What we’re reading
Costs of Treating Pneumonia Will More Than Double By 2025
By The Conference Board of Canada
Due to rising health care costs and an aging population, the number of hospitalizations and the total cost of treating pneumonia is expected to rise dramatically by 2025, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.
The Economic Burden of Pneumonia in Canada estimates the total number of pneumonia cases requiring hospitalization will nearly double to 49,424 in 2025, while the annual total direct health care cost of treating the disease will more than double to over $532.2 million by 2025.
To ease the inevitable economic burden the increasing number of cases will create, the report includes calls for vaccinating children, seniors, and other vulnerable and high-risk populations against common causes of pneumonia.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Cells become more efficient after going through stress by eating unwanted body tissue
By Daisy Dunne
New research from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute could help explain why brief bodily stresses — going to the sauna or for a run, for example — are good for health and longevity. According to the study, the cellular recycling process called autophagy is key for extending lifespan and critical to the benefits of temporary stress. Autophagy recycles cells’ old, broken, or unneeded molecular parts so that their components can be re-used to make new molecules or be burned for energy.
“We used C. elegans—tiny roundworms used to study fundamental biology—to test the importance of autophagy in becoming stress resistant,” says Dr. Caroline Kumsta, lead researcher.
As part of their experiment, the researchers tested two groups of worms. The first group of worms were able to undergo autophagy as normal, while the other group had been biologically engineered to stop their self-eating abilities.
The researchers discovered that a stressful heat shock early in life helped the worms cope with the symptoms of the diseases later in their life cycle. These results may be relevant to the treatment of Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
A New Physics Discovery Could Make You A Faster Runner
By Sarah DiGiulio
Researchers have devised a new model they say could predict how fast an athlete will run and could make anyone a faster runner. The new equation, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, calculates two forces: The total force of the shin, ankle and foot striking the ground, and the total force of the rest of the body striking the ground.
“We’ve known for quite some time that fast people are fast because they’re able to hit the ground harder in relation to how much they weigh,” explained the study’s co-author, Peter Weyand, director of the Locomotor Performance Laboratory at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. But Weyand and his team were looking to better understand why it was that some people are able to hit the ground harder than others.
This new equation makes the answer a lot clearer with fewer measurements than previous models. Eventually, for athletic training and some aspects of rehab, the research means runners will be able to get higher-quality feedback on their strides much less expensively than they can now. It may help injured runners recover faster, too.
Nestle touts new technology to reduce sugar in chocolate
By Martinne Geller
Nestle, the world’s largest packaged food group, says it has devised a new technology that has the potential to reduce sugar in some of its confectionery products by up to 40 per cent without affecting the taste.
“Our scientists have discovered a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient,” says the company’s chief technology officer, Stefan Catsicas. The company’s researchers claim to have found a way of hollowing out sugar particle crystals, allowing them to dissolve more quickly on the tongue. The result—less sugar can be used in chocolate.