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John Birks • Author at Mirror Daily

After a colon surgery, veterinarians discovered Tiffany had cancer

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Sunday was a sad day for the staff at Topeka Zoo in Kansas. Tiffany, a 49-year-old gorilla that everybody loved, passed out after veterinarians discovered she was suffering from stage 4 ovarian cancer. After performing a constipation surgery on the gorilla, they observed how the cancer had metastasized, and there was nothing more they could do.

Tiffany had cancer which metastasized

On Wednesday, Tiffany underwent an operation on her colon after suffering from severe constipation. After that, she didn’t show any improvements in her condition, and looked like she would never get better. Therefore, on Sunday, doctors decided to perform several CT scans on her.

This is how they discovered two massive abdominal masses. Afterwards, they found out these masses were actually tumors, and Tiffany was suffering from stage 4 ovarian cancer. They started another surgery, but the cancer had already spread, and there was nothing they could do. In this case, the wisest decision was to no longer wake the animal up after the operation.

Brendan Wiley, the director of Topeka Zoo, felt the need to explain the decision to euthanize the gorilla. Even if they had removed the tumors, it would still have been hard to administer a treatment to Tiffany. They could find no appropriate chemotherapy to give positive results.

The gorilla was one of the most loved animals at the zoo

Tiffany was among the most popular animals at Topeka Zoo, as she always received presents for Christmas or for her birthday. She died around 3 p.m. on Sunday, surrounded by all people who took care of her and loved her.

Immediately after Tiffany’s death, both staff and visitors shared the most beautiful experiences they lived with her. They are heartbroken, but happy they got to meet such an amazing animal that got to enjoy almost five decades of good life.
Image Source: Pixabay

The TRAPPIST-1 system is seemingly older than the Milky Way by quite a lot of years.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The TRAPPIST-1 system consists of planets that are candidates for supporting life outside our solar system. To gain insight into the condition of these planets and how they evolved, it is important to know the age of the star system. Until recently, age estimates of the TRAPPIST-1 have not been sufficiently precise.

Now, a new paper, available in preprint, by Adam Burgasser, from the University of California at San Diego and Eric Mamajek, a scientist from NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program in Pasadena, California, claims to bring a better estimate. They discovered that the age of the TRAPPIST-1 system is seemingly older than that of our own Sun.

TRAPPIST-1, Seemingly Older By Even Up to Double the Age?

In 2015, astronomers found three Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star about 40 light-years away. This is slightly larger than Jupiter but far more massive, making up the TRAPPIST-1 system. Since the initial discovery, a total of seven planets has been detected. The age of the star system has significant implications, for life to exist on these planets. In young star systems, planets would suffer from high-energy solar flares. In contrast, in older systems, planets could lose their atmosphere and water from long-term solar exposure, as it is believed to have occurred on Mars.

Burgasser and Mamajek determined this more precise age of TRAPPIST-1 by including multiple measurements. For example, they included the orbital speed around the Milky Way, as older stars move faster. They also looked at the TRAPPIST-1 system’s chemical compositions and the frequency of its solar flares. From this, they constrained the age of TRAPPIST-1 to be between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years, nearly two times older than that of our solar system.

This new information about the age of TRAPPIST-1 will allow exoplanetary scientists to gain insight about how planetary atmospheres form and evolve. It will also be offering clues about whether life would be possible on these planets, or not.

Image Source: JPL/NASA

Scientists concluded that the magnetic field of the Moon lasted 1 billion years more than thought.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – When a planetary body contains a molten core, the different levels of it can rotate in various directions. This the process that generates a magnetic field, one of the key protectors for the development of life. After examining several Moon rock samples, scientists now believe that the magnetic field of the Moon may well have lasted at least 1 billion years more than previously thought. 

The Longer Lasting Magnetic Field of the Moon and its Implications

The alternating spin is a form of dynamo, and the heavy, conducting metals in a planet’s core create a magnetic field when they turn as such. Those magnetic fields protect the planetary surface from exotic radiation emitted by its Sun. It is considered absolutely necessary to conditions that might generate life, as that radiation can be extremely damaging to biological processes.

