TIME Research

Suicide Rate for Young Women Rises in U.S.

But young men are still three times more likely to commit suicide than women

The suicide rate among young women has risen in the U.S., leading to an overall uptick in cases, despite a falling number for young men taking their own lives.

A weekly report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from 1994 to 2012 and found the suicide rate of women ages 10 to 24 years old rose from 2.7 to 3.2 cases per 100,000. Additionally, the report says there has been a significant climb of suicides since 2007 when measured across all genders.

However, young men are still three times more likely to commit suicide than women. The rate fell from 15.7 to 11.9 per 100,000 in 1994. Furthermore, since 2007 the suicide rate also increased after a significant decrease between 1994 and 2007.

The CDC reported that 17% of high school students have seriously considered suicide, and 8% have attempted to kill themselves more than once.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 5

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

1. 2.7 million American children have a parent in prison. We can learn from South Africa’s belief in a “right to childhood.”

By Lauren Lee White at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy

2. Imagine handling an ancient artifact or typing on a virtual keyboard. Holograms you can feel are here.

By Anthony Cuthbertson in International Business Times

3. One school district is bringing down the silos between art, computer science and technology education to give kids skills for the future.

By Todd Keruskin in EdSurge

4. They cost less and give patients a better experience. It’s time to drop the barriers on nurse practitioners.

By Matthew Yglesias in Vox

5. To keep their labs supplied with cheap labor, universities are churning out PhDs. But there’s no work for them after graduation.

By Brenda Iasevoli in The Hechinger Report

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

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Research

One-Third of the World’s Population Suffers From Untreated Tooth Decay

Dental check-up
Echo—Cultura RF/Getty Images

Untreated tooth decay can engender cavities, infections, abscesses, oral pain and diseases

Untreated tooth decay is a problem for more than 2.4 billion people worldwide, with some 190 million new cases forecasted each year, finds a new study in the Journal of Dental Research.

Experts say this is a worryingly large number for a problem that is both well known and highly preventable.

“It is alarming to see prevention and treatment of tooth decay has been neglected at this level,” says the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Wagner Marcenes.

Scientists conducted a global survey of 378 studies looking at nearly 5 million people from 1990 to 2010. The results showed that 2.4 billion people suffer from untreated tooth decay in their permanent teeth, with 621 million children facing untreated decay in their early, temporary teeth.

Untreated tooth decay can engender cavities, infections, abscesses, oral pain and diseases. Ignored, it can impede a child’s growth and cause work absenteeism and unproductivity in adults. Dental decay is an effect of mouth acids dissolving the exterior teeth layers.

Scientists impute dental decay to high consumption of sugar, cautioning the public that children are not the only offenders.

“What is clear is that this is a major public health problem,” added global oral-health expert Professor David Williams of the Queen Mary University of London.

[BBC]

TIME Research

New Hormone Discovered That Curbs Weight Gain, Diabetes Just Like Exercise

“This represents a major advance in the identification of new treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes”

Scientists have discovered a new hormone that mimics the health benefits of exercise by normalizing the metabolism and slowing the weight gain caused by fatty diets.

Appearing in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism on Tuesday, the study found the newly discovered MOTS-c hormone increases insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to more effectively process glucose sugars, according to a press release from the University of Southern California.

Insulin is a hormone that is used to move glucose sugars from food into the blood stream; resistance occurs when levels are high for a long period of time — commonly from a poor diet — which increases the body’s tolerance to the hormone and can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The new MOTS-c hormone targets muscle tissue and reverses age-dependent and diet-related insulin resistance.

“This represents a major advance in the identification of new treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes,” said Dr. Pinchas Cohen, senior author of the study.

Researchers injected the new hormone into lab mice eating high-fat foods that usually lead them to become obese. The injection suppressed the weight gain and also reversed the insulin resistance caused by their diet.

While tests were only administered on mice, the necessary mechanisms are present in all mammals, humans included.

Read next: 5 Non-Diet Factors That Can Affect Your Weight

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TIME Food & Drink

This Is Why Indian Food Is So Delicious

Holger Leue—Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images Thali dinner at Amrit Rao Peshwa Palace

It's the lack of overlapping flavors, scientists say

Indian food is lauded for its curries, mouth-burning spices and complex flavor pairings. With its use of cardamom, cayenne, tamarind and other pungent ingredients, the resulting taste combinations are unlike anything found elsewhere around the world. But scientists in India have now discovered exactly why Indian food is so good — it’s the fewer number of overlapping flavors in ingredients.

Researchers at the Indian Institute for Technology examined how frequently overlapping flavor compounds factored into a dish’s ingredients. They reviewed thousands of recipes on TarlaDalal.com, scrutinizing the subtle molecular-level differences that distinguish the cuisine, reports the Washington Post.

“We found that average flavor sharing in Indian cuisine was significantly lesser than expected,” researchers wrote.

In Western cuisines, ingredients are usually paired together for their similar flavors. However, an average Indian dish includes at least seven ingredients, most of which do not contain overlapping flavors. Cayenne, green bell pepper, coriander and garam masala are usually paired with ingredients that have no chemical overlap, but each ingredient brings a unique component when incorporated into the final meal. This creates knockout dishes for a cuisine that uses approximately 200 of the estimated 381 ingredients known in the world.

Read more at the Washington Post

TIME Research

Humans Are Genetically More Similar to Their Fathers, Study Finds

Sorry mom

Every parent wants their child to be just like them, but new research shows that dads may have an advantage at least from a genetic standpoint.

According to a study by the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine and published in the journal Nature Genetics, mammals use more DNA from the father than the mother when undergoing mutations — the genetic process that makes us who we are.

