Daily Dose: Physical attacks on academics is on the rise around the world

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Attacks against academics have continued to rise, according to a new report from the advocacy group, Scholars at Risk. According to Nature, “This year’s report documented 324 verified attacks in 56 countries from September 2018 to the end of August 2019 (see ‘Threatened freedom’).” 97 of those involved a killing, violence, or forced disappearance. https://go.nature.com/2KPVG4E

Scientists believe, iodine played an important role in the expansion of brain tissue and the development of cognitive abilities. A recent study of bonobos, whose natural habitat is inland and considered iodine-deficient. Watching the primate’s eating habits suggest that much of their dietary iodine came from eating aquatic herbs, some of which have iodine levels equivalent to algae. http://bit.ly/2XIJJTI

Anecdotal evidence has suggested that increased cannabis use among patients combating chronic pain results in decreased opioid use. However, there hasn’t been any hard evidence supporting it. A study published in PLOS Medicine analyzed data and concluded, “We observed an independent negative association between frequent cannabis use and frequent illicit opioid use among PWUD with chronic pain. These findings provide longitudinal observational evidence that cannabis may serve as an adjunct to or substitute for illicit opioid use among PWUD with chronic pain.” There’s still more work to be done towards proving the benefits of cannabis use. http://bit.ly/2QRLahg

The Lancet created what it calls, “the first global benchmark diet capable of sustaining health and protecting the planet.” When they did so, they failed to take into consideration the affordability of such a diet. The diet is high in fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables. The journal recently investigated how much the diet costs. They discovered that the diet “costs a small fraction of average incomes in high-income countries but is not affordable for the world’s poor. We estimated that the cost of an EAT–Lancet diet exceeded household per capita income for at least 1·58 billion people. The EAT–Lancet diet is also more expensive than the minimum cost of nutrient adequacy, on average, by a mean factor of 1·60 (IQR 1·41–1·78). http://bit.ly/35vPJSr

Citizen science is all the buzz lately. Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard definition that captures what exactly it involves. A recent blog post in BMC Ecology interviews Matt Keyes, an OPAL Citizen Scientist, to discuss the phenomenon. One of the takeaways: “Data collection, once the reserve of rich ‘gentleman scientists’, is now open to everyone as a result of a new wave of technology supporting the collection, storage, visualization and interpretation of data.” http://bit.ly/2OlnrnZ

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons 

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