Science & Environment

bob the dog

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Aug 14, 2020
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Watching a documentary on Psilocybin where they recommend 5 measured grams on an empty stomach.

Terrance McKenna's True Hallucinations
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Ontario’s top doctor warns of potential measles outbreaks as cases abroad increase
Two of the four active cases of measles in Canada are in the GTA

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Feb 22, 2024 • 1 minute read

Ontario’s top doctor is warning public health officials in the province to prepare for possible measles outbreaks given the “dramatic rise” in cases in other parts of the world, including Europe.


In a memo to public health units, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says that while measles is no longer common in Canada, outbreaks can happen when unvaccinated or otherwise susceptible people travel to and from countries where the virus is circulating.


He says there are currently four active cases of measles in Canada, two of them in Ontario — in Toronto and Peel Region, specifically.

Moore says that with many people travelling over March break, health-care providers should encourage patients to make sure their immunizations are up to date.

He also recommends that some who are at higher risk of exposure — such as those travelling to areas with increased transmission — receive an additional dose, or an early dose in the case of infants.

Health-care providers are also urged to consider measles in their differential diagnoses, particularly in patients returning from travel who show respiratory symptoms.
 

Tecumsehsbones

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Mar 18, 2013
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Washington DC
Ontario’s top doctor warns of potential measles outbreaks as cases abroad increase
Two of the four active cases of measles in Canada are in the GTA

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Feb 22, 2024 • 1 minute read

Ontario’s top doctor is warning public health officials in the province to prepare for possible measles outbreaks given the “dramatic rise” in cases in other parts of the world, including Europe.


In a memo to public health units, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says that while measles is no longer common in Canada, outbreaks can happen when unvaccinated or otherwise susceptible people travel to and from countries where the virus is circulating.


He says there are currently four active cases of measles in Canada, two of them in Ontario — in Toronto and Peel Region, specifically.

Moore says that with many people travelling over March break, health-care providers should encourage patients to make sure their immunizations are up to date.

He also recommends that some who are at higher risk of exposure — such as those travelling to areas with increased transmission — receive an additional dose, or an early dose in the case of infants.

Health-care providers are also urged to consider measles in their differential diagnoses, particularly in patients returning from travel who show respiratory symptoms.
Gotta update the microchips.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Are you fully immunized against measles? Canada’s public health agency says to check
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Nicole Ireland
Published Feb 23, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

Amid a rise in measles cases in other countries and a handful of confirmed cases in Canada, the national public health agency “strongly advises” everyone check that they’re fully immunized against measles, especially before travelling.


“As we head into the spring break travel season, the Public Health Agency of Canada is concerned that the global surge in measles activity, combined with the decline in measles vaccine coverage among school-aged children in Canada, could lead to more imported cases, potentially resulting in transmission of measles in communities in Canada,” the agency said in an emailed statement Thursday.


Here’s what to know about measles and how to make sure you and your children are protected.

WHY IS THERE CONCERN ABOUT MEASLES NOW?
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world and is airborne. If someone with measles exits a room, others can be infected up to two hours after that person has left, said Shelly Bolotin, director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.


In 1998, measles was declared eliminated in Canada, meaning cases were no longer originating in this country. Infections occur herewhen someone contracts measles in another country and travels here.

Preventing spread of measles within a community requires 95 per cent of the population to be vaccinated.

“Because there’s an increase in cases outside of Canada, then it’s understandable that we’re getting an increase in importations (of measles) as well,” Bolotin said.

“What we need to make sure that we are doing is that our population is adequately protected so that when cases come in, they don’t spread into large outbreaks (here).”

But measles vaccination coverage has dropped below 95 per cent in Canada, partly because of the disruption to routine childhood immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public health agency said.


The agency is aware of six cases of measles so far in Canada in 2024, it said.

“Measles can cause pneumonia as well as severe and permanent complications including deafness and brain damage resulting from inflammation of the brain (encephalitis),” the agency said.

“Measles can be a fatal infection. Children less than five years of age, adults older than 20 years of age, pregnant people and people who are immunocompromised are at higher risk for complications from measles.”

