Dangerous cigarette compounds “travel” in every environment clinging to smokers’ clothes

A further study focuses on so-called “third-hand smoke”, i.e. that type of second-hand smoke in which the injured party is in an environment, usually closed, where someone has smoked. The most striking example may be the interior of a car in which someone has smoked and there are still cigarette butts and ashes in the ashtrays.

This new study confirms that the remains of smoked cigarettes can cling to the bodies or clothes of smokers and then be released into non-smoking environments.
The team of researchers, led by Drew Gentner of Yale, shows in this study that these cigarette compounds can literally travel, and even in abundant quantities, in indoor environments frequented by non-smokers transported by smokers themselves.

According to the researchers, a person, even if he or she is in a room where no one has smoked, can still be exposed to many of the chemical compounds found in a cigarette if a person who had previously smoked has entered that room.
As Gentner explains, “People are substantial carriers of third-hand smoke contaminants in other rooms. Therefore, the idea that someone is protected from the potential health effects of cigarette smoke because they are not directly exposed to second-hand smoke is not right”.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers analysed the traces of cigarette compounds in a movie theatre. The researchers found that the amounts of these substances left by smokers, for example through their clothes on armchairs or in the air, increased dramatically after the screening of R-rated films, i.e. films for adults who naturally saw more smokers in the cinema.

The quantities of these dangerous substances, of which nicotine was the largest representative, were not even to be overlooked, according to the researchers: they were comparable to those of exposure to second-hand smoke.
These compounds continue to make their way into enclosed spaces despite strong bans and numerous regulations in many states around the world prohibiting people from smoking not only inside public places but also near entrances or near air vents.

Tobacco also linked to worse mental health according to a new study

Often, when reference is made to the damage of cigarette smoking, mental health is hardly ever thought about, and yet cigarettes are also bad for you. This is suggested by a study by Professor Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published in PLOS ONE.

Levine and colleagues carried out a survey of 2000 Serbian university students from different social and economic backgrounds. The researchers found that students who smoked showed higher rates of clinical depression than their non-smoking peers, two to three times.

Taking into consideration only the students of the University of Pristina, the researchers found that 14% of the smoking students suffered from depression compared to 4% of the non-smoking peers, while for the University of Belgrade the percentages were 19% compared to 11% respectively.

The same students who smoked also showed lower mental health scores than non-smokers. According to Levine, this study adds further evidence that smoking and depression may be linked; although there is no direct evidence yet that smoking causes depression, it can be said that tobacco seems to have a non-positive effect on mental health.

One can evaluate hearing quality by analyzing pupil dilation according to researchers

It may prove to be a new and effective hearing test developed by a team of neuroscientists at the University of Oregon. According to a statement on the university’s website, it is possible to assess a person’s hearing level by measuring pupil dilation.

According to the same statement, this approach could be useful to understand the quality of hearing in infants, young adults with disabilities and adults with stroke or other diseases and in general in those people for whom direct responses are not possible. The researchers performed experiments on 31 adults by monitoring the size of their pupils with eye detection technology. The detection took place while the same people performed a hearing test and while staring at an object at a monitor.

The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otorhinolaryngology, explains that this system is inspired by a discovery made by the main author of the study, Avinash Singh Bala, 10 years ago when he noticed changes in the pupils of barn owls in response to unexpected noises in their natural environment.

“What we discovered was that pupil dilation was as sensitive as the button-press method,” Bala explains. “We had presented the first data analyses at the conferences and there was a lot of resistance to the idea that by using an involuntary response we could get results as good as the button-pressing data.”

New peanut butter with probiotics developed by scientist

A new peanut butter that allows you to acquire probiotic positives was developed by researcher Dan Perlman. Probiotics are microorganisms that live in the digestive system that help to promote digestion, produce important hormones and vitamins and generally strengthen the immune system.

For years, Perlman has been looking for new ways to “pack” probiotics into food to allow people to acquire them without using pills or third-party capsules. Probiotics need to be ingested alive to take advantage of their positive characteristics but if there is not enough water or other energy sources in the food to support these bacteria, they die quickly and are therefore useless once ingested.

Walnut butters seem to be unsuitable for cramming live probiotics as they contain very little water. However, the researcher noted that when freeze-dried peanut butter bacteria come in, the bacteria themselves remain “suspended” in a sort of deep sleep, still alive but ready to get back to work and “wake up” once they are ingested by people.

This is because they remain trapped in the structure of the fat matrix of these foods, a rather crystalline fat.

In the new peanut butter developed by the researcher, there are 500 million to one billion bacteria in a two-spoon portion, the amount of a probiotic pill.

Now the researcher himself is looking for a way to make this new peanut butter with probiotics for commercial use.

Judo is very useful for autistic children according to a new study

Judo can be useful for children with autism spectrum disorders according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Central Florida. According to the researchers, this martial activity, in addition to reducing the level of physical inactivity, which in itself can be linked to other diseases such as diabetes and obesity, can also have positive effects with regard to social interaction in autistic children, as the researchers noted during their analysis.

During the pilot study, in fact, the researchers noticed that children who practiced this physical activity were then anxious to continue the lessons when they finished and were generally very interested. As a consequence, the researchers themselves found a moderate to vigorous increase in physical activity among the study participants. The results of the study were then published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Parents interviewed about it also stated that their children with autism spectrum disorders seemed to be more comfortable with social interaction and physical contact while practicing judo.
These are characteristics, those related to social interaction, for which children diagnosed with autism usually have a certain difficulty.

“While for karate, a form of martial arts, the benefits to the autistic population related to social interaction have been documented, we hypothesized that the emphasis on awareness and self-defense promoted by judo could provide additional benefits to young people with ASD,” explains Jeanette Garcia, researcher at the College of Health Professions and Sciences who carried out the research. “In fact, our study shows that judo not only promotes social skills, but is well accepted by this population and is an excellent program to reduce sedentary behavior and increase confidence.”

Homo erectus arrived in Southeast Asia earlier than previously calculated

The first apparitions of homo erectus in Southeast Asia would have occurred earlier than previously theorized: a new study that places the arrival of the first hominids in the area of Sangiran, island of Java, in a period between 1.3 and 1.5 million years ago comes to this conclusion.

These first humans migrated from Asia to Southeast Asia to reach Java at least 300,000 years later than previously believed. The Sangiran area is in fact rich in human fossils, the oldest in Southeast Asia, and is a well-known site, one of the most important to understand the evolution of the first humans in this area.

However, the chronology of the site has always remained uncertain, especially with regard to homo erectus and its first appearance in the region. Precisely for this reason, the researcher Shuji Matsu’ura, together with colleagues, has carried out a new study analyzing with various dating methods, including Uranium Lead (U/Pb) to calculate the age of various volcanic zircons found in this area.

The results that the scientist and his colleagues have obtained are therefore significantly different from the previous ones and estimate the arrival of homo erectus in this area at 1.3-1.5 million years ago while previous results estimated the arrival at 1.7 million years ago.

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