first_imgShare26TweetShare12Email38 SharesBy U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMay 3, 2017, New York TimesAt “Woodstock for capitalists,” Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past Sunday, Warren Buffett said that healthcare, not taxes, is the real problem facing corporate America. Since 1960, corporate taxes as a share of GDP have fallen from 4 to 2 percent, while health care costs have risen from 5 to 17 percent of GDP.A new study published May 1st in Health Affairs suggests that increasing physical activity among children represents a colossal cost savings as well as a necessary public health intervention. Bruce Lee, the director of the Global Obesity Prevention Program at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the study, and his colleagues, including team members from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center at Carnegie Mellon University, developed a computational simulation model utilizing their Virtual Population for Obesity Prevention software platform to represent the current population of U.S. children. They showed how even modest changes in levels of physical activity can positively affect them throughout their lifetime and the resulting economic impact. According to The New York Times:The results were staggering. According to the computer model, the costs of today’s 8- to 11-year-olds being inactive and consequently overweight would be almost $3 trillion in medical expenses and lost productivity every year once the children reached adulthood and for decades until their deaths.But when the researchers tweaked children’s activity levels within their model, the numbers began to look quite different. If they presumed that, in an imaginary America, half of all children exercised vigorously for about 25 minutes three times a week, such as during active recess or sports or, more ambitiously, ran around and moved for at least an hour every day, which is the amount of youth exercise recommended by the CDC, their virtual lives were transformed.There are presently 31.7 million American children aged 8 to 11. Two-thirds of these children rarely exercise. Many are overweight or obese. The computer model created an electronic avatar for every American child today growing up, changing each virtual child’s body incrementally as they grew into adulthood.As the simulated children became adults, the scientists then modeled each one’s health, based on obesity-associated risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, and also the probable financial price of dealing with those diseases (adjusted for future inflation), both in terms of direct expenses for hospitalizations, drugs and so on, and lost productivity because of someone’s being ill.In addition to the priceless physical and psychological benefits enjoyed by healthier living, this first-of-a-kind study indicates that if all sedentary children exercised daily, the United States could save more than $120 billion a year in health care and associated costs.Nevertheless, on the same day this startling study was published, new U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a rollback of school lunch standards, one of Michelle Obama’s signature accomplishments as first lady and which became a lightning rod for criticism by some students and parents. On May 1st, Perdue declared that the new administration would “Make School Meals Great Again.” Obama’s “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” legislation, which authorized funding and set policy for the USDA’s core child nutrition programs, became law in 2010 and was implemented in cafeterias at the beginning of the 2012–13 school year. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign included better food labeling and more physical activity for children as well.The potential future scenarios revealed in this new study at Johns Hopkins, “Modeling the Economic and Health Impact of Increasing Children’s Physical Activity in the United States,” may not be enough anymore. Today, science itself is conditional. Lee and his colleagues, as well as their peers devoting themselves to any number of public health issues, may need to build into their research projects the time and resources necessary to plan a protest march in order to be heard.—James SchafferShare26TweetShare12Email38 Shareslast_img read more

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) N. Kashuba, et. al., bioRxiv 10.1101 (2018)/CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Email Tarlike birch bark pitch from Sweden preserved both clear tooth impressions and DNA for thousands of years. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country This 8000-year-old ‘gum’ holds surprises about ancient toolmakerscenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Michael PriceDec. 10, 2018 , 11:30 AM Gum won’t really sit in your stomach for years, but it can preserve human DNA for millennia. Researchers have uncovered genetic material encased within 8000-year-old tarlike wads known as birch bark pitch, which Scandinavian hunter-gatherers chewed to make a glue for weapons and tools. Among other things, the DNA suggests these toolmakers were both male and female, and some may have been as young as 5 years old.“It’s exciting … that you could get DNA from something people chewed thousands of years ago,” says Lisa Matisoo-Smith, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. “I think there are lots of ways people will take this going forward.”In the late 1980s, a team of Swedish archaeologists excavated a pit within an archaeological site called Huseby Klev in western Sweden. Here, they discovered more than 100 coal black, thumbprint-size lumps riddled with distinct toothmarks. Chemical analysis revealed these were pieces of pitch, an early adhesive derived from plant resin. Researchers already knew ancient toolmakers heated pitch distilled from birch trees over a fire to soften it, chewed bits of it into a pliable state, then used the sticky wad to fasten sharpened stones to wooden or bony shafts to make weapons and tools. Natalija Kashuba, an archaeology Ph.D. student at Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues wondered whether any usable DNA from the chewers’ saliva remained inside the hardened resin. Kashuba, who did the work while a student at the University of Oslo, and the rest of the team took tiny samples from three wads, ground them to powder, and put them through an extremely sensitive DNA amplification process designed to locate ancient DNA, which is often highly degraded.The researchers identified human DNA in all three pieces. Further analysis revealed each came from a different individual—two females and a male. Based on estimations of tooth size and wear taken from the toothmarks in the pitch, the researchers suspect the chewers were young, between 5 and 18 years old. Adult tooth impressions have also been found in pitch from the site, which could suggest an egalitarian toolmaking process involving all sexes and ages, the team reports this week on the bioRxiv preprint server.The DNA also revealed these pitch chewers belonged to a genetic group known as Scandinavian hunter-gatherers, who hunted reindeer in what are today Sweden and Norway some 8000 years ago. That confirms what anthropologists suspected, says Torsten Günther, an evolutionary biologist at Uppsala University who wasn’t involved in the work. The study’s real value, he says, is highlighting the promise of studying ancient human populations even when you can’t find the humans themselves. “Even if human remains are found, it would be an opportunity to perform these genomic studies without destructive sampling of those human remains.”Matisoo-Smith cautions that because the wads of pitch in the study weren’t found embedded in actual tools, we can’t be sure the chewers were toolmakers. They may have been children just chewing gum, she suggests. “Either way, it’s pretty cool.”last_img read more