TIME Cancer

How Diet Can Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

Tomato and bean consumption helps prevent the disease

Consuming more than ten servings a week of tomatoes and beans lowers the risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Bristol.

The findings expand on previous research and suggest that men should consume foods rich in lycopene and selenium, which are found in tomatoes and beans respectively, to help prevent the onset of a disease that kills about 30,000 men in the United States each year.

The study compared the diets of more than 1,800 men between the ages of 50 and 69 who had prostate cancer to the diets of more than 12,000 of their cancer-free peers.

While the study’s conclusions provide some dietary guidance, researchers say more work needs to be done to develop further dietary guidelines.

“Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention. However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials,” said Vanessa Er, a researcher at the University of Bristol who led the study. “Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active.”

TIME Infectious Disease

Senegal Confirms Country’s First Ebola Case

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Colorized transmission electron micrograph of the Ebola virus. Getty Images

The often-fatal disease has spread to a fifth West African country

Add Senegal to the four other West African countries—Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria—with recorded cases of Ebola.

Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told reporters Friday that a young, infected Guinean man crossed the border into Senegal, the Associated Press reports. Senegal closed its border to its southeastern neighbor last week over fears that the often-fatal disease might spread into the country.

The World Health Organization announced Thursday that there have been 430 deaths from Ebola in Guinea alone. The United Nations agency reported that disease has been spreading more rapidly recently, with more than 40% of the total number of cases—3,069—occurring within the past 21 days.

The WHO has created a “roadmap” to stop the transmission of Ebola within nine months, while acknowledging that the disease could spread and infect over 20,000 people during that time.

Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently said an Ebola outbreak has stricken that country as well, though they deny it’s connected to the one affecting West Africa.

[AP]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 27

1. A reimagined NATO – with rapid response capability – could balance the Putin doctrine.

By David Francis in Foreign Policy

2. Hold the bucket: Focusing on a single disease isn’t a good use of philanthropy dollars.

By Felix Salmon in Slate

3. The Navy’s audacious plan for a new warfighting vessel was too good to be true. The result is a ship that meets none of our needs well. Cancel the Littoral Combat Ship.

By William D. Hartung and Jacob Marx at the Center for International Policy

4. The conventional wisdom is that social media stimulates debate, but self-censorship online actually leads to a ‘spiral of silence.’

By Keith Hampton, Lee Rainie, Weixu Lu, Maria Dwyer, Inyoung Shin and Kristen Purcell at the Pew Research Internet Project

5. Better living through design: Injectable, long-acting birth control will revolutionize family planning in the developing world.

By Heather Hansman in Pacific Standard

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME viral

This Heartbreaking Ice Bucket Challenge Video Is the Best One Yet

Meet 26-year-old Anthony Carbajal, who was recently diagnosed with ALS

+ READ ARTICLE

Some skeptics have slammed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, writing it off as a silly social media fad, a waste of water and just another example of “slacktivism” that allows people to feel good about themselves without really doing much.

If you agree with the critics, the video above might change your mind. It was created by 26-year-old Anthony Carbajal, who explains that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) runs in his family. His grandmother had it, his mother currently lives with it, and he himself was diagnosed just five months ago.

In this very emotional video, Carbajal shows just how challenging and devastating life with this insidious disease really is as he takes care of his mom. His message for the haters and the skeptics? The Ice Bucket Challenge is actually an incredibly positive force.

“I promise your newsfeed will go back to cat videos and ‘Let It Go’ covers, but right now, the ALS community has the main spotlight,” Carbajal says into the camera with tears in his eyes. “And for once in my entire life, I’ve seen it in the forefront.”

We’ve reached out to Carbajal for comment and will update if he gets back to us.

TIME Infectious Disease

9 Mosquito-Bite Facts You Need to Know

mosquito-human-skin
Getty Images

Thanks to West Nile virus, mosquitoes have been in the news lately—and likely all over your backyard—but how much do you really know about them and the risks they pose? We spoke with Jorge Parada, MD, medical director of the Loyola University Medical System Infection Control Program and advisor to the National Pest Management Association, and learned some surprising facts about summer’s least favorite insect and their bothersome bites.

Not all mosquitoes bite

There are about 170 different mosquito species in North America (and 3,500 worldwide), says Dr. Parada, but not all of them bite humans. Of those that do, it’s only the females who are bloodsuckers—they use the protein to produce eggs. There are two species responsible for spreading disease in the United States: the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus, the latter of which is commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito because of its black and white stripes.

