terça-feira, 31 de maio de 2016

Outtakes: Amazon Reforestation


blog.nature.org


Article by: Nature Conservancy Magazine | Photos by: Kevin Arnold
From 2001 to 2012, Brazil was responsible, on average, for three-quarters of the deforestation in the Amazon Basin, primarily through ranching and large-scale agriculture. But as national forest laws are becoming more enforceable, settlers in the Amazon are clearing less land—and in some cases even letting forests grow back. Ranchers participating in Conservancy-sponsored training are intensifying production through better animal husbandry practices such as rotational grazing, which helps them produce more cattle per acre instead of clearing forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
From 2001 to 2012, Brazil was responsible, on average, for three-quarters of the deforestation in the Amazon Basin, primarily through ranching and large-scale agriculture. But as national forest laws are becoming more enforceable, settlers in the Amazon are clearing less land—and in some cases even letting forests grow back. Ranchers participating in Conservancy-sponsored training are intensifying production through better animal husbandry practices such as rotational grazing, which helps them produce more cattle per acre instead of clearing forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
To photograph a story about how Brazilian landowners are helping reforest the Amazon, Kevin Arnold visited many spots, including ranches, farms and tribal lands, as well as the home of a family who hosted him overnight when his boat’s motor stopped working. He and some staffers from The Nature Conservancy had just spent a week visiting ranches and were on an eight-hour boat journey via the Bacaja River to the Xikrin tribal lands when the “potential disaster” turned out to be “incredibly beautiful,” he says.
“We swam in the river with the kids and fished for piranhas,” Arnold says. “We spent the night surrounded by the sound of howling monkeys and other Amazon sounds that were all new to us.” After a boat arrived the next day, everyone agreed that the detour “turned out to be a very interesting and cool experience, as these things so often are,” he says.
We couldn’t include all of our favorite photos from the Amazon reforestation shoot in the magazine. Here, the editors rounded up some of the best outtakes that didn’t make it into print. (See more photos and read the story from our April/May 2016 issue here).
At deforestation’s peak in 2004, about 10,700 square miles of the country’s Amazon forest were cut down in a single year. The problem was especially acute in the state of Pará in large part because it is home to the largest cattle herd in the country, at more than 2 million head. Now ranchers like Adriano Pereira Alves and Luiz Martins Reis Neto are helping grow it back. Reis Neto became an early adopter of Conservancy-sponsored training aimed at improving grazing and animal husbandry practices and has tripled his cattle without clearing any new forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
At deforestation’s peak in 2004, about 10,700 square miles of the country’s Amazon forest were cut down in a single year. The problem was especially acute in the state of Pará in large part because it is home to the largest cattle herd in the country, at more than 2 million head. Now ranchers like Adriano Pereira Alves and Luiz Martins Reis Neto are helping grow it back. Reis Neto became an early adopter of Conservancy-sponsored training aimed at improving grazing and animal husbandry practices and has tripled his cattle without clearing any new forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In April 2009, the Conservancy was invited to the state of Pará, where this farm is located, by a meat-packing company that was having problems finding suppliers in compliance with the country’s forest code. First passed in 1965, the code required (among other things) that Amazon landowners set aside 50 to 80 percent of their land as protected forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In April 2009, the Conservancy was invited to the state of Pará, where this farm is located, by a meat-packing company that was having problems finding suppliers in compliance with the country’s forest code. First passed in 1965, the code required (among other things) that Amazon landowners set aside 50 to 80 percent of their land as protected forest. Photo © Kevin Arnold
São Félix do Xingu, a Brazilian county in the state of Pará where this farm is located, saw almost 300 square miles of its forests felled in 2008, the highest rate of municipal deforestation in the entire Amazon. The situation was so bad that the county had been added to a environmental blacklist generated by the federal government. Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has been slowly but steadily decreasing since 2004. In 2014, less than 60 square miles of forest was cleared in São Félix. Photo © Kevin Arnold
São Félix do Xingu, a Brazilian county in the state of Pará where this farm is located, saw almost 300 square miles of its forests felled in 2008, the highest rate of municipal deforestation in the entire Amazon. The situation was so bad that the county had been added to a environmental blacklist generated by the federal government. Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has been slowly but steadily decreasing since 2004. In 2014, less than 60 square miles of forest was cleared in São Félix. Photo © Kevin Arnold
The Xikrin community lands are on the banks Rio Bacaja. Twenty-three percent of Brazil’s Amazon consists of indigenous lands, whose collective territory covers an area almost equal to Texas and California combined. Photo © Kevin Arnold
The Xikrin community lands are on the banks Rio Bacaja. Twenty-three percent of Brazil’s Amazon consists of indigenous lands, whose collective territory covers an area almost equal to Texas and California combined. Photo © Kevin Arnold
A Xikrin community member catches fish in the Rio Bacaja. The Xikrin land is one of 32 areas selected by the Brazilian government for an environment management pilot project in indigenous lands. Photo © Kevin Arnold
A Xikrin community member catches fish in the Rio Bacaja. The Xikrin land is one of 32 areas selected by the Brazilian government for an environment management pilot project in indigenous lands. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In 2014, the Conservancy launched an ethnomapping project with the Xirkin to clarify their territorial boundaries and track nearby development. Community members use GPS to mark areas of forest that are culturally significant, such as foraging areas and hunting grounds. By partnering with tribes and federal agencies, the Conservancy is helping groups like the Xikrin take their first steps in the long road to keeping their traditional lands intact. Photo © Kevin Arnold
In 2014, the Conservancy launched an ethnomapping project with the Xikrin to clarify their territorial boundaries and track nearby development. Community members use GPS to mark areas of forest that are culturally significant, such as foraging areas and hunting grounds. By partnering with tribes and federal agencies, the Conservancy is helping groups like the Xikrin take their first steps in the long road to keeping their traditional lands intact. Photo © Kevin Arnold
Whatever happens in the Amazon Basin will affect far more than just Brazil. The country is the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with just over 30 percent caused by deforestation in 2014. Photo © Kevin Arnold
Whatever happens in the Amazon Basin will affect far more than just Brazil. The country is the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with just over 30 percent caused by deforestation in 2014. Photo © Kevin Arnold
— NCM