HOW DO I PROTECT MY CHILD AGAINST MEASLES?
Adults and children who have received two doses of measles vaccine, such as the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, are almost 100 per cent protected against getting the disease, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.


But the latest available data from 2021 shows that only 79.2 per cent of seven-year-olds have received two doses of vaccine.

“It is very important for parents to ensure their child(ren) receive a second dose of a measles-containing vaccine for full protection,” the public health agency said.

The first dose of MMR vaccine is usually given to babies at 12 to 15 months and then again at 18 months or before the child starts school. The timing of the second dose depends on the province or territory.

But if a baby under one year of age will travel,they should get one dose of measles vaccine before leaving if they are at least six months old so they have some protection, said Bolotin.

That baby should still get the regular two-dose vaccination regimen after they turn one year old, she said.


People born before 1970 are generally assumed to have immunity to measles because they were likely infected while the disease was endemic in Canada.

But if they don’t know if they’ve ever had measles and haven’t had a blood test to confirm immunity, they should get a measles shot, especially if they are travelling outside of Canada, the public health agency said.

Adults born in or after 1970 likely received one dose of measles vaccine as a child.

But in 1996, two doses started to become standard. Many adults likely received that second dose if they were in school at the time.

The public health agency said that if you don’t remember if you got a second dose, or if there’s any doubt, talk to a health-care provider about getting a booster shot.


That’s especially important if you will be travelling, the public health agency said.

People who don’t know if they got a second dose of measles vaccine should also consider a booster if they are a health-care worker, in the military or attending college or university.

There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine, even if it turns out you did have two shots, said Bolotin.

“There’s no relationship between adverse events and (the) more doses that you have. It’s a very, very, very safe vaccine,” she said.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A FAMILY DOCTOR?
A primary-care provider, such as a family doctor or nurse practitioner is the best person to ask about getting another measles shot as an adult, Bolotin said.

But if you don’t have one, ask your local public health agency what you should do, she said.


In British Columbia, local public health units are providing measles vaccinations for both children and adults, Andy Watson, spokesperson for Dr. Bonnie Henry, the chief provincial health officer, said in an emailed statement.

Watson said people in British Columbiacan also contact their local pharmacy.

Other public health agencies, including Toronto Public Health, are offering “catch-up” clinics for measles shots and other routine immunizations for children.

“For adults seeking measles vaccine who do not have a primary care provider, many walk-in clinics or travel medicine clinics also have the vaccine. Call ahead to a clinic to see if they have the vaccine,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, in an emailed statement.
 

spaminator

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Air pollution tied to signs of Alzheimer’s in brain tissue, study finds
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Amudalat Ajasa, The Washington Post
Published Feb 23, 2024 • 4 minute read

People who inhale higher concentrations of tiny airborne particulates, like from diesel exhaust or other traffic-related air pollutants, are more likely to have signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains, according to a new study, the latest in a growing body of research that shows a link between air pollution and cognitive decline.


For the study, published this week in the journal Neurology, researchers examined the association between concentrations of ambient air pollution and signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain. They found that people who were exposed to higher concentrations of fine particulate matter air pollution, also known as PM2.5, at least a year before their death were more likely to have higher levels of plaques – abnormal clusters of protein fragments built up between nerve cells, which is a sign of Alzheimer’s in brain tissue. The research also found a strong association between the pollution and signs of the disease for people who were not already genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s.


“This suggests that environmental factors like air pollution could be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease, especially in patients in which the disease cannot be explained by genetics,” said Anke Huels, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Emory University’s School of Public Health. While the study does not prove that air pollution causes Alzheimer’s disease, it found an association between exposure to specific kinds of pollution and signs of the disease.


Researchers examined tissue from 224 donors in Atlanta’s metropolitan area who, before their deaths, volunteered to donate their brains to research.

“Donors who lived in areas with particularly high levels of traffic-related air pollution showed more plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease at death than donors who lived in areas with lower air pollution concentrations,” Huels said.

