Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

REPORT: 350 million people worldwide have depression... -

REPORT: 350 million people worldwide have depression... - 

More than 350 million people suffer from depression globally, the World Health Organization said, ahead of World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, calling the disease a "global phenomenon". One of the best ways to treat depression was to talk openly about it, the WHO said, adding that medicine was not the only solution.

More than 350 million people suffer from depression globally, the World Health Organization said, ahead of World Mental Health Day on Wednesday.

"It is not a disease of developed countries, it is a global phenomenon. It's present in both genders and in rich and poor populations," Dr Shekhar Saxena, head of the WHO's mental health and substance abuse department, told reporters in Geneva.

No region is free from the disorder and around five percent of the world's population suffers depression in the course of a year, the health expert said.

Fifty percent more women suffer symptoms than men, said Saxena, who added that post-natal depression affected one in five mothers and one in 10 of all young mothers in the developed world.

According to the UN's global health arm, depression is more than just a bout of the blues, rather a "sustained feeling of sadness for two weeks or more" which interferes with "work, school or home".

At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, the WHO expert said, citing a "very clear correlation".

Nearly one million people take their lives every year and more than half of them have depression, Saxena said, although he noted that it was not the sole cause.

"Depression has existed for centuries, the news is, we're not doing anything about it," said Saxena, noting that the shame associated with having the illness meant that fewer than half of those with depression received the care they need.

The figure dropped to less than 10 percent in many countries, he added.

Effective treatment was available, Saxena said, but health workers needed to do more to spot the signs of depression in people who complained of other symptoms, particularly in children as young as 12 and young adults who they did not expect to have the illness.

One of the best ways to treat depression was to talk openly about it, the WHO said, adding that medicine was not the only solution.

"It should not be taken for granted that depression means taking pills," Saxena said.


AP publishes unflattering pic of Romney bending over -

AP publishes unflattering pic of Romney bending over - 

It was a news photo that, as Gawker quipped, was "ripe for captioning." 
A pic of Mitt Romney bending over, while a seemingly astonished schoolgirl stands behind him, mouth agape. 
The photograph, posted Monday by The Associated Press for all to see, has since surged across the Internet. The candidate riding a wave of confidence from last week's debate performance was suddenly made, pardon, the butt of jokes.   
So was it a cheap shot? 
Tim Graham, media analysis director at the Media Research Center, says absolutely. 
"It's unbelievable," he wrote. "It honestly looks like a little girl is gaping at Romney from behind." 
A closer look appears to show the girl looking at something else to the right of Romney. The caption, though, does not make clear what it is she's staring at. 
The caption said: "Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses for photographs with students of Fairfield Elementary School, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Fairfield, Va." 
Steve Manuel, senior lecturer at Penn State's College of Communications and an award-winning photojournalist, said the AP must have known how the image would be perceived. 
"In this photo, while it may appear funny, AP knows exactly what viewers are thinking," he wrote in an email. "It's not legitimate news. AP knows that viewers are going to chuckle and imagine what the little girl is seeing, and it makes Gov. Romney appear a bit foolish. That isn't the purpose or mission of photojournalism. ...  Candidate or not, it is not the mission of a news organization to place anyone in a position to be ridiculed or made fun of. Reporting the news is, and this is not newsworthy." 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/09/ap-publishes-unflattering-pic-romney-bending-over/

Injections of animal cells that can burn off body fat could help dieters lose their double chins and spare tires -

Injections of animal cells that can burn off body fat could help dieters lose their double chins and spare tires - 

It is the curse of every diet – no matter how devoutly they are followed, there always seem to be a few wobbly bits that just refuse to budge.
But scientists have now developed an injection that could target those stubborn spare tyres or double chins without affecting the rest of the body.
The researchers have found they can burn off excess fat in specific areas of the body by injecting tiny capsules filled with a modified type of heat-producing cell commonly found in animals and babies.
The cells release “signals” that alter the surrounding fat tissue so surplus calories are used up by producing body heat rather than being stored as fat.
Tests in animals have shown that injecting the capsules caused obese mice to lose up to 10 per cent of their body weight even when being fed a high calorie diet. The researchers are now planning to begin treating obese dogs later this year. If successful and found to be safe, it is hoped that the treatment could be available for use in humans in around six years.

The researchers believe the capsules, which are around three times the width of a human hair, could be injected into specific fat deposits such as the thighs, buttocks, arms or under the chin to reduce the amount of fat stored there.
It could solve the problem faced by many dieters who find that no matter how much weight they lose or how much they exercise, there are some areas of the body where fat stubbornly refuses to come off.
Dr Ouliana Ziouzenkova, who led the research at the department of human nutrition at Ohio State University, said: “We found the capsules completely remodelled the fat they were put into.
“Our goal was to achieve a way of targeting deleterious visceral fat that increases the risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“We have to prove that this is safe and effective in humans, but we could think about using it for body sculpturing. So if you wanted to remove a small amount of fat under your face like a double chin, or in their arms or legs, you could target these with a single injection.
“We have a grant now to carry out some work with obese dogs as it could also be of great benefit for veterinary purposes as there is a growing problem with obese pets.”
In a study published in the scientific journal Biomaterials, Dr Ziouzenkova and her colleagues used fatlike cells from mice that had been genetically modified to burn off excess energy as body temperature.
They found that by encasing these cells inside plastic-like microcapsules, they could be transplanted without being destroyed by the recipients immune system. Obese mice that received the capsules lost a tenth of their body fat in a month and after 80 days were 20 per cent less fat than mice that received empty capsules.
The cells are thought to cause this change by releasing signals known as thermogenic factors through pores in the capsules into the surrounding unhealthy body fat. These then changed the fat into heat producing cells known as thermocytes.
Thermocytes, sometimes called brown fat, are abundant in many small animals and in human babies where they help maintain body temperature by burning off energy as heat rather than storing it like normal fat. Humans, however, lose these cells as they grow older.
Dr Ziouzenkova believes that by transplanting cells from animals such as mice into adult humans, known as xenotransplantation, it may be possible to increase the number of thermocytes in adults and so help them reduce the amount of body fat they carry.


