Advertise here
Advertise here

study

now browsing by tag

 
 

Fracking harms the health of babies, study shows

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The practice of drilling into the ground to release natural gas — known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking — first made national headlines in 2011 when drinking water taps in fracking towns in Pennsylvania began catching fire because flammable methane was seeping into water supplies.

Since then, fracking has been linked to earthquakes in Oklahoma and a myriad of health issues. Proponents of fracking say the practice has reduced energy costs and has created thousands of jobs. But environmental groups, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, say that for people living near sites, fracking can have severe health affects such as respiratory illnesses and cancer.

A new study from the journal Science Advances found that infants born to women living near fracking sites in Pennsylvania were especially vulnerable to adverse health outcomes. “As local and state policymakers decide whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in their communities, it is crucial that they carefully examine the costs and benefits,” said Michael Greenstone, a coauthor of the study and the director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, in a press release. “This study provides the strongest large-scale evidence of a link between the pollution that stems from hydraulic fracturing activities and … the health of babies.”

The researchers analyzed vital statistics of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania between 2004 and 2013. They studied infants born to women living 1 kilometer (or slightly over half a mile) away from fracking sites, as well as women living within 3 kilometers (or less than 2 miles), and women living between 3 to 15 kilometers (or less than 2 miles to 9 miles) away.

They found that fracking reduces the health of infants born to mothers living within 3 kilometers from a fracking site. But for mothers living within 1 kilometer, the affects were acute. The probability of low infant birth weight, meaning the infant weighs less than 5.5 pounds, increased to 25 percent.

Studies show that low birth weight can lead to infant mortality, asthma, lower test scores while school-age, and lower earnings as adults. The study also found that mothers whose babies may have been exposed to nearby fracking sites tend to be younger, less educated, and less likely to be married — factors that can also lead to poor infant health.

But there are significant differences between the mothers who give birth close to fracking sites and those who don’t. Black mothers included in the study were more likely to live nearest to fracking sites, exposing their infants to higher risks of pollution. “This difference arises because over time, more wells were drilled near urban areas such as Pittsburgh, where higher numbers of African Americans live,” the authors wrote. Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, has 63 active fracking wells. Many other fracking sites are located in lower-income communities.

Nationwide, between July 2012 and June 2013, as many as 65,000 infants were exposed to pollution from fracking, because their mothers lived within 1 kilometer of a fracking site.

“Given the growing evidence that pollution affects babies in utero,” said coauthor Janet Currie, who is a economics and public affairs professor at Princeton University, “it should not be surprising that fracking has negative effects on infants.”

Fracking Linked to Negative Health Effects in Infants, Study Says

Babies born to mothers who lived near fracking wells during pregnancy are more likely to experience negative health effects than babies born elsewhere, according to new research.

Researchers behind the study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that living within 1 km (0.6 miles) of a fracking well during pregnancy increased odds of low birth weight by 25%. Low birth rates are associated with a slew of different health effects later in life, including various illnesses and developmental problems. The effect was lower but still significant in babies whose mother lived between 1 and 3 km (1.9 miles) from a well during pregnancy, according to the study. Researchers found little effect beyond 3 km.

Fracking, which is short for hydraulic fracturing, has transformed the U.S. energy system in recent years by opening vast reserves of oil and natural gas once thought to be unreachable or too costly to exploit. That change has helped keep energy prices low and pushed coal, which is among the dirtiest fuels, out of top slot for energy in the U.S.

But lingering concerns about the health risks posed by fracking, as well as worries about natural gas’s contributions to climate change, have prompted widespread opposition from lawmakers and activists alike. New York, Maryland and Vermont have all banned the extraction process.

“Hydraulic fracturing has brought a series of benefits to the United States,” says Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, in a video accompanying the study. “Ultimately whether or not we as a society will have access to those benefits in the long run is going to rest on those local communities… judging whether the local benefits exceed the local costs.”

The authors of the new study relied on data from more than 1.1 million births between 2004 and 2013 in Pennsylvania, where fracking wells pepper the state. When applied to the entire country, the findings suggest that annually some 29,000 newborns could be affected.

Research into the effects of fracking on human health remains in early stages, but public health experts say fracking can damage health in a variety of ways. Chemicals used in the fracking process may seep through rocks into underground drinking water, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health. Fracking can also diminish local air quality as the process releases a slew of toxic chemicals into the air.

Tasmanian tigers were in poor genetic health, study finds

95f9f__99167470_tmagtasmanianmuseumandartgalleryd Tasmanian tigers were in poor genetic health, study findsImage copyright
TASMANIAN MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY

Image caption

The last Tasmanian tiger died in a zoo in 1936

Tasmanian tigers suffered from limited genetic diversity long before they were hunted to extinction, a study of DNA has found.

Australian scientists sequenced the genome of the native marsupial, also known as the thylacine.

It showed the species, alive until 1936, would have struggled to survive even without human contact.

The research also provides further insights into the marsupial’s unique appearance.

“Even if we hadn’t hunted it to extinction, our analysis showed that the thylacine was in very poor [genetic] health,” said lead researcher Dr Andrew Pask, from the University of Melbourne.

“The population today would be very susceptible to diseases, and would not be very healthy.”

  • Tasmanian tiger: The enduring belief in an extinct animal

He said problems with genetic diversity could be traced back as far as 70,000 years ago, when the population is thought to have suffered due to a climatic event.

The researchers sequenced the genome from a 106-year-old specimen held by Museums Victoria.

They said their study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, is one of the most complete genetic blueprints of an extinct species.

Image copyright
MUSEUMS VICTORIA

Image caption

The research provides insights into the thylacine’s appearance

Tasmanian tigers numbers declined when humans arrived in Australia tens of thousands of years ago, and again when dingoes appeared.

