New Rotavirus Vaccine For African Countries

rotavirus vaccine

This new rotavirus vaccine could save hundreds of lives every year.

A large trial in Africa showed the efficiency of a new rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus is a diarrheal disease that is to blame for 600 deaths a day. This is the main cause of death in kids under 5 years old, in underdeveloped countries. The new vaccine is made by an Indian company.

In order to test this rotavirus vaccine, the company carried out a trial in Niger with the help of Doctors Without Borders. This vaccine is supposed to be even cheaper than the vaccines that are available on the market now. The best thing about this treatment is that it can last many moths without refrigeration.

Before it can be distributed, it must be approved by the World Health Organization. Despite the fact that the process is a long one, experts stated that this vaccine is a leap forward. Although it is not perfect, the vaccine is a great thing for children in Africa.

Every year, more than 215,000 kids under 5 die due to the rotavirus. The most affected countries are Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, and Niger. The problem about this virus is that it can’t be treated with antiparasitic drugs or antibiotics. This new vaccine could be the only chance for these children to prevent the disease.

After it was tested, the experts observed that it was 67% effective in preventing rotavirus-related diarrhea. The vaccine is made by the Serum Institute of India. Another great thing about this rotavirus vaccine is that it doesn’t cause intussusception. This is a rare but lethal bowel obstruction. The first American vaccine for this disease was recalled from the market due to the fact that it could trigger intussusception.

3,500 participants were involved in the trial. All of the kids were from 132 villages. They were supervised by more than 300 medical personnel. Although this trial showed that the vaccine was only 67% effective, it is better than other vaccines that were previously tested.

The leader of the study, Rebecca F. Grais, mentioned that her team is very excited about the results. She said that this rotavirus vaccine could save a lot of lives. The new vaccine can have a big impact on public health. Let’s hope that the new rotavirus vaccine is approved by the WHO.

Image source: Wikipedia

The Size Of Black Men Is Overestimated

black men

Black men are often seen as a threat, despite the fact that they are not.

Racism is still a big problem even nowadays. People perceive black men as being more muscular when compared to white men. This is why black men are considered to be more of a threat than white men.

A new study shows that people have misconceptions about black people. This research was published in the Journal Of Personality and Social Psychology. The biggest issue revealed in this study is the way people perceive black women and men.

They are normally seen as natural athletes and this is why they are seen as a threat sometimes. A series of experiments showed that black men are seen as bigger and more muscular than white men that have the same size. This shows that there are misconceptions about black people.

“Black people are often dehumanized but also super-humanized; this means that people will attribute superhuman characteristics to black people,” said lead author John Paul Wilson

In order to conduct this study, researchers showed the participants photos of black and white men. The participants were shown 45 images of white males and 45 pictures with black ones. All of them were football players. Despite the fact that most of the white men were bigger and taller than the black ones, the participants saw them otherwise.

Most of the participants answered by saying that the black football players were more muscular, taller, and bigger than the white ones. This shows, once again, that black men are often seen as a threat, despite the fact that they are not.

After the participants responded to this experiment, they were put to another test. Researchers told them to imagine that they would fight these men. Most of the participants, once again, mentioned that the black players were “more capable of harming” them than the white male.

The scientists that were involved in this study mentioned that the findings show that many people still base their answers on stereotypes.  This is why more people fear black men and why they think that police should use force against them.  Researchers mentioned that these perceptions could have dangerous consequences.

What is your opinion about this study? Did you know that black males are perceived this way?

Image source: Wikipedia

Low-Gluten Diet Linked To Increased Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

gluten-free food and type 2 diabetes

A long-term study suggests that this type of diet can increase our risk of type 2 diabetes.

People are trying to find the best diet for them. Some are trying the Mediterranean diet, while others try a low-gluten one. The problem with severe diets is that our bodies lack some nutrients. If we avoid certain products or substances, we might do more harm than good.

Researchers are trying to figure out if a low-gluten diet can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A new study focuses on finding out if the lack of gluten can affect our health. This long-term study suggests that this type of diet can increase our risk of type 2 diabetes.

This study started in 1984 and it estimated how much gluten people eat. More than 200,000 participants responded to food questionnaires every 2 to 4 years. The findings of more than 30 years of study were presented today.

