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John Birks • Author at Mirror Daily

The new Gatorade is organic.

(Mirror Daily, United States) With people being so concerned about their health, some of the beverage and food companies tend to keep up with their customers’ desire. Gatorade is one of these companies, which has recently announced they will deliver a new, organic product. However, how healthy is the new Gatorade?

Gatorade products are popular among sports enthusiasts. The new Gatorade has already been tested on customers on some of the supermarkets in the Unites States. According to officials, it comes in three flavors, namely lemon, strawberries, and berries.

Specialists at the United States Department of Agriculture stated that the new Gatorade would be better than the old products. However, it is not among the most healthy beverages that people can consume. It will still contain sugar. Doctors have always advised people to reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

According to the label of the products, it seems that the new Gatorade is healthier because it doesn’t contain sucralose, which is a sugar’s substitute. The previous products contained both sugar and sucralose, so the organic beverage comes, indeed, with improvements.

The natural flavors the beverage used to contain have now been replaced by organic natural flavors. The nutritionists also mentioned that this is a good change, as the other substances stood as potential factors which could trigger diseases.

Another good call from the company was to use potassium chloride for the new Gatorade instead of substances such as monopotassium phosphate and acesulfame potassium. The previous variant of the beverage did contain these substances. Some of the specialists consider them to be dangerous, as they could increase the risk of cancer on people who consume them in any form.

The new Gatorade seems to be an improved version of the beverage. Nevertheless is it not a healthy product, as specialists suggest so. Their analyses show that there are almost thirty grams of sugar in each organic Gatorade bottle. This is a concerning amount of sugar, nutritionists say. It is even worse because the beverage addresses sports enthusiasts. Specialists do not advise people who work out to use sugary beverages after their exercises.

Nutrition experts state that people shouldn’t consume excessive sweet products in any circumstances. Their health depends on their eating habits.

The new, organic beverage from Gatorade will be available for buyers starting this autumn.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia 

Antibiotics cause food allergies to children

(Mirror Daily, United States) Antibiotics, or antibacterials, are not recommended for children. This is a piece of advice coming from doctors. Although it may be hard for parents to see their children in pain, it seems like other means of treating them are more adequate. New research documents on the negative effects of antibiotics administered to children at an early age.

A new study was carried out by specialists at the University of South Carolina. The study points out that antibiotics administered to children under one year of age can cause them food allergies.

The researchers at the University of South Carolina investigated the cases of more than six thousand children. Some of them had food allergies, and some of them didn’t. The results pointed out the fact that children who were treated with antibiotics had 1.21 chances to develop food allergies.

Researchers were very careful while analyzing the data. They took into consideration factors such as the child’s current age and the mother’s age, breastfeeding, race, and residence, among others.

Statistics show that antibiotics are prescribed to children aged two months in the United States. Cephalosporin and sulfonamide were detected as two of the riskiest substances which can trigger food allergies at an early age.

The new study addresses parents, doctors, and health providers alike.

The leader of the team of researchers at the University of South Carolina is doctor Bryan Love. He is aware of the fact that more elaborate studies should determine which of the ill children really need antibiotics. Excessive use of medicine doesn’t only determine the organism to get used to the drug, but also can have other long-term effects, like triggering food allergies later in life.

Researchers were not able to identify the exact relation between how the medicine works and the later developed food allergies. They think that the process has to do with damaging the gut flora.

Previous studies documented the negative effects of antibiotics too. According to them, the drugs were responsible for obesity in children, or even for the developing of respiratory diseases, such as asthma.

Parenting can be difficult, but one of the most important things is to take care of your child’s health. Further studies will investigate the issue. Researchers hope to come up with solutions of properly diagnosing children, as well as alternative solutions to antibiotics.

Image courtesy of: Flickr

Previous Alaska maps were not satisfying for researchers

(Mirror Daily, United States) Researchers have recently announced that the Arctic mapping project has good results. The project was initiated by President Barack Obama one year ago, and now researchers are pleased with the outcome. Although it has been a challenging task, the new Alaska maps are more accurate than ever.

Various institutions were a part of the topographical project: the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Science Foundation, University of Minnesota, and Cornell University among them.

The new Alaska maps are accurate thanks to the high technology satellites which provided the researchers with images. Measurements and calculations made on the field by specialists were also included. The clear images were provided by special instruments and devices, which are more proper for the job than the ones that specialists used before.

What you can see now on the new Arctic maps are specific details of mountains, slopes, river valleys and any other particular terrain structure. The data used for the proper mapping has been gathered throughout the years, although that project is only one year old. This information also helps researchers study the climate and environmental changes which took place over the years.

