Which Teas Are Healthiest?

You know that a cup of tea can do you good, but are there different health benefits to the different varieties? Black, green, oolong, and white teas all come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis). It’s how they’re processed that sets them apart and gives them their distinctive flavors. Black is made from leaves that have fully oxidized; their chemical makeup changes when they’re wilted, bruised, and exposed to air (kind of like a cut apple that sits on the counter). Oolong is partially oxidized, while green is not oxidized. White is also not oxidized, and it’s made from young leaves or buds. And they all will deliver a slightly lower buzz than a cup of coffee: it takes up to four eight-ounce cups of black tea to deliver roughly the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Black tea

Black tea may be a heart helper. While black tea is not quite as high in flavonoid antioxidants as its green counterpart, it is good for your heart and may help reduce cholesterol levels. And it can also help boost your energy levels. Feel free to tackle your afternoon slump with black tea, which tends to have a higher caffeine content than green tea.

Green tea

Green tea is packed with good-for-you antioxidants that may keep you in great form long-term. It may also help fight certain diseases: “The polyphenols found in green tea not only reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering your total and LDL cholesterol but may also reduce your risk of breast cancer,” says Sonia Oyola, MD, of the University of Chicago.

White tea

Sipping white or green tea may help with weight loss, thanks to caffeine and antioxidants called catechins. It’s also a plant powerhouse. “White tea is the least processed,” notes Dr. Oyola, “so compared with other teas, it has a higher amount of polyphenols, which are known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.”

Kombucha

Kombucha—tea that’s fermented using sugar and a starter culture from (good) bacteria and yeast—can be an excellent source of probiotics, which may help reestablish a balanced gut microbiome and improve the health of your digestive system, says Dr. Oyola. Just be aware that some varieties may contain alcohol (though usually less than 0.5 percent).

Weight loss teas

Are so-called “detox teas” for weight loss worth a try? Nope—here’s why: Some slimming teas combine caffeine with a diuretic, causing you to shed water weight, not actual fat. They may also contain herbs like senna, a natural laxative that can come with undesirable side effects (think stomach cramps and diarrhea). If your aim is fat loss, a clean diet and exercise are a safer bet, says Cynthia Sass, RD.

Can you spot which icon this is?

Niagara Falls was dewatered in 1969.

THIS was what Niagara Falls looked like in 1969 — and now, officials plan to dry out the area again.

The New York State Parks Department will vote today on temporarily rerouting the Americans Falls to the larger falls for six months so it can replace two 115-year-old pedestrian bridges.

“The temporary bridges need to be replaced because they are not consistent with the character of the park, provide an aesthetically unappealing experience for park visitors, restrict views of the rapids, and are narrower than the concrete arch bridges built in 1900 to 1901,” the Parks Department wrote in an assessment.

These amazing pictures show the last time the colossal waterfall was switched off.Source:Getty Images

In 1969, 1889 tonnes of water per second were diverted to the nearby Horseshoe Falls for five months while the US Army Corps of Engineers conducted an erosion study.

The Niagara Falls are made up of three waterfalls that sit on the border between Canada and the US.

What it usually looks like.

This story originally appeared on the NYPost.

Yep, it’s impressive.Source:Alamy

AI can now detect anthrax which could help the fight against bioterrorism

Bacillus anthracis spores, magnified by more than 12,000X.
Image by Laura Rose, CDC

In an effort to combat bioterrorism, scientists in South Korea have trained artificial intelligence to speedily spot anthrax. The new technique is not 100 percent accurate yet, but it’s orders of magnitude faster than our current testing methods. And it could revolutionize how we screen mysterious white powders for the deadly bioweapon.

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology combined a detailed imaging technique called holographic microscopy with artificial intelligence. The algorithm they created can analyze images of bacterial spores to identify whether they’re anthrax in less than a second. It’s accurate about 96 percent of the time, according to a paper published last week in the journal Science Advances.

ANTHRAX CAN KILL QUICKLY, IF LEFT UNTREATED
Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, which lives in soil. (Both the infection and the bacteria are often referred to as anthrax.) People can accidentally get anthrax infections when they handle the skin or meat of infected animals. But anthrax can also be a dangerous bioweapon: in 2001, anthrax spores sent in the mailinfected 22 people and killed five of them.

