Africa Doesn’t Need Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

Some scientists have proposed genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes as a solution to controlling malaria, a scourge that has been around for centuries and is spread by mosquitoes.

I am skeptical that this is the answer.

Through CRISPR technology, a gene that prevents procreation is inserted in the lab and is passed on to mosquitoes in the wild. In essence, it rapidly transmits a sterilizing mutation through other members of the mosquito’s species, eventually wiping out the insects.

Creating GM mosquitoes is a contentious topic. Supporters of the technology consider it a huge step forward in the war against mosquitoes and by extension, vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika. Critics of the idea, however, say it is dangerous to manipulate the DNA of any animal, and that experimentation could bring disastrous consequences that are yet unknown.

Africans should be included in these discussions. They should be allowed to have a say concerning a technology that could affect them and generations yet unborn if something should go wrong. Africans should have been consulted before the mosquitoes were created in the first place.

Read the full article at Scientific American

Can A Diet Rich In Fish Help Fight Childhood Asthma?

New research from La Trobe University in Australia suggests a diet rich in fish may help reduce asthma symptoms in children, a disease affecting one in 12 kids in the United States, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the study, scientists conducted a trial involving 64 children from Athens, Greece, all of whom had mild asthma. The children, aged 5 to 12 years, were divided into two groups: the Greek Mediterranean diet group and the group that followed their healthy diet. Those in the Greek Mediterranean group ate two meals of cooked fatty fish (at least 150 grams) every week for six months.

Researchers found that at the end of the trial, the Mediterranean diet group experienced a significant reduction in bronchial inflammation.

According to the CDC, approximately 16 million American children have asthma, which can cause wheezing, difficulty breathing and coughing. If left untreated, asthma can cause permanent lung damage over time.

While yearly asthma hospitalizations have declined since 2003, experts warn that climate change may make matters worse.

“Climate change is a huge threat to respiratory health by directly causing or aggravating pre-existing respiratory diseases and increasing exposure to risk factors for respiratory diseases,” the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America wrote on its website.

Continue Reading at AJC

How to Treat and Prevent Cold Sores on Your Lips

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and saw a pimple-looking dot on your mouth that hurts a lot, you’re not alone — but it’s not always something as simple as a blemish. The inflamed bump may be a cold sore, which is super familiar. (Right now, about 50 to 80 percent of Americans have been exposed to the virus.) And because there is currently no cure for the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), once you are infected the virus remains in your system for life, says Sonia Batra, a board-certified dermatologist and co-host of the show The Doctors. We tapped the experts to find out how to soothe, treat, and prevent cold sore flare-ups.

How to Spot Them

Cold sores might get confused with pimples, ingrown hairs, and canker sores, but they’re easy to spot once you realize what the symptoms are and how they differ. A cold sore will often appear outside the mouth on the skin of the lip, rather than inside (like a canker sore), and it’ll resemble a small cluster of white blisters, rather than a singular dot, says Batra. And pimples tend to have a central white plug whereas cold sores do not, Agrawal adds.

How to Treat Them

Realize that cold sores are contagious until they are entirely gone. “It is thought that cold sores are less contagious once they scab over, but you are still contagious until they go away completely, which typically takes about two weeks,” says Batra.

How to Prevent Them

Cold sores tend to recur when the immune system is relatively weak, like when you have a terrible cold. “To reduce their frequency, support the immune system with healthy habits including adequate sleep, exercise, and stress minimization,” says Batra.

Allure

How To Manage Menopause Wth A Plant-Based Diet

“If you’re a healthy adult woman, by the time you’re in your 40s or 50s, you’ve already spent decades learning how to tackle the ups and downs of your menstruation cycle, mastering the fine art of period management.

The bad news is once menopause hits and your fertility game totally changes, you may have to start learning about your body and food-related needs all over again.

Dr Jillian Forer, GP at Bondi Road Women’s Health Centre, tells SBS that the year leading up to your last period (also known as ‘perimenopause’) can be fraught with physical and often confusing changes.

Dr Forer, who has specialised in the area of women’s health for over 30 years, explains that during menopause, the female body slowly produces less oestrogen. This is just one reason why many women will experience menopausal symptoms.

She advises females going ‘through the change’ to eat a plant-based diet or – as a minimum – increase their consumption of plant-based foods. This is because phytoestrogens – naturally occurring plant oestrogens – produce a similar chemical structure to our own body’s oestrogen, and are able to bind to the same receptors as our body’s own oestrogen does.

“Plant-based diets will usually feature a lot of phytoestrogen,” she says. “Traditional Asian-style diets – those that may be eaten in China, Singapore and Japan – are predominately plant-based diets that include a lot of tofu and soy.

Read the full article at SBS

It May Be Carcinogenic, But Thank Goodness It’s Non-GMO

“Perhaps nowhere is that more apropos than the ongoing stampede of marketers to proclaim their products as non-GMO. We now have GMO-free salt, water, and literally thousands of products from foods to household cleaners, none of which contain ingredients derived from GMO crops. But scare sells.

A recent publicity barrage by Smirnoff, includes a slickly produced (and expensive, given the talent costs) TV commercial featuring actors Ted Danson, he of the in-forever-reruns “Cheers” series in which he played the jovial, but somewhat out to lunch bartender, and actress-author Jenna Fischer. They proudly announce that Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka is now made with non-GMO corn.

A press release notes that the commercial uses two “American treasures” to get the word out about No. 21’s new GMO-free status, pointing out, too, that it “has always been gluten-free” (whoop-de-do), and that because there will be no price increase “everyone can enjoy a quality vodka without having to break the bank.”

Continue Reading at Delta FarmPress