What dinosaur diseases — which might seem familiar — can tell us about how they lived and died

https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/23/world/dinosaurs-disease-scn/index.html

Dinosaurs, like us, got sick and injured. By detecting these medical conditions in fossils, paleopathologists, experts in ancient disease and injuries, are gaining tantalizing insights into dinosaur behavior and evolution — how a dinosaur moved through its world, the relationship between predator and prey, and how dinosaurs of the same species interacted.

Until relatively recently, however, diagnosing multi-million-year-old diseases from fossilized bones was decidedly hit-and-miss.

First off, the fossil record only reveals a small fraction of the creatures that lived in the past, and those that reach us have withstood multiple obstacles over millions of years. What’s more, with soft tissue largely missing from fossils, scientists rely on bones for information. And it’s often very hard to determine whether deformations in a dinosaur’s bone structure were caused by disease or the crush of sediment over time.

Paleontologists can identify strange structures, bone overgrowths, rough surfaces, and holes or porous surfaces in areas where they should not be without the help of special tools. But the application of medical advances like computerized tomography to paleontology have allowed researchers to peer through rock to see what’s happening inside fossilized bones.

“It’s imperative to have an inner view of the bone,” said Filippo Bertozzo, a post-doctoral researcher at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. “If you have doubts whether a bone is deformed by pathology or geological processes, you need to see inside.”

“If it’s geology at play, you wouldn’t see any change in the structure of the cells.”

Often it takes a raft of experts in different fields to confirm a diagnosis. Think of an episode of the television series “House” for dinosaurs.

“The study of paleopathologies is more than simply identifying a disease, it is opening a window to learn about interactions with the environment and social behavior,” said Penélope Cruzado-Caballero, a paleontologist at the Research Institute of Palaeobiology and Geology of CONICET, Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research, and the National University of Río Negro (Argentina).

For example, paleontologists had long been stumped by the unusual domed skulls of Pachycephalosaurs — small, plant-eating dinosaurs that are bit players in the “Jurassic Park” movie franchise. The discovery of bone lesions resulting from injuries in adults suggested that they used the domes to butt heads — a bit like big-horned sheep do.

Not just big, but tough

The most commonly detected pathology in the dinosaur fossil record is bone fractures — with some dinosaurs apparently surviving very severe trauma that must have left them living in great pain.

Bertozzo has detailed the injuries suffered by one Parasaurolophus walkeri, a dinosaur with a long, curved crest. Its fossil was unearthed in 1921 and has been on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto for decades.
The tubular crest of Parasaurolophus is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The tubular crest of Parasaurolophus is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

For years, paleontologists had thought a V-shape indentation in the dinosaur’s spine was part of its natural posture — perhaps to accommodate its long, dramatic headgear.

A new analysis published in 2020 found that the dent was due to a broken back. The creature also had broken ribs, a deformed pelvis and a dental lesion. Bertozzo believes the broken back was possibly caused by a falling rock or tree, but the dinosaur didn’t die of its injuries — at least not immediately. Bertozzo said it would have lived at least four months, and their analysis suggested the injuries had begun to heal before the creature’s death.

Bertozzo believes that some dinosaurs must have been able to overcome and survive massive injuries. He said one hypothesis is that a strong immune system was a survival mechanism for some herbivores, like Hadrosaurs, which didn’t have defensive features like armored plates, spiked tails or sharp horns common in other plant-eating species, such as Triceratops.

Dinosaurs also lived with cancer — in some cases the same form that afflicts humans today. A horned dinosaur called Centrosaurus apertus that lived 76 to 77 million years ago in what’s now Alberta, Canada, was diagnosed in a study published in 2020 with osteosarcoma — an aggressive malignant bone cancer that can affect humans.

Researchers concluded it was an advanced stage of cancer that may have spread throughout the dinosaur’s body. But what might have been a death sentence for one dinosaur, another could endure.

Cruzado-Caballero diagnosed the same cancer in Bonapartesaurus, unearthed in Argentinean Patagonia in the 1980s. This dinosaur had a large cauliflower-like overgrowth of bone on its foot but, she said the growth hadn’t spread to other parts of the animal’s body, and she didn’t think it would have seriously affected its day-to-day life. Likely more painful were two fractures in its tail, which healed in an abnormal position and may have been infected while healing, said Cruzado-Caballero, who is also a professor at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife, Spain.

Starving T. rex

T. rex was the ultimate dinosaur predator, weighing as much as two African elephants, but it could fall victim to the tiniest of foes: parasites.

The lower jaw of SUE the T. rex, the most complete T. rex skeleton ever found, was pitted with smooth-edged holes. Initially experts thought they were bite marks or a bone infection, but researchers ultimately concluded the holes were a result of a parasitic infection called trichomonosis. The condition can also effect the lower jaw of modern birds like pigeons, doves and chickens.