Once the spores enter the body, they germinate and multiply, causing a flu-like illness that poisons the blood. At least 85 percent of people infected by inhaling the spores die if left untreated, sometimes within just one to two days after symptoms appear. (Anthrax infections of the skin, by contrast, tend to be less fatal.) For people especially at risk of contracting anthrax, like lab workers or people who work with animal hair, there’s a vaccine. For the rest of us, there are antibiotics — but these work best when they’re started as soon as possible after exposure.

IT’S IMPORTANT TO DETECT ANTHRAX FAST
So it’s important to detect anthrax fast. Right now, one of the most common methods is to analyze the genetic material of the spores or, once someone is infected, of the bacteria found in infected tissue. But that typically requires giving the spores a little time to multiply in order to yield enough genetic material to analyze. “It’s still going to take the better part of a day with the most rapid approaches to get a result,” says bacteriologist George Stewart at the University of Missouri, who has also developed an anthrax detector and was not involved in this study.

In search of a quicker screening technique, the study’s lead author, physicist YongKeun Park, teamed up with South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development. The goal is to be prepared in case North Korea is developing anthrax as a bioweapon, he says.
Park turned to an imaging technique called holographic microscopy: unlike conventional microscopes, which can only capture the intensity of the light scattering off an object, a holographic microscope can also capture the direction that light is traveling. Since the structure and makeup of a cell can change how light bounces off of it, the researchers suspected that the holographic microscope might capture key, but subtle, differences between spores produced by anthrax and those produced by closely related, but less toxic species.

THE AI COULD ID THE ANTHRAX SPORES WITHIN SECONDS
Park and his team then trained a deep learning algorithm to spot these key differences in more than 400 individual spores from five different species of bacteria. One species was Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, and four were closely related doppelgängers. The researchers didn’t tell the neural network exactly how to spot the different species — the AI figured that out on its own. After some training, it could distinguish the anthrax spores from the non-anthrax doppelgänger species about 96 percent of the time.

The technique isn’t perfect, and as a tool intended to detect bioweapons, it has to be. “The drawback is that the accuracy is lower than conventional methods,” Park says. There are also multiple strains of each of the bacteria species analyzed — but the machine was trained on only one strain per species. Subtle differences between the strains might be able to throw off the algorithm, Stewart says. Still, the new technique is so rapid that it could come in handy. “It doesn’t require culturing organisms, it doesn’t require extracting DNA, it doesn’t require much of anything other than being able to visualize the spores themselves,” Stewart says.

“IT COULD ENHANCE OUR PREPARATION FOR THIS KIND OF BIOLOGICAL THREAT.”
Next, Park wants to feed the neural network more spore images, in order to boost accuracy. In the meantime, the method could be used as a pre-screening tool to rapidly determine whether a white powder that people have been exposed to is anthrax, and if they should start antibiotics. A slower, more accurate method could then confirm the results.

“This paper will not change everything,” Park says, but it’s one step toward a method that can quickly detect anthrax. “It could enhance our preparation for this kind of biological threat.”

App Vs. Website: Which Best Protects Your Privacy? It Depends

 Should you use the app—or a web browser—for that? That’s the ques­tion that North­eastern researchers, led by assis­tant pro­fessor David Choffnes, ask in new research that explores how free app– and web-based ser­vices on Android and iOS mobile devices com­pare with respect to pro­tecting users’ privacy.

In par­tic­ular, the team inves­ti­gated the degree to which each plat­form leaks per­son­ally iden­ti­fi­able information—ranging from birth­dates and loca­tions to passwords—to the adver­tisers and data ana­lytics com­pa­nies that the ser­vices rely on to help finance their operations.

The answer? “It depends,” says Choffnes, a mobile sys­tems expert in the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. “We expected that apps would leak more iden­ti­fiers because apps have more direct access to that infor­ma­tion. And overall that’s true. But we found that typ­i­cally apps leak just one more iden­ti­fier than a web­site for the same ser­vice. In fact, we found that in 40 per­cent of cases web­sites leak more types of infor­ma­tion than apps.”

Those types of infor­ma­tion vary, based on the plat­form. For example, the researchers found that web­sites more fre­quently leak loca­tions and names, whereas only apps were found to leak a device’s unique iden­ti­fying number.

