More Evidence That Early Earth Collided Head-On With Another Planet


Theia-Earth Collision

Theia-Earth Collision

An artist’s interpretation of what the collision between the two planets might have looked like.

Soon after the Earth coalesced in the early solar system, it was hit by another planet, Theia. The collision formed the moon, but researchers are still trying to piece together exactly what happened, including what happened to Theia. For years, researchers have thought that Theia might have smashed into Earth at an angle, strong enough to obliterate Theia into little bits and create the moon. But that might not be the case. Instead, a recent study suggests that Earth might actually be a chimera of the two planets.

A new paper suggests that instead of a simple sideswipe that crushed Theia into smaller pieces that formed the moon, the impact was more of a head-on collision that was so forceful that it thoroughly mixed Theia and the Earth together, giving both Earth and the newly formed moon a unified geological signature.

By analyzing rocks from both the Earth and the moon, the researchers found that there was essentially no difference between their oxygen isotopes, indicating the possibility that Theia and the Earth mixed together. The finding directly contradicts results from another paper in 2014 which found evidence that the moon had a distinct isotopic signature, supporting the sideswiping hypothesis.

“We don’t see any difference between the Earth’s and the moon’s oxygen isotopes; they’re indistinguishable,” Edward Young, lead author of the new study said

Why care about the difference between oxygen isotopes on the Earth and the moon? Scientists have long been puzzled by the idea that the Earth and the Moon had very similar geological signatures. The 2014 finding provided researchers with an explanation that fit into the computer models of an oblique collision. If Theia impacted the early Earth at an angle, scientists would expect the Moon to be more like Theia, and the Earth… more like Earth.

A study last year found that it was possible for Theia to be almost a twin to Earth which makes the weird similarity between the geology of the Earth and moon fit with the sideswipe theory. But this new theory is simpler, suggesting that instead of bouncing off each other like pool balls, Theia and Earth got mixed together like cake batter, spinning off the moon (made of the same mixture) in the process.

Researchers will continue to try to reconstruct the planetary collision in the future, and there will probably be a lot more conversation and controversy within the planetary geology community before a consensus is reached.

In the meantime, it’s pretty amazing that Earth withstood an impact that completely totaled another planet, and got a moon in the process. Well done, Earth.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last


Why are relationships so hard today? Why do we fail at love every time, despite trying so hard? Why have humans suddenly become so inept at making relationships last? Have we forgotten how to love? Or worse, forgotten what love is?

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We’re not prepared. We’re not prepared for the sacrifices, for the compromises, for the unconditional love. We’re not ready to invest all that it takes to make a relationship work. We want everything easy. We’re quitters. All it takes is a single hurdle to make us crumble to our feet. We don’t let our love grow, we let go before time.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

It’s not love we’re looking for, only excitement and thrill in life. We want someone to watch movies and party with, not someone who understands us even in our deepest silences. We spend time together, we don’t make memories. We don’t want the boring life. We don’t want a partner for life, just someone who can make us feel alive right now, this very instant. When the excitement fades, we discover nobody ever prepared us for the mundane. We don’t believe in the beauty of predictability because we’re too blinded by the thrill of adventure.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We immerse ourselves in the inconsequentials of the city life, leaving no space for love. We don’t have time to love, we don’t have the patience to deal with relationships. We’re busy people chasing materialistic dreams and there’s no scope to love. Relationships are nothing more than convenience.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We look for instant gratification in everything we do – the things we post online, the careers we choose, and the people we fall in love with. We want the maturity in a relationship that comes with time, the emotional connect that develops over years, that sense of belonging when we barely even know the other person. Apparently, nothing’s worth our time and patience – not even love.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We’d rather spend an hour each with a hundred people than spending a day with one. We believe in having ‘options’. We’re ‘social’ people. We believe more in meeting people than getting to know them. We’re greedy. We want to have everything. We get into relationships at the slightest attraction and step out, the moment we find someone better. We don’t want to bring out the best in that one person. We want them to be perfect. We date a lot of people but rarely give any of them a real chance. We’re disappointed in everyone.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