“The parasite effectively eats chunks of the jaw bone. This extremely nasty condition causes severe damage and pain around the mouth, throat and esophagus, making simple things like eating and drinking unpleasant to nearly impossible,” said Dean Lomax, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, in his book, “Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils.”
The lower jaw of SUE the T. rex is pitted with holes. Experts believe they were the result of a parasitic infection. The lower jaw of SUE the T. rex is pitted with holes. Experts believe they were the result of a parasitic infection.

“Once the animal was infected, feeding would have been difficult, and it is highly likely that, as seen in living birds, the mighty tyranosaurs lost considerable weight before eventually starving to death.”

While SUE the T. rex, who is on display at Chicago’s Field Museum, may have starved to death, paradoxically the dinosaur also suffered another medical problem that in humans is linked with overindulging in food and wine.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by buildup of uric acid, which can erode bones. SUE’s right forearm had “gouty lesions,” according to a report in Nature. The condition in animals today, including birds and reptiles, can be the result of dehydration or kidney failure. In humans, it’s associated with foods that have a high purine content, such as red meat — something that no doubt made up the bulk of T. rex meals.
Illustration by Ian Berry. Illustration by Ian Berry.

Could dinosaurs have been attacked by coronaviruses?

It’s also possible that dinosaurs suffered from respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, or contagious ones like tuberculosis, although it’s unclear whether dinosaurs contracted diseases similar to Covid-19. The oldest suspected case of a respiratory disease of any kind is from a 245-million-year old marine reptile.

“Birds, especially pet birds, do suffer from pulmonary infection. Birds are dinosaurs, and dinosaurs presented, most likely, a birdlike lung system,” Bertozzo said. “I would expect dinosaurs to suffer from similar pulmonary infections as in birds. Of course, Covid is a novel disease, we cannot know if something similar happened in the past, so we can’t say if dinosaurs suffered from Covid-like diseases.”

Bertozzo is building a database to record incidences of trauma and disease across different species of ornithopods — a family of plant-eating dinosaurs that includes iguanadons, hadrosaurs and duck-billed dinosaurs — and across different time periods. He hopes it will help answer questions like which group of these dinosaurs was most likely to suffer disease and whether these conditions affected dinosaur behavior.

“It’s a growing field that is going to give us a lot information about the lives of these fascinating creatures,” he said.

Work your muscles and rethink your diet: how fitness can help you through the menopause

https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/23/work-muscles-rethink-diet-fitness-help-menopause

Menopause

From the right way to exercise, to what to eat and drink and the case for HRT, experts explain how women can prepare for midlife changes to their bodies

Sometimes your body notices things before your mind does: you might think you’re so far away from the menopause that a hot flush is just a thing you can fake to get out of a boring situation, but your midriff knows better. Lucinda Meade, 57, is a physiotherapist and personal trainer. She has trained many clients through the menopause and says it tends to start with surreptitious weight gain around the middle, which they then can’t shift. It may be accompanied by aches and pains in smaller joints, and an unappetising smörgåsbord of “mood changes, sleep changes, annoying visits to the GP to be given antidepressants”.

All this makes perfect sense from a hormonal perspective, as another trainer, Sarah Overall, 51, describes: “Oestrogen governs so many of your bodily processes, and one of the things it’s involved in is water regulation. It’s a lot easier for tendons and ligaments and joints to become dehydrated. And that can also lead to a resurgence of old injuries.” Plus, “when your female hormones decrease, you go from having a gynoid shape, carrying fat on your hips and thighs, to android obesity, abdominal fat, which is a male shape.”

But what are you supposed to do, fitness-wise? Should you power through the aches, pains and lethargy, or just give up on being fit until you are out the other side? Are there adjustments you can make to the way you exercise and eat? Can you make it any better by working up to it beforehand? Finally, are there any upsides to the menopause, or is it just an irksome creep towards death, only ameliorated by the fact that it happens to (half of) everyone?

Arj Thiruchelvam, a personal trainer who coaches elite athletes, says of this power-through or take-a-break dilemma: “Always make the decision on a macro, rather than a micro, level.” In macro terms, to give up exercise during your menopause would be a disaster as your muscle mass decreases with age “at the rate of about 1% a year. For menopausal women, it’s much more substantial than that.” You need muscle mass to protect your bones, not to mention, as Meade says, the fact that it “decreases cell death, increases stem cells and decreases fat cells, which are a secretor of inflammatory markers. Ageing is all about chronic, low-level inflammation.”

On a micro level, though, Thiruchelvam says, “if you’ve had hot flushes throughout the night and not slept, it’s probably worth listening to your body and giving yourself a rest.” Overall has a 10-minute rule: “If I wake up and I don’t feel like a workout, I think, I’ll do 10 minutes and if I still feel rubbish, I’m going to stop. That’s the biggest piece of advice I can give anyone – 95% of the time you’ll feel fine after 10 minutes.”

Find the strength-training exercise that works for you. Photograph: Don Mason/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

It’s also important to have weekly rather than daily goals, and be flexible (mentally as well as physically): use your energy when you have it, rather than beating yourself up about the times you don’t. This will mean prioritising yourself and flaking out of other obligations, but that’s fine – your oestrogen’s dropping, so hopefully you’ll be less of a people-pleaser, too.