The researchers will present their find­ings in a paper at the 2016 Internet Mea­sure­ment Con­fer­ence, in Santa Monica, Cal­i­fornia, in November

The team’s aim is to help users make informed deci­sions about how best to access online ser­vices. To that end, they have inte­grated their find­ings into an easy-to-use inter­ac­tive web­site that rates the degree of leak­i­ness of 50 free online ser­vices, from Airbnb to Zillow, based on each user’s pri­vacy preferences.

Here’s how it works: Users select from a drop-down list of 50 ser­vices and check off whether their oper­ating system is Android or iOS. Next they’re asked to rate var­ious types of per­sonal infor­ma­tion, from their birth­dates to their devices’ unique iden­ti­fiers, they care most about keeping pri­vate. Then, auto­mat­i­cally, the site gen­er­ates two “leak­i­ness indexes” for the ser­vice selected—a sky blue bar for the app ver­sion, a lime green one for the web—and rec­om­mends which plat­form is best for that par­tic­ular user.

There’s no one answer to which plat­form is best for all users,” says Choffnes. “We wanted people to have the chance to do their own explo­ration and under­stand how their par­tic­ular pri­vacy pref­er­ences and pri­or­i­ties played into their inter­ac­tions online.”

A call to action

For the study, the researchers selected 50 of the most pop­ular free online ser­vices in a variety of cat­e­gories, including busi­ness, enter­tain­ment, music, news, shop­ping, travel, and weather. Each ser­vice had to offer the same func­tion­ality on both its web­site and app. To ensure that they were inter­acting with the ser­vices as everyday users would, the researchers con­ducted manual, rather than auto­mated, tests, per­son­ally log­ging in, entering requested user data into text fields, and nav­i­gating the environment.

My goal is not just to tell people a scary story but to issue a call to action. Users could start requesting the pri­vacy and trans­parency con­sid­er­a­tions they want from the com­pa­nies they interact with.
— David Choffnes, assis­tant professor

Both apps and web­sites, they found, leaked loca­tions, names, gender, phone num­bers, and e-mail addresses to varying degrees. But there were sur­prises. “We didn’t expect to find the diver­sity of infor­ma­tion col­lected across the dif­ferent plat­forms even for the same ser­vice,” says Choffnes. More­over, four ser­vices sent encrypted pass­words to another party: the Grubhub app, unin­ten­tion­ally, due to a bug, which has been fixed; the Jet­Blue app, for authen­ti­ca­tion pur­poses; the Food Net­work app and web­site, for iden­tity man­age­ment; and the NCAA web­site, for iden­tity management.

The rea­sons for the inten­tional leaks are legit­i­mate, and I’m sure that the ser­vices have appro­priate agree­ments with the other par­ties to pro­tect the pass­words,” says Choffnes. “But the prac­tice still raises an impor­tant issue: Users have no idea that their pass­words are being sent to another party.” Con­sider: Jet­Blue cus­tomers making an air­line reser­va­tion likely assume they are sub­mit­ting their pass­words to Jet­Blue for authen­ti­ca­tion, when in fact their cre­den­tials are being man­aged by a third party, Useablenet.

Choffnes hopes that the find­ings will start a dia­logue between con­sumers and online ser­vices about the kinds of infor­ma­tion that should be col­lected, bal­ancing the ser­vices’ rev­enue needs with con­sumers’ pri­vacy needs. “My goal is not just to tell people a scary story but to issue a call to action,” he says. “Part of that action could be that users start requesting or even demanding the pri­vacy and trans­parency con­sid­er­a­tions they want from the com­pa­nies they interact with.”

6 ways to combat “period skin” which is something you maybe never knew you had

6 ways to combat “period skin” which is something you maybe never knew you had© PeopleImages 6 ways to combat “period skin” which is something you maybe never knew you had

On top of everything else periods do to try and make our lives more difficult every month, the menstrual cycle brings us skin issues in the form of hormonal acne. The dreaded condition tends to make its appearance along with the flow, although experts tell us that these breakouts we experience during our periods are all part of a hormonal skin cycle that starts at least a few weeks before we actually begin to menstruate.

During PMS, your cycle teams up with your hormones to wreak havoc on the body’s largest organ, which means your typical beauty routine may require some tweaking.

