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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Synthetic Biology Breakthrough Paves the Way for Cheaper Vaccines

We've gotten so much more creative with new vaccines


Vaccines save lives, as proven during the recent pandemic, but one component of most vaccines — including the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine — goes unheralded: a molecule or other compound that primes the immune system to mount a more robust defense against infection.

These so-called adjuvants are added in small quantities but have a big protective effect, particularly in infants with immature immune systems and older people with a declining immune response.

Yet, one of the strongest adjuvants, an extract of the Chilean soap bark plant, is so difficult to produce that it costs several hundred million dollars per kilogram (2.2 pounds).

TWO ARTICLES: First case of bird flu jumping from cow to human, first finding of H5N1 in New York City birds

FIRST ARTICLE: First case of highly pathogenic avian influenza transmitted from cow to human confirmed

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University's Biological Threat Research Laboratory (BTRL) played a key role in detecting the first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A (H5N1) transmitted from a mammal (dairy cow) to a human.

The case was made public in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Steve Presley, the director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) and the BTRL, and Cynthia Reinoso Webb, the biological threat coordinator at TIEHH, were co-authors on the journal publication.

The journal article explains that in March a farm worker who reported no contact with sick or dead birds, but who was in contact with dairy cattle, began showing symptoms in the eye and samples were collected by the regional health department to test for potential influenza A.

Initial testing of the samples was performed at the BTRL, which is a component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Laboratory Response Network-Biological (LRN-B) located at TIEHH.

"It's a huge thing that the virus has jumped from birds to mammals, dairy cows in this case, and then to humans," Presley said. "That's why this paper in the New England Journal of Medicine is very significant. It's going to lay the foundation, I believe, for a lot of research in the future of how the virus is evolving."

The involvement of Texas Tech's BTRL is a continuation of the partnership between regional, state and federal public health partners.

"Being part of the CDC LRN-B, we have the standing capability to test for a lot of biological threats and some that are considered emergent," Reinoso Webb explained.

The lab's standby status allowed Reinoso Webb and the Texas Tech BTRL team to respond quickly to the needs of the regional public health authority. Knowing the potential dangers of the virus, Reinoso Webb pushed the testing into the safest laboratory available, and the team went to work.

Having received the samples in the early evening, results were being reported to regional, state and federal levels within hours. By the next day the samples were on their way to the CDC for further testing and confirmation.

"We were on the phone with the CDC until around midnight discussing different scenarios and follow up requirements," Reinoso Webb said. "There is a lot of federal reporting. It was a very complicated case, even though it was two samples and one patient.

"But we had this wonderful communication with the CDC and made sure we did everything by the book. This is how it's been structured, and this is how the communication was supposed to happen."

Materials provided by Texas Tech UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Continue to second article....

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Attacks on Social Security, Medicare Shows Who Wants Americans to Work Longer, Die Sooner

What ever happened to the idea of retiring with dignity and security?

LYNN PARRAMORE, Institute For New Economic Thinking

Shameful fact: the plight of U.S. retirees is a global exception. In their pursuit of lower taxes, America’s wealthiest individuals support policies that make it extremely difficult for seniors to manage the increasing costs of healthcare, housing, and basic necessities.

Not so in other rich countries like Germany, France, and Canada, where robust public pensions and healthcare systems offer retirees stability and dignity. After a lifetime of hard work, older citizens in the U.S. find their reward is merely scraping by, as savings diminish under the weight of soaring medical costs in the most expensive healthcare system in the developed world.

The solution from America’s elites? Suck it up and work longer.

An example of this mindset appeared in a New York Times op-ed by C. Eugene Steuerle of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and Glenn Kramon, a Stanford Business School lecturer. The two accused older folks of robbing economic resources from the young through Social Security and Medicare—never mind that workers fund these programs with their own lifelong payroll contributions.

