NHS ‘plans cuts across England’ to fill £22bn funding shortfall …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 28, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

NHS services in England are facing radical cuts as administrators seek to plug a £22bn funding shortfall.

NHS England has divided the country into 44 areas and asked each to submit a cost-cutting “sustainability and transformation plan” (STP). 

Measures taken to reduce the deficit could include the closure of some accident and emergency departments, the merger of neighbouring hospitals and a reduction in face-to-face consultations, according to an investigation by The Guardian and campaign group 38 Degrees.

The NHS would need to make the savings by 2020-21 in order to meet the targets set by former Chancellor George Osborne and the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens.   

Laura Townshend, director of 38 Degrees, commented: “These proposed cuts aren’t the fault of local NHS leaders. 

“The health service is struggling to cope with growing black holes in NHS funding. 

“The NHS belongs to all of us – so local people should get a say in any changes to their local services,” the BBC reported.

Dr Paul Hobday, leader of the The National Health Action party, told The Independent:

“This is not a sudden crisis today. This has been written and talked about in government and NHS England planning since before 2012. Patients will suffer.

“The NHS will no longer offer its key elements, comprehensive, universal and accessible care. Private health care will reap the rewards.

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    Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts

    The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide

    Getty

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    Rex Features

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    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

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    Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz

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    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

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    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

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    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

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    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

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    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

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    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

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  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

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    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

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    Sugar tax

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    PA

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    Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole

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  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

    Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest

  • 21/25

    Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant

    Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

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    A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through

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    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

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  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

“NHA has warned that this is where we are heading, but the speed and the scale is horrifying. If Jeremy Hunt ever again says he puts patient care first, then the evidence of what is happening now will prove him to be a liar.”

Some of the proposals are likely to be given the green light as early as October. 

  • More about:
  • NHS
  • Austerity

Reuse content

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nhs-plans-cuts-across-england-funding-shortfall-austerity-stp-a7210671.html

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Afternoon House Fire on Avenue B – Brownwood News

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 27, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Brownwood Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 1400 block of Avenue B on Friday afternoon.

The fire began approximately 12:45 p.m. and was called in by a neighbor and a police officer who was in the area and had noticed the plume of smoke, according to emergency responders on scene.

 

One adult and two children were reported to live in the home, but were not at the home when the fire started, according to Fire Marshal Buddy Preston.  Three dogs which were in the back yard were removed from the property without any injuries; however, other pets including an iguana and a few pet rats perished in the fire.  The only injury reported was a neighbor who treated for smoke inhalation while the fire was being extinguished, according to fire officials.

The house sustained heavy smoke damage and it has not been reported if the structure is a total loss.

According to Preston, the cause has not been determined; however, the electricity had been turned off to the home earlier and had been turned back on today.

Brownwood Police and Lifeguard EMS responded to the scene to assist.

Pictured above and below are photos of firefighters working to extinguish the fire.

Article source: http://www.brownwoodnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21647:friday-afternoon-house-fire-on-avenue-b&catid=35:news&Itemid=58

Tags: , , , , ,

NHS ‘plans cuts across England’ to fill £22bn funding shortfall

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 26, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

NHS services in England are facing radical cuts as administrators seek to plug a £22bn funding shortfall.

NHS England has divided the country into 44 areas and asked each to submit a cost-cutting “sustainability and transformation plan” (STP). 

Measures taken to reduce the deficit could include the closure of some accident and emergency departments, the merger of neighbouring hospitals and a reduction in face-to-face consultations, according to an investigation by The Guardian and campaign group 38 Degrees.

The NHS would need to make the savings by 2020-21 in order to meet the targets set by former Chancellor George Osborne and the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens.   

Laura Townshend, director of 38 Degrees, commented: “These proposed cuts aren’t the fault of local NHS leaders. 

“The health service is struggling to cope with growing black holes in NHS funding. 

“The NHS belongs to all of us – so local people should get a say in any changes to their local services,” the BBC reported.

Dr Paul Hobday, leader of the The National Health Action party, told The Independent:

“This is not a sudden crisis today. This has been written and talked about in government and NHS England planning since before 2012. Patients will suffer.

“The NHS will no longer offer its key elements, comprehensive, universal and accessible care. Private health care will reap the rewards.

