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Robert Moore • Author at Mirror Daily

Children with Autism need more support.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Based on the latest findings, most of the United States children who are diagnosed with autism receive treatment in states where commercial health insurers cover the medical assistance offered to these kids.

A team of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, has conducted a study to establish the overall situation of all children throughout the country who might suffer from autism even if they haven’t received a diagnose yet.

According to David Mandell, lead author, professor of the psychiatry department, and Penn’s Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research director, more children are being provided with the proper treatment in the United States, and this is a good thing, but the problem is that there are many other kids that suffer from this disorder even if they haven’t received a diagnose until now.

It means that there is a dire need for action to improve the situation of these kids that require more attention and support. Autism is a health condition that manifests through various symptoms such as social communication difficulties, repetitive behavior, and so on.

Based on the statistics from the United States health officials, 1 in 68 children throughout the country suffers from this disorder. The treatment is very expensive and involves 25 hours of behavioral and educational therapy every week for a couple of years.

Experts from the Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization, stated that intensive behavioral treatments proved to be very efficient as they improved social skills, communication, and learning. Indiana was the first state that requested health insurers to pay the expenses of behavioral treatment for this disorder fifteen years ago.

The same initiative was adopted by 43 other states since then as they also doubled their efforts to make sure that medical assistance would be more affordable for most families.

The team of scientists investigated outpatient and inpatient health insurance claims between 2008 and 2012.This way, they were able to estimate the effectiveness of these regulations among over 1 million children 21 years old and younger who suffered from autism.

The patients benefited from health insurance from Humana, Aetna, and United HealthCare, which are among the top United States health insurers. More than 154,000 children were diagnosed with this spectrum disorder during the research, as the mandates indicated a 12.7 percent increase in diagnoses every year.

Image Source:Teper Law

Exercises improve memory in breast cancer survivors.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Breast cancer is known to have many severe consequences on patients, but exercises are one of the best natural treatments that help survivors deal with the side-effects of chemotherapy.

It is known that radiation and chemotherapy treatments affect the patient’s organism as they destroy many cells, sometimes even leading to memory issues even if cancer was fought back.

According to Siobhan Phillips, lead author of the latest study and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, women who adopt a physical exercises program have a better memory capacity, and they are less stressed.

Stress is one of the leading causes of memory issues when it comes to breast cancer survivors. Worse, most of these women, who are in the process of recovering, have low self-confidence as they are emotionally tapped out, fatigued, stressed, and frightened.

All these ‘symptoms’ directly affect the brain, leading to memory issues. The team of researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg conducted a study in which over 1,800 breast cancer survivors participated. Some 362 of them had to wear ‘accelerometers,’ a type of tracking device.

During the research, scientists collected data regarding their health condition, especially the brain state. Both groups were requested to make vigorous or moderate physical activity including exercise classes, jogging, biking, and brisk walking.

At the end of the study, the team established that all participants were less fatigued and stressed. Plus, the benefits of these exercises were seen in the fact that these women had a better memory capacity.

It is worth mentioning that the benefits of physical activity were related to a higher level of self-confidence. Another recent study has proved that people who are usually busy have a lower risk of developing brain disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia later in life.

Keeping your brain busy with work, study, and recreational activities from time to time is a very healthy way of living. On the other hand, couch-potato people have a higher risk of developing various health conditions because they have no activity.

A healthy lifestyle consisting of physical exercises and an excellent diet improves the life quality not only among breast cancer survivors but also among the entire United States population. Experts recommend people at least 75 minutes of moderate physical activity every week.

Image Source:Public Domain

West Nile Virus was detected in Denton.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Health officials have discovered the first mosquito pool found positive with West Nile Virus in Denton. They set a trap on June 28th in the area of Good Samaritan Society-Lake Forest Village on Montecito Drive.

It is the first time this year when the virus was detected. According to Ken Banks, Environmental Services city’s director, the virus appeared earlier this year than usual. It means that there are already the ideal temperatures for disease-carrying mosquitoes to start breeding.

Banks underlined that the first WNV-positive mosquito pool is usually seen after the middle of July. But the virus had already emerged in Dallas County three weeks ago, so it is more likely to arrive in Denton earlier this year.

People are strongly recommended to be aware of the risks and to take active measures of precaution to prevent any possible infection. Mosquitoes pick up the virus from birds, and this is how it is transmitted on a large scale increasing the risk of human infection as well.

Based on the statistics, around 20 percent of the people who get bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes develop West Nile Virus symptoms consisting of headaches and fever. Nevertheless, 1 percent of the infected people develop a serious health condition known as the neuroinvasive disease.

