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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the European Union to aim for a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, far more than the bloc's current target for a 40% reduction. In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, seen by Reuters, ahead of a summit of EU leaders, Guterres said the world's largest economic bloc should lead by example to avert the worst effects of global warming and limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Next week's gathering of the 28 EU heads of state is the last before a U.N. meeting on global climate talks in September.
Secrets of the gut doctor: From faecal transplants to microbiome testing - the new treatments that could transform your entire health
Have you ever considered the trillions of teeming bacteria which are spinning around your gut right now, breaking down breakfast into human compost? Well, prepare to get up close and personal. Thanks to a new era in affordable testing, anyone can have their personal colonies of bacteria – called the microbiome – tested and the results analysed to show just what the little critters are getting up to. If anything. And the fascination with our insides doesn’t stop there – a new generation of gut specialists are offering ways to tune up our microbiomes via therapies from oral supplements to (steel yourself) human poo transplants. This new interest in our interior nitty gritty is a natural progression from the idea that we are all stuffed full of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria – and that if you don’t have enough of the former, the latter will triumph in some kind of guerrilla war which leads ineluctably towards an upset stomach. But now science is suggesting our microbiome affects far more than just digestion. Researchers worldwide are speculating it could play a role in everything from our mental health, to our obesity and fertility levels, as well as our ability to combat diseases ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s, plus more obvious gut-related conditions such as Crohn’s disease. A new Swiss study in has even suggested that microbiota can affect how well we metabolise pharmaceutical drugs, too. The 50 food challenge However, there’s plenty that is still mysterious – how the bacteria affect so many different conditions, how they work together, how they can get out of balance and how that balance can be restored. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that home microbiome testing is becoming popular, especially as all it takes is a quick stool sample and a little patience: results take about two months to come back. With that in mind, I recently put my own flora under the microscope, using an AtlasBiomed test offered by Welsh kefir producers Chuckling Goat, which results in a 70-odd page report for £129. The results are detailed and well explained, with your bacteria counts and related chances of certain diseases marked out of 10. The first – and probably least disputed category – is diversity. Although so much of the microbiome is a mystery, what is uncontested is the need for variety. Your gut should be like a sort of bacterial , as we need lots of different bugs – working together and alone – to reap the benefits. Mine, however, was depressingly vanilla. Out of 10, I scored 4 for diversity – of the strains I did have, I only scored 4 out of 10 for quality, too. In particular, I had almost no – normally one of the most common and beneficial bacteria in the human gut, which helps to keep “bad” bacteria levels in check Worst of all, the report said that my microbiome isn’t even British, it is ‘North American’. Which is to say, that it is most commonly found in those who often eat sweets, fizzy drinks, fried and fast food. So frustrating – as I follow a mostly Mediterranean diet of fresh veg, fish and olive oil, honestly. The top 10 gut foods Shann Jones, co-director of Chuckling Goat, explained to me that my results weren’t alarming; just signs of a system out of balance, which needed support. “Think of your microbiome as the Amazon rain forest,” she says. “When it’s healthy, it contains lots of different species. But if it gets polluted, some wildlife dies off and can’t replace itself. In our microbiomes this can be due to antibiotics, illness or diet. So, it’s not ideal but it can be improved.” Dr Julian Kenyon of the Dove Integrated Medical Care centre in Twyford, Hampshire has also had his microbiome tested. His results were good, he says, although his overall profile matched that of ‘Worldwide Peasants’ – the opposite to mine, suggesting a diet rich in vegetables, seeds, and grains. “That’s not so surprising,” he says. “I have a very varied diet, which is also true of people across the world who don’t rely on processed food or refrigeration.” Dr Kenyon has long had an interest in the gut – an early UK pioneer in probiotic supplements (which aim to replace levels of good bacteria), many of his patients come for intractable conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so offering microbiome testing has been a natural step. However, not everyone is convinced of the usefulness of testing. Registered Dietitian Samantha Gill, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: “We don’t know what the ‘optimal’ or ‘perfect’ microbiome looks like. Our microbiome differs from person to person and along the gut. Dr Julian Kenyon has been a longtime probiotics pioneer Credit: Christopher Pledger “Microbiome testing is still in its infancy and overall, the information provided will generally be limited, because our understanding of the microbiome is still evolving. Also, different companies use different methods, so you’re likely to get a different result.” She adds: “Testing your microbiome only provides a ‘snapshot’ of that particular point in time. If we were to have another test the day or week after, there is a good chance the results would differ.” Ben Mullish, clinical research fellow in gastroenterology at Imperial College London, agrees that we can’t read too much into microbiome testing yet, even though it is clearly of use. “We know that certain gut bacteria are associated with certain conditions,” he says. “The difficulty is we don’t know if these changes in bacteria are a cause of the condition, or consequence of having it. We don’t know if it is down to bad diet or the result of medication for example.” And he adds: “It’s not just about what bugs are there, but what are their functions, how do they interact? Read-outs give you composition data but don’t say what bacteria is doing. As it stands, with the current amount of knowledge we have, stool microbiome testing shouldn’t be used to influence clinical decision making.” Regardless, what scientists know is that some unhappy microbiomes respond to faecal microbiota transplants (FMT) – in layman’s terms, poo transplants, from fit, healthy donors such as young sportsmen, which help to repopulate your gut with the ‘good’ stuff. The process itself is less gruesome than it sounds – transplants can be administered via a pill, a naso-gastric tube or into the colon via a slender catheter (a sort of enema in reverse). How a gut health clinic changed my life So far, scientific trials have shown that a single treatment of FMT has an 80-90 per cent chance of curing infection with the superbug Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Other studies, says Mullish, are looking into its use for liver conditions, IBS and ulcerative colitis, though there is yet to be conclusive evidence. “Experience with FMT overall is that it is generally safe when administered in a hospital setting,” he adds. Yet is not without concerns. In the US, a clinical trial into FMT has just been halted after the death of a patient when the sample he was given was found to contain a strain of multi-drug resistant E. coli. Another patient in the same trial has fallen ill – although both were already immuno-compromised before they underwent treatment. FMT is carefully regulated in the UK, however, with strict guidelines about who should or should not have it. Donors are regularly screened to exclude people recently in areas with traveller’s diarrhoea, a family history of gut disease, or serious diseases. Transplants are on offer privately, if still considered unconventional by many in the field, who dispute their benefits. Dr Kenyon has tried one himself, claiming results over the following three months which surprised him. “I lost one and half stone without dieting, my hair grew thicker and my sleep improved. There was a definite improvement in my memory and sense of cognition, too.” He adds: “I wasn’t actually ill, but I got benefits which I hadn’t expected, with no downside.” How to keep your gut happy At Dr Kenyon’s clinic, 10 sessions of FMT cost around £4,000. He has already published one small study in the , which suggests that faecal microbiome testing is “clinically useful”, and says he has seen “significant success with infertility and failed IVF” after treating patients’ microbiomes with FMT. A new study, which is pre-publication, reports that “FMT is a safe and a promising treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome associated with IBS”. Promising as it may be, Gill says we should concentrate on cultivating our own gut flora before considering adding someone else’s. Not fancying FMT myself, I’m relieved to hear that adjusting my diet might be enough to sort out my microbiome. “Fill up on fibre,” Gill suggests. “Fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes. Some (such as artichokes, onion, garlic) contain natural prebiotics which are ‘food’ for our gut microbes.” She recommends yoghurts and fermented foods, which includes sauerkraut and kimchi, as they contain probiotics which will help to recolonise levels of good bacteria. Gill points out that some evidence suggests that sweeteners and smoking can both negatively affect the microbiome. And that you could see results quickly. “There are studies showing that significant shifts in dietary intake can alter our gut microbiota within a few days. Our microbiome is ‘flexible’– it will change depending on what you feed it.” Shann Jones (naturally) recommends drinking fermented kefir made from goat’s milk as it contains many strains of live bacteria: “You are the steward of your own ecosystem,” she says, “love it, feed it, don’t poison it.”
Indonesia has returned five containers of rubbish to the United States and will not become a "dumping ground", officials said Saturday, the latest Southeast Asian country to return imported waste. The containers were supposed to contain only paper scrap, according to the customs documents. Instead they were loaded with other waste including bottles, plastic waste, and diapers, said senior environment ministry official Sayid Muhadhar.
One of Africa's largest wildlife preserves is marking a year without a single elephant found killed by poachers, which experts call an extraordinary development in an area larger than Switzerland where thousands of the animals have been slaughtered in recent years. The apparent turnaround in Niassa reserve in a remote region of northern Mozambique comes after the introduction of a rapid intervention police force and more assertive patrolling and response by air, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the reserve with Mozambique's government and several other partners. Monitoring of the vast reserve with aerial surveys and foot patrols remains incomplete and relies on sampling, however.