What that told researchers, she added, is that being exposed to high levels of the pollution increases your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

More than half of the donors had what’s known as the APOE gene, the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. But for the donors who were not already genetically predisposed, researchers found a stronger association between traffic-related air pollution and signs of Alzheimer’s disease.


It’s long been known that concentrations of PM2.5 can trigger short-term respiratory problems. That’s because the particulates are so small – measuring 2.5 microns and smaller in diameter – that they enter the bloodstream after being inhaled. Breathing in smoke can also irritate your sinuses, throat and eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more severe cases, exposure is linked to cardiovascular impacts – including heart attacks and stroke – as well as lung cancer and damage to cognitive functions.

Gaurab Basu, the director of education and policy at Harvard’s center for climate, health and the environment, said the study shines a spotlight on ambient air pollution’s dangers to the brain.


“We often think about air pollution in the lungs, but it’s critical that we put the brain at the forefront of the conversation of the ways that air pollution impacts our health,” Basu said.

While this study primarily examined the brains of White, college-educated men, Basu said poorer communities and communities of color are often more exposed to particulate matter and traffic-related pollution – because highways and roadways are intentionally built in their communities.

“This pollution does not impact everyone the same,” Basu said. “Vehicular air pollution is fundamentally an issue of health equity.”

More research is needed to determine the exact connection between traffic-related air pollution and the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease, said Heather Snyder, the Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations.


“We know that Alzheimer’s is a complex disease, and it is likely that there are a variety of factors, in combination, that impact a person’s lifetime risk,” Snyder told The Post in an email. “Avoiding exposure to air pollution is a risk factor that some people can change, but others can’t, or can’t so easily.”

This study is also just the latest in the growing literature revealing associations between ambient air pollution and cognitive decline. Emerging research has also found that exposure to traffic-related fine particulate matter is correlated with reduced cortical thickness and thinner gray matter in the brain, which may influence information processing, learning and memory. Experts pointed to mounting evidence that links exposure to air pollution with cognitive decline, mood disorders and diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease.

To Huels, the best way to mitigate exposure is to make individual changes such as limiting time outdoors when air pollution concentrations are high and wearing a mask when appropriate. She said other changes such as driving an electric vehicle or taking public transportation can contribute to reducing air pollution.

“To really reduce air pollution exposures, we need political decisions and changes,” Huels said. “There really isn’t a safe or healthy level of air pollution in general or traffic related air pollution.”
 

petros

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
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Low Earth Orbit
Air pollution tied to signs of Alzheimer’s in brain tissue, study finds
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Amudalat Ajasa, The Washington Post
Published Feb 23, 2024 • 4 minute read

People who inhale higher concentrations of tiny airborne particulates, like from diesel exhaust or other traffic-related air pollutants, are more likely to have signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains, according to a new study, the latest in a growing body of research that shows a link between air pollution and cognitive decline.


For the study, published this week in the journal Neurology, researchers examined the association between concentrations of ambient air pollution and signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain. They found that people who were exposed to higher concentrations of fine particulate matter air pollution, also known as PM2.5, at least a year before their death were more likely to have higher levels of plaques – abnormal clusters of protein fragments built up between nerve cells, which is a sign of Alzheimer’s in brain tissue. The research also found a strong association between the pollution and signs of the disease for people who were not already genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s.


“This suggests that environmental factors like air pollution could be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease, especially in patients in which the disease cannot be explained by genetics,” said Anke Huels, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Emory University’s School of Public Health. While the study does not prove that air pollution causes Alzheimer’s disease, it found an association between exposure to specific kinds of pollution and signs of the disease.


Researchers examined tissue from 224 donors in Atlanta’s metropolitan area who, before their deaths, volunteered to donate their brains to research.

“Donors who lived in areas with particularly high levels of traffic-related air pollution showed more plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease at death than donors who lived in areas with lower air pollution concentrations,” Huels said.

What that told researchers, she added, is that being exposed to high levels of the pollution increases your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

More than half of the donors had what’s known as the APOE gene, the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. But for the donors who were not already genetically predisposed, researchers found a stronger association between traffic-related air pollution and signs of Alzheimer’s disease.


