South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world

Seoul, South Korea, is the global plastic surgery capital.

The high-status neighborhood of Gangnam reportedly has 500 aesthetic centers alone.

Why the concentration? Because South Korea has the most plastic surgeries per capita on earth, with over 980,000 recorded operations in 2014. That’s 20 procedures per 1,000 people, putting it ahead of the US’s 13 procedures per 1,000. And Korea has had the most operationsper capita since 2009.

Tech Insider visited JK Plastic Surgery, one of South Korea’s leading cosmetic centers, to learn more about why plastic surgery is so central to the culture.

Eye Surgery 2

Researchers’ metallic glue may stick it to soldering and welding

Researchers’ metallic glue may stick it to soldering and welding
a) Coated rods are arranged along a substrate, like angled teeth on a comb. b) The teeth are then interlaced. c) When indium and galium come into contact, they form a liquid. d) The metal core of the rods turns that liquid into a solid. The resulting glue provides the strength and thermal/electrical conductance of a metal bond. From “Advanced Materials & Processes,” January 2016

Perhaps no startup was launched for a more intriguing reason than that of Northeastern’s Hanchen Huang. From the company website:

“MesoGlue was founded by Huang and two of his PhD students: They had a dream of a better way of sticking things together.”

Those “things” are everything from a computer’s central and a printed circuit board to the glass and metal filament in a . The “way” of attaching them is, astonishingly, a glue made out of metal that sets at and requires very little pressure to seal. “It’s like welding or soldering but without the heat,” says Huang, who is professor and chair in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

In a new paper, published in the January issue of Advanced Materials & Processes, Huang and colleagues, including Northeastern doctoral student Paul Elliott, describe their latest advances in the glue’s development. Our curiosity was piqued: Soldering with no heat? We asked Huang to elaborate.

On new developments in the composition of the metallic glue:

“Both ‘metal’ and ‘glue’ are familiar terms to most people, but their combination is new and made possible by unique properties of metallic nanorods—infinitesimally small rods with metal cores that we have coated with the element indium on one side and galium on the other. These coated rods are arranged along a substrate like angled teeth on a comb: There is a bottom ‘comb’ and a top ‘comb.’ We then interlace the ‘teeth.’ When indium and galium touch each other, they form a liquid. The metal core of the rods acts to turn that liquid into a solid. The resulting glue provides the strength and thermal/electrical conductance of a metal bond. We recently received a new provisional patent for this development through Northeastern University.”

Researchers’ metallic glue may stick it to soldering and welding
A schematic illustrating applications of metallic glue: a) A CPU on a printed circuit board connected to a heat sink. b) A surface mount device being attached to a printed circuit board. c) A press-fit pipe fitting for environments where welding is dangerous or impossible. d) A glass plate being attached to metal with a different thermal-expansion coefficient to cover a cavity with a hermetic seal. From “Advanced Materials & Processes,” January 2016

On the special properties of the metallic glue:

“The standard polymer glue does not function at high temperatures or high pressures, but the metallic glue does. The standard glue is not a great conductor of heat and/or electricity, but the metallic glue is. Furthermore, the standard glue is not very resistant to air or gas leaks, but the metallic glue is.

“‘Hot’ processes like soldering and welding can result in metallic connections that are similar to those produced with the metallic glue, but they cost much more. In addition, the high temperature necessary for these processes has deleterious effects on neighboring components, such as junctions in semiconductor devices. Such effects can speed up failure and not only increase cost but also prove dangerous to users.”

What are some applications of the technology?

“The metallic glue has multiple applications, many of them in the electronics industry. As a heat conductor, it may replace the thermal grease currently being used, and as an electrical conductor, it may replace today’s solders. Particular products include solar cells, pipe fittings, and components for computers and mobile devices.”

How To Tell If You Have An Acidic Body, And What To Eat To Alkalize It Fast

Acidic bodies are unhealthy bodies. When the body is acidic, it creates an unwanted environment where illness, bacteria, and yeast thrive.

When the body is overly acidic, the body takes minerals from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid and remove it from the body. Because of this, the body’s mineral reserves such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium can run dangerously low and cause damage that can go undetected for years, until it reaches unhealthy levels, causing acidosis.


Most of us are already consuming enough acid-forming foods, such as dairy, grains, meats and sugar. Since the body is constantly generating acidic waste products from the metabolism, those waste products need to be neutralized or excreted in some way. In order to neutralize the constant acid generation, we need to supply the body with more alkaline foods.

