5 Things You Need To Know Today (August 7, 2018)

Photo: Chalit Saphaphak

1. This new natural pesticide is pure genius.

Faced with the problem of rats eating up plants, conservationists and farmers have found a way to scare off the critters without applying harmful pesticides: ghost peppers! Yep, the incredibly spicy peppers have been shown to effectively clear fields of pesky rats, according to a four-year experiment in Montana's Missoula Valley. (Science)

2. Pet obesity is on the rise, with over 100 million dogs and cats tipping the scales in the unhealthy range.

Experts point to overfeeding and lack of awareness as the biggest contributors to the problem. Sadly, many pet owners do not realize the extent of the health issues associated with pet obesity including diabetes and shortened life span. (NYT).

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3. An Indiana company is helping people struggling with addiction get treatment and a job.

After seeing the number of job applicants failing drug screenings almost triple, Belden, an electric wire factory in Indiana, committed to getting involved in the solution. Now, job applicants who fail drug tests are given the opportunity to attend a drug-treatment program on the company’s dime—and are promised a job upon completion. (NPR)

4. Scientists found what they believe is a new culprit in Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins grew mouse brain cells in a lab and found that a change in pH might be at least one component responsible for the development of Alzheimer's. This simple chemistry change precludes astrocytes—the brain cells—from being able to clean up proteins in the surrounding area, causing the plaques that are characteristic in Alzheimer's. This new discovery will lead to more studies on treatment and further exploration of the mechanics of the disease. (Science Daily)

5. A type-2 diabetes diagnosis may actually be reversible—if you do this one thing.

According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects upwards of 422 million people globally—and about 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes. Typically, someone who’s just been diagnosed will go through a period of adjusting and may make modest lifestyle changes. But new research reveals that people who undergo substantial weight loss soon after their diagnosis—steadily improving the function of their pancreatic beta cells—have been able to revert back to a non-diabetic state. (Science Daily)

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