Polluted air can promote obesity by modifying diversity of intestinal bacteria

Breathing “dirty” air, basically polluted air, can help weight gain? The answer is yes according to a new study published in Environment International and carried out by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.
According to the researchers, in fact, polluted air can promote obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and other diseases of a chronic nature by modifying the intestinal microbiome, the bacteria that live inside our intestines.

This is the first study to find a link between human intestinal microbiome and air pollution.
What is particularly dangerous is the gaseous ozone present in the atmosphere: young adults exposed to this type of pollution show a lower diversity of bacteria, which is not positive as far as the microbiome of the intestine is concerned: too little diversity of the species of bacteria present in the intestine has already been associated in the past with diseases and in general with things that are not positive for the human body.

Tanya Alderete, professor of integrative physiology and one of the authors of the study, says that some of the changes that can promote diseases such as obesity or diabetes can be traced back to changes in the intestine.
Previous studies by the same researcher had already shown that air pollution can also compromise the ability to regulate blood sugar and this indirectly increases the risk of obesity.

In addition, other research had shown that more visits to hospital emergency rooms were made on slimming pollution days.
For this new study, researchers analyzed faecal samples from 101 adults from southern California. In addition, the researchers also examined data from air monitoring stations located near the homes of individuals whose faeces were examined.

Of all the pollutants analyzed, ozone appears to have the greatest impact on the intestine, specifically an impact on the diversity of bacteria. In addition, the subjects most exposed to ozone in the atmosphere also had more Bacteroides caecimuris bacteria. This bacterium has already been linked to higher levels of obesity in the past.

“Ozone is probably changing the environment of the intestine to favour some bacteria over others, and this may have health consequences,” says Alderete, who also wants to carry out a wider study to explore these effects in other types of dipopulations such as children.

New method to detect quasars with more precision devised by Russian scientist

A team of astrophysicists reports a new method to detect quasars more efficiently. The new method is similar to that of the glasses to be worn in cinemas when watching a 3D movie: each eye is “fed” with light from a particular polarization, both vertical and horizontal.
With this method, researchers were able to identify the light coming from two different regions of the quasars, i.e. that of their discs and that of the jets, according to their different colorisation.

Quasars are huge supermassive black holes that see matter and gases orbiting around them at very high speed. Part of this matter and these gases, before passing the event horizon, bounces off and turns into two huge jets of plasma directed in the opposite direction at very high speed, close to the speed of light.
The two symmetrical jets are always clearly visible and it is essentially these two jets, plus the accretion disc, that allow the black hole itself to be detected. The two jets are ejected along the axis of rotation of the black hole.

Classic” telescopes detect quasars essentially as a tiny distant point and cannot distinguish between the light from the jets and the light from the accretion disc. Radio telescopes offer a slightly higher resolution and with them it is possible to detect the direction of the jets. However, the radio telescopes themselves cannot collect information about the accretion disc.

Yuri Kovalev, a researcher at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, together with his colleagues, therefore thought to devise a new method by combining the strengths of both telescopes to discern the various polarizations of both the accretion disc and the jets.
The scientist himself states: “It was discovered that by measuring the polarization of the light collected by the telescope, we can tell which part of the radiation comes from the jet and determine its direction. This is similar to the way 3D glasses allow each eye to see a different image.

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Mind uploading perhaps possible through decentralized adaptive approach

The idea of transferring the mind to an artificial medium, for example a computer medium or a computer, is a possibility that has mostly been addressed by science fiction but which in recent years is also being debated because several scientists or futurologists do not exclude the possibility at all.
The so-called “mind uploading”, literally “mind uploading”, has always been idealized through two fundamental approaches, as a new article in Medium explains.

There is first of all the approach belonging mostly to science fiction in which the mind, understood as consciousness or identity, is extracted from the brain, with methods that are not well defined or almost never dealt with in detail, and inserted or “uploaded” into a computer. The latter can then be grafted onto an artificial body such as that of a robot or an android.

Then there is the somewhat more realistic approach, typical of the so-called “singularitarians”, i.e. those who fervently believe that technological singularity is an almost certain future event.
In this approach one imagines an advanced technology to scan the brain in such detail that it can reproduce the position of each individual neuron and all the connections of each individual neuron with another (the so-called synapses that are even more numerous than the neurons themselves). This approach would require a not inconsiderable computational force and computers that currently do not yet exist or are in the design phase.

As the article points out, these are two approaches that seem unlikely at the moment. The second, which may seem more realistic at first glance, also needs a computational power and technology for scanning the same brain that are currently not even planned.
However, there could be 1/3 method, a decentralized adaptive method.

With the latter method, the mind and thus consciousness could be transferred to a computer by incremental adaptation. Basically, neural prostheses and brain-machine interfaces are used, at the beginning not very invasive, then more and more complex, efficient and hypertechnological.
At first these prostheses could only slightly improve memory, but in a short time they would improve perception and even the faculty of thought.

An individual, with such technological devices, evidently implanted in the brain, would become more intelligent and would have above average cognitive abilities, so much so that in the end, with devices that would mimic neural activity to perfection if not even more efficiently, he would no longer need the biological part.
At that point, the transition from biological support, that is, our head, to artificial support, that is, the set of devices implanted in the brain connected to a computer, could be considered as a transaction carried out in the context of the transfer of the mind to an artificial support.

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