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Sat, 24 Oct 2020
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Health

H5N1 Bird Flu Reaches Germany

Dead ducks at a farm in Wachenroth in Germany have tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu signaling the appearance of the virus for the third time in the country. The farm in question is located in Bavaria's Erlangen-Hoechstadt area.

The infection was suspected after some 400 ducks died mysteriously within a short time. Bavaria's environment ministry said that all the 160,000 birds in the farm would be culled to prevent the spread of infection to surrounding areas. All the 44,000 ducks may have to be killed as well.

Bomb

Experts say: US childbirth deaths on the rise.

U.S. women are dying from childbirth at the highest rate in decades, new government figures show. Though the risk of death is very small, experts believe increasing maternal obesity and a jump in Caesarean sections are partly to blame.

Health

U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says

An estimated 2 million babies die within their first 24 hours each year worldwide and the United States has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world, according to a new report.

American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found.

Health

CDC Identifies Two New Norovirus Strains

A 90-year-old nursing home patient died from the stomach flu last year, marking the first time U.S. health officials confirmed that the highly contagious bug is sometimes fatal.

The North Carolina woman so far is the only person for whom lab tests confirmed norovirus as the killer, but health officials believe the virus killed at least 18 others and caused thousands of illnesses late last year.

Nuke

The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products

Investigative journalist Mark Schapiro discusses why companies that manufacture hazard-free products for the European Union often produce toxin-filled versions of the same items for America and developing countries.

Magic Wand

Throw out your shampoo

If you want hair as fluffy as mine, the solution is staring you in the face

Health

700,000 New Yorkers with jobs do not have health insurance

Having a job is not necessarily a passport to health insurance in New York City. One million New Yorkers - some 17% of the adult population - lacked coverage in 2005, according to a new Health Department report, and 700,000 of them were employed. The complete report, Health Care Access among Adults in New York City, is available online here.

The report suggests that the lack of coverage is especially severe among young adults, Hispanics, and men:

Attention

Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace

Wellcome Trust scientists have identified for the first time how our brain's response changes the closer a threat gets. Using a "Pac Man"-like computer game where a volunteer is pursued by an artificial predator, the researchers showed that the fear response moves from the strategic areas of the brain towards more reactive responses as the artificial predator approaches.

When faced with a threat, such as a large bear, humans, like other animals, alter their behaviour depending on whether the threat is close or distant. This is because different defence mechanisms are needed depending on whether, for example, the bear is fifty feet away, when being aware of its presence may be enough, or five feet away, when we might need to fight or run away.

Magic Wand

TAU Researchers Discover Correlation Between Birth Month and Short-Sightedness

Planning for a summer delivery for your child? You might want to choose an ophthalmologist along with an obstetrician.

If your child is born in the winter or fall, it will have better long-range eyesight throughout its lifetime and less chance of requiring thick corrective glasses, predicts a Tel Aviv University investigation led by Dr. Yossi Mandel, a senior ophthalmologist in the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps.

Forming a large multi-center Israeli team, the scientists took data on Israeli youth aged 16-23 and retroactively correlated the incidence of myopia (short-sightedness) with their month of birth. The results were astonishing. Babies born in June and July had a 24% greater chance of becoming severely myopic than those born in December and January the group with the least number of severely myopic individuals. The investigators say that this evidence is likely applicable to babies born anywhere in the world.

Magic Hat

'World's fattest GM mouse' appears immune to diabetes

The "world's fattest mice", genetically engineered to overproduce a key hormone, weigh five times as much as normal mice do - but bizarrely do not develop diabetes, reveals a new study. The findings shed light on how current diabetes medications work and point to new drug targets to treat the disease, say the study's researchers.

©Ja-Young Kim/Dave Gresham
A mouse (pictured on the left) engineered to overproduce the hormone adiponectin weighs 100 grammes - five times as much as a normal mouse (pictured on the right)