Yellow Maradol Papayas To Blame For Salmonella Outbreak In 12 States

yellow maradol papayas half

Yellow Maradol papayas might be at the root of the recent multistate salmonella outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that yellow Maradol papayas are the most likely cause of a salmonella Kiambu outbreak that spanned across 12 states. Across them, 47 people got sick, 12 of them having to be hospitalized. The outbreak also led to one reported death.

According to the latest report on the matter from the CDC, patients started having problems tied to salmonella after eating yellow Maradol papayas. They began reporting symptoms in between May 17 and up to June 28.

However, the source of the contamination itself is still unclear. The CDC states that:

“Investigators are working to learn where the contamination occurred in the supply chain.”

People Advised to Stop Consuming Yellow Maradol Papayas

The health agency also warned consumers to be careful when buying papayas, as they should ask the proprietor if they are or bought a yellow Maradol one.

These are large and oval fruits that weigh some 3 pounds or more. Initially green skinned, this turns yellow as the papaya ripens. The fruit’s flesh is salmon colored.

In case consumers are unsure what type of papayas they have, the CDC advises them to throw away the fruit or at least return it. It also advises suppliers to stop selling them and restaurants to stop using it.

This should be followed until the CDC finds out more about the cause of the outbreak.

The highest number of Salmonella Kiambu infections was reported in New York, 13, with New York City also reporting the one death tied to the multistate outbreak. New Jersey is right behind it with 12 cases and Virginia further back with 6. A further 5 cases were reported in Maryland and 4 in Pennsylvania.

Utah, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Iowa each reported one case each. Affected people were aged in between 1 to 95 years old.

Reports point out that small children, under the age of 5, and older people, 65 or more and those with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to severe cases of salmonella.

Image Source: Wikimedia

FDA Approved First New Sickle Cell Treatment In 20 Years

sickle cell treatment and problems

Endari is the first sickle cell treatment to be approved by the FDA in 20 years.

In July 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new sickle cell treatment, the first in almost 20 years. Titled Endari, this can be used by patients aged five or older for reducing the severe complication associated with this disease.

“Until now, only one other drug was approved for patients living with this serious, debilitating condition,” stated Richard Pazdur, the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence director. He is also the acting director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Office of Hematology and Oncology Products at the FDA.

New Sickle Cell Treatment, but Not a Cure

Sickle cell diseases is an inheritable blood disorder. This gained its name from the fact that the carrier’s red blood cells are shaped like a sickle or crescent shape. The shape also brings about a series of problems, as it restricts the flow of the blood in the vessels. It also limits the oxygen delivery to the tissues. This can lead to severe pain and even organ damage.

The National Institutes of Health approximates that there are around 100,000 people in the United States living with this disorder. Their average life expectancy is of in between 40 to 60 years.

Before approving the new sickle cell treatment, the efficiency of Endari was tested in a randomized trial. The patients involved aged from 5 to 58 years old. They had also had at least two if not more crises within a year before their enrollment in the study.

Participants were split into groups, at random. One of them receiving Endari and the other placebos. Both took the treatment over a period of 48 weeks. Patients that received Endari had to make fewer hospital visits. They also experienced fewer hospitalizations and generally spent fewer days in the hospital.

They also presented fewer cases of acute chest syndrome. This is a potentially life-threatening complication, which can develop with the sickle cell disease. All the results are based on a comparison with the same statuses presented by the control group patients.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Uber Adds a New Feature. Requesting a Drive for Someone Else is Now Possible

request a drive for someone else

With the help of the Uber app, you can now hail a drive for someone else

Uber is adding a new feature to its hailing app. You can request a drive for someone else because this feature asks you if the ride is for you or for someone else.

Uber Adds a New Feature. Requesting a Drive for Someone Else is Now Possible

In order to request a ride for someone else, the feature lets you specify a person from your contact book as being the rider for the trip. When you call this action, a request dialog asks you if the ride is for you or someone else. Select the person for whom you’re hailing the ride. Then the driver will get the rider’s name while having the possibility to contact them directly. The rider gets the driver’s phone number and a link that shows where his ride is.

The increasing request of a drive for someone else has made this feature possible, Kyle Miller, Uber product manager, said. She said that the new feature will prove of use especially for the aging loved ones of those who request the ride on their behalf.