The researchers, led by genetics professor and senior author Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, tested the genetic mutations of specially crossbred mice to see which mutations altered gene expression. Of the 80% that did, several hundred genes showed a “genome-wide expression imbalance in favor of the dad,” first author James Crowley told Science Daily. “This imbalance resulted in offspring whose brain-gene expression was significantly more like their father’s.”

The authors believe a similar bias would exist for human subjects. Pardo-Manuel de Villena called the results “an exceptional new research finding that opens the door to an entirely new area of exploration in human genetics.”

[Science Daily]

TIME Heart Disease

Moderate Amounts of Coffee May Help Keep Arteries Clear, Study Says

Man on desk holding cup of coffee, close up
Getty Images

Coffee in your veins may actually be healthy

Drinking three to five cups of coffee per day may help to reduce signs of blocked arteries, says a new study out of South Korea.

Published Monday in the medical journal Heart, the study involved more than 25,000 male and female workers, who previously showed no signs of heart disease, looking for calcium buildups indicating plaque growth that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

The results showed that those who drank the least amount of coffee, and the most, had a larger amount of calcium in their arteries than those who consumed a moderate amount.

Interestingly, researchers also discovered that the findings were consistent through different subsectors, such as smokers, drinkers and those with obesity issues.

“While this study does highlight a potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association,” Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation told the BBC.

Taylor also noted that the results should not be generalized because different cultures have distinct lifestyle and dietary customs that may also contribute to cardiovascular health.

TIME Research

Eating Peanuts May Be a Low-Cost Way to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

Closed Up Image of a Black-colored Plate Filled With Peanuts.
DAJ—Amana Images RF/Getty Images

But don’t go nuts

Eating peanuts could be associated with a longer, healthier lifespan and particularly a reduced risk of cardiovascular-related deaths such as heart attacks and strokes, a new study has found.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute examined nut intake for people from different ethnic groups and lower-income households.

As peanuts (which are actually legumes) are rich in nutrients and are inexpensive to buy, they could be a cost-effective way to improve cardiovascular health, reports Science Daily.

“In our study, we found that peanut consumption was associated with reduced total mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in a predominantly low-income black and white population in the U.S., and among Chinese men and women living in Shanghai,” said author of the study, Xiao-Ou Shu.

Previous studies have linked eating nuts to a lower mortality but had generally focused on higher-income, white populations. Researchers claim the new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine is the first to discover all races could potentially benefit from eating nuts.

They examined three large groups involving more than 70,000 black and white men and women living in the U.S. and more than 130,000 men and women living in Shanghai.

The results found that those who ate peanuts across all three groups had improved total mortality and less cardiovascular disease.

But scientists warn that the study was based on observational data collected from questionnaires, rather than clinical trials, so they cannot determine whether peanuts are specifically responsible for a lower risk of death.

“The findings from this new study, however, reinforce earlier research suggesting health benefits from eating nuts, and thus are quite encouraging,” said William Blot, co-author of the study.

While peanuts may be linked to better cardiovascular health, experts caution against eating too many, especially salted nuts, as they are high in calories.

Researchers say a small handful of nuts could be beneficial if eaten as part of a well-balanced diet.

[Science Daily]

TIME Research

A New Treatment for Migraines Is Showing Promising Results

485221893
Getty Images

Treating migraines effectively might have gotten a lot easier, according to a new study published this month.

Researchers at the Albany Medical Center claim that a new innovative treatment offers chronic migraine sufferers prolonged relief from the debilitating headaches.

During the procedure, clinicians insert a spaghetti-size catheter through the patient’s nasal passages and administer lidocaine to the sphenopalatine ganglion — a nerve bundle behind the nose that is associated with migraines. It should be noted that no needles actually touch the patient during the process.

“When the initial numbing of the lidocaine wears off, the migraine trigger seems to no longer have the maximum effect that it once did,” said Dr. Kenneth Mandato, the study’s lead researcher at Albany Medical Center.

Following the procedure, 88% of patients reported that they required less or no migraine medication to provide additional pain relief.

[Science Daily]

Read next: 8 Things You Don’t Know About Supplements

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TIME astronomy

Scientists Find a Black Hole 12 Billion Times More Massive Than the Sun

An artist's illustration shows a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun at the center released by NASA on February 27, 2013.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout/Reuters An artist's illustration shows a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun at the center released by NASA on February 27, 2013.

It's discovery appears to confound current theories about how black holes are created

A team of international astronomers has discovered a black hole of almost unimaginable proportions.

At 12 billion times more massive than the sun, it challenges current cosmological thinking, reports Reuters.

“Our discovery presents a serious challenge to theories about the black hole growth in the early universe,” lead researcher Xue-Bing Wu for Peking University, China told the news agency.

The enormous object was formed 900 million years after the Big Bang, and scientists are stumped as to how a black hole of that size could have grown in such a relatively short time.

“Current theory is for a limit to how fast a black hole can grow, but this black hole is too large for that theory,” said fellow researcher Dr. Fuyan Bian, of Australian National University.

Not only is the black hole the biggest ever seen but also it’s at the center of the largest quasar ever discovered. (Quasars are the brightest and most powerful objects in the universe, with this one emitting huge amounts of energy and light as matter is ripped apart by the black hole at its core.)

For comparison, the black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, has only about four to five million times the mass of the Sun.

The black hole was discovered by a team of global scientists at Peking University, China, tasked with mapping the northern sky, and their findings were published in the journal Nature.

[Reuters]

Read next: This Is How Incredible (and Terrifying) Space Looks in Virtual Reality

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