They paint a picture of 65-year-old Americans jauntily playing “pickleball daily” and jet-setting “far and wide,” proposing to increase the age to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits, essentially forcing future retirees to work longer. (Curiously, they overlook how this move robs young people—too young to vote—of future retirement years. This echoes 1983, when the Reagan administration and Congress pushed the Social Security age from 65 to 67, impacting Gen X before they could even vote on it).

If he wins...

Trump's new hero. Seriously.

Don't Remove Fawns And Other Baby Animals From The Wild

Leave baby animals alone!

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is again cautioning the public not to assume that finding a baby animal means it needs to be rescued. A fawn (baby deer) lying on the ground hidden in grass or brush should not be considered abandoned – it should be left alone by people and pets because moving or handling it may permanently separate it from its mother and jeopardize its life.

White-tailed deer give birth to fawns in May and June. Each year, DEM receives many calls about fawns mistaken to have been abandoned by their mother. This is almost never the case.

“In nature, a doe gives birth and for the next five to seven days, the fawn is incapable of following the doe, so it is natural for the fawn to lie in a curled ‘freeze’ position on the ground hidden in grass or sparse brush,” said Dylan Ferreira, a wildlife biologist in DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). 

Revolutionary mRNA Cancer Vaccine Shows Immense Promise in First-Ever Human Clinical Trial

Cancer cure? Something else for RFK Jr. and the anti-vaxxers to rant about


In a first-ever human clinical trial of four adult patients, an mRNA cancer vaccine created at the University of Florida rapidly reprogrammed the immune system to target glioblastoma, the deadliest and most aggressive form of brain tumor.

The results mirror those in 10 pet dog patients suffering from naturally occurring brain tumors whose owners approved of their participation, as they had no other treatment options, as well as results from preclinical mouse models. The breakthrough now will be tested in a Phase 1 pediatric clinical trial for brain cancer.

Reported May 1 in the journal Cell, the discovery represents a potential new way to recruit the immune system to fight notoriously treatment-resistant cancers using an iteration of mRNA technology and lipid nanoparticles, similar to COVID-19 vaccines, but with two key differences: useFlorida, of a patient’s own tumor cells to create a personalized vaccine, and a newly engineered complex delivery mechanism within the vaccine.

Charlestown's MAGA state senator pushes the limits of stupid in hearing for new RI Health Department director

Morgan asks Dr. Jerome Larkin if he would order closures, masking when we are hit by another pandemic

By Alexander Castro, Rhode Island Current

Morgan, left, with ex-Charlestown state rep Blake "Flip" Filippi
After a small clinic’s worth of physicians showed up to testify in support of Gov. Dan McKee’s choice for the next director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services affirmed its support for Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Larkin at a hearing Thursday.

The committee voted 5-1 in favor of Larkin’s nomination, with Sen. Elaine Morgan, a Hopkinton/Charlestown Republican, serving the only nay vote. EDITOR'S NOTE: See Morgan's MAGA questions for Larkin below.

Greg Paré, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Senate, said in an email Thursday that Larkin’s appointment will hit the Senate floor on Tuesday, May 19.

The clinicians, many of them colleagues and former protégés of Larkin, came to say nice things about the doctor who serves as medical director of inpatient infectious diseases consultation services at Rhode Island Hospital and teaches clinical medicine as a professor at Brown University. The committee’s mailbox had also been stuffed with written testimonies.    

“We got many, many letters,” said Sen. Joshua Miller, who chairs the committee. “I don’t remember seeing a letter that was not in support.”

But the most memorable affirmation may have been from Dr. Sabina Holland, medical director of the pediatric HIV clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. 

“The highest compliment that a pediatrician can give another pediatrician is to entrust them with the care of their children,” Holland said. “He could have my children.” 

Friday, May 17, 2024

IRS Audit of Trump Could Cost Former President More Than $100 Million

Here's why Trump has refused to release his tax returns = he's a cheat (big surprise)

By Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Russ Buettner, The New York Times

By Dave Whamond
A massive trove of tax information obtained by ProPublica, covering thousands of America’s wealthiest individuals, reveals what’s inside the billionaires’ bag of tricks for minimizing their personal tax bills — sometimes to nothing.