Now all you have to do is completely change your perception of what kind of exercise you need and enjoy. Meade explains: “A lot of women have done a lot of yoga and running and they really need to be coaxed into weight training.” This will probably be different once millennials are menopausal, since they have a huge iron woman culture and are all over calisthenics (building strength using your own bodyweight). But women now in their late 40s and 50s will have had their formative years in the 1980s, when exercise was all about looking skinny and weight-training was unpopular. Younger readers may not believe it, but magazines were absolutely full of the perils of muscle-building, and how once you’d given yourself huge beefy shoulders, there’d be no going back.

But there is more than one way to skin this cat. “Dancing, rock climbing, climbing trees, anything: find the thing that works for you,” says Meade. “But there must be some strength element.” Elite athletes, being so body-literate, often notice sooner than the rest of us that something has to change. Jenny Stoute, 56, represented the UK in the Olympics in Seoul and Barcelona, taking bronze in the 4 x 400m relay, before she became Rebel, the Gladiator, in 1996. Her menopause started two years ago, and now she says she can’t even jog. “If I went out on the road, springing up and down, my hamstrings would be history. I know my lower back doesn’t like too much impact. So I’ll do weights and body-bearing stuff, go on the rower, go on the cross-trainer. To be fair, I don’t really want to run 100 metres. I had my time. All I want to do is look after my body to the best of my abilities.”

It’s a really good idea to get ahead of this if possible. “People go into the menopause like some ghastly blind date where you know it’s going to happen but you hope it’s going to be OK,” Meade says. “Everyone in their 40s should be thinking about getting themselves in tip-top shape so that when it happens, it’s as fine as it can be. Don’t treat it like a lottery and don’t wait until you’re feeling crap and then try to make decisions in that state.”

Besides strength training, what does this actually look like? Work on your diet, so that your blood sugar isn’t fluctuating too much: this can stave off the worst of the hot flushes, and will also help with mood swings. Don’t try a ketogenic diet but do use a protein calculator, as protein-rich meals can help in maintaining muscle mass. You might want to adjust your portion size to suit your reduced basal metabolic rate (this is the amount of energy you use at rest, doing basic tasks like breathing and keeping warm) – or you might think, sod it, one thing at a time. Take vitamin D and calcium supplements, and omega-3s – the first two for bone health, since the loss of oestrogen often causes osteoporosis, the third for mood.

Eat protein-rich foods. Photograph: Bernine/Getty Images

Work on the dehydration, not just by gulping water when you remember but by learning to recognise your personal signs of being dehydrated, and figure out when in the day it’s at its worst. A lot of menopausal women say they suddenly have no tolerance for alcohol and start to see wine, especially, as a kind of kryptonite. But it’s essentially just that the concentration of alcohol in your blood is higher. I’m not saying you have to drink – just that, if you stay really well hydrated, maybe you can.

If you haven’t got a sympathetic GP, see a pelvic health physiotherapist. “Your pelvic floor muscles weaken regardless of whether you’ve had children or not, so bladder control becomes an issue as well,” Overall says. Trampolining is a famous no-no for the menopausal, but running can also highlight bladder-control issues. I personally wouldn’t sweat it. You’re probably going to have a shower when you get home anyway. And that’s not even the worst of it: “A lot of women will have had untreated issues from childbirth and then the menopause hits, on top of maybe a tiny little prolapse … vaginal atrophy is a nightmare,” Meade says. Pilates, generally, and Kegels in particular will help. In addition, it’s a good idea to find out what your family history is, particularly with osteoporosis. The more likely you are to get it, the more important it is that you do the strength-building work that will protect your bones.

Everybody I speak to is of one mind on HRT: if it works for you, do it, and start as soon as you get symptoms – don’t wait until they are unbearable. There is a certain reticence about starting HRT, a misplaced stoicism, a sense that you only need it because you’re weak. Most of the perceived risks of HRT are historical and have been substantially reduced by developments to the drug regimen; there is a negligible rise in the risk of breast cancer, for instance, with oestrogen-only HRT.

Menopause symptoms interact with one another in unhelpful ways: sleep deprivation because you’re too hot doesn’t help with the mood swings, and a low mood makes things look worse than they are. So many menopausal people, including fitness experts, take a harsh view of their changing bodies. “The bloating is terrible,” Overall says. “People are looking at me for their fitness and I look like a Michelin man.” Stoute says her own athletic past has made her more of a wreck. “Anyone who used to be top of the tree in the sporting world is thinking, ‘My whole body feels like it’s falling apart.’ It’s almost like the fitter you are at your peak, the worse the other end becomes.” I look her up on Instagram (@gorgeousfifties), and find she still looks incredible. “Be kind to yourself” sounds like a cliche, but it’s worth doing anyway.