Health problems caused by poor pH balance:
  • Immune deficiency
  • Sciatica, lumbago, stiff neck
  • Respiratory problems, shortness of breath, coughing
  • Yeast fungal overgrowth
  • Low energy and chronic fatigue
  • Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels and reduction in oxygen
  • Heart problems, arrhythmias, increased heart rate
  • Weight gain, obesity, and diabetes
  • Bladder and kidney infections
  • Accelerated free radical damage
  • Premature aging
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Osteoporosis, weak brittle bones, hip fractures, bone spurs
  • Headaches, confusion, sleepiness
  • Joint pain, aching muscles and lactic acid buildup
  • Allergies, acne

How to become more alkaline:

  1. Drink a fresh green juice every single day.
  2. Drink the juice of half a lemon squeezed in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning (citrus fruits seem acidic but are actually very alkaline!)
  3. Eat a diet full of nutritious and alkaline vegetables and fruits.
  4. Stay away from all processed foods and fried foods which are extremely acidic.
  5. Avoid refined sugar like the plague, fresh fruits are okay.
  6. Drink quality water such as purified water or even better, fresh spring water (tap water usually has fluoride in it and is very toxic to the body, which your dentist may not tell you.)
  7. Use natural household cleaning agents such as diluted apple cider vinegar.
  8. Use natural bath and body product such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotions, facial creams and makeup. Commercial ones are made with chemicals that have a massive toxic load to the body and make you acidic.
  9. Eat more plant-based foods and opt for only grass-fed, organic animal products.
  10. Include more wheat grass, barley grass, kelp, cayenne, chlorella and spirulina in your diet.
  11. Mix ½ tsp of baking soda in a glass of water and drink daily .This may be the most effective and easiest way to bring your pH level up in alkalinity, so give it a try.

Ibuprofen Kills Thousands Each Year, So What Is The Alternative?

A recent Reuters’ article opened with the following stunning sentence:

“Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers, researchers said.”

The 2004 Vioxx recall, as you may remember, was spurred by the nearly 30,000 excess cases of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths caused by the drug between 1999-2003. Despite the fact that scientific research had accumulated as early as 2000 linking Vioxx to increased heart attacks and strokes, the drug’s manufacturer Merck, and the FDA, remained silent as the death toll steadily increased.

The Reuters report focused on new research published in Lancet indicating the risk of heart attack increases as much as a third and the risk of heart failure doubles among heavier users of NSAID drugs.

INFLAMED: Our Default Bodily State

Why are so many folks taking NSAID drugs like ibuprofen anyway?

Pain and unhealthy levels of inflammation are fast becoming default bodily states in the industrialized world. While in most cases we can adjust the underlying pro-inflammatory conditions by altering our diet, and reducing stress and environmental chemical exposures, these approaches take time, discipline and energy, and sometimes we just want the pain to stop now. In those often compulsive moments we find ourselves popping an over-the-counter pill to kill the pain.

The problem with this approach is that, if we do it often enough, we may kill ourselves along with the pain…

Ibuprofen really is a perfect example of this. As mentioned above, this petrochemical-derivative has been linked to significantly increased risk of heart attack and increased cardiacand all-cause mortality (when combined with aspirin), with over two dozen serious adverse health effects, including:

  1. Anemia[1]
  2. DNA Damage[2]
  3. Hearing Loss[3]
  4. Hypertension[4]
  5. Influenza Mortality[5]
  6. Miscarriage[6]

Ibuprofen is, in fact, not unique in elevating cardiovascular disease risk and/or mortality. The entire category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to have this under-recognized dark side; cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality score highest on the list of over 100 unintended adverse health effects associated with their use. See also our analysis of the rarely acknowledged dark side to aspirin: The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives.

So, what does one do? Pain is pain. Whether it happens to you, or you witness it in another (which can be worse), finding relief is a top priority.