Figuring out that the magnetic field of the Moon, which is a relatively small planetary body, lasted up to 1 billion years more than once believed has important implications in the search for life outside our solar system. If these planetary dynamos are more prevalent and durable than we thought, then the possibilities of finding planets with the necessary cosmic shield may improve as well.

The research team studied a rock that was returned by Apollo 15 astronauts in the 1970’s. This sample was dated and is estimated to be around 1 to 2.5 billion years old. It appears to have formed in the presence of a magnetic field of around five microteslas. While that is only one tenth the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, it is around a thousand times the power of magnetic fields in deep space.

“The concept of a planetary magnetic field produced by moving liquid metal is an idea that is really only a few decades old,” says study co-author Benjamin Weiss of MIT. “We can figure this out by knowing the lifetime of the lunar dynamo.”

A research paper with the results was published in the journal Science Advances. 

Image Source: Wikimedia

Copper cocktail mugs might bring with them health risks.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Recent studies have shown that copper cocktail mugs are bad for the health as they might cause foodborne illnesses. It is widely thought that high concentrations of copper are released into food when acidic food comes into contact with copper and copper alloys such as brass. Symptoms of copper poisoning may include stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, yellowing of the skin.

Copper Cocktail Mugs to Carry Hidden Health Risks

Iowa is one of many states that have taken action against copper and its alloys by adopting the federal Food and Drug Administration’s Model Food Code. This prohibits copper from coming into direct contact with any foods that have a pH level below 6.0. While a traditional Moscow Mule is typically served in copper cocktail mugs, its pH is well below 6.0.

However, Moscow Mules are not the only drinks that should never be served in copper drinking mugs. For example, vinegar, fruit juice, and wine have a pH well below 6.0 and should be consumed from a container lined with copper. Also included in the ban is copper tubing and plumbing used during the pre – fermentation and fermentation processes in brewpubs and microbreweries. During such processes, the copper comes into contact with beer that has a pH lower than 6.

However, when copper equipment is not used during the brewing process, it is common to add copper and zinc to provide essential nutrients that promote the growth of yeast. In turn, this is key to fermentation.The process of adding copper to the fermentation process is extremely delicate, as it has been found that exceeding a copper level above 0.2 mg/L is toxic to yeast. But remarkably, copper levels as low as 3.5 mg/L have been reported to induce symptoms of copper poisoning in humans.

It is noted in the health warning that copper mugs lined with other metals such as stainless steel or nickel are considered safe. While the risk of copper poisoning remains, it would be best to check that your next Moscow Mule is served in a stainless steel – lined mug.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Researchers have just discovered the fossil of an ancient shark-like predator

(Mirror Daily, United States) – In the north-east of Nevada, researchers discovered the fossil of a fish which should have resembled a shark’s appearance and way of eating. The fish was 5.9 feet long, and had long jaws and teeth. Researchers think this fish didn’t shallow whole its prey, but rather chewed it like a shark does.

The ancient marine predator resembled a shark

Researchers identified the species of the fish as Birgeria Americana, which was previously unknown. It should have lived in the sea covering Nevada and other neighboring states one million years after a massive extinction which took place about 252 million years earlier.

This event wiped out around 90 percent of all marine creatures. This led to a slow process of recovery, which extended over a period of 5 million years. Before they made this discovery, researchers thought the first major marine predators appeared only between 247 and 235 million years ago.

The fossil is made up of fragments of a skull, sporting three rows of teeth which were up to two centimeters long. These teeth are placed along the edges of the jaw, and feature several smaller teeth inside. Such jaws made it possible for the fish to pursue its prey and bite it before swallowing it, just like a modern shark would do.

The findings challenged previous views on predators

The Ichthyosaur was one of the most famous fossils found in Nevada. However, this shark ancestor lived around 30 million years earlier. This is vital for the understanding of how marine predators evolved after the aforementioned extinction event.