Keep on moving to fight diabetes


By Sara J. Carlson, R.N., C.D.E. May 25, 2016 The authors of a small study published in "Diabetes Care" on April 13, 2016, found that interrupting prolonged sitting every half hour with 3 minutes of light-intensity walking or simple resistance activities reduced the after-meal blood sugar and other cardio-metabolic risk markers in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
The authors concluded that light-intensity walking or resistance activities such as half-squats, calf raises, gluteal contractions and knee raises may be beneficial and practical in adults with poor adherence to structured exercise activities.
We all know that increasing activity is good for our health, but if you hate the thought of a regular exercise routine or you simply don't see how you can fit it into your busy schedule, there are simple ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life.
Try these:
  • Move while watching TV, especially during commercials. Walk around, march in place, stretch, dance or do pushups, sit-ups, toe touches, squats, lunges or jumping jacks.
  • Lift hand weights, food cans or other household containers.
  • Walk around or balance on one leg while talking on the phone.
  • While waiting in line, shift your weight from side to side.
  • Walk around the field, rink or court as you watch your kids or grandkids play sports.
  • Look for a parking spot further from the store's entrance.
  • Take the stairs all or part of the way to your destination.
  • Move trash or recycling bins to an area that requires you to walk to them.
  • If you take the bus, get off a few stops early. 
  • If you drive to work, park a few blocks from your workplace.
  • If you usually sit throughout your workday, set a timer to remind you to get up and move every 30 minutes or hour.
  • Wash your car in the driveway instead of at the carwash.
  • Water the garden, plants and grass with a watering can and hose instead of an automatic sprinkler system.

Boeing: Historical Snapshot: B-52 Stratofortress


 


In August 2014, the B-52 Stratofortress celebrated 60 years in the air. The eight-engine, 390,000-pound (176,901-kilogram) jet was America’s first long-range, swept-wing heavy bomber. It began as an intercontinental, high-altitude nuclear bomber, and its operational capabilities were adapted to meet changing defense needs.
B-52s have been modified for low-level flight, conventional bombing, extended-range flights and transport of improved defensive and offensive equipment — including ballistic and cruise missiles that can be launched hundreds of miles from their targets.
It had a rocky beginning. The original XB-52 design, selected by the Army Air Forces in 1946, was for a straight-wing, six-engine, propeller-powered heavy bomber. On Oct. 21, 1948, Boeing Chief Engineer Ed Wells and his design team were in Dayton, Ohio, when the Air Force’s chief of bomber development told them to scrap the propellers and come up with an all-jet bomber. Over the following weekend, in a Dayton hotel room, the team designed a new eight-engine jet bomber, still called the B-52, made a scale model out of balsa wood and prepared a 33-page report.
This effort impressed the Air Force’s Air Materiel Command, and the design was approved. As the war worsened in Korea, the Air Force, in 1951, designated the B-52 the country’s next intercontinental bomber and approved an initial production order for 13 B-52s. The first B-52A flew Aug. 5, 1954.
After assembly of three B-52As, production converted to B-52Bs, with more weight and larger engines. Some had photoreconnaissance or electronic capsules in their bomb bays and were redesignated RB-52Bs. The turbofan powered B-52H, the final version of the B-52, made its first flight March 6, 1961, and is still in service.
With each variant, the B-52 increased in range, power and capability. In all, 744 B-52s were produced by Seattle, Wash., and Wichita, Kan., plants between 1952 and 1962.
Throughout the 1950s, the B-52 chalked up many distance and speed records. It cut the round-the-world speed record in half, and in January 1962, flew 12,500 miles (20,117 kilometers) nonstop from Japan to Spain without refueling. This flight alone broke 11 distance and speed records. The B-52 saw active duty in the Vietnam War and was used in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and over Afghanistan in 2001.
On Oct. 26, 2012, Boeing marked 50 years since it had delivered its last B-52 Stratofortress to the U.S. Air Force. H-model bomber 61-040 had been assigned to Minot Air Force Base, N.D., where it remained in active service. Modern engineering analyses showed the B-52’s expected lifespan extending beyond 2040.
In May 2014, The Air Force introduced the first B-52 aircraft upgraded with an advanced communications system developed by Boeing into its fleet. The Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) modification added several communication data links, full-color LCD displays with real-time intelligence feeds overlaid on moving maps, a state-of-the-art computing network, and the ability to retarget a weapon, or mission parameters, in flight. At that time, the Air Force operated 76 B-52s primarily out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and planned to upgrade all of them.

