New Research Shows That Stress Wreaks Havoc on White Blood Cell Count Jun25

New Research Shows That Stress Wreaks Havoc on White Blood Cell Count...

Does stress impact the body’s immune system? According to a new study published in Nature Medicine, there is a definite relationship between stressful lives, and weakened immune systems. The study was conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and was focused on monitoring the changes in white blood cell count among 29 medical residents working in intensive care units. The researchers took blood samples from residents while they were working, and while they were off-the-clock. The blood samples showed that a stressful work environment leads to an overproduction of white blood cells. While white blood cells are an important part of the body’s ability to heal and fight infection, “If you have too many of them, or they are in the wrong place, they can be harmful,” explains study co-author, Matthias Nahrendorf. The extra cells can begin lining artery walls and have the potential to cause blood clots — which, in turn, can lead to a heart attack. There are several ways both the medical community, and individuals, can try to prevent the development of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) and heart disease. People who want to reduce their potential risk can seek to make their work environment more comfortable and avoid stressful situations. This can not only help the immune system, but also increase how efficiently someone can perform their job. Researchers, for their part, are experimenting with a single “genome-editing” injection that could lower the risk of heart attacks by 40% to 90%, according to Tech Times. Although the injection — which permanently reduces cholesterol levels by altering the PCSK9 liver gene — has only been used on mice so far, it is considered by most medical experts to be a highly promising...

Facebook Takes Another Shot at Snapchat...

The relationship between Snapchat and Facebook is tense, to say the least. The bitter rivalry first began when Mark Zuckerberg — the man behind the social network giant — wanted to meet Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, who responded, “I’m happy to meet you…if you come to me.” So, Zuckerberg hopped on a plane, flew to L.A. to meet Spiegel, and then proceeded to tell the 23 year old Snapchat CEO about Poke, a new app Facebook was releasing that would let users share photos and then make them disappear. In effect, a Snapchat copycat. Spiegel remembers, “It was basically like, ‘We’re going to crush you.’” However, Poke failed to beat Snapchat. It didn’t catch on, usage fizzled, and Facebook tossed it away. Though Facebook is one of the biggest photo sharing social networks, with over 240 billion pictures currently on the site, Zuckerberg was still not content. He needed to dominate the self-destructing picture message niche, too. So after Poke had been soundly beaten, he then made an offer to Spiegel to buy Snapchat for about $3 billion. Much to the shock of everyone in the business and tech communities, Spiegel said no. Now, Facebook has taken another crack at Snapchat with a new app called Slingshot. Though it’s designed to be like Snapchat, there are some key differences. On Snapchat, users can see messages sent to them by tapping on them, and holding their finger there until it then disappears. On Slingshot though, users can only see a message if they send one back. Until a response is made, they’ll only see a pixelated preview of what’s to come. Joe Flynn, the Facebook product designer, said that this features gives Slingshot a “reciprocal, kind-of-community feel.” Messages on Slingshot don’t automatically destruct either the way they do on...

HP Introduces Printer Ink Subscription Service to UK Consumers...

On Wednesday, May 28, information technology company HP introduced its Instant Ink subscription service to consumers across the United Kingdom. The service will allow individuals to pay a subscription fee to recycle their empty ink cartridges in return for refilled cartridges. HP wirelessly monitors compatible printers’ ink levels and sends new cartridges to subscribers when their current cartridges are getting low on ink. According to a Digital Journal article, the UK launch of Instant Ink appears to be a trial run before the service is rolled out to North America and Continental Europe. Customers can choose from a few different subscription packages — the lowest, at £1.99 ($3.35) per month, allots 50 pages of printing; £3.49 covers 100 pages per month and £7.99 covers 300, according to The Telegraph. The Telegraph also reports that HP estimates customers will save up to 70% on the cost of printer ink. However, subscribers can only roll over as much as double their monthly page allowance to the next month, meaning the subscription is a waste of money for individuals who don’t print that much from their homes. Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims remarked on the true realities of paying for a printer ink subscription, according to The Telegraph: “Instant Ink requires that users invest a lot of trust in HP,” Mims wrote. “It’s a bit like the telecoms’ model of pricing, in which you pay according to a fixed monthly plan, and additional pages (or minutes or texts) cost more. If user behavior for printing follows that of telecom customers, HP Instant Ink customers could end up overpaying. That might be because they opt for an overly roomy plan that they underuse, or because they have a spike of over-usage that drives them into a higher-volume plan that they rarely exhaust.” For people who...

Pennsylvania Officials Hope Smoke Tests Will Explain Backed Up Sewers...

Pennsylvania officials will release non-toxic smoke into its sewer lines to identify cracks, leaks, and other serious problems. “Smoke will come up from the ground where a crack is located in the sewer line — and the downspout and the perimeter of a home if a downspout or French drain are tied into the line,” The Sharon Herald reports. “If water from a sump pump is drained into the sewer line, smoke from the test will come into the basement — which is cause for concern, because dangerous sewer gases may also be coming into the home.” Workers hope the smoke tests will help get to the bottom of flooding and backed up sewer lines in Grove City, PA. Residents’ French drains and sump pumps, if working properly, should drain into the lawn or the neighborhood storm sewer. (A French drain, or a trench filled with rock or gravel, works by diverting water away from the source and into a designated area.) The smoke will also help officials pinpoint any plumbing defects. If business and household pipes are in working order, people may notice smoke coming from vents and/or smoke stacks. The county will notify residents prior to smoke tests. Residents and/or business owners should contact city or county officials “if there will be pets or people at risk who will be in a structure alone during the test,” The Sharon...

The Dark Side of Social Media: A Growing Addiction for Millions...

It’s likely a surprise to no one at this point, but it’s an undeniable fact: social media, and the internet at large, can be addicting for many people. The American Psychological Association, which creates the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, was very close to including “internet addiction disorder” in its DSM-V last year. While it didn’t make the cut, “internet gaming disorder” did, as internet games have been found to create a drug addiction-like effect in the brain. But social media, widely used by the world’s population, has its own addictive qualities, and by 2011, 54 percent of users for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram described themselves as “addicts” to these platforms. One independent survey from CASA Columbia found that teenagers are especially susceptible to the addiction of social media. Of teens ages 12 to 17, 70 percent spend time on social media on any given day, which amounts to 17 million teen users daily. But teens aren’t the only ones using such websites. Facebook is by far the most popular of these mediums, with over 1.06 billion active users throughout the entire globe — over 15 percent of the world’s population. Instagram, a photo editing and sharing platform, has over 8,000 “likes” per second and at least 75 million active users daily. Those likes themselves can be a source for this addiction, according to some research. One report from New York Magazine noted the influence that likes, follows, and online popularity can have on some of these users. Likes create a sense of belonging and confidence for some. But while a lack of likes on “selfies” can lead to lower self esteem, an overabundance of them can result in this dependency. Harvard University studied the addictive qualities of social...