mortality

vine

Pokemon tries saying more than just its own name

Blocking light improves preemies’ survival rates    

The survival rate of preemies born between 26 to 31 weeks of gestation is improved by blocking light from reaching the intravenously-fed infused nutritious mixture they depend on for survival, researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine and the University of Montreal have revealed in a new study. Premature babies need to be fed intravenously due to the immaturity of their digestive system and their high nutritional requirements during their first days of life. This also prevents serious potential complications such as pulmonary and kidney dysfunction or generalized infection. Exposing this type of food preparation to light generates oxidants which the premature infant’s immature defenses cannot fight.

“The conclusions to be drawn are clear. An easy to implement, fully light-shielded delivery system for parenteral nutrition needs to be developed to reduce mortality rates in premature infants,” said Jean-Claude Lavoie, lead author of the study which was published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

Credit: University of Montreal

The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth’s future?

India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common?

In very dry conditions, people can work outside in temperatures of up to 40C. But the safety cutoff drops below 30C when you have very high humidity. To calculate the limits in which it is safe for people to work in extreme heat, scientists rely on a measure of temperature that takes into account both the heat and the humidity.

This is known as the wet-bulb globe temperature. At wet-bulb temperatures higher than 35C, human skin can no longer itself cool down through evaporation. The US military suspends training and physical exercise when this temperature exceeds 32C. Peak wet-bulb temperatures measured in the heatwave in India are around 30-31C.

In recent years, several groups have used this measure to make predictions about what rising temperatures will mean for workers worldwide, and to paint a picture of what global productivity will look like as average temperatures creep up. A recent study published in Nature Climate Change estimates that heat stress has already reduced global labour to 90% of capacity during the hottest months of the year. Under the most dire climate change projections, this could fall as low as 40% by 2200. The regions predicted to be worst affected include India, northern Australia and the south-east of the US.

nytimes.com
Our Imaginary Weight Problem
A new study illustrates just how exaggerated and unscientific the government’s claims are on the relationship between weight and mortality risk.
By Paul F. Campos

From the article:

The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals…

Now, if we were to employ the logic of our public health authorities, who treat any correlation between weight and increased mortality risk as a good reason to encourage people to try to modify their weight, we ought to be telling the 75 million American adults currently occupying the government’s “healthy weight” category to put on some pounds, so they can move into the lower risk, higher-weight categories.  

It certainly sounds preposterous to imagine a world where so-called “normal weight” people are encouraged to gain weight to decrease their risk of mortality. Yet the science supporting such a public health recommendation is just as strong, or stronger, than the science supporting the recommendation that people should lose weight to live longer. 

The truth is, neither recommendation is reasonable given the current state of knowledge concerning weight and health, and so both recommendations are equally absurd.

- Mod D

As a child, I was always told that a grave should be stepped around, not onto, that only flowers should touch it. With Paul, the rules feel reversed. Just as it felt right to lie with him, finally restful on that spring afternoon a few weeks after his death, it feels right to bring friends there now, to watch the sunset and pour a beer out for him. And it feels right for our bright-eyed 1-year-old daughter to crawl among the flowers I’ve placed on the grave. We are making this place ours, and his.
—  My Marriage Didn’t End When I Became a Widow – poignant New York Times piece by Lucy Kalanithi, whose husband, the neurosurgeon Paul Kalaniithi, died of lung cancer at the age of 37. Just as beautiful and poignant are Paul’s own reflections on the meaning of life as he confronted his death
The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.
—  R.J. Palacio, Wonder

I had delved down into a space where I perceived this great pool of gratitude and sadness. And don’t mix sadness up with depression or despair… All sadness is is a way of sensitizing you to what really matters, what’s really meaningful.

And death does that.

I see my death. It looms in front of me sooner than I would like, but because it’s there, because we live with that, I am so grateful for just this moment, for this time together. And that is a great gift.

— 

Absolutely magnificent On Being conversation with Bruce Kramer, who died of ALS earlier this week, while the show was in production. His moving memoir, We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying, is out in April.

Couple with philosopher Joanna Macy on how Rilke can help us befriend our mortality to live more fully