It’s long been known that concentrations of PM2.5 can trigger short-term respiratory problems. That’s because the particulates are so small – measuring 2.5 microns and smaller in diameter – that they enter the bloodstream after being inhaled. Breathing in smoke can also irritate your sinuses, throat and eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more severe cases, exposure is linked to cardiovascular impacts – including heart attacks and stroke – as well as lung cancer and damage to cognitive functions.

Gaurab Basu, the director of education and policy at Harvard’s center for climate, health and the environment, said the study shines a spotlight on ambient air pollution’s dangers to the brain.


“We often think about air pollution in the lungs, but it’s critical that we put the brain at the forefront of the conversation of the ways that air pollution impacts our health,” Basu said.

While this study primarily examined the brains of White, college-educated men, Basu said poorer communities and communities of color are often more exposed to particulate matter and traffic-related pollution – because highways and roadways are intentionally built in their communities.

“This pollution does not impact everyone the same,” Basu said. “Vehicular air pollution is fundamentally an issue of health equity.”

More research is needed to determine the exact connection between traffic-related air pollution and the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease, said Heather Snyder, the Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations.


“We know that Alzheimer’s is a complex disease, and it is likely that there are a variety of factors, in combination, that impact a person’s lifetime risk,” Snyder told The Post in an email. “Avoiding exposure to air pollution is a risk factor that some people can change, but others can’t, or can’t so easily.”

This study is also just the latest in the growing literature revealing associations between ambient air pollution and cognitive decline. Emerging research has also found that exposure to traffic-related fine particulate matter is correlated with reduced cortical thickness and thinner gray matter in the brain, which may influence information processing, learning and memory. Experts pointed to mounting evidence that links exposure to air pollution with cognitive decline, mood disorders and diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease.

To Huels, the best way to mitigate exposure is to make individual changes such as limiting time outdoors when air pollution concentrations are high and wearing a mask when appropriate. She said other changes such as driving an electric vehicle or taking public transportation can contribute to reducing air pollution.

“To really reduce air pollution exposures, we need political decisions and changes,” Huels said. “There really isn’t a safe or healthy level of air pollution in general or traffic related air pollution.”
BULLSHIT!!! Is fructose coming out exhaust pipes and chimneys?

“Type 3 diabetes” is a term some researchers use to describe the theory that insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factor dysfunction in the brain may cause Alzheimer's disease. More research is needed to understand the link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

https://www.healthline.com › health
Type 3 Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease: What You Need to Know - Healthline
 
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Taxslave2

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Aug 13, 2022
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Looks like we will have to revert to pre industrial times to prevent losing our marbles before dying at the ripe old age of 45.
 
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spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Adding salt to meals can boost kidney disease risk up to 11%
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Linda Searing, The Washington Post
Published Feb 26, 2024 • 1 minute read
Although diabetes and high blood pressure are considered the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, new research finds that routinely adding salt to your meals can raise your chance of developing the condition by as much as 11%.
Although diabetes and high blood pressure are considered the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, new research finds that routinely adding salt to your meals can raise your chance of developing the condition by as much as 11%.
Although diabetes and high blood pressure are considered the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, new research finds that routinely adding salt to your meals can raise your chance of developing the condition by as much as 11%.


Chronic kidney disease afflicts about 37 million adults in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness, which usually develops slowly, ultimately leaves a person’s two kidneys unable to adequately filter excess waste and water from the body’s blood supply. This can lead to other health problems.


If the disease progresses to total kidney failure, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be needed. The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, involved 465,288 people, ages 37 to 73, who did not have kidney disease at the start of the study and whose health and eating habits were tracked for more than a dozen years. In that time, 22,031 participants developed kidney disease.


Overall, the researchers found that the more often study participants added table salt to their food, the more likely they were to develop kidney disease.

Compared with participants who rarely or never added extra salt, those who said they sometimes added salt to their food were 4 percent more likely to develop kidney disease, with the risk increasing to seven per cent for those usually adding it and 11% for those who said they always added salt to their food.