Penetrator GBU 57A/B




















USAF takes delivery of the GBU-57A/B Penetrator - now there's nowhere to hide


gizmag.com

(In order of viewing pictures click on the small dimmed rectangles at the left side of the post.)

Mike Hanlon
Military technology has created some fearsome weapons, such as the 5,000 lb GBU-28 Deep Throat bunker buster, 15,000 lb BLU-82 Daisycutter, 15,650 lb Russian ATBIP (Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power), 22,000 lb Grand Slam earthquake bomb, and the 22,600 lb GBU-43 MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast), but if you were hiding under 50 meters of hardened concrete, none of them were going to bother you.
Not any more!
The U.S. Air Force has just taken delivery of the first GBU-57A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator). It weighs 30,000 lb and will penetrate 200 ft of hardened concrete BEFORE it goes off. If you are reading this from an underground nuclear facility in Iran or North Korea, might we suggest some extended sick leave is (or soon will be) in order.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator is that it is a relatively simple weapon.
The GBU acronym at the front of the the official designation for the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (GBU-57A/B or MOP) can be found at the front of the name of almost everything the United States Air Force drops from a plane these days.
Not all that long ago, bombs were dropped in large numbers in the hope that at least some of them would hit their target.
These days, almost every bomb and missile is delivered with pinpoint accuracy. GBU stands for Guided Bomb Unit, and it means that the 20 foot GBU-57 A/B missile is zeroed in on the target by a GPS navigation system guiding its four lattice-type fins.
Not surprisingly, the bomb is intended for only one purpose - to destroy the type of hardened concrete bunkers which house central command facilities and weapons of mass destruction. It's hence not surprising that the program has been hurried into readiness with the growing concern that Iran has developed nuclear weaponry.
It is designed to penetrate supposedly untouchable facilities in one piece. The warhead case of the MOP is made from a special high performance steel alloy designed to maintain the integrity of the penetrator case during impact so that the payload can then do its job most effectively by exploding deep underground.
The image below is a diagram from the original proposal for the Massive Ordnance Penetrator from February 2004. The GBU-57A/B will penetrate 200 ft (61 m) of 5,000 psi (34 MPa) reinforced concrete, 26 ft of 10,000 psi (69 MPa) reinforced concrete or 130 ft (40 m) of moderately hard rock
The MOP is deployed from high altitude and allows gravity to add momentum to its 30,000 pound weight so that it hits with enormous kinetic energy.
Put simply, the MOP hits exactly where it is intended to hit with enough energy to bury itself 200+ feet into hardened concrete, then it explodes its 5,300 pound warhead.
The MOP is designed to be carried aboard B-2 and B-52 bombers so there's nowhere that is out of reach. The B-52 has a combat range of nearly 9000 miles, but aerial refueling means it effectively has an unlimited range.
During Operation Desert Strike on September 2/3, 1996, two B-52s flew out of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and disrupted communications in Baghdad with AGM-86C cruise missiles. By the time the mission was over, 34 hours had expired. Hence it would be fair to say that the B-52 is only limited in its range by the endurance of the four-person air crew.
The most likely aircraft to deliver the MOP however, is the B-2 Spirit which like the B-52, can carry two MOPs.
The largely composite B-2 has vastly reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures, extraordinary aerodynamic efficiency, a long range (6000 miles) without refueling and a massive payload. It is hence a potent delivery system for the likes of the MOP, as it is very difficult for defensive systems to detect, track and engage.
With aerial refueling, there is now nowhere to hide.

How Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant Will Make Money Off You


technologyreview.com


Tom Simonite San Francisco Bureau Chief

Apple, Amazon, and Google say their virtual helpers—Siri, Alexa, and the less snappily named Google Assistant—can make our lives easier by acting on our commands to book cabs, order pizza, or check the weather.
But like all the other free-to-use goodies that tech giants offer up, these new personal assistants must also earn their keep. The companies aren’t saying much about exactly how their automated personas can boost their bottom lines, but they have clear potential to open up new lines of revenue. Perhaps most importantly, they could significantly increase the data that companies have on our preferences and everyday lives.
“A deeper profile of the customer is possible,” says Sridhar Narayanan, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford. “Already Google and these others have a lot of information about us—this is one new source that is different.”
Google's new virtual assistant will watch over chats inside the company's forthcoming Allo mobile messaging app and offer help with things like finding restaurants.
The virtual assistant contest between the tech giants can be traced back to 2011, when Apple launched Siri, an app acquired as a startup the previous year. The app has been widely seen as less useful or revolutionary than Apple originally claimed it would be (see “Social Intelligence”).
But speech-recognition and language-processing software have recently improved, and the companies have become more ambitious.
Amazon’s Alexa assistant made the $200 Echo wireless speaker, launched in late 2014, into a surprise hit that’s estimated to have sold three million units in the United States. Among other things, Alexa can cue up music, reorder things you have previously bought from Amazon, and connect with third-party services so you can do things like summon a ride with Uber using your voice.
Google will release a similar device, Google Home, price unknown, with its own Google Assistant inside later this year (“Google Finally Launches Siri-Killer in Pivot Away from Conventional Search”). Apple is also believed to be planning a home device of its own, and to be preparing to let Siri control third-party services (see “Apple Wants to Make Siri Far More Powerful”).
A useful and popular virtual assistant could help a company’s bottom line directly by selling devices such as phones or home speakers. In the case of Amazon, making it easier to buy things is a crucial part of the company’s strategy. And if a virtual assistant such as Siri can send business to third-party services such as food-delivery companies, it could take a cut of the transaction.
But like so many products from large tech companies, the data unlocked by virtual assistants could be even more lucrative.
Google’s search ads business rakes in billions by aligning the interests of marketers and consumers. People are likely to click on ads for goods or services closely related to the thing they’re searching for, whether that’s a plane ticket or a dollhouse.
Google’s head of search, John Giannandrea, demurred when asked recently how his company’s assistant would make money.
But a back-and-forth conversation with Google’s assistant about, say, vacation destinations could reveal more about what you want and like than a handful of conventional searches, says Narayanan—particularly when combined with other information Google can access about consumers. In the future, Google could include paid messages among the list of recommended products or services shown on a person’s phone after he asks the Assistant for help finding a business or service.
Google is preparing to launch a device called Google Home with a voice-operated virtual assistant inside, held here by vice president of product management Mario Queiroz at the company's developer conference in Mountain View, California.
“Something like this would be highly valuable to marketers,” says Narayanan. “More information helps them decide, ‘Is this person worth bidding on, and what information do I provide?’”
Similarly, Alexa could improve Amazon’s feed of information about customers by expanding their points of contact with the company beyond just shopping. That could help the company’s personalized recommendations, a crucial part of its business.
Still, the deep-pocketed progenitors of these virtual assistants probably aren’t very concerned about their business models just yet, says Steven Tadelis, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas Business School.
“Right now these are complementary products that enhance an already existing relationship that the consumer has,” he says. That and the need to keep pace with competitors is enough to justify launching the technology and seeing what happens. “I wouldn’t be surprised if two or three years from now they find ways to monetize that we couldn’t even dream of,” he says. Such opportunities will only manifest if the virtual assistants win a loyal user base. It is still unclear whether many people will find Google Assistant and Alexa useful enough to engage them in a broad range of tasks. Apple is widely seen to have overstated the usefulness of Siri, which many people don’t use, or go to for only certain narrow functions.
Making conversational assistants live up to the hype should be possible by pulling together the right streams of data on people and surroundings, though, says Norman Winarsky, an executive in residence at Relay Ventures and a cofounder of Siri. Software can’t understand the context of a person’s query or conversation as smartly as a human, but it can cheat by looking at information about his or her past activity.
Narayanan agrees, and says that could tilt the playing field in Apple and Google’s favor (although Apple has said it avoids mining customer data). The two companies’ mobile operating systems and related services could provide a broad view into people’s behavior that makes it easier for their assistants to appear smart. “Amazon has some unique insights into shopping habits, but unless it comes up with some partnerships, it could be a little bit handicapped compared to the others,” he says.

