US: UCSanDiego team develops diabetes drug that could completely reverse the disease (Reblogged from Sparkonit)

A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego, is developing a pill that restores insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body’s response to insulin – a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood – gets weaker. Commercially available drugs so far only remove excess glucose…

via Team Develops Diabetes Drug That Could Completely Reverse The Disease — Sparkonit

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The Jolly Good News

2B6529A2-C255-4CC9-A5D8-2194F052659D_w268_r1Researchers have designed a synthetic molecule that tricks the AIDS virus into destroying itself. The compound, called DAVEI, was developed by researchers at Philadelphia’s Drexel University and causes the deadly pathogen to eject its contents before it can infect human cells.

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UK: Oban and Tobermory Lifeboats in rescue of diver with suspected ‘bends’ or decompression sickness ashore on Mull – 270813 2035z

Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew went to the aid of a diver with suspected ‘bends’ or decompression sickness ashore on the same day that the RNLI has called on divers to help undertake research into diver safety.

Tobermory Lifeboat (Photo: RNLI)


The crew were preparing to attend the station for their weekly Tuesday night training session when their pagers went off shortly after 1830. The male diver, who had developed possible symptoms of decompression sickness having come ashore in Tobermory, was taken on to the Severn class lifeboat which launched at 1850. Tobermory lifeboat proceeded to rendezvous with Oban lifeboat in the Sound of Mull. The casualty was transferred onto Oban lifeboat which had a specialist dive doctor on board. The casualty was then taken to Oban to be transferred to the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.


The ‘shout’ came on the same day that the RNLI called on divers the charity with research into participation and attitudes to safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey which launches today.

Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). The RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures. The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer.

Tobermory’s full time Coxswain Andrew McHaffie said: ‘This was a timely reminder that whilst diving is a popular sport, problems can and do arise. This year alone, Tobermory RNLI has gone to the assistance of six divers. Nationally, the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews have rescued 96 divers and saved 13 divers’ lives in the past five years. The RNLI is hoping to hear from divers of all levels of experience, so we can then develop really targeted and relevant safety advice to help them enjoy their sport as safely as possible.’

The online survey will run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience – is invited to visit and complete the short survey. The research is being undertaken by Substance, on behalf of the RNLI. To supplement the online survey, face-to-face surveys will be conducted at dive sites, charter boat launch and departure points, and at the NEC Dive Show (Dive 2013) in October. In-depth interviews and focus groups will also be conducted. Divers wishing to take part in these are encouraged to contact Substance via the survey website.

This was Tobermory RNLI’s 33rd launch of 2013 and so far this year the volunteer crew has assisted 56 people.

Key facts about the RNLI


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.


The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices. – RNLI


A map from the Ordnance Survey of grid reference NM at a scale of 1:250.000 (Image:

Meteorology: ‘Rivers’ in air could boost flooding – 250713 2055z

‘Rivers’ in air could boost flooding


Cockermouth in 2009 The flooding in Cockermouth in 2009 was caused by one such atmospheric river


Winter floods could intensify in Britain, according to new research into powerful weather systems called “atmospheric rivers”.


Only identified about 20 years ago, atmospheric rivers are intense bands of moisture that flow through the air.


Known to be responsible for heavy rainfall, they have been blamed for severe flooding in California and the UK.


The new study suggests that warmer conditions could create more rivers – and make them more severe.


The paper is published by the Institute of Physics in Environmental Research Letters.


Atmospheric rivers are up to 300km wide and can stretch in length for over 1,000-2,000km. They flow invisibly between 1-2.5km above the surface of the ocean.


One atmospheric river is believed to have been behind the violent flooding that hit Cockermouth in Cumbria on 19 November 2009.


The flooding claimed the life of a policeman, PC Bill Barker, who died after a bridge collapsed.


The researchers, led by Dr David Lavers of the University of Iowa, have estimated the staggering volume of moisture carried by this particular atmospheric river.


They calculate that at its peak it was transporting almost 300,000 tonnes of moisture every second.


