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Westlake Legal Group > LiveScience

‘Haunted’ medieval prison that held accused witches up for sale

A small building in England that was once a medieval prison for people accused of witchcraft is now a cozy home in need of an owner.

But prospective buyers should be forewarned: The sordid history of the former jail, known as “The Cage,” has led many to claim that the house is haunted, with some calling it the most haunted house in England, British real estate agency Home Domus 360 wrote in a listing on Facebook.

“With a reputation attracting TV crews from around the world, this unique 2 bedroom cottage comes available with many resident ghosts,” Home Domus 360 representatives said on Facebook. [Black Magic: 6 Infamous Witch Trials in History]

Located in St. Osyth in Essex, U.K., the building was recently placed on the market by owner Vanessa Mitchell; this is the third time that Mitchell has tried to sell The Cage since moving out in 2008, according to local news outlet The Clacton and Frinton Gazette. Mitchell reportedly fled the house in 2004 and moved elsewhere after seeing “mysterious blood spatters” and being “physically attacked” by malevolent ghosts — one of which was “a satanic-looking goat,” Mitchell told The Gazette.

During the St. Osyth witch trials in 1582, 14 women were accused of witchcraft-related crimes, for which three were executed, the East Anglian Times reported. During the trials, the women were housed in The Cage. One of the accused, Ursula Kemp, was a local healer who was sentenced to death by hanging; she is commemorated in a plaque that hangs on one of the former prison’s walls.

Kemp was accused of casting spells that led to the death of a neighbor’s newborn. She then accused others of practicing witchcraft, and they, in turn, accused even more unfortunate individuals, according to the Times. Essex was a hotbed of witchcraft trials during the 16th and 17th centuries — of the 112 witches who were executed in England in the 1640s alone, 82 were put to death in Essex, the Times reported.

In 1921, two female skeletons that were thought to be the remains of executed witches — one of them reportedly Kemp — were unearthed in a St. Osyth garden during a construction project. Some of the bones appeared to have been pierced with nails, a common practice for dead witches to keep their spirits from haunting the living, according to the Times.

The asking price for the allegedly haunted former prison is 240,000 pounds ($305,478), according to Wales Online.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group witches 'Haunted' medieval prison that held accused witches up for sale Senior Writer Mindy Weisberger LiveScience fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc e914b2d9-5e5f-5871-adc1-146c64c7c4de article   Westlake Legal Group witches 'Haunted' medieval prison that held accused witches up for sale Senior Writer Mindy Weisberger LiveScience fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc e914b2d9-5e5f-5871-adc1-146c64c7c4de article

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A dead supercontinent is causing the Earth’s ocean to sink

The ocean is a big bathtub full of 326 million cubic miles (1.3 billion cubic kilometers) of water, and somebody has unplugged the drain.

Every day, hundreds of millions of gallons of water stream from the bottom of the ocean into Earth’s mantle as part of a very wet recycling program that scientists call the deep water cycle. It works like this: First, water soaked up in the crust and minerals at the bottom of the sea both get shoved into Earth’s interior at the undersea boundaries where tectonic plates collide. Some of that water stays trapped (some studies estimate that two to four oceans’ worth of water are sloshing through the mantle), but large amounts of that water get spewed back to the surface via underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents. [50 Interesting Facts About Planet Earth]

It’s not a perfect system; scientists think there’s currently a lot more water plunging into the mantle than spewing out of it — but that’s OK. Overall, this cycle is just one cog in the machine that determines whether the world’s oceans rise or fall.

Now, in a study published May 17 in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics and Geosystems, researchers report that this cog may be more improtant than previously thought. By modeling the fluxes in the deep water cycle over the last 230 million years, the study authors found that there were times in Earth’s history when the gargantuan amount of water sinking into the mantle played an outsize role in sea level; during those times, the deep water cycle alone may have contributed to 430 feet (130 meters) of sea-level loss, thanks to one world-changing event: the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea.

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“The breakup of Pangaea was associated with a time of very rapid tectonic plate subduction,” lead study author Krister Karlsen, a researcher at the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics at the University of Oslo, told Live Science. “This led to a period of large water transport into the Earth, causing associated sea-level drop.”

