The report is as sad as it is horrifying.
A child bride forced into marriage in Nigeria has been accused of killing her much older groom and three of his friends by poisoning their meals with rat poison.
The 14-year-old girl, Wasila Umaru, was married to the 35-year-old man last week.
Although she told authorities she was forced into the betrothal, Wasila will likely be charged with culpable homicide for the incident that took place last weekend.
“The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love,” Assistant Superintendent Musa Magaji Majia said.
While shocking, Wasila’s story is far from uncommon.
According to the International Center for Research on Women, one-third of the world’s girls are married before they turn 18. One in nine will be married off before she turns 15.
Child marriage is most common in Nigeria and other African nations, particularly in drought years when a child bride can bring much needed money and decrease the number of mouths for a poor family to feed.
These flows represent 75% of human migration from 2005-2010. (NB only flows over 50,000 are displayed.) Circos/ Krzywinski, M. et al.
It’s no secret that the world’s population is on the move, but it’s rare to get a glimpse of where that flow is happening. In a study released in today’s Science, a team of geographers used data snapshots to create a broad analysis of global migrations over 20 years.
The study was conducted by three geographic researchers from the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. The researchers presented their data in five-year increments, from 1990 to 2010. Their research is unique, because it turned static census counts from over 150 countries into a dynamic flow of human traffic.
Migration data is counted in two ways: Stock and flow. “The stocks are the number of migrants living in a country,” says Nikola Sander, one of the study’s authors. Stock is relatively easy to get—you just count who is in the country at a given point of time. Flow is trickier. It’s the rate of human traffic over time.
Keeping accurate account of where people are moving has stymied the UN, and researchers and policy-makers in general, for a while. The European Union keeps good track of migrant flows, but elsewhere the data are sparse. Static measurements are plentiful, but it is hard to use them to get a picture of how people are moving on a broad scale, because each country has its own methodology for collecting census data.
Many minimum wage workers have no bank account, and rely on check cashing offices to get cash, pay bills and wire money to relatives abroad. Contrary to what social scientists believe, these workers prefer check cashing services over banks, because banks do not offer them the services they need, a researcher at The New School in New York City has found.
For example, if a worker deposits her paycheck on Friday in a checking account, she can’t spend that money until Monday or Tuesday. If she instead visits a check cashing service, the money is available immediately, and she can pay her bills at the same time.
The video is about 15 minutes long. Toward the end, Prof. Lisa Servon notes that the spending power of low-wage workers has declined dramatically since 1968, which makes it even harder for them to save money in a bank account.
More: Why the Working Poor and Banks Are a Bad Match - American Banker
The first one on the list is “A Shocking Amount of Medical Research Is Complete Bulls***.” The article gets progressively bleak from there.
Last spring, my half-sister Michele called me concerned about her 21-year-old daughter’s mental health, as she’d had several bouts of depression and it appeared another one was coming on. This time, Michele was eager to get in touch with her daughter’s therapist before their next meeting. She had some new—and potentially treatment-altering—information.
“Her tests came back,” Michele told me. “Turns out she’s got a MTHFR-gene mutation. We’re waiting to find out which kind.” This was not a conversation anyone would have had 10 years ago, and it’s not one that many are having now. But if personalized, gene-based medicine keeps expanding into the brain sciences, it might be.
Michele, who works as a medical researcher in Australia, may know more than the average parent about the potential of genetics in treating psychiatric conditions. She had read studies that a mutation in the MTHFR gene may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders. Depending on the variation of the mutation, it could also signify which medications are most useful—with some studies recommending folate supplements instead of, or in addition to, antidepressants.
psychiatrist and Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology, David Nutt, argues for the legalization of controlled substances for Brain research.
Or is it time for scientists and doctors to change the rules so research and clinical treatments can flourish? Image Courtesy of Pixabay/OpenClips
Imagine being an astronomer in a world where the telescope was banned. This effectively happened in the 1600s when, for over 100 years, the Catholic Church prohibited access to knowledge of the heavens in a vain attempt to stop scientists proving that the earth was not the center of the universe. ‘Surely similar censorship could never happen today,’ I hear you say—but it does in relation to the use of drugs to study the brain. Scientists and doctors are banned from studying many hundreds of drugs because of outdated United Nations charters dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the banned drugs include cannabis, psychedelics and MDMA (now widely known as ecstasy).
Researchers have published two studies indicating that good teachers have a far greater influence on students than just their test scores. Good teachers raise their students’ earning potential.
There are other effects, as well.
Unsurprisingly, exposure to better teachers is associated with an increased probability of attending university and, among pupils who go on to university, with attendance at better ones, as well as with higher earnings. Somewhat more unexpectedly, good teachers also seem to reduce odds of teenage pregnancy and raise participation in retirement-savings plans. Effects seem to be stronger for girls than for boys, and English teachers have a longer-lasting influence on their pupils’ futures than maths teachers.
I suspect the greater influence of English teachers results from the wider use of reading and writing skills than math skills in most jobs, rather than the intrinsic usefulness of either subject.
This is fantastic news if these researchers can develop a viable vaccine for humans.*
There have been numerous studies showing how dogs can benefit human health, by sniffing out cancer, for example. Now it is time for cats to shine, as researchers say they may hold the key to a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine.
Researchers from the University of Florida and the University of California, San Francisco, have discovered that blood from patients infected with HIV shows an immune response against a feline AIDS virus protein.
Janet Yamamoto, professor of retroviral immunology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida and corresponding study author, told Medical News Today:
“Since FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and HIV-1 are distant cousins and their sequences are similar, we used the T cells from HIV positive human subjects to see if they can react and induce anti-HIV activity to small regions of FIV protein, which lead to the current story.”
The team’s findings are published in the Journal of Virology. […]
*Based on a quick check via Google & Wikipedia, Medical News Today appears to be a legitimate medical news site.
Virologists at China’s National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory have been hybridizing H5N1 (bird flu) with the H1N1 human influenza strain that caused a flu pandemic in 2009.
The stated reason is to study hybrid strains that might emerge in the wild. However, the research has been criticised for being of little value in the monitoring of new viral strains as they emerge OR in the development of vaccines.
Other virologists have raised serious concerns about this, going so far as to call the research “apallingingly irresponsible”. There are fears that such lab-created strains could themselves lead to pandemics with a very high fatality rate. Apparently “The record of containment in labs like this is not reassuring”.
I should add that I’m very far being anti-science or anti-research. In fact, I’m a health professional working in research, and also hold a science degree, in microbiology of all things. However, in this case it seems to be a case of taking a lot of risk (in the sense of high consequence, if not neccessarily high probability) for very little benefit.
Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.
Myriad Genetics, a Utah biotechnology company, discovered and isolated two genes — BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 — that are highly associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad patented its discovery, giving it a 20-year monopoly over use of the genes for research, diagnostics and treatment. A group of researchers, medical groups and patients sued, challenging the patent as invalid.
There is no way to overstate the importance of this case to the future of science and medicine. In the view of Myriad and its supporters in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, patents are the keys to making these medical discoveries possible. Their opponents, including leading medical groups and Nobel Prize-winning scientists, contend that Myriad’s patent improperly puts a lock on research and medical diagnostic testing.
The U.S. patent system, authorized in the Constitution, gives temporary economic incentives to inventors to advance science. The general rules of the patent system have been established in statutes and Supreme Court case law for over 150 years. You can’t patent a product of nature or a law of nature. It doesn’t matter that the task was difficult or costly. Nature is immune to patents. So, even though it may have taken Einstein a long time to figure out that E=mc2, he couldn’t have patented that law of nature.