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Showing posts from January, 2016

One paragraph on the Zika Virus | One Paragraph Science

W e haven't quite forgotten the ebola virus and a new virus has appeared under the spotlight; the Zika virus. The Zika virus is spread by mosquitos, similar in a way to malaria. However, unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, it is relatively unknown and little studied. The virus is currently showing an alarming rise in cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The virus has also  been associated with an alarming rise in babies born in Brazil with abnormally small heads and brain defects -- a condition called microcephaly.  Zika is spread by the same mosquito as the dengue virus: Aedes aegypti. Dengue is a serious disease but it doesn't usually kill people, whereas, Zika, is much more serious in that it is able to pass through a woman's placenta and impact the unborn child.  Since the Zika outbreak began in northeastern Brazil last spring, an estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million people have been infected. The resulting illness only lasts a few days. The symptoms consist

Women are less likely to get the flu than men, thanks to Estrogen

This blog post was previously titled: Females are less prone to influenza than males, thanks to Estrogen.  E strogen and its derivatives have been found to protect against respiratory infections such as influenza, in females more than males. This new study was published in the American Journal of Physiology-- Lung Cellular and Physiology. A virus usually works/makes you ill by invading a cell in your body and making and replicating itself within the host cell. After being released from the host cell, the virus can go on to infect other cells in the body and also other people.   The less a virus replicates, the less severe the infection and the lower the risk it will be spread onto other people. The researchers used human nasal epithelial cells (hNECs) from male and female donors- which are the main cells which the flu virus targets - and exposed the nasal cells to  17β-estradiol   (i.e estrogen) or select estrogen modulators (SERMs) (these include natural and synthetic comp

Healthy, Roasted Coffee Beans, Thanks to Science

Dan Perlman, a biophysicist, and K.C Hayes, a nutritionist,  have previously  developed the "healthy fats" blend in the Smart Balance buttery spread over twenty years ago; have now invented the parbaked coffee bean. This new method of roasting green coffee beans is meant to enhance the health benefits of coffee. Perlman developed the flour milled from parbaked beans to act as both a food ingredient and a nutritional supplement.  Many studies have proven that drinking coffee is good for you and I've written several posts on coffee in the past  here , here , here and here :) Perlman wanted to study a way to roast coffee beans but at the same time not loose its health benefits. When coffee beans are roasted at over  400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes -- the CGA content drops dramatically. One study found the decrease ranged from 50 to nearly 100 percent. Chlorogenic acid (CGA)is an antioxidant. CGA is thought to be beneficial in controlling sugar me

New Elements Discovered - Completing the Periodic Table

The elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 have finally been discovered.   Laboratories in Russia, the United States and Japan have made many claims over the  years  that they have discovered them. But it was only at the end of 2015 when the elements were finally given their  permanent  place in the periodic table. A group of scientific experts at  The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina,  announced the group’s conclusions  on 30 December 2015. The four elements were made in the lab, by colliding  lighter atomic nuclei together. The unstable agglomerations of protons and neutrons lasted mere fractions of a second before they fell apart into smaller, more stable fragments. Each of the teams have been given recognition for their great findings which means that now, they can  put forward proposals  to name the new elements and assign them their two-letter symbols. A new element can be named after a range of th