And finally, is there anything good to be said for the experience? Meade delivers this rousing statement: “It’s a wake-up call. You’re likely to live until you’re nearly 90. How do you want it to be? How do you want to feel? Make a plan for that. It’s a reminder that you can make choices and change your life for the better. Don’t be a victim; you can fix it. I’m much fitter than I was before.”

Overall agrees: “I’m not there yet, but friends who’ve come out the other side say it’s absolutely brilliant. You don’t have to worry about periods any more, you don’t have hormonal fluctuations, you feel great. Nobody has ever said to me, ‘This is rubbish. I miss periods.’”

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The Mediterranean diet: why it could lead to a more satisfying sex life

https://amp.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/aug/25/the-mediterranean-diet-why-it-could-lead-to-a-more-satisfying-sex-life

Pass notes

Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and cutting back on red meat can counter erectile dysfunction – and reduce farting

Wed 25 Aug 2021 11.45 EDT

Name: The Mediterranean diet.

Age: Coming up for 60 years old.

Effect: Positively tumescent.

Oh no, am I going to need a sick bucket for this? Not at all. The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been well known for decades. The combination of olive oil, legumes, fruit and vegetables, and comparatively low amounts of red meat is incredibly good for the human body.

Why am I so nervous? Don’t be nervous. Observational studies have shown that this diet has any number of benefits. It has been claimed to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and dementia.

Right. Plus it could help with erectile dysfunction.

OK, see, there it is. I knew you couldn’t keep this wholesome. There is nothing wrong with a better sex life. Erectile dysfunction is thought to affect around a third of men at some point. It’s a serious condition.

And olive oil helps? It can, yes. According to research presented at this year’s European Society of Cardiology congress, men with high blood pressure are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction than their peers with normal blood pressure. And the Mediterranean diet is fantastic for lowering blood pressure.

Which can get things working downstairs again? Yes. The researchers found that men who stuck closely to the Mediterranean diet had higher coronary flow reserve (which means they were better able to increase blood flow when needed), and better erectile performance.

Wow! We should all be eating the Mediterranean diet. No, really, we should. Especially the part about red meat. The Mediterranean Diet Foundation states that you should try to eat no more than two servings of red meat a week. Not only is that better for your health, but it is also better for the environment.

This is all well and good, but I don’t enjoy sex and therefore cannot see the benefit of the Mediterranean diet. I’m glad you brought this up. What if I told you that the diet had another benefit?

I’m listening. Well, in 2014, Spanish researcher Fernando Azpiroz examined the Mediterranean diet for other benefits, and found that it can also reduce the incidence of farting by 28%.

Astonishing. It isn’t the best fart-decreaser, though. For that you have to adopt a much more regulated anti-fart diet. But nobody is going to knock 28%.

So you’re saying that people who eat the Mediterranean diet are healthier, less prone to disease, have better sex and fart almost a third less than their peers? That’s right. Out of interest, what did you have for breakfast this morning?

Three Mars bars and a steak. Well, at least that explains the smell.

Do say: “I’ll have Greek salad, please.”

Don’t say: “And a cold shower, just in case.”

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Is it time to ditch the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and put on the Buds 2?

https://www.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-buds-2-vs-samsung-galaxy-buds-plus

Feeling slimmer

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2


Samsung Galaxy Buds 2Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Still comfy

Samsung Galaxy Buds+


Samsung Galaxy Buds PlusSamsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Samsung put the Galaxy Buds 2 on a diet of sorts, and the smaller frame makes what were already comfortable earbuds feel like they’re almost not there at all. You lose out on some durability, but win with active noise cancelation and better sound to make these earbuds among the best in their class.

$150 at Amazon

Pros

  • Bolder sound
  • Effective ANC
  • Very comfortable fit
  • Good battery life
  • Nice color options

Cons

  • IPX2 rating isn’t very durable
  • Microphones are so-so
  • Finicky controls

When Samsung first launched these earbuds, it made several corrective moves that put them on par with some of the best available, thanks to improved audio quality and a big leap in battery life. They still do well in those areas, but you’ll be missing out on some newer features.

$100 at Amazon

Pros

  • Tried and true design
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Lively color options
  • More affordable price

Cons

  • Touch controls can be finicky
  • No ANC support
  • Larger case
  • Not very durable
  • Set to be discontinued

The Galaxy Buds+ started something good for Samsung when they proved the company could make good earbuds. Since then, the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Pro pushed in slightly different directions for those who needed a different look or fit. The Galaxy Buds 2 are the next step in the evolving product line, and really, the first true step for anyone interested in a pair of Samsung earbuds, but are they worth the upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Taking a step forward

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Buds Plus In Case

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Buds Plus In CaseSource: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central

Anytime you can shave 10% off a pair of earbuds and add features to them can be a winning combination. The Galaxy Buds 2 would fit right in amongst the best wireless earbuds, where design and functionality come in different forms. How they fit is so critical to how they sound, and while the Galaxy Buds+ earned a solid reputation on both counts, their successors take it all a step further.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Durability IPX2 IPX2
Bud battery life 5 hours 11 hours
Charging case battery life 20 hours (29 without ANC) 22 hours
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2 Bluetooth 5.0
Digital assistant support Bixby, Google Assistant, Siri Bixby, Google Assistant, Siri
Supported audio codecs SBC, AAC, Scalable SBC, AAC, Scalable
Speaker size 11.5 mm drivers 6 mm drivers
Active noise cancelation Yes No

One thing Samsung didn’t change, despite the slimmer form factor, is durability. The Galaxy Buds 2 are no more rugged than the Buds+ are, so if you’re thinking about rigorous workouts, plug your ears with another pair. Or consider the Galaxy Buds Pro, which have an IPX7 rating.