This discovery highlighted several events and facts which were previously regarded as impossible. For instance, they found evidence of big fish living in waters which were thought of as too warm to hold life forms. All the other details have been collected in the Journal of Paleontology.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Kyara, the last orca to be born at SeaWorld, died at only three months

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Kyara was the last orca to be born in captivity at SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas. Unfortunately, the park officials announced on Monday that she died. She was only three months old, but was suffering from several health problems which had only gotten worse.

The orca died after a severe infection

SeaWorld had started a breeding program for orcas, which faced quite a lot of controversy. Kyara was the last orca to be born out of this program. In 2016, the officials announced they would close this breeding program, and the orcas present in the park at the time were to be the last ones to live there.

At the time when this announcement was made, Takara, Kyara’s mother, was already pregnant with the baby orca. Therefore, since then, no other killer whales bred. In fact, Kyara belonged to the last generation of orcas, as she was the last one to be born in captivity.

The officials at SeaWorld said the baby orca received treatment for an infection, which was most likely pneumonia. However, a team of veterinarians needs to perform a post-mortem analysis. Only then will the cause of death be clear.

SeaWorld is blamed for keeping killer whales in captivity

The company wanted to assure everybody the calf didn’t suffer an infection because of being kept in captivity. Whales and dolphins often contract pneumonia, both while living in wilderness and while being kept in facilities.

However, scientists say captivity is extremely harmful for orcas. SeaWorld claimed the life expectancy of an orca in the wild was similar to that in captivity, but they highly doubt that. Many animal rights militants have condemned SeaWorld for breeding and keeping orcas in captivity. The critique became harsher after three people were killed by Tilikum, a captive orca from SeaWorld.
Image Source: Flickr

The fourth DLC character for Street Fighter V has been announced

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Street Fighter V will feature some additional downloadable content in the Season 2 pass, and this DLC comes in the form of six characters. Three of them have already been revealed, and the fourth on the list has just made its big entrance. We are talking about Abigail, who you should already know from Final Fight.

During one of the largest competitions of fighting games in the world, EVO 2017, Capcom announced that Abigail is coming to Street Fighter V. This is not the first time when a character in Final Fight appears in the franchise. Hugo, for example, was among the fighters in Street Fighter III: Second Impact.

You should know Abigail from Final Fight

Abigail will make quite an exciting appearance in the game, as it will be the largest fighter ever present in the series. We’ve probably made you impatient, but you will have to wait only until July 25th to play the character in Street Fighter V. Together with the character, the game will also receive a special stage for him to deploy, namely Metro City Bay Area.

July 25th also brings the release of retro costumes for several characters, as well as stages for other characters. Juri, Ibuki, and Alex will receive the costumes, while the stages bound to come to the game are Suzaku’s stage from Street Fighter II and Kanzuki Family Stadium.

Street Fighter V gets other extra characters in the Season 2 pass

As mentioned above, the Season 2 character pass will get six new characters and, apart from Abigail, three more have already been announced. They are the bossy Akuma, the martial art expert from Russia Kolin, and Ed, who is on good terms with Balrogs.

You can purchase this character pass for $30. If you don’t want all characters, but think you need Abigail among your fighters, you will still be able to buy it with in-game currency. Two more characters are to be announced, and they should be here by the end of the year.

Image Source: Flickr

Coffee has many health benefits and prolongs life

(Mirror Daily, United States) – An extensive study looked for benefits of coffee, and brought us more reasons to enjoy this refreshing beverage. Researchers encourage us to drink it, as those who consume it every day are more likely to live longer than those who don’t.

The study concentrated on European people, and looked at more than 520,000 participants older than 35 from 10 countries. They had to fill in several questionnaires on their diet and their lifestyle, and researchers kept an eye on them for 16 years. After this period, 42,000 of these people died of several causes.