Technology has brought us closer, so close that it’s impossible to breathe. Our physical presence has been replaced by texts, voice messages, snapchats and video calls. We don’t feel the need to spend time together anymore. We have too much of each other already. There’s nothing left to talk about.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We’re a generation of ‘wanderers’ who wouldn’t stay at one place for too long. Everyone is commitment phobic. We believe we’re not meant for relationships. We don’t want to settle down. Even the thought of it is scary. We cannot imagine being with one person for the rest of our lives. We walk away. We despise permanence like its some social evil. We like to believe we’re ‘different’ than the rest. We like to believe we don’t conform to social norms.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We’re a generation that calls itself ‘sexually liberated’. We can tell sex apart from love, or so we think. We’re the hook-up-break-up generation. We have sex first and then decide if we want to love someone. Sex comes easy, loyalty doesn’t. Getting laid has become the new getting drunk. You do it not because you love the other person, but because you want to feel good. It’s all the temporary fulfillment we need. Sex outside relationships isn’t a taboo anymore. Relationships aren’t that simple anymore. There are open relationships, friends with benefits, causal flings, one-night stands, no strings attached – we’ve left very little exclusivity for love in our lives.

Why Modern Relationships Are Falling Apart So Easily Today©

We’re the practical generation who runs by logic alone. We don’t know how to love madly anymore. We wouldn’t take a flight to a far-off land just to see someone we love. We’d break up because, long distance. We’re too sensible for love. Too sensible for our own good.

 

We’re a scared generation – scared to fall in love, scared to commit, scared to fall, scared to get hurt, scared to get our hearts broken. We don’t allow anyone in, nor do we step out and love anyone unconditionally. We lurk from behind walls we’ve created ourselves, looking for love and running away the moment we really find it. We suddenly ‘cannot handle it’. We don’t want to be vulnerable. We don’t want to bare our soul to anyone. We’re too guarded.

Why Modern Relationships Never Last©

We don’t even value relationships anymore. We let go of the most wonderful people for ‘the other fishes in the sea.’ We don’t consider them sacred anymore.

There’s nothing we couldn’t conquer in this world, and yet, here we are ham-fisted at the game of love – the most basic of human instincts. Evolution, they call it.

Science Can Now Turn Plastic Bags Into Fuel.


https://m.curiosity.com/videos/science-can-now-turn-plastic-bags-into-fuel-dnews/?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C7884812264

4-million-year-old bacteria have been found in one of the deepest caves on Earth.


Scientists have uncovered an ancient strain of bacteria called Paenibacillus in one of the deepest caves in the world – and it seems to be resistant to the most powerful antibiotics modern medicine can throw at it.

Tests showed that the bacteria were resistant to 18 different antibiotics, including daptomycin – used as ‘last-resort’ drug, when all others have failed.

The main defence used by Paenibacillus is producing mutations in individual cells that then get passed on to the next generation, which matches resistance methods used by similar species of bacteria found in soils.

At this stage, this hardy bacteria strain doesn’t make humans sick, but if it evolves to become pathogenic – which can happen with or without human intervention – the team is hoping we’ll have found a way to defeat it before it poses a health risk.

The researchers say that as the Lechuguilla Cave harbours ancient, drug-resistant bacteria, it might also contain the ingredients for new antibiotics we can make use of.

“That’s the next step in this study,” one of the team, Gerry Wright from McMaster University, told the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) in Minnesota.

“The diversity of antibiotic resistance and its prevalence in microbes across the globe should be humbling to everyone who uses these life-saving drugs. It reflects the fact that we must understand that antibiotic use and resistance go hand-in-hand.”

Unless we can stay one step ahead of these pathogens, antimicrobial resistance will become a huge problem for many surgeries and treatments in the future, making the cures for certain diseases just as risky as the diseases themselves.

Let’s hope the world’s brightest minds can find a solution before that happens.

The bacteria have been hidden for more than 4 million years, suggesting that ‘superbugs’ can develop resistance to certain types of antibiotics without the influence of humans and our medicines – possibly through exposure to naturally occurring antibiotics in the underground environment.

The bacteria were discovered some 305 metres (or 1,000 feet) underground in the Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico – an environment considered to be so pristine and scientifically important, you need to be part of a research team to gain access.

Scientists from the University of Akron in Ohio and McMaster University in Canada used cave samples to identify five specific pathways by which Paenibacillus blocks antibiotics, with the aim of helping us figure out how to beat that resistance in the future.

“We identified some unique mechanisms of resistance that haven’t even emerged in bacteria that make us sick, which is exciting, because this means we have time to come up with potential mechanisms of resistance,” explains researcher Hazel Barton from the University of Akron.