Battery life may seem like a big step backward, but when put into context, it’s an understandable situation. Without ANC or Ambient Sound, the Galaxy Buds+ excel at working for longer stretches because there are fewer features sipping on the battery. With those features in the Buds 2, battery life becomes far more relative. You can play audio for up to 7.5 hours with ANC off, or five hours with it on. Those numbers may not be exceptional, but they’re about where others are, especially considering their size.

The Galaxy Buds+ weren’t built for repeated charging because the (roughly) 11 hours of playback was enough for a fair bit of listening. The case offered one full recharge before you had to plug that in again, too. With the Buds 2, you can get up to four charges, though the full total is almost equal to the Buds+. Again, with the feature set in mind, it’s nice to get that much on the go, especially considering the Buds 2 have a smaller case. Samsung took the same design it had for the Buds Live and Buds Pro cases and just applied it to the Buds 2. Except for the colors and cradles, the design looks all but the same.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Pushing the needle forward

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Buds Plus Overhead

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Buds Plus OverheadSource: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central

Samsung didn’t delve into great detail over the drivers and woofers inside the Galaxy Buds 2, but they are clearly different from their predecessors. In fact, they have more in common with the Buds Pro with punchy bass and addtional crispness. Both pairs were tastefully designed, but what makes the Buds 2 feel more reliable is that it’s easier to get a good seal with them. The earbud fit test in the Galaxy Wearable app might be a good place to start.

Wireless earbuds sometimes live and die by how much you can seal in the audio coming out of them. It’s what lets the bass thump and it adds something extra to a track. That feather-like approach clearly carried over from the Buds+ to the Buds 2, except with a 10% smaller frame per bud, it’s not going to be as difficult to find a comfortable fit. There are three sizes of silicone ear tips, though I do wonder how well foam tips would do with earbuds like these. They provide a truly tight seal conforming to your ear shape, and could make the whole experience of wearing feel even lighter.

Wireless earbuds sometimes live and die by how much you can seal in the audio coming out of them.

It’s just a shame Samsung continues to avoid going beyond the six EQ presets you get in the Galaxy Wearable app. They’re not bad, but if you don’t like any of them, you’re out of luck on customizing them to your liking. In that regard, neither pair has an advantage, since Samsung merely carried on with the same approach.

It matters if you tend to veer away from the standard EQ settings that tend to amp up bass and treble while keeping mids steady. For most modern music, it may be just what your ears want, but if it isn’t, you have to hope one of the other presets produces the best results for you. Since the Galaxy Buds 2 sound better, you come at all this with an inherent advantage off the bat wearing those earbuds.

Samsung also made big strides in call quality when it launched the Galaxy Buds+, though I’m not entirely sure it took a big leap with the Galaxy Buds 2. Samsung didn’t put the same microphones in these earbuds that it equipped in the Buds Pro, and the results do show over time. The biggest example is when talking with noise in the background. Noise reduction tech, coupled with software regulating the feature, can’t go quite as far. You’ll have no problem with calls in quieter confines, but louder spaces may pose a challenge.

Speaking of which, touch controls continue to plague Samsung on all its earbuds. The Galaxy Buds 2 join all the others in that regard. Single touches are generally fine, whereas multi-touches aren’t consistent. Moreover, when you try to adjust either earbud, you run the risk of accidentally pausing or hanging up.

And lastly, when it comes to colors, the Galaxy Buds+ came in a vibrant set that included black, white, blue, pink, red, and deep blue variants. The Galaxy Buds 2 go for a more neutral and fashion-forward look with white, graphite, olive and lavender variants.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Which should you choose?

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Review

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ReviewSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Samsung already announced that it’s discontinuing the Galaxy Buds+. That means it will stop manufacturing them, while retailers will sell off remaining inventory, so good deals and lower prices are around the corner. They should still get some firmware updates going forward, but that’s not a guarantee, so while they may seem like a bargain, you may not get more for your money in the long run.

After all, the Galaxy Buds 2 already feel like a good deal, despite costing more. They bring some of what the Buds Pro had and apply them in ways that are easy to like, making them worth the upgrade. Good sound and easy comfort are a must for wireless earbuds, and with decent battery life to go with that, it’s hard to look away from these earbuds considering what you get.

