Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Single drop blood tests may not be accurate
Just a single drop of blood in fingerpric test may not produce accurate results, warns a new study.
 
Results from a single drop of blood are highly variable, and as many as six to nine drops must be combined to achieve consistent results, the findings showed.
 
"A growing number of clinically important tests are performed using fingerprick blood, and this is especially true in low-resource settings," said one of the researchers, Meaghan Bond from Rice University in Houston, US.
 
"It is important to understand how variations in fingerprick blood collection protocols can affect point-of-care test accuracy as well as how results might vary between different kinds of point-of-care tests that use fingerprick blood from the same patient," Bond noted.
 
For the study, the researchers drew six successive 20-microlitre droplets of blood from 11 donors. 
 
As an additional test to determine whether minimum droplet size might also affect the results, they drew 10 successive 10-microliter droplets from seven additional donors.
 
All droplets were drawn from the same fingerprick, and the researchers followed best practices in obtaining the droplets.
 
For experimental controls, they used venipuncture, the standard of care in most hospitals, to draw tubes of blood from an arm vein.
 
The researchers found that hemoglobin content, platelet count and white blood cell count each varied significantly from drop to drop.
 
"Some of the differences were surprising," Bond said. 
 
"For example, in some donors, the hemoglobin concentration changed by more than two grams per decilitre in the span of two successive drops of blood," Bond noted.
 
Averaging the results of the droplet tests could produce results that were on par with venous blood tests, but tests on six to nine drops blood were needed to achieve consistent results, the findings showed.
 
The study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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300-plus Facebook friends means stress for teenagers
Having more than 300 Facebook friends may increase a teenager's levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, says a new study.
 
"While other important external factors are also responsible, we estimated that the isolated effect of Facebook on cortisol was around eight percent," said lead researcher Sonia Lupien, professor at University of Montreal in Canada.
 
"We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels; we can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress," Lupien noted.
 
On the other hand, the researchers found that teenagers who act in ways that support their Facebook friends - for example, by liking what they posted or sending them words of encouragement - decreased their levels of cortisol. 
 
Lupien and her colleagues recruited 88 participants aged 12-17 years who were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, their number of friends on the social media site, their self-promoting behaviour, and finally, the supporting behaviour they displayed towards their friends. 
 
Along with these four measures, the team collected cortisol samples of the participating adolescents. The samples were taken four times a day for three days.
 
"We did not observe depression in our participants. However, adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately; it can occur later on," Lupien cautioned. 
 
The findings were published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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India provided $103 million per year in national subsidies to oil, gas and coal producers
Investment by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in fossil fuel production represented a large portion of overall government support, says a research study from IISD 
 
A research study by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) on fossil fuels reveals that on an average over the years 2013 and 2014, India provided $103 million per year in national subsidies to oil, gas and coal producers. In particular, capital outlay targeting the extraction and production of crude oil, natural gas, coal and the development of fossil-fuelled power projects constituted the largest share of India’s national subsidies to fossil fuel production, averaging $64 million per year across 2013 and 2014. Other support in the form of tax breaks for coal excise duties and fossil fuel transport infrastructure also contributed to this total with average of $40 million each in 2013 and 2014.
 
India has substantial fossil fuel reserves, including 61 billion tonnes of coal, 5.7 billion barrels of oil and 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas (BP, 2015). The Ministry of Coal (MoC) is responsible for overseeing the management of India’s coal industry through a number of agencies and companies, including Coal India Limited (CIL), a 90% state-owned enterprise (SOE). India’s upstream oil and gas industries are overseen by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and, despite the markets opening up to private investment in the 1990s, upstream and downstream petroleum markets continue to also be dominated by state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
 
Investment by SOEs in fossil fuel production represented a large portion of overall government support with a number of state-owned companies being involved in the production of coal, oil and gas and also in the transportation and refining of oil and natural gas in India. Annual expenditure by these and other SOEs totalled nearly $15 billion on average in 2013 and 2014, points out the research note.
 
SOEs dominate India’s midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors. GAIL (India) is mainly concerned with transporting oil and gas while Indian Oil (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) are the dominant refiners in the country. The combined capital expenditure of the midstream and downstream sector was $5 billion and $4.5 billion in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively, says the research note. 
 
Indian public finance institutions and state owned banks provided $3 billion in fossil fuel financing domestically over both 2013 and 2014, for an annual average of $1.5 billion per year. The large majority of domestic financing domestically went to coal plants, reveals the research study. Further support occurs through schemes like the National Electricity Fund to encourage investment in electricity distribution projects and the Power System Development Fund to increase utilisation of gas based power generation capacity.
 
India also provides public finance for production of oil, gas and coal abroad: in both 2013 and 2014 its total value was $4.2 billion averaging $2.1 billion per year, adds the research note.

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