Off-grid tiny house supersizes the teardrop and puts a shell on top


gizmag.com


Adam Williams

The complaint that all tiny houses look the same is a common one, but whether or not you like its unusual styling, the Tiny Drop offers a change from the stereotypical shed-on-wheels look that's common to the scene. Resembling a supersized (and perhaps slightly steampunk-like) teardrop trailer that's actually crashed into a shed, the tiny home boasts a water filtration system and solar power so it can run fully off-the-grid.
The Tiny Drop comprises a total floorspace of 150 sq ft (14 sq m) and weighs in at around 8,000 lb (3,628 kg). It's built from a wooden frame and features aluminum cladding.
Entering the home via the single door, visitors are greeted with a large sofa that features storage underneath, a kitchen area, and a small dining area with bench. Further into the home lies a large looking bathroom with a composting toilet, sink, and cubicle shower.
The upstairs sleeping loft is reached via ladder – literally, a metal work ladder – and it looks very snug in there. Indeed, from the photos it looks like you'd be in danger of knocking yourself out should you try to sit up suddenly at night, but the Tend Building did at least manage to squeeze-in a double bed. The metal roof may also drive you to distraction in heavy rain and hail too, though the operable skylights are a nice touch.
The Tiny Drop's interior lighting is provided by energy-efficient LED lights and the tiny house gets all its electricity via solar panels. The home includes a water filtration system and Tend Building reports that a lot of recycled materials were used in the build.
Tend Building makes houses to order and according to the firm's Facebook page, the price tag for the Tiny Drop would come in somewhere around US$60,000.
Source: Tend Building









Europe needs to be prepared for Zika virus epidemic, experts say


The Zika epidemic has long assumed global proportions, experts told the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Copenhagen. Europe needs to get prepared to deal with the relentless spread of the health threat, in particular with a view to "imported" infection. Awareness for prevention and personal protection is important, in particular with thousands of athletes and fans soon travelling to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a region particularly hit by the virus.
"Time is not on our side. The Zika virus is more and more not only showing its ugly face, but also its potential to go truly global," Prof Raad Shakir (London, UK), President of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) told the Second Congress of the European Academy of Neurology which is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The global Zika virus epidemic, its neurological angle and its implications for Europe are among the topical issues discussed at this major medical meeting. "We clearly see a relentless spread of the epidemic, and Europe will not be spared from this development."
Neurological expertise crucial to deal with Zika consequences
"Neurological expertise will be crucial to deal with the consequences of Zika," Prof Shakir stressed. "The WFN has recently established a working group in support of the efforts of international organisations, agencies and governments in response to the Zika crisis." One important task the group of high level experts is currently undertaking is the development of formal guidelines outlining diagnostic criteria for neurological complications of the Zika virus.
There are many misunderstandings and a lack of awareness about the actual risks involved in Zika virus infections, the WFN President said. "Many people still seem to believe that only pregnant women should be concerned because of the devastating fetal malformations when the infection is acquired during pregnancy, such as microcephaly. While this is, indeed, a particularly tragic consequence of the virus, we need to be aware that infected persons are also at risk of developing serious neurological conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), myelitis or meningoencephalitis. But the full spectrum of neurological complications from this viral infection still remains unknown."
While the effects of Zika on the adult nervous system are still being studied and not fully understood, preliminary findings such as a recent study from Brazil published in the Lancet suggest that exposure to the virus increases the odds for GBS 60 fold. GBS leads to paralysis due to immunological effects of the virus. Morbidity and mortality are high. In the absence of supportive treatment, more than five percent of affected individuals will die.
Europe will not be spared
"Europe certainly needs to get prepared, just as other parts of the world, to cope with the consequences of the fact that the geographical distribution of the virus is steadily and rapidly expanding," said John England, Professor of neurology at Louisiana State University in New Orleans and chair of the WFN Zika Working Group. "The most recent WHO document places most of Europe in a low to moderate risk category mosquito transmission of Zika. The exceptions are where Aedes mosquitos are known to exist. I believe that in Europe, the concern should mainly be about people contracting Zika elsewhere and then returning to Europe.
We have already seen a number of person-to-person transmissions in Europe, inter alia in Germany and France. A case of possibly Zika-related microcephaly is under verification in Spain and a case of GBS associated with Zika virus infection has already been reported in a returning traveller to the Netherlands. The Rio Olympics are a special epidemiological risk since so many people are expected to go there. It would be unrealistic not to assume that we will see more imported cases after thousands of athletes and fans return from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, an area particularly hit by the virus." In coping with Zika and its consequences, Europe has a clear advantage compared to other regions, Prof England said: "In this part of the world there is a relatively high amount of resources for neurological care available. This is not the case for many of the countries which are right now affected most by the virus and where we have witnessed unnecessary deaths which would not have happened in less deprived parts of the world."
With no specific effective treatment and no vaccination in prospect on the short run, although some vaccine candidates are being developed, awareness for prevention and personal protection needs to be created. Prof England: "All European countries should put measures in place in order to detect imported cases of Zika virus early and should provide public health advice to travellers to and from affected countries, including on sexual transmission."
In addition, in countries with a high likelihood of transmission strengthening vector-control activities to prevent the introduction and spread of mosquitoes, and reduce their density, particularly for areas with Aedes aegypti, is very important, the expert underlined.
According to recommendations which WHO and the Pan American Health Organisation PAHO have recently published, athletes and visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil should, inter alia, protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents and wearing adequate clothing; practice safe sex or abstain from sex during their stay and four weeks after their return and choose air-conditioned accommodation. Pregnant women continue to be advised not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, and this includes Rio de Janeiro.
60 countries report Zika transmission
According to latest WHO figures, as of 18 May 2016, 60 countries and territories report continuing mosquito-born Zika transmission. Ten countries, among them Germany and France, have reported person-to-person transmission of Zika virus, most probably via a sexual route. Microcephaly and other fetal malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection or suggestive of congenital infection have been reported in eight countries or territories. Thirteen countries and territories worldwide have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome and/or laboratory confirmation of Zika virus infection among GBS cases.

