TIME Research

Living at High Altitudes May Increase SIDS Risk, Study Says

A new study looks at how residential altitude affects newborns

A new study suggests babies that live at high altitudes may be at a greater risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) compared to infants living at lower altitudes.

Each year, around 3,500 infants under age one die unexpectedly in the United States. Still, public health experts remain uncertain for why SIDS occurs.

In a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers sought to determine whether altitude might play a role in SIDS risk. The researchers looked at residential altitude of over 393,000 Colorado infants, as well as their birth and death certificate data between 2007 and 2012.

After accouting for a variety of complicating factors, the researchers found that babies that lived above 8,000 feet had slightly over double the risk of experiencing SIDS compared to infants that lived under 6,000 feet.

The study did not determine why higher altitudes might increase the risk, but others have suggested that hypoxia, not having enough oxygen, may play a role in SIDS. Researchers suggest the findings should be kept in mind when coaching new parents.

TIME movies

Chris Pratt Preemptively Apologizes For Offending You in the Future

'I'm just dumb. Plan and simple,' the actor wrote in a note to fans ahead of a promotional tour for his forhcoming Jurassic Park reboot

Actor Chris Pratt posted an apology to Facebook this weekend to apologize in advance for any offensive comments he may unintentionally make on his Jurassic Park press tour.

“I hope you understand it was never my intention to offend anyone and I am truly sorry. I swear. I’m the nicest guy in the world. And I fully regret what I (accidentally will have) said in (the upcoming foreign and domestic) interview(s),” he said in the post.

Pratt says he isn’t making excuses. “I am just dumb. Plain and simple.” he writes.

“To those I (will have) offended please understand how truly sorry I already am. I am fully aware that the subject matter of my imminent forthcoming mistake, a blunder (possibly to be) dubbed “JurassicGate” is (most likely) in no way a laughing matter,” Pratt wrote.

Early this month, Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans made unwanted headlines during this press tour when they called their co-star Scarlett Johansson‘s character Black Widow a “slut” in an interview.

TIME Accidents

No Reported Spike in Fatalities on New Jersey Turnpike Despite Recent Crashes

Mathematician John Nash died in crash Saturday

The New Jersey Turnpike has made recent headlines for major accidents and fatal crashes, but based on the most recent data, the highway is not any more unsafe than prior years.

On Saturday, the famed mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. who was the subject of the book and movie A Beautiful Mind, died in a car crash with his wife on the New Jersey Turnpike. Almost a year ago, comedian Tracy Morgan was severely injured from a crash on the same turnpike. The expressway has also been troubled by deadly pile-ups.

However, in 2013, the New Jersey Turnpike had the fewest fatal accidents in its over 60 year history, with a rate of nine deaths which was a significant drop from the previous year’s 24 deaths, according to NJ.com. The number of crashes were about the same from previous years.

During 2013, New Jersey had a similar rate of fatal accidents compared to other similarly sized states with cars on the road, according to data from the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS reports that 54% of motor vehicle deaths in 2013 happened in rural areas. Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s road safety organization, shows overall traffic fatalities in the United States for the first half of 2014 dropped about 2.2% from the same period of 2013.

TIME Appreciation

What to Know About Geek Pride Day

Get your geek on

Geek Pride Day is May 25, and here’s what you need to know about the celebration for nerds worldwide.

The date was reportedly chosen to coincide with the first Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope, which was released on May 25, 1977. The day also marks “Towel Day,” which is celebrated by fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. Fans carry a towel in his honor. Lastly, the day also marks The Glorious 25th of May, which fans of author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld celebrate, often with a sprig of lilac.

On Geek Pride Day, which is a worldwide celebration of nerdom, there may be meet-ups or parties to celebrate anything and everything worth geeking-out over. Of course, tech brands are excited:

TIME Television

George R.R. Martin Says This Religion Inspired the Game of Thrones Faith Militant

"The Sparrows" are based on a real religion

George R.R. Martin, the author of the books that inspired Game of Thrones, says the medieval Catholic Church “with its own fantasy twist” was his inspiration for the Faith Militant cult, also known as “The Sparrows,” that is now taking center stage in the show.

