TIME Research

Why the U.S. Has 31% of the World’s Mass Shootings

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Part of it has to do with gun laws, but maybe it's because we're American

The U.S. is home to 5% of the world’s population, but has had 31% of the public mass shootings worldwide between 1966 and 2012, according to a new study presented at the American Sociological Association meeting. “That is not a coincidence,” says study author Adam Lankford, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama, who believes his new study on the topic is the first to confirm that there’s something strongly American about public mass shootings. A lot of that, he’s found, has to do with gun ownership.

Lankford quantitatively analyzed various reports, from the New York Police Department’s 2012 active shooter report, the FBI’s 2014 active shooter report, and international sources including the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He focused on public mass shootings, defined as those that took place in a confined, populated space and resulted in the deaths of at least four people.

MORE: Homicides Are Spiking This Year After Falling For Decades

Lankford found a strong correlation between gun ownership in America and violence. The U.S. ranks first in gun ownership in the world, with surveys suggesting the rate to be 88.8 firearms for every 100 people in America, or 270 million total firearms within borders. (At a distant second is Yemen, with 54.8 firearms per 100 people; the numbers tumble after that.) There have been 292 public mass shooters who have killed a minimum of four people between 1966 and 2012. And when you narrow shootings down to just those that occur at school and work, American incidences account for 62% of global cases.

Lankford wanted to understand why Americans were so much more likely to be public mass shooters. His findings suggest a theory that points to two quintessentially American factors: gun culture and exceptionalism.

Being American, for a large swath of people, can be traced to the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a right to bear arms; 65% of Americans believe it is their right to own firearms.

But an even more significant contributor may be the very reason some experts think the U.S. has been so successful: its strong sense of exceptionalism and individualistic culture, something that American kids are taught from an early age.

MORE: Read The Transcript of Amy Schumer’s Emotional Speech On Gun Control

“There is this notion that in general, America is exceptional in a variety of ways in terms of our history: the degree to which we fought for independence, being the first and most successful country of our kind,” Lankford says. “If you teach your kids, ‘You can accomplish anything you want if you put your mind to it,’ it might be setting them up to fail.”

Achieving a sense of fame and success isn’t always a good thing. The idea of fame is a repeating motif in public shooters’ confessions and manifestos, Lankford says. “The media gives these attackers what they want, and they want fame.”

Globalization, too, has a role to play. Consider the dominance of Hollywood and entertainment in the lives of young people worldwide, which is largely American and often violent. “We’re exporting mass shootings as well, and attackers around the world are copying what’s happening here,” he says.

Lankford acknowledges there’s still a lot we don’t know about gun violence. The analysis he ran excluded other gun crimes, like homicides involving three or fewer people, and suicides. Domestic violence and gang violence often fuel these shootings and they remain largely misunderstood, though most experts agree firearm ownership is a big contributor to these crimes.

There’s a silver lining, however. Because the U.S. has a preponderance of public mass shootings, the country is more prepared than any other to deal with them, Lankford says. He points to Columbine and Sandy Hook as events that shaped enforcement procedure. “When Columbine happened, it took three hours to respond, in part because we didn’t know how to respond,” he says. “Do you prioritize helping people flee? Do you secure the perimeter? Do you go in and disable the active shooter? We now know you have to make sure the active shooter no longer is active,” he says. “At least we know how to deal with this.”

TIME Health Care

Planned Parenthood Protesters Rally Across the Country

Protesters held signs reading 'Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts'

Protesters gathered at 320 Planned Parenthood clinics around the country on Saturday calling for the end to federal funding for the health care provider.

The Washington Post reports the protesters held signs reading ‘Planned Parenthood Sells Baby Parts’ and participated in prayers and chants.

Controversy over the organization, which provides health services including abortion, erupted recently when undercover videos by anti-abortion activists purported to show Planned Parenthood personnel engaging in illegal activity and selling fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood has denied the allegations, arguing the videos were heavily edited and taken out of context.

MORE: Why We Still Need Fetal-Tissue Research

In a statement, Planned Parenthood vice president Eric Ferrero said, “These rallies are meant to intimidate and harass our patients, who rely on our nonprofit health centers for basic, preventive health care.”