  • 1/25

    Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts

    The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide

    Getty

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    ‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts

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    Rex Features

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

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  • 4/25

    New online test predicts skin cancer risk

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  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

    Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign

    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

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  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

  • 10/25

    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age

  • 11/25

    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

    Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production

  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

  • 14/25

    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

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  • 15/25

    Sugar tax

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    PA

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    An interactive test could help flag up whether you should seek advice from a health professional for one of the most common types of cancer. The test is available on the NHS Choices website and reveals whether you are at risk from the disease and recommends if you should seek help. The mole self-assessment factors in elements such as complexion, the number of times you have been severely sunburnt and whether skin cancer runs in your family. It also quizzes you on the number of moles you have and whether there have been any changes in appearance regarding size, shape and colour

  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

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  • 21/25

    Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant

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    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

    A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through

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  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

“NHA has warned that this is where we are heading, but the speed and the scale is horrifying. If Jeremy Hunt ever again says he puts patient care first, then the evidence of what is happening now will prove him to be a liar.”

Some of the proposals are likely to be given the green light as early as October. 

  • More about:
  • NHS
  • Austerity

Reuse content

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nhs-plans-cuts-across-england-funding-shortfall-austerity-stp-a7210671.html

Tags: , , , , ,

Coma patient’s brain ‘jump-started’ by ultrasound in breakthrough …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 25, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

A 25-year-old man who had barely emerged from a coma after a severe brain injury regained full consciousness after doctors used a pioneering ultrasound technique to “jump-start” his brain, scientists have revealed.

Previously the only way to attempt this was to put electrodes directly into the brain, an operation the scientists described as “risky”.

But using ultrasound enabled them to apparently achieve the same result without the need for surgery in what is believed to be a world-first.

They plan to test the technique on other patients and, if successful, they could build a portable device to “wake up” people in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. 

However the medics cautioned it was possible their patient had recovered by himself, coincidentally just after the technique was used.

Whatever the reasons behind them, the changes in the man’s condition were described as “remarkable”.

Before the ultrasound was used, he showed only “minimal signs of being conscious and of understanding speech”, according to a statement about the work by University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He was only able to perform small, limited movement when asked.

coma.jpg

“By the day after the treatment, his responses had improved measurably,” the statement said.

“Three days later, the patient had regained full consciousness and full language comprehension, and he could reliably communicate by nodding his head ‘yes’ or shaking his head ‘no’.

“He even made a fist-bump gesture to say goodbye to one of his doctors.”


The ultrasound device, invented by Professor Alexander Bystritsky, a UCLA psychiatrist and a co-author of a paper about the man’s condition in the journal Brain Stimulation, is about the size of a coffee cup saucer.

It creates a ball of acoustic energy that can be fired at different parts of the brain. The researchers said they had put it to the man’s head and activated it 10 times for 30 seconds each.

Professor Martin Monti, the lead author of the paper, said: “It’s almost as if we were jump-starting the neurons back into function.

“Until now, the only way to achieve this was a risky surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted directly inside the thalamus. Our approach directly targets the thalamus but is non-invasive.”

He said the device was safe as it emits less energy that the ultrasound scans used to examine foetuses in the womb.

  • 1/25

    Most child antidepressants are ineffective and can lead to suicidal thoughts

    The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned. In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide

    Getty

  • 2/25

    ‘Universal cancer vaccine’ breakthrough claimed by experts

    Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany

    Rex Features

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

  • 4/25

    New online test predicts skin cancer risk

    Health experts have created a new online tool which can predict a person’s risk of developing a common form of skin cancer. The tool uses the results of a 10-question-quiz to estimate the chance of a person aged 40 or over of having non-melanoma skin cancers within three years. Factors including the age, gender, smoking status, skin colour, tanning ability, freckling tendency, and other aspects of medical history are covered by the quiz

  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

    Dementia patients experience a ‘shocking’ variation in the quality of hospital care they receive across England, a charity has warned. Staff using excessive force and not giving dementia patients the correct pain medication were among the findings outlined in a new report by The Alzheimer’s Society, to coincide with the launch of Fix Dementia Care campaign

    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

  • 10/25

    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age

  • 11/25

    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

    Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production

  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

  • 14/25

    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

    Scientists have pinpointed how connections in the brain are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in a study which it is hoped will help in the development of treatments for the debilitating condition. At the early stages of the development of Alzheimer’s disease the synapses – which connect the neurons in the brain – are destroyed, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia. The synapses are vital for brain function, particularly learning and forming memories

