Egypt Independent: Science-Main news http://www.egyptindependent.com//enhome_channel/Environment/rss.xml en Screen time before bedtime could be especially damaging to preteens http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456812 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/06/19/43/desktop.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Experts have been warning for the last few years that mobile device and computer screens diminish sleep quality, but a new study suggests the effect could be particularly detrimental for children and young teenagers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Nighttime light exposure of any kind can imperil sleep, yet the new study says that pubescent boys and girls between the ages of nine and 15 are particularly sensitive &ndash; more so than older teens.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Students who have tablets or TVs or computers &ndash; even an &#39;old-school&#39; flashlight under the covers to read &ndash; are pushing their circadian clocks to a later timing,&quot; says senior author Mary Carskadon of Brown University in the US. &quot;This makes it harder to go to sleep and wake up at times early the next morning for school.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the study, just one hour of nighttime exposure to light suppressed production of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin for a participant group of 38 boys and girls between the ages of nine and 14 years who were in the earlier stages of puberty.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On the flipside, the suppression of melatonin was less dramatic for a group of 29 boys and girls between the ages of 11.5 and 15.9 years old who had progressed farther into puberty.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Melatonin samples were collected every 30 minutes using participants&#39; saliva, and light exposure started at 15 lux, the rough equivalent to twilight, which suppressed melatonin by 9.2 percent in the younger group.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lighting was then brightened to 150 lux (the approximate level of a residential home) and the younger group&#39;s melatonin production dwindled by 26 percent and 500 lux (as bright as in an office) diminished melatonin production by 36.9 percent.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For the older group, 15 lux made no difference in melatonin production, while exposure to 150 lux diminished production by 12.5 percent and 500 lux caused it to drop by 23.9 percent.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The researchers noted no differences between boys&#39; and girls&#39; responses to the light exposure.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Small amounts of light at night, such as light from screens, can be enough to affect sleep patterns,&quot; says Carskadon, who is the director of chronobiology and sleep research at the EP Bradley Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island in the US.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Carskadon and her co-authors recommend limiting screen time before bedtime, acknowledging that this could be difficult, for studies suggest a large proportion of teens turn on their gadgets in the hour before they go to sleep.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp; Metabolism.&nbsp;</div> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:58:00 +0000 AFP 2456812 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/06/19/43/desktop.jpg Health Ministry prepares 4 national diabetes projects http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456792 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/06/30/501184/diabetes.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The Health Ministry announced in a press conference on Monday that four new diabetes projects will be rolled out across the nation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Project 1</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The first project includes launching campaigns in general hospitals throughout the governorates. There will also be a one-day conference for all diabetes doctors nationwide to discuss how to apply international diabetes treatment protocols, said professor Hesham Hefnawy, director of the National Diabetes Institute.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A committee of diabetes professors and doctors will be formed to establish the first Egyptian diabetes treatment protocol. The committee will study the treatment of acute and chronic complications of diabetes, as well as discuss early detection of diabetic foot and diabetic eye, Hefnawy added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Project 2</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The second project will be held under the slogan &quot;Control diabetes before it controls you&quot;, which includes visits to hospitals where patients and doctors will be instructed on how to deal with the disease. The project will be piloted in Qaliubiya, Beni Suef and Minya.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Project 3&nbsp;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The third project has already been applied to most hospitals. It aims to detect those who may one day become diabetic by offering free blood tests, echocardiography and clinical neurology examinations. About 200,000 people have already had the tests done, according to Hefnawy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Additonally, 26 diabetes treatment stations have been distributed to different governorates.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Project 4&nbsp;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The fourth project deals with a safe way of fasting for diabetic patients.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt has eight million people suffering from diabetes and ranks eighth on an international diabetes scale, President of the International Diabetes Association Professor Michael Hirst said in a statement Sunday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The country is expected to rise in the new classification to the seventh rank, due to several factors, most notably Egyptians&#39; unhealthy lifestyle, said Hirst, pointing out that he plans to visit Egypt later this year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Statistics have shown that one person around the world dies every six seconds as a result of diabetes, and every three seconds a person is diagnosed with the disease, Hirst said. He expects that the number of people with diabetes will climb to 529 million people by 2035.