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Stone Age Figurines Discovered in Israel Near Jerusalem

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Stone Age Figurines

Israeli archeologists have discovered two Stone Age figurines on a road connecting Jerusalem with Tel Aviv. The statuettes, which were found during a survey before a planned widening of the highway, are estimated to be between 9,000 and 9,500 years old.

The discovery of the 15 centimeter objects may help shape understanding about religion and society during the Stone Age.  These objects would have been made during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, when human societies began to make the transition to a sedentary life based on farming and grazing, compared to the nomadic model of hunting and gathering.

Mankind also began to inhabit permanent settlements and developed more complex living structures. Other excavations in the region have shown that that by the Neolithic period, inhabitants had developed the engineering capabilities to build two-story buildings.

The figurines were discovered near a large round building where the foundation was made of field stones and parts of the upper walls were made of mud bricks.

The first figurine is made of limestone and is crafted in the shape of a ram with twisted horns.

“The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely depicts details of the animal’s image; the head and the horns protrude in front of the body and their proportions are extremely accurate,” Anna Eirikh and Hamoudi Khalaily, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said in a statement.

The second statue is an abstract design of a large animal with prominent horns that come from the middle of the head in way that resembles a wild bovine or buffalo. The horns separate the elongated body from the head.

The archeologists who unearthed the limestone and dolomite figurines believe they may have been good luck talismans for hunters or possibly representations of animal domestication. In their press release, they note the objects “may have been the focus of a traditional ceremony the hunters performed.”

Dr. Khalaily adds, “It is known that hunting was the major activity in this period. Presumably, the figurines served as good-luck statues for ensuring the success of the hunt and might have been the focus of a traditional ceremony the hunters performed before going out into the field to pursue their prey.”

The excavation, which was funded by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, was conducted at Tel Motza. The area has already been the source of several Stone Age artifacts associated with funeral rites and religious rituals.

“The figurines that were discovered in the current excavations at Tel Moza join other unique finds that were previously exposed at this site. We can conclude from these artifacts that the site at Tel Moza was most likely the largest of its kind in the mountainous region around Jerusalem,” the archaeologist said.

Environmentalist. Consumer Tech Journalist. Science Explorer. And, a dreamer. I've been contributing informative news content since 2010. Follow me on all socials!

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Animals

Dogs’ Paw-erful Sense Of Smell Can Detect Cancer

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Dogs' Sense of Smell can detect cancer
Photo: Everton Yamamoto | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Dogs won’t be known as the man’s best friend if they haven’t been helpful to humans in so many ways. German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are very reliable in crime scenes, fact-finding missions or rescue operations, tracking wanted criminals and finding explosives before they detonate, and so as its other kinds.

According to Bustle.com‘s JR Thorpe, owning a dog can be useful for one’s physical and mental health. They can boost a human’s oxytocin levels just by staring at their eyes; they can help with depression, increase their owner’s immune system, provide stress relief, and can maintain lower blood pressure.

Dogs are again making tons of positive impact on human lives; they can now smell illnesses in humans. Trained dogs can sniff diseases like cancer release microscopic chemical particles before they are seen in blood tests.

The research revealed that dogs could smell cancer in the blood. The study, executed at BioScentDx Lab, revealed an astonishing 96.7% precision among trained dogs. The result was presented during the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Four beagles were used to test whether a dog’s sense of smell can detect blood samples with cancer using blood from healthy and lung cancer patients. Three dogs were able to recognize cancerous blood samples 96.7% and 97.5 for healthy blood samples.

This research is interesting since it leads to two paths, which can both lead to modern cancer detection tools. First, canine scent detection can be used as a screening method for cancers. Second, the biologic compounds that the dogs detect can be recognized, and cancer screening tests can be created based on it.

The study can result in future cancer detection and turning the method into something that is more safer and less expensive, says lead researcher, Heather Junqueira. Based on their website, it only costs $50. Further, Junqueira highlighted the possibilities of dogs in assisting in detecting other illnesses aside from cancer faster.