Antibiotics work by blocking the mechanisms that harmful bacteria use to function, but the problem is that these pathogens are rapidly evolving, and finding new mechanisms to replace the blocked ones faster than we can shut them down.

Adding to that problem is the fact that our increased use of antibiotics in hospitals and other industries, such as agriculture, seems to be helping antibiotic resistant pathogens evolve even more quickly.

That’s part of the reason why this strain of ancient bacteria is of so much interest. It existed way before humans ever showed up, so its independent resistance appears to be down to some other kind of environmental pressure – we’re just not sure what.

Tests showed that the bacteria were resistant to 18 different antibiotics, including daptomycin – used as ‘last-resort’ drug, when all others have failed.

The main defence used by Paenibacillus is producing mutations in individual cells that then get passed on to the next generation, which matches resistance methods used by similar species of bacteria found in soils.

At this stage, this hardy bacteria strain doesn’t make humans sick, but if it evolves to become pathogenic – which can happen with or without human intervention – the team is hoping we’ll have found a way to defeat it before it poses a health risk.

The researchers say that as the Lechuguilla Cave harbours ancient, drug-resistant bacteria, it might also contain the ingredients for new antibiotics we can make use of.

“That’s the next step in this study,” one of the team, Gerry Wright from McMaster University, told the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) in Minnesota.

“The diversity of antibiotic resistance and its prevalence in microbes across the globe should be humbling to everyone who uses these life-saving drugs. It reflects the fact that we must understand that antibiotic use and resistance go hand-in-hand.”

Unless we can stay one step ahead of these pathogens, antimicrobial resistance will become a huge problem for many surgeries and treatments in the future, making the cures for certain diseases just as risky as the diseases themselves.

Let’s hope the world’s brightest minds can find a solution before that happens.

6 more mysterious radio signals have been detected coming from outside our galaxy.


Back in March, scientists detected 10 powerful bursts of radio signals coming from the same location in space. And now researchers have just picked up six more of the signals seemingly emanating from the same region, far beyond our Milky Way.

fastradiobursts_1024

Six of the bursts were recorded arriving at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico within just 10 minutes of each other, and then four more spread out signals were detected over the next month, all coming from the same place.

When the team looked back over the data, they also saw a FRB from 2012 that appeared to come from the same location, too, making a total of 11 FRB from the one spot, and indicating that there was something out there beyond the Milky Way that was regularly producing the extremely short and intense signals.

Now a team of researchers from McGill University in Canada has found six more of the mysterious signals coming from the same spot, which has become known as FRB 121102, after the first FRB detected there.

“We report on radio and X-ray observations of the only known repeating fast radio burst source, FRB 121102,” the team wrote in The Astrophysical Journal.

“We have detected six additional radio bursts from this source: five with the Green Bank Telescope at 2 GHz, and one at 1.4 GHz with the Arecibo Observatory, for a total of 17 bursts from this source.”

The team can’t pinpoint the exact location of FRB 121102, but based on the specific way their lower frequencies are slowed, they can tell they came from a long way away, far beyond the Milky Way. And that gives us some pretty important clues about what could be causing the events.

Interestingly, it also contradicts the evidence we have on FRB coming from within our own galaxy.

Currently, the leading hypothesis for the source of the Milky Way’s FRB is the cataclysmic collision of two neutron stars, which forms a black hole. The idea is that as this collision happens, huge amounts of short-lived radio energy are blasted out into space.

But the repeating nature of these distant signals, all coming from the same place, suggest that can’t be the case – at least for these particular FRB.

Instead, the 17 radio bursts detected from FRB 121102 indicate that something less dramatic is going on – the most likely hypothesis at the moment for these outer-galactic FRB is that they’re coming from an exotic object such as a young neutron star, that’s rotating with enough power to regularly emit the extremely bright pulses.

The good news is that the two types of FRB don’t necessarily contradict each other – a more likely prediction is that there’s more than one type of FRB out there, both with different origins.

This is supported by the fact that the repeating FRB 121102 radio burst signals appear to be wider than the one-off events detected coming from within the galaxy.

But without more evidence to go on, researchers still can’t say for sure what’s going on.

“Whether FRB 121102 is a unique object in the currently known sample of FRBs, or all FRBs are capable of repeating, its characterisation is extremely important to understanding fast extragalactic radio transients,” the team writes.