Death of a supercontinent

About 200 million years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea (a landmass consisting of all seven continents we know today) started to split, sending massive slabs of land careening in all directions.

As these continental plates spread apart, new oceans appeared (beginning with the Atlantic, roughly 175 million years ago), huge rifts in the seabed cracked open and ancient slabs of underwater crust plunged into the fresh voids. Gargantuan amounts of water that were trapped inside those sinking chunks of crust moved from the planet’s surface into its deep interior.

Building on previous studies of Earth’s tectonic plates over the last 230 million years, the researchers modeled the approximate rates that water entered — and left — Earth’s mantle. The faster a water-rich plate fell into Earth, the farther it could subduct before its water content was evaporated by the high heat of the mantle. According to the team’s calculations, this imbalanced the deep water cycle enough to result in millions of years of extreme water loss.

Of course, there is more to sea level than just the movement of very deep water, Karlsen said, and this study doesn’t account for other sea level changing processes like climate change or ice sheet coverage. Even as massive amounts of water sink into the mantle, actual sea levels can spike and plummet by hundreds of feet on much shorter timescales.

Right now, the ocean is in the midst of another sea level spike, thanks largely to manmade climate change (estimates vary, but sea levels will probably rise anywhere from 6 to 16 feet over the next century). Sadly, all those billions of gallons of sea water pouring into the mantle right now can’t save us from this dangerous trend.

“While the deep water cycle can effectively change sea level over hundreds of millions to billions of years, climate change can change the sea level in zero to 100 years,” Karlsen said. “For comparison, the present-day sea level rise associated with climate change is about 0.1 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year. The sea level drop associated with the deep water cycle is about 1/10,000 of that.”

Originally published on Live Science.

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Dietary supplement ingredient linked to miscarriages, FDA warns

Westlake Legal Group 660supplements Dietary supplement ingredient linked to miscarriages, FDA warns Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/reproductive-health/pregnancy fox-news/health/nutrition-and-fitness/diet-trends fnc/health fnc article 53f84e48-1a99-5331-a402-1eeffe4e3c33

A widely available dietary supplement ingredient may cause miscarriages or problems with fetal development if used during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Monday (June 3), the agency warned pregnant women and those of childbearing age to avoid using supplements containing vinpocetine. Supplements with this ingredient are often marketed for enhanced memory or focus, increased energy or weight loss, the FDA said.

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In animal studies, scientists found that vinpocetine caused decreased fetal weight and increased risk of miscarriage in pregnant animals. What’s more, the levels of vinpocetine measured in the animals’ blood were similar to those seen in people after taking a single dose of vinpocetine.

“These findings are particularly concerning since products containing vinpocetine are widely available for use by women of childbearing age,” the FDA said in a statement. “That’s why today we’re advising pregnant women and women who could become pregnant not to take vinpocetine.” [Are You Pregnant? 12 Early Signs of Pregnancy]

On product labels, vinpocetine is sometimes referred to as Vinca minorextract, lesser periwinkle extract or common periwinkle extract. But rather than being a “natural” extract, vinpocetine is a synthetic compound.

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In some countries, vinpocetine is considered a prescription drug that’s used for conditions affecting the brain and blood flow; but in the U.S., vinpocetine isn’t approved to treat any conditions. Dietary supplements containing vinpocetine haven’t been reviewed for their safety or effectiveness, the FDA said.

In a 2015 study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, researchers found that doses of vinpocetine varied widely in dietary supplements sold in the United States, from about 0.3 milligrams to 32 mg of vinpocetine. The recommended dose when the drug is prescribed is between 5 and 40 mg, according to the 2015 study.

In 2016, the FDA tentatively concluded that vinpocetine doesn’t fit the definition of a dietary ingredient and thus can’t be marketed as — or be an ingredient in — dietary supplements. However, the agency requested comments on the issue and has not reached a definitive conclusion on whether vinpocetine is legal for sale as a dietary supplement. The agency now says it plans to expedite the completion of these proceedings that began in 2016.

