One in three families don't have enough computers for kids' learning
One third of families are struggling with home schooling because they simply do not have enough computers for their children, an exclusive poll for the Daily Mail today reveals. Four in ten parents say the cost of computers and other items they need is too high, according to the survey.More than a quarter cite the high cost of internet access as a problem.And families worst hit by the Covid schools shutdown are the poorest and those in the North.The Daily Mail poll illustrates the devastating effect of school closures on children – and their mums and dads.
Radiation exposure from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster — the world's deadliest nuclear accident — raised the risk of certain mutations linked to thyroid cancer, but it didn't cause new mutations in DNA that parents who cleaned up after the nuclear accident passed along to their children, two new studies find. © Provided by Live Science Chernobyl nuclear reactors.
The new research is a step forward in understanding the mechanisms that drive human thyroid cancer, said Stephen Chanock, the director of the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the senior author on both research papers. It's also reassuring for those exposed to radiation in events such as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster and who plan to start families, Chanock told Live Science.
Over 20,000 children fell off the school register
More than 75,000 children are being home schooled across the UK this year, with over 20,000 children falling off the school roll amid the Covid pandemic. An estimated 75,668 children and young people are being home educated across England, according to figures gathered on the first school census day of the 2020/21 academic year.This represents an increase of some 38 per cent from the year before - with parents citing 'health concerns relating to Covid' as the main reason for keeping their children at home. But it comes amid fears that vulnerable children are falling through the gaps.
"People who had very high-dose radiation didn't have more mutations in the next generation," he said. "That's telling us that if there's any effect it's very, very subtle and very rare."
Related: See images of Chernobyl, frozen in time
The nuclear accident at Chernobyl that occured on April 26, 1986, exposed residents of Ukraine, Belarus and the nearby Russian Federation to a cloud of radioactive contamination. Epidemiological research has shown that those exposed had a higher risk than the unexposed for a particular kind of thyroid cancer called papillary thyroid carcinoma. (Fortunately, this type of cancer is treatable and has a high survival rate, according to the American Thyroid Association.) The younger the person is at time of radiation exposure, the higher the risk of developing papillary thyroid carcinoma in the future.
Forget The French, Japanese Children Are The World's Best-Behaved
Emily Itami moved back to Tokyo when her younger son was eleven weeks old (and his older brother was two) - she assesses the difference between Western and Japanese parenting and the behaviour of their children, as a mother who experienced the comparison first-hand.By the time we made it through the Ghibli museum in Tokyo to the legendary life-size Cat Bus, my kids were chomping at the bit. They, like me, were weaned on My Neighbour Totoro, and their excitement was totally understandable - I was pretty devastated I was too big to sit in it and pretend to be Mei. It was perfect - enormous, grinning, soft and inviting.
In the new study, Chanock and his colleagues analyzed tissue from the thyroid carcinoma tumors held in the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, comparing the genetics of tumors from 359 people who were exposed to Chernobyl radiation before adulthood with that of tumors from people from the same region who were born more than nine months after the Chernobyl accident and thus not directly exposed. Radiation exposure in these individuals was well-studied, so researchers could determine not only if a person had radiation exposure, but how much.
The researchers found that with more radiation exposure, tumor tissue showed higher levels of double-stranded DNA breaks, in which the two strands that make up DNA snap at the same point. Cells have repair mechanisms to fix such breaks, but the findings showed that the tumors had errors in these repair mechanisms, too, particularly one called non-homologous end-joining (NEHJ).
Can you tan with fake tan on, while wearing sunscreen or through a window? Key tanning questions, answered
There's nothing like a healthy looking tan when the sun is shiningWhen the sun is shining, there’s nothing like a healthy looking tan to lift your mood – however, damage can occur when the ultraviolet light damages the skin’s cellular DNA.
"They have just one major error that drives the cancer," Chanock said, adding that this was the first time that researchers have been able to identify such a driver in a human cancer.
Gallery: 10 ways COVID-19 changed the world (Live Science)
10 ways COVID-19 changed the world
The year 2020 was defined by the coronavirus pandemic, arguably the worst pandemic the world has seen in 100 years. The illness has affected nearly every aspect of life, from work and school to everyday activities like getting groceries, and even our wardrobes.
Here are just some of the ways COVID-19 changed the world.
A number of new words and phrases entered the general lexicon in 2020. We were told we need to "social distance," or stay six feet apart, so that we could "flatten the curve," or slow the disease's spread in order to reduce the burden on the healthcare system. People even became familiar with relatively obscure epidemiological terms like the "basic reproduction number" (R0, pronounced R-nought), or the average number of people who catch the virus from a single infected person. And of course the name of the illness itself, COVID-19, is a new term, with the World Health Organization officially naming the disease on Feb. 11 2020.
The moral questions behind vaccinating children against Covid-19
Pfizer jab has been approved for use in adolescents - but experts caution against immediate rolloutModerna and Pfizer have released data suggesting that their vaccines are well tolerated in adolescents and highly effective in preventing Covid-19. Canada, the US and the EU have already authorised the Pfizer vaccine in children as young as 12. And the UK has just approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children aged 12 to 15. But there may a case for holding out on an immediate rollout, for several reasons.
The must-have fashion item of 2020 was a small piece of cloth to put around your face.
With medical masks in short supply at the beginning of the year, sewing enthusiasts began churning out homemade masks for their communities. Then, clothing companies and retailers got on board, adding masks to their fashion lines. Now, in many parts of the world, you can't leave your house without putting on a mask.
At first, it was unclear whether wearing cloth masks would protect against COVID-19, but as the year went on, numerous studies showed the benefits of wearing masks, for both the wearer and those around them.