Português de Portugal, e Inglès britânico.


O Brasil foi colonizado por Portugal, e por isso é usado (na maior parte) pelo Google e por outros sites,  o português de Portugal. Os Estados Unidos foram colonizados pela Inglaterra, mas não se usa o Inglês britânico em qualquer site deles. Isso se chama discriminação para não se dizer Imperialismo, que no final das contas vai dar no mesmo. Algum país neste nosso velho mundo teria que ser imperialista, caso contrário ficaria faltando "alguma coisa" e uma coisa que não pode faltar neste nosso velho mundo é "alguma coisa"... Ainda bem que somos súditos dos Estados Unidos, pior seria se fôssemos súditos da China ou da Rússia. 
E pensar que, embora o respeitemos muito pela história e pela cultura, somente a Grande São Paulo tem um PIB igual ao de Portugal.  E no Brasil cabe toda a Europa, menos a Rússia, e ainda sobra espaço para 15 (quinze) Portugais, ou 4 Alemanhas.  Mais ou menos isso....
Violência e corrupção no Brasil?  Claro que tem. Mas quero crer que não estamos sozinhos nesses itens. 

Por isso merecemos o Português Brasileiro mesmo.  

(Em tempo) Portugal é ainda um país de primeiro mundo, com uma renda per capita bem maior que a do Brasil. Mas não se justifica que devamos usar o seu português, que diga-se de passagem tem incontáveis diferenças em relação ao português brasileiro. 

Effects of maternal smoking continue long after birth


sciencedaily.com


Society For Neuroscience,

Early exposure to nicotine can trigger widespread genetic changes that affect formation of connections between brain cells long after birth, a new Yale-led study has found. The finding helps explains why maternal smoking has been linked to behavioral changes such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, addiction and conduct disorder.
Nicotine does this by affecting a master regulator of DNA packaging, which in turn influences activity of genes crucial to the formation and stabilization of synapses between brain cells, according to the study published online May 30 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

"When this regulator is induced in mice, they pay attention to a stimulus they should ignore,'' said Marina Picciotto, the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry, professor in the Child Study Center and the Departments of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, and senior author of the paper.

An inability to focus is the hallmark of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other behavioral disorders, which have been linked to maternal smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. However, scientists did not understand how early environmental exposure to smoking could create behavioral problems years later.
Picciotto's lab found that mice exposed to nicotine during early development did indeed develop behavioral problems that mimic symptoms of attention deficit disorder in humans. They then did extensive genomic screening of mice exposed to nicotine and found higher levels of activity in a key regulator of histone methylation -- a process that controls gene expression by changing the DNA wrapping around chromosomes. The researchers found that genes essential to the creation of brain synapses were heavily effected.
Furthermore, the scientists found that these genetic changes were maintained even in adult mice. However, when researchers inhibited the master regulator of histone methylation, these adult mice were calmer and no longer reacted to a stimulus they should ignore. In a final test, they triggered expression of this regulator in mice never exposed to nicotine, and the mice exhibited behavior that mimicked attention deficit disorder.
"It is exciting to find a signal that could explain the long-lasting effects of nicotine on brain cell structure and behavior," Picciotto said. "It was even more intriguing to find a regulator of gene expression that responds to a stimulus like nicotine and may change synapse and brain activity during development."
Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Yale University. The original item was written by Bill Hathaway. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Narcotic painkillers prolong pain in rats, says study


sciencedaily.com

 Findings may have far-reaching implications for humans

University of Colorado at Boulder,

The dark side of painkillers -- their dramatic increase in use and ability to trigger abuse, addiction and thousands of fatal overdoses annually in the United States is in the news virtually every day.