Still, vinpocetine is found in hundreds of brands of supplements sold in the U.S., said Dr. Pieter Cohen, a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts, and senior author of the 2015 study.

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The FDA is also advising companies that market supplements containing vinpocetine to make sure that their product labels provide warnings against the use of their products by pregnant women and women who could become pregnant.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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CBD may reduce drug cravings for heroin addicts, small study finds

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The marijuana compound CBD, or cannabidiol, may help reduce drug cravings in people with heroin addiction, a preliminary new study suggests.

The study, which is published today (May 21) in the American Journal of Psychiatry, involved 42 people with heroin-use disorder who were attempting to abstain from the drug.

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Participants visited the laboratory and were shown “cues” intended to trigger a drug craving — in this case, videos of people using heroin, or objects involved in drug use, like syringes. (Seeing these types of “cues,” in an uncontrolled setting, can contribute to drug relapse, the authors said.) Before their lab session, participants received either a dose of CBD or a placebo.

Participants who received CBD reported experiencing lower drug cravings in response to the cues, as well as lower anxiety, compared with those who received a placebo. What’s more, the effects appeared to be somewhat durable, lasting up to a week after participants took CBD. [Mixing the pot? 7 ways marijuana interacts with medicines]

Still, the results are far from definitive — the researchers did not examine whether CBD actually prevents drug-relapse outside of a laboratory setting, and so future studies are needed to answer this question.

But the new findings suggest that “CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” study lead author Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said in a statement.

CBD has received a lot of attention in recent years for its potential to have therapeutic effects without producing the “high” typically associated with marijuana. But so far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved CBD in prescription-drug form for treating rare types of childhood epilepsy.

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Hurd stressed that self-treatment with CBD for opioid use disorder is not advised at this time, and might even be harmful given that non-prescription forms of CBD are not regulated. “A lot of CBD that is available to the public…[has] inaccurate information as to what is actually in the container, and may even be contaminated with toxins,” Hurd told Live Science.

The study was funded in part by GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes the FDA-approved form of CBD.

‘Urgent need’ for treatments

Currently, most drug treatments for opioid use disorder act on opioid receptors, and thus come with their own addiction risk. As a result, they are tightly regulated by the government. In light of the opioid epidemic, there is an “urgent need” to develop treatments for opioid addiction that do not act on opioid receptors, the authors wrote in the study.

Previously, Hurd and colleagues studied CBD in animal models, and found that CBD reduced heroin-seeking behavior in the animals in response to “cues” intended to trigger a craving. The researchers also conducted early studies in people to determine that CBD is safe to take together with opioids.

In the new study, the 42 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups, which took 400 milligrams of CBD once daily, 800 mg of CBD once daily, or a placebo once daily, for three consecutive days. (Participants in the CBD groups received Epidiolex, the FDA-approved prescription drug.) The study was “double blind,” meaning that neither the researchers nor the subjects knew whether they had received CBD or a placebo.

After participants took their dose of CBD or placebo, they were exposed to heroin-related “cues;” and later watched a “neutral” video showing relaxing scenarios, such as scenes of nature.

As expected, participants reported higher cravings after viewing the heroin-related cues compared with the neutral videos. But if participants received CBD before their session, their cravings were significantly reduced compared with those who received a placebo, the study found.

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The researchers also saw reductions in anxiety, as well as physiological measures, including heart rate and levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, in the CBD group compared with the placebo group.

The effects were seen as soon as 1 hour after the CBD dose, and up to one week later. The latter finding suggests that CBD may still have an anti-craving effect when little to no trace of the substance remain in people’s systems, the authors said.

Future research

Dr. Harshal Kirane, director of Addiction Services at Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital, called the work “a step in a very encouraging direction,” and applauded the effort to scientifically evaluate the effects of CBD.

However, Kirane said the study had some important limitations. Since it was a small study, the results need to be replicated in a larger group of people, he said.

And although the study found that CBD reduced cravings in the laboratory, it did not reduce self-reported cravings outside of the laboratory as measured by a take-home questionnaire.

“That raises some concerns as to what the actual real-world application of CBD could be” for these patients, Kirane told Live Science. Studies also need to evaluate the long-term effects of CBD for these patients, beyond one week, he said.