The race is now on to detect more of these FRB, either from within or outside our galaxy, and try to nail down once and for all where they’re coming from. Because the strange events could also provide insight into the other mysteries happening within our Universe.

These fast radio bursts (FRB) are some of the most elusive and explosive signals ever detected from space – they only last milliseconds, but in that short period of time, they generate as much energy as the Sun in an entire day. But despite how powerful they are, scientists still aren’t sure what causes them.

Until the detection of the 10 repeating signals back in March, it was thought that the bursts were only ever one-off events, coming from random locations around space. And without a discernible pattern to them, researchers were left stumped as to what could be causing them.

The reason we’re so in the dark about FRB isn’t that they’re that uncommon – researchers have estimated that there are around 2,000 of these FRBs firing across the Universe every single day – but that they’re so incredibly short-lived that we struggle to detect them.

It was only in 2007 that we discovered FRB, and it wasn’t until earlier this year that researchers were quick enough to see one happening in real time. Usually we have to study the events long after the fact.

But now that we’ve detected 16 of the signals all coming from the same place, scientists might finally begin to narrow down options for what could be causing the powerful bursts.

The first 10 radio bursts detected coming from this one region were first identified in March this year, but they actually occurred in May and June 2015.

Not only were these the first FRB ever detected outside our galaxy – the rest all appeared to originate in the Milky Way – but they also created a repeating pattern of signals unlike anything we’d seen before.

Six of the bursts were recorded arriving at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico within just 10 minutes of each other, and then four more spread out signals were detected over the next month, all coming from the same place.

When the team looked back over the data, they also saw a FRB from 2012 that appeared to come from the same location, too, making a total of 11 FRB from the one spot, and indicating that there was something out there beyond the Milky Way that was regularly producing the extremely short and intense signals.

Now a team of researchers from McGill University in Canada has found six more of the mysterious signals coming from the same spot, which has become known as FRB 121102, after the first FRB detected there.

“We report on radio and X-ray observations of the only known repeating fast radio burst source, FRB 121102,” the team wrote in The Astrophysical Journal.

“We have detected six additional radio bursts from this source: five with the Green Bank Telescope at 2 GHz, and one at 1.4 GHz with the Arecibo Observatory, for a total of 17 bursts from this source.”

The team can’t pinpoint the exact location of FRB 121102, but based on the specific way their lower frequencies are slowed, they can tell they came from a long way away, far beyond the Milky Way. And that gives us some pretty important clues about what could be causing the events.

Interestingly, it also contradicts the evidence we have on FRB coming from within our own galaxy.

Currently, the leading hypothesis for the source of the Milky Way’s FRB is the cataclysmic collision of two neutron stars, which forms a black hole. The idea is that as this collision happens, huge amounts of short-lived radio energy are blasted out into space.

But the repeating nature of these distant signals, all coming from the same place, suggest that can’t be the case – at least for these particular FRB.

Instead, the 17 radio bursts detected from FRB 121102 indicate that something less dramatic is going on – the most likely hypothesis at the moment for these outer-galactic FRB is that they’re coming from an exotic object such as a young neutron star, that’s rotating with enough power to regularly emit the extremely bright pulses.

The good news is that the two types of FRB don’t necessarily contradict each other – a more likely prediction is that there’s more than one type of FRB out there, both with different origins.

This is supported by the fact that the repeating FRB 121102 radio burst signals appear to be wider than the one-off events detected coming from within the galaxy.

But without more evidence to go on, researchers still can’t say for sure what’s going on.

“Whether FRB 121102 is a unique object in the currently known sample of FRBs, or all FRBs are capable of repeating, its characterisation is extremely important to understanding fast extragalactic radio transients,” the team writes.

The race is now on to detect more of these FRB, either from within or outside our galaxy, and try to nail down once and for all where they’re coming from. Because the strange events could also provide insight into the other mysteries happening within our Universe.

 

Super Fast Cameras


  1. Researchers at MIT have created a camera with an exposure time of two trillionths of a second. (00:44)
  2. Watch a pulse of light move through a bottle with help from MIT’s super high-speed camera: (01:29)
  3. Learn how an MIT camera can “see” around a corner: (03:41)

Watch the video on YouTube. URL: https://youtu.be/7Z8EtlBe8Ts

Can Bright Light Make You Sneeze?