Brace for another shot across the bow: Opioids like morphine have now been shown to paradoxically cause an increase in chronic pain in lab rats, findings that could have far-reaching implications for humans, says a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Led by CU-Boulder Assistant Research Professor Peter Grace and Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins, the study showed that just a few days of morphine treatment caused chronic pain that went on for several months by exacerbating the release of pain signals from specific immune cells in the spinal cord. The results suggest that the recent escalation of opioid prescriptions in humans may be a contributor to chronic pain, said Grace.

"We are showing for the first time that even a brief exposure to opioids can have long-term negative effects on pain," said Grace, who is a faculty member along with Watkins in CU-Boulder's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. "We found the treatment was contributing to the problem."

A paper on the study was published May 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study showed that a peripheral nerve injury in rats sends a message from damaged nerve cells to spinal cord immune cells known as glial cells, which normally act as "housekeepers" to clear out unwanted debris and microorganisms. The first signal of pain sends glial cells into an alert mode, priming them for further action.
"I look at it like turning up a dimmer switch on the spinal cord," said Grace.
When the injury was treated with just five days of opioids the glial cells went into overdrive, triggering a cascade of actions, including spinal cord inflammation. Watkins said the initial pain signals to the spinal cord and the subsequent morphine-induced treatment is a two-hit process, which she likened to slapping a person's face.
"You might get away with the first slap, but not the second," she said. "This one-two hit causes the glial cells to explode into action, making pain neurons go wild."
The team discovered that the pain signals from a peripheral injury combined with subsequent morphine treatment worked together to cause a glial cell signaling cascade. The cascade produces a cell signal from a protein called interleukin-1beta (IL-1b), which increases the activity of pain-responsive nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. That can cause increases in pain duration lasting several months.
"The implications for people taking opioids like morphine, oxycodone and methadone are great, since we show the short-term decision to take such opioids can have devastating consequences of making pain worse and longer lasting," said Watkins. "This is a very ugly side to opioids that had not been recognized before."
Roughly 20,000 Americans died in 2015 from overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
On the up side, the researchers have found ways to block specific receptors on glial cells that recognize opioids. This could allow for some pain relief while potentially preventing chronic pain. The team used a designer drug technology known as DREADD to selectively turn off targeted glial cells, something that has not been done before, said Grace.
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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

One third of children have higher levels of cardiometabolic risk factors due to family history


A new study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) shows that children with a strong family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and/or type 2 diabetes were found to have cholesterol levels significantly higher than children with no family history of those conditions.
The research conducted by Dr Nina Berentzen, Dr Alet Wijga and Dr Annemieke Spijkerman (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands) and colleagues found that one third of the 12-year-olds studied had a strong family history of one or both diseases. This group also had unfavourable levels of cardiometabolic markers in the form of higher total cholesterol, and a higher ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol than the groups with moderate or no family history of disease. Children with elevated levels of these markers may also have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes in adulthood.
Family history of disease reflects a complex combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle characteristics that are shared by family members, and can provide valuable information about a multitude of factors that influence disease risk in children. This study considers both CVD in the form of heart attacks (referred to as myocardial infarction [MI]) and strokes, and type 2 diabetes which often occur together, and which share risk factors including high blood pressure, unhealthy diet, a lack of physical activity, and being overweight or obese.
While these conditions have been studied in the past, previous efforts lacked critical information about family history of CVD and type 2 diabetes. This study is therefore the first to investigate the occurrence of both diseases across two generations of parents and grandparents, and relate it to measurable risk factors in children.
A broad sample of children and their families involved in an ongoing Dutch population-based birth cohort study: The Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) Study were invited to take part. Out of the original group of 3,963 children born in 1996/97, 1,511 participated in a clinical assessment at age 12, and around age 14, parents were asked to complete questionnaires which included items on their family history of CVD and diabetes. This provided a study population of 1,374 children (704 girls and 670 boys) who had both a clinical assessment at age 12 and parental reports on their family history of disease.
Parents were asked to report any history of MI, stroke and diabetes for both the biological parents and grandparents of the child, as well as the age at onset of those conditions. The family history for each child was then placed into one of three categories based on the severity of risk it presented. These was 'no family history' if they had no affected parents and grandparents, 'moderate family history' if they had 1-2 grandparents with late disease onset, and 'strong family history' if they had one affected parent, or at least one grandparent with early disease onset, or 3-4 grandparents with late disease onset. Early onset was defined as <55 y in grandfathers and <65 y in grandmothers for both MI and stroke, while for diabetes it was defined as <50 y for both grandfathers and grandmothers, as used in previous studies of this kind. Prevalence of CVD and diabetes in the parents of children involved in the study was found to be comparable to rates within the general age-matched Dutch population.
Children had a range of measurements taken at age 12, including BMI, waist circumference and cholesterol, blood pressure, and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), a standard method for assessing blood sugar control and diabetes status. Other characteristics used to describe the children taking part in the study were their sex, ethnicity (Dutch, Non-Dutch western, Non-Dutch non-western), age, pubertal development, as well as the age, education level and BMI of their parents.
The study found that: "Overall, children with a moderate family history of CVD and/or diabetes had no unfavourable cardiometabolic markers whereas children with a strong family history did, when compared to children with no family history." Adjusting for the BMI of the parents, and even factoring in the BMI of the child did little to change the effect estimates of the various cardiometabolic markers in those children with a strong family history of disease.
The authors state: "Our study is the first to investigate both diabetes and CVD history in two generations. Our findings add to the previous findings that in 12-year-old children from a contemporary cohort, history of MI and diabetes in parents and grandparents may be a relevant and important risk factor for unfavourable waist circumference, levels of cholesterol and HbA1c, and potentially for future cardiometabolic disease, largely independent of parental and child BMI."
Awareness of the links between cardiometabolic risk factors in children and family history may increase the motivation of families to follow healthy lifestyle guidelines but could also have implications for how preventive efforts are targeted. Often, the groups with the highest risk (lower income families and those from ethnic minorities) are the hardest to reach with preventive strategies.
Most of the associations between family disease history and cardiometabolic markers persisted, even after adjusting for the BMI of the parents and child. Using BMI as an indicator of lifestyle (such as diet or physical activity) shared within families could not completely explain the link between family disease history and the risk factors observed in the child. The authors note that: "even children with a healthy weight could be at risk for unfavourable levels of cardiometabolic markers if their parents or grandparents had MI or diabetes."
The authors say: "Future studies may especially focus on lifestyle behaviours that are passed on from one generation to the next since these may account for (part of) the association of diabetes/CVD in multiple generations with offspring cardiometabolic risk."
They conclude: "One third of the children in our study had a strong family history of CVD and/or diabetes. These children had higher levels of total cholesterol and a higher ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol than children with no family history. A strong family history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes was independently associated with unfavourable cardiometabolic markers specific to those diseases."
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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Diabetologia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Running may be better than cycling for long-term bone health