[Washington Post]

TIME Love & Relationships

Why Women Are More Likely to Ask for a Divorce

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A new study suggests women are more likely than men to initiate a divorce in opposite sex relationships, but the same isn't true for non-marital relationships. If men and women were living together without marrying, each gender was equally likely to initiate a breakup

In a presentation to the American Sociological Association, researchers report that women are more likely than men to ask for divorce. But non-marital breakups are more gender neutral.

The results came from an analysis of the aptly named “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” survey, collected from 2,262 adults with opposite sex partners who answered questions about their relationship status between 2009 and 2015. Women initiated 69% of divorces, compared to 31% of men. But if men and women were living together without marrying, each gender was equally likely to initiate a breakup.

Almost all studies to date have shown that women are more likely to ask for divorce, the study’s lead author, Michael Rosenfeld, said in a statement. An associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, Rosenfeld said that social scientists assumed that women’s heightened sensitivities to the ups and downs of relationships would mean they were more likely to leave both marriages and non-marital unions.

But the latest data suggests that perhaps there’s more involved. Women may be responding to the still arcane conventions of spousal roles, which contrast with growing equality in other institutions, such as the workplace. “I think that marriage as an institution has been a little bit slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality. Wives still take their husbands’ surnames, and are sometimes pressured to do so. Husbands still expect their wives to do the bulk of the housework and the bulk of the childcare,” he said in the statement. “On the other hand, I think that non-marital relationships lack the historical baggage and expectations of marriage, which makes the non-marital relationships more flexible and therefore more adaptable to modern expectations … of gender equality.”

TIME Diet/Nutrition

8 Best All-Natural Cereals for Weight Loss

Healthy ways to start your mornings

Bad news, cereal lovers: It’s about to get harder to start your day with a rich, comforting bowl of tartrazine.

Wait…you didn’t know you were enjoying tartrazine each morning? If you eat boxed cereal, you probably are. It’s a food dye, also known as Yellow #5, that’s been linked to concentration disorders in children, and it’s found in many brightly colored cereals, like Kellogg’s Froot Loops. And after years of pressure from Eat This, Not That!, Kellogg’s finally just announced that it was eliminating all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals, meaning you’ll soon have to go without your daily dose of Red #40, Blue #1 and other chemicals not found in nature.

The company is giving itself until 2018 to make the switch, but if you want to cut down on the contents of your morning chemistry set, and enjoy a metabolism boost in the meantime, there are plenty of options available right now. The food lab at Eat This, Not That! magazine has identified the best all-natural cereals in the supermarket. They may not have a cute cartoon character on the front or a prize at the bottom, but they will fuel your day right and help you reach your weight-loss goals—before noon!

  • 1. 18 Rabbits Veritas Granola

    280 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 20 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 6 g protein (per 3 oz)

    Fit a healthy dose of chocolate into your morning—without buying the Count Chocula. Flavored with cacao nibs, 18 Rabbits Veritas Granola is also naturally sweetened with maple syrup and honey, and features a wide variety of seeds and nuts that you don’t always find in granola (which accounts for the slightly high fat content)—like pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, and sesame seeds. One cup of pumpkin seeds contains twice as much protein as an egg and is high in iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and immune-system-boosting zinc.

  • 2. McCabe’s PB & Chocolate Granola

    420 calories, 27 g fat (4.5 saturated), 210 mg sodium, 12 g sugar, 15 g protein (per 3 oz)

    Ditch the Reese’s Puffs in favor of McCabe’s PB & Chocolate Granola, a terrific substitute for a sugary cereal or a great sweet afternoon treat. They use semi-sweet chocolate to dial-down the carb overload, and, like the 18 Rabbits brand above, the oats are sweetened naturally with maple syrup rather than white sugar. If you’re watching your calories, enjoy a smaller 1 ounce portion for only 140 calories a bowl.

  • 3. Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice

    110 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 160 g sodium, >1 g sugar, 2 g protein (per 1 cup)

    Sure they may go “snap, crackle, pop” but these 100 percent whole-grain, gluten-free puffs are a more nutritious choice than the big blue box—because they’re made from brown rice. People who ate three or more daily servings of whole grains (such as oats, quinoa and brown rice) had 10% less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from processed white carbs (the white stuff: bread, rice, pasta), according to a Tufts University study. This low-sugar cereal carries a slightly nutty flavor and pairs well with strawberries or raspberries.