When this happens, the infection attacks the brain and spinal cord damaging the nervous system and in extreme cases, leading to death. Mosquito pools generally form in areas with ponds, creeks, and trees.

But residents are urged to check around their house for any sources of standing water that might become the ideal environment for mosquito breeding.

No current vaccine or treatment can prevent the West Nile Virus, so people need to be aware that they have to protect themselves by using an excellent mosquito repellent, long-sleeved shirts, and pants.

Health officials also advise everyone to make sure that the disease-carrying insects cannot break into their houses. West Nile Virus is a mild illness, but it can be dangerous for children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with weak immune system.

That is why people have to be careful in order to prevent these mosquitoes from biting them. Heavy rain is the best weapon against these insects because it clears the habitat and kills the larva.

Residents who water their outdoor lawns and plants are advised to check that the runoff does not become a place where mosquitoes will thrive because there will be a higher risk of West Nile Virus infection.

Image Source:Amdro

Penguin population has dropped off over the last decades.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Scientists have recently found some causes related to the population decline of the Adélie penguin species that nests in West Antarctic Peninsula.

A team of researchers from the University of Delaware came to the conclusion that even if the penguin habitat area has increased, their numbers have dropped down, and the only link is climate change.

The experts calculated that their population might further decline by 30 percent by 2060 and with 60 percent by 2100.

These statistics prove that their situation is critical, but scientists still have time to change this outcome. According to Ph. D. Megan Cimino, lead author from the University of Delaware, warming might be the leading cause of the population drop-off of Adélie penguins because many parts of Antarctica are getting warmer due to climate change.

This process is less likely to stop, and it will certainly take its toll on other species, besides the Adélie penguins. Cimino, together with one of her colleagues, principal investigator Matthew Oliver, established that over the last 45 years, penguin colonies have dropped down by more than 80 percent.

During this period, the team also observed that Antarctic waters have become warmer at the surface. It is also worth mentioning that Cimino joined efforts with many scientists in order to find out the leading cause of penguin population decline.

Vincent S. Saba, a fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, together with Heather J. Lynch, assistant professor at Stony Brook University; Professor Charles Robertson from the Marine Science and Policy Department of College Earth, Ocean, and Environment, established that there might be several other causes that affect the Antarctic ecosystem.

Glaciers are constantly affected by warming. This process provides penguins with a larger nesting area, and it should encourage their breeding. However, their numbers have critically dropped off. Other experts believe that human ignorance, water, and air pollution has brought penguins and many other species into this critical situation.

Big seafood companies which are responsible for excessive fishing might also lead to severe consequences for these birds as they have fewer sources of food. Also, there is always the possibility that the penguin population might have declined because many waters were polluted.

Plus, some specimens might have been caught in fishing lines and nets as well. Therefore, active measures need to be taken in order to help and preserve the penguin population.

Image Source:Pixabay

Tanzania has a tremendous supply of helium.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Everyone, especially children, knows that helium is the gas which fills party balloons. These balloons are carried by the wind because this gas is lighter than air.

Plus, as a funny reminder, this gas makes your voice thinner. Still, helium might be used for more serious purposes, such as nuclear power and MRI scans. As experts underlined that the current nuclear power is a highly dangerous weapon, this gas must be further used for a medical purpose.

Until recently, most scientists thought that there are no longer many resources of helium throughout the world. Even Tokyo Disneyland had to stop selling balloons as these sales were considered as being excessive.

But based on the latest discovery, a tremendous source of helium supply was found in the East African Rift Valley of Tanzania.

Thanks to the efforts of a team of researchers from the Norwegian helium exploration company Helium One, together with scientists from Durham and Oxford universities, this massive resource of gas was discovered in an unusual place.

This is probably the reason why it took them so long to find it because they would have never thought until now that helium supplies might be hidden in that area. According to the researchers, this resource comes from the volcanoes, which have released vast amounts of helium gas over time, trapping it in these fields.

The problem is that the supplies found near volcanoes are usually diluted by other gasses, including carbon dioxide, making it almost impossible to collect and store for further use.

According to Diveena Danabalan, a scientist from Durham University’s Department of Earth Sciences, the team is trying to find the ideal place where the balance between volcanic dilution and helium release is stable.

In other words, researchers want to find the exact spot from where they can begin extracting the this gas. Based on the statistics, just a small portion of this Tanzania gas supply might be 54 billion cubic feet large (BCf), meaning that it could provide enough helium for 1.2 million medical MRI scanners.

