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DAILY DOSE: Black athletes bear more long-term pain than counterparts; Former Harvard morgue manager indicted on stealing and selling body parts.

A study co-authored by former NFL player Julius Thomas and researchers from Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital has revealed that Black athletes experience worse chronic pain than their white counterparts. 

The study, part of Harvard’s Football Players Health Study, examined data from around 4,000 ex-professional football players. Despite controlling for various factors, racial health disparities persisted, highlighting that race-related issues exist even amongst athletes with access to high-quality healthcare. 

The results demonstrated that Black players reported more chronic conditions and pain interference despite being younger than white players. Studies suggest social factors and healthcare biases exacerbate these disparities. 

The findings also emphasized the importance of social support as a protective factor against pain. Thomas, who is pursuing a doctorate in psychology, believes these findings raise crucial questions about racial disparities in pain. (STAT)

The surge of clean energy production in Europe has also seen a rise in cyber threats to renewable power systems. Henriette Borgund, an “ethical hacker” at Norway’s Hydro, highlights that even large power producers have vulnerabilities in their defenses. 

European power companies are enhancing their cyber security measures as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has escalated the risk of cyber-attacks on their operations. The sophistication of Russian cyber-attacks against Ukraine has served as a reminder of the potential vulnerability of interconnected power systems. The interconnected nature of the renewable energy infrastructure across Europe, including thousands of renewable assets and energy grids, increases the possibility for cyber infiltration. 

Traditional power plants like gas and nuclear are considered less susceptible to cyberattacks compared to the digitally connected renewable installations. The increasing risk of cyberattacks is a significant concern for power companies as they strive to meet the growing demand for clean energy. (Reuters)

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A former manager at Harvard Medical School morgue, Cedric Lodge, his wife, and three others have been indicted for stealing and selling human body parts, according to federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania. 

Lodge is accused of stealing dissected parts of cadavers donated to the school between 2018 and early 2023. The stolen parts, including heads, brains, skin, and bones, were either sent through mail or picked up from the morgue by buyers. The school deans described the incidents as “morally reprehensible”. 

The defendants, part of a nationwide network dealing in stolen remains, are charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. Two others involved in a similar case in Arkansas have pleaded not guilty. (Associated Press)

Physicists’ understanding of the strong nuclear force, which binds protons and neutrons, has been challenged by an experiment involving the helium-4 nucleus. When excited, these helium nuclei expand more than theoretical predictions suggest before one of the protons is released. 

This discrepancy between theory and practice puzzles scientists as it suggests our grasp of nuclear systems is not as solid as thought. The helium nucleus is an ideal test-bed as its behavior magnifies potential deficiencies in theoretical calculations. However, our best understanding of nuclear interactions, known as chiral effective field theory, has fallen short in this case. 

This result could expose a significant problem in nuclear physics, and further calculations are needed to solve this conundrum. (Quanta)

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)

IMAGE CREDIT: nappy on pexels.

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