Former President Donald Trump used a dubious accounting maneuver to claim improper tax breaks from his troubled Chicago tower, according to an IRS inquiry uncovered by ProPublica and The New York Times. Losing a years-long audit battle over the claim could mean a tax bill of more than $100 million.

The 92-story, glass-sheathed skyscraper along the Chicago River is the tallest and, at least for now, the last major construction project by Trump. Through a combination of cost overruns and the bad luck of opening in the teeth of the Great Recession, it was also a vast money loser.

But when Trump sought to reap tax benefits from his losses, the IRS has argued, he went too far and in effect wrote off the same losses twice.

An offer you can't refuse

Anjali Chandrashekar 

Rested and ready

Gotta love the bailiff standing behind him, cuffs at the ready

House OKs Rep. Tanzi’s bill to grant SK firefighters tax exemptions

Now Charlestown needs to take care of ITS firefighters

The House approved legislation from Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi to allow South Kingstown’s all-volunteer firefighting force to use a break on their district fire taxes to recruit and retain members.

“We are very fortunate in South Kingstown to have an all-volunteer force of firefighters who provide excellent service to our residents,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). 

“However, in recent years it has become more difficult for them to recruit volunteers. Allowing the district to grant tax exemptions will give them another important recruitment tool and show our community’s appreciation for the work that they do protecting us.”

Representative Tanzi’s bill (2024-H 7838) would allow the Union Fire District of South Kingstown to grant district fire tax exemptions or abatements to current and retired firefighters and their spouses.

The bill now heads to the Senate, which has already passed companion legislation (2024-S 2633) sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown).

Heavy Rains Forces Precautionary Shellfish Closure Of Harvesting Areas In South County Salt Ponds

No shellfish from Ninigret, Quonnie until next week

Photo by Will Collette
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that several shellfish areas along the south coast of Rhode Island have been closed due to inundating rainfall received in the Washington County area.

The following areas are currently closed to shellfish harvest and are scheduled to reopen to shellfishing at 12 PM on Thursday, May 23:

  • Pt. Judith Pond (10PJ, 10 PJ-N, and 10PJ-E)
  • Potter Pond (10PP)
  • Ninigret Pond (11N)
  • Quonochontaug Pond (11Q)
  • Winnapaug Pond (11W)

The heavy rain on Wednesday night dropped over four inches of rain in a 12-hour period in Washington County. Rainfall totaled 3.7” at Westerly Airport with higher localized totals in the Wakefield area. 

Why US offshore wind power is struggling

What's the fix?

Christopher NiezreckiUMass Lowell

The first U.S. offshore wind farm was built in 2016 off
Rhode Island’s Block Island. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
America’s first large-scale offshore wind farms began sending power to the Northeast in early 2024, but a wave of wind farm project cancellations and rising costs have left many people with doubts about the industry’s future in the U.S.

Several big hitters, including Ørsted, Equinor, BP and Avangrid, have canceled contracts or sought to renegotiate them in recent months. 

Pulling out meant the companies faced cancellation penalties ranging from US$16 million to several hundred million dollars per project. It also resulted in Siemens Energy, the world’s largest maker of offshore wind turbines, anticipating financial losses in 2024 of around $2.2 billion.

Altogether, projects that had been canceled by the end of 2023 were expected to total more than 12 gigawatts of power, representing more than half of the capacity in the project pipeline.

So, what happened, and can the U.S. offshore wind industry recover?

Thursday, May 16, 2024

MAGA-Lomaniac Justin Price wants his seat back

First, he needs to answer for what he did at Trump’s January 6 insurrection

By Will Collette

Ex state rep. Justin Price wants to win back his House District 39 seat from Megan Cotter (D) who beat him in 2022.