Story at-a-glance

  • Autosomal dominant compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst syndrome (ACHOOs), aka photic sneezing syndrome, occurs when sudden bright light causes someone to sneeze
  • Photic sneezing is a reflex that’s recently stepped back into the scientific spotlight, but it’s a phenomenon that Aristotle wrote and conjectured about in the 3rd century
  • Science reveals that individuals with photic sneezing tend to have above-average intelligence. It’s also genetic; the gene is neither X nor Y, but if one parent has the syndrome, half of his or her children will, too
  • Further studies of the mechanisms causing photic sneezing may be helpful because seizures and migraines are often precipitated by flashing light

 

Pepper can make you sneeze. So can a cold, cat dander and dust. But bright light from the sun, a flash photo or a flashlight beamed in your eyes? That might be a new one, to some, but not to 18 to 35 percent of the population.

I happen to be one of them, although mostly when I was young. Nearly every time I would go outside I would sneeze once. It hasn’t happened for quite some time since I radically improved my diet and health but I always wondered why it happened.

This anomaly hasn’t been researched much, and it’s not really a big deal as syndromes go, but it is a syndrome, known as photic sneezing. It’s a genetic malady1 and can’t really be put in the same category with painful, uncomfortable or debilitating problems, because it’s none of the above.

Recently, a study on this odd phenomenon was published in the Archives of the Spanish Society of Ophthalmology.2 However, only 12 people were involved, and all of them were members of the same family, so scientists acknowledged that other research might be warranted.

The scientific name for photic sneezing is autosomal dominant compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst syndrome, or ACHOOs (which makes you wonder how many people sat around a boardroom table trying to fill in the appropriate blanks for that acronym).

It apparently happens only at the onset of the bright light’s appearance, not continually as you remain in the sun.

One of the conjectures is that it may have something to do with prominent corneal nerves, as 67 percent of the sunlight sneezers had this in common. Scientists involved in the study noted that eye structure doesn’t seem to play a role in ACHOOS.

Recent History of Photic Sneezing (aka ACHOOS)

In 1991, Emyr Benbow, a pathologist in Manchester, England, wrote a letter to the editor of the British Journal of Ophthalmology noting that even trivial symptoms like sneezing at light, for instance, seem more easily tolerated if there’s a name for them. Being a sneezer himself, he said he felt relieved that it’s a “normal” behavior.

Benbow wrote that sudden exposure to sunlight when emerging from a long road tunnel could induce a sneeze and momentary blindness, and noted related vocations that might find sneezing at an inopportune time particularly dangerous in light of worst-case scenarios: tightrope walkers, baseball outfielders, and one that sparked a study, aircraft pilots.

By that time, photic sneezing had already been noted by a few enterprising scientists. Perhaps the first in modern times was by Jean Sédan, a French ophthalmologist (according to a Reddit article3) who in 1954 recorded notes from some patients with the idiosyncrasy. Unable to find any other reference, he figured it must be rare.

One decade later, Dr. H.C. Everett coined the term “photic sneeze reflex” in his article in the journal Neurology,4 eventually indicating that not only was the syndrome being scrutinized by other scientists, it was definitely not rare.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: Researchers in a study undertaken in Israel in 19905 found that individuals with this propensity have something else in common: above-average intelligence.

Another observation is that the percentage of photic sneezers is significantly lower in white females than in white males, but with the assurance that this statistic is completely unrelated to intelligence scale. Scientific American explains this, in part:

“The trait is autosomal-dominant — the gene is neither on the X nor Y chromosome and only one copy of the gene has to be present for the trait to be expressed — so if one parent sneezes when they look at a bright light, about half of his or her children will, too.”6

Ancient History of Photic Sneezing

The book of Proverbs says there’s no new thing under the sun, and apparently that’s true, because the “rare” syndrome was allegedly discussed by the likes of Aristotle, a noted 4th century B.C. Greek philosopher and scientist.

His tome, “Problems,”7 was translated into English by E.S. Forster and published in 1927, with this very concern listed as being a “problem” he contemplated.

While scholars question how much of the book’s contents is entirely Aristotle’s musings, it does say that Aristotle decided heat from the sun hitting the nose caused the nasal explosion, but fire, which dehydrates the nose, inhibits sneezing.