“Reducing the frequency of adding salt to foods at the table,” the researchers wrote, “might be a valuable strategy to lower [chronic kidney disease] risk in the general population.” In other words, put down the salt shaker.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Female psychopaths ‘more common than we think:’ Professor
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Feb 28, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

While many people associate psychopaths with being male, one professor says there are more mentally deranged females out there than people want to believe.


Clive Boddy, a professor of corporate psychopathy at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, says female psychopaths go more unnoticed than men due to gender bias.


“People generally attribute psychopathic characteristics to males rather than to females,” Boddy said in a statement.

“So even when females display some of the key traits associated with psychopathy — such as being insincere, deceitful, antagonistic, unempathetic and lacking in emotional depth — because these are seen as male characteristics they may not be labelled as such, even when they should be.”

While research shows that male psychopaths outnumber female psychopaths about six-to-one, Boddy’s data suggested the real ratio is closer to 1.2-to-one when using measures of primary psychopathy.


“If female psychopathy expresses differently, then measures designed to capture and identify male, criminal psychopaths may be inadequate at identifying female, non-criminal psychopaths,” he said.

Boddy has been researching the effects of having psychopaths in the workplace since 2005, with a focus on toxic leadership and the effects of corporate psychopaths on employees, organizations and society.

“Female psychopaths tend to use words, rather than violence, to achieve their aims, differing from how male psychopaths tend to operate,” he explained.

Boddy is set to present his research on the flaws of traditional psychopathy assessments at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus on March 16.


He will detail how female psychopaths are more manipulative than males, and how they use deceit and seduction to gain advantages.



“Female psychopaths, while not as severely psychopathic or as psychopathic as often as males are, have nevertheless been underestimated in their incidence levels and are therefore more of a potential threat to business and society than anyone previously suspected,” Boddy detailed.

“This has implications for the criminal justice system because current risk management decisions involving partners and children may be faulty,” he continued.

“It also has implications for organizational leadership selection decisions because female leaders cannot automatically be assumed to be more honest, caring and concerned with issues such as corporate social responsibility.”
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
36,091
3,071
113
Female psychopaths ‘more common than we think:’ Professor
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Feb 28, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

While many people associate psychopaths with being male, one professor says there are more mentally deranged females out there than people want to believe.


Clive Boddy, a professor of corporate psychopathy at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, says female psychopaths go more unnoticed than men due to gender bias.


“People generally attribute psychopathic characteristics to males rather than to females,” Boddy said in a statement.

“So even when females display some of the key traits associated with psychopathy — such as being insincere, deceitful, antagonistic, unempathetic and lacking in emotional depth — because these are seen as male characteristics they may not be labelled as such, even when they should be.”

While research shows that male psychopaths outnumber female psychopaths about six-to-one, Boddy’s data suggested the real ratio is closer to 1.2-to-one when using measures of primary psychopathy.


“If female psychopathy expresses differently, then measures designed to capture and identify male, criminal psychopaths may be inadequate at identifying female, non-criminal psychopaths,” he said.

Boddy has been researching the effects of having psychopaths in the workplace since 2005, with a focus on toxic leadership and the effects of corporate psychopaths on employees, organizations and society.

“Female psychopaths tend to use words, rather than violence, to achieve their aims, differing from how male psychopaths tend to operate,” he explained.

Boddy is set to present his research on the flaws of traditional psychopathy assessments at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus on March 16.


He will detail how female psychopaths are more manipulative than males, and how they use deceit and seduction to gain advantages.



“Female psychopaths, while not as severely psychopathic or as psychopathic as often as males are, have nevertheless been underestimated in their incidence levels and are therefore more of a potential threat to business and society than anyone previously suspected,” Boddy detailed.

“This has implications for the criminal justice system because current risk management decisions involving partners and children may be faulty,” he continued.

“It also has implications for organizational leadership selection decisions because female leaders cannot automatically be assumed to be more honest, caring and concerned with issues such as corporate social responsibility.”
i have dealt with many. :( ;)
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
36,091
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City's new single-use and takeaway items bylaw aims to reduce waste
New bylaw was six years in the making

Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Published Mar 01, 2024 • 1 minute read

A new Toronto bylaw aims to reduce plastic waste.