Future research should examine whether CBD may work as a supplement to current therapies for opioid use disorder to enhance their effects, Kirane said. Indeed, Hurd told Live Science that one of the next steps of the research is to study CBD as an adjunct therapy to current medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine.

10 Interesting Facts About Heroin

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Originally published on Live Science.

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Scientists discovered a 2,624-year-old tree in a North Carolina swamp. Climate change could kill it.

Westlake Legal Group scientists-discovered-a-2624-year-old-tree-in-a-north-carolina-swamp-climate-change-could-kill-it Scientists discovered a 2,624-year-old tree in a North Carolina swamp. Climate change could kill it. LiveScience fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/science/planet-earth/climate fnc/science fnc d7a2565d-cc7b-579f-a1b7-27b553ef9b99 Brandon Specktor, Senior Writer article

A tree grows in North Carolina, and it has been growing there for a long, looooooong time.

According to a new study published today (May 9) in the journal Environmental Research Communications, scientists studying tree rings in North Carolina’s Black River swampland have discovered a bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) that’s at least 2,624 years old, making it one of the oldest non-clonal, sexually reproducing trees in the world . (Clonal trees, which are vast colonies of genetically identical plants that grow from a single ancestor, can live for tens of thousands of years.)

How old is 2,624 years, really? To borrow an analogy from the Charlotte Observer, that age makes this tree older than Christianity, the Roman Empire and the English language.

Researchers discovered the ancient cypress while studying tree rings in an effort to piece together the climate history of the eastern United States. (In addition to marking a tree’s age, the width and color of tree rings indicate how wet or dry a given year was ). Because of previous fieldwork, the team knew that a particular stand of bald cypress trees in the Black River’s Three Sisters Swamp was one of the oldest tree clusters in the country. That earlier research identified several trees between 1,000 and 1,650 years old. [Bristlecone Pines: Photos Reveal Some of Earth’s Oldest Organisms]

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The new study reveals that bald cypresses have even greater longevity than researchers previously thought. In addition to the 2,624-year-old individual reported above, the researchers found a 2,088-year-old cypress in the same swamp — and there are likely more where that came from.

“Because we have cored and dated only 110 living bald cypress at this site, a small fraction of the tens of thousands of trees still present in these wetlands, there could be several additional individual bald cypress over 2,000-years old along the approximately 100 km (62 mile) reach of Black River,” the researchers wrote in the study.

According to the new study, bald cypress trees are now confirmed to be the oldest known wetland tree species on Earth. This discovery also makes the bald cypress the fifth-oldest species of non-clonal tree on Earth; only individual Sierra juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) trees, giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), alerces (Fitzroya cupressoides) and Great Basin bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva) have been found to be older. The world’s oldest bristlecone pine, located in the White Mountains of California, is 5,066 years old — roughly twice the age of the newfound cypress. The oldest clonal tree is thought to stand in the grove of quaking aspen trees known as Pando, in Utah.

Although the ancient trees described in this study live on protected land that is privately owned by The Nature Conservancy’s North Carolina chapter, their existence remains threatened by ongoing logging and biomass farming operations (e.g., chopping down trees for mulch) elsewhere on the river, as well as by industrial pollution and climate change.

“The discovery of the oldest known living trees in eastern North America, which are in fact some of the oldest living trees on earth, provides powerful incentive for private, state, and federal conservation of this remarkable waterway,” the authors concluded.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group bald-cypress-trees Scientists discovered a 2,624-year-old tree in a North Carolina swamp. Climate change could kill it. LiveScience fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/science/planet-earth/climate fnc/science fnc d7a2565d-cc7b-579f-a1b7-27b553ef9b99 Brandon Specktor, Senior Writer article   Westlake Legal Group bald-cypress-trees Scientists discovered a 2,624-year-old tree in a North Carolina swamp. Climate change could kill it. LiveScience fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/science/planet-earth/climate fnc/science fnc d7a2565d-cc7b-579f-a1b7-27b553ef9b99 Brandon Specktor, Senior Writer article

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100-plus neglected lions found with mange, neurological problems, on South African farm

Westlake Legal Group 100-plus-neglected-lions-found-with-mange-neurological-problems-on-south-african-farm 100-plus neglected lions found with mange, neurological problems, on South African farm Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor LiveScience fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fnc/science fnc article 57b1a3d1-f928-5c18-9ec3-88490bc5f06d

More than 100 lions at a captive breeding facility in South Africa have been found to be neglected, ill and covered with mange.

