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Tara Hamilton • Author at Mirror Daily

Chameleons have a super sticky saliva.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It’s been a long time since chameleons have been a mystery for scientists because of their color shifting and predatory abilities.

Even if they are not quite large like other lizards, such as crocodiles or alligators, chameleons have a broad range of prey including other chameleons, birds, flies, grasshoppers, and mice.

The secret of these predatory skills lies in the sticky tongue of the small lizard. Furthermore, its tongue is not just sticky but also very long, fast and highly flexible.

There have been many theories proposed by scientists over the years regarding the tongue mechanism related to suction and other factors.

Nevertheless, after experts understood that chameleons do not wrap their tongue around prey, they figured out that there must be something special about their saliva.

Therefore, a team of scientists from Belgium and France watched a captive chameleon until it hit a slab of glass with its tongue. Based on the analysis, they understood that the lizard’s saliva was between 400 and 1,000 times stickier and more viscous that human saliva.

This very thick mucus is the weapon that gives the chameleon the ability to catch a prey up to one-third of its weight with such a high accuracy. According to Pascal Damman, a physicist from the University of Mons in Belgium and co-author of the study, this is the first time someone ever studied the saliva of a chameleon.

Furthermore, after using mathematics to calculate the stickiness of the saliva, scientists also established that the saliva sample was as sticky and thick as honey. Then, the team of researchers covered a bead in the lizard’s saliva and rolled it on an oblique glass plate.

By doing this, they determined how much the acceleration of the bead was slowed by the saliva. It is also worth mentioning that the chameleon’s tongue is unique as its tip has the form of a cup which acts like a little suction device helping the animal ensnare its prey.

In addition to this, the faster the tongue bursts out of its mouth, the higher the adhesion becomes. In other words, the design of the tongue, its speed and the stickiness of the saliva combined are the ideal weapon that makes the chameleon worthy of the predator title.

Image Source:Kyoto Np

Bees need help.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Everyone knows that bees are an essential part of the world ecosystem as they contribute to its balance by pollinating. Based on the statistics from the United States Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators contribute in the reproduction of around 80 percent of all flowering plant species.

It means that they pollinate more than a third of the food crops on the planet, such as cocoa, almonds, carrots, apples, coffee, strawberries, pepper, tomatoes, and many others. We can’t imagine what would happen if we stopped having pollinators. Experts believe that most probably we would all begin to starve.

Furthermore, all pollinators, including birds, bats, and bees contribute with 87 percent of world’s food production. But bees and other pollinators have suffered a decline over the last few years because of human ignorance, pesticides, and climate change.

Nowadays, companies, governments, farmers, and gardeners are trying to find new methods to protect pollinators and to encourage the spread of commercial ones. In 2015, a new bee hive was invented that allowed beekeepers to collect the honey without stressing the bees.

Experienced beekeepers underline the fact that stressed colonies are more likely to develop a disease. Plus, independent hives are very useful because they reduce the risk of viruses and mites between colonies which are close to each other. In addition to this, they boost genetic diversity of bees and increase the local crop fertilization.

However, if you want to make sure that your bees make the best honey, then you should plant native species around the place where your hives are. Native species usually require less water, so you won’t have problems maintaining them. Plus, non-native flowering plants most likely do not have enough nectar or pollen.

It is also worth mentioning that you should avoid using fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides because most of them are a threat for pollinators, especially bees. Experts advise beekeepers to rely on a natural fertilizer and non-chemical treatment to deal with pests.

Another important aspect is that you should know how to arrange your garden so that your bees can do their job more efficiently. Therefore, you should avoid heavy mulch and weed mulch because many native species of bees usually nest underground. Plus, fallen organic material such as dead or dying trees, rotting logs, and stumps make a great nest for honey bees.

Image Source:Mental Floss

Cats know Physics.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Cats have always been amazing creatures especially for the fact that many of us prefer to have one as a pet. These animals are not only beautiful, but they make a great companion especially if you feel lonely.

Recent research has shown that cats are also highly intelligent creatures. In other words, these felines can understand some laws of physics such as the principle of cause and effect.

A team of researchers from Japan made a study in which they involved 30 domestic cats to establish what will be their reaction when some boxes were shaken in front of them. The boxes were empty, or they had an invisible object which the felines had to anticipate.

Furthermore, scientists tried to see if cats could distinguish whether a box is empty or full based on the sound made by the container. Therefore, the team observed the animals repeatedly to make sure that there was no coincidence in their responses.

According to Saho Takagi, lead researcher from Kyoto University in Japan, the boxes were shaken in front of the 30 felines with and without producing a sound.

