Private: Coffee Makers Can’t Dodge California Cancer Warning, Judge Says
Featured, Health

Coffee Makers Can’t Dodge California Cancer Warning, Judge Says

A California state judge in Los Angeles issued a tentative ruling in a lawsuit brought against dozens of companies, including Starbucks Corp., Target Corp., 7-Eleven Inc. and Whole Foods Market for their alleged failure to comply with the state’s required warnings.

The companies failed to persuade the judge that “sound considerations of public health” support an exemption from California’s Proposition 65 warning for the chemical acrylamide in coffee.

“Defendants’ proffered evidence that coffee itself confers some benefit to human health was not persuasive,” Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said in his ruling Wednesday.

The coffee producers and retailers have until April 10 to file objections to the judge’s proposed ruling. Some of the coffee retailers have already settled the lawsuit and agreed to post warnings in their stores.

Read More

Also Read: NASA goes deep in Mars

Scientists figured out how to make an IPA without the hops
Featured, Food

Scientists figured out how to make an IPA without the hops

Beer wouldn’t be possible without the fabulous fungus that is yeast, which converts sugars into alcohol through fermentation. Scientists from the University of California-Berkeley have figured out how to make the microbe do double duty and add hoppy flavors to a lab-made pale ale that didn’t include any actual hops in the recipe.

Two (presumably beer-loving) scientists first isolated the various oils naturally produced by hops, the flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant, which gives hoppy beer its bitter flavor. Then, they sought out other plants that naturally produce these same oils, and isolated the genes responsible. Once those genes were isolated, the scientists used them to genetically modify the DNA of brewer’s yeast so that the fungi would produce the same bitter oils. After a number of trial brews, they found that genes from a mint and basil worked best when spliced into a strain of brewer’s yeast.

In a double-blind taste test of two batches of the final hop-free pale ale compared to a regularly brewed pale ale, tasters found the hop-free beer to have more of the style’s characteristically bitter flavors.

The researchers write in their paper, published today (March 20) in Nature Communications, that once further developed, this technology could streamline the IPA brewing process for commercial breweries to allow them to keep up with growing demand.

The most famous pale ales are IPAs, or India pale ales, which have existed since the 1780s. Brits needed to figure out how to make their favorite brews last what was then a six-month journey to India, where it was far too hot to make beer using the methods of the time. George Hodgson, a brewer conveniently located near the ports in England, figured out that he could add hops to the starchy, sugary, warm mixture called “wort” that forms the base of beer. During fermentation, yeast feeds on the sugars in the wort, creating alcohol as a byproduct, and voila: beer. The hops in the mix act like a preservative. The result was a more bitter beverage that would age instead of spoil during its voyage across the sea.

Now there’s no need to add hops as a preservative, but IPAs are hugely popular for their distinctive taste, and demand is growing. In 2017, they made up a quarter of US craft-beer sales, which meant in a decade, demand for IPAs basically tripled in the country, the world’s largest beer market.

The genetically altered yeast help make more homogenous batches of all this IPA. Brewing beer is a finicky business; flavors depend on the exact type of yeast, wort, hops, and even the temperatures and durations of the fermenting process. Charles Denby, a bioengineer and co-author of the study, told Inside Science that even minuscule genetic differences in hops across a single farm can produce different tastes in beer—and there are over 30 varieties of the plant. Although some may view these taste distinctions as parts of a unique craft variety, having a yeast that can produce a specific hoppy flavor may lead to superior production for brewers going for consistency.

Read More

Also Read: US kids draw female scientists more than ever

Featured, Health

10 Tips for Running in the Morning

Want to begin your day with a jog, but don’t know where to start? Try these tips for the beginners and get closer to a healthy lifestyle.


[os-widget path=”/maryna_bond/10-tips-for-running-in-the-morning” of=”perceptron” comments=”false”]


What Kind Of Foodie Are You?

From true gourmets to adventurous free spirits, find your spot on the foodie scale.

[os-widget path=”/rsacks/what-kind-of-foodie-are-you” of=”perceptron” comments=”false”]

Private: Doctors find very large air pocket where part of man’s brain should be
Featured, Health

Doctors find very large air pocket where part of man’s brain should be

The 84-year-old man arrived in the emergency room with complaints that weren’t uncommon for a patient his age.

