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Water fleas adapt to the increased presence of phosphorus in lakes

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Water fleas (Daphnia ) are a kind of fairly small planktonic crustaceans with an average length that can range from 2 to 5 mm. These aquatic animals have been the subject of a study conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Birmingham who have revealed some particular genetic mechanisms that have led these small organisms to adapt to higher levels of phosphorus present in the lakes.

Researchers have discovered more than 800 genes, most of which play a role in metabolic phenomena, which have evolved due to the presence of phosphorus making the body of water fleas more “plastic” or flexible. The same researchers have discovered that only 700 years ago water fleas were not able to assume these characteristics. The researchers have in fact compared the genetic make-up of modern water fleas with that of their 700-year-old ancestors.

All samples come from the same lake in Minnesota. In this lake, a process called eutrophication began at the beginning of the last century, a phenomenon that is caused by the abnormal flowering of devastating algae that contain high levels of phosphorus. It is believed that this phenomenon is also exaggerated by the use of phosphorus-based fertilizers as the latter element can end up in freshwater bodies.

The same presence of phosphorus can cause problems to the health of water fleas and for this reason, these animals have developed, at an evolutionary level, physiological responses that allow them to better cope with these increased levels.

Bob Melanian

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website www.melaniannews.net in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

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Climate change is damaging the health of children around the world

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Extensive damage to health caused by climate change is mentioned in a new study conducted by an international team from 35 institutions and published in The Lancet. The study particularly refers to children, who, according to the researchers, will be much more vulnerable to climate change in the area of malnutrition due to rising food prices, particularly from agriculture.

There is talk of price increases, for example, in maize, wheat, soybean and erysium, which will be produced in smaller quantities and will therefore see a price rise. Children will be particularly affected by the increase in infectious diseases caused by the increased spread of bacteria, particularly in relation to diseases such as diarrhoea and wound infections.

Premature deaths of children from air pollution will also increase because the global energy supply from coal increased by 1.7% from 2016 to 2018, reversing what appeared to be a downward trend. Extreme weather events will intensify and increase fires and heat waves.

“This year the accelerated impacts of climate change have become clearer than ever,” reports Hugh Montgomery, co-president of The Lancet Countdown and director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London. “The higher temperatures recorded in Western Europe and the fires in Siberia, Queensland and California have caused asthma, respiratory infections and heat stroke. Sea levels are now rising at an increasingly worrying rate. Our children recognise this climate emergency and call for action to protect them. We must listen and respond.”

According to Nick Watts, executive director of The Lancet Countdown, the damage caused by climate change to children will be more severe because they have a naturally weaker immune system.
In addition, the damage the body receives during early childhood is often persistent and pervasive, and the health consequences can last a lifetime.

Bob Melanian

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website www.melaniannews.net in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]
Bob Melanian
Continue Reading

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Legumes are an important weapon to combat cardiovascular disease according to a new study

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That legumes are good for your health is certainly not new and a new study, published in Advances in Nutrition, confirms it. According to researchers, eating beans, peas, lentils and other legumes can be an important weapon in the fight against cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and hypertension.

To assess the impact of legumes on cardiometabolic diseases, researchers have analyzed various cohort studies and found that those who consume legumes more frequently see reduced rates of incidence of cardiovascular disease by 10% compared to people who do not consume this food regularly. As explained by Hana Kahleova, a recipient of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a U.S. non-profit organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world and this underlines even more the importance of this research because legumes can be considered a cheap and affordable food.

Beans and members, in fact, are foods rich in fiber, vegetable proteins and other important micronutrients, all with a low intake of fat, which promotes the regulation of cholesterol and glycemic index. Moreover, according to the authors of the study, Americans do not consume enough legumes: “The simple fact of adding more beans to our dishes could be a powerful tool to combat heart disease and reduce blood pressure,” says Kahleova.

Bob Melanian

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website www.melaniannews.net in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]
Bob Melanian
Continue Reading

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Musk: completely autonomous cars for Tesla could arrive soon

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A surprising statement was made by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, during a quarterly conference on Tesla’s profits in October. Musk, who spoke by phone, said that the company could release in advance the long-awaited software package called Full Self-Driving that offers the “complete autonomous drive” that would allow the much-coveted “level 5,” the last level with regard to the degrees of autonomy of a car. A software package could be available in just a few weeks.

Experts believe that already by the end of this year, at least some of the owners of Tesla-compatible models could therefore let their car travel in complete autonomy, something that in fact, as for the availability for normal customers, was seen only in science fiction movies. Of course, the purpose of such an announcement is also quite clear: in terms of public relations, an announcement like this puts Tesla itself at the top of what can be considered as a ten-year race towards the first fully independently driven car available to the public.

According to some of the company’s projections, the company could make gains of up to nearly $500 million just by pre-ordering the Full Self-Driving (FSD) package of compatible car owners, forecasts that have the potential to dramatically change the company’s short-term financial outlook. At the moment it’s not even clear what the installation of such a package means for the customer.

The details are however quite slim, and Tesla itself seems to be quite cautious: the car can be autonomous as far as driving is concerned but in some moments it still requires the supervision and potential intervention of a person, basically the driver. In any case, even the top management of Tesla itself knows that the drivers of these cars already habitually use the existing features related to autopilot without following the guidelines of the company regarding the supervision of the driver.

Videos or photos of Tesla’s drivers literally asleep at the wheel, for example, have not been very rare. In this sense, therefore, the long-awaited “complete autonomous driving” would not be a novelty. In any case, according to the company itself, “Tesla owners have driven billions of miles using autopilot and our quarterly vehicle safety report data indicate that drivers using autopilot suffer fewer accidents than drivers operating without assistance.”

Bob Melanian

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website www.melaniannews.net in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]
Bob Melanian
Continue Reading

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