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WHO declares covid remains a global health emergency

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COVID-19 is still an international health emergency, was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) declared, following an advisory committee ruling that the disease may be nearing reaching a “tipping point” where a higher degree of immunity could reduce deaths caused by the virus.

“There there is absolutely no doubt we’re today in a far better place” than we were a year ago at a time when the variation in the omicron was at its highest, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared in remarks made at the start of the annual meeting of executive directors. Of the WHO.

Tedros stated that over the past eight weeks, 170,000 people had been killed worldwide due to the coronavirus. Tedros urged those at risk to be vaccinated, more testing and treatment with antivirals in addition to an increase in the number of lab networks as well as a fight against “misinformation” regarding the spread of the virus.

“We are hopeful that in the coming year, we’ll enter the next phase of our journey in which we can reduce hospitalizations and deaths to the lowest levels,” he said.

Tedros spoke after the WHO announced the conclusions of its emergency panel on the pandemic, declaring it had been reported that 13.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines were given. According to the report, about 90 percent of healthcare workers and more than four in-five adults over 60 had completed the initial series of vaccinations.

“The committee was aware that the COVID-19 pandemic could be nearing the tipping threshold,” the WHO said in the statement. Increased levels of immune protection worldwide obtained through vaccination or the infection process “could limit the impact” of the COVID-19 virus in “morbidity and mortality,” the committee stated.

“But there is no certainty that it will continue to be an ever-present pathogen to both animals and humans in the near time to come,” it reads. Even though the omicron-type variants can be easily transmitted, “there has been a difference between the severity of the infection and the illness” compared to earlier versions.

Committee members have cited “pandemic fatigue” and the increasing perception in the public that COVID-19 isn’t as harmful as it used to be, causing people to be more oblivious to preventive measures like wearing masks. And social isolation.

Samsung could say goodbye to a model of the Galaxy S series in 2024

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Samsung’s Unpacked 2023, scheduled for February 1, could be the last we see a model from the Galaxy S family.

For several years, Samsung has been committed to providing three models of the S series: Galaxy S (the base), Galaxy S + (with a larger screen) and the Galaxy S Ultra (with greater camera features).

The Korean portal The Elec assures that Samsung would be thinking of deleting one of them.

Will Samsung say goodbye to the Galaxy S+?
According to what The Elec indicates, Samsung is planning not to launch a Galaxy S24+ in 2024.

This would be due to a “polarization of the cell phone market”, with the Galaxy S+ model losing ground by being located between the Galaxy S and Galaxy S Ultra.

Plans could change. This February 1 we will see the new Galaxy S, and a good performance of the potential Galaxy S23+ could give the model new airs.

As The Elec explains, parts for the 2024 Galaxy S24 series will still be laid out later this year.

The five strangest medical cases of 2022

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Physicians regularly document the unique situations they encounter in the form of reports in medical journals. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the strangest medical cases reported this year.

Vitamin D overdose

Vitamin D overdose

We need vitamin D mainly to increase the levels of calcium and phosphorus in our blood. The main natural source of vitamin D remains exposure to the Sun. Some foods also contain it and it is also possible to ensure its intake with supplements provided you do not abuse it too much.

A study published in July in BMJ Case Reports also detailed the case of a Briton who consumed the equivalent of 400 times the recommended daily dose in one day. The man would then have suffered from several symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pain, tinnitus and vomiting) for nearly three months, losing more than thirteen kilos in the process. Everything was finally back to normal two months later thanks to treatment to reduce his high calcium level.

Man rips his lung out while masturbating

Man rips his lung out while masturbating

A few months ago, a young man’s masturbation session landed him in hospital with spontaneous pneumomediastinum, the result of a sudden increase in pressure in the chest cavity. The tearing of certain lung membranes then allows the air circulating in the respiratory system to escape and end up in the space in the chest located between the two lungs (the mediastinum).

This phenomenon is usually triggered by a violent cough, an acute asthma attack, excessive vomiting or intense physical exercise.

Foam insulation in his urethra

Foam insulation in his urethra

For one reason or another, sometimes people insert foreign bodies into their genitourinary tract, especially the urethra. Of course, this type of maneuver is not without risk.

A few months ago, a team of doctors notably reported the case of a 45-year-old man whose partner had inserted a long straw into his urethra connected to a bomb of insulating foam in an attempt to alleviate his erectile dysfunction, before inadvertently pull the trigger. The insulation had then passed through the entire length of the urethra before finally filling the bladder.