Research on Natural Alternatives To Ibuprofen

Here is some evidence-based research on alternatives to ibuprofen, sourced from the National Library of Medicine:

  1. Ginger – A 2009 study found that ginger capsules (250 mg, four times daily) were as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle (primary dysmenorrhea). [7]
  2. Topical Arnica – A 2007 human study found that topical treatment with arnica was as effective as ibuprofen for hand osteoarthritis, but with lower incidence of side effects. [8]
  3. Combination: Astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin C – A 2011 animal study found this combination to be equal to or better than ibuprofen for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation. [9]
  4. Chinese Skullcap (baicalin) – A 2003 animal study found that a compound in Chinese skullcap known as baicalin was equipotent to ibuprofen in reducing pain. [10]
  5. Omega-3 fatty acids: A 2006 human study found that omega-3 fatty acids (between 1200-2400 mg daily) were as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain, but with the added benefit of having less side effects. [11]
  6. Panax Ginseng – A 2008 animal study found that panax ginseng had analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen, indicating its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties. [12]
  7. St. John’s Wort – A 2004 animal study found that St. John’s wort was twice as effective as ibuprofen as a pain-killer. [13]
  8. Anthrocyanins from Sweet Cherries & Raspberries – A 2001 study cell study found that anthrocyanins extracted from raspberries and sweet cherries were as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. [14]
  9. Holy Basil – A 2000 study found that holy basil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory activity comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. [15]
  10. Olive Oil (oleocanthal) – a compound found within olive oil known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. [16]

Ibuprofen Kills Thousands Each Year So What Is The Alternative - NaturalThere are, of course, hundreds of additional substances which have been studied for their pain-killing and/or anti-inflammatory effects, and there are alsoaromatherapeutic approaches that do not require the ingestion of anything at all, but there is also a danger here. When we think of taking an alternative pain-killer to ibuprofen, we are still thinking within the palliative, allopathic medical model: suppress the symptom, and go on about our business. It would behoove us to look deeper into what is causing our pain. And when possible, remove the cause(s). And that often requires a dramatic dietary shift away from pro-inflammatory foods, many of which most Westerners still consider absolutely delightful, e.g. wheat, dairy, nightshade vegetables and even wheat-free grains, etc.

Dietitians, nutritionists, and psychologists have ranked the best diets of 2016

Not all diets are created equal, and no one knows that more than US News & World Report, which, on Tuesday, released a ranking of the best diets for 2016. Some of the diets are designed to help you lose weight, while others focus on lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, and even bettering your chances of conceiving. But one not-so-surprising thing resonates with each plan: They’re all meant to improve health.

After months of combing through medical journals, government reports, and other sources, US News & World Report selected and ranked 38 diets. There were a lot of ties, but one diet came out on top. Here are the diets that made it into the top 10.

But first, here’s how the ranking works:

After choosing the top diets, US News & World Report reached out to a panel of nationally recognised experts in a number of fields, including diet, nutrition, obesity, and food psychology. They rank the diets on a scale of one to five – one being minimally effective and five being extremely effective – for a number of categories, four of which we’ve included here:

1. Ability to help with short-term weight loss: The diet’s ability to help you lose a significant amount of weight during the first 12 months.

2. Ability to help with long-term weight loss: The diet’s ability to help you keep it off for two years or more.

3. Easiness to follow: How easy it’ll be to switch and stick with the diet. It focuses on the ease of initial adjustment, how full you’ll feel, the taste appeal of the food, and any special requirement that might make it difficult for certain groups – like people with diabetes.

4.Health: This is perhaps the most important category, because it tells you how safe the diet is for you. The ranking takes into account the risk of malnutrition and overly rapid weight loss. It also considers any health risks the diet may pose to specific populations, like people with high blood pressure or specific nutrient needs.

Diets evaluated for their health are further ranked from five = extremely safe to one = minimally safe.

Now, on to the rankings …

No. 10. Jenny Craig – Total score: 3.7/5

Founded in 1983 by Jenny Craig and her husband, Jenny Craig Inc. specialises in weight loss and weight management. A number of celebrities, including Mariah Carey, Kirstie Alley, and Queen Latifah, have signed on to the program, which combines customised weight-management counseling with a menu of preprepared meals that customers can either have delivered to their doorstep or pick up at one of the company’s more than 700 centers worldwide.

Here’s how US News & World Report ranked the Jenny Craig diet in four categories:

Short-term weight loss: 3.8

Long-term weight loss: 3.2

Easy to follow: 3.6

Healthy: 4.2

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 8 (Tie). The Flexitarian Diet – Total score: 3.8/5

The flexitarian diet specialises in assisting with weight-loss by emphasising the importance of eating more vegetables and less meat. It’s a perfect fit for those of us who like the idea of being vegetarian but can’t manage to completely slash meat from our diets.