  • 4. Arrowhead Mills Oat Bran Flakes

    140 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 80 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 5 g protein (per 1 cup)

    “I always start my day with 3/4 cup of bran flakes with skim milk and 1/4 cup of berries,” says Heather Mangieri, RDN, a board certified sports dietetics specialist. “I’m a very active person, so it’s important that I kick off my day with a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates to fuel my morning. Bran flakes are a low-calorie, easy and inexpensive way to get many of the vitamins and minerals I need, including 100 percent of my daily iron.” The cereal also provides her five grams of fiber, “which helps keep me regular,” she adds. “It’s one of the only boxed foods that I eat, but I eat it every single day—even on vacation.”

  • 5. Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ’N Bran

    160 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g sodium, 0 g sugar, 4.8 g protein (per 1 cup)

    In addition to serving up the perfect serving of hunger-quelling protein and fiber in every bowl, Wheat ’n Bran—made from, you guessed it, whole-grain wheat and wheat bran— also provides 20 percent of the day’s phosphorus, a mineral that plays an important role in how the body uses carbs and fats. It also helps the body make protein.

  • 6. Arrowhead Mills Puffed Wheat

    60 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein (per 1 cup)

    If you workout in the morning, the best way to aid muscle growth and recovery is with a 2:1 ratio of low-fiber carbohydrates and protein, says Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. That’s why he recommends “eating something like a cup of wheat puff cereal with half a banana, a dash of cinnamon and one cup of skim milk.” The milk’s protein helps rebuild muscle that was broken down and the simple carbohydrates help restore muscle glycogen that was lost during training, he explains. Replenishing the stores can boost future workout performance—a key component to sculpting a trimmer figure. All that from puffed wheat!

  • 7. Pacific Foods Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal Unsweetened

    160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 240 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein (per container)

    Most packaged oatmeals are calorie-bombs of powdered sugar disguised as a nutritious breakfast. But each serving of Pacific Foods’ Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal packs a solid helping of protein and fiber, and even the most decadent of the line’s 5 flavors, Maple & Brown Sugar, still comes in at just 11 grams of sugar. Plus, steel-cut oats are the least processed, and have fewer calories and less sugar than rolled oats. The grab-and-go package makes it easy to toss in your bag and heat up quickly at the office.

  • 8. Amy’s Organic Multi-Grain Hot Cereal Bowl

    190 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 300 mg sodium, 12 g sugar, 4 g protein (1 cup)

    We also endorse this brand of oats—and any kind of oats, as long as they’re free of processed sugars. Oats are rich in a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan and the anti-inflammatory compound avenanthramide—which, together, help prevent against obesity-related health problems including heart disease and diabetes. One 10-year study in the American Journal of Public Health found that eating one serving of oatmeal two to four times a week—like this Amy’s Hot Cereal Bowl—resulted in a 16 percent reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes. And Amy’s has more fiber and half the fat of Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats.

    This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

    More from Eat This, Not That!

TIME Disease

New Study Identifies 9 Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

The risk factors, which include obesity, low educational attainment and depression, might be preventable

Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s cases could be attributed to nine risk factors that are potentially fixable, according to a new study released Thursday.

Researchers linked obesity, carotid artery narrowing, low educational attainment, depression, high blood pressure, frailty, smoking habits, high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid), and type 2 diabetes in the Asian population to about two-thirds of global Alzheimer’s cases in a recent analysis of existing data. The study, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, is purely observational but the researchers think its findings could help medical professionals prescribe specific lifestyle changes that could have a targeted effect at reducing the number of Alzheimer’s cases around the world.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, the broad term for the deterioration of memory and mental abilities. There is currently no cure for dementia, which impacts 1 in 14 people over age 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

For the study, researchers pooled and analyzed data from over 300 studies to identify the most common risk factors for the disease. Researchers also found evidence that some hormones, vitamins and drugs to reduce high blood pressure can help lower the risk of developing the disease while homocysteine and depression were associated with heightened risk.

Read next: How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Listen to the most important stories of the day


Cleveland Clinic Is The Latest Hospital To Dump McDonald’s

McDonalds Holds National Hiring Day To Add 50,000 Employees
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A McDonald's employee prepares an order during a one-day hiring event at a McDonald's restaurant on April 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California.