Hiccups and cancer

Hiccups and cancer

Most of the time, hiccups are short-lived and completely benign. However, sometimes they are a sign of a much deeper problem. Last March, Indian doctors reported the case of a patient whose hiccups had lasted for months. After analysis, it emerged that the latter was caused by an aggressive brain tumor. After radiation therapy and surgery, the symptoms subsided.

“Allergic” to his own orgasms

“Allergic” to his own orgasms

Earlier this year, doctors reported the case of a person who developed an allergic reaction to his own orgasms. Specifically, the man suffered from symptoms similar to hay fever after ejaculating. This phenomenon is known as post-orgasmic illness syndrome, manifested itself from his adolescence, pushing this poor man to avoid sexual and romantic relationships.

Doctors suspected that the cause of these symptoms could be an infection in the testicles, or even an injury. Thus, leakage of sperm into the bloodstream would cause rejection by immune cells. To treat it, the team opted for long-acting antihistamines, often used to manage other types of allergies. The man was then able to enjoy orgasms with significantly reduced symptoms.

300 million year old fossils distorted by the formation of Pangea

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Fossils discovered more than a century ago in Ireland were likely deformed by superheated fluids around 300 million years ago. These fluids are believed to have been released when Earth’s ancient continents collided to form Pangea. Details of the study are published in the journal Paleontology.

Strange ‘dragon’ fossils

These 320-million-year-old fossils (Carboniferous era) are essentially made up of a group of amphibian-like tetrapod creatures of the genus Keraterpeton. Discovered in 1866 at a fossil site in County Kilkenny, southern Ireland, these animals that could have fit in the palm of your hand looked like salamanders with pointed horns.

Somewhat oddly, all of these remains have visibly been deformed, while large sections of them have been replaced by surrounding charcoal. The fossils also contain an unusually high amount of apatite crystals or phosphate minerals. They are found in the bones of most animals, as well as in many volcanic rocks.

To explain all these features, it was long thought that these fossils were buried in acidic soil. This soil would then have dissolved most of the bones and allowed charcoal to take their place. A new study challenges that assumption. After analysis, it would indeed seem that the apatite in the bones was probably formed twenty million years after the death of these creatures. This observation therefore implies another explanation.

Formation of Pangea

The Earth’s crust and upper mantle form tectonic plates that float on top of the molten rock of the middle mantle. Over the past billion years, the continents have been moved around the world according to the movements of the tectonic plates which slide, crash or overlap each other. Here, the formation of apatite seems to correspond with the formation of the last supercontinent on Earth: the famous Pangea.

More specifically, the researchers believe that the apatite in the fossils likely came from superheated fluids that were released during this process.

“When these continents collided, they formed mountain belts with superheated underground fluids flowing out of them,” says Aodhán Ó Gogáin, of University College Dublin. “It was these superheated fluids, which circulated throughout Ireland, that cooked and melted the bones of these fossils causing the weathering we see today.”

The team, which has finally settled the question of the origin of these “Irish dragon” fossils, hopes that these discoveries can also be used to learn more about the formation of Pangea.

A dieback of the Amazon simulated by the latest generation of climate models

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A study provides a better understanding of how the Amazon could react to climate change by the end of the century. Crossing a tipping point beyond which the whole of the forest would turn into savannah, for example, seems rather unlikely. The results were published in the journal Earth System Dynamics on November 24.

The risk of seeing all or part of the Amazon turn into savannah under the combined effects of deforestation, agricultural practices and climate change remains difficult to assess. One of the difficulties is that most models do not show such an evolution, thus opposing a growing number of theoretical and observational elements suggesting the approach of a tipping point. Given the importance of the question, research on the subject is particularly intense.

The latest generation of climate models, however, changes the situation since it reports a decline of the Amazonian forest with continued warming. The emerging process is, however, more subtle than reasoning based on simplified theories might suggest. Indeed, the models show that the Amazon is not rocking as a whole, but rather by segments. We thus observe a kind of stair-step decline as environmental conditions deteriorate.

Amazonia and climate, a multitude of tipping points

Instead of a single tipping point, we would have to imagine a multitude of them, each associated with a small section of the tropical forest. Scientists note, however, that even local diebacks would have dire consequences for the ecosystems and communities therein. “This study suggests that for every degree of warming above 1.5°C, up to 12% of the northern Amazon will see steep declines in carbon content in vegetation,” said Isobel Parry, lead author of the study. .

