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Uranus Got Unusual Properties Because of Ancient Icy Impact: Study

"This model is the first to explain the configuration of Uranus' moon system, and it may help explain the configurations of other icy planets in our Solar System such as Neptune," Professor Ida explained

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Uranus
Uranus also has a ring system, like Saturn's, and a slew of 27 moons which orbit the planet around its equator, so they too are tipped over. Wikimedia Commons

 Early in the history of our solar system, Uranus was struck by a small icy planet — roughly 1-3 times the mass of the Earth — which tipped the young planet over, and left behind unusual properties in its moons and ring system, says a study.

The ice giant Uranus’ unusual attributes have long puzzled scientists. All of the planets in our solar system revolve around the Sun in the same direction and in the same plane, which astronomers believe is a vestige of how our solar system formed from a spinning disc of gas and dust.

Most of the planets in our solar system also rotate in the same direction, with their poles orientated perpendicular to the plane the planets revolve in. However, uniquely among all the planets, Uranus’ is tilted over about 98 degrees.

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Uranus also has a ring system, like Saturn’s, and a slew of 27 moons which orbit the planet around its equator, so they too are tipped over. A research team led by Professor Shigeru Ida from the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan has now explained how Uranus’ unusual set of properties came to be.

Uranus
Early in the history of our solar system, Uranus was struck by a small icy planet — roughly 1-3 times the mass of the Earth — which tipped the young planet over, and left behind unusual properties in its moons and ring system, says a study. Wikimedia Commons

Their findings, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggest that Uranus’ strange axis of rotation and the unusual properties of its moons and ring system are likely due to an ancient giant icy impact. The team came to this conclusion while they were constructing a novel computer simulation of moon formation around icy planets.

“This model is the first to explain the configuration of Uranus’ moon system, and it may help explain the configurations of other icy planets in our Solar System such as Neptune,” Professor Ida explained.

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“Beyond this, astronomers have now discovered thousands of planets around other stars, so-called exoplanets, and observations suggest that many of the newly discovered planets known as super-Earths in exoplanetary systems may consist largely of water ice and this model can also be applied to these planets,” Ida said. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Poses Serious Complications, Even Death Risk for Children: Research

Children at a higher risk from COVID-19

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Children at high risk of complications from Covid-19. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have revealed that children, teenagers and young adults are at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and those with underlying health conditions are at even greater risk of death.

“This study provides a baseline understanding of the early disease burden of COVID-19 in pediatric patients,” said study researcher Hariprem Rajasekhar from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Pediatrics in the US. “The findings confirm that this emerging disease was already widespread in March and that it is not universally benign among children,” Rajasekhar added.

Published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the study followed 48 children and young adults – from newborns to 21 years old — who were admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the US and Canada for COVID-19 in March and April.

More than 80 per cent had chronic underlying conditions, such as immune suppression, obesity, diabetes, seizures or chronic lung disease. Of those, 40 per cent depended on technological support due to developmental delays or genetic anomalies. More than 20 per cent experienced failure of two or more organ systems due to COVID-19, and nearly 40 per cent required a breathing tube and ventilator.

At the end of the follow-up period, nearly 33 percent of the children were still hospitalised due to COVID-19, with three still requiring ventilator support and one on life support. Two of the children admitted during the three-week study period died.

 

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Children, teenagers and young adults at very high risk of COVID-19, say researchers. Pixabay

The researchers said they were “cautiously encouraged” by hospital outcomes for the children studied, citing the 4.2 per cent mortality rate for PICU patients compared with published mortality rates of up to 62 per cent among adults admitted to ICUs, as well as lower incidences of respiratory failure.

The study noted that doctors in the New York metropolitan area are seeing what appears to be a new COVID-related syndrome in children. “The idea that COVID-19 is sparing of young people is just false,” said study co-author Lawrence C Kleinman from Rutgers University in the US.

“While children are more likely to get very sick if they have other chronic conditions, including obesity, it is important to note that children without chronic illness are also at risk. Parents need to continue to take the virus seriously,” Kleinman added.

Recently, another study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, also revealed that gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, coupled with a fever or history of exposure to COVID-19, could indicate coronavirus infection in children.

