SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Your sweet tooth could be deadly: researchers have found that 25,000 people died from drinking sugary beverages in the US in 2010 – and 180,000 have died worldwide. The data presents new evidence on the public health hazard triggered by artificial drinks.
Nearly half of all Americans, 48 percent, last year were drinking at least one glass of soda per day, Gallup reported in July. Among soda-drinkers, the average daily amount is 2.6 glasses. With such a high rate of soda consumption, Americans should be worried about new data that Harvard researchers have discovered about the danger of consuming sugary beverages.
Gitanjali Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, has spent five years researching the effect of sugary beverages with her Harvard colleagues. The team found that the artificial drinks were directly responsible for 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 deaths from cancer in 2010.
With so many Americans drinking themselves to death, the researchers have termed the dangerous habit a ‘public health hazard’. And while the cause of death is usually attributed to a specific disease, the researchers found that the high rate of consumption of sugary drinks directly caused those conditions.
"We know that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity, and that a large number of deaths are caused by obesity-related diseases. But until now, nobody had really put these pieces together,"Singh said while presenting the results of the study at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans.
The researchers made their conclusions based on data that recorded how many sugar-sweetened beverages people drank, divided by age and sex. They then proceeded to determine how the amounts of consumed beverages affected obesity rates, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Finally, the scientists calculated the mortality rates of these conditions and concluded that 180,000 deaths could be attributed to the consumption of unhealthy beverages.
The results of the study come just one week after New York City Judge Milton Tingling blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg from implementing a city-wide ban on supersized sugary drinks. Bloomberg, angered about the rejection, said that the judge was “totally in error” and that he was “talking about lives versus profits”. The ban would have outlawed artificial beverages served in containers 16 ounces or larger. Critics have argued that Americans determined to drink large quantities of soda could simply order multiple drinks or refill them – and that the restriction would simply turn New York into a “nanny state”.
Whether or not lawmakers should have control over Americans’ consumption is still a matter or debate. But the researchers claim the fact that sugary drinks are unhealthy has been confirmed.
However the American Beverage Association has publicly criticized the Harvard study, claiming that the researchers couldn’t possibly link deaths to sugary drinks.
"It does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer - the real causes of death among the studied subjects," the industry group said in a statement. "The researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease."
But the authors claim that five years of research has allowed them to draw solid conclusions linking high consumption of sugary drinks to the diseases that ultimately killed its victims.
"I think our findings should really impel policymakers to make effective policies to reduce sugary beverage consumption since it causes a significant number of deaths," Singh said, adding that she thinks "cause" is a fitting word despite the limitations of the association study.
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, compared sugary drinks to cigarettes – neither directly cause a person’s death, but both cause diseases that are often fatal.
"It is quite frightening to see the rise in chronic diseases as people around the world consume more and more sugary drinks," Besser said. "It reminds me of the way lung cancer is on the rise around the world as more and more people smoke cigarettes.".-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –US researchers developed a process that coats a living cell with silica ‘armor’, creating a near-identical inorganic duplicate. This ‘zombie cell’ technique has the potential for building complex nano-scale machines using life as blueprint.
The process developed at the University of New Mexico is relatively simple. The team suspended living mammalian cells in a petri dish and added mild solution of silicic acid. One of the acid’s byproducts softens the protective lipid casing of the cell and makes it porous enough for the silica to flow in.
The acid then, in a process ‘still partially obscure’, embalms every organelle in the cell from the micro- and down to nanometer scale, covering them with a sort of silica armor. The resulting cell/silica composite can be then heated to either evaporate the protein ‘mold’ and created a near-perfect silica replica of the cellular structure.
Its most immediate use is long-lasting preservation of biological samples. But potentially the technique can be used to fabricate complex useful nanomachinery, says Bryan Kaehr a materials scientist at UNM’s Sandia National Laboratories.
“It’s very challenging for researchers to build structures at the nanometer scale,” he said. “We can
make particles and wires, but 3-D arbitrary structures haven’t been achieved yet. With this technique, we don’t need to build those structures — nature does it for us. We only need to find cells that possess the machinery we want and copy it using our technique. And, using chemistry or surface patterning, we can program a group of cells to form whatever shape seems desirable.”
The alternative is to heat the composite without oxygen and turn the protein into porous conductive graphitic carbon supported by the silica coating. The silica can then be dissolved living a carbon structure that can find its use in fuel cells, decontamination and sensor technology.
If the composite isn’t heated, there are possible applications too. For instance, biological catalysts – the enzymes – must retain a certain shape to trigger chemical reactions. The silica coating preserves the structure at temperatures undreamed of by nature while still able to carry out reactions.
“Our zombie cells bridge chemistry and biology to create forms that not only near-perfectly resemble their past selves but can do future work,” Kaehr says.
The team reported their finds in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –A far cry from the smell of freshly-baked croissants and coffee, Parisians were greeted with a chemical stink from a gas leak on Tuesday morning. Citizens of Paris reported headaches and nausea as the “non-toxic” pong wafted through the streets.
Lubrizol, the company responsible for the malodorous mishap said the smell was not the product of the gas leak itself, but a chemical reaction that occurred upon the substance’s contact with the surrounding air.
The factory, which produces oil additives, is located in Rouen, around 120km west of Paris.
The plant’s owner said the smell produced in the reaction was something akin to “stink bombs.”
“The problem still hasn’t been resolved,” said a factory spokesperson to AFP, stressing that the gas is “absolutely non-toxic.”
Moreover, an AFP source inside the emergency services said there might be some isolated incidents of allergic reactions to the substance, but stressed any harm done was likely to be purely psychological.
However, it seems that Paris’ discerning residents would beg to differ. Emergency services received an influx of calls on Tuesday morning from worried citizens of the French capital, reporting the stench of sulfur and diesel.
Residents complained of migraines and nausea as a result of the all-encompassing reek. One woman told AFP that she “feared for her four children.”
“Everyone is saying that we shouldn’t panic, but they said the same thing about the cloud in Chernobyl,” worried mother Patricia Cousteau told AFP.
The Parisian fire brigade said that the fetid gas should dissipate naturally with time.www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A giant eyeball discovered washed up on the shores of Florida has created an internet buzz and left marine biologists pondering its likely owner.
The blue, softball-sized body part was stumbled upon Wednesday by beachcomber Gino Covacci as he walked through the surf at Pompano Beach. Having kicked the object over, he found himself staring into the large lens of an as-yet-to-be identified sea creature.
"It was very, very fresh," he told Florida newspaper the Sun Sentinel, adding: "It was still bleeding when I put it in the plastic bag."
Experts put the eyeball on ice, ahead of preservation in a formaldehyde. It has since been sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St Petersburg. Marine biologists are now attempting to discover the derivation of the dislodged eyeball.
On Friday, an assistant biology professor at Florida International University in Miami said the eyeball could have come from a deep-sea squid or a large swordfish.
Heather Bracken-Grissom said she had started discussing the eyeball with her colleagues as soon as they saw the pictures on the internet. She added that the lens and pupil are similar to the shape of a deep-sea squid's eye.
Bracken-Grissom also noted that a squid's eyes can be as large as soccer balls, and that they can be easily dislodged.www.shafaqna.com/English