Instead of entirely avoiding meat, most flexitarians try to go vegetarian for three to five days a week. The idea is that by replacing calorie-heavy meats with low-calorie fruits and vegetables, you’ll shed some extra pounds.

Here’s why US News & World Report says this is one of the best overall diets of the year:

Short-term weight loss: 3.4

Long-term weight loss: 3.3

Easy to follow: 3.3

Healthy: 4.2

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 8 (Tie). Volumetrics – Total score: 3.8/5

One of the major pitfalls of diets is that they leave our stomachs grumbling at the end of the day. That’s not the case with Volumetrics, which focuses on feeling full. But it’s a slow process, so don’t expect to drop 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) in two weeks on this diet.

According to the diet’s founder, Barbara Rolls, PhD, it’s not the number of calories you consume that makes you feel full, but rather the amount and types of food you eat.

Volumetrics focuses on eating mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, legumes, and low-fat dairy. But you can still splurge on fatty meats and fried food occasionally.

Here’s how this diet compares with the rest:

Short-term weight loss: 3.6

Long-term weight loss: 3.2

Easy to follow: 3.2

Healthy: 4.4

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 4 (Tie). The Mediterranean Diet – Total score: 3.9/5

A number of celebrities have reportedly turned to the Mediterranean diet, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Penelope Cruz, Elizabeth Hurley, and Isla Fisher.

The Mediterranean diet allegedly follows the traditional cooking style of countries near the Mediterranean Sea. That means lots of fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil. The point of this diet is to promote heart health and prevent disease.

A study of more than 1.5 million healthy adults revealed that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

Here’s how this diet stacks up:

Short-term weight loss: 3.0

Long-term weight loss: 2.9

Easy to follow: 3.3

Healthy: 4.6

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 4 (Tie). The Fertility Diet – Total score: 3.9/5

Believe it or not, what you eat may affect your chances of conceiving. “What you eat affects everything from your blood to your cells to your hormones,” Cynthia Stadd, a nutrition specialist at the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness and Women’s Health in New York City, told the website

The doctors who founded the fertility diet – Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health – did so after a study they conducted where they found that women who regularly ate healthy fats, whole grains, and plant protein had a better egg supply than women who had a regular diet of refined carbohydrates, red meat, and saturated fats.

Here’s how the judges thought this diet fared:

Short-term weight loss: 3.0

Long-term weight loss: 2.6

Easy to follow: 3.7


Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 4 (Tie). The Mayo Clinic Diet – Total score: 3.9/5

Health experts at the Mayo Clinic created this diet, which purportedly can help you lose up to 100 pounds (45.4 kilograms) in a year. This diet focuses on long-term weight loss by helping you develop a lifestyle designed to help you lose weight and keep it off.

To start, followers are supposed to break five unhealthy habits and add five new healthy habits. This diet is also heavy on the exercise and recommends that followers get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise a day.

By following the diet’s guidelines, which you can find on the Mayo Clinic’s website, you could lose 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.3 kilograms) in the first two weeks. Not bad!

Here’s what the experts thought:

Short-term weight loss: 3.3

Long-term weight loss: 2.9

Easy to follow: 3.1

Healthy: 4.5

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 4 (Tie). Weight Watchers – Total score: 3.9/5

Anyone who’s considered dieting has heard of Weight Watchers, the popular weight-loss program that claims you’ll lose about 2 pounds (900 grams) a week with two simple rules: eat healthy and exercise.

The diet focuses on eating foods that are high in protein and low in saturated fat, calories, and sugar. The company’s new SmartPoints food plan helps you track your eating habits. Celebrity Jessica Simpson reportedly lost 60 pounds (27.2 kilograms) with the help of Weight Watchers.

Here’s how US News & World Report ranks it:

Short-term weight loss: 4.0

Long-term weight loss: 3.5

Easy to follow: 3.7

Healthy: 4.3

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 2 (Tie). The TLC Diet – Total score: 4/5

No, TLC doesn’t stand for “tender loving care,” but the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet does focus on loving and caring for your body.

The main point of this diet is to lower your cholesterol rather than lose weight. It’s recommended by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program and claims you can lower your cholesterol by 8 percent to 10 percent in six weeks.

