Riviste scientifiche

The universe's oldest black holes could also be its most useful

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 19:00
Primordial black holes born in the moments after the big bang could clear up some of cosmology's most confounding conundrums

How to find the Apollo landing sites and dramatic craters on the moon

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 19:00
The moon’s surface can tell us much about the solar system's history, and our own. Here’s how to spot its craters and more, with Abigail Beall

Longer life, flying, mind-bending drugs: Dreams that science made real

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 19:00
Robert Boyle's 17th-century wish list of innovations shows the world-changing power of basic research – and why we must invest more in it, says historian David Cannadine

UK space academy boss Anu Ojha on what finding aliens might mean

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 18:45
Anu Ojha, UK National Space Academy director, on the coolest moons in the solar system, finding alien life and why the best discussions happen with the young  

We've discovered 20 more moons of Saturn – and you can help name them

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 15:34
We have discovered 20 new moons orbiting Saturn, all of them less than 5 kilometres across. This means Saturn has 82 moons, the most of any known planet

Takeaway food packaging may be source of synthetic chemicals in blood

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 15:00
The food packaging used in some takeaway and fast food meals, as well as microwave popcorn, appear to be a source of potentially harmful chemicals leaching into people’s bodies

UK launched passport photo checker it knew would fail with dark skin

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 14:29
Documents released by the Home Office show it was aware of problems with its website’s passport photo checking service for people with very dark or very light skin, but decided to use it regardless

Experiments show us how animal minds work – but should we do them?

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 12:00
We've now found that budgies have empathy and macaques use logic. But such experiments mean keeping animals in unnatural conditions, raising questions about their value

Nobel prize in chemistry goes to developers of lithium-ion batteries

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 11:00
The 2019 Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

Your body's hidden language: How smell reveals more than you ever knew

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 07:00
We can sniff out fear, find solace in the smell of a loved one, breathe in the scent of happiness. How we're deciphering the subliminal signals of human scent

Real time badger tracking shows culling could increase spread of TB

New Scientist - Me, 09/10/2019 - 01:01
First study of individual badger movements in the UK finds that culling animals prompts others to range further afield, increasing the risk of spreading disease

Implementation of the SunSmart program and population sun protection behaviour in Melbourne, Australia: Results from cross-sectional summer surveys from 1987 to 2017

PLoS Medicine - Ma, 08/10/2019 - 23:00

by Tamara Tabbakh, Angela Volkov, Melanie Wakefield, Suzanne Dobbinson

Background

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world. ‘SunSmart’ is a multi-component, internationally recognised community-wide skin cancer prevention program implemented in Melbourne, Australia, since summer 1988–1989. Following recent reductions in melanoma rates among younger Australian cohorts, the extent of behaviour change and the potential contribution of prevention programs to this decline in melanoma rates are of interest. Sun protection is a multifaceted behaviour. Measures previously applied to monitor change over time in preventive behaviour for this population focused on individual behaviours. The omission of multiple behaviours that reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) may have led to underestimates of behaviour change, meriting further analysis of long-term trends to contribute to this debate.

Methods and findings

A population-based survey was conducted in Melbourne in the summer before SunSmart commenced (1987–1988) and across summers in 3 subsequent decades (1988–2017). During summer months, residents (14–69 years) were recruited to cross-sectional weekly telephone interviews assessing their tanning attitudes, sun protection behaviour, and sunburn incidence on the weekend prior to interview. Quotas were used to ensure the sample was proportional to the population by age and sex, while younger respondents were oversampled in some years. The majority of the respondents reported their skin was susceptible to sunburn. Changes in sun protection behaviour were analysed for N = 13,285 respondents in multivariable models, cumulating surveys within decades (1987–1988: N = 1,655; 1990s: N = 5,258; 2000s: N = 3,385; 2010s: N = 2,987) and adjusting for relevant ambient weather conditions and UV levels on weekend dates. We analysed specific and composite behaviours including a novel analysis of the use of maximal sun protection, which considered those people who stayed indoors during peak UV hours together with those people well-protected when outdoors. From a low base, use of sun protection increased rapidly in the decade after SunSmart commenced. The odds of use of at least 1 sun protection behaviours on summer weekends was 3 times higher in the 1990s than pre-SunSmart (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.04, 95% CI 2.52–3.68, p < 0.001). There was a smaller increase in use of maximal sun protection including shade (AOR = 1.68, 95% CI 1.44–1.97, p < 0.001). These improvements were sustained into the 2000s and continued to increase in the 2010s. Inferences about program effects are limited by the self-reported data, the absence of a control population, the cross-sectional study design, and the fact that the survey was not conducted in all years. Other potential confounders may include increasing educational attainment among respondents over time and exposure to other campaigns such as tobacco and obesity prevention.

Conclusions

With an estimated 20-year lag between sun exposure and melanoma incidence, our findings are consistent with SunSmart having contributed to the reduction in melanoma among younger cohorts.