Plus, the researchers also flipped the boxes during the experiment so the cats could see which of the containers was carrying an object. Based on the results, the boxes that made a rattling sound and had an object plus the silent containers that were empty were related to physics.

In addition to this, the boxes from which an object was dropped and the empty boxes of which no object fell complied with the laws of physics.

It is also worth mentioning that cats stared for a longer period at boxes that made a rattling sound meaning that they were aware that there was something inside the container based on the noise.

Plus, they also stared more when a box was turned over with a falling object meaning that cats also anticipated the content correctly. Furthermore, it is even simpler for these domestic felines because they do not rely on theoretical information. They simply figure out the place where an object is hidden based on a causal-logical understanding of sounds.

These skills help cats and other felines to hunt, especially at night time when their vision is limited. Despite the fact that cats have a much better night vision than humans, they still have to rely mostly on sounds when they hunt at the cover of darkness.

Image Source:Petful

The Dead Zone in Gulf Of Mexico is highly dangerous.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It seems like the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is going to be pretty vast this year. According to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the area reached around 6,000 square miles.

Surprisingly, scientists do not regard it as beyond normal. The dead zone is a coastal water area where there is a very low level of oxygen that could represent a significant threat to fish, mammals, and other oceanic creatures.

Furthermore, it results because the agricultural polluted water invades the Gulf. Experts believe that active measures must be taken in order to reduce this contaminated water. These dead zones, also known as hypoxic zones, might occur from two possible causes, either due to human excess or naturally.

Hypoxia results from low dissolved oxygen in the ocean. This phenomenon occurs because of the high-level pollutants, such as phosphorus and nitrogen. They pollute the waters making them inhabitable for fish and other marine creatures.

Moreover, these highly toxic chemicals reach the waters after a heavy rain. Regardless of previous efforts, the dead zone in Gulf Mexico has not been reduced yet. It is also worth mentioning that phosphorus is one of the primary ‘ingredients’ that support the spread of toxic blue-green algae.

This toxic bloom consumes high amounts of oxygen and thrives in warm waters. The only way to stop its spread is by reducing the phosphorus level in the water and by a sudden weather change. Worse, these blue-green algae are also highly dangerous for humans and dogs.

Therefore, experts prompt people to avoid getting in contact with this bloom. Plus, because dogs swallow more water when they swim, the algal bloom is deadly for them.

NOAA’S forecast had the help of four computer models in order to make an accurate estimate of this year’s dead zone.

These models were developed by several groups sponsored by NOAA, including the U.S. Geological Survey, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/ College of William and Mary, Louisiana State University and the University of Michigan.

Hopefully, these statistics will raise awareness among people and will encourage them to bring their contribution to this initiative. Scientists will try to come up with a new approach to reducing the range of the dead zone in Gulf of Mexico in the future.

Image Source:Wikipedia

Herring spawn in Hudson River after 85 years.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – After 85 years, herring are finally spawning again in a Hudson River tributary. This was possible only because a dam was removed from the mouth of the tributary.

It’s been many years since dams have become a source of imbalance in the ecosystem of the Hudson River. Therefore, many organizations have doubled their efforts to find the best strategy that will bring back the normal cycle of the river.

More of these dams need to be removed so that herring can spawn more often here. This species is vital for the ocean ecosystem as many other predatory fish and mammals rely on herring as a primary source of food.

Moreover, not just these fish had to suffer because of the unusually high number of dams along the Hudson River, but also many other species, such as the yellow perch, white sucker, American eel and other ocean-going fish.

Officials hope to remove many of the 1,500 dams successfully as soon as possible. According to John Waldman, a biology professor at Queens College, these dams are in fact artifacts of the Industrial Revolution that are still damaging the environment.

Unfortunately, starting from 1960 the river herring populations along the Atlantic Coast have critically dropped off because they lost much of their spawning habitat. If these fish find no ideal place where they can reproduce, they eventually die.

Therefore, state and federal biologists are doing their best to develop habitat restoration programs to help and support the increase of river herring stocks. Besides other predatory fish and mammals, birds also rely on herring as a source of food. In other words, if their population continues to decline, it will affect the entire ocean ecosystem.

According to Mayor Patrick Madden, Wynants Kill dam is the next obstacle that will be removed to clear the way for the river herring and to improve the health of the Hudson River.

This dam is around 100 years old and is cutting the way of herring and other species since then. It is impossible to imagine how many generations of river herring and other fish have been lost since then just because the natural process of spawning has been interrupted. Hopefully, the collaboration between scientists and authorities will pay off.