The researchers that conducted this study observed those who eat a lot of gluten were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Those who did not consume gluten had an increased risk of developing this condition over the 30 years of study.

The team of researchers mentioned that they wanted to see the effects of a low-gluten diet on healthy people. They mentioned that gluten-free foods have less fiber. This means that people that don’t suffer from celiac disease should not limit their gluten intake. The only ones that should eat gluten-free products are people that are diagnosed with celiac disease.

Other researchers that were not involved in the study mentioned that they believe the lack of fiber is the problem, not the gluten intake. People that have celiac disease should not be afraid because they don’t have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The problem is that they do have a higher chance of developing type 1 diabetes.

In the study, it was shown that people who eat less gluten also tend to eat less cereal fiber. This could be the reason for which they are more likely to have diabetes. The researchers mentioned that the only ones that should eat gluten-free products are those who are sensitive to it or those who have celiac disease. Healthy people should not start a low-gluten diet because it does more harm than good.

Image source: TheBlueDiamondGallery

The Woolly Mammoth May Have Died-Out Due to DNA Mutations

a woolly mammoth on the field

Study finds woolly mammoth specimens suffered genetic meltdown.

While some scientists explore the possibility of bringing back to life the now-extinct woolly mammoth species, others are trying to explain what caused its relatively sudden disappearance. A new study has found that the species acquired too many unnecessary DNA mutations which caused genetic disease and other problems.

Woolly mammoths were among the most common large herbivores roaming the plains of North America and Siberia. Scientists believe that they first developed more than 700,000 years ago, but their population started to decline quite suddenly, after the end of the last ice age which occurred around 10,000 years ago.

Scientists believe that the main cause of their quick disappearance was a combination of factors such as a warming climate and increased hunting by humans. Smaller population persisted on isolated islands in the north until they too vanished more than 3,700 years ago.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, managed to compare the genomes of two different woolly mammoth specimens. One specimen was 45,000-years old from Siberia while the other one lived around 4,300-years ago on the Wrangel Island, off the coast of Russia.

The younger specimen was among the last one of its species but provided the researchers with invaluable knowledge about the changes suffered by the species. They discovered that compared to the older mammoth, the younger specimen had suffered multiple mutations which proved harmful to the normal reproductive functions, which played a big role in the extinction of the species.

The scientists believe that while specimens living on isolated islands managed to avoid human hunters, the years of inbreeding led to the formation of harmful DNA mutations, which practically rendered natural selection completely ineffective.

Normally, in large populations groups, those types of mutations eventually disappear due to natural selection as they cannot compete with specimens which have other beneficial mutations. However, smaller groups have no available mechanism to address this issues and they eventually go extinct.

The researchers believe that the bad DNA mutations affected the olfactory receptors and urinary proteins, which, in turn, affected their social status and mate choice of the woolly mammoth. While the research was limited to only one specimen, the scientists believe that the same changes affected almost all the members of that population.

Image sourceWikipedia

Blizzard Announces Journey to Un’Goro Hearthstone Expansion

heatrhstone card packs

Journey to Un’Goro is the latest Hearthstone expansion.

After rumors circulated that the upcoming Hearthstone expansion would involve Un’Goro for several weeks, Blizzard has decided to finally unveil it. The new expansion will break the established pattern of releases for Hearthstone, which saw a simple card expansion with the Gadgetzan update, and many believed an adventure type of expansion would follow.

However, the announcement of the Journey to the Un’Goro reveals that this expansion will simply add more cards into the mix as well as new card mechanics and features. If you’re not familiar with the World of Warcraft region, you should know that Un’Goro is basically a massive crater filled with various primordial beasts such as dinosaurs and different types of elementals as well as all sorts of dangerous flora. These elements are quite well portrayed in the reveal trailer.

According to Blizzard’s announcement, the expansion will feature 135 new cards, and it will also add a new board to the game, which will feature a volcano, overgrown vines, and lush forests. The announcement trailer only revealed a few cards tied to the new mechanics such as Adapt, specific to dinosaurs. When you play such a card you will be able to choose one of three out of a total of 10 possible enhancements for that card.

One of the most interesting new mechanics involves the addition of quest cards, such as Awaken the Makers which will show up in your first hand. When the card is played, it will all add a quest to your hero, requiring you to play seven deathrattle minions, for example. Once the quest is completed, it will summon Amara, Warden of Hope, a 5-cost 8/8 taunt legendary minion which will also set your hero’s health to 40.