Your period can cause the skin to change, so if you’re ordinarily an oil-slicked T-zone type of gal, your period could make your skin drier depending on where you are in the 28-day cycle.

The bad news is that your estrogen and progesterone are being shown up by hormones like testosterone, which your skin will rebel against. The good thing is there are actually several ways to combat period skin problems.

1. Stay hydrated.

via GIPHY

At the beginning of your cycle, your skin can become dry and flaky, but adjusting the amount of water you drink can help you maintain a healthy glow. If increasing your H2O intake during your period sounds like too much work, consider all the other benefits that come with drinking more water during that time of the month, like decreased water retention, bloating, and cramps.

2. Nix the tea, soda and candy.

This goes against everything those persistent PMS cravings stand for, but avoiding sugary foods and drinks is a necessary part of successfully standing up to period-induced skin issues.

3. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.

This standard rule of thumb for healthy eating is just as important when that time of the month takes its frustrations out on your face. Among period-friendly foods to eat during your cycle are salmon, nuts, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, dark berries, kale, and swiss chard, which all contribute vitamins and minerals to the body that help to keep your skin supple and glowing.

Salicylic acid: Breakouts can be caused by a number of factors, including not taking your makeup off at night, not changing your pillowcase frequently, a diet of fatty, sugary foods, or the wrong skincare regimen for your skin type, according to Kerri Daniels, New York-based makeup artists and consultant at <a href='https://www.rodanandfields.com/'>Rodan + Fields Dermatologists</a>. While you may have grabbed products with salicylic acid as a teen, as it's commonly found in drugstore cleansers and moisturizers targeted toward women with breakouts, salicylic acid can be too harsh on acne, causing inflammation, redness, and excessive dryness. Not ready to part with your favorite cleanser? Don't worry, you can still use it strategically. 'It can be used in small doses as <a href='https://www.rodanandfields.com/Shop/Product/UNTT030'>spot treatments</a>,' assures Daniels.10 Common Skin-Care Ingredients That Are Making You Break Out4. Get your snooze on.

Ah, if we could just sleep our periods away, we’d all be happy campers. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop for our cycles (though we’re still rooting for widespread paid time off for periods), but it’s super crucial to our skin to get a good night’s sleep, particularly when that pesky monthly visitor shows up with acne in tow.

As skincare expert Renée Rouleau told Teen Vogue, getting more sleep can help reduce hormonal breakouts during your period.

“Stress and lack of sleep can negatively affect the skin,” Rouleau explained. “In general, stress will worsen your overall skin condition.”

5. Make time for exercise.

That is, in between cursing those wretched cramps and fighting off the desire to lie in bed and watch Netflix until this ungodly week of your life passes. It sounds like the odds are against you, but maintaining a clear complexion is just one of the many benefits that come with dragging your butt to the gym even when your period tells you not to.

According to U by Kotex, exercising your way through PMS can help you look and feel better during your period, which sounds like the best way to get through it, tbh.

6. Use a glycolic or salicylic acid cleanser before your period.

Because you know the hormonal changes are coming for you and your skin each month, it’s best to prepare for the onslaught of zits before they make their appearance.

Assistant professor in dermatology and obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Bethanee J. Schlosser explained to Refinery 29how a monthly hormonal shift causes skin problems during your period.

“It’s that shift of balance that can lead to increased activity of sebaceous glands and can manifest as oily skin, with an increase in developing acne lesions and oily hair and scalp as well.”

But instead of settling for a temporarily greasy face full of pimples, treating the skin with benzoyl peroxide, glycolic or salicylic acid prior to the arrival of your period can drastically reduce the amount of zits that show up during your cycle.

Dealing with your cycle will probably never be totally smooth sailing, but with these skincare tips in mind, we can at least make it look that way.

Computer Trained To Predict Which AML Patients Will Go Into Remission, Which Will Relapse

Researchers have developed the first computer machine-learning model to accurately predict which patients diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML, will go into remission following treatment for their disease and which will relapse.

“It’s pretty straightforward to teach a computer to recognize AML, once you develop a robust algorithm, and in previous work we did it with almost 100 percent accuracy,” said Murat Dundar, senior author of the disease-progression study and associate professor of computer science in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “What was challenging was to go beyond that work and teach the computer to accurately predict the direction of change in disease progression in AML patients, interpreting new data to predict the unknown: which new AML patients will go into remission and which will relapse.”

