Austerity's enduring appeal has ancient roots in asceticism

by Sarah Macmillan Added 22.09.2017
British Library The recent easing of the public sector pay cap suggests that the government is beginning to respond to widespread concerns about the social and economic costs of austerity. Yet despite this turn, the proposed rises remain below real-terms inflation. Plus, the need for continued austerity is justified in terms of being “fair” to those who must pay for wage increases as well to as those who will receive them. Despite increasing...

For better gut bacteria, eat more oily fish

by Ana Valdes Added 19.09.2017
Having lots of different types of bacteria in your gut has many health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. So finding ways to increase the number and diversity of good bacteria in your gut is important. Up until now, the focus has mainly been on increasing fibre intake, as gut bacteria are known to thrive in people who have high-fibre diets. But we have found another way to boost your gut...

Taking Supper with Trump – The Need for a Very Long Spoon

by David Coates Added 16.09.2017
The Democratic Party leadership in both the House and the Senate spent last week congratulating themselves on the deal they supposedly struck with the President on legislation to protect dreamers, [i] and presumably took some pleasure too from the adverse impact of that supposed deal on Trump’s relationship with Congressional Republicans and his base. They should not do so. They should spend their time worrying instead about the adverse...

GPs need to tell people they can get rid of type 2 diabetes through weight loss – nutrition expert

by Mike Lean Added 15.09.2017
Every working day, GPs in the UK diagnose almost 1,000 people with type 2 diabetes. It is one of the commonest and most expensive diseases. What most people don’t know is that with a bit of hard work, it is possible to become non-diabetic again. Formerly limited to older people, type 2 diabetes is now common in younger, fatter, people in their 40s and 50s, and even younger ones who are severely obese. Some people are spared, but the epidemic...

Why I donated my entire genome sequence to the public

by Colin Smith Added 14.09.2017
I had my complete genome sequenced a few years ago – all six billion base pairs of it. And rather than keeping it to myself, I became the first person to make it publicly available by donating it to the Personal Genome Project UK, an organisation led by academic researchers. As anyone can access the data, the public can contribute to analysing it – in collaboration with professional scientists. I made my donation under “open consent”, which...

Not lovin’ it: how insecure work creates insecure lifestyles for the poorest in society

by Pete Robertson Added 12.09.2017
The claim that Eskimos have 50 words for snow may be apocryphal, but it neatly illustrates the truism that our vocabulary becomes more extensive and nuanced for phenomena we encounter frequently. The bog-standard job of the 20th century was formal, full-time and permanent. Recently the lexicon for other kinds of jobs has expanded. Work can be temporary, fixed-term, seasonal, project-based, part-time, on a zero-hours contract, casual, agency,...

Green Energy Jobs: Top 7 Pieces of Rare Good News for US Workers on Labor Day

by Juan Cole Added 04.09.2017
1. The Christian Science Monitor says that in 2016, US solar businesses employed 260,077 workers – up 25 percent from 2015. 2. That is, the solar energy sector alone employs more people than Apple, Google, and Facebook combined! 3. Solar also employs more people in US electricity generation than oil, gas and coal combined! 4. Solar energy sector jobs grew at a rate 17 times faster than the economy in 2016. 5. SC Times reports that wind jobs...

We may be able to treat depression with anti-inflammatory drugs – here's why

by Paul Morgan Added 04.09.2017
There is growing evidence that inflammation – already known to be a cause of many whole-body diseases – is also involved in diseases of the brain, including psychiatric conditions like depression. Depression is a common and crippling disease affecting over 350m people worldwide. Around 20% of the UK population will suffer from depression at some point in their lives, with symptoms varying from feelings of sadness and hopelessness through to...

Trumpism and the Philosophy of History

by Mark S. Weiner Added 29.08.2017
HAMDEN, CONNECTICUT – Stephen Bannon may be out, but don’t breathe a sigh of relief. His exit poses a new, more fundamental danger for liberals worldwide. With the departure of the Trump administration’s foremost court intellectual, liberals may be tempted to maintain the strategic tack they took during the presidential campaign, when they criticized Donald Trump mainly for his temperament, not his ideas, and by implication characterized his...

Nine things that can affect whether you get dementia – and what you can do about them

by Gill Livingston Added 29.08.2017
Dementia is by no means an inevitable result of ageing. In fact, one in three dementia cases can be prevented, according to new findings published in The Lancet. For the report – the first for The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care – my colleagues and I analysed a number of studies and developed a model showing how lifestyle changes, at different ages, can reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia. We considered...