In the end they were pushed to the island of Tasmania, and hunted to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries. Being isolated from the mainland was a key factor in having a limited gene pool, researchers said.

Species similarities

The study also offered further clues into the appearance of the species, which was the largest apex predator marsupial to survive into the 20th Century.

Tasmanian tigers had pouches like kangaroos where they carried their young, but the species was closer in resemblance to dogs.

The scientists found that thylacine skulls bore similarities to the grey wolf and red fox, despite the animals not sharing a common ancestor since the Jurassic period.

“Given the two species are so distantly related, the fact they have skulls almost indistinguishable from one another is incredibly amazing,” Dr Pask said.

He called it an exceptional example of convergent evolution – where species which are not closely related evolve to look similar.

Reporting by the BBC’s Frances Mao

South-east Asia’s Internet economy to hit US$50b in 2017, exceed US$200b by 2025: study

SOUTH-EAST Asia’s Internet economy will hit US$50 billion in 2017 and will potentially exceed US$200 billion by 2025, according to new research by Google and Temasek.

The Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA Spotlight 2017, a report released on Tuesday, has found that the region’s Internet economy is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent, outpacing the 20 per cent 10-year CAGR projected in Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA, which was released in May last year.

This puts South-east Asia’s Internet economy on “a solid trajectory to exceed US$200 billion by 2025”, said Google and Temasek. Last year, both parties predicted that the region’s Internet economy will grow to US$200 billion by 2025.

All sectors of the Internet economy have experienced “solid growth” in 2017, with e-commerce and ridehailing booming the fastest at a CAGR of over 40 per cent, according to the latest Google-Temasek report.

E-commerce sales will reach US$10.9 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2017, up from US$5.5 billion in 2015, and growing at a CAGR of 41 per cent. The acceleration in sales has been driven by a surge of marketplaces, where small and medium enterprises sell to consumers on mobile-first platforms. Leading players include Lazada, Shopee and Tokopedia, going by the 2017 report.

Ridehailing services will reach US$5.1 billion GMV in 2017, more than double that of the US$2.5 billion in GMV recorded in 2015. Over six million rides per day were booked on the top ridehailing apps (namely Go-Jek, Grab and Uber) in the third quarter of 2017 alone, a more than four-fold increase since 2015.

The Google-Temasek report noted that ridehailing players are expanding to food delivery, courier services and digital payments.

“With the large and growing base of users and drivers on their platforms, ridehailing players are well positioned to become South-east Asia’s horizontal personal services leaders.”

Between 2016 and third-quarter 2017, South-east Asia Internet companies were able to raise more than US$12 billion in capital, up from just US$1 billion in 2015, setting the region well on track to meet the estimated 10-year requirements. In the 2016 Google-Temasek report, it was predicted that US$40-50 billion in investments will be required over a decade for the South-east Asian Internet economy to reach US$200 billion by 2015.

The shortage of homegrown tech talent remains the most pressing challenge for growth, said Google and Temasek in their 2017 report. “There remain areas where continual focus and investments are needed for the region to realise its full potential. In particular, the talent challenge remains largely unsolved.”

South-east Asia’s Internet economy to hit US$50b in 2017, exceed US$200b by 2025: study

SOUTH-EAST Asia’s Internet economy will hit US$50 billion in 2017 and will potentially exceed US$200 billion by 2025, according to new research by Google and Temasek.

The Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA Spotlight 2017, a report released on Tuesday, has found that the region’s Internet economy is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent, outpacing the 20 per cent 10-year CAGR projected in Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA, which was released in May last year.

This puts South-east Asia’s Internet economy on “a solid trajectory to exceed US$200 billion by 2025”, said Google and Temasek. Last year, both parties predicted that the region’s Internet economy will grow to US$200 billion by 2025.

All sectors of the Internet economy have experienced “solid growth” in 2017, with e-commerce and ridehailing booming the fastest at a CAGR of over 40 per cent, according to the latest Google-Temasek report.

E-commerce sales will reach US$10.9 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2017, up from US$5.5 billion in 2015, and growing at a CAGR of 41 per cent. The acceleration in sales has been driven by a surge of marketplaces, where small and medium enterprises sell to consumers on mobile-first platforms. Leading players include Lazada, Shopee and Tokopedia, going by the 2017 report.

Ridehailing services will reach US$5.1 billion GMV in 2017, more than double that of the US$2.5 billion in GMV recorded in 2015. Over six million rides per day were booked on the top ridehailing apps (namely Go-Jek, Grab and Uber) in the third quarter of 2017 alone, a more than four-fold increase since 2015.

The Google-Temasek report noted that ridehailing players are expanding to food delivery, courier services and digital payments.

“With the large and growing base of users and drivers on their platforms, ridehailing players are well positioned to become South-east Asia’s horizontal personal services leaders.”

Between 2016 and third-quarter 2017, South-east Asia Internet companies were able to raise more than US$12 billion in capital, up from just US$1 billion in 2015, setting the region well on track to meet the estimated 10-year requirements. In the 2016 Google-Temasek report, it was predicted that US$40-50 billion in investments will be required over a decade for the South-east Asian Internet economy to reach US$200 billion by 2015.

The shortage of homegrown tech talent remains the most pressing challenge for growth, said Google and Temasek in their 2017 report. “There remain areas where continual focus and investments are needed for the region to realise its full potential. In particular, the talent challenge remains largely unsolved.”

Canola Oil May Be A Bad Choice For Brain Health, Study Suggests

4a56b_960x0 Canola Oil May Be A Bad Choice For Brain Health, Study Suggests

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Canola oil is generally considered a “healthy” oil in comparison to most, but a new study reveals that it may not be the best choice when it comes to brain health.

