«Берлинский пациент» умер от рака

История первого в мире человека, победившего ВИЧ

Reading time 2 minutes

Тимоти Рэй Браун, известный как «Берлинский пациент», умер 29 сентября после продолжительной борьбы с лейкозом. Ему было 54. Об этом сообщил его партнер на странице в Фейсбуке.

Тимоти Браун учился в университете Берлина, когда врачи поставили мужчине диагноз ВИЧ. Отсюда и пошло прозвище «Берлинский пациент». Затем у Брауна обнаружили лейкоз — заболевание кроветворной системы. Геро Хюттер, лечащий врач Тимоти, предложил пересадить пациенту костный мозг донора с иммунитетом к ВИЧ-инфекции. Иммунитет возникает, когда у человека отсутствует поверхностный лимфоцитарный белок CCR5.

Геро Хюттер и Тимоти Браун
Геро Хюттер и Тимоти Браун

При попадании в организм вирус старается проникнуть в лимфоциты — иммунные кровяные клетки. Для этого белок вируса должен связаться с двумя белковыми рецепторами лимфоцитов, один из которых — CCR5. Некоторые люди обладают с рождения генной мутацией. Она останавливает синтез CCR5.

В 2007 врачи первый раз провели пациенту трансплантацию костного мозга. Она не была полностью успешной: ВИЧ не определялся в организме, но рак продолжал развиваться. Вскоре процедуру повторили, и на этот раз наступила ремиссия. Оба раза биологический материал брали у одного донора.

Браун со своей собакой по имени Джек
Браун со своей собакой по имени Джек

В 2008 на Международной конференции по борьбе со СПИДом о выздоровлении Тимоти узнали все. История Брауна вызвала скептицизм в научном сообществе. Некоторые исследователи хотели самостоятельно протестировать кровь на наличие инфекции, так как не доверяли результатам. Были и те, кто считал полное выздоровление невозможным: у пациента мог случиться рецидив. Несмотря на громкие заявления прессы о лекарстве от ВИЧ, трансплантация стволовых клеток не используется для борьбы с вирусом. Операции сложные и рискованные: доноры с иммунитетом встречаются очень редко, а сама процедура опасна из-за возможных осложнений и летального исхода.

Незадолго до смерти в интервью изданию Associated Press Браун рассказал, что лейкоз вернулся. Он лечился при помощи химиотерапии, но рак победил. До конца жизни у Тимоти сохранился иммунитет к инфекции.

Тимоти никогда не жалел, что решился на операцию
Тимоти никогда не жалел, что решился на операцию

На данный момент лекарства от вируса иммунодефицита не существует. Ученые много лет работают над вакциной, но результатов нет: вирус встраивается в геном клетки, поэтому его сложно изучить. ВИЧ-положительные люди принимают специальные антиретровирусные препараты, которые задерживают развитие СПИДа и сопутствующих заболеваний. Инфицированные при успешном лечении могут дожить до старости.

Заведующая центра по профилактике СПИДа Наталья Сизова отмечает, что после случая «Берлинского пациента» исследователи не исключают факт разработки мутации рецепторов CCR5. Это значит, что появится возможность искусственно создавать иммунитет к ВИЧ у заболевших.

“There is something to lose your head from”

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin as a role model of responsible citizen at the lockdown

Reading time 5 minutes

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin is the father of contemporary Russian language. Pupils read “Eugene Onegin”, “Belkin’s Stories”, plays “Mozart and Salieri”, “The Miserly Knight”, “A Feast during the Plague” as well as adults reread. And who can remember from his youth that all these works were written at the height of the cholera epidemic of 1830?

How Alexander Pushkin got into the backwoods far away from his friends

Pushkin and Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova were engaged in may 1830. He obtained the consent to the marriage only from the third request. The financial affairs of the bride were so up the spout that Alexander Sergeyevich himself had to earn money for the dowry which he allegedly received. Sergey Lvovich found with difficulty a not mortgaged estate that he could give to his son.