Broadcom Inc. gave investors a taste of a worst-case scenario late Thursday, chopping $2 billion off its annual sales forecast. Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan told investors the company is suffering from a "very, very sharp and rapid contraction" as a result of the trade uncertainty and U.S. ban on sales to Huawei Technologies, one of Broadcom’s biggest customers. Chipmakers fell Friday, with the Philadelphia semiconductor index closing with a loss of 2.6%.
The isolation ward for Ebola patients is a tent erected in the garden of the local hospital. Gloves are given out sparingly to health workers. "We don't really have an isolation ward," the Bwera Hospital's administrator, Pedson Buthalha, told The Associated Press.
We all know that what we choose to eat can have an impact on our health - and right now, there’s no shortage of advice, from cookbooks, apps and Insta health gurus. But most of us are still walking about wondering things like: should I be cutting carbs? Or eating them, but just not the gluten-filled ones? Should I be vegan? Or paleo? The simple act of eating has become a minefield of paradoxical ‘facts’. Obviously, not everybody talking about nutrition on the internet is doing a bad job - and many of the people out there have good intentions. But as dietitians, and founders of The Rooted Project - offering up nutrition information based on facts, not fads - we believe that people with significant influence and followings have an ethical responsibility to get it right. Here, we expose eight of the most popular myths we hear peddled in the world of wellness. No diets, no nonsense: 10 back-to-basics nutrition guidelines to live by 1. Coconut oil is better than olive oil Along with being a cure for diseases from diabetes to Alzheimer’s, this ‘miracle’ ingredient is claimed to promote weight loss by affecting our metabolism and appetite. It contains lauric acid, a fat belonging to a group called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have been found to have these effects. However, scientists now dispute whether lauric acid actually behaves like an MCT in the body. Like all oils, coconut oil is a high-calorie food. One tablespoon contains about 120 calories, roughly the same as half a jam doughnut. So adding a lot to your diet could cause weight gain. In terms of heart health, the best available evidence shows coconut oil increases cholesterol more than vegetable oils; it also contains 82 per cent saturated fat, whereas butter contains 63 per cent and olive oil 14 per cent. Coconut oil is promoted as being a good oil to cook with as it remains stable when heated, however this is only the case with the refined variety. Refined olive oil, rapeseed oil and avocado oil are better choices for high-temperature cooking. Unless you are trying to increase your calorie intake, there is no need to add coconut oil to your coffee or cakes. Unless you are trying to increase your calorie intake, there is no need to add coconut oil to your coffee or cakes Credit: AshaSathees Photography/Moment RF 2. Low carb diets are best for weight loss How many times have you heard that to lose weight you should ‘cut the carbs’? In simple terms, the theory is that carbohydrates are uniquely fattening because when we eat them our insulin levels go up, meaning we break down less fat and move more of it into storage. However, we know from ‘metabolic ward studies’ - where the participants live in a controlled environment, with food intake measured and recorded - that the percentage of dietary fat or carbohydrate in a diet makes very little difference to the amount of weight lost. Real world studies have found the same thing. Often, people who prefer low-carb diets state that they make them feel less hungry - which may be due to them eating more protein - and that they find they lose weight quickly in the initial stages - which is less to do with fat-burning efficiency and more to do with a loss of water weight. After about 12 months, however, on average there is no difference between low-carb and low-fat diets for weight loss. While following a low-carb diet may suit you, there is no one ‘best’ dietary pattern for everyone. It’s better to find one that meets your needs, that you enjoy and that you can follow in the long term. 4 ways to help your weight loss 3. Sugar feeds cancer Recently, amid claims that cancer cells ferment sugar, it has been sugggested that cutting it out of our diet (and following a high-fat, ketogenic diet) could help to slow or even cure cancer. The picture is complicated. Although there are animal studies that suggest reducing carbohydrates in the diet might be beneficial for some cancers, human evidence is extremely limited, and scientists are still (rightly) sceptical. It might be that, in the future, we learn that a diet lower in carbohydrates could work alongside chemotherapy for some types of cancer. However, as of yet, we just don’t know. Undertaking a diet like this with a cancer diagnosis (or not) is not without risks and has the potential to make things much worse. 