With high polyunsaturated fats and low saturated fats, canola earned its reputation as a healthy oil alternative when we were learning how devastating trans fats are to heart health. It has the lowest percentage of saturated fats of any vegetable-based oil and a decent amount of phytosterols, compounds linked to lower cholesterol.  It’s also inexpensive, especially compared to olive oil—the king among healthy oils—making it one of the most popular cooking oils in the world.

While its heart-health reputation is respectable, little research has investigated canola’s effect on brain health. Recent studies have found positive correlations between olive oil and brain function, including a potential decrease in risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The latest study on canola oil found much the opposite.

Researchers used a mouse model to examine the effects of a diet rich in canola oil versus a normal diet on brain tissue. One group of mice were given the human equivalent of two teaspoons of canola daily, the other group was fed a normal diet; both groups were observed for six months.

At the end of the study, the research team found that the mice fed canola oil had significantly worse working memory than the control group. And their brains showed a reduction in a particular peptide, amyloid-beta 1-40, which the researchers said leads to an increase in the toxic amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Amyloid-beta 1-40 neutralizes the actions of amyloid 1-42, which means that a decrease in 1-40, like the one observed in our study, leaves 1-42 unchecked,” explained senior study investigator Dr. Domenico Praticò, of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. “In our model, this change in ratio resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neural contacts, and memory impairment.”

The researchers noted that the mice fed canola oil also gained more weight than the group fed a normal diet.

Since this was a mouse study, it’s difficult to say exactly how these outcomes translate in humans. But as a preliminary look into canola’s effects on brain health, the results are concerning.

“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy. Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits,” said Dr. Praticò in a press statement.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

You can find David DiSalvo on Twitter, FacebookGoogle Plus, and at his website,daviddisalvo.org.

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study – Surrey Now

A recent study looking at iPhone’s built-in pedometers is a step toward using the tool as a clinical intervention in improving people’s health, a University of B.C. researcher said.

Smartphones pose an opportunity for researchers to gather objective data on the public’s health and physical activity but before they can be used, the accuracy of the devices need to be tested, lead author Mark Duncan said in an interview Saturday.

“This was very much a first step to make sure that we understand what the data looks like and how well it represents the actual behaviour,” he said.

The study involved 33 participants testing the phones in regular living conditions and in a lab.

Comparing users’ step count on the iPhone pedometer with an accelerometer worn on their waists in their day-to-day life, the study found the iPhone was underestimating the number of steps by 21.5 per cent or 1,340 steps.

The phones fared better in lab tests where accuracy was within five per cent when users walked at a normal pace.

At a slow pace of only 2.5 kilometres an hour, the accuracy of the phones dropped between 7.6 and 9.4 per cent.

Duncan said the discrepancy is likely due to people forgetting to carry their phones at all times.

“If someone goes off to the washroom or to the kitchen and leaves their phone on their desk, obviously it’s not going to count those steps,” he said.

While the accuracy of the device isn’t strong enough to be a primary research tool, Duncan said the information is valuable for the average user interested in improving their health.

“If your goal is the standard 10,000 steps per day and the phone says you’ve completed that, chances are you’ve done a bit more which is not a bad thing for your health,” he said.

READ: Study finds dogs smarter than cats

READ: UBC ‘sailbot’ found after 18 months at sea

It could also be a tool for physicians to monitor and prescribe more activity to their patients, especially as more Canadians carry smartphones.

“There is quite a lot of research saying physicians want to be able to prescribe more physical activity and help their patients to become more physically active but they lack the time and the tools to do so,” he said. “This is potentially one tool that a health care provider could use to both assess physical activity and tell their patients to use it as a tool to increase their physical activity.”

He said now that researchers understand the accuracy of the devices, they can begin testing whether it’s effective to use smartphone pedometers as a motivational tool to increase a user’s physical activity.

Smartphones could also be used to compliment other studies by providing an indicator of participants’ past level of physical activity. Duncan said a challenge with trials is that some people increase their level of activity because researchers are monitoring them, skewing outcomes, and having that historic data can help flag a change in behaviour.

The study was published last month in the Journal of Sports Sciences.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Study finds iPhone health app miscounts your daily steps

Ever find yourself a few steps shy of hitting the 10,000 mark? Turns out your smartphone might be holding you back.

The popular iPhone health app isn’t the most reliable personal trainer, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Researchers found that the iPhone app can underestimate the number of steps taken in a day by as much as 20 per cent.

“Any time you’re measuring something, there’s going to be a little bit of error,” said Mark Duncan, PhD candidate at UBC’s School of Kinesiology and lead author of the study.

But sometimes, it’s not the technology itself that’s entirely to blame.

Two separate tests

Duncan’s study used 33 participants and was divided into two parts: a lab test, and a test in ordinary living conditions.

In the lab, participants walked on a treadmill. Their steps were both manually counted and tracked using two iPhones — a personal phone, and a lab phone.

“At lower speeds, [the iPhones] were less accurate, missing about nine to ten per cent of steps,” said Duncan.

However, the gap narrowed at speeds above five kilometres per hour, missing less than five per cent of steps, a figure that Duncan says is more in line with traditional pedometers.

0bf83_apple-watch-launch Study finds iPhone health app miscounts your daily steps

iPhones tend to be more accurate at counting steps when users walk faster than five kilometres per hour — the same standard walking speeds utilized by Google and Apple maps apps. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

A 20 per cent gap

But the greater discrepancy occurred in the second phase of the study, when participants tracked steps outside the lab.