It’s unclear whether the bugs are attracted to blood type

“Studies have claimed that people with Type O blood get bitten more than people with Type A or Type B, but these findings have been disputed,” says Dr. Parada. There’s also little evidence that wearing dark clothing attracts more mosquitoes, as is commonly believed.

…But we know they like CO2

More likely, mosquitoes are drawn toward people who exhale higher levels of carbon dioxide—like pregnant women or beer drinkers, as some studies have suggested. “Mosquitoes find hosts by detecting body heat and chemical signals,” says Dr. Parada. “It is possible that these factors contribute to increased production of carbon dioxide, making it easier for mosquitoes to sense human presence.”

Some people itch more than others

Almost everyone will feel the itchy aftermath of a mosquito bite, says Dr. Parada, although it can be worse for certain people who tend to develop more pronounced bumps or hives. “The itchiness is due to histamine release in our bodies in response to the mosquito’s saliva that’s injected while they’re drinking our blood,” he explains.

Yes, scratching makes bites worse

If you can resist, try not to scratch those itchy bumps: It only stirs up the skeeter saliva and increases your body’s histamine response, therefore making the itching worse, says Dr. Parada. “Additionally, over-scratching might cause breaks in the skin that can leave room for an infection.”

OTC meds can help

After a mosquito run-in, the best course of action is to wash bites using mild soap and cold water, which can provide some relief and also help reduce infection risk. If the bites still itch, treat them with anti-inflammatories or topical antihistamines, like Benadryl gel or over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream.

They can spread a scary new virus

Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and there is currently no vaccine or drug treatment. Although it was first reported in North America on the Caribbean islands, two cases in Florida were discovered in July. “It’s likely only a matter of time before more locally transmitted cases are reported in the United States,” says Dr. Parada.

Symptoms typically start four to eight days after being bitten, last about a week, and include severe joint pain and swelling, fever, and headaches. “Chikungunya is generally not fatal,” says Dr. Parada, “but the painful symptoms have led people to say ‘It won’t kill you, but it may make you wish you were dead!’”

West Nile is still a threat

If that’s not enough to worry about, mosquitoes in North America still carry West Nile Virus, as well. “The total number of cases is down this year compared to recent years, but the disease is still a threat, especially in late summer and early fall when mosquitoes are most active,” says Dr. Parada.

Most cases of West Nile are mild and people will recover completely, but older adults, diabetics, and people with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing serious infections from the virus. Anyone experiencing a high fever, severe headaches, muscle aches, and nausea or vomiting should seek immediate medical attention.

Not all repellants are equal

Topical products containing the insect repellant DEET have been shown to keep mosquitoes at bay, but the concentration of this ingredient can vary widely—anywhere from 4% to 100%. (Lower concentrations may need to be applied more frequently, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that amounts over 50% don’t offer additional protection.)

Alternatives to DEET include products containing picaridin (another synthetic compound) or oil of lemon-eucalyptus, says Dr. Parada. So-called “spatial repellants,” like citronella candles or coils, may also help clear the air of mosquitoes, but there aren’t any peer-reviewed studies to support those claims. And if those mosquito-repelling smartphone apps sound too good to be true, that’s because they probably are: There’s no evidence that the ultrasonic frequencies they emit will actually deter the bugs.

More on Health.com

Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus May Be Headed for U.S.

Scientists Seek to Take Bite Out of Mosquito Problem

Asian Tiger Mosquito Could Spread U.S. Disease

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME Infectious Disease

Watch a Science Cop Take on Donald Trump

TIME's Jeffrey Kluger takes on The Donald for crimes against science

+ READ ARTICLE

The Ebola outbreak that is causing such fear and suffering in Africa is a very real and very deadly thing. But the fact is that the nature of the Ebola virus is such that it stands a very low chance of ever causing a pandemic like AIDS or H1N1. That hasn’t stopped America’s great foghorn—Donald Trump—and others like him from spreading all kinds of misinformation about the disease, warning people that patients should not be brought to the U.S. and that flights from West Africa should be stopped, otherwise we face an American epidemic.

But Trump and his ilk are committing a science crime—the crime of misinformation. Here’s the truth, from TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger.

 
 

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