According to the Humane Society International, the lions were discovered on April 11 by inspectors with the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Inspectors told TimesLive, a South African news site, that two lion cubs were suffering from neurological problems and couldn’t walk and that 27 lions had lost much of their fur because of the mange, which is caused by parasitic mites.

“Other issues — such as small enclosures and inadequate shelter, no provision of water, overcrowding, and filthy and parasitic conditions — were noted in the camps that contained the lions, caracals, tigers and leopards,” senior inspector Douglas Wolhuter told the news site. [In Photos: The Lions of Kenya’s Masai Mara]

Animal cruelty groups that oppose captive breeding of lions were quick to condemn the site, Pienika Farm in South Africa’s North West province. Audrey Delsink, the wildlife director of the Humane Society International, said in a statement that lion cubs taken from their mothers are often passed off as orphans at the facilities. The animals are then hand-reared and semitamed so that they can be used as a tourist attraction for visitors who want to feed or pet a lion.

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“Once [the animals become] too big and dangerous for these activities, these lions are then killed for their bones, which are exported to Asia for traditional medicines, or [the lions are] sold to be killed by trophy hunters, largely from the United States, in ‘canned’ hunts in which hand-reared lions are shot in a fenced area from which they cannot escape,” Delsink said.

In August 2018, South Africa’s parliament reviewed the captive breeding of lions and resolved to reduce the export quota for lion bone as well as conduct a deeper policy review on the oversight of captive breeding, according to a government statement. However, the South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs has proposed introducing additional regulations, rather than ending captive breeding, according to the nonprofit Conservation Action Trust.

The owner of Pienika Farm, Jan Steinman, faces criminal charges for animal cruelty, according to the U.K. newspaper The Times. Steinman is a councilwoman of the South African Predator Association, a body that sets the standards for animal welfare at lion-breeding facilities.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Off the coast of Portugal, the Earth’s crust might be peeling in two

Westlake Legal Group off-the-coast-of-portugal-the-earths-crust-might-be-peeling-in-two Off the coast of Portugal, the Earth's crust might be peeling in two Yasemin Saplakoglu, Staff Writer LiveScience fox-news/world/disasters/earthquakes fox-news/science/planet-earth fnc/science fnc article a87af6e7-bb64-519b-86f0-4498af466d69

In 1969, a giant earthquake off the coast of Portugal kicked up a tsunami that killed over a dozen people. Some 200 years prior, an even larger earthquake hit the same area, killing around 100,000 people and destroying the city of Lisbon.

Two earthquakes in the same spot over a couple hundred years is not cause for alarm. But what puzzled seismologists about these tremors was that they began in relatively flat beds of the ocean — away from any faults or cracks in the Earth’s crust where tectonic plates slip past each other, releasing energy and causing earthquakes.

So what’s causing the rumbles under a seemingly quiet area? [In Photos: Ocean Hidden Beneath Earth’s Crust]

One idea is that a tectonic plate is peeling into two layers — the top peeling off the bottom layer — a phenomenon that has never been observed before, a group of scientists reported in April at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly held in Vienna. This peeling may be creating a new subduction zone, or an area in which one tectonic plate is rammed beneath another, according to their abstract.

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The peeling is likely driven by a water-absorbing layer in the middle of the tectonic plate, according to National Geographic. This layer might have undergone a geological process called serpentinization, in which water that seeps in through cracks causes a layer to transform into soft green minerals. Now, this transformed layer might be causing enough weakness in the plate for the bottom layer to peel away from the top layer. That peeling could lead to deep fractures that trigger a tiny subduction zone, National Geographic reported.