In addition to revealing local bifurcations in response to warming, the models show that these tipping points are preceded by an accentuation of the seasonal thermal cycle. Indeed, the vegetation becomes increasingly dry, which accentuates the rise in temperatures outside the rainy season. This indicator, which signals increasing water stress, therefore seems promising for identifying the imminence of tipping points in the real world.

“The temperature observation data allow us to infer that the Amazon has been drying up for more than a hundred years,” reports Paul Ritchie, author of a sister study on the issue. “Earth system models predict continued drying in the future under global warming, giving us yet another reason to be concerned about climate-induced Amazon rainforest dieback.” Fortunately, the Amazon has little risk of tipping over as a whole, leaving more room for forest protection and climate change mitigation policies.

US Consumer Inflation Shows Signs Of Cooling

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In October 2022, consumer inflation reached 7.7 percent from a year earlier, and 0.4 percent from September 2022. This slowdown from 8.2 percent in September 2022, was the smallest increase since January 2022. A different gauge known as core inflation, which excludes food and energy, has increased by 6.3 percent in the past 12 months, and 0.3 percent since September 2022.

Price hikes in the United States moderated last month, and the pressures of inflation gripping the country might be easing as the economy slows and the consumers can grow more cautious.

These numbers were lower than expected by the economists. The used car prices were driving the inflation slowdown from September 2022 to October 2022, which had dropped for a fourth consecutive month, and the prices for medical care and clothing were also down. The increase in the food prices were also slowed, and energy prices rebounded in October 2022 after having declined in August 2022 and September 2022.

With tentative easing of inflation, the Federal Reserve is expected to keep increasing interest rates to stop high price increases. Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics for North America, said that they expect this to market the beginning of a long non-inflationary trend, which they think will convince the Federal Reserve to stop hikes early next year. Paul Ashworth added that with supply shortages getting normal, the pressure for deflation is now showing up.

Study reveals that consuming ground coffee can reduce the risk of death by 27%

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“Caffeine is the most famous constituent of coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components,” they noted.

A study by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia, led by Professor Peter Kistler, suggests that coffee consumption could be considered part of a healthy lifestyle, and that drinking two to three cups of the ground product generates 27% less probability of death over people who do not consume the drink.

“Caffeine is the most famous constituent of coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components,” the professor commented on some of his research results.

The main result obtained is that the recommended amount of consumption is between two and three cups a day, a point that generates the greatest reduction in risk of death and also found that the probability falls 14% and 11% with decaffeinated and instant coffees.

The research was carried out together with a questionnaire answered by 449,563 people, with the purpose of finding out the cups of coffee they usually consume, and then divided into six different groups based on their answers; those who do not, those who drink less than one, one, between two or three, between four or five and those who drink more than five.

Specifically against cardiovascular diseases, the research found that consumers of decaffeinated, ground and instant coffee have reduced the possibility of suffering from this type of pathology by 6%, 20% and 9%, respectively. Clarifying point that decreases when people who take amounts above four cups.

Marine life: towards an extinction worthy of the Permian-Triassic crisis in the event of inaction

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Unless we act quickly to limit global warming, nearly all marine species will be at high or critical risk of extinction by the end of the century. Also, there is still time to act to avoid these gloomy prospects. At least that is what a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change reports on August 22.

This is the kind of news that unfortunately surprises us less and less. We all know that the living world is very hard hit by pollution, climate change, deforestation and other practices of overexploitation of natural resources. However, new studies reveal that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, no less than 90% of marine species will be at risk of extinction by the end of the century.

In their study, the international team of researchers took into account some twenty-five thousand species located in the upper ocean and how they are likely to react to the continued rise in temperatures as well as increasing acidification. waters. Indeed, it should be remembered that in addition to causing an accumulation of heat in the climate system, part of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in the ocean and lowers its pH.

Towards a carnage of marine life in the event of inaction or insufficient action
The results show that with global warming of 3°C to 5°C, corresponding to an absence of regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, 90% of marine life forms would be threatened with extinction. The good news is that with global warming kept at 2°C in line with the objectives of the Paris climate agreement, the risk of extinction would be greatly reduced for most of the species studied. This scenario of course implies a rapid and deep decrease in our emissions with a net zero reached around the middle of the century.

The life forms most at risk are often those experiencing other stresses such as overfishing. It goes without saying that with such a collapse of marine life, human societies would be very hard hit, especially with regard to populations and economies that depend very directly on fisheries resources. For these low-income countries often located in the deep south, the issue of food insecurity is therefore a serious one.

