Physical Activity for Adults: Inactivity Leads to 5.3 Million Early Deaths a Year
Posted on July 29, 2012 Comments (2)
Obviously health care doesn’t only mean sickness treatment. Avoiding sickness is much better than treating it. Sadly we spend far too little energy on creating health and far too much on treating sickness.
Physical activity guidelines for adults (follow link for more details and guidelines for others) from the UK National Health Service
- At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, or
- 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week
- and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
So rather than stressing the health benefits of exercise, the Lancet researchers have opted to show the harm caused by inactivity. They estimate lack of exercise is responsible for about 5.3m deaths a year – about the same number as smoking.
This is based on estimates of the impact on inactivity on coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and two specfic cancers – breast and bowel – where lack of exercise is a major risk factor.
Related: Today, Most Deaths Caused by Lifetime of Inaction – Study Finds Obesity as Teen as Deadly as Smoking – Can Just A Few Minutes of Exercise a Day Prevent Diabetes? – An Apple a Day is Good Advice
Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy
Scientific Illiteracy Leads to Failure to Vaccinate Which Leads to Death
Posted on July 27, 2012 Comments (2)
Anti-vaccination propagandists help create the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years by Steven Salzberg is a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine:
And now we learn that the U.S. is in the midst of the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years. One of the most hard-hit states is Washington, which the CDC just announced (on 20 July) has suffered 2,520 cases so far this year, a 1300% increase over last year. This is the highest number of cases reported in Washington since 1942.
The U.S. has had over 17,000 cases this year, putting it on track for the worst year since 1959. The highest rate of infection in the nation is in Wisconsin (which has also been hit hard by anti-vaccine effects), followed by Washington and Montana. 10 deaths have been reported, mostly in infants who were too young to be vaccinated. For all this, we can thank the anti-vaccination movement.
The failure of our society to appreciate the value of science has dire consequences. We are lucky to benefit from the results of scientific advances around us everyday. Some people, instead of appreciating the value of science waste these great gifts we have been given.
What people want to believe is up to them. When people’s actions risk others lives that is not ok. Drunk drivers risk others lives; therefore we don’t allow drunk driving. Society requires that people respect others right to live. It is sensible to require people to cooperate to limit damaging behavior: such as drunk driving or not being properly vaccinated.
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing. The coughing can make it hard to breathe. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an upper respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis bacteria. It is a serious disease that can cause permanent disability in infants, and even death.
Related: Vaccines Can’t Provide Miraculous Results if We Don’t Take Them – Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (book) – CDC Report on Failures to Vaccinate – Our Dangerous Antibiotic Practices Carry Great Risks
Backyard Wildlife: 2 Raptors Over Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Posted on July 24, 2012 Comments (1)
I see a fair number of birds around my current abode (a condo in a high rise) in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Getting photos of them isn’t easy though. Here are 2 hawks or eagles? If you can identify them please add a comment (if you have a link to authenticate the identification, even better).
I even have some storks that commute past my windows every morning and evening.
High School Student Creates: Test That is Much More Accurate and 26,000 Times Cheaper Than Existing Pancreatic Cancer Tests
Posted on July 22, 2012 Comments (1)
Seeing what these kids come up with is so refreshing after being so disappointed by the actions fo our leaders (politicians, business leaders, financiers, law enforcement [spying on citizens because they feel electronic privacy is fine to invade, taking away liberty...], health care in the USA [twice as expensive as elsewhere with no better results, 10 of millions without coverage]…). These kids make me feel hopeful, unfortunately the actions of the powerful leave me less hopeful.
Jack Andraka created a new paper based test for diagnosing pancreatic cancer that is 50% more accurate, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than existing methods. His method uses carbon nanotubes and can catch the disease in very early stages which is critical to treatment success. The test also covers other forms of cancer very effectively (he concentrated on the results for pancreatic cancer given the low survival rates for that cancer). Jack Andraka: “I actually love single-walled carbon nanotubes; they’re like the superheroes of material science.”
His results are great. Often initial results can be difficult to actually turn into such positive results in the real world. But this is a great step and it is great to see what young minds can do. The claims for how much better, cheaper etc. are wildly different in various places on the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) site.
Jack Andraka was awarded $75,000 for his development of a new method to detect pancreatic cancer as the winner of the top prize at the Intel ISEF (I believe it is new this year to call the winner the Gordon E. Moore Award).
A Novel Paper Sensor for the Detection of Pancreatic Cancer by Jack Andraka
North County High School, Glen Burnie, MD
Mother Polar Bear Giving Her Cub a Helping Paw
Posted on July 20, 2012 Comments (6)
Another reminder to thank your mother. See previous at cat mom playing the hero.
Citizen Science: Use Your Smart Phone to Help Scientists
Posted on July 17, 2012 Comments (2)
10 Ways You Can Use Your Smartphone to Advance Science by Matt Soniak
The Indicator Bats Program (iBats), a joint project of the Zoological Society of London’s Institute of Zoology and The Bat Conservation Trust, got its start with a couple of researchers working in Transylvania (of course) in 2006. The idea of the project is to identify and monitor bat populations around the world by the ultrasonic echo-location calls they use to navigate and find prey.
The goal of Project NOAH (Networked Organisms and Habitats) is pretty ambitious: “build the go-to platform for documenting all the world’s organisms.” Their app has two modes. “Spottings” lets you take photos of plants and animals you see, categorize and describe them and then submit the data for viewing on NOAH’s website and use by researchers for population and distribution studies.