The clinic says it wants to promote healthier options.

A hospital cafeteria probably isn’t the first place you’d think of to get your McDonald’s fix. But after September 18, it will no longer be an available option at the Cleveland Clinic.

The hospital announced it’s cutting ties with the fast food chain in order to promote wellness, NPR reported.

“Cleveland Clinic wants to help patients and visitors and our employees turn to healthier lifestyles and healthier choices,” according to clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil to The Salt.

The hospital is reportedly the seventh since 2009 to get rid of a McDonald’s in its cafeteria, according to NPR.

In other McDonald’s news, the chain is hoping to boost sales with a new innovation: Egg McMuffin’s offered all day.

TIME public health

This Technology Tracks Antibiotic Resistance In Food

healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, spinach, greens, vegetables, salad
Danny Kim for TIME

Federal officials have created a new public database that tracks superbugs

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rolled out a new interactive tool that allows users to follow the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs nationwide, called NARMS (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System) Now: Human Data. According to the CDC, every year there are two million reported illnesses and 23,000 deaths associated with antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bacteria in our food accounts for 440,000 of those illnesses.

The CDC has long tracked the travel routes of four of the common types of bacteria transmitted through food: Campylobacter, E. coli O157, Salmonella, and Shigella. The data has already helped researchers investigate the distribution of multi drug resistant strains of salmonella and track down trends in resistance. For instance, the FDA withdrew approval for Enrofloxacin (a fluoroquinolone) in chickens after NARMS data revealed growing fluoroquinolone-resistant bacterial infections among Americans. Now the interactive database is free to the public to examine how these bugs have changed through the past 18 years.

“This is an educational tool for people who want to learn more about foodborne pathogens,” says Regan Rickert-Hartman, senior epidemiologist and program coordinator for NARMS. “This is [also] a good tool for health departments that are looking to compare their data to other states.”

Interactive maps, some of the most consumer-friendly aspects of the database, allow users to watch the spread and growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter over time through the United States.

The database was launched partly in response to calls from academics, Congress and consumer groups for more transparency and better access to data on antibiotic resistance, the CDC says. Rickert-Hartman says the database is part of the agency’s response to President Obama’s Open Government Initiative to establish more participation and open collaboration.

Though the current data only goes through 2013, Rickert-Hartman says the CDC hopes to add 2014 and 2015 data by the end of the year.

TIME Careers

Science Says Working Long Hours Is Seriously Bad for Your Health

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It's linked to stroke and coronary heart disease

Seriously: stop working so much, for your health’s sake.

A new study of 600,000 individuals in Australia, the United States, and Europe published in the Lancet, a United Kingdom-based medical journal, found that people who more more than 55 hours per week or more have a 33% greater risk of stroke and a 13% greater risk of coronary heart disease.

The study concludes that “more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours.”

The study is the largest so far to examine the relationship between working hours and cardiovascular health and is especially noteworthy because it points to stroke as a risk of working long hours. Earlier studies have linked heart attacks to excessive work.

There are critics of the study, though. Stephen Kopecky, a professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the Mayo Clinic, told The New York Times, that the analysis did not fully account for the effects of cholesterol, family history, and blood pressure in all cases, so it is possible that long hours are not the only cause of the increased health risks.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Should I Eat Almond Butter?

5/5 say yes.

All five of our experts are nuts for almond butter.

A standard 2-Tbsp serving of plain almond butter has 196 calories, about 7 grams of protein and a bunch of fat—about 18 grams. That’s just fine with Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian and manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “Almond butter is a dieter’s best friend due to its lack of carbs and its abundance of protein and healthy fat—both fill you up and keep you satisfied,” she says.

It’s a good source of fiber, too. Most of us fall far short in the fiber department, and a serving packs an impressive 3.3 grams of fiber—about 13% of the FDA’s daily recommended total. “I recommend almond butter to my patients all the time,” says nutrition consultant and registered dietitian Keri Gans, who suggests spooning some into your morning smoothie or bowl of oatmeal.

