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Fri, 07 May 2021
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WHO: Infectious diseases spreading faster than ever

Infectious diseases are emerging more quickly and spreading faster around the globe than ever and becoming increasingly difficult to treat, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

With billions of people moving around the planet every year, the U.N. agency said in its annual World Health Report: "An outbreak or epidemic in one part of the world is only a few hours away from becoming an imminent threat somewhere else."

WHO director-general Margaret Chan said mass travel could facilitate the rapid spread of infectious diseases.

Comment: Here's a chilling scenario...

What if the vaccine developed to prevent the spread of a highly infectious disease were to be tainted and result in the deaths of millions of people? An inoculation program where all citizens are required, by government mandate, to receive the vaccine. Would you be allowed to refuse?


Magic Wand

Baby talk is universal

A major function of speech is the communication of intentions. In everyday conversation between adults, intentions are conveyed through multiple channels, including the syntax and semantics of the language, but also through nonverbal vocal cues such as pitch, loudness, and rate of speech.

The same thing occurs when we talk to infants. Regardless of the language we speak, most adults, for example, raise their voices to elicit the infant's attention and talk at a much slower rate to communicate effectively. In the scientific community, this baby talk is termed "infant-directed speech."

There are direct relationships between the way we speak and what we wish to convey. For example, when we see a child reaching for the electrical socket, we do not call out their name as we would during a game of hide-and-go-seek.

Health

Sore throat virus linked to obesity

A common virus that causes throat and eye infections may also play a role in obesity, according to US scientists. Laboratory tests found the virus triggered changes in human fat tissue that left people with more, and larger, fat cells than people who were not infected.

The scientists acknowledge the virus may be only a contributing factor to growing obesity rates, but they believe that understanding how fat cells respond to infection could lead to vaccines to prevent weight gain and possibly to fat-promoting treatments for people with rare wasting conditions, such as lipidystrophy.

Health

UK cancer survival rate lowest in Europe

Cancer survival rates in Britain are among the lowest in Europe, according to the most comprehensive analysis of the issue yet produced.

England is on a par with Poland despite the NHS spending three times more on health care.

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Health

Staying silent in marital spats a killer for women

Women who force themselves to stay quiet during marital arguments appear to have a higher risk of death, a new study shows. Depression and irritable bowel syndrome are also more common in these women.

Crusader

Compound in broccoli could boost immune system, says new study

A compound found in broccoli and related vegetables may have more health-boosting tricks up its sleeves, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Veggie fans can already point to some cancer-fighting properties of 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), a chemical produced from the compound indole-3-carbinol when Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale are chewed and digested. Animal studies have shown that DIM can actually stop the growth of certain cancer cells.

This new study in mice, published online today (Monday, Aug. 20) in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, shows that DIM may help boost the immune system as well.

Heart

Embedded stereotypes: Women really do prefer pink

Boys like blue, girls like pink and there isn't much anybody can do about it, researchers said on Monday in one of the first studies to show scientifically that there are gender-based colour preferences.

Researchers said these differences may have a basis in evolution in which females developed a preference for reddish colours associated with riper fruit and healthier faces.

Question

Paedophiles may have less grey matter. What about similar research of psychopaths?

Paedophiles may have reduced concentrations of nerve cells in key areas of the brain compared to normal people, according to a study published by German researchers.

The study could have significant legal implications, experts say, because it hints at a direct link between brain development and criminal behaviour.

The causes of paedophilia are not understood and even diagnosis is controversial.

Health

Scientists Identify Brain Regions Where Nicotine Improves Attention, Other Cognitive Skills

Nicotine administration in humans is known to sharpen attention and to slightly enhance memory. Now scientists, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have identified those areas of the brain where nicotine exerts its effects on cognitive skills.

Their findings suggest that nicotine improves attention in smokers by enhancing activation in the posterior cortical and subcortical regions of the brain--areas traditionally associated with visual attention, arousal, and motor activation. This study provides the first evidence that nicotine-induced enhancement of parietal cortex activation is associated with improved attention.

Health

Nicotine Lessens Symptoms Of Depression In Nonsmokers

Nicotine may improve the symptoms of depression in people who do not smoke, Duke University Medical Center scientists have discovered.