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, monkey, gorilla, chimpanzee or bat.
Ebola and Marburg belong to a class of viruses native to Africa called filoviruses. There are four known types of Ebola virus and two known types of Marburg virus. They are textbook examples of emerging diseases that appear quickly, often in remote areas with little or no public health infrastructure. There were major Ebola outbreaks in West Africa from 2013 to 2016. There is no effective vaccine or drug to treat the diseases.
Early symptoms of Ebola and Marburg, such as fever, headache and diarrhea, mimic more common diseases, so there’s a critical need for a rapid diagnostic test. Such a test could help in efforts to limit outbreaks by quickly quarantining infected persons. But existing diagnostic tests either are inaccurate or are expensive and require extensive training to administer.
Antibodies could be key to diagnosing Ebola and Marburg viruses. An antibody is a Y-shaped protein made by the immune system. When a virus or other pathogen invades the body, antibodies mark it for the immune system to destroy.
Using a technology called cell-free ribosome display, researchers generated two synthetic antibodies that bind to all six Ebola and Marburg viruses. (The research involved the use of non-hazardous proteins that sit on the surface of Ebola and Marburg viruses. Because the actual viruses were not used in the study, there was no risk of infection to researchers or the public….) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190507145516.htm

Citation:

Groundbreaking study could lead to fast, simple test for Ebola virus
Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Loyola University Health System
Summary:
In a breakthrough that could lead to a simple and inexpensive test for Ebola virus disease, researchers have generated two antibodies to the deadly virus. The antibodies, which are inexpensive to produce, potentially could be used in a simple filter paper test to detect Ebola virus and the related Marburg virus.

Journal Reference:
Adinarayana Kunamneni, Elizabeth C. Clarke, Chunyan Ye, Steven B. Bradfute, Ravi Durvasula. Generation and Selection of a Panel of Pan-Filovirus Single-Chain Antibodies using Cell-Free Ribosome Display. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2019; DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0658

Here is the press release from Loyola University Health System:

NEWS RELEASE 7-MAY-2019
Groundbreaking study could lead to fast, simple test for Ebola virus
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM
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MAYWOOD, IL – In a breakthrough that could lead to a simple and inexpensive test for Ebola virus disease, researchers have generated two antibodies to the deadly virus.
The antibodies, which are inexpensive to produce, potentially could be used in a simple filter paper test to detect Ebola virus and the related Marburg virus. (If the filter paper turns color, the virus is present.)
Corresponding author Ravi Durvasula, MD, and colleagues report their findings in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. Dr. Durvasula, a world leader in global infectious diseases research, is a professor and chair of the department of medicine of Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. First author Adinarayana Kunamneni, PhD, is a research assistant professor in Loyola’s department of medicine.
Ebola and Marburg viruses can cause severe bleeding and organ failure, with fatality rates reaching 90 percent in some outbreaks. The diseases spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, monkey, gorilla, chimpanzee or bat.
Ebola and Marburg belong to a class of viruses native to Africa called filoviruses. There are four known types of Ebola virus and two known types of Marburg virus. They are textbook examples of emerging diseases that appear quickly, often in remote areas with little or no public health infrastructure. There were major Ebola outbreaks in West Africa from 2013 to 2016. There is no effective vaccine or drug to treat the diseases.
Early symptoms of Ebola and Marburg, such as fever, headache and diarrhea, mimic more common diseases, so there’s a critical need for a rapid diagnostic test. Such a test could help in efforts to limit outbreaks by quickly quarantining infected persons. But existing diagnostic tests either are inaccurate or are expensive and require extensive training to administer.
Antibodies could be key to diagnosing Ebola and Marburg viruses. An antibody is a Y-shaped protein made by the immune system. When a virus or other pathogen invades the body, antibodies mark it for the immune system to destroy.
Using a technology called cell-free ribosome display, researchers generated two synthetic antibodies that bind to all six Ebola and Marburg viruses. (The research involved the use of non-hazardous proteins that sit on the surface of Ebola and Marburg viruses. Because the actual viruses were not used in the study, there was no risk of infection to researchers or the public.)
It will take further research to validate the antibodies’ potential for diagnosing Ebola and Marburg viruses, Drs. Durvasula and Kunamneni said.
###
The study is titled, “Generation and Selection of a Panel of Pan-Filovirus Single-Chain Antibodies using Cell-Free Ribosome Display.”
In addition to Drs. Kunamneni and Durvasula, other co-authors are Elizabeth Clarke, MS, Chunyan Ye and Steven Bradfute, PhD, of the University of New Mexico.
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.

Inter Press Service reported about the difficulty in controlling a disease like Ebola in Stopping Ebola in its Tracks with Point of Entry Screening http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/stopping-ebola-tracks-point-entry-screening/

Researchers wrote in the abstract to Importance of diagnostics in epidemic and pandemic preparedness:

….Some challenges to diagnostic preparedness are common to all outbreak situations, as highlighted by recent outbreaks of Ebola, Zika and yellow fever. In this article, we review these overarching challenges and explore potential solutions. Challenges include fragmented and unreliable funding pathways, limited access to specimens and reagents, inadequate diagnostic testing capacity at both national and community levels of healthcare and lack of incentives for companies to develop and manufacture diagnostics for priority pathogens during non-outbreak periods. Addressing these challenges in an efficient and effective way will require multiple stakeholders—public and private—coordinated in implementing a holistic approach to diagnostics preparedness. All require strengthening of healthcare system diagnostic capacity (including surveillance and education of healthcare workers), establishment of sustainable financing and market strategies and integration of diagnostics with existing mechanisms. Identifying overlaps in diagnostic development needs across different priority pathogens would allow more timely and cost-effective use of resources than a pathogen by pathogen approach; target product profiles for diagnostics should be refined accordingly. We recommend the establishment of a global forum to bring together representatives from all key stakeholders required for the response to develop a coordinated implementation plan. In addition, we should explore if and how existing mechanisms to address challenges to the vaccines sector, such as Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, could be expanded to cover diagnostics. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330758511_Importance_of_diagnostics_in_epidemic_and_pandemic_preparedness

See, New Ebola Outbreak Highlights Importance of Ongoing Preparedness Efforts http://www.hopkins-cepar.org/on-alert/new-ebola-outbreak-highlights-importance-of-ongoing-preparedness-efforts
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