Buy (or grind) the kind that’s made from just nuts, says Dr. David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “Churned almonds have all of the nutrition of almonds, and that’s very good,” he says. “But be careful that additions of salt, sugar, and other oils haven’t hitched a ride.”

Research continues to mount that a diet that contains nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, says Dr. David Jenkins, professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. “We and others have shown that nuts tend to lower serum cholesterol,” says Jenkins. “The more you eat, the lower your cholesterol.” His research has also shown that almonds can help control diabetes if you eat about a couple of handfuls a day, he says, and “nut butters probably do the same as mixed nuts.”

“We are criticized for the environmental impact of advising people to eat almonds,” Jenkins says. Growing almonds requires a lot of water; it’s widely reported that just one nut requires a gallon of it. Yet almost 70% of U.S. almonds are exported in their shelled form, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, which doesn’t always sit well, considering that the almond-producing state of California has little water to spare. “However, if nuts are replaced even by dairy, the effect on ground water use and antibiotic pollution by feedlot industrial agriculture is orders of magnitude greater,” Jenkins says.

David Zetland, assistant professor of economics at Leiden University College in the Netherlands and author of Living with Water Scarcity, agrees that forfeiting almonds isn’t the solution. “Almonds are not the problem,” he says. “All of our activities (consumption of water, discharge of pollutants, etc.) in sum are the problem. The solution is not to stop eating almonds, or to tell farmers what to grow. It’s to limit ag use of water or ag pollution of the air in total, so that the environment is protected.”


Read Next: Should I Drink Tomato Juice?

TIME Cancer

A Major Shift in Breast Cancer Understanding

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A new study shows that previous assumptions about early breast lesions called ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, may have been off the mark

—Breast cancer experts have been in a tumult in recent years over something called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These lesions, usually very small, are starting to emerge more frequently in mammograms that are better able to pick out even the smallest aberrations in breast tissue. But cancer doctors aren’t agreed on how significant DCIS actually is.

Technically labeled as a stage zero cancer, some experts don’t believe they are tumors at all, but pre-tumors, since the growths have not expanded beyond the milk ducts. In fact, a National Cancer Institute working group in 2013 recommended that the name “carcinoma” be removed from DCIS to highlight the fact that the lesions aren’t quite malignant, and therefore may not need the more aggressive treatment that cancers would warrant.

MORE: High-Tech 3D Mammograms Probably Saved This Woman’s Life

But the latest study shows that thinking may be wrong. DCIS may not be as benign as doctors once thought.

In order to tease apart how a DCIS diagnosis and its treatment affects death from breast cancer, researchers reporting in in JAMA Oncology reviewed records from 108,196 women, the largest number yet in a study of DCIS. The large number was important to see if the number of deaths from DCIS made the findings statistically significant. Overall a diagnosis of DCIS was associated with a higher risk — 3% — of dying of breast cancer in 20 years compared to women who didn’t have the cancer. This risk was highest for younger women (diagnosed before age 35) and for black women.

But when the researchers looked more carefully at the women with DCIS, their rates of breast cancer recurrence and their death rates, they found that those getting surgery and radiation or just surgery did indeed lower their risk of getting a recurrent cancer, but did not reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer.

MORE: Here’s the Amount of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

That suggests that the DCIS may be not be pre-cancerous lesions, but more cancerous than doctors thought, says the study’s lead author Dr. Steven Narod, from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Surgery, surgery with radiation, and even mastectomy do nothing to lower the 3% risk of dying of breast cancer in 20 years once a woman receives a DCIS diagnosis. “These women are not dying of DCIS. They die the conventional way from breast cancer — because it spreads to the bones, liver and lungs. The women who die of DCIS died because their breast cancer already spread by the time they received treatment,” says Narod.

That’s a complete shift in thinking about DCIS. And could potentially result in a dramatic change in the way women diagnosed with DCIS are treated. If the results are confirmed, and treatments do not lower the risk of death from breast cancer, then would surgery, or surgery and radiation still be worth the side effects and complications of that these interventions carry? In an editorial accompanying the study, cancer experts from University of California San Francisco argue that radiation should not be routinely given to every woman diagnosed with DCIS and undergoing surgery to remove the lesion. More research, they say, is needed to find better ways to distinguish DCIS lesions, possibly by their genetic makeup, into those that are more or less likely to have spread.

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