Seventeenth-century English philosopher Francis Bacon proved Aristotle’s observation as rubbish with his own simple experiment: He stepped into the sun with his eyes closed and didn’t sneeze.

He surmised that the sun causes the eyes to water, causing moisture in the nose (aka “braine humour”) causing irritation to the nose and causing the sneeze. BBC updated the science by explaining:

“A sneeze is usually triggered by an irritation in the nose, which is sensed by the trigeminal nerve, a cranial nerve responsible for facial sensation and motor control. This nerve is in close proximity to the optic nerve, which senses, for example, a sudden flood of light entering the retina.

As the optic nerve fires to signal the brain to constrict the pupils, the theory goes, some of the electrical signal is sensed by the trigeminal nerve and mistaken by the brain as an irritant in the nose. Hence, a sneeze.”8

Popular Science couldn’t help reporting in its treatise on the reason for sneezing, “The ancient Greeks also suggested sneezing is divine and should occur only during sexual excitement.”9

More Studies on What’s Behind the Light-Precipitated Sneeze

Researchers conjectured that the nose may react in sympathy with the eyes when a sudden bright light occurs; the Israeli study explained that strong light:

“Might enhance nasal sensations to the point of precipitating sneezing … Subjects who sneezed in response to bright light replied that they had not paid attention to it, assuming that all people reacted thus, while those who did not sneeze at bright light replied that they did not know that such a reaction existed.”10

Other scientists have wondered if it’s a case of “crossed signals,” but Popular Science shared the research of a study from the University of Zurich, which brought in 10 ACHOOs volunteers and 10 more without the condition, and used electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure their brain waves.

Another study on electroencephalograms, which gauge brain activity, reported in The New York Times:11

“ … [S]uggested that the reflex is unusual in involving specific higher brain areas governing vision and sensation, rather than a classical reflex that happens at the level of the brainstem or spinal cord.”12

It makes sense that if bright lights might bring on a snit of sneezing, certain populations might be good candidates for concern.

Scientists determined that wavelengths of light might not cause problems, but changes in light intensity might, posing a previously unrecognized danger to aircraft pilots.13 Fortunately, wearing sunglasses largely eliminated this alarm.

Photic Sneezing in Relation to Epileptic Seizures and Migraines

The interesting correlations between sneezing in sudden, bright sunlight and the fact that some episodic disorders such as migraine headaches and epilepsy may also be related to light have made an increasing number of neurologists sit up and take notice.

Dr. Louis Ptácek, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, decided more investigation was “worth doing,” as photic sneeze reflex might present some connection that would be helpful, especially since seizures and migraines are often precipitated by flashing light.

“If we could find a gene that causes photic sneezing, we could study that gene and we might learn something about the visual pathway and some of these other reflex phenomena,” Ptácek said in Scientific American.14

This, however, will require finding the right families, because it’s an anomaly comparable to the ability to roll your tongue.

A doctor in Cleveland, Dr. Harold H. Morris III, reported15 on one patient, a 55-year-old woman who said she’d always been an “easy sneezer,” but didn’t know if light had anything to do with it.

Ensuing tests revealed that flashing lights at a rate of 15 Hertz (Hz.) produced a sneeze about nine seconds later. The tests helped scientists conclude that Aristotle was at least partly right:

“Despite the information that researchers have managed to amass on the subject, nobody quite knows exactly how optical stimulation of the eyes leads to a sneeze, but one possibility is that the eyes and the nose are connected via the fifth cranial, or trigeminal, nerve. Or it could be the result of a process called ‘parasympathetic generalization.’

When a stimulus excites one part of the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, other parts of the system tend to become activated as well. So when bright light causes the eyes’ pupils to constrict, that may indirectly cause secretion and congestion in the nasal mucus membranes, which then leads to a sneeze.”16

Other Reasons for Sneezing

Of course, there are many other reasons why people sneeze. One of them is the common cold, but certain smells and irritations can cause the same reaction, such as smoke, pollen and breathing in black pepper. Everyday Health says walking from room temperature into the cold, even a walk-in refrigerator, can trigger the sneeze reflex, and calls the urge “the final act of a precise chain of events” when the lining of your nose gets irritated:

“Your body goes into reaction mode: Your chest muscles compress your lungs. The compression sends a blast of air upwards. The opening between your throat and mouth wants no part of it and slams shut. The powerful air, traveling 100 miles an hour, is forced out through your nose in the form of a sneeze.”17

Scientific American hit the nail on the head in regard to the dialogue about sunlight causing part of the population to sneeze being generally “whimsical,” but a more serious dialogue may in fact have real scientific benefit.