The expansion is set to be released in the coming months, with no precise date being available at this moment. However, until that moment, you can expect to see more cards in the coming weeks. As with all other previous expansions, anyone who pre-orders 50 packs from the Journey to Un’Goro expansion will also receive a new card back titled Fossil.

Furthermore, all Hearthstone players who will log in during the launch period will very likely receive a few free card packs after completing some short quests.

What do you think about the new Hearthstone expansion?

Image sourceBlizzard

Alzheimer’s Disease Linked to Excess Sugar

a pile of sugar

A new study has linked excess sugar to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, as scientists still haven’t discovered what precisely causes the disease. However, a new study has found that people who enjoy a sugar-rich diet may have a greater risk of developing the mental disorder.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports by a team of researchers from the University of Bath. They found that Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by memory loss and the decline of cognitive abilities, may be more prevalent in people who are eating high levels of sugar.

More specifically, the blood sugar glucose and the disease have several close connections. According to the study, glucose is capable of weakening a key enzyme known as MIF, (macrophage migration inhibitory factor), which resists the spread of Alzheimer’s.

Jean den Elsen, a researcher at the University of Bath, stated that the MIF enzyme would normally be part of the body’s immune response to the increase of abnormal proteins in the brain. However, since sugar is capable of reducing the function of the MIF enzyme, scientists have concluded that this could be a tipping point for the development of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 50 million people worldwide. However, the situation will only get worse in the future, as studies predict that the number of people affected by the neurologically degenerative disease will reach 125 million by the year 2050. Nonetheless, researchers believe that their recent findings regarding the connection of the disease with sugar may help them track the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients.

The study also found that the people who are most susceptible to developing the disease, at a much higher rate, is those who are obese and diabetic due to their high levels of blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia. This means that the function of MIF enzyme will be heavily impacted and will allow the increase of abnormal proteins in the brain, a factor that leads to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Further research is still required as scientists want to examine whether patients experience similar changes to their MIF enzyme found in their blood, not only in the brain.

What do you think about the study’s findings?

Image sourceWikipedia

Telenor Is Google’s Latest RCS Messaging Partner

telenor rcs messaging building

Google has big plans for RCS Messaging as it is trying to spread the system throughout the world.

Google has big plans for RCS Messaging. As it is trying to spread the system throughout the world, it recently gained a new partner. The Telenor Group is joining its mission.

Rich Communication Services or RCS is a communication protocol between mobile phones and the carriers. Its aim? To replace the standard SMS messages. A new text-message system could come in their place, a richer variant. One capable of transmitting in-call multimedia. And of providing phonebook polling. This latter enables service discovery.

RCS messaging started being used in 2012. And is already being offered by a number of service carriers. Google has been trying to increase the RCS network. And just recently, it managed to add a new carrier to its list.

The Telenor Group will now start providing RCS messaging. It will do so with help from Google, but only in a number of countries. This will mostly target European states.

For example, the Nordic countries, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro. But it will also be released in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Telenor will be helping roll out the feature for Android users. The two will do so as RCS messaging is considered a marked improvement. Especially when compared to MMS and also SMS messages.

The RCS messaging comes with the same ubiquity potential as the common SMS. But it also offers features currently available only on specialized messaging apps. For example, it sports some of the Facebook Messenger and Hangouts properties. As such, it is capable of ensuring group chats and also high-resolution images transmissions.

RCS messaging is already compatible with the Universal Profile, a globally accepted GSMA variant. This means that both supporting devices and carriers will benefit from a guide. This should help them clarify some aspects. For example, how to support RCS customers. And also how to maintain a constant service.

Google’s RCS messaging option is easy to come by. Interested users will only have to download an app from the Play Store. More exactly, the Google Messenger one. There are several other available RCS messaging apps. In some cases, even the default messaging app could support it.

But the Google Messenger currently offers the highest accessibility. It can be downloaded on most phones. And it offers both RCS, SMS, and MMS messaging and support, all in one place.

Following the Telenor partnership, some of their phones will come with the Google Messenger pre-installed. The company subscribers from the aforementioned countries should soon be able to access the service. This will be backed and supported by a Google platform, Jibe.