She stated that:

“On the product team, we’re focused on making Uber accessible to everyone in the family, and on making people’s lives easier around the world”.

Research done by the product team showed, according to Miller, that users were concerned for the mobility of their close relatives. And with this thing in mind, they have rolled out within the app the possibility to hail rides for someone else.

And, while Uber is facing many problems that go from top to the bottom structure of the company, and a vacancy in its senior leadership, the company must retain its market share and its market leadership. So this feature is also a means to expand their potential pool of customer via the proxy of the current riders.

Image Source: Flickr

Jupiter Just Revealed The Presence Of Two Additional Moons

jupiter two additional moons

A team of astronomers recently announced their discovery of two additional moons orbiting Jupiter.

Scientists have been finding out and revealing quite a lot of news about Jupiter recently. Besides finding a way of confirming its being the oldest planet in our solar systems, a team of researchers spotted two additional moons in the gas giant’s planetary system.

Two Additional Moons Are Raising Jupiter’s Satellites Number

These two ‘new’ satellites were detected by Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science and his colleagues. They discovered S/2016 J 1 on March 8, 2016, and then S/2017 J 1 on March 26, 2017. Then, they presented them to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and its Minor Planet Electronic Circulars. This announced their official status earlier this month, on June 2 and June 5 respectively.

“We were continuing our survey looking for very distant objects in the outer solar system, which includes looking for Planet X, and Jupiter just happened to be in the area we were looking in 2016 and 2017,” stated Sheppard.

After spotting them, the researchers decided to ‘take a detour’, and take a closer look at the moonlets.

Presently, scientists do not know very much about these additional two moons. Observations seem to indicate that both S/2016 J 1 and S/2017 J 1 are very small satellites. They also appear to be only around one or two kilometers across.

Observations of S/2016 J 1 indicate that this completes a full orbit around Jupiter in around 1.65 years. S/2017 J 1 is vehiculated to take some 2.01 years in doing the same. This moonlet is estimated to be, on average, some 23,500,000 kilometers away from Jupiter.

Although S/2016 J 1 was discovered one year earlier, its orbit presented many uncertainties. But observations with the Subaru reflector on Mauna Kea helped solved these questions later on.

There is little to no further information on Jupiter’s moons number 68 and 69. Further research might help bring more data on these latest detected natural satellites.
Image Source: Wikimedia

NASA Will Release A Big Announcement About Its Solar Probe Plus

solar probe plus spacecraft

NASA will be making a ‘big announcement’ about its upcoming Solar Probe Plus mission targeting the sun.

Extending its eye of exploration inward, NASA is ready to make a big announcement on May 31 regarding its new mission to explore the sun. The recently designed Solar Probe Plus will be launched in the summer of 2018 to examine the heart of our solar system. It will come closer to the star than any spacecraft launched before, approaching to within four million miles. That is well inside Mercury’s orbital distance, and it will be a part of space never before explored by humanity.

The Solar Probe Plus, Closer To the Sun Than Ever Before

The corona of the sun is the last area of the solar system to which NASA has yet to send a targeted probe. Some scientists consider it more important than most, as the activity of solar storms has a direct impact on our own planet’s ecosystem, not to mention our technology.A massive solar flare could send an electromagnetic pulse toward Earth, capable of knocking out satellites and affecting weather patterns. Some estimate that the damage could reach $2 trillion. Also, power could be knocked out in some areas for nearly a year. This probe will be specifically looking at just those solar weather patterns, and many other things happening within the corona.

The new spacecraft itself will require some specialized engineering to complete its mission. It is destined for places with immense heat and radiation values. The temperature alone will be around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Radiation in multiple bands will also be present, causing difficulties for sensors and transmitters alike.

The primary source of protection will be an 11.43 cm thick carbon-composite shield. NASA engineers believe this will be enough to protect the instruments but still allow them to transmit collected data back home.

This big announcement is probably just the beginning. The Solar Probe Plus is under construction now, with a launch window set for only 14 months away.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Chance Find Leads To New Data On Hair Loss

hair loss

A chance discovery may offer new insight into the process that leads to hair loss or graying.

Recently, the Internet was flooded with headlines about a “new cure for baldness.” While a new discovery from the University of Texas won’t immediately cure baldness, it does offer some insight into the process behind hair loss.

