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Science | ThisWeek Middle East

Category: Science

Adults urged to get vaccinated

 Too many U.S. adults are not getting vaccinated, putting themselves and others at risk, immunization experts say. According to the latest available data, about 44 percent of adults over age 19 had a flu shot; 20 percent had a Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis; and 20 percent of 19-to-64-year-olds at risk of pneumonia had that vaccine (compared to 60 percent of those over 65). Just 27 percent of those over age 60 were vaccinated against herpes zoster, which cuts the risk of shingles in half, according to new guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization...

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Home-grown streaming app helps Pakistan’s musicians find voice

KARACHI, Feb 8 – For years, violence kept most of Pakistan’s aspiring young musicians from following their dreams, whether the threat of Taliban militant attacks or gang wars in the crowded southern port city of Karachi. Now, as law enforcement crackdowns slowly improve the security situation across the nation, some musicians are getting help from two-year old Pakistani start-up Patari, a music streaming and production company. Both the startup and the musicians’ efforts are helping to carve out a new creative space for young people in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where those below 30 make up 60 percent of a population...

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Channeling Steve Jobs, Apple seeks design perfection at new ‘spaceship’ campus

Inside the original Macintosh computer, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs inscribed the signatures of his team, revealing his deep concern for even the hidden features of his products. His last work – Apple Inc’s  sprawling new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. – will be a fitting tribute: a futuristic campus built with astonishing attention to detail. From the arrangement of electrical wiring to the finish of a hidden pipe, no aspect of the 2.8 million-square-foot main building has been too small to attract scrutiny. But constructing a building as flawless as a hand-held device is no easy feat, according to interviews...

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Study of cancer-causing toxins finds e-cigarettes much safer than smoking

Consuming e-cigarettes is far safer and less toxic than smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes, according to the findings of a study analyzing levels of dangerous and cancer-causing substances in the body. Researchers found that people who switched from smoking regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum or patches for at least six months had much lower levels of toxins in their saliva and urine than those who continued to smoke. “Our study adds to existing evidence showing that e-cigarettes and NRT are far safer than smoking, and suggests that there is a very low risk...

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Youth organizations may not ease access to HIV tests

By Madeline Kennedy – Young people may be at risk for HIV infection, but very few get tested, partly because it can be difficult to access testing, researchers say. Community organizations may be important settings for youth to get tested, according to the authors of a new report. Their study in Baltimore, Maryland, however, showed that most organizations serving youth there do not test for HIV and few can connect youth to places to get tested. “These settings are often located close to where young people live and thus may be alternate testing locations that are easier to access...

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“Medicalisation” of female genital mutilation is serious threat – experts

By Emma Batha LONDON, Feb 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A growing trend for midwives and nurses to carry out female genital mutilation (FGM) is undermining global efforts to eradicate the internationally condemned practice, experts have warned. Morissanda Kouyate head of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices called for courts to get tough on health workers convicted of carrying out FGM. He also urged professional medical and health associations to expel members who repeatedly perform FGM. “Medicalisation is one of the biggest threats against the programme to eliminate FGM,” Kouyate told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Rome...

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Israel takes step toward allowing export of medical marijuana

An Israeli government committee gave an initial nod on Sunday for the export of medical marijuana in what could be a windfall for companies in Israel, widely regarded as a leader in research in the field. A government statement announcing the vote said it could take months for the legislation to make its way through parliament. In the United States, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and since 2012, Colorado, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have also approved marijuana for recreational use. The market there, by some estimates, will reach $50 billion over...

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Impromptu ice bath helpful for exercise-induced heat stroke

A tarp, volunteers and a lot of ice water can be used to rescue athletes and other people from heat stroke caused by exertion if a traditional ice bath is not available, according to a new study. Researchers call the approach the “TACO method” because rescuers lift the edges of the tarp to form a taco shape and then pour ice water into the tarp to cool down the person with heat stroke. Traditional cold-water immersion should still remain the standard treatment for exertional heat stroke, but the researchers say their impromptu method can be used in remote areas...

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To save lives, WHO wants global focus on catching cancer early

Late diagnosis of cancer leads to millions of people enduring needless suffering and premature death, and efforts to catch the disease earlier must be stepped up, the World Health Organization said on Friday. In a report launched ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4, the WHO said it wanted to improve chances of survival for cancer patients by ensuring health services focus on diagnosing and treating the disease earlier. “Diagnosing cancer in late stages, and the inability to provide treatment, condemns many people to unnecessary suffering and early death,” said Etienne Krug, a WHO expert on chronic disease...

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Your oldest ancestor was really weird and had a big mouth

Don’t take this the wrong way, but your oldest ancestor was not exactly a beauty. Scientists on Monday said a tiny marine creature from China that wriggled in the seabed mud about 540 million years ago may be the earliest-known animal in the lengthy evolutionary path that eventually led to humans. It was a weird-looking beastie with a bag-like body and, for its size, a really big mouth. University of Cambridge paleontologist Simon Conway Morris noted that humans, who appeared a relatively recent 200,000 years ago, have a series of “evolutionarily deeper ancestors” than monkeys and apes. That point...

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