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People who vape regularly are more likely to have problems related to mental function. Pixabay

There appears to be a clear link between e-cigarette use and mental fog as two new studies have found that those who vape was more likely to report difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions than their non-vaping, non-smoking peers. It also appeared that kids were more likely to experience mental fog if they started vaping before the age of 14.

“Our studies add to growing evidence that vaping should not be considered a safe alternative to tobacco smoking,” said study author Dongmei Li, Associate Professor at University of Rochester Medical Centre (URMC) in New York.


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The studies, published in the journals Tobacco Induced Diseases and Plos One, analyzed over 18,000 middle and high school student responses to the National Youth Tobacco Survey in the US and more than 886,000 responses to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System phone survey from US adults.

Both surveys asked similar questions about smoking and vaping habits as well as issues with memory, attention, and mental function. Both studies showed that people who smoke and vape — regardless of age — are most likely to report struggling with mental function. Behind that group, people who only vape or only smoke reported mental fog at similar rates, which were significantly higher than those reported by people who do not smoke or vape.


Nicotine exposure through vaping causes difficulty with mental function. Pixabay

The youth study also found that students who reported starting to vape early — between eight and 13 years of age — were more likely to report difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions than those who started vaping at 14 or older.

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“With the recent rise in teen vaping, this is very concerning and suggests that we need to intervene even earlier,” said Li.

While the URMC studies clearly show an association between vaping and mental function, it is not clear which causes which. It is possible that nicotine exposure through vaping causes difficulty with mental function. But it is equally possible that people who report mental fog are simply more likely to smoke or vape — possibly to self-medicate. Li and her team say that further studies that follow kids and adults over time are needed to parse the cause and effect of vaping and mental fog. (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.

"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."

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.

Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".

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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A health worker counts antiretroviral drug tablets for a patient at The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) in the capital Kampala, Uganda, July 12, 2012.

KAMPALA, UGANDA — Uganda has kickstarted a trial for the injectable HIV drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine. Researchers and those living with HIV say the trial will likely end pill fatigue, fight stigma, improve adherence and ensure patients get the right dosage.

The two drugs have been in use as tablets. The World Health Organization last year licensed their use as injectables.

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