The RCS messaging system offers more advanced features as it relies more heavily on data networks. Instead of using the traditional 2G network, it will mostly use the data ones.

RCS offers a quite universal compatibility and ease of access. It also supports a wide, varied range of data features, which are not usual on standard messaging. Nonetheless, it does have some minuses.

One would be the fact desktop clients that support RCS messaging won’t be able to sync user messages. And they will also be unable to receive or send messages in sync with the phone.

Image Source: Wikimedia

New Dads Can Also Become Depressed After Pregnancy

man with a baby

Study finds that new dads can also suffer from depression.

Post-partum depression can be a common condition in many mothers, which they rely on the support from their partner to overcome it. However, a new study has found that new dads can also be affected by depression, before or during the pregnancy of their partner.

Previous studies have been mostly focused on studying maternal depression, in order to better recognize it and treat it before it has any major impact on the life of the family. The research has been very valuable as it had various positive health effects for both the mother and the baby.

However, researchers believe that discovering the symptoms of depression in new dads can also have health benefits for their family, overall.  The new study, one of the largest one yet involving both prenatal and postnatal depression in fathers, included over 3,500 men. The study was part of the Growing Up in New Zealand project, and its results were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

According to the researchers, other previous studies found that around 20 percent of mothers experience either postnatal or prenatal depression. They believe that the condition is caused by different hormonal changes or external factors in cases where the pregnancy was not planned, domestic violence, or when the mother does not have social or relationship support.

The study involving depression in new dads revealed that only 2.3 percent of all participants suffered from prenatal depression, while 4.3 percent became depressed after the birth of their child. This is a significantly lower rate than that of women, but it can still have major public health consequences, according to Lisa Underwood, a research fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Researchers found that depression in new dads could strain the overall family relationship in various ways, either emotional or financial hardships, as well as caused cognitive development issues in the child such as behavior or emotional problems.

In the United States, more than 4 million babies are born each year. Therefore, even the small percentage of new dads who are or will become depressed will lead to a significant number of affected individuals and babies, as a consequence.

What do you think about the study’s findings?

Image sourceMax Pixel

NASA Wants to Drill into Europa’s Crust

Euroa surface

NASA reveals plans to drill into Europa’s crust.

One of the many goals of NASA is to determine whether or not there are any other life forms in our solar system or outside of it. For this purpose, the agency’s latest ambition is to look for various signs of life on Europa, Jupiter’s moon, by drilling underneath its ice shell.

Programmer Invents ACLU Dash Button

ACLU dash button

Nathan Pryor invents an ACLU Dash Button.

When Amazon’s Dash Buttons were first revealed not many people saw them as a must-have item despite facilitating your life by ordering your most-used household items. However, their basic function can be reprogrammed to complete various tasks with just the press of a button. For example, thanks to the new ACLU dash button, you can easily donate $5 to the organization.

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has polarized the world and the US, with many people from the opposite political spectrum are becoming more active in politics by taking a stance against the controversial policies of the current administration.

One way to do so is to donate to organizations that represent your values like the ACLU, which has seen record-breaking donations in the last few weeks. Now, a programmer, Nathan Pryor, has facilitated the task of donating with the ACLU Dash button, by clicking every time Donald Trump makes you frustrated.

Pryor described how he came up with the idea and how the button was actually developed in a Medium post. He revealed that the idea initially came from a friend of his, who wished to have an ACLU Dash button, as a way to combat the policies of the current administration by funding organizations who are going to fight against his agenda.

Once he settled on the idea, he had to create his own Python script to set up an automatic donation, as ACLU does not offer any API or programming tool to facilitate donations.  He installed the script to the AWS Lamda, Amazon’s cloud platform, which he connected to the programmable $20 Dash button.  The donation was confirmed through a text message.

Through a process of trial and error, Pryor had successfully received that message confirming his donation. All he had to do is decorate the button with an ACLU graphic, in a similar fashion to other Dash buttons.

While this is a somewhat roundabout way to donate to ACLU, which support recurrent donations each month, the ACLU Dash button does provide more gratification to people. There’s nothing like reading the latest move by the administration and then pressing the button in retaliation.

What do you think about the ACLU Dash button?

Image credit: Nathan Pryor