“If you look at the history of the church in the Middle Ages, you had periods where you had very worldly and corrupt popes and bishops. People who were not spiritual, but were politicians,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly. “They were playing their own version of the game of thrones, and they were in bed with the kings and the lords.”

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

TIME Archaeology

Oldest Known Stone Tools Discovered in Kenya

This undated photo made available May 20, 2015 by the Mission Prehistorique au Kenya - West Turkana Archaeological Project shows the excavation of a stone tool found in the West Turkana area of Kenya.
MPK-WTAP/AP This undated photo made available May 20, 2015 by the Mission Prehistorique au Kenya - West Turkana Archaeological Project shows the excavation of a stone tool found in the West Turkana area of Kenya.

The tools are about 3.3 million years old

Researchers who stumbled upon stone tools in Kenya in 2011 revealed in a new paper that they are now considered the oldest ones ever found.

The discovery in West Turkana—after researchers apparently took a wrong turn—was chronicled in the journal Nature by co-authors Jason Lewis and Sonia Harmand of Stone Brook University. The paper explains that the tools are about 3.3 million years old, or 700,000 years older than ones that researchers had previously discovered, making them some half-a-million years older before the known emergence of modern humans.

“It just rewrites the book on a lot of things that we thought were true,” Chris Lepre, a geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University who dated the tools, told the Guardian. Alison Brooks, an anthropology professor at George Washington University who examined some of the tools, told the Associated Press, “It really absolutely moves the beginnings of human technology back into a much more distant past, and a much different kind of ancestor than we’ve been thinking of.”

TIME Research

Rape Is Common Among Female College Freshmen, Study Shows

Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014.
Alex Garland—Demotix/Corbis Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014.

Sexual assaults and rape have reached "epidemic levels," researchers say

A new study of first-year women at a large private university in the Northeastern U.S. reveals that many freshman women have suffered some form of rape.

The study looked at 483 women (a relatively small study size) who were a representative sample of the freshman class and who volunteered to partake in the study. The women filled out questionnaires when they arrived on campus, at the end of their fall semester, at the end of their spring semester and at the end of the summer following their first year at college. The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Before entering college, about 18% of the women reported enduring a completed or attempted incapacitated rape (involving drugs or alcohol) since age 14, and 15% reported being victims of completed or attempted forcible rape. Over the study year, the researchers found that 9% of the women reported experiencing attempted or completed forcible rape and 15.4% reported attempted or completed incapacitated rape. Some of the women in the study reported more than one incident. At the end of the study, the lifetime experience of forcible rape was 21.7% among the women in the study, and 25.7% for incapacitated rape.

In general, rape involving drugs and alcohol was most common among the women in the study. The data also suggests that women who had already undergone a rape before entering college were more likely to report experiencing rape during their first year. “These findings are important not only for sexual assault prevention but for mental health promotion on campus as previous work has illustrated that multiple exposures to violence are strongly associated with poor mental health, including suicidality,” a corresponding editorial on the study reads. The study authors add that risky drinking behavior should be a target for prevention.

The researchers conclude that incapacitated and forcible sexual assaults and rape have reached “epidemic levels” among college women. The findings are among a small population of women, but underline that rape is not an altogether uncommon experience among young women. While it should be noted that the study looks at self-reported rapes and not clinically validated assaults, it’s also important to note that Department of Justice data suggests up to 80% of rapes and sexual assaults of female college students go unreported.

The study replicates findings in a number of other studies, which tend to find that close to 1 in 5 women in college are sexual-assault victims. But over the past year, there’s been a great deal of controversy about using the results from one study as a stand-in for a national average of college rape victims. This has been particularly true of the 1-in-5 number often cited by the White House, which comes from the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study of two different colleges. This new study was much, much smaller — its value should be taken as one data point to build a broad picture of sexual assault on America’s campuses.