Previous studies proved that dogs can sniff cancer even though it was still in its very early stages. Last 2017, a trained golden retriever and pit bull mix can recognize the existence of lung cancer via breath samples with an incredible precision rate. In 2013, trained dogs can detect breast cancer via blood samples with 97% precision. Lastly, in 2011, Marine – a black Labrador – was able to detect colon cancer with 97% accuracy.

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, there are various medical technologies used to detect cancer, but the method used depends on the type of disease and the patient needs.

Overall, there are four diagnostic evaluation categories, such as diagnostic imaging tests, diagnostic procedures, lab tests, and tumor markers. But, cancer diagnosis and treatment are known to be extremely expensive.

Recently, approved cancer drugs usually cost $10,000 monthly, and some therapies cost more than $30,000 per month.

This study can help people with less financial resources to gain access to a new cancer detection procedure, which is also non-invasive. Cancer diagnosis, at its earliest stages, provides the patient with the best chance for a cure.

A biopsy is the only definitive way to diagnose cancer. During the biopsy, a part of the tumor or lump is removed for the medical staff to evaluate whether it is malignant (cancerous) or benign (not harmful). But taking a biopsy includes risks such as bleeding or infection. If the taken lump is discovered to be malignant, cancer can spread faster.

Currently, Junquera and her team are testing if dogs can sniff cancer in breath condensate of breast cancer patients. When breast cancer research is conducted, some participants donated breath samples to be screened by the top cancer-sniffing dogs.

But, Junquera mentioned, that the dog cancer screenings are not supposed to take the place of doctor’s checkup or health examinations, also known as Mammograms – even though cancer currently has no cure. Prevention is always better than cure and is the best option that any patient can choose from to survive.

An early cancer diagnosis can save lives and can significantly cut treatment costs. An extremely delicate cancer detecting test has the potential to save thousands of people and can change the manner/process of cancer treatment.

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Environment

England Moves To Ban Plastic By April 2020

England is enforcing a ban on plastic straws, cotton buds, and stirrers in April 2020 to mitigate problems relating to plastic pollution in the ocean. Click To Tweet

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Turning the tide on plastic pollution | Photo From: Cardiff University

England Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, confirmed in a statement that the UK would be making its fair share in environmental protection by banning plastic in the country by April 2020. The UK government will ban plastic straws, cue tips with plastics handles, and stirrers all over the country, however, with some exceptions.

Plastic straws will remain available for individuals with disabilities and medical purposes. Therefore, plastic straws will be made available through registered pharmacies who can sell them over the counter or through online.

Moreover, restaurants, pubs, and bars are also allowed to keep a stock that will be readily available to customers upon request. Notably, establishments cannot publicly display plastic straws and will now serve coffee without stirrers.

Annually, England uses an approximate of 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million stirrers, an 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cue tips, the statement said. About 10% of cue tips used ends up getting flushed down the toilet and into the oceans.

In contrast, a public consultation held by the government showed that over 80% of respondents back a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, 90% a ban on drinks stirrers, and 89% a ban on cotton buds, which led to the ban on plastic.

Companies choose to work with plastic since it is a cheap and versatile material to use. As a society, we have grown dependent on plastic as a universal tool that functions as a disposable form of general materials. We can see this through plastic bags for our groceries or the plastic spoon and fork you use when you’re on a camping trip. It’s also present in a lot of practical uses such as in household appliances, in your car, and basically, everywhere you go.

But the kind of plastic that the UK government is eyeing to ban is specific to the environmental impact these objects create, which are the senseless single-use plastics that continues to pump itself endlessly in the market.

Moreover, the idea of plastic being ‘disposable’ is a double-edged sword: people can use them without having to worry about its worth, while the other end of the spectrum acknowledges that because it’s known to be disposable and cheap, we can buy, use, throw, and repeat without consideration.

We have been desensitized of the impacts of our small actions to the rest of the world. We tend to think that a single piece of plastic can’t hurt but don’t seem to consider that if all of the 7 billion people believe the same way, that would also result to 7 billion pieces of plastic out in the streets or into the ocean.