Saturated fat is a key culprit in high cholesterol, so this diet focuses on cutting saturated fat by reducing your intake of meat and whole-milk products. And while it’s not focused on weight loss, some followers do shed some pounds.

For a 2004 study, researchers put 120 overweight people on either the TLC or the Atkins diet for six months. On average, the TLC dieters lost 20 pounds (9 kilograms) each; those on Atkins lost 31 pounds (14.1 kilograms).

Here’s why this is one of the best diets of the year:

Short-term weight loss: 3.2

Long-term weight loss: 2.8

Easy to follow: 3.0

Healthy: 4.7

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 2 (Tie). The MIND Diet – Total score: 4/5

The MIND diet focuses on eating foods that may help reduce your risk of neurological disorders – in particular, Alzheimer’s. The name stands for ‘Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay’. You’ll learn more about the DASH diet below.

The diet has you eat foods that the medical literature suggests are good for the brain. These foods fall into 10 categories, including: green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, fish, beans, whole grains, and olive oil.

This is one of the easiest and healthiest diets to follow, which is why US News & World Report ranks it one of the top:

Short-term weight loss: 3.1

Long-term weight loss: 2.9

Easy to follow: 3.7

Healthy: 4.5

Learn more about what experts had to say about this diet here.

No. 1. The DASH Diet – Total score: 4.1/5

For the sixth year in a row, the DASH diet has taken first place for best overall diet of the year.

DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” or high blood pressure. The diet tries to instill a lifelong habit of eating that either helps to treat or prevents hypertension. For those with hypertension, the DASH diet may help drop systolic blood pressure by as many as 7 to 12 points.

While salt affects everyone differently, doctors generally agree that reducing sodium intake can help with hypertension, which is what the DASH diet does.

In addition to eating healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, you should limit sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day. For reference, one slice of frozen pizza has 370 to 730 milligrams!

Here’s how the winner stacked up:

Short-term weight loss: 3.2

Long-term weight loss: 3.0

Easy to follow: 3.1

Healthy: 4.8

7 Signs Of Gluten Intolerance, Everyone Ignores.

It’s been said that the vast majority of people who have a gluten intolerance will never be diagnosed and that as much as 15% of Americans have some type of gluten sensitivity or intolerance, if not celiac disease. Are you one of them? Here are the 7 subtle signs to look for:


1. Keratosis Pilaris

  • Otherwise known as “chicken skin” that’s commonly found on the backs of arms and your thighs is the result of fatty acid deficiency caused by gluten damaging the gut.

2. Persistent Headaches

  • Migraines and persistent headaches is another potential sign of gluten intolerance. They can also be signs of dehydration and other disorders. See a physician if your headaches don’t stop.

3. Autoimmune Diseases

  • Certainly not in all cases, but in some cases, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Multiple Sclerosis, and Psoriasis have been found to be rooted in gluten intolerance.

4. Routine Digestive Issues

  • Gas, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation that persists seemingly without cause is one of the most obvious signs. Constipation is a common sign of gluten intolerance in children.

5. Dizziness

  • Dizziness and feeling off balance is yet another sign of gluten intolerance.

6. Chronic Fatigue

  • Chronic fatigue can be caused by something as easy to fix as dehydration and as severe as HIV. If you have chronic fatigue, see a doctor about it. Fatigue, brain fog, and feeling tired especially after meals that contain gluten are another clear indicator.

7. Fibromyalgia

  • Some people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue actually have gluten intolerance but don’t realize it. If you’ve been diagnosed, consider gluten as the potential cause.

Do You Realize What You Have Eaten When Cooking Food in Aluminum Foil?

Many people in the world use aluminum foil to wrap their food while it’s cooking. But, did you know that baking food wrapped in aluminum foil in the oven can be dangerous? This is because aluminum is a poisonous substance that can harm you and your family. So, if you are using this type of cooking method – you need to stop immediately.

Aluminum poisoning

Too much aluminum exposure can harm your body with harmful toxins. The body has its own detox system that can flush out all harmful toxins, but sometimes even the healthiest one has its own limits. According to the Mount Sinai Hospital, aluminum usually accumulates in the human body and over time it can cause aluminum poisoning.