Anxiety and depression
The pandemic took a serious toll on people's mental health in 2020. One study published in August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts skyrocketed amid the pandemic.
The study could not determine the reason for the rise in mental health conditions, but factors relating to the pandemic, such as social isolation, school and university closures, unemployment and other financial worries, as well as the threat of the disease itself, may play a role, the authors said.
Theranostics: a new hope in the fight against cancer
The medical treatment, which combines therapy and diagnostics, has given terminal prostate cancer patients a 35% increased survival time in trialsTheranostics was one of the main topics at the largest cancer conference in the world, held annually at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and this year conducted over the internet. The term theranostics comes from a combination of the words therapy and diagnostics: the same molecule can be used to both diagnose and treat the disease.
As businesses began to open after initial lockdowns, people needed to adjust to a new normal to reduce the risk of spreading the disease from everyday activities. Businesses implemented universal mask policies. Dining switched to outdoors only. Waiting rooms became a thing of the past. You needed a reservation to go to the gym. And large gatherings and events were banned completely in many areas.
Although there is no way to ensure zero risk of catching COVID-19, officials said taking precautions could reduce the risk of spread. However, as the fall began, many areas went into lockdown again amid surging COVID-19 cases.
From the idea that drinking bleach can kill the norovirus to a theory that the virus was created in a lab as a bioweapon, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a flurry of misinformation. Indeed, one study, published Aug. 10 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, found that the pandemic has hatched more than 2,000 rumors, conspiracy theories and reports of discrimination.
Panic attacks highlight stress at shelters for migrant kids
Paramedics were called regularly to treat children suffering from panic attacks so severe their hands would constrict into balls and their bodies would shake. The outbursts often occurred after other children were taken away to be reunited with families, dashing the hopes of those left behind at the largest emergency shelter set up by the Biden administration to hold minors who had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border alone. The conditions describedThe conditions described by a federal volunteer who spent two weeks in May at the shelter at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas, highlight the desperation and stress of thousands of children held at unlicensed facilities, waiting to reunite with relatives.
Such false information can have serious consequences — the researchers of the new study found that COVID-19 related rumors were linked to thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths.
"Health agencies must track misinformation associated with ... COVID-19 in real time, and engage local communities and government stakeholders to debunk misinformation," the authors concluded.
With orders to stay at home as much as possible, many people decided to get a furry friend during quarantine.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for pet adoptions, particularly dog adoptions. Many shelters, breeders and pet stores reported a surge in applications for dogs, with the demand far exceeding supply, according to The Washington Post. Some shelters reported double the number of adoptions compared with the previous year, and needed to resort to waitlists to handle the demand.
Not only is this good news for pets who need homes, but also for their humans, given that many studies show there are mental health benefits to pet ownership, according to NPR.
Children seem to be largely spared from the most severe effects of COVID-19, but they can still act as spreaders of the disease. So many schools across the U.S. and the world made the decision to close in 2020, and opt for virtual learning instead. Questions around how long to remain closed and how to safely reopen were the subject of much debate. As fall arrived with a number of schools still closed, many children seemed to be falling behind in learning. Statewide polls have found that nearly 9 in 10 parents are worried about their children falling behind at school due to the pandemic closures, according to The Educational Trust.
Coronavirus lockdowns, which slowed the normal hustle and bustle of cities to a near halt, also appeared to dramatically lower emissions of carbon dioxide around the world. A study published May 19 in the journal Nature Climate Change found that daily global carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 17% in early 2020, compared with levels in 2019. That appears to be one of the biggest drops in recorded history. But this temporary drop is far from enough to undo the harmful effects of man-made climate change.
Warzone Season 4 Patch Notes Live: Bug Fixes, Weapons, Attachments and lots more
"Although this is likely to lead to the largest cut in emissions since World War II, it will make barely a dent in the ongoing build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre in England, said in a statement.
These errors aren't unique to radiation-caused cancers, Chanock said. The same mutations occurred in non-exposed people with tumors, just at a lower rate. They also occur in other types of cancer along with additional mutations, Chanock said. For that reason, he is hopeful that the results could lead to new drug studies that target these genes and the cellular processes they direct.
The next generation
In a second study, researchers looked for possible multigenerational effects of radiation exposure. Previous studies on atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki have not found evidence of major congenital defects, stillbirth or newborn deaths in babies conceived after the exposure, though a recent re-analysis of the data suggests the possibility of increased risk.
The current study focused on living children of a group known as the liquidators —— people who worked at the plant to clean up the radioactive mess in the months after the disaster. Researchers sequenced the entire genomes of 130 children born between 1987 and 2002 to these individuals, who were exposed to very high radiation levels.
The research team was looking for de novo mutations, or totally new genetic mutations found in the child's DNA that were not in either parents' genome. Finding an increase in genetic mutations found in the child but not the parents would suggest that radiation was damaging the sperm or the egg. Finding no increase in de novo mutations would suggest that children largely escape damage to their DNA from their parents' exposure.
Between 50 and 100 of these mutations occur naturally in each generation, and the results showed that the mutations occurred at a similar rate in children of Chernobyl liquidators. There was no effect of radiation.
"This is extraordinary work," said Daniel Stram, a professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California who was not involved in the research. "It's really bringing together the genetic side and the radiation epidemiology side."
There are long-standing concerns that radiation exposure from work or from cancer therapies might affect future children, but the new research is reassuring, Stram told Live Science.
"People have talked about doing this kind of work for decades," he said. "It's only now that we have the technology to be able to actually address the questions."
The two papers are published today (April 22) in the journal Science.
Originally published on Live Science.
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