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It's probable that if children use the filters on an ongoing daily basis in their bedroom, they will see continued benefits. Pixabay

Using a bedroom air filter that traps fine particles of pollution with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometres can significantly improve breathing in asthmatic children, according to a new study.

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a ubiquitous air pollutant originating from fossil fuel emissions, wildfires and other biomass burning, industrial sources, and gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Thirty times smaller in diameter than a human hair, the particles are easily inhaled and can penetrate deep into the small, or lower, airways where they can trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Inhalers don’t help since they are only designed to open upper airways.


The findings, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, documented physiological improvements occur in the child’s airways when air filters are in use, and it suggests that with consistent use, the filters may help prevent, not just alleviate asthmatic flare-ups.

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“Our results show that using an air purifier to reduce the exposure of lower airways to pollutants could help asthmatic children breathe easier without those costly drugs,” said study researcher Junfeng Zhang from Duke University in the US.

For the results, the researchers conducted the double-blind crossover study in a Shanghai suburb during a period of moderately high PM2.5 pollution in 2017. They gave 43 children with mild to moderate asthma two air filters to use in their bedrooms. One was a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter capable of removing PM2.5; the other was a sham filter.


Using a bedroom air filter that traps fine particles of pollution with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometres can significantly improve breathing in asthmatic children, according to a new study. Wikimedia Commons

Each filter was used for two weeks in random order with a two-week interval in between. Neither the children nor their families knew which filter was which. “Results showed that PM2.5 concentrations inside the children’s bedrooms were a third to two-thirds lower when the real air filters were in use than when the sham ones were being used,” said researcher Michael H Bergin.

This drop coincided with significant improvements in how easily air flowed in and out of the children’s small airways and lungs, Bergin said. These improvements included a 24 per cent average reduction in total airway resistance, a 43.5 per cent average reduction in small airway resistance, a 73.1 per cent average increase in airway elasticity, and a 27.6 per cent average reduction in exhaled nitric oxide, a biomarker of lung inflammation.

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Although the benefits lasted only as long as the real air filters were in use, “it’s probable that if children use the filters on an ongoing daily basis they will see continued benefits,” Zhang said. (IANS)


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Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content.

By Nikhila Natarajan

In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.

"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.

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The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.

gold Apple iPhone 6s displaying Twitter logo Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

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Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal.

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Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.

"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.

"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)


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