The newer pair


Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Buds Only Dynamic WhiteSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Buds Only Dynamic White

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

The new default

Samsung takes its latest entry-level true wireless earbuds up a notch by focusing on a solid combo of performance and comfort. If you want some of the newest features, they’re certainly worth the upgrade.

The older pair


Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus BlackSamsung Galaxy Buds Plus Black

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Still kicking

They’ve now been replaced, but they’re not obsolete, and that’s why the Galaxy Buds+ are still solid earbuds.

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Analysis: Higher U.S. food benefits give legs to dollar stores fresh food push – Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/higher-us-food-benefits-give-legs-dollar-stores-fresh-food-push-2021-08-25/

CHICAGO, Aug 25 (Reuters) – U.S. dollar stores including Dollar General and Family Dollar are likely to see a sales and earnings boost from the Biden administration’s plan to hike food stamp benefits, an added payoff for the chains’ strategy to tap the $274 billion fresh food market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said last week that as part of a plan to promote a more nutritious diet among Americans, it is raising average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by more than 25% versus pre-pandemic levels.

In a $1 trillion food-at-home industry, the additional payout is expected to potentially add about $6 billion of increased funding to shoppers’ wallets starting in October, analysts at Evercore said.

Under the new rules, average monthly benefits, $121 per person before the pandemic, will rise by $36. All 42 million people in the program will receive additional aid.

With the additional $36, “you would expect they would buy more things like meat, fish, fruits and vegetables because those are high-priced items that tend to be responsive to income changes,” said Joe Glauber, former USDA chief economist and a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Dollar stores count on low-income shoppers, and welfare checks tend to drive sales. In the pandemic, sales have skyrocketed with the help of shoppers benefiting from stimulus money, food stamps, child tax credits and higher wages in a tight labor market.

A Dollar General store in Norridge, Chicago sells 30-cent bunches of bananas and charges 75 cents for a lemon. This compares to a single banana that costs 27 cents at a Kroger-owned (KR.N) Mariano’s store in a similar neighborhood in Chicago, where lemons cost 89 cents each.

A GREAT POSITION

“They (dollar stores) are going to have a tremendous benefit from this step-up in government support,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia Business School and former chief executive of Sears Canada. “It plays perfectly into the hands of their existing customer base, who now will have more money to spend.”

Dollar stores run thousands of outlets that are walking distance from shoppers who use government assistance to buy food.

“We do well when she (the customer) has a little extra money to spend … Now if things start to more normalize and/or go the other way, then we’re in a great position as well because she needs us even more,” Dollar General Chief Executive Officer Todd Vasos said at an industry conference in June.

In securities filings, the company flags the importance of SNAP to its earnings. Both Dollar General (DG.N) and Dollar Tree (DLTR.O), which declined to comment, will report earnings on Thursday.

If SNAP recipients have more to spend, they’re more likely to buy more expensive food at dollar stores like fresh items that require refrigeration, Scott Vinson, the National Retail Federation’s vice president for government relations, food and energy policy, said.

Still, not everyone trusts dollar stores for fresh produce, especially with big retailers such as Walmart and Target bolstering their offerings.

“I just don’t like the quality of it…I feel produce would be better at other places so I never really looked here, to be honest with you,” said Laura, 56, an accountant from Harwood Heights, Chicago who was loading up her cart with packaged food at the Norridge store.

Reporting by Richa Naidu and Aishwarya Venugopal; Editing by Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Number of people with dementia set to jump 40% to 78 mln by 2030 -WHO – Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/number-people-with-dementia-set-jump-40-78-mln-by-2030-who-2021-09-02/

  • More than 55 million people living with dementia – report
  • Prevalence on rise, set to affect 78 million by 2030
  • Risk factors include diet, hypertension, depression

GENEVA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – More than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia, a neurological disorder that robs them of their memory and costs the world $1.3 trillion a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

The progressive condition can be caused by stroke, brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease. With populations ageing, the number of sufferers is projected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050, the WHO said in a report.

Only one in four countries has a national policy in place to support dementia patients and their families, it said, urging governments to step up to the public health challenge.

“Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence and dignity, but it also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.

“The world is failing people with dementia, and that hurts all of us,” he said.

Health ministers agreed in 2015 on a global action plan, including early diagnosis and providing care, but are falling short on meeting targets by 2025, it said.

A man visits his wife at a care facility for elderly people with dementia in a glass house that has been built to combat loneliness   after a visit ban was imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Wassenaar, Netherlands, April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
A man visits his wife at a care facility for elderly people with dementia in a glass house that has been built to combat loneliness after a visit ban was imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Wassenaar, Netherlands, April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

“Dementia truly is a global public health concern and not just in high-income countries. In fact, over 60% of people with dementia live in low- and middle-income countries,” Katrin Seeher, an expert in WHO’s department of mental health, told a news briefing.

Medication, hygiene products and household adjustments for dementia patients are more accessible in wealthy countries, which have a greater level of reimbursement than in lower-income countries, the report said.

Dementia affects memory, orientation, learning capacity, language, judgement, and the ability to perform everyday tasks.