“These data make clear that prevention programs for both men and women in both high school and college are necessary,” the study authors write. “Programs may need to address trauma-related concerns for previously victimized women.”

TIME Research

Suicide Rate Is Up Among Young Black Children

New study reveals racial disparities in suicide rates among young children

While the suicide rate among young children has remained relatively stable, a new study shows that the number of black kids between the ages of 5 and 11 who commit suicide has almost doubled since 1993.

The research, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, shows that from 1993 to 2012, there were a total of 657 kids in the age group who killed themselves in the U.S.; 84% were boys and 16% were girls. Overall, the suicide rate was stable over the nearly 20-year period, yet the rate among black children significantly rose while the rate among white children dropped. Why black children were more likely to die by their own hand could not be determined in this study. The researchers say that the apparent racial disparity needs further investigation.

Study author Jeffrey Bridge, an epidemiologist at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told the New York Times that he was “shocked” by the results.

The findings are troubling, and the authors note in the study that historically, the rates of suicide among black children has been lower than the rate among white children. Suicide previously ranked as the 14th cause of death among black children ages 5 to 11 from 1993 to 1997, but it went up to the ninth cause of death in 2008 to 2012. For comparison, among white children, suicide was ranked as the 12th cause of death for the age group from 1993 to 1997 but it dropped to the 11th cause of death from 2008 to 2012.

“Although rates of suicide in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years are roughly 50 times higher than suicide rates in children aged 5 to 11 years, investment in upstream suicide prevention approaches that occur prior to the onset of suicidal behavior may have strong potential to reduce youth suicide rates,” the study authors write.

The researchers call for more studies to understand the trend, and to hopefully determine what interventions might be necessary.

TIME public health

80% of Sunscreens Don’t Really Work or Have ‘Worrisome’ Ingredients: Report

Here's how to find one that works

Summer is around the corner, and when it comes to sunscreen, it’s important to know how to stay covered.

Yet new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that many Americans aren’t protecting their skin as much as they should. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked people how often they use sunscreen when out in the sun for over an hour and only 14% of men said they regularly slathered on sunscreen. Women, at 30%, were twice as diligent about putting on sunscreen—while men were more likely than women to report never using sunscreen.

The problem isn’t only compliance. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2015 sunscreen guide on Tuesday, which reviewed more than 1,700 SPF products like sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers. The researchers discovered that 80% of the products offer “inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A,” they say. Oxybenzone is a chemical that can disrupt the hormone system, and some evidence suggests—though not definitively—that adding vitamin A to the skin could heighten sun sensitivity.

The report points to Neutrogena as the brand most at fault for promising sun protection without delivering. The EWG says that Neutrogena claims its baby sunscreens provide “special protection from the sun and irritating chemicals” and is labeled “hypoallergenic,” but it contains a preservative called methylisothiazolinone that has been deemed unsafe for use in leave-on products by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. The company also boasts of high SPF levels like SPF 70 or SPF 100+, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says there’s only notable protection up to SPF 50, the report adds. Neutrogena did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.

In the new report, EWG also provides a Hall of Shame of products that don’t deliver on their sun protection promises, as well as a database for users to search how protective their particular sun products are—and find one that works.

To stay protected this summer, the researchers suggest, use sunscreens with broad spectrum SPF of 15 or higher, limit time in the sun, wear clothing to cover exposed skin and re-slather your sunscreen every couple hours.

TIME Retail

Under Armour Removes Iwo Jima-Inspired Shirt After Complaints

The shirt reimagined the image of American soldiers raising a flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima

Under Armour is removing its “Band of Ballers” shirt, which was inspired by the image of U.S. soldiers raising an American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II, following a wave of criticism.

The shirt, made by Under Armour, depicted athletes raising a basket ball hoop in a similar fashion. The backlash against the company for the portrayal was swift.

Under Armour responded in a series of tweets over the weekend:

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