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US Cancels A Planned Alcohol Study Over Trust Issues

NIH Director Francis Collins temporarily suspended the study

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A photo made with a fisheye lens shows bottles of alcohol in a liquor store in Salt Lake City. The National Institutes of Health said Friday that it was canceling a study of moderate drinking's health benefits because the results could not be trusted. Beer and liquor companies were helping to underwrite it.
This June 16, 2016, file photo, taken with a fisheye lens, shows bottles of alcohol during a tour of a state liquor store, in Salt Lake City. Cheap liquor, wine and beer have long been best-sellers among Utah alcohol drinkers, but new numbers from Utah's tightly-controlled liquor system show local craft brews, trendy box wines and flavored whiskies are also popular choices in a largely teetotaler state. VOA

The U.S. government is shutting down a planned study testing whether moderate drinking has health benefits over concerns that its funding by the alcohol industry would compromise its credibility.

The National Institutes of Health said Friday that the results of the planned $100 million study could not be trusted because of the secretive way that employees negotiated with beer and liquor companies to underwrite the effort.

Government officials say it is legal to use industry money to pay for government research as long as all rules are followed. However, in this case, NIH officials say employees did not follow proper procedures, including keeping their interactions with industry officials secret.

NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak said the interactions between the employees and industry representatives appeared to “intentionally bias” the study so that it would have a better chance to conclude that moderate drinking is beneficial.

An NIH review panel was also concerned that the study’s proposed span of 10 years was too short a time period to adequately test the potential problems of a daily drink, such as an increased risk of cancer or heart failure.

Red wine
Red wine, Pixabay

NIH Director Francis Collins temporarily suspended the study last month after reporting by The New York Times first raised questions about the funding policy violations. Collins said Friday that he was completely shutting down the research.

“This is a matter of the greatest seriousness,’’ he said.

The study had planned to track two groups of people, one group drinking a glass of alcohol a day and another abstaining from alcohol. The study had planned to compare new cases of cardiovascular disease and the rate of new cases of diabetes among participants.

Some of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage makers, including Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, had contributed to the study, although Anheuser-Busch InBev had recently withdrawn its contribution.

The NIH said of the $67.7 million raised from private donations, nearly all from the alcohol industry, $11.8 million, had been spent for the study.

Also read: New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure

The NIH’s National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) had planned to spend $20 million of its own money for the study. It said $4 million had been spent.(VOA)

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Ace Learning From Home During Lockdown

The ongoing lockdown which has been imposed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic has interrupted the education of students

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In these testing times of pandemic and lockdown, students should ace the idea of learning from home. Pixabay

The COVID-19 has affected our lives in many ways. It has changed the way we interact with people and spend our free time. With the nationwide lockdown is gradually easing, there is still a long way to go before life restores to a normalcy. Navigating education in these strange times can seem daunting and can be challenging for students everywhere, as per Education News.

With schools being shut indefinitely, there has been an interruption in the education of children- especially those who depend on classrooms to learn.

But learning is a continuous process, and the reality is that anyone can learn anywhere through e-learning. Schools,play schools, colleges, tutorials and coaching centres have taken their education online. To avail of this benefit all we need is self-motivation and the right mindset. Ankita Kishore, Chief Strategy officer, BYJU’s shares with IANSlife 6 ways to ace “Learning from Home”.

Here are a few things students can do to help create the right learning environment and make the most of their time at home:

Set up camp, create your “study zone”:

Staying all day at home can also mean lots of distractions. So in order to be focused, dedicate a specific area in the house for studies. Ensure this designated area is free of clutter, has good internet connectivity, and is comfortable enough for uninterrupted learning. And to give your study zone a special touch, decorate your space with motivational quotes for that extra push!

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Spend time understanding a topic, rather than skipping it. Pixabay

Take up a challenge, strengthen your concepts:

This is your personal time and you need to free yourself from the hesitation of asking questions or accepting difficulties. It’s the best time to revisit lessons, strengthen fundamentals, and master challenging topics. So if you’re struggling with a certain topic, instead of shrugging it off, take the time to understand it. There are various study materials available online – videos and written – that explain concepts in an easy-to-grasp and engaging manner.