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The US currently accounts for the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at 1,347,388 and 80,397, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University. (IANS)

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Healthy Eating Habits in Children Reduces Chances Of Heart Related Risks Later: Study

Healthy children are more likely to have fewer heart risks later

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Healthy eating habits in kids mean lesser heart risks as adults. Pixabay

Dear parents, kindly take note. Researchers have found that healthy eating behaviours in childhood may reduce the risk of, overweight, obesity and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study focused on providing evidence-based strategies for parents and caregivers to create a healthy food environment for young children that supports the development of positive eating behaviours and the maintenance of a healthy weight in childhood.

Allowing children to choose what and especially how much to eat within an environment composed of healthy options encourages children to develop and eventually take ownership of their decisions about food and may help them develop eating patterns linked to a healthy weight for a lifetime, according to the study authors.

“Parents and caregivers should consider building a positive food environment centred on healthy eating habits, rather than focusing on rigid rules about what and how a child should eat,” said study researcher Alexis C Wood from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, US.

The statement suggests that parents and caregivers should be positive role models by creating an environment that demonstrates and supports healthy food choices, rather than an environment focused on controlling children’s choices or highlighting body weight.

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Healthy eating behaviour in kids results in lesser heart risks as adults. Pixabay

Parents and caregivers should encourage children to eat healthy foods by: providing consistent timing for meals, allowing children to select what foods they want to eat from a selection of healthy choices, serving healthy or new foods alongside foods children already enjoy.

Regularly eating new, healthy foods while eating with the child and demonstrating enjoyment of the food, paying attention to a child’s verbal or non-verbal hunger and fullness cues and avoiding pressuring children to eat more than they wish to eat.

The researchers noted that some parents and caregivers may find it challenging to allow children to make their own food decisions, especially if the children become reluctant to try new foods and/or become picky eaters.

These behaviours are common and considered normal in early childhood, ages 1 to 5 years, as children are learning about the tastes and textures of solid foods.

Imposing rigid, authoritarian rules around eating and using tactics such as rewards or punishments may feel like successful tactics in the short term.

 

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Kids need to eat healthy to avoid heart risks when older. Pixabay

In addition, the authoritarian approach has been linked to children being more likely to eat when they are not hungry and eating less healthy foods that are likely higher in calories, which increase the risk of overweight and obesity and/or conditions of disordered eating.

On the other hand, an indulgent approach, where a child is allowed to eat whatever they want whenever they want, does not provide enough boundaries for children to develop healthy eating habits.

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“Children’s eating behaviours are influenced by a lot of people in their lives, so ideally, we want the whole family to demonstrate healthy eating habits,” said Wood. (IANS)

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Higher Consumption of Alcohol Directly Associated with Stroke Risk: Research

Increased stroke rate related to higher alcohol consumption

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Increased alcohol usage resulting in higher stroke rate. Pixabay

In a warning for heavy drinkers, new research says that higher alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of having a stroke or developing peripheral artery disease (PAD).

While observational studies have consistently shown that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, they often use self-reported data and are unable to determine the cause.

For the current findings, published in the Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine Journal Report, researchers used a different technique called Mendelian randomisation that identifies genetic variants with a known association to potential risk factors to determine the potential degree of disease risk.

“Since genetic variants are determined at conception and cannot be affected by subsequent environmental factors, this technique allows us to better determine whether a risk factor — in this case, heavy alcohol consumption — is the cause of a disease, or if it is simply associated,” said study researcher Susanna Larsson from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

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Alcohol consumption resulting in higher stroke risk. Pixabay

The research team analysed the genetic data from several large-scale consortia and the UK Biobank, which follows the health and well-being of 500,000 UK residents.

Results indicate that with higher alcohol consumption, a three-fold increase of peripheral artery disease, a narrowing of arteries that results in reduced blood flow, usually to the legs.

The findings showed that higher alcohol consumption can lead to a 27 per cent increase in stroke incidence.

They also found some evidence for a positive association of coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and aortic aneurysm.

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Alcoholism leads to higher stroke risk. Pixabay

“Higher alcohol consumption is a known cause of death and disability, yet it was previously unclear if alcohol consumption is also a cause of cardiovascular disease,” Larsson said.

The study suggested the mechanism by which higher consumption was associated with the risk of stroke and PAD may be blood pressure.

The study, however, has some limitations.

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According to Larsson, the prevalence of heavy drinking in the UK Biobank was low, and it is unlikely that the burden of increased risk of cardiovascular disease is restricted to heavy drinkers alone.

The researchers said the causal role of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular diseases other than stroke and peripheral artery disease requires further research. (IANS)