100-million-year-old Spider attack found in Amber -

100-million-year-old Spider attack found in Amber - 

Researchers have found trapped in amber a rare dinosaur-age scene of a spider attacking a wasp caught in its web.
The piece of amber, which contains 15 intact strands of spider silk, provides the first fossil evidence of such an assault, the researchers said. It was excavated in a Burmese mine and dates back to the Early Cretaceous, between 97 million and 110 million years ago.
"This juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it," George Poinar, Jr., a zoology professor at Oregon State University, said in a statement.
"This was a male wasp that suddenly found itself trapped in a spider web. This was the wasp's worst nightmare, and it never ended. The wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when tree resin flowed over and captured both of them."
Poinar and Ron Buckley, an amber collector from Kentucky, described the find in a paper published in the October issue of the journal Historical Biology. They wrote that while there are examples of amber-trapped insects caught in webs, "there is no previous fossil record of a spider attacking its ensnared prey."
The amber chunk also contains the body of another male spider in the same web, which might make the fossil the oldest known evidence of social behavior in spiders, according to the authors.
Both the spider and wasp species are today extinct. But the type of wasp (Cascoscelio incassus) belongs to a group that today is known to parasitize spider eggs, Poinor said. The attack on the wasp by the bristly orb-weaver spider, Geratonephila burmanica, might then be considered revenge.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/10/09/100-million-year-old-spider-attack-found-in-amber/

Elderly couple accidentally grew the biggest cannabis plant police had ever seen -

Elderly couple accidentally grew the biggest cannabis plant police had ever seen - 

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An elderly couple have accidentally grown a huge cannabis plant, described by police as the largest they have ever seen.

The pensioners, from Bedford, innocently bought a cutting from a car boot sale believing it to be an innocuous shrub.

They planted the cutting in their garden, carefully tending to it until it became a huge bush. The couple were said to have been oblivious to the fact the plant was illegal.

Police officers were said to be astounded when they spotted the plant. They have since collected it and plan to dispose of it, but not before they shared their discovery on Twitter.

Alongside a picture of the bush, Bedford Police tweeted: “Seized today. Elderly couple bought shrub at car boot sale, tended carefully - biggest cannabis plant we had seen.“

A spokesman for the force told the BBC that no action would be taken against the couple.


Study: One-Third Of Adults Under 30 Have No Religious Affiliation -

Study: One-Third Of Adults Under 30 Have No Religious Affiliation - 

One-fifth of American adults have no religious affiliation, and this number is increasing rapidly.

The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a fast pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6 percent of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14 percent).

This large and growing group of Americans is less religious than the public at large on many conventional measures, including frequency of attendance at religious services and the degree of importance they attach to religion in their lives.

But the survey may be affected by a differing view of the words “religion” and “spiritual.”


NY Intersections with red-light “gotcha’’ cameras routinely cut short the time to make it through yellow lights -

NY Intersections with red-light “gotcha’’ cameras routinely cut short the time to make it through yellow lights - 

City intersections with red-light “gotcha’’ cameras routinely cut short the time that motorists have to make it through yellow lights, running up the number of tickets issued and milking drivers already getting clobbered by record gas prices and skyrocketing tolls, The Post has learned.

Based on recent random surveys, AAA New York has found that intersections with cameras have yellow lights that are shorter by as much as 15 percent compared to the city standard.

“They’re not giving people ample time to get through intersections,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. “This is supposed to be about safety, not just raising revenue, and that’s what it’s become.”

The city Department of Transportation says the standard time it sets its yellow lights at is about a second for every 10 mph of the speed limit, or three seconds for the typical 30-mph intersection.

But the AAA engineers found that the city’s yellow lights at intersections with cameras were coming in as low as 2.53 seconds. The short timing was clear as day during a recent series of random reviews observed by The Post.

AAA is “in favor of red-light cameras,” Sinclair insisted. “But it must be fair. People lose respect for these programs if they view them as revenue enhancers. You can’t have respect for this program if you’re setting it up to be unfair and you’re just reaching into people’s pockets.”

New York was the first city in the country to use cameras to catch drivers running red lights, after the state Legislature approved the move in 1998. Since then, more than 6 million citations have been issued, according to city statistics, with more than a sixth of those recorded in 2010. Figures for last year aren’t available yet.

There are now 150 intersections equipped with a total of 170 red-light cameras around the city.

The cameras have led to a burst of bucks. In the past five years, they have generated more than $235 million for city coffers, with $47.2 million being chalked up last year alone.

Mayor Bloomberg continues to push for state approval to increase the number of monitored intersections to 225, but insists safety is the point — not cash.

“Our goal is for drivers not to run through red lights,” said City Hall spokesman John McCarthy. “Ideally, we would have zero revenue.”

Confronted with AAA’s findings, city DOT spokeswoman Nicole Garcia defended the camera system, saying, “There is no legal requirement for the length of a yellow signal.”

Read more -