  • 15/25

    Sugar tax

    The Government should introduce a sugar tax to prevent an “obesity crisis” from crippling the NHS, a senior Conservative MP and former health minister has said. Dr Dan Poulter believes that the case for increased taxes on unhealthy sugary products was “increasingly compelling”

    PA

  • 16/25

    Cancer breakthrough offers new hope for survivors rendered infertile by chemotherapy

    A potentially “phenomenal” scientific breakthrough has offered fresh hope to cancer patients rendered infertile by chemotherapy. For the first time, researchers managed to restore ovaries in mice affected by chemotherapy so that they were able to have offspring. The scientists now plan to begin clinical trials to see if the technique, which involves the use of stem cells, will also work in humans by using umbilical cord material and possibly stem cells taken from human embryos, if regulators agree

  • 17/25

    Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole

    An interactive test could help flag up whether you should seek advice from a health professional for one of the most common types of cancer. The test is available on the NHS Choices website and reveals whether you are at risk from the disease and recommends if you should seek help. The mole self-assessment factors in elements such as complexion, the number of times you have been severely sunburnt and whether skin cancer runs in your family. It also quizzes you on the number of moles you have and whether there have been any changes in appearance regarding size, shape and colour

  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

    Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest

  • 21/25

    Ketamine could be used as anti-depressant

    Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

    A prosthetic hand that lets people actually feel through

    The technology lets paralysed people feel actual sensations when touching objects — including light taps on the mechanical finger — and could be a huge breakthrough for prosthetics, according to its makers. The tool was used to let a 28-year-old man who has been paralysed for more than a decade. While prosthetics have previously been able to be controlled directly from the brain, it is the first time that signals have been successfully sent the other way

  • 23/25

    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

    Unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe, new data has revealed. A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol

  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

The researchers now plan to test the technique on other patients.

Professor Monti cautioned that one apparently positive result did not necessarily mean they had found a cure-all technique for coma patients.

“It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering,” he said.

  • More about:
  • coma
  • Ultrasound

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/coma-patient-ultrasound-breakthrough-jump-start-brain-a7207511.html

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Loving Guardian’s Tribute to Pet Rat Will Change the Way You See These Animals (PHOTOS)

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 24, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Through no fault of their own, rats have a bad reputation. When we look at film, television, and popular culture in general, it’s very rare that we ever see rats painted in a positive light. In Disney’s “The Great Mouse Detective,” the villain was Professor Ratigan, a conniving and self-loathing sewer rat who insisted on being called a mouse. On the other hand, Pixar’s animated film “Ratatouille,” a movie about a street rat who dreamed of becoming a master chef, showed rats as they really are — social, full of personality, and clever.

Rats who live in sewers, subways, and basements are viewed as pests rather than the little miracles of nature that they are, finding a way to survive in a world nearly completely dominated by humans. Instead, it’s considered next-to-normal to want to eliminate these “invaders” through cruel traps and poisons that you can buy in just about any store. Annually, an estimated 100,000 rats and mice are subjected to a variety of cruel and baseless scientific experiments, such as being slowly poisoned to death to inducing psychological stress. When it’s so culturally acceptable that these poor animals are viewed as no more than subjects in labs across the world, it’s no wonder our judgement of them is so clouded.

Even when we keep rats as our pets, people will often react as if they’re no different than the (adorable) little rodents who skitter around in the dark in search of food instead of the spaghetti-loving cuties that they are. Just like when we lose our cats and dogs, it hurts when a guardian loses their darling rat baby. So, when Imgur user pinkchix lost her pet rat, China, she expressed her loss in the most heartwarming tribute.

Pinkchix began her post in a way that many of us would if we lost our cat or dog: “Today, I lost one of my best friends.”

Loving Guardian's Tribute to Pet Rat Will Change the Way You See These Animals

When she first met, China, the rat was all alone. Because she hadn’t socialized with other rats, other humans didn’t want her, but pinkchix welcomed her as the first rat in her life. 

Loving Guardian's Tribute to Pet Rat Will Change the Way You See These Animals

She adored cuddling with her mom more than anything.

Loving Guardian's Tribute to Pet Rat Will Change the Way You See These Animals

But eventually, she was introduced to her new rat siblings.

Loving Guardian's Tribute to Pet Rat Will Change the Way You See These Animals

And soon, they also shared an unbreakable bond.