4. Dairy leaches calcium from your bones The rise of veganism has seen a rise in conspiracy soundbites like this. People who promote this myth state that milk is ‘acidic’, and causes calcium to leak out from your bones to neutralise the threat, making them weaker. Some observational studies have seen that the countries with the highest intake of dairy products also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis. However, this theory falls down in a number of places. Firstly, dairy foods are rich in calcium, protein and minerals, all of which are essential for good bone health - this is backed up by clinical studies. Secondly, it does not acknowledge the role your kidneys play in maintaining blood pH; they filter out any ‘acidic’ compounds and you pass them out in your urine – your bones aren’t involved in this process. The Alkaline diet, which removes ‘acid-forming foods’ and replaces them with ‘alkaline-forming foods', has been backed by celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Contributor 5. An alkaline diet is healthier Popular in the UK thanks to the backing of celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow, this diet removes ‘acid-forming foods’ and replaces them with ‘alkaline-forming foods’. When you metabolise foods they produce waste, which can be either acidic or alkaline and is often referred to as ‘ash’. The alkaline diet is based around the idea that acidic ash can cause diseases such as depression, cancer and osteoporosis. The trouble is that your body’s inbuilt regulatory systems (lungs and kidneys) keep your blood pH very tightly controlled, and it isn’t possible to change your body’s pH with diet. You can, however, change the pH of your urine, which is what often draws people into the diet. Most of the foods suggested on the alkaline diet are fresh fruits and vegetables, and many on the ‘avoid’ list are things like sweets, cakes and biscuits, etc, so followers may see an improvement to the quality of their diet. But this is nothing to do with acidity, and avoiding ‘acid-forming’ foods like meat, fish and lentils could mean you miss out on beneficial nutrients. What to eat to improve your gut health 6. Grains are toxic for the gut Grains get a bad rap, with many people claiming that they are toxic and can cause damage to our gut lining, in turn causing ‘leaky gut’. This has been blamed on lectins, an indigestible protein found in grains and other foods, such as legumes, vegetables and eggs. As they travel through our digestive system unchanged, it’s thought that they could be damaging to the gut wall. However, we don’t eat lectins in isolation or in large enough amounts for them to be a problem. Uncooked grains and legumes have high amounts, but as long as you’re cooking and preparing your food properly, they’re nothing to worry about. Grains do contain lectins, but they also contain gut-loving fibre and antioxidants, so the benefits far outweigh the risks. Diet patterns which are high in whole grains, like the Mediterranean diet, have been linked with healthy and long lives. 7. Meat causes cancer Although scientists are fairly certain that people who eat larger amounts of red meat, particularly processed meats, have a higher risk of colorectal cancer, the level of risk is fairly small. Cancer is a complex disease that doesn’t have one single cause, and can be influenced by many different factors. It’s also likely from a dietary perspective that your actual risk of cancer also depends on your diet as a whole, rather than the inclusion or exclusion of meat. This was reflected in the Oxford EPIC study, which found a small reduction in risk of all cancers in vegetarians, but a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Scientists may believe the link between red meat and colorectal cancer is pretty certain, but the level of risk is fairly small Credit: The Picture Pantry/Alloy 8. Turmeric is anti-ageing Putting turmeric into drinks and tonics is currently a big thing in the wellness industry. It’s claimed that its anti-inflammatory effects promote healthy brain ageing and decrease your risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes and even cancer. The part of turmeric thought to possess these beneficial properties is a compound called curcumin. Turmeric only contains teeny amounts (maximum 5 per cent, but often as low as 2–3 per cent) which is very poorly absorbed from the spice. Studies in test tubes have shown that turmeric has some potential as an anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer agent, but so far we have very few human experiments. Regularly using it in curries or having a turmeric latte may have a beneficial effect on your health over the long term - who knows? - but it’s not a cure-all and certainly shouldn’t replace modern medical therapies that have been shown to work. Maybe curcumin will be used along with conventional cancer treatment one day, but at the moment it’s way too early to tell. Is Butter a Carb? by Rosie Saunt, Helen West published by Little, Brown Book Group RRP £14.99. Buy now for £12.99 at books.telegraph.co.uk or call 0844 871 1514
Next to them, two khaki-clad watchmen settle down for the night in the Mercantour National Park on the border with Italy, equipped with thermal-vision cameras, warm jackets and a rifle with a night-vision scope. The pair are part of France's "wolf brigade", employed by the state to protect livestock from a predator that was hunted to extinction in France in the early 20th century but is now making a grand comeback. Starting in 1992, grey wolves started re-appearing in France, arriving across the Alps from Italy, which has rejected calls for a cull of its flourishing population of the fanged mammals.