Price served 8 years in the State House and accomplished nothing. Seriously, nothing – and go look it up if you want to prove me wrong.

What Price did manage to do was embarrass himself, his district and the state of Rhode Island with his radical, Q-Anon style rantings about guns, conspiracies and just about every other far-right meme and cliché. And he was an active participant in the January 6 insurrection.

District 39 encompasses Richmond, Hopkinton and Exeter. It tends to be slightly more conservative than the rest of Rhode Island. Price thinks this is why he should run, telling WPRI I think it [District 39] should be represented by someone that’s conservative.

Further, he told WPRI “after watching my opponent [incumbent Megan Cotter] that ultimately won with a close margin, watching her, and what she’s doing while she’s up there and who she’s aligned with up there.”

What Megan is “doing up there” in the State House is working hard for the 39th District with a special emphasis on protecting the land and people of her district.

In her announcement for re-election, Megan highlighted funding for a van for Wood River Health, increasing access to affordable health care, bringing legislative grants in for non-profits in her district, and creating a Forest Management Commission, which she chairs.

That commission is addressing problems like the sharp uptick in wildfires in South County and clear-cutting woods for commercial-sized solar installations, rather than using more appropriate locations.

According to the official state Legislative Tracker, Megan worked on 130 bills and resolutions this year.

Justin Price’s crowning achievement in his 8 years was to create a special legislative commission to study “chem-trails.” That’s a right-wing conspiracy theory that some nefarious villains are putting mind-altering chemicals into jet contrails. I could find no record of this commission actually meeting or issuing any findings.

Nonetheless, Price told WPRI his priorities would be to focus on “representing my district” and “Focus on bringing the issues from my district up to the State House.” Except he did none of that in his prior eight years in office.

Use the Legislative Tracker to look up Price’s “achievements.” The last legislation he worked on as a minor (5th) co-sponsor was a resolution congratulating Charlestown’s former state rep. Blake “Flip” Filippi on his “service.”

Incidentally, state Republicans gave Price the second-highest vote total in the April 2 Presidential preference primary sending him to the Republican National Convention as a delegate for Trump.

Unanswered questions about his role in Jan. 6 insurrection

Price got himself into the history books by being one of a handful of elected state officials to take part in the January 6, 2021 insurrection directed by Donald Trump.

Price admitted he was there along with what he claimed were “the other 1 million people” though the official estimate is less than 15,000 on the Capitol grounds of whom 2,000 actually stormed the building.

Price claimed he did not enter the Capitol, though he has not disclosed his actual location. However, just being on the Capitol grounds that day means that Price admits to breaching police security lines set back a block or more from the actual Capitol grounds. That is a federal crime.

Price has not – at least not yet – drawn enough attention from the FBI to join the more than 1,200 who have been charged, though there’s still time. Around 900 of Price’s fellow insurrectionists have either been convicted or pleaded guilty. Only two were judged “not guilty.”

Price claims he was close enough to see it was Antifa attacking the building, not Trump supporters. That claim alone raises lots of questions including how he was able to identify them.

There is no actual Antifa organization and no uniforms, logos or other identifying marks – unlike the Oathkeepers, Proud Boys and other insurrectionists we all saw with our own eyes storming the capital, using chemical sprays, clubs, rocks and even American flags to beat Capitol and DC Police. The MAGA myths about who stormed the Capitol have been thoroughly debunked.

Then there’s a problem of simple logic: why would people that Price identified as Antifa want to storm the Capitol to block the election of Joe Biden?

More importantly, Price needs to reconcile his repeated oaths to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” with what he did on January 6. He took that oath as a United States Marine and again as a Rhode Island State legislator.

The US Constitution, 14th Amendment, Section 3 states in whole:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

It was clearly a violation of his oaths for Price to have crossed police lines to join in the storming of the Capitol.

I hope RI Secretary of State Greg Amore will bar Price from running when by his own admission, he committed acts on January 6 that exactly fit the kind of person the 14th Amendment is intended to disbar.