This group isn’t the first to propose this idea, but it’s the first to provide some data on it. They tested their hypothesis with two-dimensional models, and their preliminary results showed that this type of activity is indeed possible — but is still yet to be proven.

This research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group earth-layers Off the coast of Portugal, the Earth's crust might be peeling in two Yasemin Saplakoglu, Staff Writer LiveScience fox-news/world/disasters/earthquakes fox-news/science/planet-earth fnc/science fnc article a87af6e7-bb64-519b-86f0-4498af466d69   Westlake Legal Group earth-layers Off the coast of Portugal, the Earth's crust might be peeling in two Yasemin Saplakoglu, Staff Writer LiveScience fox-news/world/disasters/earthquakes fox-news/science/planet-earth fnc/science fnc article a87af6e7-bb64-519b-86f0-4498af466d69

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Chemicals from sunscreen get into your blood: Here’s what that means

Westlake Legal Group chemicals-from-sunscreen-get-into-your-blood-heres-what-that-means Chemicals from sunscreen get into your blood: Here's what that means Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/beauty-and-skin fnc/health fnc article 5a0b1263-76bc-58c0-9251-f1640dbd8a8b
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5789635767001_5789630098001-vs Chemicals from sunscreen get into your blood: Here's what that means Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/beauty-and-skin fnc/health fnc article 5a0b1263-76bc-58c0-9251-f1640dbd8a8b

When people slather on sunscreen, chemicals in the products are absorbed into the bloodstream, and the health effects are still unknown, a new government study reports.

The study, conducted by researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), found that sunscreen chemicals leach into people’s blood rather quickly and reach levels high enough to warrant further testing on the substances’ safety.

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The study was small, involving only two dozen people. But it is one of the first to precisely examine levels of sunscreen chemicals in people’s blood when the products are used as directed, and it’s one of the first to examine how long the chemicals stay in the blood. [5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sunscreen]

However, scientists don’t know if these chemicals pose health risks at the levels seen in the study.

Importantly, the findings, published today (May 6) in the journal JAMA, do not mean that people should stop using sunscreen, especially given the very serious and well-known risks of sun exposure, researchers said.

“[People] should absolutely still use sunscreen” and follow recommendations to protect themselves from the sun, said Dr. Kanade Shinkai, a dermatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the study. “We definitely know that the sun can cause skin cancer and melanoma.”

But the findings highlight the need for further research into the potential health effects of these chemicals when they wind up in the blood. “The concern is that we just don’t know what the systemic [blood] absorption data mean,” Shinkai told Live Science.

More than skin deep

Although sunscreens are widely used, there’s been surprisingly little research on the safety and effectiveness of many chemicals commonly found in the products.

In the new study, 24 healthy adults volunteered to have sunscreen applied to their skin four times a day for four days. The participants were divided into four groups that each received a different sunscreen formulation (a lotion, a cream or one of two different sunscreen sprays).

The researchers applied the recommended amount of sunscreen — specifically, 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter (0.2 square inches) of skin — to 75 percent of each participant’s body.

The participants stayed in the laboratory for up to seven days and weren’t actually exposed to sunlight. They each had 30 blood samples taken over the course of their stay.

The researchers examined blood levels of four common sunscreen ingredients: avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule. They wanted to see whether the blood concentrations of these chemicals surpassed 0.5 nanograms per milliliter, a threshold set by the FDA in 2016. The agency says that any medication that is absorbed into the blood at levels that exceed this threshold should undergo additional safety studies.

The results revealed that within just one day of sunscreen application, all four chemicals were found in people’s blood at levels exceeding the threshold.

What’s more, the blood levels of these chemicals increased in subsequent days as the sunscreen was reapplied, suggesting that the chemicals may accumulate in the blood over time.

Safety studies

Shinkai, who wasn’t involved with the new research, stressed that the new findings don’t mean that chemical sunscreens are unsafe. But the results do suggest that these ingredients will need to undergo the same type of safety testing done for other “systemic” medications (ones that get into the blood), she said. Such studies would look at whether exposure to these chemicals in the blood is tied to any potential cancer risks or effects on the reproductive system.