The most common symptoms of aluminum poisoning are: muscle weakness, bone pain, seizures and confusion. And we can also say that delayed growth and development is a common problem among children who suffer from this type of condition. Anemia, health problems for the respiratory organs, diseases of the brain and the nervous system – all these health problems can be caused by aluminum poisoning. A recent study has found that embryos exposed to this type of metal can develop abnormalities and defects.

alu foil cooking

Where is aluminum present?

Well, aluminum it a metal found in the Earth’s crust. Our bodies don’t need this type of metal to function properly, but it’s often found in foods and medicines we use every day. For example, when we take more aspiring or any other kind of prescription drugs or vitamin supplements, you increase the risk of aluminum poisoning. We can also mention that aluminum is present in almost all of the dishes and some of the food we consume on daily basis. So, if you practice this cooking method and you cook food wrapped in aluminum foil, then aluminum penetrates deep into it, poisoning the food and eventually your entire body. This is a common condition, aluminum poisoning, in people who work in are with high exposure to this metal.

How to prevent aluminum poisoning?

Our organism can process this type of metal in small amounts, but you should most definitely avoid it. You need to use items and consume foods that don’t contain this type of metal. And if you are using aluminum pots and dishes, replace them immediately with the ones made out of cast iron. And the most important thing – you should never fry or bake food wrapped in aluminum foil. Also, try to avoid processed and packed foods, because many food companies use aluminum as a food preservative.

You should always eat fresh, organic food and raw vegetables. Just follow these simple tips and advices and you’ll be able to prevent aluminum poisoning. We really hope you enjoyed this post, and please share it with your friends and family. Thanks.

5 Facts to Know about the California Methane Leak

It could be months before the gas leak that has forced thousands from their homes in southern California is stopped

A methane leak in Southern California has forced thousands of people from their homes. Although the gas first began spewing from a leaky underground well in October, the gas company only recently identified the source of the leak.

Now, officials with the company say it could be months before the methane leak is stopped.

But what exactly caused the methane leak in the first place, and how will it affect those in the surrounding areas? Here are five things to know about the Southern California methane leak.

1.Methane is the main component of natural gas
Methane is a simple hydrocarbon made up of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, and is produced when microorganisms called methanogens combine carbon dioxide and oxygen. It is the main constituent in the natural gas that is used for heating and cooking in some homes.

By itself, methane is colorless and odorless. When it is processed for use in homes, an odorant is added, so that people will be able to smell it if there is a gas leak.

Scientists say that vast stores of methane are buried beneath the seafloor, locked into a cagelike crystal of water molecules, making it stable. Other huge sources of methane are the organic matter frozen into the permafrost in the Arctic.

The methane that’s leaking probably isn’t part of California’s natural reserves. Most of the methane that is used in Southern California homes actually comes from somewhere else (typically West Texas or Southern Colorado). It is transported to California via a massive network of interstate pipelines, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

2. The leak originated underground
The source of the methane leak, which began on Oct. 23, is the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Field, the largest underground methane storage facility in the western United States. The storage facility is located in a mountain near the community of Porter Ranch.

3. It’s an environmental disaster
Since October, the leak has released 150 million pounds (72,000 metric tons) of methane into the environment, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, which has tracked the leak using infrared cameras.

That could be bad news for the climate. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide, but pound for pound, methane can be 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Methane that enters the atmosphere takes about 12 years to break down — it is mostly removed from the air by chemical reactions with other compounds.

All told, the current leak could be responsible for a quarter of all of the state’s methane emissions this year, and could be the worst methane leak in California’s history.

4. It’s dangerous
The methane leak could also be dangerous for people who live in Porter Ranch. Methane is highly flammable (not surprising, as it is used for combustion in both gas stoves and rockets).

Depending on its concentration in the air, it can also be dangerous to inhale methane fumes, because methane can occupy the same place in blood cells that oxygen normally does. Symptoms of methane exposure include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and loss of coordination, according to the National Institutes of Health. In serious cases, people may black out or die.

More than 2,000 residents of Porter Ranch, California, have been evacuated from their homes after people complained of headaches and nosebleeds, NBC News reported. Two Los Angeles Unified School District schools have closed in response to the methane leak.

5. It could take months to fix
The Southern California Gas Company has identified the location of the leak in a well 3,000 feet (914 meters) below ground. However, they still don’t know what caused it.

To stop the leak, the gas company said it plans to drill a “relief” well at 5,000 feet (1,524 m), or below the level of the current leak, to divert the methane flow. Then, the company plans to temporarily plug the leaking well with a mixture of mud and fluids, before sealing it permanently with cement, CBS news reported.