Loving Guardian's Tribute to Pet Rat Will Change the Way You See These Animals

 

 

Although they have a life expectancy of about two to three years, the love that domestic rats share with their guardians is no less valuable than the cats and dogs we call our companions. It’s a shame that more humans don’t see rats as they truly deserve to be seen, but as we can see from pinkchix’s heartfelt tribute to China, these creatures deserve all the love in the world.

Lead image source: pinkchix/Imgur

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Article source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/guardians-tribute-to-pet-rat/

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NHS could struggle post-Brexit without EU citizen staff, Department …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 23, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

A 7-day week NHS may no longer be possible following Brexit because so many healthcare professionals come from EU countries, Department for Health officials have warned.

The NHS employs around 55,000 staff who are EU citizens, amounting to a tenth of the overall workforce. It is currently unknown whether freedom of movement and employment rights will change for EU citizens following the referendum vote, prompting uncertainty over future staffing levels.

Senior civil servants issued the warning to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in internal Department of Health reports which have been leaked to the Guardian and Channel 4 News.

One states that Brexit: “may adversing [sic] impact upon the delivery of the 7 Day Services programme, particularly with regards to workforce and finances.”

The Institute for Public Policy Research has also recently warned the UK may face a “public health emergency” and see the NHS collapse following Brexit if EU staff leave the UK. The think tank has called on Theresa May to guarantee citizenship for all NHS workers.

The leaked Department of Health reports also warn “a seven-day NHS might spread resources too thinly” and cause “workforce overload” to the extent that “the full service cannot be delivered.”

  • 1/25

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    Getty

  • 2/25

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    Scientists have taken a “very positive step” towards creating a universal vaccine against cancer that makes the body’s immune system attack tumours as if they were a virus, experts have said. Writing in Nature, an international team of researchers described how they had taken pieces of cancer’s genetic RNA code, put them into tiny nanoparticles of fat and then injected the mixture into the bloodstreams of three patients in the advanced stages of the disease. The patients’ immune systems responded by producing “killer” T-cells designed to attack cancer. The vaccine was also found to be effective in fighting “aggressively growing” tumours in mice, according to researchers, who were led by Professor Ugur Sahin from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany

    Rex Features

  • 3/25

    Green tea could be used to treat brain issues caused by Down’s Syndrome

    A compound found in green tea could improve the cognitive abilities of those with Down’s syndrome, a team of scientists has discovered. Researchers found epigallocatechin gallate – which is especially present in green tea but can also be found in white and black teas – combined with cognitive stimulation, improved visual memory and led to more adaptive behaviour. Dr Rafael de la Torre, who led the year-long clinical trial along with Dr Mara Dierrssen, said: “The results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better scores in their cognitive capacities”

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  • 5/25

    Multiple Sclerosis stem cell treatment ‘helps patients walk again’

    A new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) has enabled some patients to walk again by “rebooting” their immune systems. As part of a clinical trial at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital involving around 20 patients, scientists used stem cells to carry out a bone marrow transplant. The method known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) works by using chemotherapy to destroy the area of the immune system which causes MS

    Rex Features

  • 6/25

    Dementia patients left without painkillers and handcuffed to bed

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    Rex Features

  • 7/25

    Cancer risk ‘increased’ by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day

    Drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer a day increases the risk of developing cancer, according to medical experts. New guidelines for alcohol consumption by the UK published by chief medical officers warn that drinking any level of alcohol has been linked to a range of different cancers. The evidence from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) overturns the oft-held view that a glass of red wine can have significant medical benefits for both men and women

  • 8/25

    Vaping ‘no better’ than smoking regular cigarettes

    Vaping could be “no better” than smoking regular cigarettes and may be linked to cancer, scientists have found. The study which showed that vapour from e-cigarettes can damage or kill human cells was publsihed as the devices are to be rolled out by UK public health officials as an aid to quit smoking from 2016. An estimated 2.6 million people in the UK currently use e-cigarettes

  • 9/25

    Rat-bite fever

    A teenager was hospitalised and left unable to move after she developed the rare rat-bite fever disease from her pet rodents which lived in her bedroom. The teenager, who has not been named, was taken to hospital after she complained of a pain in her right hip and lower back which later made her immobile, according to the online medical journal BMJ Case Reports. She suffered for two weeks with an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting and had a pink rash on her hands and feet. The teenager, who had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats, has since made a full recovery after undergoing a course of antibiotics. Blood tests showed that she was infected with for streptobacillus moniliformis – the most common cause of rat-bite fever. One of her three pet rats lay dead in her room for three weeks before her symptoms showed