Tea and banana plants have been genetically modified by bacteria

New Scientist - Ma, 08/10/2019 - 17:58
Around 1 in 20 flowering plants are naturally transgenic, with added bacterial genes that can make them produce unusual chemicals

UN agency meant to be limiting flying emissions votes to limit action

New Scientist - Ma, 08/10/2019 - 11:41
The agency’s own scheme will not stop greenhouse gas emissions soaring, yet members have voted to block all other efforts to slow the growth

Supercomputer simulates 77,000 neurons in the brain in real-time

New Scientist - Ma, 08/10/2019 - 11:00
A brain-inspired computer can simulate part of the sensory cortex in real time, using tens of thousands of virtual neurons. It is the first time such a complex simulation has run this fast

Disparities in glycaemic control, monitoring, and treatment of type 2 diabetes in England: A retrospective cohort analysis

PLoS Medicine - Lu, 07/10/2019 - 23:00

by Martin B. Whyte, William Hinton, Andrew McGovern, Jeremy van Vlymen, Filipa Ferreira, Silvio Calderara, Julie Mount, Neil Munro, Simon de Lusignan

Background

Disparities in type 2 diabetes (T2D) care provision and clinical outcomes have been reported in the last 2 decades in the UK. Since then, a number of initiatives have attempted to address this imbalance. The aim was to evaluate contemporary data as to whether disparities exist in glycaemic control, monitoring, and prescribing in people with T2D.

Methods and findings

A T2D cohort was identified from the Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre dataset: a nationally representative sample of 164 primary care practices (general practices) across England. Diabetes healthcare provision and glucose-lowering medication use between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2016 were studied. Healthcare provision included annual HbA1c, renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR]), blood pressure (BP), retinopathy, and neuropathy testing. Variables potentially associated with disparity outcomes were assessed using mixed effects logistic and linear regression, adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES) using the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), and nested using random effects within general practices. Ethnicity was defined using the Office for National Statistics ethnicity categories: White, Mixed, Asian, Black, and Other (including Arab people and other groups not classified elsewhere). From the primary care adult population (n = 1,238,909), we identified a cohort of 84,452 (5.29%) adults with T2D. The mean age of people with T2D in the included cohort at 31 December 2016 was 68.7 ± 12.6 years; 21,656 (43.9%) were female. The mean body mass index was 30.7 ± SD 6.4 kg/m2. The most deprived groups (IMD quintiles 1 and 2) showed poorer HbA1c than the least deprived (IMD quintile 5). People of Black ethnicity had worse HbA1c than those of White ethnicity. Asian individuals were less likely than White individuals to be prescribed insulin (odds ratio [OR] 0.86, 95% CI 0.79–0.95; p < 0.01), sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.58–0.79; p < 0.001), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.31–0.44; p < 0.001). Black individuals were less likely than White individuals to be prescribed SGLT2 inhibitors (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.39–0.65; p < 0.001) and GLP-1 agonists (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.35–0.57; p < 0.001). Individuals in IMD quintile 5 were more likely than those in the other IMD quintiles to have annual testing for HbA1c, BP, eGFR, retinopathy, and neuropathy. Black individuals were less likely than White individuals to have annual testing for HbA1c (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.79–0.99; p = 0.04) and retinopathy (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.70–0.96; p = 0.011). Asian individuals were more likely than White individuals to have monitoring for HbA1c (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.01–1.20; p = 0.023) and eGFR (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.00–1.19; p = 0.048), but less likely for retinopathy (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.79–0.97; p = 0.01) and neuropathy (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80–0.97; p = 0.01). The study is limited by the nature of being observational and defined using retrospectively collected data. Disparities in diabetes care may show regional variation, which was not part of this evaluation.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that disparity in glycaemic control, diabetes-related monitoring, and prescription of newer therapies remains a challenge in diabetes care. Both SES and ethnicity were important determinants of inequality. Disparities in glycaemic control and other areas of care may lead to higher rates of complications and adverse outcomes for some groups.

UK scientists join the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests

New Scientist - Lu, 07/10/2019 - 18:49
New Scientist spoke to members of Extinction Rebellion who are scientists to find out why they are taking to the streets of London to protest climate change inaction

The key to a long life may be genes that protect against stress

New Scientist - Lu, 07/10/2019 - 15:22
Long-lived animals like the grey whale and naked mole rat have genes that protect them from stress and cancer

Microbial life might drift in the atmospheres of failed stars

New Scientist - Lu, 07/10/2019 - 12:32
Brown dwarfs are too large to be planets and too small to be stars, but they have gaseous atmospheres that may have all the ingredients needed for life

Nobel prize in physics for discovery of exoplanet orbiting a star

New Scientist - Lu, 07/10/2019 - 11:40
The Nobel prize in physics has been jointly awarded to  James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for their contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos.
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