Further, if we are to believe his claim that he saw Antifa mounting the attack, WTF did he do about it? Are we to believe that he simply watched “Antifa” beating the police and then smashing into the Capitol and did nothing?

Why didn't he help the DC and Capitol Police as his oath to “protect and defend” required? Well, either he lied when he claimed he saw Antifa attack the Capitol, or he was simply afraid of getting hurt.

Either way, there's nothing to be proud of. Unless your name is Justin Price and your political legacy amounts to nothing, and you want to be consistent. Mission accomplished.

The suburban vote

Where they stand on student debt

UPDATED: Rep. Tanzi and Treasurer Diossa back shareholder study of going smoke-free in RI casinos

UPDATE: Shareholders vote down study proposal 

UPDATE: Regrettably, Bally's shareholders voted down this proposal according to the Boston Globe

Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi, joined by casino workers and advocates, delivered a letter to State Treasurer James A. Diossa urging him to vote in favor of a Bally’s shareholder proposal to study the potential cost savings of adopting a smoke-free policy for Bally’s properties. Treasurer Diossa announced that he will back the proposal.

“Casino workers are Rhode Islanders, parents, caregivers, taxpayers and human beings, and they deserve the same protections as everyone else in our state. It is fundamentally wrong to say that no one should be exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace, but carve out an exception that leaves one group of workers not only unprotected, but in fact, bathed in smoke every day,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). 

WHO Overturns Dogma on Airborne Disease Spread.

Convincing the CDC and others is the next challenge


The World Health Organization has issued a report that transforms how the world understands respiratory infections like covid-19, influenza, and measles.

Motivated by grave missteps in the pandemic, the WHO convened about 50 experts in virology, epidemiology, aerosol science, and bioengineering, among other specialties, who spent two years poring through the evidence on how airborne viruses and bacteria spread.

However, the WHO report stops short of prescribing actions that governments, hospitals, and the public should take in response. It remains to be seen how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will act on this information in its own guidance for infection control in health care settings.

The WHO concluded that airborne transmission occurs as sick people exhale pathogens that remain suspended in the air, contained in tiny particles of saliva and mucus that are inhaled by others.

While it may seem obvious, and some researchers have pushed for this acknowledgment for more than a decade, an alternative dogma persisted — which kept health authorities from saying that covid was airborne for many months into the pandemic.

Specifically, they relied on a traditional notion that respiratory viruses spread mainly through droplets spewed out of an infected person’s nose or mouth. These droplets infect others by landing directly in their mouth, nose, or eyes — or they get carried into these orifices on droplet-contaminated fingers. 

Cybersecurity researchers spotlight a new ransomware threat

Be careful where you upload files

Selcuk UluagacFlorida International University

Avoiding iffy downloads is no longer enough to ensure
this doesn’t happen. Olemedia/iStock via Getty Images
You probably know better than to click on links that download unknown files onto your computer. It turns out that uploading files can get you into trouble, too.

Today’s web browsers are much more powerful than earlier generations of browsers. They’re able to manipulate data within both the browser and the computer’s local file system. Users can send and receive email, listen to music or watch a movie within a browser with the click of a button.

Unfortunately, these capabilities also mean that hackers can find clever ways to abuse the browsers to trick you into letting ransomware lock up your files when you think that you’re simply doing your usual tasks online.

I’m a computer scientist who studies cybersecurity. My colleagues and I have shown how hackers can gain access to your computer’s files via the File System Access Application Programming Interface (API), which enables web applications in modern browsers to interact with the users’ local file systems.

The threat applies to Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge browsers but not Apple’s Safari or Mozilla’s Firefox. Chrome accounts for 65% of browsers used, and Edge accounts for 5%. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no reports of hackers using this method so far.