  • 10/25

    Taking antidepressants in pregnancy ‘could double the risk of autism in toddlers’

    Taking antidepressants during pregnancy could almost double the risk of a child being diagnosed with autism in the first years of life, a major study of nearly 150,000 pregnancies has suggested. Researchers have found a link between women in the later stages of pregnancy who were prescribed one of the most common types of antidepressant drugs, and autism diagnosed in children under seven years of age

  • 11/25

    Warning over Calpol

    Parents have been warned that giving children paracetamol-based medicines such as Calpol and Disprol too often could lead to serious health issues later in life. Leading paediatrician and professor of general paediatrics at University College London, Alastair Sutcliffe, said parents were overusing paracetamol to treat mild fevers. As a result, the risk of developing asthma, as well as kidney, heart and liver damage is heightened

  • 12/25

    Fat loss from pancreas ‘can reverse’ effects of type-2 diabetes

    Less than half a teaspoon of fat is all that it takes to turn someone into a type-2 diabetic according to a study that could overturn conventional wisdom on a disease affecting nearly 3 million people in Britain. Researchers have found it is not so much the overall body fat that is important in determining the onset of type-2 diabetes but the small amount of fat deposited in the pancreas, the endocrine organ responsible for insulin production

  • 13/25

    Potatoes reduce risk of stomach cancer

    Scientists have found people who eat large amounts of white vegetables were a third less likely to contract stomach cancer. The study, undertaken by Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University, found eating cauliflower, potatoes and onions reduces the chance of contracting stomach cancer but that beer, spirits, salt and preserved foods increased a person’s risk of the cancer

  • 14/25

    Connections between brain cells destroyed in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

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  • 15/25

    Sugar tax

    The Government should introduce a sugar tax to prevent an “obesity crisis” from crippling the NHS, a senior Conservative MP and former health minister has said. Dr Dan Poulter believes that the case for increased taxes on unhealthy sugary products was “increasingly compelling”

    PA

  • 16/25

    Cancer breakthrough offers new hope for survivors rendered infertile by chemotherapy

    A potentially “phenomenal” scientific breakthrough has offered fresh hope to cancer patients rendered infertile by chemotherapy. For the first time, researchers managed to restore ovaries in mice affected by chemotherapy so that they were able to have offspring. The scientists now plan to begin clinical trials to see if the technique, which involves the use of stem cells, will also work in humans by using umbilical cord material and possibly stem cells taken from human embryos, if regulators agree

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    Take this NHS test to find out if you have a cancerous mole

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  • 18/25

    Health apps approved by NHS ‘may put users at risk of identity theft’

    Experts have warned that some apps do not adequately protect personal information

  • 19/25

    A watchdog has said that care visits must last longer

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said home help visits of less than 30 minutes were not acceptable unless part of a wider package of support

  • 20/25

    Pendle in Lancashire tops list of five most anxious places to live in the UK

    Pendle in Lancashire has been named the most anxious place to live in the UK, while people living in Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland have been found to be the happiest

  • 21/25

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    Researchers at the University of Auckland said monitoring the effects of the drug on the brain has revealed neural pathways that could aid the development of fast-acting medications.
    Ketamine is a synthetic compound used as an off anaesthetic and analgesic drug, but is commonly used illegally as a hallucinogenic party drug.
    Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, a senior researcher at the university and a member of the institution’s Centre for Brain Research, used the latest technology in brain imaging to investigate what mechanisms ketamine uses to be active in the human brain

  • 22/25

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  • 23/25

    The biggest cause of early death in the world is what you eat

    Unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe, new data has revealed. A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol

  • 24/25

    Scientists develop blood test that estimates how quickly people age

    Scientists believe it could be used to predict a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as the “youthfulness” of donated organs for transplant operations. The test measures the vitality of certain genes which the researchers believe is an accurate indication of a person’s “biological age”, which may be younger or older than their actual chronological age

  • 25/25

    Aspirin could help boost therapies that fight cancer

    The latest therapies that fight cancer could work better when combined with aspirin, research has suggested. Scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London say the anti-inflammatory pain killer suppresses a cancer molecule that allows tumours to evade the body’s immune defences.
    Laboratory tests have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often generate large amounts of this molecule, called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
    But Aspirin is one of a family of drugs that sends messages to the brain to block production of PGE2 and this means cancer cells can be attacked by the body’s natural defences

Mr Hunt’s proposals for seven-day services have provoked bitter divisions among healthcare professionals, with junior doctors arguing the plan is unsafe and undeliverable. Figures cited by the Health Secretary to claim that patients are more likely to die on weekends have also been fiercely disputed.