The researchers noted that their study was conducted indoors, without exposure to sunlight or heat — factors that could affect how well sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the blood. Further studies will also be needed to examine whether blood absorption levels vary based on certain factors, such as a person’s skin type, age and how much sunscreen they apply.

In February, the FDA proposed new rules aimed at improving sunscreen safety and asked the sunscreen industry for additional evidence on the safety of 12 common sunscreen ingredients. In theory, if manufacturers don’t submit this data by November, all of the sunscreens that contain these 12 chemicals could be pulled from the market, Shinkai said. However, Shinkai added that she expects that manufacturers will ask for an extension on this deadline, which may be granted if they show that they are committed to conducting the safety studies.

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In the meantime, if people are worried about sunscreen chemicals, they should know that some sunscreen ingredients don’t leach into the blood and are generally recognized as safe. These include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide; both are ingredients in so-called mineral sunscreens. Such products work by coating the skin and reflecting light, rather than by absorbing light as chemical sunscreens do, Shinkai said.

It’s important to note that using sunscreen is just one of the recommended ways for people to protect themselves from the sun. Other methods include seeking shade and wearing protective clothing, hats and sunglasses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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A killer asteroid is coming — we don’t know when (so let’s be ready), Bill Nye says

Westlake Legal Group a-killer-asteroid-is-coming-we-dont-know-when-so-lets-be-ready-bill-nye-says A killer asteroid is coming — we don't know when (so let's be ready), Bill Nye says Mike Wall Space.com Senior Writer LiveScience fox-news/science/air-and-space/asteroids fnc/science fnc article 41907dd6-361b-550b-96e0-81118533d4cf

People are too complacent about the asteroid threat for Bill Nye’s liking.

The former TV “Science Guy,” who currently serves as CEO of the nonprofit Planetary Society, warned that catastrophic impacts like the one that offed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago are not confined to the past.

“The Earth is going to get hit with another [big] asteroid,” Nye said May 2 at the International Academy of Astronautics’ 2019 Planetary Defense Conference in College Park, Maryland.

More from Live Science

“The problem is, we don’t know when,” he added. “It’s a very low probability in anyone’s lifetime, but it’s a very high-consequence event. If it happens, it would be like control-alt-delete for everything.”

Unlike the dinosaurs, however, we don’t just have to sit around and wait for doom to rain down on us. We can do something about the asteroid threat — and we should start prepping for it now, Nye stressed.

The first step is to find the dangerous space rocks. There’s good news on this front: NASA scientists think they’ve already discovered more than 90% of the potential civilization-enders — near-Earth asteroids at least 0.6 miles (1 kilometers) wide — and none of these mountain-size space rocks pose a threat for the foreseeable future.

But there are lots of undiscovered asteroids zooming through near-Earth space that could do serious damage on a local scale — wiping out an area the size of a state, for example. So, it would behoove us to get some better detection tools online, Nye said.

Such help is coming, and soon. For instance, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a big instrument set to start observing the heavens next year from Chile, will likely be able to discover and catalog 80% to 90% of potentially hazardous asteroids at least 460 feet (140 meters) wide, project team members say.

And NASA is considering launching a dedicated asteroid-hunter called the Near-Earth Object Camera. This proposed mission would scan for space rocks in infrared light, spotting their heat signatures in the darkness.

Coordination is the next step after detection, Nye said. A big asteroid hurtling toward Earth would be a global issue, so the international community would have to work together to deal with it.

And we’d have several options at our disposal. If we had enough warning time — years or, preferably, decades — we could launch a probe to fly alongside the asteroid, gradually nudging the rock off course via a gravitational tug. This “gravity tractor” craft would ideally boost its pull by plucking a big boulder off the asteroid, said NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green, who participated in yesterday’s event with Nye.

If we were pressed for time, we could slam one or more spacecraft into the asteroid, knocking it onto a benign trajectory through brute force. Or we could detonate a nuclear weapon near the rock, vaporizing much of its surface. The resulting mass loss, and the flow of material off the asteroid, would change the rock’s path, experts say. And the shock wave from the blast might do the trick by itself, Nye said.