In the case of plastics, they don’t decompose quickly like materials made from natural resources such as paper and wood-based materials. They often take decades to disappear naturally but only needs seconds to pollute, harm, and possibly kill the entire ecosystem.

It is estimated that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans, and every year, one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste. A recent report estimates that plastics in the sea is set to triple by 2025 – unless human societies make actions to prevent it from happening.

“Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life. So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations,” Secretary Gove said in a statement.

Although plastic straws, cue tips, and stirrers hardly make a portion that’s polluting the ocean, it’s still a significant step into the fight against single-use plastic. With the growing movement in support of being more responsible with our footprint in the environment, the England government’s latest announcement solidifies and strengthens the cause.

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Health

Recent Study Discovered CBD Helps Fight Against Heroin Addiction

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CBD Oil. | Photo From: Medical News Today

The legalization of cannabis across some states promises to bring medicinal properties that can help alleviate ailments such as anxiety, depression, and popularly, some cases of Parkinson’s disease.

However, a part of making it legal also enable people to make subjective ailments such as depression and anxiety a reason to purchase the drug and get ‘high.’

Popularly, cannabis has been told to be a gateway drug that allows a person to test the waters before proceeding to something stronger. Ironically, a new study shows that cannabis has the possibility of reversing the effects of addiction.

Researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York announced that CBD oil helps limit particular cravings and help reduce anxiety for heroin users.

The cannabidiol or CBD is a compound extracted from Cannabis plant that has shown significant potential as a form of medication. Moreover, CBD does not interact with any receptors that causes a person to get high.

“To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a nonintoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals,” said lead study author Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai in a statement.

Particularly, Hurd indicates the American opioid epidemic that took the lives of 300,00 people and will continue to do so unless people find ways to address the problem. Hurd tells NBC, “We’re too slow to address addiction in our society. When the flu comes up and the measles comes up, we have so many people trying to help. But we don’t have the same kind of urgency with addiction.”

Primarily, drug addiction is a very tricky and challenging area to study due to every individual’s varying attitudes and behaviors towards drug use. It’s even harder when they’re trying to perform the study on a hundred people through the course of a number of weeks.

Moreover, there is the risk of exposing the participants in a possible case of a relapse. It is known that the hardest part of getting off heroin addiction isn’t the physical longing for the drug. Particularly, medications like methadone and buprenorphine are available to help target the same pathways opioids take to relieve the physical longing.

Sometimes the most challenging part with addiction is avoiding the risk of a relapse. Working around relapse-tense situations is like walking on thin ice. They can be triggered by emotions, sounds, and anything that addicts could associate with their drug use and cause them to suddenly and instinctively crave the drug to alleviate the anxiety. This is where the study shows to have great promise.

Researchers found out that participants who received CBD administration significantly showed reductions in drug cravings. Further, the same participants showed lesser symptoms of anxiety when images of people taking drugs were shown. Moreover, they’ve discovered that CBD had a lasting effect on reducing drug cravings and anxiety, and extending well over when the CBD was supposedly flushed out of the system.

The study could potentially aim at addressing the anxiety factor in drug addiction therapy, which is currently lacking in the industry.

The research consisted of a small group of 42 drug-abstinent men and women aged from 21 to 65 years old who had a history with heroin disorder. They gave half of the participants 400mg or 800mg of CBD oil once daily and the other half with a placebo. The study then experimented on three separate occasions: immediately following administration, 24 hours after CBD or placebo administration, and seven days after the third and final daily CBD or placebo administration.

However, the study is still at its early stages of development, and further investigation is required to fully claim that CBD has anything to do with the results shown. It still is a possibility that other factors may have contributed to the positive findings of the study or, even an entirely different set of external factors.

On the positive side, this is a great breakthrough study that could potentially open the door for more research on alleviating anxiety related to drug abuse, and potentially close the doors on risks of future relapse scenarios.

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