Although these Alaska maps are better than the previous ones, specialists will never cease their efforts of improving the maps.The proper mapping of Alaska is only a step of a greater plan, that of protecting the region against global warming.

What the team of researchers is going to do next is to map the rest of the Arctic. The first results are only valid for Alaska. Specialists hope that the other plans will be finished by the end of the next year.

Paul Morin (University of Minnesota) is the director of the Polar Geospatial Center is aware of how important this accomplishment is for the entire scientific community, as he declared the following:

“This changes how science will be done in the Arctic. It’s a biologist’s dream, a geologist’s dream, a geographer’s dream. Anybody who deals with the surface of the Earth needs these data.”

Specialists are pleased with the results because it has been a challenging task, as Alaska is one of the remote corners of the Earth. They also say that the old Alaska maps were poorer than the topographical maps of celestial bodies, like Mars or the Moon.

If you are curious about how the new Alaska maps look like, you can find the results online.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

A New Jersey dentist is accused of malpractice

(Mirror Daily, United States) A malpractice case was detected in New Jersey. A dentist is suspected to having caused infections on several of his patients, who needed further surgery because of the complications. One of the infections led to the death of the patient. The Department of Health confirmed all the cases.

The careless dentist’ name is John Vecchione. He worked as a dentist at the North Jersey Oral Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery. He signed his suspension agreement earlier this week. Fifteen of his patients reported infections which actually caused heart conditions to them, and they had to undergo heart surgery. Unfortunately, one of the patients died because of the complications.

The fifteen patients requested  John Vecchione’s services between 2012 and 2014. Although the dentist has already signed the suspension, he still doesn’t admit having done something wrong, or the malpractice accusations.

The patients who went to the dentist’s needed their teeth removed or another sort of dental intervention. The male patient who died had never had heart problems before, as reports show. He was 54 years old when he had his tooth removed at the a North Jersey Oral Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery cabinet by John Vecchione in January, three years ago.

The complaint informs that the man died within less than a year after the stated procedure made by John Vecchione. He was diagnosed with a heart condition which required surgery and post-operative treatment. Complications after surgery led to his death.

Apart from the 54 years old man, other eleven patients need to be hospitalized because of the infection at the North Jersey Oral Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery cabinet. They were also diagnosed with heart diseases and needed to undergo surgery.

It is believed that the dentist didn’t manage properly the safety measures against infection.

Complaints on the professional activity of John Vecchione started to emerge in 2014. Authorities also made visits at the dentist’s workplace. Reports show that there is evidence of breaking the rules of sterilization, as well as reused syringes and alcohol pumps, expired medication, and other substances which might have been key factors in triggering the infections.

John Vecchione is now waiting for his hearing scheduled next month, on October 5. The judges will decide whether he has the right of regaining his license and going back to work, or not.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

The alligator snapping turtle is among the nine endangered species

(Mirror Daily, United States) Birds, mammals, and insects have their contribution to the natural world’s balance. Authorities acknowledge the critical situation of threatened animals, and this is why nine endangered species will now be on the list of protected animals. The decision was made by the Center for Biological Diversity in collaboration with federal officials at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The decision which will help protect nine endangered species was made on August 30. Among the animals to be saved, there are the Northern Rockies fisher, the alligator snapping turtle, the California spotted owl, and the Beaverpond marstonia.

By October 2017, officials will have reached a decision on the Northern Rockies fishers. They don’t only face the loss of habitat, but also legal trapping in Montana. Although they used to live on wide forest areas, their habitat ground is much smaller nowadays. Fishers are part of the weasel family, and they are the size of a normal cat. There was another proposal for them to be protected by law, back in 2011, but as the number of the individuals is not know, it was considered that trapping does not severely diminish the population.

Authorities will have decided the plan for the alligator snapping turtle by September 2020. This species of turtle lives in rivers, and it is easily identifiable by its appearance: it has a thick shell with solid scales. They can weigh two hundred pounds, and reach more than two feet long.  Research shows that their habitat has been severely reduced.

Two fish species (the barrens topminnow and the Virgin River spinedace) will also be added to the revised list of endangered animals, as well as the foothill yellow-legged frog. These amphibians live in rivers and tend to lay their eggs between rocks.

An insect, the cobblestone tiger beetle, is also among the nine endangered species that will be protected by law. This species is also to be found in rivers, mostly in the eastern parts of the United States. It is believed that only one hundred individuals can be found in the wild at the moment.