The city’s Single-Use and Takeaway Items Bylaw, which came into effect on March 1, requires businesses to ask customers if they want single-use food accessory items such as utensils, napkins, condiment packages, stir sticks and straws with their order.


Those same items can also be made available by request from the customer.

Businesses are also required to accept reusable shopping bags and beverage cups.

“We have bi-annual litter audits that we do in 300 locations around the city and single use and take away items were often in the top 10 or 20 most prevalent items,” said Annette Synowiec, Director of Policy, Planning & Outreach, Solid Waste Management Services.

“So they’re ending up as litter in the public space and then also entering the waterways.”


If the “tens of thousands of businesses” don’t comply with the new bylaw, there is a minimum $500 fine per offence. However, the city is committed to helping them through targeted education and outreach activities.

“We’ve been working on the bylaw for about six years now,” said Synowiec.

“What’s interesting about this bylaw is that it’s kind of a behaviour change for both parties. So it’s not just only on businesses. The onus is also on the patron to bring in that re-usable cup.”
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
36,091
3,071
113
City's new single-use and takeaway items bylaw aims to reduce waste
New bylaw was six years in the making

Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Published Mar 01, 2024 • 1 minute read

A new Toronto bylaw aims to reduce plastic waste.


The city’s Single-Use and Takeaway Items Bylaw, which came into effect on March 1, requires businesses to ask customers if they want single-use food accessory items such as utensils, napkins, condiment packages, stir sticks and straws with their order.


Those same items can also be made available by request from the customer.

Businesses are also required to accept reusable shopping bags and beverage cups.

“We have bi-annual litter audits that we do in 300 locations around the city and single use and take away items were often in the top 10 or 20 most prevalent items,” said Annette Synowiec, Director of Policy, Planning & Outreach, Solid Waste Management Services.

“So they’re ending up as litter in the public space and then also entering the waterways.”


If the “tens of thousands of businesses” don’t comply with the new bylaw, there is a minimum $500 fine per offence. However, the city is committed to helping them through targeted education and outreach activities.

“We’ve been working on the bylaw for about six years now,” said Synowiec.

“What’s interesting about this bylaw is that it’s kind of a behaviour change for both parties. So it’s not just only on businesses. The onus is also on the patron to bring in that re-usable cup.”
something no one asked for. :( :rolleyes:
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
36,091
3,071
113
The world is getting fatter – and so is Canada
The Lancet highlighted this week that obesity has surpassed hunger as a global health risk, an astonishing claim

Author of the article:Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Published Mar 02, 2024 • Last updated 2 days ago • 3 minute read
Obesity is now believed to have surpassed hunger as a global health risk.
Obesity is now believed to have surpassed hunger as a global health risk.
The global obesity epidemic is escalating at an alarming rate.


A recent study published in The Lancet reveals over 1 billion people worldwide were living with obesity in 2022. The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled among adults and quadrupled among children and adolescents since 1990.


Additionally, the data indicate that 43% of adults were overweight in 2022.

This report suggests obesity is now viewed as a more significant global health risk than hunger, signalling a paradigm shift in our collective concern towards overweight and obese populations.

And the situation is projected to worsen.

According to the World Obesity Federation’s 2023 atlas, by 2035, 51% of the global population – over 4 billion people – will be classified as obese or overweight.


This shift in focus from hunger to obesity indicates that the world is not necessarily running out of food, but rather facing a complex issue of food distribution and consumption. Hunger has always been an issue of unequal distribution, while the rising global obesity risks suggest a more intricate problem.

Canada is not immune to this trend. The obesity rate in our country ranges between 30% to 33% depending on the source, with the overweight rate also exceeding 30% in many reports. Some studies even suggest our obesity rate is now higher than that of the U.S.

The call to action by The Lancet is a serious one. Experts argue the issue is closely related to the accessibility of ultra-processed foods.