In addition to keeping their phones on while they went about their daily routine, they also wore fixed accelerators around their waists for three days, which tracked how fast and how far they moved.

According to the study, the iPhone underestimated the accelerometer data by an average of 21.5 per cent, or 1,340 steps per day.

Duncan says the gap is significant — but the iPhone might not be entirely to blame.

“A lot of that could be attributed to people not necessarily bringing their phones with them, or carrying them in their [backpacks] instead of on their persons — like in their hands, or in their pockets.”

Leaving your phone behind when you make a trip to the bathroom, or run out to grab a coffee at work, seems to be where the error stems from, Duncan says.

Study finds iPhone health app miscounts your daily steps

Ever find yourself a few steps shy of hitting the 10,000 mark? Turns out your smartphone might be holding you back.

The popular iPhone health app isn’t the most reliable personal trainer, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Researchers found that the iPhone app can underestimate the number of steps taken in a day by as much as 20 per cent.

“Any time you’re measuring something, there’s going to be a little bit of error,” said Mark Duncan, PhD candidate at UBC’s School of Kinesiology and lead author of the study.

But sometimes, it’s not the technology itself that’s entirely to blame.

Two separate tests

Duncan’s study used 33 participants and was divided into two parts: a lab test, and a test in ordinary living conditions.

In the lab, participants walked on a treadmill. Their steps were both manually counted and tracked using two iPhones — a personal phone, and a lab phone.

“At lower speeds, [the iPhones] were less accurate, missing about nine to ten per cent of steps,” said Duncan.

However, the gap narrowed at speeds above five kilometres per hour, missing less than five per cent of steps, a figure that Duncan says is more in line with traditional pedometers.

0bf83_apple-watch-launch Study finds iPhone health app miscounts your daily steps

iPhones tend to be more accurate at counting steps when users walk faster than five kilometres per hour — the same standard walking speeds utilized by Google and Apple maps apps. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

A 20 per cent gap

But the greater discrepancy occurred in the second phase of the study, when participants tracked steps outside the lab.

In addition to keeping their phones on while they went about their daily routine, they also wore fixed accelerators around their waists for three days, which tracked how fast and how far they moved.

According to the study, the iPhone underestimated the accelerometer data by an average of 21.5 per cent, or 1,340 steps per day.

Duncan says the gap is significant — but the iPhone might not be entirely to blame.

“A lot of that could be attributed to people not necessarily bringing their phones with them, or carrying them in their [backpacks] instead of on their persons — like in their hands, or in their pockets.”

Leaving your phone behind when you make a trip to the bathroom, or run out to grab a coffee at work, seems to be where the error stems from, Duncan says.

University study shows iPhones can miss 21% of your steps – but half of it is your fault

If you use the Activity or Health app on your iPhone to keep track of the number of steps you walk each day, you’re probably doing better than you think. A study by the University of British Columbia found that the iPhone underestimates the number of steps people take by up to 21.5% …


3b66d_screen-shot-2017-03-30-at-14-48-26 University study shows iPhones can miss 21% of your steps – but half of it is your fault

NordVPN

The study tested iPhones against the gold standard for measuring steps: a waist-mounted pedometer. The team also performed laboratory tests where the number of steps walked on a treadmill were counted manually, to provide an absolute measure.

What they found was interesting. For faster walking speeds, in a lab environment, the iPhone was off by less than 5% – an accuracy considered acceptable even in a dedicated pedometer.

For slower walking paces, however, the iPhone underestimated the number of steps by as much as 9.4%. And in real-life use, the iPhone missed 21.5% of steps – an average of 1,340 per day. The UBC says this is explained both by slow walking and by the fact that people don’t take their phones with them everywhere when they are at home or work. Trips to the bathroom and water cooler are two examples where study participants left their phones behind.

The good news, though, is that the study found that inaccuracies consistently resulted from under-reads, not over-reads.

“For people who are already tracking their steps, they can rest assured that if their phone says they’re getting the recommended 10,000 steps in a day, they are probably getting at least that many, and they are working toward better health,” said lead author Mark Duncan. “From a public health point of view, it’s better that it underestimates than overestimates.”

The study was published in the Journal of Sports Sciences.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

Use an iPhone? Check your charger NOW: Study finds 98% of fake Apple power leads risk causing fatal ‘electric …

  • Researchers looked at 50 fake iPhone chargers bought in the UK
  • Their analysis showed that almost half failed an electric strength test
  • And 68% of the chargers tested carried a severe risk of electric shock
  • Overall, the study found that only one out of the 50 was deemed safe to use 

Shivali Best For Mailonline

48

View
comments

If you use an iPhone, you may want to check whether the charger you have is a knock-off.  

A shocking new report has revealed that 98 per cent of fake iPhone chargers put consumers at risk of lethal electric shocks or house fires.

Researchers hope their findings will help raise awareness of the issue and the threat that counterfeits pose to consumers.

Scroll down for video 

fe453_4713EB9200000578-0-image-a-23_1512650286153 Use an iPhone? Check your charger NOW: Study finds 98% of fake Apple power leads risk causing fatal 'electric ...

If you use a fake or lookalike iPhone charger, you may want to consider upgrading to the real-deal. A shocking new report has revealed that 98 per cent of fake iPhone chargers put consumers at risk of lethal electric shocks or fire (stock image)

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR IPHONE CHARGER IS ‘FAKE’ 

The researchers tested a range of fake iPhone chargers, including 50 purchased in the UK.  

They all had incorrect or fraudulent safety markings. Some attempted to copy markings from real iPhone chargers, but included some errors such as spelling mistakes. 

Apple says users to only buy official chargers as these are put through extensive tests.