However, the Department of Health has stood by the figures and service proposals, arguing that the 7-day service will improve quality of care for patients in the long term.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health told The Independent: “Over the past six years eight independent studies have set out the evidence for a “weekend effect”- unacceptable variation in care across the week. This government is the first to tackle this, with a commitment to a safer, seven day NHS for patients and £10 billion to fund the NHS’ own plan for the future, alongside thousands of extra doctors and nurses on our wards.”

  • More about:
  • Health
  • NHS
  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Seven-day NHS

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-could-struggle-post-brexit-without-eu-citizen-staff-department-of-health-officials-admit-a7204551.html

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Why a pest controller loves to breed… rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 22, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Arnold Sciberras with Mawsi, his three-year-old daughterrsquo;s pet rat. Photo: Steve Zammit LupiArnold Sciberras with Mawsi, his three-year-old daughter’s pet rat. Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

Rats are pests to some and cute to others. Sarah Carabott spoke to rodent expert Arnold Sciberras about his pet subject.

A man whose livelihood depends on pest control has managed to breed 20 pure lines of rat.

Arnold Sciberras is not “wild about rats”, he admits as he cradles his three-year-old daughter’s pet rat – called Mawsi – in his arms.

But the owner of what he believes is Malta’s largest rat farm, where he breeds them for sale as show animals and pets, clearly understands their importance. Just as he understands, he says, that wild rats could be a major pest and would hurt biodiversity if uncontrolled.

“Rats are revered in parts of the world and considered a delicacy in others. On this side of the globe, they are seen as carriers of diseases and detrimental to agriculture.

“However, rats have also been highly beneficial for scientific research and they are very sociable and intelligent, so domestic rats are also an ideal pet,” says Mr Sciberras.

He believes rats make a good pet if brought up from when they are small, and he would “definitely” not trust the rat with his daughter if it were dangerous.

Even when dealing with clients who want their house clear of rodents, Mr Sciberras tries to counter the culturally-rooted fear of them.

Asked about sanitation – seeing as rats are not considered the cleanest of animals – Mr Sciberras retorted that any stray animal would be dirty.

“Unlike wild rats, which have to survive on the streets and sewage, domesticated rats are clean and gentle.

“An added advantage is that a pet rat marks the house as its own territory and it doesn’t allow other pests on site.”

His interest in rats grew by chance “just how you suddenly fall in love when you’re not looking for a girlfriend”.

Photo: Arnold SciberrasPhoto: Arnold Sciberras

While carrying out research on insects and lizards, he realised that rats were driving into extinction a lizard that was endemic to St Paul’s islands.

“They were feeding on the rubbish left around by summer visitors, but immediately turned their eyes on lizards when leftovers were not as abundant in winter.”

Captivated by their intelligence, observation skills and endurance, he went on to study these rodents more closely.

Mr Sciberras graduated in agribusiness and pest control management, and he dedicates a large chunk of his time to studying entomology and the conservation of local wildlife.

He is affiliated with several local groups, such as the Malta Herpetological Society and Nature Trust Malta, and is always harping on responsible ownership of any animal.

“Domesticated animals released in the wild could either die within a few hours or days, or become invasive species, feeding on local flora and fauna.

“The chameleon was introduced less than 200 years ago but it has spread across the islands. The fresh water terrapin has also been released in the wild and become an invasive species. Both were brought over as pets.”

Domestic rats were introduced in Malta for research, the consumption by other animals such as reptiles and more recently as pets.

He therefore set up a club called the Malta Rodent Society, which encourages responsible breeding and proper care, the registration of locally available species – and the smashing of taboos. “Why do many consider the rabbit as a cute pet but would not raise a rat pet? What’s the difference? One of them – the rat – is more intelligent than the other.