Scientists at the UT Southwestern Medical Center recently set out to uncover the process of how certain tumors form. Instead, they found something completely different: the cells that directly form hair and also the mechanism behind hair graying and baldness.

New Insight Into Hair Loss

The study was an animal research project into a rare genetic disease called neurofibromatosis. This causes tumors to grow on nerves. When the researchers genetically engineered mice for their experiment, they noted that some lost all their hair color. The team then decided to take a close look at how they had triggered the change.

It was already known that stem cells in the bulge area of hair follicles could help make hair. They also produce a protein called SCF or stem cell factor, which influences hair pigmentation.

This new research reveals what happens after those stem cells move up the hair follicle, to the base. It also demonstrated that the same cells that make SCF produce the protein KROX20.

In mice, cells with both SCF and KROX20 move up, interact with the cells that produce pigment or melanocytes and then grow into pigmented hair. However, when the researchers deleted the SCF gene, the hair would turn gray, then white. As the KROX20-producing cells were removed, this resulted in hair loss.

This research was carried out in mice, but the findings might apply to humans as well. The next step for the researcher team is investigating whether the SCF gene and the production of KROX20 stop working as people age.

They already predicted that these factors may lead to hair loss or graying. Possibly, they may even result in male pattern baldness. Since changes in the hair are seen as the first signs of aging, future research in this area may one day provide insight into the aging process in general.

Image Source: Pixabay

New Study Offers A Rank Of The Effects Of An Asteroid Strike

asteroid strike

Researchers studied the potential effects of an asteroid strike and its consequences on Earth.

A new study from University of Southampton researchers put together the potential scenarios for an asteroid strike and how it would affect the planet Earth. They then proceeded to rank those situations in terms of human loss. The picture their information painted was not a pretty one.

University Study Ranks Asteroid Strike Calamities Based On 50,000 Simulations

The research team based its study on a supercomputer. This analyzed over fifty thousand asteroid impact simulations on Earth. They used many different sizes for the objects, ranging from 15 to 400 meters. Also, they tested different angles and trajectories. The simulations also had the objects strike both land and water. From there, they determined the destructive consequences to both people and cities.They found seven major effects that would cause the most destruction. These are wind blasts, shockwaves, cratering, tsunamis, heat, flying debris, and seismic activity. As one would expect, they found land impacts to be the most devastating, gaining the highest place in their system.

Almost sixty percent of the total deaths would be due to the wind blasts and shockwaves, which could be strong enough to damage internal organs and knock down buildings. Thirty percent would be due to the tremendous heat created by the friction of the impact, especially if it strikes land. Tsunamis would lead to around a twenty percent mortality rate, with the remainder split among the other effects.Of course, the results varied widely depending on the many variables. The size of the object seems to be the most important factor, followed by the location of the impact. For a potentially lethal effect, an asteroid would seemingly have to be at least eighteen meters in diameter. Most smaller objects crumble and burn as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

The researchers reminded everyone that the odds of such an asteroid strike are extremely small. These studies are often done for preparedness in case such a rare occurrence should happen. And astronomers are always on the watch.

“The likelihood of an asteroid impact is really low, but the consequences can be unimaginable.” This is according to the study lead, Clemens M. Rumpf.
Image Source: Flickr

Peggy Whitson Will Spend An Additional 3 Months Up In Space

peggy whitson

NASA announced earlier this week that Peggy Whitson will be spending three more months in space.

NASA announced earlier this week that Peggy Whitson, the famed female astronaut, has decided to extend her time in space. By doing so, she will be breaking yet another record and also bringing her contribution to Expedition 52 by rounding the mission complement.

Peggy Whitson Already Holds Several Space Records, And She Will Be Adding Even More

Presently, Peggy Whitson is the only female aboard the International Space Station or ISS. She has been there ever since November 17th, and her stay was close to coming to an end. Whitson already has over 370 days up in space under her belt.

Following her additional three months stay, she will be breaking yet another record. The astronaut will be surpassing Jeff Williams’s United States milestone of 534 cumulative days spent up in space. Whitson will also be the first woman to command the ISS twice. She was first in charge of the station back in 2008. Just recently, she also became the female astronaut to complete the most spacewalks.

Following the 3 months extension, Whitson will only return to Earth in September 2017. Her additional stay in space came as an effect of Russia’s decision to temporarily reduce its crew by 2. As such, the female astronaut will be rounding up the station’s 6-crew complement. This will help increase the general amount of time for the astronauts. During such periods, they will be able to carry out more experiments.