The situation of the Beaverpond marstonia (a freshwater snail) is even worse, as specialists didn’t find any specimens throughout the last years of research.

A mollusk is also on the list of endangered animals: the Canoe Creek pigtoe.

Experts hope their efforts will save the populations of endangered animals.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

(Mirror Daily, United States) Coma patients have a very delicate situation and few chances of being again like they used to be. It is only possible through surgery, which is a riskful procedure. Now a recent discovery in the medical field gives new hope to patients, their families and doctors alike: it is an ultrasound technique which can revive patients brains.

UCLA doctors have recently discovered the ultrasound technique, which helps them “jump-start” the brain of coma patients. They have already tested it with a 25 years old patient, and the results were visible within only three days. The young man woke up and communicated with his doctors. He was able to understand and perceive the messages around him, and answer with “yes” or “no” by nodding and shaking his head.

According to TechTimes, this is how the ultrasound technique works:

“The technique involves exciting the neurons of thalamus with the help of sonic stimulations. Thalamus is a small oval shaped structure in the brain that is crucial for processing variety of information. The brain stimulation of patients in vegetative state or those recovering from coma is usually done by implanting electrodes inside thalamus surgically.”

Researchers at UCLA are very pleased with the results. Martin Monti, who is psychology and neurosurgery professor, was also the leader of the team of researchers. In a press release, he stated the following:

“It’s almost as if we were jump-starting the neurons back into function. “Until now, the only way to achieve this was a risky surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted directly inside the thalamus. Our approach directly targets the thalamus but is noninvasive.”

Another member of the team was co-author Alexander Bystritsky.

As stated above, the ultrasound technique is a massive breakthrough in the medical field, as there is no need for surgery for coma patients anymore.

Professor Martin Monti further added:

“It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering. The changes were remarkable.”

The recovery of the 25 years patient through this technique was a premiere for doctors. As it was a success, they intend to use it with other patients as well.

A study was also written, documenting on the ultrasound technique destined to reactivate the brains of coma patients. It can be found in Brain Stimulation (journal).

Image courtesy of: Flickr

The eight-legged creature inspired the design of the Octobot

(Mirror Daily, United States) The latest invention from Harvard University is a so-called octobot. It is a robot whose designed was inspired by octopuses, and it can be interpreted as a new statement on how technology finds its most inspirational models in nature.

The octobot has, obviously, eight legs, but the curious thing about it is another one, namely that it is soft. This new kind of robot can turn into a prototype of future robots, as it simulates textures. In addition to this, the moves it makes are also similar to those that flesh and blood organism make.

John A. Paulson, George Whitesides, and Robert Wood were part of the research and engineers’ team.  They released several details on the process of creation of the octobot. It was partially generated with the help of 3D printing and scanning. The soft robot is autonomous, and also uses hydrogen peroxide as its power source. For the time being, the robot can only move its many arms around, but engineers are working on improvements that will make the robot use much more functions.

The developers behind the project are aware of the fact that this is a highly important discovery in the field, as there have been many previous attempts at designing and creating a soft robot. John A. Paulson  declared the following:

“One long-standing vision for the field of soft robotics has been to create robots that are entirely soft, but the struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together. This research demonstrates that we can easily manufacture the key components of a simple, entirely soft robot, which lays the foundation for more complex designs.”

Researcher Robert Wood also released a statement, according to TechChruch:

“The struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together. This research demonstrates that we can easily manufacture the key components of a simple, entirely soft robot, which lays the foundation for more complex designs.”

As we could have expected it, the researchers and engineers don’t intend to stop here. The bot resembling an octopus is only the beginning of what octobot technology can achieve.

The new study was published in Nature (journal) on August 24.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

Doctor preparing one of the breast cancer patients for consultation

(Mirror Daily, United States) Cancer is a terrible condition which can strike out of the blue, and for which no remedy stands as the ultimate cure. What’s more, chemotherapy is also a drag for patients, because it causes them pain and hair loss, among other disadvantages. This is why researchers try to find an alternative solution to chemo, and they think they might have found one for breast cancer patients.

Researchers discovered that women who are diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer could give up chemotherapy thanks to a new test. It is called MammaPrint, and it implies no medication, and patients are free from following any painful treatment as the risk of the disease to come back is low.

Although chemotherapy is good at destroying cancer cells, it also destroys healthy cells, which leads to several complications in women’s lives.

The new method, MammaPrint, has been tested in hospitals in several European countries for the past five years, and had good results. 6.600 women enjoyed the results, and many of them had a normal life after cancer surgery and no chemotherapy.