Note that if we fail to keep the climate at a level consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, we would be heading for the greatest extinction of species ever known on Earth since the terrible episode of the Permian-Triassic boundary that decimated over 95% of marine life 252 million years ago. “Our climate risk assessment can help prioritize vulnerable species and ecosystems for marine conservation and fisheries management efforts,” the study notes in its executive summary.

Elephant seals to refine our understanding of the ‘Blob’

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By ingeniously taking advantage of elephant seals, a study has shed light on the mechanisms involved in the dynamics of the Blob, this exceptional marine heat wave that occurred a few years ago in the northeast Pacific. The results were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans on July 4.

The marine heat wave that affected the northeast Pacific between 2013 and 2016 was the most intense ever reported since the beginning of observations, with anomalies sometimes exceeding 6°C. Named The Blob in reference to a nanar from the 1950s, it has fueled a large body of studies, especially since several aftershocks have occurred since then, including a notable one between 2019 and 2021.

Elephant seals to examine The Blob

Thanks to sensors placed on a group of northern elephant seals, a team of researchers was able to record the phenomenon from below from 2014 to 2017. Indeed, if the monitoring of temperature anomalies on the surface of the sea is easy thing with satellite instruments, the situation quickly becomes complicated for anomalies located below the surface. However, they play a strong role in terms of the persistence and risk of a resurgence of the heat wave.

“Elephant seals collect data in places different from existing oceanographic platforms,” reports Christopher Edwards, lead author of the study. “This is an underutilized dataset that can tell us about important oceanographic processes and help biologists understand the ecology of northern elephant seals.”

An understanding of the phenomenon that is being refined

The most valuable measurements were collected during the migratory phases, when the animals dive several hundred meters deep and travel long distances. They revealed larger heat anomalies than previously estimated, with an extended thermal excess at least up to a thousand meters deep. The latter was also largely maintained during 2017, at the very time when the Blob was disappearing on the surface.

“These temperature anomalies are so deep that they are unlikely to result from mixing from the surface,” explains the researcher. “A reasonable mechanism is that the exceptionally warm waters were transported north from the south. What we don’t yet know is whether this northward transport is directly related to surface warming. Surface changes may have transiently altered deeper currents to pull southerly waters northward.”

What is certain, however, is that in a context of global warming, marine heat waves will become more frequent, more intense and will affect larger areas. As the latest IPCC report indicates, these are trends that have already begun. For example, since the 1980s, the number of marine heat waves has doubled worldwide.

“The more information we can collect, the better off we will be in terms of understanding what is happening and dealing with challenges,” the lead author points out. “While elephant seals have been used to study the physical oceanography of polar regions for some time, this is one of the first studies to use the data collected to answer oceanographic questions in temperate regions, such as the North Pacific Ocean.

Artificial Intelligence: a new support for memory loss

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Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, an algorithm could help establish basic relationships to recover memory

A report published by the University of Toronto specified that a computer algorithm, aided by Artificial Intelligence, is capable of helping memory loss. The way in which this discovery works would be similar to the way in which the brain carries out its activities: it stores and retrieves information strategically. Parham Aarabi, an academic from said think tank, is the creator of this system.

“Most people think that Artificial Intelligence is more like a robot than a human being, I think that has to change,” Aarabi said. “Ten years ago computing was about absolutes, now we want our computers to make rough conclusions and guess percentages. We want a processor to tell us that there is a 10 percent chance that an image contains a car and a 40 percent that it contains a pedestrian,” he stressed.

Thus, the specialist has worked on this class of approaches to retrieve and store information thanks to copies that help humans determine what to remember and what to forget. For this reason, certain studies carried out prior to the creation of the algorithm showed that the brain and memory prioritize recent events.

In a few words, said Artificial Intelligence would work like other similar systems: it would search database entries in search of patterns that help memory. This would help the system to be refined enough after a certain time to establish relationships more effectively and discover new problems.

In this way, the aforementioned Artificial Intelligence would serve as a bio-inspired artificial memory capable of being a support for people with retention problems. “Ultimately, it’s aimed at people with memory loss, it helps them remember things in a very human way, very gently, without overwhelming them,” adds Aarabi.

The specialist also emphasizes that this would be an important step in building professional relationships in favor of health care. Therefore, the Artificial Intelligence developed by the expert has the purpose of serving society in a more practical way. Above all, in relation to memory problems suffered by various factors. “Biologically inspired memory may very well bring AI a step closer to human-level capabilities,” Aarabi concluded.