“The rat is also not as large, so easier to accommodate, and has strong caring instincts. If you put two expecting female rats together, the one that gives birth first will be helped out by the other one, until she too births.”

Article source: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160821/local/why-pest-controller-loves-to-breed-rats.622583

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Why a pest controller loves to breed ….rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 21, 2016 in Rat News
Closed

Arnold Sciberras with Mawsi, his three-year-old daughterrsquo;s pet rat. Photo: Steve Zammit LupiArnold Sciberras with Mawsi, his three-year-old daughter’s pet rat. Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

A man whose livelihood depends on pest control has managed to breed 20 pure lines of rat.

Arnold Sciberras is not “wild about rats”, he admits as he cradles his three-year-old daughter’s pet rat – called Mawsi – in his arms.

But the owner of what he believes is Malta’s largest rat farm, where he breeds them for sale as show animals and pets, clearly understands their importance. Just as he understands, he says, that wild rats could be a major pest and would hurt biodiversity if uncontrolled.

“Rats are revered in parts of the world and considered a delicacy in others. On this side of the globe, they are seen as carriers of diseases and detrimental to agriculture.

“However, rats have also been highly beneficial for scientific research and they are very sociable and intelligent, so domestic rats are also an ideal pet,” says Mr Sciberras.

He believes rats make a good pet if brought up from when they are small, and he would “definitely” not trust the rat with his daughter if it were dangerous.

Even when dealing with clients who want their house clear of rodents, Mr Sciberras tries to counter the culturally-rooted fear of them.

Asked about sanitation – seeing as rats are not considered the cleanest of animals – Mr Sciberras retorted that any stray animal would be dirty.

“Unlike wild rats, which have to survive on the streets and sewage, domesticated rats are clean and gentle.

“An added advantage is that a pet rat marks the house as its own territory and it doesn’t allow other pests on site.”

His interest in rats grew by chance “just how you suddenly fall in love when you’re not looking for a girlfriend”.

Photo: Arnold SciberrasPhoto: Arnold Sciberras

While carrying out research on insects and lizards, he realised that rats were driving into extinction a lizard that was endemic to St Paul’s islands.

“They were feeding on the rubbish left around by summer visitors, but immediately turned their eyes on lizards when leftovers were not as abundant in winter.”

Captivated by their intelligence, observation skills and endurance, he went on to study these rodents more closely.

Mr Sciberras graduated in agribusiness and pest control management, and he dedicates a large chunk of his time to studying entomology and the conservation of local wildlife.

He is affiliated with several local groups, such as the Malta Herpetological Society and Nature Trust Malta, and is always harping on responsible ownership of any animal.

“Domesticated animals released in the wild could either die within a few hours or days, or become invasive species, feeding on local flora and fauna.

“The chameleon was introduced less than 200 years ago but it has spread across the islands. The fresh water terrapin has also been released in the wild and become an invasive species. Both were brought over as pets.”

Domestic rats were introduced in Malta for research, the consumption by other animals such as reptiles and more recently as pets.

He therefore set up a club called the Malta Rodent Society, which encourages responsible breeding and proper care, the registration of locally available species – and the smashing of taboos. “Why do many consider the rabbit as a cute pet but would not raise a rat pet? What’s the difference? One of them – the rat – is more intelligent than the other.

“The rat is also not as large, so easier to accommodate, and has strong caring instincts. If you put two expecting female rats together, the one that gives birth first will be helped out by the other one, until she too births.”

Article source: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160821/local/why-pest-controller-loves-to-breed-rats.622583

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Viruses ‘more likely to lead to infection’ in the morning, says report

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 20, 2016 in Rat News
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Viruses are 10 times more likely to cause illness in their victims if the infection is contracted in the morning, and late nights increase the impact even further, according to a study by the University of Cambridge.

Scientists infected mice with influenza and herpes viruses and found those infected in the morning had 10 times the viral levels of those infected in the evening.

It is believed the findings could help governments decide the best course of action when pandemics break out, and to determine the correct advice to give to citizens.

Further tests revealed the impact of a disrupted body clock, caused by lifestyle changes such as later nights and jet lag, which created a ‘locked in’ condition that allowed viruses to multiply rapidly.

The study was published in the scientific journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences and thoroughly examined the “circadian regulation of systemic immunity” completed by the human body.