Advice on Apple’s official chargers can be found here.

 

In the study, researchers conducted a series of safety tests on counterfeit and lookalike iPhone chargers, including 50 purchased in the UK.

The findings, published in a report by Electrical Safety First, reveal that almost all (98 per cent) of these chargers had the potential to deliver lethal electric shocks and cause a fire.

Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, said: It is extremely concerning that 49 out of 50 UK chargers we tested failed basic safety checks.

‘This report shows that anyone purchasing an iPhone charger from an online marketplace or at an independent discount store is taking a serious risk with their safety.’

The chargers were sourced from a variety of online marketplaces and discount stores and stalls across the UK.

Of those tested, all but one failed one or more of the tests and more than one in three chargers failed every part of the test.

The researchers subjected the chargers to a number of electrical and mechanical tests.

Their results showed that almost half failed an electric strength test; meaning that there is a severe risk of electric shock when using these chargers.

Internal examination showed almost half failed basic safety requirements, with sub-standard internal components or inadequate spacing.

fe453_4713EB9200000578-0-image-a-23_1512650286153 Use an iPhone? Check your charger NOW: Study finds 98% of fake Apple power leads risk causing fatal 'electric ...

The findings reveal that almost all (98 per cent) of these chargers had the potential to deliver lethal electric shock and cause a fire

Sixty-eight per cent of the chargers tested carried a severe risk of electric shock due to lack of insulation and poor quality internal components.

And 15 chargers that passed the electrical tests failed the plug pin strength test, demonstrating a danger of breaking off inside a mains socket.

WHICH CHARGING METHODS ARE WORTH A TRY?

DIY charger using a 9V battery: this method doesn’t work and is dangerous.

Fruit battery: this method is also unlikely to work and can damage your phone. 

Backup battery packs: these are the easiest and safest option. They will definitely charge your phone and are inexpensive and available everywhere.

Solar panel and charger: this is an affordable option that ads more versatility than the traditional backup battery packs because it doesn’t require electricity to charge in the first place.

Hand crank: The Eton BoostTurbine2000 handcrank would be a difficult way to give your phone a full charge, but it can get you some power in an emergency.

Wind turbine: the inventors claim that when fully-charged, the turbine can charge your phone four to six times. But this is a pricey option at $399.

Mr Allen said: ‘The vast majority of chargers we tested had the potential to deliver a lethal electrical shock or cause a fire.

‘We’re urging people to take care when buying a charger and recommend buying directly from trusted retailers only.

‘When you buy a fake, at best you could damage your phone but at worst you could be putting your life, your family and your home at risk.’

The latest study follows news last month that a teenage girl died in Vietnam after being electrocuted in her sleep by her faulty iPhone charging cable.

Le Thi Xoan, aged 14, reportedly rolled over onto the torn cable and had as a result been exposed to the live wire, police in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi said.

She was found unconscious by her parents and rushed to a local hospital; however, doctors were unable to revive her and pronounced her dead.

Police found the burnt white cable on her bed and believe a slight tear in the rubber casing may have revealed the live wires inside.

According to investigators, the police believe the girl had plugged her Apple device into charge and laid the iPhone 6 on her bed like she did every night.

The charging cable is being inspected but the authorities said they are yet to determine whether it was the original Apple wire or a third-party device.

In a picture showing the burnt cable, it appears to be shorter than Apple’s original 20-inch charging cable.

See-through tape had also been wrapped around the front of the cable, suggesting that the victim may have been aware of the wear and tear but decided to continue using it regardless. 

fe453_4713EB9200000578-0-image-a-23_1512650286153 Use an iPhone? Check your charger NOW: Study finds 98% of fake Apple power leads risk causing fatal 'electric ...

In a picture showing the burnt cable, it appears to be shorter than Apple’s original 20-inch charging cable. See-through tape had also been wrapped around the front of the cable

 

 


fe453_4713EB9200000578-0-image-a-23_1512650286153 Use an iPhone? Check your charger NOW: Study finds 98% of fake Apple power leads risk causing fatal 'electric ...

Comments 47

Share what you think

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

Close

 

Close

We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.

You can choose on each post whether you would like it to be posted to Facebook. Your details from Facebook will be used to provide you with tailored content, marketing and ads in line with our Privacy Policy.

Pollution Could Cancel Out the Health Benefits of Walking, a New Study Says

Simple though it may be, walking is one of the best things you can do for your body. Research has shown that it can extend your life and improve your heart health, along with a host of other health metrics.

A new study published in the Lancet, however, suggests that where you walk matters. Strolling along heavily polluted streets, researchers found, may actually cancel out many of the benefits associated with walking.

A team of researchers recruited 119 people over age 60. Of these, 40 were healthy; 40 had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory lung disease; and 39 had ischemic heart disease, which is caused by a narrowing of the arteries.

Some of the people were instructed to walk for two hours per day along London’s Oxford Street, a downtown thoroughfare heavily trafficked by buses and cars, while the others spent the same amount of time walking through a quiet part of the city’s Hyde Park. Three to eight weeks later, the groups swapped routes. After each outing, researchers measured pollutant concentrations in each environment, along with a number of health markers in the participants, including lung capacity, breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and arterial stiffness, which is related to high blood pressure.

After walking through Hyde Park, the healthy people saw big improvements in their lung capacity and arterial stiffness. But after walking along Oxford Street—and breathing in a number of airborne pollutants—people saw only modest improvements in lung capacity and a worsening of arterial stiffness, suggesting that the air quality nullified many of walking’s health benefits, according to the paper.