In response, the Trudeau government has implemented several measures since 2015, including new front-of-packaging regulations set to take effect in 2026, which will help consumers identify products high in fat, sugar, or sodium. Additionally, Bill C-252, currently in the Canadian Senate, aims to restrict food and beverage marketing directed at children.


While it is too early to assess the impact of these measures on the obesity epidemic, they represent a step in the right direction.

However, many experts had high hopes for a significant change with the introduction of the new food guide. Despite being more than five years old, the guide has not been able to reverse the trend of increasing obesity rates, while Canada’s life expectancy has decreased for three consecutive years, from 82.3 years in 2019 to 81.3 in 2022.

Although COVID-19 and other factors have contributed to this decline, obesity is a known risk factor for premature mortality and increased medical needs throughout life.

The complexity of obesity as an issue is evident. Factors such as poverty, education, access to healthcare, and lifestyle all play a role in determining an individual’s risk.


One emerging trend is the increasing use of GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic, originally designed for diabetes management, for non-medical weight loss purposes in the Western world. The impact of obesity on COVID-19 mortality rates has also brought attention to these drugs as potential solutions for weight loss.


The recent departure of Oprah Winfrey from the WeightWatchers board, coupled with her admission of using a GLP-1 drug, led to a 20% drop in the company’s shares. This news, along with the decreasing shares of snack food companies like Mondelez, PepsiCo, and Nestle, indicates a growing concern in the industry about the impact of these drugs on consumer behaviour.

With projections suggesting that nearly 25 million Americans will be using these drugs by 2032, the industry is closely monitoring the situation. In Canada, while official numbers are not available, there was a shortage of Ozempic for a while, highlighting the growing demand.


Policy decisions will undoubtedly influence the demand for these novel drugs. The new Pharmacare bill introduced in Parliament this week did not include these drugs, but it will be interesting to see whether governments will view them as a solution to the obesity problem.

Our current approach to addressing obesity is not yielding the desired results. However, as with many other health challenges, the solution may once again emerge from Big Pharma.

– Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University
 

spaminator

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Scientists get closer to solving chemical puzzle of the origin of life
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Kasha Patel, The Washington Post
Published Feb 29, 2024 • 5 minute read

People have long scratched their heads trying to understand how life ever got going after the formation of Earth billions of years ago. Now, chemists have partly unlocked the recipe by creating a complex compound essential to all life — in a lab.


Like making the ingredients of a cake, researchers have successfully created a compound critical for metabolism in all living cells, which is essential for energy production and regulation. The pathway, which has evaded scientists for decades, involved relatively simple molecules probably present on early Earth that combined at room temperature over months.


The discovery provides support to the idea that many key components for life could have simultaneously formed early on and combined to make living cells.

“Why do we have life? Why do the rules of chemistry mean life here looks the way it does?” said Matthew Powner, senior author of the research paper. These are “just the most fantastic questions we could possibly answer.”


Although organisms differ wildly in appearance, they are made from the same basic chemical building blocks, called primary metabolites, which are directly involved in cell growth and development. Examples include amino acids that help build proteins and nucleotides that make up RNA and DNA.

The new lab experiment focused on the origins of another primary metabolite: coenzyme A, which sits at the heart of metabolism across all domains of life (as one of its many functions). For instance, the compound plays a vital role in releasing energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins in organisms that require oxygen, but it also serves metabolic functions in lifeforms that don’t need oxygen, like many bacteria.

Specifically, Powner and his team were looking to re-create a particular fragment of the coenzyme A molecule called pantetheine. Pantetheine is the functional arm of coenzyme A, often getting transferred and enabling other chemical reactions in our body to occur. This limb is called a co-factor and acts as an “on” switch — without it, the coenzyme would be unusable.


“All of our metabolic processes rely on a small subset of these co-factors,” said biologist Aaron Goldman, who was not involved in the study. “This has led researchers to argue that these co-factors, themselves, may have predated larger, more complex enzymes during the origin and early evolution of life.”

Some researchers, Goldman said, have proposed that early lifeforms could have used pantetheine to store energy before the evolution of the larger, more complex energy currency that cells use today.