More coffee leads to a longer life

These people had various causes of death, such as cancer, stroke, or heart failure. After looking at their lifestyle, researchers observed a connection between longevity and a higher coffee consumption. Those who drank the beverage in higher quantities every day were less likely to die. Even the decaffeinated version contributed to a lower risk.

Afterwards, researchers took 14,000 of these participants and continued studying their condition. This is how they came to the conclusion they actually led much healthier lives. Coffee drinkers seem to keep better control of their glucose levels in the body than non-coffee drinkers.

The beverage brings many health benefits

Also, the death risk from any cause decreased, but the risks were the smallest in case of digestive or circulatory causes. The beverage is also good for the liver, since drinkers have a better hepatic function and immune responses.

The results were uniform across all 10 countries in the study, regardless of their coffee drinking habits. Also, they are consistent with other studies from US or Japan. However, scientists couldn’t tell which coffee components are good for health.

Also, since the research is mainly observational, they cannot yet advise people on how much of the hot beverage they should drink. One thing is clear. Drinking coffee moderately is not bad for your health, and can bring you many benefits.
Image Source: Pixabay

Online brain training games have yet to be scientifically proven useful.

Brain training games are everywhere on the Internet. Their main claim is that they improve our mental capacities and decrease possible mental declines. However, a new study posted in The Journal of Neuroscience adds to the debate that these claims are not in fact based on any clinically-proven research. The study focused especially on the Lumosity brain training games. This company has had collisions with the FTC in the past.

Online Brain Training Games Have No Cognitive Benefits

The researchers looked at data from a control group of 128 young adults. They all played the Lumosity brain training games for 30 minutes, five days a week for a period of ten weeks. Data shows that not one of the participants presented any improved neural activity in their subsequent cognitive performance.

This result correlates with the conclusion of other studies regarding regular video games. Brain training games and video games made for entertainment purposes only do not improve cognitive functions in our decision-making process.

The Lumosity company, in particular, had to pay the Federal Trade Commission $2 million dollars as settlement against making false allegations regarding their product. The company’s brain training games supposedly worked as a prevention method for serious mental issues, such as Alzheimer’s. However, the FTC argued that there was no scientific data to back up these claims.

What the newest research shows is that the users simply improved at playing the games. Moreover, additional studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America concluded that some users might experience changes but that they do not extend beyond the placebo effect.

Researchers did make a note that the study only looked at young adults with no signs of mental issues. This limitation might not exclude the usefulness of online brain training games for another demographic. For now, however, the results do not look good for the industry.

Image source: DepositPhotos

People and pets are at risk of getting infected with cyanobacteria from blue-green algae

(Mirror Daily, United States) – On July 7th, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), together with the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) issued an advisory warning people to stay away from St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth. The pond is full of green-blue algae blooms, which produce incredibly toxic cyanobacteria.

Protect yourself from cyanobacteria

After discovering high quantities of blue-green algae in the pond, authorities decided to warn people of the dangers of exposing oneself to cyanobacteria. Therefore, people should avoid fishing, swimming, or drinking infested water. The same warning applies to their pets, who are also sensitive to such toxins.

The warning should be taken seriously, since St. Mary’s Pond is an important drinking water source for residents of Newport, Portsmouth, and Middletown. Tap water comes from this source, together with nine other reservoirs, and is usually safe to drink.

Most of the time, humans are responsible with the spread of the bacteria

However, this time, high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus contributed to the expansion of these toxic blooms. The causes of this sudden outburst are varied, but it is mostly the result of animal waste or agricultural fertilizers dumped in the water, or of stormwater runoff.

If you come into contact with water containing cyanobacteria, you might experience skin, throat, eye, or nose irritation. Drinking toxic water might lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach ache. In rare cases, symptoms might become more severe, such as fever, headache, dizziness, and damage on the liver and the nervous system.

After treatment, the water becomes safe for drinking, but keep away from untreated waterbodies which either have a thick algae layer on their surface, or have a bright-green hue. Also, the water has an unusual thickness. If it looks like that, it means it is full of toxic cyanobacteria, and should keep away from it.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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