Seeher noted that dementia can also affect people aged below 65, with so-called young-onset dementia accounting for around 10% of all dementia cases.

But developing dementia is not inevitable and some risk factors can be reduced, by controlling hypertension, diabetes, diet, depression, and the use of alcohol and tobacco, the WHO said.

“These are the things that we can do to promote our brain health and decrease the cognitive decline and the risk for dementia. These are things that can be started at a younger age,” said WHO expert Tarun Dua.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries With Your Fitness Tracker

https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-set-healthy-boundaries-wearable-fitness-tracker/

Halevy says fitness trackers can help gauge our health, but “numbers only give us part of the story.”

The other part of the story is analyzing how you feel in your day-to-day life.

“I definitely think that they’re beneficial for you to know how much effort you’re putting in, or it’s encouraging to see, like, ‘Oh, I did this amount last week,’ right? And then, ‘Oh, this week I did a hundred more steps,’ that’s super encouraging. But I think where the slippery slope happens is when you’re only motivated by that alone and not about how it makes you feel, or about how maybe you lowered your cholesterol or how you slept better because you walked those extra hundred steps,” Murdock says.

“It should really be about overall wellness, mind, and body.”

Be Kind to Yourself

“No day is the same,” Murdock explains. “There may be a full week of interviews or deadlines or whatever, and you’re not meeting those goals.”

She recommends you don’t punish yourself for not meeting those fitness goals by overexercising or undereating. “That’s where it can become toxic.”

Spada says that when she struggles with a bad body image day or bad feelings about her fitness, she asks herself three questions:

  1. Am I nourishing myself?
  2. Am I moving my body out of respect for it?
  3. Am I resting?

“And if I am choosing to intentionally rest, and I’m doing the joyful movement and nourishing my body, well, then I can only thank my body for what it’s doing for me. Otherwise, I’m not really in control of how my body changes … Those are the only things I’m in control of.”

Know When to Take It Off

If you find yourself feeling bad or anxious when wearing a fitness tracker, it’s OK to take it off.

Murdock says that recognizing those feelings is half the battle, and they can be caused by a number of different things: an eating disorder, past trauma, fatphobia, and pressure and messaging from society about diet culture and “wellness.” And if you do reflect on how your tracker is making you feel and discover that it’s become unhealthy, Murdock suggests you take a break from wearing one.

During that break, she says, ask yourself: “Do I need this all the time? Do I just need a break for a reset? Do I need it at all?”

“I think that that will help you figure out the next step you want to take with your tracker, whether you continue to use it or not, or maybe opt for a different one,” Murdock says.

Halevy says a family member of his became unhealthily obsessed with a fitness and nutrition tracking app.

“It very quickly became, hands down, the most-used app on her phone,” Halevy says. “And she realized that she was getting stressed out—actually experiencing stress—about what she was seeing.”

Halevy’s advice to his family member was similar to his approach to recovering from his own substance abuse: Count the small victories. Delete the app for the next meal, for a few hours, or for a day at a time to regain some control.

“That’s enough to start that process knowing that if you really want to, you can always put the strap back on, the app can be downloaded, all of those things are there,” Halevy says. “But just starting with that next one, I find it to be a very valuable approach.”

Halevy acknowledges that it can be incredibly difficult, because not using them “makes us feel like we’re giving up this valuable thing because it has our data in there.”

Spada also encourages anyone who is experiencing negative emotions with a fitness tracker to seek professional help, “because oftentimes, the things that we’re doing are really just the symptoms.”

“You can take off the fitness tracker, sure, but are you really addressing the main concern? If not, it’s going to manifest in other ways,” she says.


More Great WIRED Stories

When did humans start wearing clothes? Discovery in a Moroccan cave sheds some light

https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/16/africa/clothing-bone-tools-morocco-scn/index.html

Fur, leather and other organic materials generally aren’t preserved, especially beyond 100,000 years ago. However, researchers say 62 bone tools used to process and smooth animal skins found in a cave in Morocco may be some of the earliest proxy evidence for clothing in the archaeological record. The tools are between 90,000 and 120,000 years old.

“I wasn’t expecting to find them. I was studying this assemblage initially to look at the animal bones to reconstruct the human diet,” said Emily Yuko Hallett, a postdoctoral scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History’s Pan African Evolution Research Group.

“And when I was going through them — there were around 12,000 animal bones — I started to notice these bones that had a very different shape. It wasn’t a natural shape. And they had sheen on them, and they were shiny, and they had striations (grooves or scratches) on them,” said Hallett, who was an author of a study on the findings that published Thursday in the journal iScience.

Unlike the bones discarded after consuming an animal for food, bones used regularly by human hands gain a sheen and polish.

Scientists want to resurrect the woolly mammoth. They just got $15 million to make it happen Scientists want to resurrect the woolly mammoth. They just got $15 million to make it happen

She also found a pattern of cut marks on other bones in the cave that suggested the humans who lived there were removing the skins of carnivores such as sand foxes, golden jackals and wildcats, for their furs. The bones of cattle-like animals showed different markings, suggesting they were processed for meat.

