Teen brain differences linked to increased waist circumference — ScienceDaily

Differences in the microstructure of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a region in the brain that plays an important role in processing food and other reward stimuli, predict increases in indicators of obesity in children, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and nine other institutes, all part of the National Institutes of Health. The paper, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The ABCD Study will follow nearly 12,000 children through early adulthood to assess factors that influence individual brain development and other health outcomes.

Findings from this study provide the first evidence of microstructural brain differences that are linked to waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) in children. These microstructural differences in cell density could be indicative of inflammatory processes triggered by a diet

Read More

Climate patterns linked in Amazon, North and South America, study shows

amazon rainforest
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

University of Arkansas researchers have established a link between climate patterns in the Amazon and large parts of North and South America using their newly developed tree-ring chronology from the Amazon River basin.


The discovery helps researchers better understand large-scale climate extremes and the impact of the El Niño phenomenon.

Tree growth is a well-established climate proxy. By comparing growth rings in Cedrela odorata trees found in the Rio Paru watershed of the eastern Amazon River with hundreds of similar chronologies in North and South America, scientists have shown an inverse relationship in tree growth, and therefore precipitation patterns, between the areas. Drought in the Amazon is correlated with wetness in the southwestern United States, Mexico and Patagonia, and vice versa.

The process is driven by the El Niño phenomenon, which influences surface-level winds along the equator, researchers said. El Niño is the name given to

Read More

Facebook’s alleged indifference of Indian hate speech linked to policy chief’s political bias

Over the past several weeks, there has been an increasing clamour for Facebook to place its India public policy head, Ankhi Das, on leave as the company continues with an audit of its India operations.

The impetus for the audit was an article written by the Wall Street Journal in mid-August. In that piece, WSJ reported that Das had resisted against taking down inflammatory content that eventually sparked rioting in the capital city of Delhi as it was posted by members of the nationalist BJP party. 

The riots left over fifty dead, most of whom were Muslims. It also led to many of these Muslims’ homes being torched.

“The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to [T Raja] Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence,” WSJ reported.

These inflammatory posts

Read More

Extinctions linked to new assemblages of species — ScienceDaily

Scientists have found that as the world undergoes profound environmental change, identifying and protecting ‘novel’ communities of species can help prevent extinctions within vulnerable ecosystems.

Professor John Pandolfi and Dr Timothy Staples from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at The University of Queensland (CoralCoE at UQ) are the lead authors of a new study in Science that looked at how combinations of plankton species changed across the world’s marine ecosystems in the past 66 million years. From this, their team developed a world first method to detect ‘novel’ communities of species across all ecosystems.

“A novel ecological community is one with combinations of species that are different to any past observations from that site,” Prof Pandolfi said. “These different species combinations can be due to new species arriving in the community, existing species leaving, or species becoming rarer or more common.”

“We found that when novel

Read More

Facebook removes fake accounts linked to Turning Point USA

  • Facebook has removed 200 fake accounts created by a marketing firm that was working for an affiliate of conservative youth group Turning Point USA. 
  • The company announced that it had discovered a coordinated campaign to use fake accounts to comment on news articles, writing messages centered around topics like the coronavirus outbreak and the 2020 election.
  • In examples published by Facebook, commenters criticized mail-in ballots, promoted big game hunting, and said Democrats “will do anything to screw over Americans.” 
  • Facebook said it discovered the campaign after reporting from the Washington Post last month found that the affiliate group, Turning Point Action, was paying teenagers to post pro-Trump messages. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook has removed hundreds of fake accounts created by a marketing firm working for Turning Point Action, an affiliate of pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA, the company announced Thursday. 

Facebook said it identified a

Read More

Facebook removes fake accounts linked to conservative group

Facebook has removed 276 accounts that used fake profiles to pose as right-leaning Americans and comment on news articles, often in favor of President Donald Trump, the company announced Thursday.

The platform also permanently banned an Arizona-based digital communications firm that it said was behind the fake accounts.

The move was prompted by reporting last month in The Washington Post that a pro-Trump group known as Turning Point Action was paying teenagers to post coordinated, supportive messages, a violation of Facebook’s rules.

Facebook and Twitter have been regularly removing fake accounts — both domestic and foreign — that try to insert themselves in the U.S. political discourse and influence the election. But social made companies face broader threats around misinformation and voter suppression that at times come from President Donald Trump himself.

The latest network Facebook removed became active before the 2018 midterm elections and went dormant until June, when

Read More

Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults, finds trial — ScienceDaily

Exercise intensity appears to make no difference to risk of mortality among older adults, suggests a randomised controlled trial from Norway published by The BMJ today.

Physical activity has been highlighted as one of the most important actions people of all ages can engage in to improve health, and data from observational studies show that early death is significantly reduced in physically active compared with inactive individuals.

Yet high quality clinical trial evidence on a potential direct (causal) relation between current advice on physical activity levels and longevity is lacking.

So an international research team set out to evaluate the effect of five years of supervised exercise training compared with recommendations for physical activity on mortality in older adults (70-77 years).

The trial involved 1,567 participants (790 women and 777 men) living in Trondheim, Norway, with an average age of 73 years. In total, 87.5% of participants reported overall good

Read More

Acute kidney injury linked to higher rate of death within three months of intracerebral hemorrhage — ScienceDaily

Patients who suffer an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) face an increased risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) during their hospitalization. AKI can lead to sudden kidney failure, kidney damage or even death. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care have determined which ICH patients are at the highest risk for this kidney injury so doctors can take precautions to prevent it. They also examined how the commonly-used blood pressure lowering drug nicardipine contributes to AKI.

“Over the past five years, clinicians have been concerned about AKI as they see patients who present with ICH, then develop kidney failure and require dialysis,” said lead researcher Adnan I. Qureshi, MD, a professor of clinical neurology at the MU School of Medicine. “What we need is a more global body approach to improve the outcome of patients with ICH, rather than just focusing on the brain.”

Qureshi’s team

Read More

Scientists discover bacterium linked to deadly childhood disorder — ScienceDaily

Scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health have discovered bacteria linked to post-infectious hydrocephalus (PIH), the most common cause of pediatric hydrocephalus worldwide. Results of the study led by Pennsylvania State University with CII scientists and clinical colleagues in Uganda are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Hydrocephalus is the most common indication for neurosurgery in children. Of the estimated 400,000 new cases each year, about half are estimated to be post-infectious, with the largest number of cases in low- and middle-income countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Neonatal sepsis often precedes PIH, although the manifestations of hydrocephalus typically emerge in the months following the neonatal period as cerebrospinal fluid accumulates so that cranial expansion garners medical attention. These infants typically die in early childhood without advanced surgical management.

Study co-first author Brent L. Williams, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology

Read More

‘Creeping fat’ in Crohn’s patients linked to bacteria — ScienceDaily

In many patients with Crohn’s disease abdominal fat migrates to the wall of the inflamed small intestines. What prompts the fat tissue to “creep” through the abdomen and wrap around the intestines of many patients with this inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been an enduring mystery.

Now, investigators have identified a critical clue. In a study published in the journal CELL this week, researchers from Cedars-Sinai show that the peculiar creeping activity of the fat appears to initially be protective but then ends up doing more harm than good.

“Creeping fat is often a landmark for surgeons performing resections on an IBD patient’s bowels because they know when they see it, that’s likely where the lesions are located,” said Suzanne Devkota, PhD, principal investigator and lead author of the study. “But we don’t know whether the presence of the fat is making the disease worse or trying to protect the

Read More