The world currently consumes 8 billion cubic feet of helium gas every year. The United States Federal Helium Reserve has just a 24.2 BCf reserve despite the fact that it is the largest supplier on the planet. These facts prove how significant these Tanzania resources might be for the world.

Image Source: Pixabay

Children need education and support.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The real situation of children living in poverty has finally caught the attention of world’s organizations. Based on the statistics, more than 69 million children under five years old will die because of preventable causes by 2030.

Half of these kids will be from sub-Saharan Africa, a region which is considered one of the poorest in the world. In addition to this, 30 million out of 60 million 7-year-old kids who won’t be granted the chance to attend school will also be from this region.

Worse, 750 million women will have to get married as children, whereas other 167 million children will live in poverty. According to Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director, if these kids die, it will be very unfair because they deserve a chance to live a brighter future.

Such as disaster will affect the face of society and it will cause a larger gap between the rich and the poor. Lake underlined that UNICEF and every massive corporation throughout the world should invest in the future of these children.

Starting from 1990 the death rates for people living in severe poverty and children younger than five years old have dropped off by around 50 percent. Plus, in 129 countries more girls and boys attend primary school.

On the other hand, this situation is far from being positive, because children under five years born to mothers with no education from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have a mortality rate third times higher than kids born from a mother that benefits from secondary education.

Compared to girls from wealthy families, the ones living in extreme poverty are twice more likely to get married as children. Experts believe that these numbers prove that we live in a world where inequality dominates.

These kids do not have a choice, and this is more than sad. Fortunately, Lake believes that we have a choice, as we can decide to devote ourselves and bring our contribution to making sure that these children will have a happier life.

Presently, if kids attend school for an additional year, their adult financial income will be 10 percent higher. In other words, education, awareness, and funds might be the key to a brighter future for these children.

Image Source:Haiku Deck

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Sources familiar with the matter said that Volkswagen is preparing to fork out $10.2 billion to settle the scandal sparked after it had cheated emissions tests in the U.S.

Reportedly, the money will be used to compensate 482,000 car owners that were negatively impacted by the company’s practices and pay federal penalties and fines.

Volkswagen lost credibility after the public learned that it had equipped its diesel vehicles with a piece of software called “defeat device” which turned engines’ emission controls on during tests and off on the streets.

Reportedly, Volkswagen’s rigged diesel cars produced more than 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide. The compound is toxic for the human respiratory system. Car owners first learned about VW’s scheme in September. Back then, they complained that the scandal lowered their car values by a great deal.

The sources said that the company is willing to fix the cars at no cost but owners should be wary that the repairs will affect the vehicles’ fuel economy and acceleration. Drivers can also sell the affected cars back to VW.

However, the German auto maker will not use the money to compensate only customers. It will also have to pay penalties to federal and state regulators such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, and California Air Resources Board whose tests the company has cheated.

The sum is not final and the company’s attorneys are working on the last details.

Moreover, the two people familiar with the matter that provided the details on the case asked not to be identified because the court had issued a gag order. Official details will be made public Tuesday by a District court in San Francisco.

Still, $10.2 billion is the largest sum an auto maker has so far agreed to pay to settle a scandal. Volkswagen is expected to pay even more as more fines and penalties may emerge. The Justice Department has a pending lawsuit against the company, and California regulators promised hefty fines.

VW will also have to pay a separate $20 billion for not complying with the Clean Air Act.

General Motors’ faulty ignition switch scandal cost the Detroit auto maker $6.9 billion. However, in GM’s case about 124 people also lost their lives due to the car faults.

In VW’s case, car owners will also receive a compensation varying from $1,000 to $7,000 based on their diesel car’s age, sources said.

Image Source: Pixabay

Hackathon tackles Lyme disease.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – There is a growing concern throughout the United States regarding the Lyme disease. Unfortunately, more and more people suffer from this disease which can be cured only if it’s detected at an early stage.

Therefore, over the last few years, scientists have doubled their efforts to find a better approach and a more efficient strategy to deal with this disease. One of the most important initiatives is the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which came with the idea of organizing a Hackathon for Lyme disease.

Many organizations collaborated to make this event successful, such as the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, Berkeley University, University of California, MIT Hacking Medicine, Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness.

Over 100 investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, clinicians, and scientists attended the event to bring their contribution with brainstorming ideas aiming to tackle Lyme disease. This tick-borne illness is caused by a tick which transmits debilitating bacteria by biting humans. The disease-carrying tick takes the bacteria after biting other animals, such as rats.