In the United Kingdom, there are more than 50 thousand diagnoses of breast cancer each year, and approximately 70% of the cases turn out to be early stages of the disease. Usually, all breast cancer patients would follow chemotherapy, which assured a higher level of safety, but the new test can predict which patients really need the treatment and which could skip it, being out of danger.

Doctor Laura van ‘t Veer is the one who developed this project. She told The Telegraph about the success of the test:

“The trial has proved with the highest level of evidence that, by evaluating the expression of 70 key genes, MammaPrint provides an accurate, definitive assessment of the risk of breast cancer recurrence, empowering physicians to make confident, informed treatment decisions with their patients.”

Even if breast cancer patients had their surgery and the test allowed them to skip chemotherapy, the doctors are still interested in their evolution and health status.

If Europe uses MammaPrint, in the United States there is another test which can be used, namely Oncotype DX.

A study was written based on the results of the trail and it was published in New England Journal of Medicine.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

The Micro lion is from the same family of carnivore marsupials as Thylacoleo (picture above)

(Mirror Daily, United States) Australia is the home of the most bizarre creatures on Earth: platypuses, koala bears, kangaroos. A recent discovery adds one more to the list, although it is only a fossil: micro lion. It has nothing to do with lions in the savanna, and this is why it perfectly fits among the Australian fauna.

Fossils of what seems to be a new species of marsupials were found in Riversleigh World Heritage Area of Queensland. Because this is what the micro lion actually is: a small sized marsupial. It only weighs 600 grams (1.3 pounds), and it is quite smaller than a regular cat. Nevertheless, it is related to cats, such as lions too, only by the fact that it has razor sharp teeth, which means it is a carnivore.

This micro lion is an extinct species and researchers think it lived about 18 million years ago. They only found a small skull and several teeth. Judging by the fossils, they also believe that the micro lion was actually smaller than Thylacoleo carnifex, another type of marsupial carnivore lion.

The research team gave the species an interesting name, which has to do with its small sizes and with biologist David Attenborough. There is an excerpt of the study which explains the denomination:

“The species name honours Sir David Attenborough for his dedication and enthusiasm in promoting the natural history of the world and the paleontological treasures of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area in particular.”

Anna Gillespie, a member of the research team, compared the micro lion to other relatives of its own, living in fascinating Australia:

“Microleo shared these northern Miocene rainforests with two larger species of marsupial lion, one cat-sized and the other dog-sized. Although it is possible they competed with one other, the size differences probably means they each specialised on a different size range of prey.”

The first marsupial lion ever discovered was actually the Thylacoleo carnifex, back in 1858. Studies on the animal revealed it was quite fierce and aggressive, being able to kill larger sized animals than it was. The micro lion is also believed to be an intimidating opponent, being able to rule the food chain at a lower level.

The study was published in Palaeontologia Electronica, an online publication.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

NASA is confident about Space Launch System

(Mirror Daily, United States) Engineers at NASA are proud of their new achievement, which proved to be excellent at the final tests. What they recently have tested for was the engine of the Space Launch System (SLS) deep-space rocket, which may take astronauts to Mars as soon as possible.

Space Launch System’s engine is an RS-25 model. It underwent three tests so far, and the results are satisfying, leading engineers to believe that the other tests to come will be as successful as these ones. The prototype has to undergo six such trials, which will assure its creators that everything works properly when in space. The next tests are due to this autumn.

The latest test confirmed that the engine has enough power to propel the NASA rocket. The performance of the engine was tested last Thursday, on August 18, and it lasted for about seven minutes. The testing took place in Mississippi. There was also press at the event, and a conference was held a day before the testing.

The Space Launch System’s will require four RS-25 engines, as it needs a lot of power and will be able to carry four people.  Science Alert reports on the preparations for the launching of the rocket:

“When completed, the SLS will be powered by two five-segment boosters – one of which was tested earlier this month – and four RS-25 main engines.”

RS-25 engines were used by NASA before, but now they have been greatly improved. The leading specialist behind the project is Aerojet Rocketdyne, and he also supervised the tests on his product.

One of the astronauts, Rick Mastracchio, declared on the prototype at a conference in Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi:

“SLS is going to be the most powerful rocket ever built when it’s done several years from now. It’s going to have to throw up all this hardware into low Earth orbit so we can then take it to the Moon and beyond, all the way to Mars.” (Rick Mastracchio, astronaut).

The first flight of the Space Launch System powered by its four RS-25 engines is scheduled two years from now, in 2018. By then, engineers promise to have finished all the other remaining tests.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

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