MORE: Here’s How Many People Die from Pollution Around the World

People with COPD and those with heart disease both experienced negligible improvements in lung capacity after walking in either location. However, people with COPD showed more respiratory issues—including coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath—after walking along Oxford Street, as well more arterial stiffness. People with heart disease also saw more severe arterial stiffness after walking through the urban environment, unless they were taking cardiovascular drugs, which appear to offer some protective benefits.

“You should avoid polluted areas for doing any form of exercise, specifically walking,” explains lead researcher Kian Fan Chung, a professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London’s National Heart and Lung Institute. “In London, we have a lot of open spaces, green space, where the amount of pollution is going to be less than what it is outside the park. If that’s not available, people should probably exercise indoors.”

Without a sedentary control group, the researchers note, it’s not possible to say that walking was directly responsible for the physical changes observed in the study. But the results suggest that where you exercise matters, perhaps as much as the activity itself.

Eating for your health is also better for the environment, study shows …

So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet.

It turns out that healthy eating isn’t just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.

Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is responsible for 20% to 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, 33% of the ice-free land on our planet is being used to grow our food, researchers say.

Eating for your health is also better for the environment, study shows …

So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet.

It turns out that healthy eating isn’t just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment.

Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is responsible for 20% to 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, 33% of the ice-free land on our planet is being used to grow our food, researchers say.

Study finds you tend to break your old iPhone when a new one comes out

Ah, it’s that time of year again! Carols ring, holly glistens, and Apple (AAPL) comes out with a new iPhone model.

And we conveniently start losing or breaking our existing phones.

That’s not just clumsiness at work. According to a study from the University of Michigan, it’s your psychology at work, attempting to help you justify the purchase of a faster, better phone model. (The study’s title is, “’Be Careless With That!’: Availability of Product Upgrades Increases Cavalier Behavior Toward Possessions.” It was published in the October 2017 Journal of Marketing Research.)

Ordinarily, associate professor of psychology Josh Ackerman says, when we lose or break a phone, we file a report. We ask our insurance to cover it, we cash in on our AppleCare coverage—we somehow report it. But when he studied the numbers over time, he discovered something bizarre: every time Apple or Samsung comes out with a new smartphone model, the number of broken phone/lost phone claims go down.

d3aca_spaceball Study finds you tend to break your old iPhone when a new one comes outd3aca_spaceball Study finds you tend to break your old iPhone when a new one comes out

“And our interpretation of that was, once people wanted to start upgrading, they just cared less about the product that they currently had,” Ackerman says. “They’re causing damage to them, losing them, and so on, despite the fact that that is costly to them.”

It’s our subconscious at work, he says. “People have this very strong desire to justify why they’re going to get a new product. If you already own a phone and it works just fine, but a new one comes out that seems really, really appealing, what do you tell yourself in order to convince yourself to get that new phone? Maybe you tell yourself, ‘Well, maybe my phone’s not working quite as well as I thought.’ Or maybe, ‘Oops, I dropped it on the ground and the screen cracked!’ Or, ‘Maybe I happened to leave it in a taxi.’ Those kinds of justifications might mean, ‘Oh, now I get to tell myself that I can really buy that new product.’”

And yet if you ask people if they think they could be susceptible to this kind of mental psyche-out, they’ll deny it. “When we ask people in our studies, ‘Would you go out and intentionally lose your phone?,’ people are like, ‘No, that’s crazy—I would never do this!’”

To test his theory, Ackerman’s team reproduced the psychological setup with less pricey belongings.

“We looked at eyeglasses, sunglasses, coffee mugs. For example, that we gave people coffee mugs—just regular, everyday, kind of boring mugs. And we told some people that they could have the opportunity to get a much better mug, a much nicer mug,” Ackerman says. “And we put them in a position where they could potentially take risks with the mug that they had. And it turns out that people who were wanting to get that better mug took more risks. In fact, they dropped their mug more frequently. And oh, suddenly—“My mug is broken! I better get that new one.!”

There are two takeaways, Ackerman says. First, just be aware that your psychology may be playing these games with you.

Second, if you admit that you want the new model phone, take active steps to do something useful with your old one. “We also found in our research that if you give people another type of justification—not one where they’re damaging their product, but one where you donate or trade it in—that works just as well to motivate people to get these new products. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself.”

More from David Pogue:

Battle of the 4K streaming boxes: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku

iPhone X review: Gorgeous, pricey, and worth it

Inside the Amazon company that’s even bigger than Amazon

The $50 Google Home Mini vs. the $50 Amazon Echo Dot — who wins?

The Fitbit Ionic doesn’t quite deserve the term ‘smartwatch’

Augmented reality? Pogue checks out 7 of the first iPhone AR apps 

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, is the author of “iPhone: The Missing Manual.” He welcomes nontoxic comments in the comments section below. On the web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here, or you can sign up to get his columns by email

 

UF Health Conducts New Study On Possible Marijuana’s Medical Effects On HIV

A new study on marijuana’s health effects on people with HIV is launching after the University of Florida received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in August. Participants are currently being selected and interviewed after UF Health released the announcement of this study in late October. Researchers have recently visited local clinics to talk to possible participants.

The study is believed to be the largest study to date on the topic and will follow approximately 400 Floridians with HIV over five years who use marijuana medically or recreationally. The study will also follow approximately 100 HIV patients who do not use marijuana.

The study was approved and received funding after two failed proposals previously. This followed the approval of Florida’s Amendment 2 in January, which granted citizens with serious illnesses, including HIV, legal access to medical marijuana.

“The main questions we will ask will be: what do patients currently use, do they think it’s helping them and how do they know it’s helping,” said Dr. Robert Cook, the study’s lead investigator and a professor of epidemiology and medicine in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine.