The computer was trained using bone marrow data and medical histories of AML patients, as well as blood data from healthy individuals. Cases about which the computer had no information were evaluated by the algorithm by applying knowledge about similar cases in the database. The computer was then able to predict remission with 100 percent accuracy. Relapse was correctly predicted in 90 percent of relevant cases.

“As the input, our computational system employs data from flow cytometry, a widely utilized technology that can rapidly provide detailed characteristics of single cells in samples such as blood or bone marrow,” explained Bartek Rajwa, first author of the study and research assistant professor of computational biology in the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue University. “Traditionally, the results of flow cytometry analyses are evaluated by highly trained human experts rather than by machine-learning algorithms. But computers are often better at extracting knowledge from complex data than humans are.”

Automated measurement and monitoring of response to treatment of AML are critical not only for objective evaluation of disease-status prognosis but also for timely assessment of treatment strategies, the study’s authors noted. Their work creates and underlies a clinical decision support system that recognizes the presence of minute residual amounts of malignant cells of any AML type in bone marrow samples, enabling early identification of change in direction of disease progression.

“Machine learning is not about modeling data. It’s about extracting knowledge from the data you have so you can build a powerful, intuitive tool that can make predictions about future data that the computer has not previously seen — the machine is learning, not memorizing — and that’s what we did,” said Dundar, an internationally respected machine-learning scientist who specializes in teaching computers to understand biomedical data.

The National Cancer Institute anticipated that 19,950 individuals would be diagnosed with AML in 2016 and forecast that approximately 10,430 deaths from AML would occur last year.

The study was a collaboration of IUPUI’s Dundar and Purdue’s Rajwa with Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Paul K. Wallace, a flow cytometry expert, and Elizabeth A. Griffiths, a physician who treats patients with AML.

This research, which has potential application to other hematological neoplasms in addition to AML, was supported by National Science Foundation grant IIS-1252648 (CAREER), by National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering grant 5R21EB015707, and in part by National Cancer Institute grant 5P30 CA01605. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF and the NIH.

“Automated Assessment of Disease Progression in Acute Myeloid Leukemia by Probabilistic Analysis of Flow Cytometry Data” is published online ahead of print in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

10 facts about the lost Atlantis, of which not all are known

We all heard about Atlantis, the legendary island that went underwater in one day. Who first learned about this? Was there really Atlantis? What else do we not know about it? The history of Atlantis came to us in a retelling of the Greek philosopher Plato. Or rather, from his two works, Timaeus and Critias. It is believed that these books were written in 360 BC. E.

In them Plato wrote that the Greek sage Solon became aware of this story when he served as a priest in Egypt. Upon his return, Solon told her his relative, Dropidus. Then Dropid gave it to his son Critia, who told her grandson, also Critia, the latter shared it with Socrates and his associates.

This list should not be taken as a historical or scientific fact, but as a true retelling of Plato. Whether we believe in the legend is the personal choice of everyone. Science does not yet provide accurate data on Atlantis, but lost cities have been and will be found. Once it can become a legendary island.

The First Prenatal Visit: Which Tests Really Matter?

What is a prenatal visit?

Prenatal care is the medical care you receive during pregnancy. Prenatal care visits start early on in your pregnancy and continue regularly until you deliver the baby. They typically include a physical exam, a weight check, and various tests. The first visit is designed to confirm your pregnancy, verify your general health, and find out if you have any risk factors that may affect your pregnancy.

Even if you have been pregnant before, prenatal visits are still very important. Every pregnancy is different. Regular prenatal care will reduce the chance of complications during your pregnancy and can protect both your health and your infant’s health. Read on to learn more about how to schedule your first visit and what each test means for you and your baby.

SCHEDULING YOUR FIRST VISIT

When should I schedule my first prenatal visit?

You should schedule your first visit as soon as you know you are pregnant. Generally, the first prenatal visit will be scheduled after your 8th week of pregnancy. If you have another medical condition that could affect your pregnancy or have had difficult pregnancies in the past, your provider might want to see you earlier than that.