Family and friends gathered to watch their loved ones walk across the stage at the Philadelphia Performing Arts charter school Friday to begin the next chapter of their lives. The day was especially meaningful for one student, who spent many of his high school years in the hospital battling cancer. At the age of 13, Tom Sweeney was diagnosed with leukemia.
America’s future hypersonic arsenal is moving closer to reality.The U.S. Air Force successfully conducted the first flight test of its new hypersonic missile. An AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, was launched from a B-52 bomber at Edwards Air Force Base, California.Though billed as a flight test, the missile did not actually take flight. “A sensor-only version of the ARRW prototype was carried externally by a B-52 during the test to gather environmental and aircraft handling data,” according to the Air Force announcement. “The test gathered data on drag and vibration impacts on the weapon itself and on the external carriage equipment of the aircraft. The prototype did not have explosives and it was not released from the B-52 during the flight test. This type of data collection is required for all Air Force weapon systems undergoing development.”ARRW is one of two Air Force “rapid prototyping” programs aimed at quickly deploying a hypersonic missile, which is defined as an object with a speed of at least Mach 5. The other is the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, or HCSW. ARRW is set to reach early operational capability by fiscal year 2022.
The schematics for CVA-58 nonetheless informed the Navy’s first supercarriers, named rather appropriately the Forrestal-class, laid down during the Korean War. But the heavy-bomber carrying United States remains notable as the supercarrier the Navy absolutely thought it needed—but which with literally just a couple years more hindsight it discovered it truly could do without.(This article appeared earlier this year.)In the wake of the mushroom clouds that blossomed over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it swiftly dawned on political and military leaders across the globe that warfare between superpowers would never again be the same. But what exactly were the implications of nuclear weapons when it came to planning military force structure?In the United States, it was assumed that nuclear weapons would be widely employed in future conflicts, rendering conventional land armies and fleets at sea irrelevant. The newly formed Air Force particularly argued that carrier task forces and armored divisions were practically obsolete when (ostensibly) just a few air-dropped nuclear bombs could annihilate them in one fell swoop.The Air Force touted it soon-to-be operational fleet of ten-thousand-mile-range B-36 Peacemaker nuclear bombers as the only vital war-winning weapon of the nuclear age. This logic resonated conveniently with the postwar political program mandating sharp cuts to U.S. defense spending and force structure—which the Air Force naturally argued should fall upon the Army and Navy.
More than fifty years after the end of the Apollo program, NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2024 as a "proving ground" to test the next generation of spacecraft ahead of an eventual crewed mission to Mars. No one knows for sure, but it's a likely bet the candidate will be selected from among NASA's current roster of 12 female astronauts. Predicting who will join Neil Armstrong in the annals of history isn't an exact science, but several former astronauts and experts interviewed by AFP say the proximity of the deadline mean it probably won't be a new recruit.
A global hemp research lab announced Thursday in Oregon, coupled with a nascent national review board for hemp varieties and a handful of seed certification programs nationwide, are the first stabs at addressing those concerns — and at creating accountability by standardizing U.S. hemp for a global market. "If you look at a lot of financial markets, they're all saying, 'People are investing in this, and we have no idea what to divide it by," said Jay Noller, head of Oregon State University's new Global Hemp Innovation Center.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Notice of Correction to Application and Submission Information for PAR-18-543 "CREATE Bio Development Track: Nonclinical and Early-Phase Clinical Development for Biologics (U44 Clinical Trial Optional)"
- National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Bridges to the Doctorate (T32)
- Notice of Clarification to the Award Budget for PAR-18-894, "Mental Health Research Dissertation Grant to Enhance Workforce Diversity (R36 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the NIH Common Fund Acute to Chronic Pain Signatures Program: Multisite Clinical Center Acute Pain from Musculoskeletal Trauma or Acute Peri-operative Pain (UM1 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Notice of Change to the Award Budget for PAR-18-802 "Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Technologies for Low-Resource Settings (R41/R42 - Clinical Trial Optional)".