Researchers will track the quantity, cannabinoid content, methods of consumption and frequency of use to identify any patterns in symptom management and in how the virus is expressed in the body. Researchers will not provide participants with marijuana, but rather will monitor current use.

About 30 percent of those with HIV surveyed across the state of Florida – which has the highest rate of new infections annually in the U.S. according to the HIV Surveillance report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention – use some form of marijuana. Most claim usage helps manage different symptoms like pain, anxiety, stress, sleep difficulties and nausea. About 70 percent of these users reported some degree of health benefit.

The study aims to fix current gaps in research regarding medical marijuana, as there is still a lot experts do not know about its health effects.

Cook said he hopes states will make policies based on the scientific evidence.

“In terms of potential consequences, many people do worry about addiction and about driving under the influence,” said Cook. “Stereotypically, people worry about planning and motivation, which will be measured.”

Most previous research has not suggested that users have typical addiction symptoms, according to Cook. However, up to 10 percent of people who use marijuana regularly will have symptoms consistent with an addiction, depending on how it is measured, Cook said.

Users are encouraged to monitor the enforcement of marijuana regulations, which ensure that each product is labeled and sold correctly.

“It seems to me that it is being treated differently than typical medications, which are monitored very closely,” he said.

Cook plans to work on a research paper that summarizes the study’s findings.

Seth Stambaugh, 29, said he believes the study will provide insights on a potential adjunct therapy for HIV patients.

Stambaugh was diagnosed with HIV four years ago and used marijuana to alleviate nausea and vomiting when he first began antiretroviral treatment.

While he no longer uses it due to professional and legal reasons, Stambaugh believes that early use may help reduce some side effects of ART therapy, which is being used to stop the growth of the virus and increase adherence to medications.

Stambaugh believes marijuana may help reduce anxiety and depression, which are correlated with decreased adherence to ART therapy.

“The point of medicine is to improve quality of life and I believe this study can help shed light on an alternative way to do that,” he said.

Stambaugh hopes to see a change in standardization among dosages and of active compounds among dispensaries and strains.

“Hopefully, this study can help provide insight on appropriate use and dosing to give physicians and patients some guidance on how to obtain the best outcome and quality of life possible,” Stambaugh said.

He said marijuana policies should be made based on evidence.

“I hope studies like this one will help shed light on the issue of utilizing cannabis in a true medical context while informing us of the possible drawbacks,” he said. “When the biggest pros and cons are realized, we can formulate the best ways to lower the risks and maximize benefits associated with the use of cannabis.”

Cost of medication is one of the most burdensome stressors and a significant barrier for many people living with HIV/AIDS, Stambaugh said. The study will also record how much participants are spending on marijuana.

Michelle Wilson, 42, was diagnosed with HIV six years ago and uses marijuana in her tea to help with joint stiffness and muscle soreness associated with the virus.

“I think this study is an amazing thing for the HIV community and for the legalization of marijuana since it helps with nausea and headaches, which can be caused by HIV,” Wilson said.

UF Health Conducts New Study On Possible Marijuana’s Medical Effects On HIV

A new study on marijuana’s health effects on people with HIV is launching after the University of Florida received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in August. Participants are currently being selected and interviewed after UF Health released the announcement of this study in late October. Researchers have recently visited local clinics to talk to possible participants.

The study is believed to be the largest study to date on the topic and will follow approximately 400 Floridians with HIV over five years who use marijuana medically or recreationally. The study will also follow approximately 100 HIV patients who do not use marijuana.

The study was approved and received funding after two failed proposals previously. This followed the approval of Florida’s Amendment 2 in January, which granted citizens with serious illnesses, including HIV, legal access to medical marijuana.

“The main questions we will ask will be: what do patients currently use, do they think it’s helping them and how do they know it’s helping,” said Dr. Robert Cook, the study’s lead investigator and a professor of epidemiology and medicine in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine.

Researchers will track the quantity, cannabinoid content, methods of consumption and frequency of use to identify any patterns in symptom management and in how the virus is expressed in the body. Researchers will not provide participants with marijuana, but rather will monitor current use.

About 30 percent of those with HIV surveyed across the state of Florida – which has the highest rate of new infections annually in the U.S. according to the HIV Surveillance report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention – use some form of marijuana. Most claim usage helps manage different symptoms like pain, anxiety, stress, sleep difficulties and nausea. About 70 percent of these users reported some degree of health benefit.

The study aims to fix current gaps in research regarding medical marijuana, as there is still a lot experts do not know about its health effects.

Cook said he hopes states will make policies based on the scientific evidence.

“In terms of potential consequences, many people do worry about addiction and about driving under the influence,” said Cook. “Stereotypically, people worry about planning and motivation, which will be measured.”

Most previous research has not suggested that users have typical addiction symptoms, according to Cook. However, up to 10 percent of people who use marijuana regularly will have symptoms consistent with an addiction, depending on how it is measured, Cook said.

Users are encouraged to monitor the enforcement of marijuana regulations, which ensure that each product is labeled and sold correctly.

“It seems to me that it is being treated differently than typical medications, which are monitored very closely,” he said.

Cook plans to work on a research paper that summarizes the study’s findings.

Seth Stambaugh, 29, said he believes the study will provide insights on a potential adjunct therapy for HIV patients.

Stambaugh was diagnosed with HIV four years ago and used marijuana to alleviate nausea and vomiting when he first began antiretroviral treatment.

While he no longer uses it due to professional and legal reasons, Stambaugh believes that early use may help reduce some side effects of ART therapy, which is being used to stop the growth of the virus and increase adherence to medications.

Stambaugh believes marijuana may help reduce anxiety and depression, which are correlated with decreased adherence to ART therapy.