Nye also mentioned the “Laser Bees” strategy, which involves sending a swarm of small spacecraft out to the potentially dangerous asteroid. Each little probe would focus a laser beam on the same spot on the rock, vaporizing material and causing a jet to erupt. This jet would serve as a sort of engine that would push the asteroid onto a different path.

During his portion of the presentation, Green highlighted the many things we can learn from asteroids — they’re time capsules from the dawn of the solar system, after all, and carbon-rich rocks may have helped life get started on Earth — and their potential benefits for exploration. Tapping into asteroid resources could make voyaging spacecraft and astronauts more self-sufficient and improve life here on Earth as well, he said.

But Green agreed with Nye that the space-rock threat is real: There are catastrophic impacts in our future if we don’t do something about them.

“It’s not a matter of if; it’s only a matter of when,” Green said.

Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “ Out There ” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate ), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .

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Tick removed from boy’s eardrum after he complained of buzzing noise

Westlake Legal Group tick-removed-from-boys-eardrum-after-he-complained-of-buzzing-noise Tick removed from boy's eardrum after he complained of buzzing noise Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fnc/health fnc article 6e8cb33a-e526-5bf0-be76-6ff7f0ca5964

There are some sounds you hope you never hear. For example, the buzzing sound of a tick burrowing into your eardrum.

SPIDER WAS FOUND SPINNING WEB IN PATIENT’S EAR, DOCTOR CLAIMS

That’s what happened to a 9-year-old boy in Connecticut who was taken to the doctor because he said he felt like there was something in his right ear, according to a report of his case, published yesterday (May 1) in The New England Journal of Medicine. The boy had also reported hearing buzzing noises in his ear a few days earlier, but didn’t have any ear pain or trouble hearing.

Westlake Legal Group TICK_IN_EAR Tick removed from boy's eardrum after he complained of buzzing noise Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fnc/health fnc article 6e8cb33a-e526-5bf0-be76-6ff7f0ca5964

(The New England Journal of Medicine ©2019)

The cause of the boy’s troubles were made immediately clear, however, when doctors looked inside his ear and spotted a tick latched onto his eardrum (also known as the tympanic membrane). They also noticed that the surrounding area was inflamed.

Dr. David Kasle, an otolaryngology resident at Yale New Haven Hospital, who helped treat the patient, said he hadn’t seen a case like this before, but added that such cases do occur rarely.

The buzzing sound that the boy heard a few days before going to the doctor was likely the sound of the tick crawling through his ear canal. “Essentially, the closer any sound gets to the eardrum, the louder it’s going to be [heard] by the patient,” Kasle told Live Science. “As this bug got closer and closer, [the boy] probably heard it louder and louder.”

However, by the time the doctors spotted the tick, the critter was no longer alive, Kasle said.

BOY WHO SUFFERED FATAL ALLERGIC REACTION TO CHEESE THROWN DOWN SHIRT GIVEN EXPIRED EPIPEN, COURT HEARS

Kasle’s colleague, Dr. Erik Waldman, chief of pediatric otolaryngology at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, initially tried to remove the tick during the office visit. But the tick’s mouthparts were buried in the outer surface of the eardrum membrane, making it difficult to remove. “It wasn’t coming out easily,” Kasle said.

The boy needed to be transferred to an operating room so doctors could attempt to remove the bloodsucker while he was under general anesthesia. [5 Weird Effects of Bug Bites]

Doctors used a hook-like instrument to remove the dead tick. It was later identified as an American dog tick, or Dermacentor variabilis, the report said.

After the tick was removed, the boy received antibiotic ear drops to prevent an infection from developing. One month later, the boy was doing well, with no signs of tick-bite-related illnesses, and his eardrum had healed well, the report said.

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10 important ways to avoid summer tick bites

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Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group TICK_IN_EAR Tick removed from boy's eardrum after he complained of buzzing noise Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fnc/health fnc article 6e8cb33a-e526-5bf0-be76-6ff7f0ca5964   Westlake Legal Group TICK_IN_EAR Tick removed from boy's eardrum after he complained of buzzing noise Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fnc/health fnc article 6e8cb33a-e526-5bf0-be76-6ff7f0ca5964

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