The first step is to choose what type of provider you want to see for your prenatal care visits. Your options including the following:

An obstetrician (OB): A doctor who specializes in caring for pregnant women and delivering babies. Obstetricians are the best choice for high-risk pregnancies.
A family practice doctor: A doctor who cares for patients of all ages. A family practice doctor can care for you before, during, and after your pregnancy. They can also be the regular provider for your baby after birth.
A midwife: A healthcare provider trained to care for women, especially during pregnancy. There are several different types of midwives, including certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and certified professional midwives (CPMs). If you are interested in seeing a midwife during your pregnancy, you should choose one who is certified by either the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) or the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).
A nurse practitioner: A nurse who is trained to care for patients of all ages, including pregnant women. This can be either a family nurse practitioner (FNP) or a women’s health nurse practitioner. In most states, midwives and nurse practitioners must practice under the supervision of a physician.
No matter what type of provider you choose, you will be visiting your prenatal care provider regularly throughout your pregnancy.

What tests can I expect at the first prenatal visit?

There are a number of different tests that are typically given at the first prenatal visit. Because this is likely to be the first time you meet your prenatal provider, the first appointment is usually one of the longest. Some tests and questionnaires you can expect include the following:

Confirmatory pregnancy test

Even if you have already taken an at-home pregnancy test, your provider will likely request a urine sample in order to run a test to confirm that you are pregnant.

Due date

Your provider will try to determine your estimated due date (or fetal gestational age). The due date is projected based on the date of your last period. While most women don’t end up giving birth precisely on their due date, it’s still an important way to plan and monitor progress.

Medical history

You and your provider will discuss any medical or psychological problems you have had in the past. Your provider will particularly be interested in:

if you’ve had any previous pregnancies
what medications you are taking (prescription and over the counter)
your family medical history
any prior abortions or miscarriages
your menstrual cycle
Physical exam

Your provider will also perform a comprehensive physical exam. This will include taking vital signs, like height, weight, and blood pressure, and checking your lungs, breasts, and heart. Depending how far along you are in your pregnancy, your provider may or may not do an ultrasound.

Your provider will likely also conduct a pelvic exam during your first prenatal visit if you haven’t had one recently. The pelvic exam is done for many purposes and typically involves the following:

A standard Pap smear: This will test for cervical cancer and for certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs). During a Pap smear, a doctor gently inserts an instrument known as a speculum into your vagina to hold the vaginal walls apart. They then use a small brush to collect cells from the cervix. A Pap smear shouldn’t hurt and only takes a couple minutes.
A bimanual internal exam: Your doctor will insert two fingers inside the vagina and one hand on the abdomen to check for any abnormalities of your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.
Blood tests

Your doctor will take a sample of blood from a vein on the inside of your elbow and send it to a laboratory for testing. There is no special preparation necessary for this test. You should only feel mild pain when the needle is inserted and removed.

The laboratory will use the blood sample to:

Determine your blood type: Your provider will need to know what specific type of blood you have. Blood typing is particularly important during pregnancy because of the Rhesus (Rh) factor, a protein on the surface of red blood cells in some people. If you are Rh-negative and your baby is Rh-positive, it can cause a problem called Rh (rhesus) sensitization. As long as your provider is aware of this, they can take precautions to prevent any complications.
Screen for infections: A blood sample can also be used to check whether you have any infections, including STIs. This is likely to include HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis B. It’s important to know whether you might have any infections, as some can be transmitted to your baby during pregnancy or delivery.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that all providers screen for an STI known as syphilis using the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test at the first prenatal visit. The RPR is a blood test that looks for antibodies in the blood. If not treated, syphilis during pregnancy can cause stillbirth, bone deformities, and neurologic impairment.
Check for immunity to certain infections: Unless you have well-documented proof of immunization against certain infections (like rubella and chickenpox), your blood sample is used to see whether you are immune. This is because certain diseases, like chickenpox, can be very dangerous to your baby if you contract them during pregnancy.
Measure your hemoglobin and hematocrit to check for anemia: Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen throughout your body. Hematocrit is a measurement of the number of red blood cells in your blood. If either your hemoglobin or hematocrit is low, it’s an indication that you could be anemic, which means that you don’t have enough healthy blood cells. Anemia is common among pregnant women.

THE FIRST VISIT

What else can I expect at the first prenatal visit?