He had reported feeling unsteady over the past several months, culminating in repeated falls in recent weeks. In the three days leading up to his hospital visit, his left arm and leg had noticeably weakened.

Still, there were no red flags in the man’s medical history. He didn’t smoke. He rarely drank. A blood test detected nothing abnormal.

“There was no confusion, facial weakness, visual or speech disturbance,” doctors stated in a summary of the man’s case published Feb. 27 in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports. “He was otherwise fit and well, independent with physical activities of daily living . . . and lived at home with his wife and two sons.”

In other words, doctors thought, there was nothing apparent that would have suggested a clear reason for his symptoms. In a way, they wouldn’t be wrong.

It was only after CT and MRI scans that the patient’s medical team made an alarming discovery: Where much of the man’s right frontal lobe of his brain should have been, there was simply a large blank space.

Where much of the man’s right frontal lobe of his brain should have been, there was simply a large blank space. The scans were so extreme, doctors wondered if the man had forgotten to disclose previous brain surgery or birth defects. BMJ Case Reports image

Finlay Brown, a physician who was working in the emergency department at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, at the time, remembers reviewing the brain-imaging scans with the rest of the staff.

“(We) were all very perplexed by the images we saw!” Brown told The Washington Post in an email.

The scans were so extreme, doctors wondered if the man had forgotten to disclose previous brain surgery or birth defects. He said he had not.

It turned out the man had pneumocephalus, or the presence of air in his cranium, a condition that is found in “nearly 100 percent of cases after brain surgery,” Brown said. It can also occur after sinus infections and head or facial injuries – but with pockets of air or gas that are far smaller.

In this case, the patient’s pneumatocele – or pressurized air cavity – measured about 3½ inches at its longest, according to the BMJ Case Reports article.

“In my research for writing the case report I wasn’t able to find very many documented cases of a similar nature to this one,” Brown told The Post.

The pneumatocele’s likely cause, an MRI would show, was an osteoma, or benign bone tumor, that had formed in the man’s sinus and was eroding through the base of the skull, Brown said.

The tumor’s formation and location had allowed for something of a “one-way valve effect” that had gradually contributed to the cranial air cavity, he added.

“From speaking to the specialists, it seems it has been progressing insidiously over months to years,” Brown said. “When the patient sniffed/sneezed/coughed he would most likely be pushing small amounts of air into his head.”

The air cavity was also reported as a “rare cause” of a small stroke the man had suffered, which had likely led to the left-side weakness and other symptoms that prompted the man’s hospital visit, according to the BMJ Case Reports study.

Brown said the patient could have undergone surgeries: One that would decompress the air pocket in his head and another that would eliminate the tumor that had created the “one-way valve” and allowed air to move into the cavity in the first place.

However, the man declined both, because of his age and other health factors. He was given medication to prevent a secondary stroke and sent home with orders to monitor whether his left-side weakness worsened.

His nonsurgical approach is not without risk: It’s likely the patient will be at a greater risk for infection, since there remains a passageway for air – and therefore bacteria and viruses – into his brain cavity, Brown said.

“Unfortunately, as there are not many cases published, it is hard to know the exact prognosis,” Brown said.

So far, though, the man appears to be doing well, despite the cranial air pocket. During a follow-up appointment 12 weeks after his hospital visit, the patient reportedly no longer felt weakness on his left side and “remained well,” according to his case study.

Brown told LiveScience he wanted to publish this case study to stress “the importance of thorough investigation of even the most common of symptoms,” as an octogenarian’s frequent falls and imbalance could have easily been written off.

“Because every now and then, there will be a rare [or] unknown causation of these that could be overlooked,” he told the science news site.

Read More

Also Read: How healthy are you?

Private: Regeneron and Sanofi Plan to Cut Cholesterol Drug Price in Exchange for Wider Coverage
Featured, Health

Regeneron and Sanofi Plan to Cut Cholesterol Drug Price in Exchange for Wider Coverage

The makers of an expensive cholesterol-lowering drug plan to offer discounts of up to 69% in exchange for insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers expanding their coverage of the medicine to more patients.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi SA said they will seek to renegotiate their contracts with insurers by offering rebates and discounts for the drug, called Praluent, that would bring its U.S. net price within a range of $4,500 to $8,000 annually per patient, down from its list price of $14,600.

Read More

Also Read: NASA May nuke asteroids