Watch videos, learn smarter :

Did you know that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster by your brain than text? And I’m sure that anyone can vouch for the fact that learning from videos is a lot more fun than reading! Learning apps have videos with well-explained animated content and live classes that are designed to help students grasp concepts faster and retain them longer. So take the time to find videos that explain concepts visually so you can learn, understand, and remember them better.

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Make a time-table for yourself and follow it every day. Pixabay

Create a routine and stick to it:

Having a routine can help you become a consistent and disciplined learner. So make a time-table for the day and allocate a certain amount of time to learn, practise, and revise. To ensure you make the best use of this routine, make sure that you stick to it. Opting for LIVE online classes could also help set a routine to your learning.

Make your surroundings your Teacher :

Did you know that James Watt’s inspiration for the steam engine came from a boiling kettle? He noticed how the steam forced the kettle’s lid to rise and realised that he could use steam to power an engine.

Also Read: Imperative For Heart failure Patients To Be Health Literate: Study

What this story tells us is that science is all around us – in your kitchen, the garden, and everywhere else. So be observant of your surroundings, ask questions. If you’re curious to know why certain things work the way they do, look it up online. If you want to go a step further, analyse what you learn and mentally map each of your newly discovered facts to understand how everything is interconnected!

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Make your surrroundings your teacher and be curious to know how things around you work. Pixabay

Practise, revise, and practise some more:

There’s no better time than now to master concepts. Once you cover a new topic, practise and revise. There are unlimited practise tests and quizzes available online and on apps such as BYJU’S and more, that can help you practice, ensuring that you have a thorough understanding of every concept and unit. You can also refresh your memory by occasionally revisiting old topics.

So make the best use of your time indoors to learn, grow now and thrive to be future-ready!! (IANS)

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Scientists Identify 29 New Genes Linked To Drinking Problems

Scientists have identified 29 new genetic variants linked to problem drinking

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Scientists spot 29 new genes behind problem drinking. Pixabay

Scientists have identified 29 new genetic variants linked to problem drinking, tripling the number of known genetic risks associated with alcohol disorders.

The team from Yale University in the US identified the new variants after a genome-wide analysis of more than 435,000 people.

“The new data triple the number of known genetic risk loci associated with problematic alcohol use,” said study senior author Joel Gelernter from Yale University in the US.

In genetics, a locus (plural loci) is a specific, fixed position on a chromosome where a particular gene or genetic marker is located. The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, includes genome-wide analysis of people of European ancestry contained in four separate biobanks or datasets.

“This gives us ways to understand causal relations between problematic alcohol use traits such as psychiatric states, risk-taking behaviour, and cognitive performance,” said study lead author Hang Zhou. “With these results, we are also in a better position to evaluate the individual-level risk for problematic alcohol use,” Gelernter noted.

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A team from Yale University has identified new variants liked to drinking after a genome-wide analysis of more than 435,000 people. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers looked for shared genetic variants among those who met criteria for problematic alcohol use, including alcohol use disorder and alcohol use with medical consequences.

The analysis found 19 previously unknown independent genetic risk factors for problematic alcohol use and confirmed 10 previously identified risk factors. The information allowed researchers to study shared genetic associations between problematic drinking and disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Also Read: The Forgotten Indo-China War

They also found genetic heritability of these variants was enriched in the brain and in evolutionarily conserved regulatory regions of the genome, attesting to their importance in biological function. (IANS)

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Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death In Australia, heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

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Climate change an official cause of death in Australia study suggests. Pixabay

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.  “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

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Excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Pixabay

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke,” Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia. According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country’s death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

Also Read: Internshala Launches ‘May Internship Madness’: Summer Internship Fair Brings Virtual Internships

“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” she said. (IANS)