How to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age

by Hayley Wright Added 29.08.2017
Research into how we can keep our brains healthy as we age has gained momentum in recent years. There is now an increased focus on the changes that we can makes to our health and lifestyle, which may prevent dementia. Here are some things that research has shown reduce a person’s risk of cognitive decline with age. Sex Our latest study shows that having more sex is associated with better cognitive function. We recruited 28 men and 45 women,...

Study finds women in gender-equal countries have better cognitive skills – here's how to understand it

by Magdalena Zawisza Added 27.08.2017
Let’s try you. Read the title above once, then cover it and write down word for word what you remember. Having difficulties? How well you do may be down to which country you live in. That’s according to a new study, published in Psychological Science, involving an impressive 200,000 women and men from 27 countries across five continents. It revealed that women from more conservative countries performed worse on memory tests than those from...

Take that, Trump! 5% of California New Car Sales now Electric

by Juan Cole Added 27.08.2017
Despite Trump having pulled the US out of the Paris Climate accord, there is reason to think that the US will nevertheless meet its obligations to reduce deadly carbon dioxide emissions. Although Trump is blowing up the Environmental Protection Agency the way a terrorist would blow up a building, the Federal government is not the only game in town. California, with 40 million people, has 12.5 percent of the US population and a gross domestic...

How reducing the number of stressful events in our lives could help beat dementia

by Claire J. Hanley Added 13.08.2017
Stress is bad for our physical and mental health. It has been linked to several leading causes of death, including heart disease and mood disorders, such as depression. Now new research suggests that the actual number of stressful experiences we encounter can have dramatic consequences for the health of our brains. In all, 27 events were identified as being particularly detrimental. These include being expelled from school during adolescence...

Are your parents to blame for your psychological problems?

by Darya Gaysina and Ellen Jo Thompson Added 05.08.2017
Psychologist Sigmund Freud famously proposed that our personal development is pretty much determined by events in our early childhood. While many of his ideas are now outdated, some modern psychological theories also suggest that childhood experiences play an important role in shaping our lives. But is there really any evidence that difficult childhood experiences can cause common psychological problems such as anxiety or depression later in...

How dieting encourages your body to replace lost weight

by David Benton Added 04.08.2017
Obesity is a risk factor for numerous disorders that afflict the human race, so understanding how to maintain a healthy body weight is one of the most urgent issues facing society. By 2025, it is estimated that 18% of men and 21% of women will be obese worldwide. In the US alone, 68.8% of people are already classified as overweight or obese. The UK, meanwhile, has one of the greatest problems in Western Europe – 67% of men, 57% of women and...

How to slam dunk creationists when it comes to the theory of evolution

by Paul Braterman Added 04.08.2017
The 2001 discovery of the seven million-year-old Sahelanthropus, the first known upright ape-like creatures, was yet more proof of humanity’s place among the great apes. And yet Mike Pence, then a representative and now US vice president, argues for the opposite conclusion. For him, our ideas about our ancestors have changed, proving once more that evolution was a theory, and therefore we should be free to teach other theories alongside...

If you could ‘design’ your own child, would you?

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 29.07.2017
Scientists in Portland, Ore., just succeeded in creating the first genetically modified human embryo in the United States, according to Technology Review. A team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health & Science University is reported to “have broken new ground both in the number of embryos experimented upon and by demonstrating that it is possible to safely and efficiently correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases.” The U.S....

Shell, terrified of EVs, expects ‘low forever’ Gasoline Prices; it is too Optimistic

by Juan Cole Added 29.07.2017
The Telegraph reports that Royal Dutch Shell, the massive oil company, has abruptly decided that petroleum prices are likely to remain low “forever,” given the rise of the electric vehicle. France and Britain have both just vowed that they will have no gasoline vehicles by 2040, and India and China both have huge electric vehicle ambitions. Most petroleum is used for transportation, and it is that sector that gives it its high value. It is...

Scientists discover how the brain's hypothalamus controls ageing – and manage to slow it down

by Richard Faragher Added 29.07.2017
If you are reading this and you don’t smoke, then your major risk factor for dying is probably your age. That’s because we have nearly eliminated mortality in early life, thanks to advances in science and engineering. But despite this progress, we still haven’t worked out how to eliminate the damaging effects of ageing itself. Now a new study in mice, published in Nature, reveals that stem cells (a type of cell that can develop into many...
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