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The Great Underappreciated Driver of Climate Change

By Alexandra Frost, The Atlantic

Changing grocery shopping habits and ignoring expiration dates may make a larger difference in the climate crisis than one might think. While big businesses and federal policies are usually blamed for the impending climate doom, it does not mean that individual action is ineffective and should be ignored. In fact, mitigating food waste by reducing the amount of food that is purchased week-to-week, eating leftovers, and only throwing out food if it is expired (not expired according to the expiration date), can drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Almost one-third of all household food is wasted in addition to the food that is wasted in production and distribution. Food loss and waste account for 8 to 10 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That is a number that can be drastically decreased by changing individual behavior. It’s not always feasible to change dietary patterns or buy an electric vehicle, but buying less food and buying the food that one actually consumes is. Not only will it help the planet, but it’ll save time and money too! 

by Cora Bainum

The Science Behind Basketball’s Biggest Debate’

By Ross Anderson, The Atlantic

Now more than ever, NBA players, teams, and league executives are focused on players’ health. Gone are the days when NBA players could eat McDonald’s every day for breakfast, gamble all night, show up to a game the next day, play rough-and-tumble basketball, and dominate. Back then, teams had two to three people who focused on players’ health and wellness. Now, teams have at least eight, with most players having personal trainers, nutritionists, and chefs. Teams have invested in costly facilities and state-of-the-art technologies, including whole-body cryotherapy and advanced ultrasound machines for precise imaging –  to gain any edge they can to enhance their player’s physical prowess and protect against injuries. Teams now bench star players for “load management,” the NBA has shortened its preseason and reduced the amount of back-to-back games and cross-country flights. Despite this focus on player health, more players are still getting injured than before, leaving fans and the NBA utterly confused as to why. The fact is that while the game used to be rougher in terms of how the players interacted with each other, the NBA is now more physically demanding than ever. A study by P3 found that “today’s average NBA athlete is 4 to 7 percent better than the average NBA athlete from 10 years ago.” The game’s pace has “increased dramatically,” and so has the strategy. Players today are more skilled than their predecessors. While fans are quick to say that players today are more “soft,” the science proves otherwise. The game today is simply more rigorous and physically demanding on the body, and the uptick in injuries is a product of this. 

by Gillian Feinglass

Chimpanzees Go Through Menopause, Too

By Carl Zimmer, The New York Times

A new study has found that chimpanzees go through menopause. The occurrence of menopause has been investigated in many mammal species but has only been found in humans and a few species of whales. In general, menopause is “very, very rare,” said Kevin Langergraber, a primatologist at Arizona State University. Now, scientists have discovered that older female apes in the Ngogo chimpanzee community experience menopause. This finding suggests that menopause arose from a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. There are a few existing theories that guess why menopause exists in humans and other species. The most common theory is the “Grandmother Hypothesis,” which hypothesizes that as females age, they can no longer bear children so they can care for their grandchildren. However, this theory did not apply when scientists observed the postmenopausal chimpanzees because chimps did not provide any extra food for their grandchildren. Now, scientists infer that menopause allows postmenopausal females to put effort into keeping their community alive, such as preserving food and providing wisdom.

by Lexy Campbell

British Regulators Warn of Fake Ozempic Pens Linked to Hospitalizations

By Amanda Musa, CNN

A British health agency is warning the public of the circulation of fake Ozempic and Saxenda pens that have led to several hospitalizations this year. Ozempic is a drug for type 2 diabetes that is often used off-label for weight-loss purposes. Saxenda is a weight-loss drug that is authorized by the United Kingdom. Although both medications are authorized, they must be prescribed by a licensed physician. The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has reportedly seized over 350 counterfeit Ozempic and Saxenda pens since January of 2023 that patients obtained through “non-legitimate routes.” A percentage of those who took the counterfeit medication ended up being hospitalized with serious side effects such as hypoglycemic shock. This indicates that the counterfeit pens likely contained insulin rather than the medication found in Ozempic called semaglutide. The MHRA is asking patients to act with caution and make sure they are receiving their medication from trusted pharmacies. 

by Harleigh Markowitz

Why Health Care Workers Are Burning Out

By Noah Weiland, The New York Times

Post-COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety, and depression, have all increased in healthcare workers, compounded by staff shortages due to hundreds of thousands of medical workers leaving the profession. Federal research backed up this claim, with a study of self-reported mental health symptoms of over a thousand workers from 2018 to 2022, including over 200 healthcare workers. 

The results were alarming. Healthcare workers had a jump of 3.3 to 4.5 poor mental health days from 2018 to 2022. In 2022, less than 30 percent described themselves as happy, a decrease from 2018. A third reported symptoms of anxiety, and over half reported depression. Reported harassment also doubled. With these results, it is no surprise that over half of the healthcare workers stated they are somewhat or very likely to look for a new career, perpetuating staff shortages.

The explanation for these alarming statistics falls onto the medical institution and its management. The survey also reported that workers who had adequate time to do their work, trusted their supervisors, and received support from their supervisors were less likely to have burnout symptoms. In healthcare, there is a moral pressure to keep working, even if the environment is unfit and the pay is poor, leaving them vulnerable to being overworked and burnout. Nurses, especially acute care nurses, and local healthcare workers are especially vulnerable to being overworked.  

by Caroline Hansen

Few Americans Have Gotten the New Covid Shots, CDC Finds

By Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times

The new COVID-19 vaccinations have been rolled out alongside the annual flu vaccine. However, many Americans are opting not to get the shot. A survey presented to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that only about 7% of adults and 2% of children in the United States have received the COVID-19 vaccine as of October 14th. Vaccination rates remain low even for the most at-risk populations; only about 20% of individuals age 75+ and 15% of people between ages 65 and 74 have received the new COVID-19 vaccine. The survey also showed that about 38% of adult respondents would choose not to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, approximately 38% of respondents would choose not to vaccinate their children with it.  Though the CDC declared COVID-19 to no longer be a public health emergency, it remains a serious health issue. According to the CDC, more than 1200 people are dying weekly from the virus in the U.S. Among minorities, vaccination rates remain exceedingly low. Less than 1% of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives have received the new COVID-19 vaccine. Among Black Americans, the vaccination rate sits at 7.6%. These three groups have the highest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country. Unfortunately, the rollout has not been smooth. Americans across the country have reported difficulty in finding available COVID-19 vaccines at their pharmacies. In some locations, the excess demand has led to shortages and canceled appointments. Higher vaccination rates and improved accessibility are paramount to protecting the health of minority communities and the United States as a whole.

by Saif Hossain

Items summarized by: Cora Bainum, Gillian Feinglass, Lexy Campbell, Harleigh Markowitz, Caroline Hansen, Saif Hossain