Whitson herself expressed her excitement at being offered the chance to extend her stay aboard the station. She stated as follows:

“Living and working aboard the space station is where I feel like I make the greatest contribution, […].”

Whitson also stated that she is trying to get the most out of her every stay up in space as she loves being there. These additional three months are reportedly just what she ‘would wish for.’

Image Source: Wikimedia

Rocky Planet Formation Found in Binary System

rocky planet in orbit

Scientists found a rocky planet orbiting two stars, similar to Tatooine.

Considering the incredible expanse of the Universe it isn’t that hard to believe that it may contain even particular system described in works of science-fiction such as the Star Wars universe’s Tatooine planet which orbits around two stars.

Scientists have recently found evidence of a rocky planet formation formed from shattered asteroids which are currently orbiting a pair of stars. This suggests that among the many possibilities of an infinite Universe, even scenarios described in fiction may very well be possible.

However, the most important aspect of the discovery is that it suggests that rocky planet formations may very well be capable of surviving the death of their own stars, according to the study’s researchers. Despite the fact that our planet only orbits one star, there many other star system home to two or more stars, orbiting each other. In fact, scientists have even discovered system with up to seven stars.

Planets like Star Wars’ Tatooine, which orbit two stars, are known as circumbinary planets. The first discovery of such a planet happened in 2011. The planet has been named Kepler-16b and it is gas giant located around 200 light-years away from Earth.

Until now, all the circumbinary planets that were discovered were found to be gas giants, and astronomers became skeptical that they would ever find a rocky planet which orbits two stars, similar to Tatooine, where Luke Skywalker lived at the start of the series.

According to Jay Farihi, the lead author of the study, and an astrophysicist at the University College London, circumbinary rocky planets seem to be incredibly rare due to the fact that the gravity of two stars would impede the various parts of dust and rock to stick together and form a planet, as they push and pull from different directions.

The scientists discovered the first circumbinary rocky planet in a star system known as SDSS 1557, which is located around 1,000 light-years away from Earth. It was first thought to only include a white dwarf, but a closer analysis revealed the existence of another star, a brown dwarf equal in mass to around 65 Jupiters.

What do you think about the discovery? Are you excited about the discovery of a planet similar to Tatooine?

Image credit: Mark Garlick, UCL, University of Warwick and University of Sheffield

Neanderthal DNA Still Affects Modern People

a neanderthal man

Neanderthal DNA still affects the traits of modern humans.

When scientists analyzed our entire genetic history, they found remnants of Neanderthal DNA. Now, a new study reveals that those genes still affects modern people in regards to their appearance and health. While Neanderthals are believed to have died out more than 40,000 years ago, it seems that they still make their presence felt today.

Remnants of Neanderthal DNA can still be found in our genes due to the fact that our ancestors had mated with the less-evolved species, and thus passed their genes further down to the next generations. Now, researchers from the United States have shed some light on how their genes still affect modern people.

According to Joshua Akey, a co-author of the study and a geneticist at the University of Washington stated that the ancient DNA influence several traits of modern humans such as height and the chance of suffering from diseases like schizophrenia and lupus. The impact of the Neanderthal DNA is still considerable despite the fact that the last human-Neanderthal mating like occurred more than 50,000 years ago.

Previous studies have shown that the Neanderthal genetic variants are linked to vulnerabilities to several conditions. However, the mechanisms which caused those effects still eludes scientists. Therefore, the team of researchers started to collect data from the Genotype-Tissues Expression Project, which analyzed people who carry both the modern and the Neanderthal version of a gene.

Using this data, the scientists were able to create a clearer picture and better understand how the Neanderthal genes affect the traits of modern humans, in a quite pervasive and important way. For example, the Neanderthal version of the gene known as ADAMTSL3 is tied to both schizophrenia and height. The study found that, overall, causal mutation and the way in which genes are turned on or off in humans today, have been inherited from Neanderthals.

The study, published in the journal Cell, emphasizes the fact that the interbreeding with the Neanderthals still remains a source of worry for modern humans as it leads to a greater genomic complexity. The researchers also want to examine how other hominid species like the Denisovans contribute to our genetic makeup.

What do you think about the study’s findings?

Image sourceFlickr