“I’m most excited about the skinning marks on the carnivores, because I haven’t seen this pattern described before. And my hope is that archaeologists working in much older sites also start looking for this pattern,” she said.

It’s challenging to figure out when the use of clothing began. It’s highly likely early humans like Neanderthals that lived in cold climates long before Homo sapiens arrived on the scene had clothing to protect themselves from the extreme weather, but there’s not much hard evidence.

Genetic studies of lice indicate that clothing lice diverged from their human head louse ancestors at least 83,000 years ago and possibly as early as 170,000 years ago, which suggests humans were wearing clothes before major migrations out of Africa.
These ancient climate change events helped early humans migrate across the Arabian desertThese ancient climate change events helped early humans migrate across the Arabian desert
Hallett said that one of 98 400,000-year-old tools made from elephant bone and recently discovered in Italy may have been used to smooth leather. They were likely used by Neanderthals. Eyed needles emerge in the archaeological record much later, about 40,000 years ago.

The bone tools from Morocco that Hallett discovered were shaped a bit like a spatula and would have been used to remove connective tissue. Similar bone tools are still used by some leather workers today, Hallett said.

Hides drying in the sun at Chouara Tannery in Fez, Morocco. Bone tools are still used by some leather workers today. Hides drying in the sun at Chouara Tannery in Fez, Morocco. Bone tools are still used by some leather workers today.

“The reason people like using these tools is that they don’t pierce the skin, and so you’re left with an intact skin,” she said.

The bone tools were found in Contrebandiers Cave on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Hallett said the climate 120,000 years ago would have been mild, as it is now, raising the possibility that early clothes could have been for ornamentation as well as protection. Stone Age fashionistas, anyone?

“There’s really no extreme temperatures or extreme climate conditions there in the past or today. So that makes me wonder was clothing strictly utilitarian or was it symbolic or was it a little bit of both?”

Royal DSM nutrition deal aids slow motion breakup – Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/breakingviews/royal-dsm-nutrition-deal-aids-slow-motion-breakup-2021-09-03/

Angelo Simeone, the owner of a family-run dairy farm in the southern Italian town of Fasano, is seen during the lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Fasano, Italy April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Dutch Royal DSM(DSMN.AS) is slow-cooking a transformation. The 30 billion euro chemicals company is buying First Choice Ingredients, valuing the dairy-based savoury flavourings business at $453 million, including debt. That’s almost 20 times an estimated adjusted 2021 EBITDA, in line with peer Corbion (CORB.AS). The U.S. company flogs enzymes and cultures-based flavourings – an idea likely to be popular with proponents of “clean” food.

It also helps DSM’s efforts to focus on nutrition while slowly cutting materials, which contributed around a fifth of net sales in the first half, from its diet. Last year the company sold its resins and functional materials businesses to Covestro (1COV.DE) for 1.6 billion euros. This makes sense. Stuff like thermoplastics has limited synergies with perishables. Industry leader Givaudan (GIVN.S) trades at almost 30 times forward EBITDA compared to DSM’s 17 times, according to Refinitiv. Finalising its breakup could boost DSM’s valuation. (By Dasha Afanasieva)

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Novak Djokovic Tries to End 52-Year Grand Slam Drought at U.S. Open

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/12/sports/tennis/as-novak-djokovic-faces-history-he-tries-to-block-it-out.html

Djokovic was not always a rock. Early in his career, he had a reputation for taking frequent injury timeouts and retiring from matches. In 2008 at the U.S. Open, the American star Andy Roddick mocked Djokovic at a news conference by reciting a mostly fictional laundry list of his ailments, including both ankles, “a back and a hip, cramp, bird flu, anthrax, SARS, common cough and cold.”

Was Djokovic bluffing during matches?

Roddick demurred. “If it’s there, it’s there,” he said. “There’s just a lot. He’s either quick to call a trainer, or he’s the most courageous guy of all time. I think it’s up for you guys to decide.”

That exchange seems like ancient history. Djokovic addressed his endurance issues and breathing difficulties with two surgeries for a deviated septum and a shift in 2010 to a gluten-free, largely plant-based diet.

He became an ironman, and more than a decade later, the younger set still cannot keep up. After he defeated Zverev, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, Djokovic’s record in five-set matches was a phenomenal 36-10.

The last man who can stop the Grand Slam is Medvedev, 25, a lean and trilingual Russian who is ranked No. 2 and is at his best on hardcourts.

He lost the 2019 U.S. Open final in five sets to Nadal, and Medvedev’s sparkling form at the start of this season had many expecting another classic match when he faced Djokovic in the Australian Open final.

Instead, Djokovic won, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, breaking Medvedev’s game and spirit after a close first set. But Medvedev, who has won 14 of his last 15 matches, has had a more restful journey to the final in New York than Djokovic, dropping just one set to Djokovic’s six.