The only chance to treat this devastating illness is to detect it early. Unfortunately, physicians usually misdiagnose it due to inadequate diagnostic tests and lack of information about the disease. Based on the CDC statistics, around 329,000 Americans get infected with Lyme disease every year.

Worse, Bay Area Lyme Foundation established that the problem of wrong diagnose is widespread because around one million people probably suffer from this disease, some even without knowing about it. Experts advise people always to check their skin when they come back to the house. Plus, people should avoid woods during the tick season. Instead, they should stick to the main road.

According to Wendy Adams, Bay Area Lyme Foundation Science Committee, Lyme disease is a significant challenge for scientists, but collaboration and teamwork are the keys to fighting back this issue. The 100 participants formed 16 teams that competed with the best ideas to deal with the tick-borne illness.

Now, 5 teams remained for the big final that will hopefully bring the best out of them. Every finalist will receive $5,000 and more prizes depending on their future results. Hopefully, this Hackathon will raise awareness and solve the problem of Lyme disease.

Image Source:Npic

Pests are a real threat.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Many countries started to be affected by the invasive species nowadays. Despite many technological assets, we are still far from dealing with this problem.

Pests come in the form of insects, plants, animals and fish such as the Asian carp, long-horned beetles, kudzu vines and so on.

In addition to this, pests not only lead to environmental damage, but also to an economic decline. The United States spend around $40 billion every year to deal with insects and other pests that harm the forests and crops.

Plus, this situation is critical throughout the world meaning that governments must take active measures to tackle these invasive species that were estimated to spread even further.

Because every country accounts just the damage that these pests cause to their environment and economy, all of them have been oblivious to the fact that trades are the reason why these plants, insects, and other creatures reach every continent and many countries.

Fortunately, a team of scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia has begun a research, and they established that around 1,300 fungal pathogens and insect pests represent a threat to crop production from 124 countries.

Worse, around 30 percent of these countries are more likely to be invaded by these species, with major agricultural producers such as the United States and China as the biggest contributors to the spread of these invaders.

According to Dean Paini, lead author of the study and a senior research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, it is the first time when the whole picture is presented to all countries regarding the threat of invasive species.

Fortunately, scientists can come up with a better strategy now thanks to the fact that they understood the source of the problem so they can develop a more efficient approach to tackling the pest species. It is also worth mentioning that experts established that the numbers of invaders from any country depend on how often that state makes trades.

Based on this knowledge, scientists were able to calculate the risk of invasive species traveling from one country to another. Depending on the results, only ten countries are at a low risk of being invaded by pests, whereas important agricultural producers such as Brazil, India, China and the United States will be affected the most.

Image Source:Pixabay

Bees and other pollinators must be helped.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Einstein said that if we lost our pollinators, we would all starve in just a few years. Bees and other pollinators have a fundamental role in maintaining the balance in our ecosystem.

With the occasion of the National Pollinator Week between June 20th and 26th, people have the opportunity to learn how to attract pollinators in their garden.

Pollination consists of moving the pollen in a flower or from one flower to another, this part being called cross-pollination. Seeds and fruits develop thanks to this process.

Furthermore, the wind or some other animals and insects such as moths, flies, butterflies, birds, beetles, bees and bats contribute as well to the movement of the pollen.

Out of all of these, people are usually more interested in butterflies and bees. Any well-informed gardener knows that most of our food crops depend on cross pollination. In other words, many fruits and vegetables rely on cross-pollination, including nuts, almonds, watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, apple, and blueberries.

Unfortunately, pollinators have suffered a massive decline over the last few years due to a lot of causes, such as pesticides, climate change, human ignorance, and pests. Therefore, they need to be provided with the ideal habitat, without pesticides, and with enough food.

Bees usually go for certain kinds of flowers with specific colors, such as blue, purple, yellow and white. Furthermore, they prefer flower with the broad petal. Plus, in the case of honey bees, the hive need nectar and pollen as well.

Native plants, shrubs and fruit-producing trees are a good source of food. It is also worth mentioning that native bees have various places where they prefer to nest. For example, Florida has some 316 species of native bees.

Around 30 percent of them nest in cavities, whereas the other 70 percent usually dig a tunnel in the ground in well-draining, bare or semi-bare soil. In addition to this, the plants that often attract these insects are wildflowers, herbs, perennials, vines, shrubs, palm, large, medium and small trees.

Regarding other pollinators, butterflies prefer nectar but sometimes they carry pollen with them to other types of plants or flowers, this way doing the cross-pollination. Butterflies go for pink, yellow and red flowers. On the other hand, scientists believe that bees cannot see the red color.

Image Source:Politiken

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