Professor Akhilesh Reddy was one of the lead researchers on the project and said the findings could help people gain a better understanding of the impact of viruses on the body at different times of day

“The virus needs all the apparatus available at the right time, otherwise it might not ever get off the ground, but a tiny infection in the morning might perpetuate faster and take over the body,” he told BBC News.

“In a pandemic, staying in during the daytime could be quite important and save people’s lives, it could have a big impact if trials bear it out.

“The time of day of infection can have a major influence on how susceptible we are to the disease, or at least on the viral replication, meaning that infection at the wrong time of day could cause a much more severe acute infection.”

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A particular gene called Bmal1 was a major focus of the study, as relatively low levels of it in the morning makes the body more susceptible to infection.

Professor Reddy’s colleague Dr Rachel Edgar said the findings show regular shift workers could be “prime candidates” for receiving annual flu vaccines, given their disrupted body cycles.

“[The study] indicates that shift workers, who work some nights and rest some nights and so have a disrupted body clock, will be more susceptible to viral diseases,” she said.

The researchers additionally found Bmal1 levels undergo major seasonal variations, explaining why people are more vulnerable to viruses such as influenza during the winter, when the gene was found to be less active.

Meanwhile, bacteria and parasitic organisms are thought to be relatively unaffected by the cycle of the day as they are not dependent on overwhelming cells in order to replicate.

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/viruses-more-likely-to-lead-to-infection-in-morning-report-a7197746.html

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Pet rats on a leash? But of course … – Mercury News

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 19, 2016 in Rat News
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DEAR JOAN: Dogs and cats are not the only pets that can use a leash. My pet rats took to the leash quite well with a little training and lots of treats.

My first, Ritty Rat, understood his leash meant freedom to roam as well as treats, such as a flake of rolled oat.

Ritty would hold still for me to unhook the leash when it was time to go home, which meant back to his cage where his nightly salad of fresh greens and yummies — a bit of hard-boiled egg or tuna and tiny pieces of fruit — would be waiting for him.

Grapes were Ritty’s favorite. He would pick one up in his front paws, stand, then dance in circles on his hind feet, holding his treasured grape in front of him. He did this on his own for sheer joy. I never taught him to dance.

After Ritty, I had brothers Jiggs and Jonesy. They tolerated the leash, but were not as good at being walked. Unlike Ritty, they tried to slip out of their leashes, and they each wanted to go in different directions, often trying to hide under and climb up into bushes.

One night we were coming home from a walk at the edge of the Bay at the same time other people were coming into my gated community. Some were quite happy to see rats being walked, but one woman had a strong negative reaction to rats in general.

That was too bad, as rats are sweet-tempered, smart, affectionate and easily trained with kindness and food treats. Jiggs and Jonesy would literally jump through hoops for a lick of smooshed banana off my fingertip.

When I said “find it,” they knew there was a half peanut waiting for them deep in my pocket. I taught them by letting them smell the peanut and holding my pocket like a cave opening, while saying over and over, “Find it!” They learned that the very first time.

It became one of our games. They would hop from foot to foot in anticipation, but they always held back until I gave the “Find it!” command

I miss them.

Jaqi T.

Richmond

DEAR JAQI: You certainly have shown a loving side of rats that most of us overlook. Ritty, Jigs and Jonesy were lucky to have you, as you were to have them.

DEAR JOAN: We have two tomato plants in pots. All of a sudden there are big bites out of the tomatoes when they ripen.

I saw something run away but couldn’t see what it was.

This has happened again and again. I think it is a rat, but do they like fruit? What can we do?

Sharon Winters

Bay Area

DEAR SHARON: There is very little that rats don’t like, and they certainly will indulge in fresh fruit and vegetables.

If you are seeing these creatures during the day, chances are they aren’t rats, which prefer to work under the cover of darkness. Instead, I’d say you have squirrel issues.

Tree squirrels are tempted by fruits of all sorts, including tomatoes. Their tendency, however, is to pluck the fruit off the vine and dash back to their nests. I think your tomato destroyer is a ground squirrel. Reporting from experience, this is just the type of thing they do.

Ground squirrels are active in the day. They often take just a few bites from a fruit or vegetable, then move on to another. Because of this, they do a lot of damage in a garden.

Exclusion — building a sturdy cage around your plants — is your best option.

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/AskJoanMorris. Read more of her Animal Life columns at www.mercurynews.com/animal-life.

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/animal-life/ci_30253872/pet-rats-leash-but-course

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