But this will all be a tricky process, as it involves using magnetic-ranging techniques to find a 7-inch (17.8 centimeter) pipe located within 1,500 feet (457 m) of rock, while not damaging other pipes nearby, according to the Southern California Gas Company.

The workers will also have to stop their work if air concentrations of methane get too high and pose either a possibility of explosion or a health risk.

The whole process could be completed by late February or early March, the gas company said.

Regular Mammograms Worthwhile for Elderly Women

New study shows screenings helped lower breast cancer deaths among those over 69


 Regular mammograms benefit elderly women, a new study indicates.

Previous research has shown that mammography screening reduces breast cancer deaths among women up to age 74, but there is little information about women older than 74, especially minority women, the Florida Atlantic University researchers explained.

They analyzed Medicare data from 1995 to 2009 on more than 4,800 black women and more than 59,000 white women, all of whom were aged 69 or older.

Among women aged 75 to 84, those who had annual mammograms were less likely to die from breast cancer over a 10-year period than those who had irregular or no mammograms.

Breast cancer patients aged 69 to 84 who had annual mammograms in the four years before their diagnosis had lower five- and 10-year death rates than those who had irregular or no mammograms.

Ten-year death rates among women aged 69 to 84 were three times higher among whites and more than two times higher among blacks who had irregular or no mammogram screening, compared with those who had annual mammograms.

The researchers also found that white women who died of breast cancer were more likely to be older, to have been diagnosed at a later stage and to have received chemotherapy. They were also less likely to have had surgery or have undergone radiation therapy.

The study was published Jan. 6 in the American Journal of Medicine.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American women, affecting one in eight during their lifetime and killing one in 25. In 2010, 41 percent of breast cancer deaths occurred in women aged 65 to 84.

Regular mammography is recommended for women aged 65 to 74, according to the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

When it comes to detection, can ultrasound be mammography’s equal?

A study of more than 2,500 women has found ultrasound just as good as mammography at detecting breast cancer.

On the downside, ultrasound generated more false positives than mammography. However, the radiation-free modality also spotlighted more invasive and node-negative cancers—and the number of women recalled for additional testing post-ultrasound became comparable on incidence-screening rounds.

 - BreastMalig

The study’s authors, led by Wendie Berg, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, conclude that their results suggest ultrasound could satisfactorily substitute for mammography in developing countries.

In the U.S., they state in their study discussion, ultrasound might supplement standard mammography for women with dense breasts who don’t meet high-risk criteria for screening MRI, as well as for high-risk women with dense breasts who balk at or refuse MRI.

The research team looked at 2,662 participants who were enrolled at 20 sites in the U.S., Canada and Argentina in the American College of Radiology Imaging Network  (ACRIN) 6666  trial and who completed three annual screens (7,473 exams) with ultrasound and film-screen (n = 4,351) or digital (n = 3,122) mammography and had biopsy or 12-month follow-up.

Noting cancer detection, recall and positive predictive values, they found:

  • 110 women had 111 breast cancer events; 89 (80.2 percent) were invasive cancers, median size 12mm.
  • The number of ultrasound screens to detect one cancer was 129, and for mammography the number of needed screens was 127.
  • Cancer detection was comparable for each of ultrasound and mammography at 58 of 111 (52.3 percent) vs. 59 of 111 (53.2 percent), with ultrasound-detected cancers more likely invasive (53 of 58, 91.4 percent, median size 12mm) vs. mammography at 41 of 59 (69.5 percent, median size 13mm).
  • Invasive cancers detected by ultrasound were more frequently node-negative, 34 of 53 (64.2 percent) vs. 18 of 41 (43.9 percent) on mammography.

Meanwhile, in 4,814 incidence screens in years two and three, ultrasound had higher recall and biopsy rates and a lower positive predictive value for biopsy than mammography.

“Training would be necessary for any facility planning to offer screening ultrasound, also true for developing countries,” Berg et al. write in their study discussion. “With appropriate training, ultrasound is no more operator dependent than interpreting mammography.”

The authors add that, while they previously showed in ACRIN 6666 that invasive lobular cancer and low-grade invasive ductal carcinoma are overrepresented among cancers seen only on ultrasound, they did not glean detailed molecular subtype results for the cancers in the present study.

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