There Are Actually Almost 60 Types Of Obesity—Here’s What That Means


It’s a key reason why obesity can be so hard to treat.
 

It’s no secret that America is in the middle of an obesity epidemic—we hear about it all the time. But experts say there’s one major element that isn’t being discussed: There are different types of obesity. That’s a fact several doctors note in a new article in the New York Times, explaining that it’s why two people can have the same amount of excess body fat, be the same age, of the same socioeconomic class, same race, and same sex, but a weight-loss treatment will work for one and not the other. Instead, like cancer, there are many forms of obesity—and Lee Kaplan, M.D., director of the Obesity, Metabolism, and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells the Times that there are at least 59 types.

Beyond the differing types of obesity helping to explain why there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to combatting it, this might give a hint as to why obesity has become such a problem in the U.S. According to research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, there are now more obese than overweight adults in America. Not only that, the majority of U.S. women and men are now considered overweight or obese.

Michael Russo, M.D., general surgeon specializing in bariatric surgery at MemorialCare Center for Obesity at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells SELF that obesity can largely be put into three different groups—patients who have obesity due to genetics, diet, or environmental reasons—and some may have obesity as a result of multiple factors. “It’s important to recognize that obesity is a kaleidoscope of contributions,” he says. “All obesity isn’t created the same.”

Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., instructor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF that some of the most common forms of obesity are diet-dependent (meaning, changes to someone’s diet may impact their weight), exercise-sensitive (becoming more active may help someone lose weight), and stress-induced. Many women also have obesity that occurs as a result of hormonal changes, such as starting their period, being pregnant, or going through menopause, she adds. “These big hormonal shifts can be significant in terms of weight gain for women,” she says. Other forms of obesity are due to genetic syndromes and sleep or metabolic issues. And while some forms of obesity don’t respond well to medication, others do, Stanford says. “Some people change their exercise regimen or diet and lose weight,” she says. “Others may try several different things, get on one medication, and lose 100 pounds.”

While Marc Leavey, M.D., an internist at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center, tells SELF it’s important to encourage people to develop healthy eating behaviors and an active lifestyle, he says there are often other issues that impact their treatment and have to be addressed in order for patients to see weight-loss success. That may mean helping someone to get their diabetes under control or working to lessen the symptoms of other chronic conditions, while also providing education on making good food choices and exercise. “We have to treat those things as well,” Leavey says. “You have to address people where they are.”

Unfortunately, unless a person has a chronic disease or syndrome, there’s no blood test to tell what type of obesity they have. That’s why Stanford says she has a thorough conversation with patients during their initial visit to try to pinpoint what may be the cause of their obesity, including asking about when their obesity began, whether their parents also suffer from it, and how their parents responded to treatment. “If I hear a patient say that a parent had weight-loss surgery and responded quite favorably, I might consider that as a treatment,” she says, noting that the reverse is also true—if someone’s parent didn’t respond well to a certain treatment, it may not work for the patient either.

For people who are obese and want to lose weight, Russo says it’s a good idea to start by seeking help from a primary care physician for guidance. If that doesn’t help, he recommends seeking help from a weight-loss clinic. “They’re going to be able to provide the most comprehensive treatment,” he says. Stanford also recommends seeking out a doctor who is board-certified in obesity medicine—search on the American Board of Obesity Medicine’s website to find one near you.

Gene Editing Can Now Change An Entire Species Forever


In Brief

CRISPR has opened up limitless avenues for genetic modification. From disease prevention to invasive species control, Jennifer Kahn discusses the discover, application, and implications of gene drives.

Jennifer Kahn, a science journalist for the New York Times, recently did a TED Talk in which she discussed the discovery, application, and implications of a CRISPR gene drive used to make mosquitoes resistant to malaria and other diseases like chikungunya, and Zika.

Watch the talk in the video below, and learn how geneticists are achieving the (seemingly) impossible:

In pioneering experiments, biologist Anthony James became enamored with the idea of using genetic modification to make the genus of mosquito (Anopheles) that is responsible for transmitting malaria incapable of carrying the disease causing parasite. James was able to create the resistant mosquitoes, but he ran into a roadblock when trying to perpetuate the trait into future generations.