If this is the case, the mystery stood: Where did pantetheine come from?

“We can’t go back in time. We can’t go back to the origin of life. We can’t find samples from that time frame,” said Powner, a professor at University College London. “Our only potential to really get to the bottom of that problem is to rebuild it, to start from scratch, re-engineer a cell, understand what it takes to build an organism.”


Building pantetheine was a tall order. For one, the molecule was “quirky” by biochemistry standards, he said. It closely resembled the structure of peptides (chains of amino acids) used to build proteins, but it had many weird characteristics — unusual elements that were in odd places — that appeared to give it a more complicated structure.

The compound is such an odd duckling that scientists previously proposed it was too intricate to make from basic molecules. Others have tried to create pantetheine and failed, thinking that it wasn’t even present at life’s origins. Many scientists thought biology would have created a simple version of it, which would have evolved to become more complicated over time — like building a shack and later turning it into a mansion.


Nevertheless, the team took to the lab. They focused on primarily using materials that could have been abundant on early Earth, like hydrogen cyanide and water. The first few steps of the reaction each took about a day, but the final step lasted 60 days, which was the longest reaction that Powner’s lab has ever done. The team finally shut off the reaction “partly because we got bored,” he said. But the result was a lot of pantetheine.

The team chalked up its success compared with failed studies by others to the use of nitrogen-based compounds called nitriles. These compounds provided much-needed energy to spur the reactions. Without the nitriles, it’s like having a lawn mower but no gas to get it moving.

“I think it’s very surprising that no one tried it. If you just mix them all together, they’re all mutually reactive with each other,” said Jasper Fairchild, a Ph.D. candidate at University College London who led the experiment. “You’d think you would get a mess, but you don’t. You just get pantetheine. And for me, that’s very beautiful.”


On early Earth, the reaction could have taken place in small pools or lakes of water, the authors said. Large oceans, though, would have probably diluted the concentration of the chemicals.

“This is another beautiful example of how the molecules of life, even more complex ones like coenzymes, are predisposed to form,” said chemist Joseph Moran, who was not involved in the study.

The simple recipe for such a complex-looking molecule could reimagine how life started on Earth. Historically, Powner said, scientists proposed that biological molecules appeared stepwise — like an early world of RNA that later gave rise to proteins and other chemicals.

But the new discovery shows that many of life’s building blocks could have been created simultaneously from the same basic chemicals and conditions, producing proteins, RNA and other components at once. In fact, the team’s previous studies used similar conditions and reactions to create nucleotides (which help create DNA) and peptides (which help form proteins). These building blocks could have come together, reacted with one another and ultimately led to the origin of life.

A better understanding of how these components formed and fused together could help scientists someday create life from static materials in a lab, or even on another planet.

“We’re far off from being able to [from scratch] make a cell,” Powner said. “That might not happen in my lifetime, but we are on the route to understanding how these molecules work together.”
 

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2 pops per week enough to cancel heart-health gains from exercise: Study
Author of the article:postmedia News
Published Mar 04, 2024 • Last updated 19 hours ago • 1 minute read
Canadian scientists are warning that workouts are rendered worthless by pop consumption.
Canadian scientists are warning that workouts are rendered worthless by pop consumption.
Cover your eyes, pop lovers.


Canadian scientists warned that workouts are rendered worthless by pop consumption.


Those who drink two 355-ml cans of pop per week can effectively erase heart-health gains made during exercise, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Pharmacologists from Laval University in Quebec City analyzed health data from about 100,000 adults over the age of 30 to determine that the damage done by sugar-sweetened beverages can’t be overcome with the average recommended workout quota — about 150 minutes each week, they said, according to the New York Post.

The scientists are urging consumers to drop cane and syrup-based pop entirely.


“Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with sugar-sweetened beverages by half, but it does not fully eliminate it,” professor Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier said in a statement, per South West News Service.

“The marketing strategies for these drinks often show active people drinking these beverages. It suggests that sugary drink consumption has no negative effects on health if you’re physically active.”