My colleagues, who include a Google security researcher, and I have communicated with the developers responsible for the File System Access API, and they have expressed support for our work and interest in our approaches to defending against this kind of attack. We also filed a security report to Microsoft but have not heard from them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Why America Needs to Know about Trump Getting Spanked in Silk Pajamas

He's not just a career criminal, he's also an "orange turd" with no taste

By Thom Hartmann for the Independent Media Institute 

The most powerful elected Republican in America declared war on the rule of law.

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced that Congress, on behalf of wannabee “day one” dictator Donald Trump, is going to use every power available to him and his colleagues to nullify America’s court system.

“President Trump has done nothing wrong here and he continues to be the target of endless lawfare. It has to stop. And you’re gonna see the United States Congress address this in every possible way that we can, because we need accountability. … All these cases need to be dropped, because they are a threat to our system.”

“All these cases” and potential future cases include Trump:

  • Sharing secrets with Russia that burned US and US ally spies.
  • Inciting rebellion against the United States on January 6th.
  • Running his businesses from the White House while multiple foreign governments poured cash into his properties in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
  • Stealing national defense secrets from the White House, transporting them to Florida and New Jersey, and then lying to the FBI about them.
  • Raping and then threatening and defaming E. Jean Carroll.
  • Criminally obstructing investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia.
  • Conspiring with Republicans in multiple states to defraud the American people with forged Electoral College certificates.
  • Threatening Georgia’s Secretary of State with criminal prosecution if he wouldn’t “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
  • Violating campaign finance laws on multiple occasions.
  • Committing tax and insurance fraud.
  • Extorting a foreign leader to manufacture dirt on his political opponent.

And those are just Trump’s commonly known crimes; we haven’t yet begun to dig into other consequential crimes Trump committed to become president in 2016 and during his four years in office.

From his teenage years violating fair housing laws by marking rental applications for his father’s properties with a “C” for “colored” when Black people applied, to decades of business crimes including a fraudulent “university” and fake charity, to stealing money from thousands of employees and contractors, Trump has been a one-man crime wave his entire life.

And now, given the choice between throwing in with a career criminal or defending America’s criminal justice system, separation of powers, and the rule of law, today’s Republicans have chosen to throw in with the crook. Barry Goldwater and Everett Dirksen are rolling over in their graves.

He thought it was money well spent

Can you see the difference?

Congress Passes Magaziner Provision to Protect Airports from Cyber Attacks

The legislation now heads to President Biden for his signature 

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives gave final passage of Representative Seth Magaziner’s (RI-02) provision to strengthen airport cybersecurity as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. Magaziner’s provision, adopted as an amendment to the bill with bipartisan support, now heads to President Biden to be signed into law. 

“The most fundamental role of our government is to keep Americans safe, and that’s exactly what this provision does – protecting travelers from cyber attacks by criminals, terrorists, rogue states and other bad actors,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism. 

“I’m pleased that this crucial and potentially life-saving provision was included in the final version of the FAA bill, and I will continue working to secure our homeland and protect our national security.” 

Airports are part of the United States’ critical infrastructure, and cyber attacks can carry widespread consequences for the economy and national security. The exposure of sensitive data, including customers’ personally identifiable information (PII), biometrics, and travel routes can put the safety of travelers at risk. 

Rep. Magaziner’s legislation addresses vulnerabilities that were revealed after cyber attacks on some of our nation’s largest airports. In 2022, over a dozen airport websites were targeted in a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by a Russian-affiliated hacking group. 

The amendment will unlock $4 billion in annual funding from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program to help airports, including Rhode Island’s T.F. Green International Airport, meet 21st century cybersecurity standards. 

A copy of the amendment can be found HERE.

These Incredibly Popular Drugs Have Been Linked to Migraines

Trading a stomachache for a headache 


According to research published in Neurology Clinical Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, individuals who use acid-reducing medications may face a greater risk of experiencing migraines and other severe headaches compared to those who do not use these drugs. 

The study highlights acid-reducing drugs including proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole and esomeprazole, histamine H2-receptor antagonists, or H2 blockers such as cimetidine and famotidine, and antacid supplements.