By comparison, the River Thames carries about 65 tonnes of water through London over the same period.

Remain on course

If the rivers make landfall and encounter a steep rise in terrain, the air is forced upwards where it cools and releases the moisture in the form of rain.


On top of that, if the river remains on the same course for 24 hours – as it did over Cumbria in 2009 – it will deliver a continuous flow of heavy rain over the same area.


The most closely-studied atmospheric river, which flows towards the California coast, has been dubbed the “Pineapple Express” because it usually originates from the region of Hawaii.




It has been linked to a number of extremely damaging storms along the US West Coast.


Over the last 30 years, there has been an average of 9-11 of the strongest atmospheric river events hitting Britain every year.


In this latest study, the researchers examined five different modelling scenarios to simulate possible conditions this century and found that a warming climate – which allows the atmosphere to hold more moisture – made the rivers more likely.


Dr Lavers said: “All five models suggest that there could be a doubling of atmospheric river events in the period 2074-99 and most of those could be expected to make landfall in the UK.


“One of the big things is that these are the most relevant feature of winter flooding in Britain and the work is certainly suggesting an increase in strength and frequency.”

Computer modelling

Among the uncertainties about the research are the reliability of the models used to generate the future scenarios and possible shifts in the patterns of the winds – a change of course away from the UK would reduce the risk.


It was research in the 1970s that first identified “conveyor belts” of moisture travelling through the atmosphere, with later studies in the early 1990s detecting much narrower bands of intense vapour that became known as atmospheric rivers.


Dr Richard Allan of Reading University, also an author of the paper, said: “What this shows is that the dominating factor is the increase in water vapour which means that if you’ve got more moisture – and the winds don’t change -then you’ve got a much bigger potential for flooding.


“These are really massive flows of invisible water which can feed clouds and cause rainfall if forced up over mountains.”


The researchers say the study could help guide forecasters trying to give warning of future flood risks.

One in five households relying on loans and savings to pay for food bills


Austerity ‘has led to suicides’, say Oxford researchers

(Video credit: NewsPremiere)

Published on 30 Apr 2013

A group of researchers claim that austerity measures in Europe and North America are having a devastating effect on health, including increased levels of suicide and depression.
The author of the research, David Stuckler from Oxford University, and economist Howard Wheeldon spoke to BBC World’s Global programme.

Debt Despair: UK plagued by suicides as austerity shows no mercy

(Video credit: RussiaToday)

Published on 17 Feb 2013

Suicide rates are soaring in the UK, with money worries pushing many over the edge. Cuts to mental health services and aggressive debt-collecting are cited by experts as major factors aggravating the situation. RT’s Andrew Farmer met one mother, who lost her child over debt despair.

Inside Story – The human cost of austerity – AJE

(Video credit: AlJazeeraEnglish)

Published on 27 Oct 2012

Rates of suicide and depression are on the rise in Spain as the unemployment figures in the country reach a record high. So is this the human cost of austerity? Inside Story debates with guests: Diego Lopez, Madhur Jha and Maria Nyman.

Understanding How the Brain Speaks Two Languages

Health & Family

Learning to speak was the most remarkable thing you ever did. It wasn’t just the 50,000 words you had to master to become fluent or the fact that for the first six years of your life you learned about three new words per day. It was the tenses and the syntax and the entire scaffolding of grammar, not to mention the metaphors and allusions and the almost-but-not-quite synonyms.

But you accomplished it, and good for you. Now imagine doing it two or three times over — becoming bilingual, trilingual or more. The mind of the polyglot is a very particular thing, and scientists are only beginning to look closely at how acquiring a second language influences learning, behavior and the very structure of the brain itself. At a bilingualism conference last weekend convened by the Lycée Français de New York, where all students learn in both English and French, and the…

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Tobacco Company Reports Early Success With Better-for-You Cigarettes

Health & Family

Aside from not lighting up at all, cigarettes developed to reduce a smoker’s exposure to tobacco’s toxins may be the best way to reduce health risks from smoking.