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm&nbsp;</em></div> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:28:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2456792 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/06/30/501184/diabetes.jpg Beijing 'deploys monkeys and falcons for war parade' http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456804 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2015/07/12/501010/liberia_07-12-15.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>China&#39;s air force has called monkeys and falcons into service to ensure safe skies for a huge military parade this week to mark Japan&#39;s defeat in World War II, reports said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Almost 200 aircraft will take part Thursday in commemorations for the 70th anniversary of what Beijing calls the &quot;Chinese People&#39;s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The animals have been deployed at an air force base involved in the parade, which officer Wang Mingzhi said was in a bird migration corridor -- with 400 to 500 species present -- potentially affecting aircraft safety.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Pictures on news portal Sina showed a macaque on a red leash standing on its hind legs and mimicking the salute of an officer in a camouflage uniform beside it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The monkeys had &quot;mastered&quot; the skills to destroy bird nests, Wang was quoted as saying.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There is no problem doing this,&quot; he said in the report posted Sunday, adding that they had &quot;graduated&quot; after being trained for one month.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The animals take twigs out of nests one by one before shaking the remaining parts down from the tree, Sina said, adding the whole process takes only about a minute.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Shotguns and water cannons were used to get rid of nests before but were not as efficient or &quot;economical&quot; as the macaques, it said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The monkeys are rewarded for the efforts with corn, according to reports.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Falcons were also being trained to drive away airborne birds, pictures showed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Three to four of the raptors were sent into the sky every day to &quot;deter&quot; other flyers, Wang was cited as saying by the Beijing News.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thursday&#39;s parade, a show of strength which comes as Beijing takes a more assertive stance regionally, will also see 12,000 soldiers and 500 pieces of hardware roll through Tiananmen Square.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:36:00 +0000 AFP 2456804 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2015/07/12/501010/liberia_07-12-15.jpg Asterias's stem cell therapy shows promise in study http://www.egyptindependent.com//node/2456803 <img src="http://www.egyptindependent.com///sites/default/files/imagecache/media_thumbnail/photo/2012/04/18/54605/stemcelleggs_main_0227.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc said initial data from a small study showed that its lead stem cell therapy could improve mobility in patients paralyzed by a spinal cord injury.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The therapy, AST OPC-1, is the first product derived from human embryos to be tested on humans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Its success is a key step toward proving that embryonic stem cell research could cure diseases such as cancer, Parkinson&#39;s and serious health conditions such immune deficiencies, stroke and spinal injuries.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Data showed that the severity of the spinal injury was reduced in the first patient and two other patients were able to resume their rehabilitation programs soon after being injected with the stem cells.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The early study tested the benefits of a smaller dose of 2 million stem cells that are tuned to develop into nerves.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Asterias bought OPC-1 in 2013 from the erstwhile stem cell research leader Geron Corp, which decided to focus on developing cancer drugs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Geron chose to abandon its stem cell therapy in 2011 after such research got embroiled in the abortion debate, prompting many biotech companies to stay quiet about their research.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Monday&#39;s announcement was the first about the therapy in more than two years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In an early-stage study conducted by Geron, the therapy showed potential in repairing spinal injury in four of the five patients tested, without any adverse events.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Asterias is looking to show recovery of mobility in four out of every 10 patients treated with OPC-1, compared with two out of 10 achieving the same level of improvement without any treatment, Chief Executive Pedro Lichtinger told Reuters in early August.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Asterias expects to release complete safety data from the first half of the study later in the year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lichtinger said he was confident the data would be positive but was not expecting miracles.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It is important to know that we do not expect patients to get up and play basketball,&quot; he said. &quot;But we do expect the patients to have significant improvements in mobility.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:31:00 +0000 Reuters 2456803 at http://www.egyptindependent.com sites/default/files/photo/2012/04/18/54605/stemcelleggs_main_0227.jpg