Invasive plants and animals can crowd out natives, compete with them for food sources and alter the fire ecology of an ecosystem, disrupting its natural balance. Researchers and programmers from UCLA, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the University of Georgia have teamed up to create the What’s Invasive citizen science program and smartphone app. Volunteers can use the app to look up lists of the top invasive species in their area, created by National Park Service rangers and biologists. If they spot a plant or animal from the list, they submit a geo-tagged observation, with optional picture and text notes, so that scientists can locate, identify, study try to remove the species.
Landing Curiosity on Mars
Posted on July 15, 2012 Comments (1)
Touchdown on Mars will take place August 5th, 2012 (PDT or August 6th EDT and GMT).
Our Dangerous Antibiotic Practices Carry Great Risks
Posted on July 12, 2012 Comments (3)
Our continued poor antibiotics practices increase the risk of many deaths. We are very poor at reacting to bad practices that will kill many people in the future. If those increased deaths happened today it is much more likely we would act. But as it is we are condemning many to have greatly increased odds of dying from bacterial causes that could be prevented if we were more sensible.
evidence is mounting that antibiotics are losing efficacy. Through the relentless process of evolution, pathogens are evading the drugs, a problem known broadly as antimicrobial resistance.
Europe has launched a $741 million, seven-year, public-private collaborative research effort to accelerate drug development.
Seeking new antibiotics is wise but the commentary completely ignores our bad practices that are causing the problem to be much worse than it would be if we acted as though bad practices that will lead to many deaths should be avoided.
Previous posts about practices we taking that create great risk for increased deaths: Antibiotics Too Often Prescribed for Sinus Woes (2007) – Meat Raised Without Antibiotics is Sadly Rare Today (2007) – Overuse of Antibiotics (2005) – CDC Urges Increased Effort to Reduce Drug-Resistant Infections (2006) – FDA May Make Decision That Will Speed Antibiotic Drug Resistance (2007) – Antibacterial Soaps are Bad (2007) – Waste Treatment Plants Result in Super Bacteria (2009) – Antibiotics Breed Superbugs Faster Than Expected (2010) – Antibiotics Use in Farming Can Create Superbugs (2010) – What Happens If the Overuse of Antibiotics Leads to Them No Longer Working? (2011) – Dangerous Drug-Resistant Strains of TB are a Growing Threat (2012)
Obviously bacteria evolve to survive the counter measures we currently have. The foolish practices of promoting ignorance of evolution leads to a society where the consequences of actions, and the presence of evolution, lead to bad consequences. We find ourselves in that society.
Science PhD Job Market in 2012
Posted on July 10, 2012 Comments (0)
The too-big-to-fail-bank crisis continues to produce huge economic pain throughout the economy. Science PhDs are not immune, though they are faring much better than others.
Largely because of drug industry cuts, the unemployment rate among chemists now stands at its highest mark in 40 years, at 4.6 percent, according to the American Chemical Society, which has 164,000 members. For young chemists, the picture is much worse. Just 38 percent of new PhD chemists were employed in 2011, according to a recent ACS survey.
Two groups seem to be doing better than other scientists: physicists and physicians. The unemployment rate among those two groups hovers around 1 to 2 percent, according to surveys from NSF and other groups. Physicists end up working in many technical fields — and some go to Wall Street — while the demand for doctors continues to climb as the U.S. population grows and ages.
But for the much larger pool of biologists and chemists, “It’s a particularly difficult time right now,” Stephan said.
From 1998 to 2003, the budget of the National Institutes of Health doubled to $30 billion per year. That boost — much of which flows to universities — drew in new, young scientists. The number of new PhDs in the medical and life sciences boomed, nearly doubling from 2003 to 2007, according to the NSF.
The current overall USA unemployment rate is 8.2%.
The current economy doesn’t provide for nearly guaranteed success. The 1960′s, in the USA, might have come close; but that was a very rare situation where the richest country ever was at the prime of economic might (and even added on top of that science was seen as key to promote continued economic success). Today, like everyone else (except trust fund babies), scientists and engineers have to make their way in the difficult economy: and that should be expected to be the case in the coming decades.
Right now, physicians continue to do very well but the huge problems in the USA health system (we pay double what other rich countries do for not better outcomes) make that a far from a certain career. They likely will continue to do very well, financially, just not as well as they have been used to.
Science and engineering education prepare people well for economic success but it is not sufficient to guarantee the easy life. Just like everyone else, the ability to adapt to current market conditions is important in the current economic climate – and will likely continue to be hugely important going forward.
The reason to get a undergraduate or graduate science or engineering education is because you are interested in science and engineering. The economic prospects are likely to continue to be above average (compared to other education choices) but those choosing this path should do so because they are interested. It makes sense to me to factor in how your economic prospects will be influenced by your choices but no matter what choices are made a career is going to take hard work and likely many frustrations and obstacles. But hopefully a career will provide much more joy than hardship.
The Appendix Serves As a Reservoir of Beneficial Bacteria
Posted on July 8, 2012 Comments (0)
This is an interesting explanation for the purpose of the appendix.
This function has been made obsolete by modern, industrialised society; populations are now so dense that people pick up essential bacteria from each other, allowing gut organisms to regrow without help from the appendix, the researchers said.
But in earlier centuries, when vast tracts of land were more sparsely populated and whole regions could be wiped out by an epidemic of cholera, the appendix provided survivors with a vital individual stockpile of suitable bacteria.
The Chemistry of Fireworks
Posted on July 4, 2012 Comments (2)
The video features John A. Conkling, Ph.D., who literally wrote the book on fireworks — he is the author of The Chemistry of Pyrotechnics.
The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China.
A Syrian named Hasan al-Rammah wrote of rockets, fireworks, and other incendiaries, using terms that suggested he derived his knowledge from Chinese sources, such as his references to fireworks as “Chinese flowers”.
Chinese fireworks began to gain popularity around the mid-17th century.