 
 
 

Exercise that puts greater strain on bones, like running, may improve long-term bone health more effectively than non weight-bearing activities like cycling, conclude the authors of a new study measuring the hormones of mountain ultra-marathon runners. The results of the study are presented today at the European Congress of Endocrinology.
Previous research from the Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi in Milan found that cyclists racing in ultra-endurance conditions suffered chronic bone resorption -- where calcium from bone is released into the blood stream, weakening bones. In this study, the same group set to find out whether a similar group of elite athletes -- mountain ultra-marathon runners -- had the same response.
The researchers measured two vital bone constituents as well as hormones associated with energy regulation. Osteocalcin and P1NP are two proteins associated with bone formation and their levels in blood are an indicator of bone health. Glucagon, leptin and insulin are hormones involved in regulating metabolism and indicate the body's energy needs. Increasing glucagon levels indicate an energy demand, whilst increasing insulin and leptin levels indicate adequate or excessive energy levels. The researchers measured these three hormones as well as levels of osteocalcin and P1NP in 17 trained runners before and after a 65-km mountain ultramarathon run and compared it to the hormones and bone constituents of twelve adults of the same age who didn't run the race but did low to moderate physical exercise.
Compared to the control group, ultramarathon runners had higher levels of glucagon and lower levels of leptin and insulin when finishing the race. The falling levels of insulin within this group were linked to similarly falling levels of both osteocalcin and P1NP -- suggesting that athletes may be diverting energy from bone formation to power the high-energy demands of their metabolism. However, ultramarathon runners had higher P1NP levels at rest compared to controls, suggesting that they may divert energy from bones during racing but have a net gain in bone health in the long-term.
"The every-day man and woman need to exercise moderately to maintain health," said Dr Giovanni Lombardi, lead author of the study. "However, our findings suggest that those at risk of weaker bones might want to take up running rather than swimming or cycling."
One theory that could explain the effect of different exercises on bone formation is the role of osteocalcin, explains Dr Lombardi. "Previous studies have shown that osteocalcin communicates with beta cells in the pancreas, which regulate the body's glucose metabolism," he said. "Because running exerts a higher physical load on bone than swimming or cycling, it could be that these forces stimulate bone tissue to signal to the pancreas to help meet its energy needs in the long-term."
"Our work has shown that bones aren't just lying idle, but are actively communicating with other organs and tissues to drive the body's energy needs," said Dr Lombardi. "We often find that metabolic conditions and fracture risks are linked to the same underlying condition, so the more we learn about the interaction between bones and body metabolism, the better we will understand complex but important diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis."
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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by European Society of Endocrinology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.