Kids who grow up on farms are far less likely to develop asthma or allergies compared with the average child — and now scientists think they know why.
A study published in Science today shows that bacteria found in farm dust trigger an immune system response in the lungs of mice. That response seems to be why those mice are protected from allergies and asthma in following weeks. The study also suggested there was a genetic component to the protective benefit.
On January 11, 2013, James Heilman, an emergency-room physician and one of Wikipedia’s most prolific medical editors, was standing watch over the online encyclopedia’s entry for a back procedure called a kyphoplasty. The page originally suggested that the procedure’s effectiveness was “controversial,” and an unidentified Wikipedia user had proposed changing the text to “well documented and studied”—a characterization that Heilman thought wasn’t supported by existing research. He rejected the change.
Kyphoplasty, along with vertebroplasty, the procedure it shares a Wikipedia page with, is a common treatment when someone’s spine breaks—a frequent occurrence in people with osteoporosis, which makes bones brittle—and then doesn’t heal naturally. The procedure is meant to reduce the pain of a fracture, even though it sounds unpleasant: It consists of inflating a tiny plastic balloon near the fracture, removing the balloon, and then injecting a toothpaste-like plastic cement into the resulting crevice and letting it harden…
The US has led the way in the use of stealth aircraft in combat. Now the game could soon be up, as scientists in China and Russia are discovering ways to make the invisible visible. Mark Piesing reports
Epigenetic changes often serve to biologically prepare offspring for an environment similar to that of the parents, Yehuda explains. In this case, however, the needs of the fetus seem to have trumped that goal. With low levels of cortisol and high levels of the enzyme that breaks it down, many descendants of Holocaust survivors would be ill adapted to survive starvation themselves. In fact, that stress hormone profile might make them more susceptible to PTSD (below, yellow); previous studies have indeed suggested that the offspring of Holocaust survivors are more vulnerable to the effects of stress and are more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD. These descendants may also be at risk for age-related metabolic syndromes, including obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance, particularly in an environment of plenty.
They’re less likely to trip because they shorten their step length, reduce step frequency, lengthen the time during which both feet are in contact with the ground, and increase obstacle clearance height. Taken together this creates an exaggerated image of walking, but it apparently slows the walker enough so that he registers some of what is happening around him and can compensate for it.
The impact of texting and walking is that it slows the walker down. So we’re all connected but it may take us longer to get to each other–which may be okay since we’ve likely texted the person that we’re on our way and then given a play-by-play of our progress as we update social media along the way.
Every year, mosquitoes infect 400 million people with dengue fever, causing severe headaches and joint pain. Since a 2009 outbreak in Key West, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has spent $1 million a year to try to curb the primary vector: Aedes aegypti. Last July, another mosquito-borne virus reached U.S. shores: chikungunya. Now officials are considering a radical—and highly controversial—approach to control the spread of tropical disease: genetically modified mosquitoes. http://www.popsci.com/mosquitoes-designed-self-destruct.
Remember when Canada seemed to exemplify a “nice” government?
Top secret documents from Edward Snowden’s cache have revealed Canada’s ambition to become a big player in the world of electronic spying. The leak comes just as the country plans to vote on a law that would give its cyber agencies more powers.
A confidential presentation by Canada’s intelligence agency Communications Security Establishment (CSE) dated 2011 was among the documents published jointly by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and The Intercept, the website of investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald. In it, the counterpart of US National Security Agency (NSA) assures its Five Eyes allies – US, UK, Australia and New Zealand – that by 2015 it “will seek the authority to conduct a wide spectrum of Effects operations in support of our mandates.”