Kahn states that it would take introducing a number of engineered mosquitoes ten times the population of native mosquitoes. This would likely not go over well with the local humans.

In Janurary of 2016, James received word from biologist Ethan Bier that Bier and his grad student Valentino Gantz discovered a means in which biologists can ensure the inheritance of an engineered trait as well as the rapid proliferation of that trait from generation to generation. Prior to these experiments, it had been deemed impossible, due to Mendelian genetics, for an entire generation to inherit a specific trait.

Against conventional understanding, this is exactly what happened.

Two mosquitoes engineered to have red eyes were introduced to 30 white eyed mosquitoes. Two generations later, there were 3,800 new mosquitoes, all of which had red eyes.

This discovery opens up a world of possibilities outside of disease prevention such as invasive species elimination among countless others. These possibilities present some serious bioethical questions for the use of, or abstinence from, this form of modification. Kahn uses Asian carp as an example. While Asian carp is an invasive species in the Great Lakes, the species could go extinct if modified carp were introduced to their natural habitat.

When pregnant women take Tylenol, their children are more likely to be born with autism.


As many as 65 percent of women are said to take it during pregnancy. But Tylenol, the active ingredient of which is acetaminophen, has been linked in a new study out of Norway to causing autism in children. Expectant mothers who took the drug while pregnant to deal with headaches or mild fevers were found to be significantly more likely to bear children with behavioral problems, poor language and motor skills, and communication difficulties, compared to mothers who did not take the drug.

The study included data on 48,000 Norwegian children whose mothers participated in a survey evaluating their medication use at weeks 17 and 30 of pregnancy, as well as at six months after giving birth. The survey also included a follow-up that looked at the children’s developmental progress at three years of age, which was then compared to the mothers’ drug intake during the later stages of their pregnancies.

What was discovered was that some 4 percent of women took Tylenol for at least 28 days total during their pregnancies. And children born to this subset of mothers tended to have more functional and behavioral problems than children born to mothers who took less or no Tylenol. These same Tylenol-exposed children also tended to begin walking later than non-exposed children and had poorer communication and language skills.

“Our findings suggest that (acetaminophen) might not be as harmless as we think,” stated Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen, lead author of the study from the University of Oslo in Norway. “Long-term use of (acetaminophen) increased the risk of behavior problems by 70 percent at age three. That is considerable.”

Johnson & Johnson, which owns the Tylenol brand, insists that the drug has an extensive track record of safety and has not been linked to premature birth and miscarriage. But the study, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, suggests otherwise in terms of actual childhood development. It even compared Tylenol to other common pain medications, like ibuprofen, which were not found to induce behavioral problems.

“We always recommend that consumers carefully read and follow label instructions when using any over the counter medication,” admitted J&J in a statement. “In addition, our label notes if pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use. Consumers who have medical concerns or questions about acetaminophen should contact their health care professional.”

Developmental symptoms associated with Tylenol use categorically constitute autism

Commenting on the study, Ann Z. Bauer, a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell School of Health and Environment, inferred that pregnant women may want to avoid taking Tylenol and instead switch to an alternative. Her own research also suggests that acetaminophen may trigger these and various other symptoms in children, which categorically speaking can be defined as autism.

“The developmental problems seen in this study align with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, though the children had not been diagnosed at age three,” writes Kathryn Doyle for Reuters Health.

Other research has also found that acetaminophen depletes the body’s natural reserves of glutathione, the “master” antioxidant responsible for mitigating free radical damage, which in turn protects the body against oxidative damage, inflammation and serious injury to the brain and other vital organs. Because it is incredibly toxic to the liver, Tylenol consumption prompts the body to use large amounts of glutathione to diminish this toxicity, which leaves the body more prone to developing the symptoms commonly attributed to autism.

“Many children with ASD (autism spectrum disorders) have poor transsulfuration and methylation — they can’t make glutathione and even worse, they can’t activate many neurotransmitters in the brain,” writes Dr. Erika Krumbeck, N.D., for Montana Whole Health. “[T]his is why Tylenol could possibly trigger autism in kids who are genetically susceptible.”

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/043087_Tylenol_autism_pregnant_women.html#ixzz4TmNOIf5s

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/043087_Tylenol_autism_pregnant_women.html#ixzz4TmN7cBMS

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