Image Source:Zerkalokryma

Komen race celebrates cancer survivors.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Breast cancer is already known to be one of the primary health problems that affect a high number of women around the world, including the United States.

Unfortunately, experts predict that 25 years from now, around 25 million more women will have to deal with this plague. However, scientists have doubled their efforts to find a new strategy and more efficient treatments to tackle the spread of breast cancer throughout the United States.

Furthermore, many organizations around the world are trying to bring their contribution in this fight. Susan G. Komen Foundation is one of them. A race event is organized every year to raise awareness and funds to find the best treatment.

Phyllis Stevenson, breast cancer survivor, has 20 years since she has been participating in the Komen Race. Stevenson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 after she had discovered a lump on her breast. Fortunately, the growth was surgically removed. However, she had to bear with an aggressive chemotherapy treatment and radiation to eliminate all cancer cells.

Presently, after 22 years, she confessed that God took care of her. Moreover, she underlined the importance of early detection and correct treatment.

Stevenson decided to participate every year in the Komen race because she felt the need to show her gratitude and offer her support to those who are still fighting cancer. Unfortunately, African-Americans are more vulnerable to breast cancer and have a higher mortality rate because of it.

Stevenson joined the Save Our Sisters organization to raise awareness among African-Americans regarding the risks of cancer. Their efforts are oriented not just towards breast cancer but also colorectal and prostate cancer.

The Komen race event is a symbol of celebration for those who fight with cancer and for those who survived it. Moreover, it is a race in the honor of those who passed away. Experts say that breast cancer can be prevented by having a healthy lifestyle.

Plus, this applies to men as well. Our best bet to prevent cancer is by having a healthy diet too. Scientists recommend at least 2 hours of physical exercises every week. If people are informed and aware of this problem, they will change their perspective and adopt a different approach to life.

Image Source:Wikipedia

Antidepressants might fuel depression.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The latest study has shown that antidepressants might be linked to a harmful effect on children and teenagers. According to Dr. Andrea Cipriani, study author and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, doctors recommend psychotherapy as the first method of treatment, consisting of interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

This is what children and teenagers with significant depressive disorders need. Statistics have shown that around 6 percent of teenagers between 13 to 18 years old, and 3 percent of children between 6 to 12 years old are affected every year by major depression. Furthermore, venlafaxine known as Effexor was associated with an increased risk of suicidal attempts and thoughts compared to five other antidepressants and placebo.

In addition to this, the researchers chose only fluoxetine, known as Prozac, out of 14 other antidepressants as more efficient in tackling depression than an inactive placebo in teenagers and children.

Back in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration understood how dangerous were antidepressants in children and adolescents. Therefore, the agency decided to develop a program called ‘black box warning’ in order to make people understand that they need to reduce the use of these drugs on their children, because of the increased risk of suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts.

Cipriani believes that the use of antidepressants should be carefully monitored by parents, particularly in the beginning of medication. There are still very few studies regarding the use of antidepressants in teenagers and children, therefore, the entire range of risks is still unknown to the public.

Plus, even if Prozac was established as a practical approach to children and teenagers, Cipriani stated that it should be used only in the case of young patients that do not have access to psychotherapy or showed no response to non-pharmacological interventions.

According to Dr. Peter Kramer, clinical professor emeritus of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, these types of drugs are not that dangerous for adults. However, when they are used on young patients, the story is different because these antidepressants proved to be not just riskier but also less efficient.

Worse, FDA warning had no success as the use of antidepressants increased among young patients starting from 2005 until 2012. Around 2 percent of the entire population of children and teenagers take these drugs because they suffer from the depressive disorder.

Image Source:Pixabay

Opioids are still causing addiction.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The latest study has shown that many patients keep on taking strong prescription opioid painkillers several months after joint replacement surgery.

These statistics are concerning because joint replacement surgery has become more popular leading to a higher rate of opioid overdoses in the United States. Usual prescriptions of opioid painkillers are drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin.

Furthermore, the real death cause of music legend Prince was a strong synthetic opioid painkiller, known as fentanyl. According to some sources, the artist suffered severe hip pain because of intense acrobatics performed during his concerts over the years.

Some 574 patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery were observed during the study. Scientists established that around 30 percent of them were taking possibly addictive opioid painkillers before the surgery. Plus, among this group, 35 percent of hip patients and 53 percent of knee patients were still taking the drugs six months after the surgery.

Moreover, the researchers discovered that 4 percent of hip patients and 8 percent of knee patients were still taking the drugs six months after the joint replacement, despite the fact that they did not take opioids before the surgery.