The study does not prove that acid-reducing drugs cause migraine; it only shows an association.

Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows into the esophagus, usually after a meal or when lying down. People with acid reflux may experience heartburn and ulcers. People with frequent acid reflux may develop gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which can lead to cancer of the esophagus.

Not all ultra-processed foods are bad for your health, whatever you might have heard

Whole-grain breads are a notable exception, among others

Gary SacksDeakin UniversityKathryn BackholerDeakin UniversityKathryn BradburyUniversity of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau, and Sally MackayUniversity of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau

Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock
In recent years, there’s been increasing hype about the potential health risks associated with so-called “ultra-processed” foods.

But new evidence published this week found not all “ultra-processed” foods are linked to poor health. That includes the mass-produced wholegrain bread you buy from the supermarket.

While this newly published research and associated editorial are unlikely to end the wrangling about how best to define unhealthy foods and diets, it’s critical those debates don’t delay the implementation of policies that are likely to actually improve our diets.

You’re inhaling flame retardants on your morning commute

What's in the new car smell?

EHN Editors

The air inside our cars is full of harmful flame retardant chemicals — especially on hot days, according to a study published today in Environmental Science & Technology.

Researchers found flame retardants in the cabin air of all 101 cars that they tested. All of the cars were from 2015 or newer and 99% contained a particularly concerning flame retardant called TCIPP, currently being investigated as a potential cancer-causing compound. 

The study found that seat foam is the most likely culprit of the chemicals, and that warmer weather — which accelerates off-gassing from interior components containing the chemicals— was linked to higher concentrations in the car air.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Trump Would Sell Anything for Personal Gain—Even Planet Earth

Tells oil execs they can have whatever they want if the price is right

ROBERT REICH in Robertreich.Substack.Com

Trump is selling everything to raise money for himself and his campaign.

The Trump Bible (which also includes a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Pledge of Allegiance, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights).

Trump shoes (ranging from the nearly all-gold “Never Surrender” high tops priced at $399 to the lower-cut “Red Wave” and “POTUS 45”).

Shares in Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform.

Digital trading cards (of which the most recent set, “The Mugshot edition,” offers collectors a chance to own a swatch of the suit the former president wore for his Fulton County, Georgia, mugshot, priced at $99 a piece or $4,653 for the full set, which includes an invitation to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago).

Trump cologne and perfume stamped with the former president’s name (the “Victory47” bottles are each listed for $99 respectively. The cologne bottle’s image, subject to change, has a Trump head topper).

But now, Trump is selling something far, far bigger. In fact, you can’t get any bigger.

He’s selling the entire world.

Thanks, whatever-your-name-is

That's for starters

Jurassic Park was wrong

T. Rex not as smart as previously claimed

University of Bristol

Dinosaurs were as smart as reptiles but not as intelligent as monkeys, as former research suggests.

An international team of paleontologists, behavioral scientists and neurologists have re-examined brain size and structure in dinosaurs and concluded they behaved more like crocodiles and lizards.

In a study published last year, it was claimed that dinosaurs like T. rex had an exceptionally high number of neurons and were substantially more intelligent than assumed. 

It was claimed that these high neuron counts could directly inform on intelligence, metabolism and life history, and that T. rex was rather monkey-like in some of its habits. Cultural transmission of knowledge as well as tool use were cited as examples of cognitive traits that it might have possessed.

However the new study, published in The Anatomical Record, involving the University of Bristol's Hady George, Dr Darren Naish (University of Southampton) and led by Dr Kai Caspar (Heinrich Heine University) with Dr Cristian Gutierrez-Ibanez (University of Alberta) and Dr Grant Hurlburt (Royal Ontario Museum) takes a closer look at techniques used to predict both brain size and neuron numbers in dinosaur brains. 

The team found that previous assumptions about brain size in dinosaurs, and the number of neurons their brains contained, were unreliable.