Since this is your first visit, you and your provider will discuss what to expect during your first trimester, answer any questions you may have, and recommend that you make some lifestyle changes in order to maximize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

Proper nutrition is very important for fetal development. Your provider will recommend that you start taking prenatal vitamins, and may also discuss exercise, sex, and environmental toxins to avoid. Your provider may send you home with pamphlets and a packet of educational materials.

Your provider may also go over genetic screening. Screening tests are used to diagnose genetic disorders, including Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, and trisomy 18. These tests will typically be performed later on in your pregnancy — between weeks 15 and 18.

ADVERTISEMENT

NEXT STEPS

What about after the first prenatal visit?

The next nine months will be filled with many more visits to your provider. If at your first prenatal visit, your provider determines that your pregnancy is high risk, they may refer you to a specialist for a more in-depth checkup. A pregnancy is considered high risk if:

you are over the age of 35 or under the age of 20
you have a chronic illness like diabetes or high blood pressure
you are obese or underweight
you are having multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
you have a history of pregnancy loss, cesarean delivery, or preterm birth
your bloodwork comes back positive for an infection, anemia, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization
If your pregnancy is not considered high risk, you should expect to see your provider for future prenatal visits on a regular basis according to the following timeline:

first trimester (conception to 12 weeks): every four weeks
second trimester (13 to 27 weeks): every four weeks
third trimester (28 weeks to delivery): every four weeks until week 32 then every two weeks until week 36, then once weekly until delivery

If Nuclear War Breaks Out, Which U.S. Cities Would Be TARGETED FIRST?

Following the end of the Cold War, the world breathed a sigh of relief when the two superpowers – the United States and the Soviet Union – did not destroy each other with nuclear fire and much of the remaining planet with nuclear fallout.

And for the ensuing two decades, there hasn’t been much concern, generally speaking, about a nuclear World War III breaking out. There has been concern about so-called “rogue” regimes like North Korea and Iran developing nuclear bombs along with the capability of delivering them around the globe, but as for great power nuclear war, no one really gave that much thought.

Until recently.

Last week President Donald J. Trump engaged in his first major combat as commander-in-chief when he ordered the U.S. Navy – on the advice of his national security team – to launch a massive Tomahawk cruise missile strike against a Syrian government airbase believed to have been the launch site for the latest sarin gas attack against rebels and non-combatants.

The attack finally put to rest the Left-wing fake news narrative that Trump is nothing more than a lackey for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was quite angry at the U.S. president for attacking his client state and key regional ally. In fact, in the days following the destruction of the Syrian airbase, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement asserting that “red lines” had been crossed and they would respond forcefully to any new attacks, no matter who launched them. (RELATED: Will Russia, Iran Double Down In Syria Following Trump’s Actions Against Assad, Leading To World War III?

That got us to thinking: Would Russia launch World War III over Syria? Quite possibly, given its strategic and financial interests there.

So that leaves the next question: What U.S. targets and cities would Russia most likely attack? That would depend largely on the strategic outcome Moscow sought.

For example, if Putin decided to first hurt the U.S. militarily and limit our ability to counterstrike, the most likely targets would be our largest military bases and nuclear mission facilities. Nuclear mission facilities would include ground-based missile silos, nuclear-armed submarines and bases with nuclear-capable bombers like Whiteman Air Force Base in mid-Missouri, home to all of the B-2 stealth bombers.

But Putin could also decide that it would be better to hit major American cities instead, including – in no particular order:

– Washington, D.C.

– New York City

– Chicago

– Los Angeles

– Dallas/Fort Worth

– Miami

– Seattle

– Houston

– Denver

– Philadelphia

– San Francisco

– Phoenix

– Tampa

– St. Louis

– Minneapolis

– Boston

– Atlanta

This would be devastating, both in terms of casualties and long-term economics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, though major American cities comprise less than 4 percent of the country’s land mass, they are home to nearly two-in-three Americans (62.7 percent, according to March 2015 figures). Of those, the congested East Coast would make a far more tempting target, given that “cities with the largest land areas are mostly in the West and have fewer people per square mile,” the Census Bureau said, adding that “population density in cities is 46 times higher than the territory outside cities.” (RELATED: North Korea Ready To Nuke America … “World Should Be Ready” Warns High-Level Defector Who Confirms Nuke Launch Plans With NBC News)

Very tempting targets, indeed, then.