According to these results, some patients continue to rely on opioids in spite of the improvements in their knee or hip pain. It means that the use of these drugs is based on addiction rather than reducing pain.

Plus, some patients who did not rely on opioids before having surgery will become addicted to them after receiving the joint replacement. Furthermore, Jenna Goesling, a researcher from the University of Michigan in Ann Harbor, underlined that the use of painkillers after joint replacement surgery has critically increased in the United States.

Scientists believe that everyone’s target should be to find a better way of helping patients after joint replacement surgeries and to encourage them to stop using opioids. Therefore, a pain management program should be developed to establish which type of medication would be ideal to replace the high use of opioids.

Still, further research is needed in order to determine how patients would react to other types of medication. All in all, addiction to opioids must be stopped. Hopefully, scientists and researchers will find a solution as soon as possible.

Image Source: Wikipedia

America has a high number of cancer survivors.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The United States has reached a 15.5 million record number of cancer survivors this year and according to the American Cancer Society, in 10 years they will be over 20 million.

However, there is a high demand for psychological, emotional and medical support to assure the long-term recovery of the survivors.

According to Kimberly Miller, American Cancer Society epidemiologist, it is crucial for all cancer survivors to deal with long-term psychological and physical effects of their cancer treatment. Plus, the public health community must become more committed to supporting these survivors.

The study authors underlined the fact that cancer rates dropped off for men and stabilized for women thanks to improved treatment and detection.

In addition to this, the aging population has grown as the statistics have shown that around half of the survivors are at least 70 years old, and 56 percent of them were diagnosed during the past 10 years. One-third of them were diagnosed 5 five years ago or less.

Men survivors used to suffer from melanoma, 614,000; colon or rectal cancer, 725,000; and prostate cancer, 3.3 million. Women survivors mostly suffered from colon or rectal cancer, 727,000; uterine cancer, 757,000; and breast cancer, 3.5 million.

However, these are not the most encountered forms of cancer because lung cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed in men, but it is ranked eighth among survivors because only a few fight back this disease.

Another finding regarding survivors is that there is a strong connection between their age and the type of cancer. For instance, 65,000 cancer survivors are 14 years old or under, whereas 47,000 are 15 to 19 years old. Furthermore, 64 percent of prostate cancer survivors are at least 70 years old compared to just 37 percent of melanoma survivors.

According to Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, because cancer has a tremendous impact on patients and their families, it is crucial to provide them with physical, financial and emotional support. Bernik underlined that cancer also affects the patient’s mind and spirit, making the fight with this disease at least twice more difficult.

Cancer survivors are those who are cancer free, have a history of cancer and the ones still in treatment.

Image Source:Bangor Daily News

Marijuana use leads to severe consquences.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It has been recently established that middle-aged people who have smoked marijuana for a long time are more likely to develop gum disease.

Still, scientists have not found the association between long-term marijuana use and other health conditions related to cigarette smoking. According to Avshalom Caspi, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and co-author of the study, cannabis might have serious side effects but not in every situation.

He added that scientists and everyone need to recognize that long-term marijuana use has some consequences that may lead to health problems. Researchers analyzed 1,037 people born in 1972-1973 in New Zealand until they were 38 years old. Scientists tried to establish whether the participants used marijuana between 18 and 38 years old and if they had any physical health conditions at the age of 38 years old.

The researchers established that 55.6 percent of the 38-year-old adults who smoked pot for 15 to 20 years developed gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. On the other hand, only 13,5 percent of the 38-year-old adults who had never used marijuana developed gum disease.

If the gum is not treated, this disease might lead to tooth loss. Plus, scientists learned that people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years had flossed and brushed their teeth less than those who had never used marijuana.

According to Dr. Ronald P. Burakoff, chair of dental medicine at Northweell Health in New Hyde Park, New York, experts always knew that smoking was linked to a higher risk of gum disease so it is no surprise that marijuana use might cause periodontal disease.

Furthermore, during the study, scientists also observed the general and dental, physical health of 484 participants who had smoked cigarettes daily for a consistent period. Therefore, they discovered that these people were much more vulnerable to gum disease than the ones who had never smoked.

Plus, these participants were vulnerable to disease related to inflammation, higher blood sugar levels, and lung function as well. It means that marijuana users might also be more likely to develop other health conditions like cancer that may occur when you are older.

In addition to this, other studies have proved that marijuana use is linked to many health problems, such as the worsening of sexual function, brain changes, and weight gain. According to the new results, marijuana is also related to injuries and accidents, poor psychosocial and mental health condition, cancer and infectious disease, acute cardiovascular events, and bronchitis.

Image Source:Pixabay

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