“The point of medicine is to improve quality of life and I believe this study can help shed light on an alternative way to do that,” he said.

Stambaugh hopes to see a change in standardization among dosages and of active compounds among dispensaries and strains.

“Hopefully, this study can help provide insight on appropriate use and dosing to give physicians and patients some guidance on how to obtain the best outcome and quality of life possible,” Stambaugh said.

He said marijuana policies should be made based on evidence.

“I hope studies like this one will help shed light on the issue of utilizing cannabis in a true medical context while informing us of the possible drawbacks,” he said. “When the biggest pros and cons are realized, we can formulate the best ways to lower the risks and maximize benefits associated with the use of cannabis.”

Cost of medication is one of the most burdensome stressors and a significant barrier for many people living with HIV/AIDS, Stambaugh said. The study will also record how much participants are spending on marijuana.

Michelle Wilson, 42, was diagnosed with HIV six years ago and uses marijuana in her tea to help with joint stiffness and muscle soreness associated with the virus.

“I think this study is an amazing thing for the HIV community and for the legalization of marijuana since it helps with nausea and headaches, which can be caused by HIV,” Wilson said.

Apple’s First Medical Study Signals Broader Health Ambitions

Medical researchers are increasingly turning to mobile devices such as smartphones and watches as a way to monitor patients in trials, an approach they hope improves participation and accuracy but that also has limitations.

If the tactic catches on, it could prove another selling point for products, including Apple Inc.’s watch, which thus far has failed to gain the type of widespread adoption the iPhone and iPad have enjoyed.

The…

Apple’s First Medical Study Signals Broader Health Ambitions

Medical researchers are increasingly turning to mobile devices such as smartphones and watches as a way to monitor patients in trials, an approach they hope improves participation and accuracy but that also has limitations.

If the tactic catches on, it could prove another selling point for products, including Apple Inc.’s watch, which thus far has failed to gain the type of widespread adoption the iPhone and iPad have enjoyed.

The…

Internet not direct cause for radicalisation — study

AMMAN — “While Internet may play a facilitating role, it is not established that there is a causative link between it and radicalisation towards extremism, violent radicalisation, or the commission of actual acts of extremist violence,” a recent study by UNESCO titled “Youth and Violent Extremism on Social Media – Mapping the Research” showed.

Conducted to assess the extent to which social media lead vulnerable individuals to resort to violence, the research covered six regional areas (Europe, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Arab world, parts of Africa and Asia) during the 2012-2016 period.

“Many people believe the Internet at large is an active vector for violent radicalisation that facilitates the proliferation of violent extremist ideologies. And they respond with online censorship, surveillance and counter-speech,” the report said, urging more comprehensive research on an issue that is still considered “under analysed” by international experts. 

With one of the highest percentages of Facebook users in the Arab world, and an Internet penetration of 87 per cent in 2016, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission’s latest figures, Jordan is considered to be one of the most at risk of those threats. 

This tendency is further heightened by the fact that 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s population is under 30 years old, which is considered the most vulnerable segment of society to the phenomenon of radicalisation, according to the study.

To counter these threats, Jordan has been implementing several online prevention campaigns, with a special focus on youth empowerment through media information literacy (MIL).

Citing the Kingdom as being on the forefront of the fight against online radicalisation, the study looked into the MIL initiative launched in 2014 in Jordan as part of the “Support to Media in Jordan” framework.

Implemented by UNESCO in collaboration with the Ministry for Media Affairs with the support of the European Union, the project seeks to “empower youth with MIL competences for self-expression through media production and participation in social and political transformations”, according to its website. 

“We want to produce a generation who are aware, critical thinkers. We live in an era characterised by a deluge of information, and we want our students to differentiate between facts and rumours by equipping them to be predisposed to logic and objectivity,” Fatima Amouri, a teacher at a school hosting a MIL club, said.

The abilities to protect their cyber presence and safely navigate the Internet are some of the main lessons spread by the MIL clubs hosted by several schools across the Kingdom.

“With the younger generation spending approximately six hours a day on social media, media literacy can empower them in free self-expression, critical thinking, creativity and innovation, and can provide tools to guard young people against issues such as hate speech, extremism and violence,” Constanza Farina, UNESCO representative to Jordan said.

According to the report, these youth centred initiatives help create counternarratives that reflect youth perceptions of themselves and others, especially in terms of combating injustice, discrimination and social inequalities.

“We have more confidence now. We know how to think about the effect of news on people,” says Toulin, a student taking part in one of the MIL clubs.

Another initiative highlighted by the report is the Global MIL Week, held in Jordan for two consecutive years, with the aim of raising awareness on the importance of media literacy for social cohesion.

According to the study, such events contribute to the sharing of knowledge and expertise that will help in drafting of “a policy that is constructed on the basis of facts and evidence, and not founded on hunches – or driven by panic and fearmongering”.

Wrapping up on its initial question of a correlation between youth extremism and social media, the study concluded that, while some evidence suggests that Internet can play a role in the violent radicalisation process, through the dissemination of propaganda, as well as the reinforcement and engagement of an audience interested in radical messages, social media are, at best, an environment facilitating extremism, rather than driving it. 

Among its recommendations, the report called for a holistic approach to the issue, in which social media are not separated from other communication platforms, and from other offline social, economic and cultural factors. 

While commending “promising” MIL programmes, the study also called for an assessment of these electronic strategies on prevention of violent radicalisation, with a special focus on youth and women.

“More women researchers, including young researchers are needed … their life experiences may help to enrich understanding of the gender-specific and youth specific aspects of radicalisation and the role of the social media in this process,” the study concluded.




Advertise here