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Research on the Use of Sugar in Medical Treatment

Shaun's World Humanities Blog

A nurse is researching whether or not sugar can be used to effectively treat wounds, as is said in a family remedy. The idea behind this hypothesis is that sugar draws water away from wounds which in turn prevents bacteria from multiplying, preventing or helping prevent infection. The sample size of the research is not large enough yet to be able to consider it a success, but the results so far from 35 patients hint towards it being effective.

In the article it mentions a man, Alan Bayliss, who had his right leg amputated from above the knee. The procedure involved removing a vein from his left leg which resulted in wound that would not heal properly. The treatment involved using a good amount of sugar at first, with the first dressing using almost a whole pot of sugar, but it needed less as the treatment went on, only need 4…

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The Search for New Antibiotics

Shaun's World Humanities Blog

In the past few years there has been a growing search for new kinds of antibiotics. This is a result of many bacterial illnesses becoming resistant to current antibiotics. I recently read an article that said a resistant strain of tuberculosis was causing deaths in South Africa, and that if it spread to the rest of the world there would be little ways to stop it. I can’t find the article, unfortunately, and to be honest it seemed to be written with a bit media glamorization in attempts to get more views, but glamorization aside the spread of a resistant TB strain is a topic worthy of discussion. TB isn’t the only illness that has become resistant to antibiotics though, it’s just the most recent example I’ve seen, the search for new antibiotics is a pretty important search to be taking place because things we thought we had beaten, such…

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The Jolly Good News

vision-080113The new year brought in good news for the visually challenged from around the world after researchers from the University of Oxford successfully restored eye sight in mice. By using a powerful, new treatment, the team of scientists were effectively able to reverse the blindness, indicating that similar treatment could help people with degenerative eye disease.

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Study: Link Between Pot And Psychosis Tricky For Teens


WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Marijuana use is being linked in both cause-and-effect directions between teens and symptoms of psychosis.

Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands believe that marijuana use may be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms in young people.

But they also believe that psychotic symptoms in teens may lead them to use pot.

“We have focused mainly on temporal order; is it the chicken or the egg? As the study shows, it is a bidirectional relationship,” wrote the study’s lead author Merel Griffith-Lendering, a doctoral candidate at Leiden University in The Netherlands, in an email to Reuters Health.

Previous research on the topic has established links between the two, but no conclusive evidence has been found to pointing to any exact causality.

A 2010 study of 3,800 Australian teenagers found that those who used marijuana were twice as likely to develop psychosis compared to teens…

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MIT breakthrough could lead to paper-thin bullet-proof armor

Technology Buzz

Scientists have theorized that paper-thin composite nanomaterials could stop bullets just as effectively as heavy weight body armor, but progress has been hampered by their inability to reliably test such materials against projectile impacts. Researchers at MIT and Rice University have developed a breakthrough stress-test that fires microscopic glass beads at impact-absorbing material. Although the projectiles are much smaller than a bullet, the experimental results could be scaled up to predict how the material would stand up to larger impacts.

The glass beads, described as “millionths of a meter in diameter,” are propelled using a laser pulse technique developed by MIT’s Keith Nelson over several years. His technique was modified with the help of scientists from Rice University in experiments conducted at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. Their work, reported in the journal Nature Communications, was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office, which is keen to reduce the…

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Young cannabis users ‘do not realise the huge danger to their health’ – Published 6 June 2012

Drug carries 20 times the cancer risk of a plain tobacco cigarette yet 88 per cent believe it is safer

(Click photo to visit source)

Cannabis smoking poses a 20-times greater risk of lung cancer per cigarette than tobacco smoking yet most users of the drug are unaware of its dangers, a report says today.

The UK’s most popular illicit recreational drug is used by more than a third of people under 24, but 88 per cent believe it is less dangerous than tobacco.

One in three said it did not harm health, despite research linking it to respiratory, circulatory and psychiatric problems.

The British Lung Foundation, which commissioned the survey, said the findings were “alarming”. –

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