But then striking American cities would have a multiplying effect. For cities that were spared, residents would no doubt panic, leading to widespread chaos and even more death and destruction. Smaller cities of 1 million, 500,000, even 100,000 people would quickly degenerate into mayhem as the national government fought mostly to save itself – though a strike on Washington, D.C., would most assuredly take out the bulk of the federal government.

Even a single nuclear strike could cause widespread pandemonium in American cities that were nottargeted.

In addition to traditional military targets, which would no doubt be part of Russia’s nuclear strike plan, the largest American cities will certainly be on the list as well.

It’s all food for thought as the world once more appears on the brink of widespread death and destruction. Follow more news about nuclear radiation fallout, terrorism and war at Radiation.news.

Light Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee: Which Packs More Health Perks?

light-roasted-coffee-beans
Multi-bits/Getty Images

Both contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but one brew takes the win, says a new study.

Coffee fanatics already know that their beverage of choice is rich in antioxidants, which may explain many of the health benefits associated with a regular morning joe or afternoon iced latte. But if you really want to maximize those good-for-you chemicals in every cup, a new study suggests opting for a light roast over dark.

For the new study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, Korean researchers compared coffees of several different roasting levels, analyzing their caffeine content and levels of chlorogenic acid, a well-known antioxidant. They also exposed extract of each coffee to human cell cultures to test their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

RELATED: 27 Ways to Boost Your Energy Without Caffeine

The results? The lighter the roast, the higher the chlorogenic acid content—and the better the coffee extract protected human cells against oxidation (cell damage) and inflammation when tested in the lab. Caffeine levels, on the other hand, did not vary significantly between samples.

These cell-culture findings could potentially translate to real-life benefits, says Sampath Parthasarathy, PhD, interim associate dean at the University of Central Florida School of Medicine and Journal of Medicinal Food editor-in-chief—but they need to be replicated in human trials before any definite conclusions can be formed.

 

“We know that antioxidants protect against many health problems, and we also know that inflammation is the basis of many chronic diseases, whether it is diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says Parthasarathy, who was not involved in the new study. “But these diseases are progressive and occur over a long period of time, and you can’t see long-term benefits in a test-tube study.”

The study specifically looked at Arabica coffee beans, roasted at levels corresponding to “light,” “medium,” “city,” and “French” roasts. The roasted beans were then ground and run through an espresso machine to obtain the extract used in testing.

RELATED: 15 Healthy Summer Drink Recipes

Parthasarathy says it’s not surprising that lighter roasts would have higher levels of antioxidant activity. “When we roast something, we expose it to air,” he says. “There’s also a time element and a temperature element involved, and all of those things contribute to oxidation.”

This depletes the antioxidant molecules present in the coffee grinds, he continues. “They sacrifice themselves during the roasting process,” he says. “But ideally we would want to preserve them as much as possible, so they can have a better effect inside the body rather than getting wasted outside of it.”

While antioxidants aren’t always anti-inflammatory (and anti-inflammatory compounds aren’t always antioxidants), Parthasarathy says the two often go hand-in-hand.

If you love dark roasts for their flavor, Parthasarathy says you’re still likely getting some of the benefits. But cup for cup, lighter blends may have more powerful effects.

RELATED: 12 Surprising Sources of Caffeine

“If both types have the same amount of caffeine, why would you compromising on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect?” he says. “People might have to ask themselves, to what extent is the aroma important to them? Are they drinking coffee for health, or just to feel good?”

Future studies may also help coffee producers make more health-focused decisions on the type of coffee and the level of roasting they choose to promote, he notes. Companies like Starbucks tout their dark French roast for its rich flavor, he says, “but it may not be better for health benefits.”

To get our best wellness tips delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Of course, how long coffee is roasted for is only part of the equation when it comes to maximizing its superfood potential. Parthasarathy would also like to see more research on different types of beans grown in different regions and climates, and on different brewing processes, as well—like cold brew versus conventional.

“People drink coffee for flavor and for caffeine and for many other reasons, and many people won’t even want to start their day without it,” he says. “Most people don’t consider antioxidants or anti-inflammatory properties, but this study brings to light that the benefits of coffee—especially certain types of coffee—may be beyond what most people think.”