Master's house in Bolsino, family Pushkin's estate
Master’s house in Bolsino, family Pushkin’s estate

Boldino is a village of 500 souls. The father allocated to the son a nearby village Kistenevka, a part of Boldino estate. “Collegiate Secretary Alexander Sergeev, son of Pushkin” hastened to draw it up in a separate possession and pawn to get money for the wedding. For this reason, he arrived in Nizhny Novgorod province in September. He was forced to stay there for two months due to cholera quarantine.

Why should we take the poet for a model?

He didn’t lose composure

Alexander Sergeevich wrote two dozen of letters during the autumn in Boldino. He made up with the bride. Natalia Nikolaevna agreed to marry without a dowry.

Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova, the bride and then the wife of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova, the bride and then the wife of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

At the same time, the writer did not forget about literary and critical practice. He asked Pogodin who was the publisher of the “Moscow Vedomosti” to send his tragedy “Marfa, Posadnitsa Novgorodskaya” for criticism. And in response, Pushkin sent a poem “The Hero” written on the occasion of the appearance of Nicholas I in cholera Moscow. The poet was not embarrassed to speak out against the regime naming himself but he wanted to publish the “apocalyptic song” with approval of the autocrat’s actions anonymously.

Pushkin willingly wrote many poems in Boldino. Autumn was the most fruitful time for him. The author was glad to be unexpectedly free to write what he wished and walk where he could. That feeling was expressed to his friend Pletnev in letters.

Pushkin approved of getting information in time

He read the cholera bulletins named “The Bulletin on the State of the Moscow City” which were published in the “Moscow Vedomosti”. The suspense tormented him. Alexander Sergeyevich was worried about the health of his family and the bride. He asked her to write regularly and was upset when the letters were long. Natalya Nikolaevna’s reply of October 1, he received on the October 26th. All suspicious and unverified information about the disease was rejected by him. A year earlier Pushkin had been to Arzrum where he had seen an outbreak of the plague, so he knew that the picture of devastation and the number of victims were often exaggerated.

Pushkin's letter to Praskovya Osipova. Punctured envelopes mark "cholera" correspondence. Letters were fumigated with sulfur or chlorine through the holes for disinfection
Pushkin’s letter to Praskovya Osipova. Punctured envelopes mark “cholera” correspondence. Letters were fumigated with sulfur or chlorine through the holes for disinfection
The writer was aware of necessity of precautions and lockdown

While there were no letters from Goncharova, the poet repeatedly tried to find out where the bride was. He was angry and concerned about her staying in Moscow and advised her to go to the country. Pushkin recalled a trip to the Caucasus and asked Natalia Nikolaevna to be careful and avoid cholera places. He also tried to go to Moscow and connect with his beloved. He was ready to stay in quarantine for as long as it would be necessary, though the poet did not visit the cordoned-off areas.

Coronavirus is a new trend of the year

How the disease has incluenced on the fashion industry

Reading time 5 minutes

When you enter the subway, citizens with masks on their faces surround you. When you scroll through social networks, you notice numerous memes about the coronavirus and the end of the world. We follow the covenant of Joan Rowling: “Fear of a name only enhances the fear of one who wears it.” Masked people went outside, but they won’t save your lives.

Coronavirus is a serious disease, a cure from which will be found in the near future. We hope. In the meantime, it not only affects the body, but also influences on various areas of life. For example, coronavirus is ruthless to the fashion industry. Shanghai Fashion Week has been postponed due to concern of the organizers. It was supposed to start on March, 26th. New dates have not yet been announced, but it is already mid-February. We remind you that Fashion Week is a large-scale event and it takes time to prepare for one: you need to book locations, arrange with coordinators and look for venues for an after-party. A month before the start, a lot of people have already been involved and the  designers take care of their health.

Marine Serre show 19/20

The economic component is an equally important indicator for the organizers. According to Kommersant, a relatively small number of Chinese buyers were recognized at London Fashion Week. This fact worries brand founders a lot. Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Nike, Capri fashion house, which owns brands Michael Kors, Versace, Jimmy Choo and others, have closed many of their outlets in China, as well as they reduced the opening hours of the remaining ones. The ProFashion portal claims that Ralph Lauren sales will fall to $ 55-70 million because of the epidemic during the fourth quarter of 2020. While looking for a way to survive possible losses, two large conglomerates LVMH and Kering, as well as other fashion companies donated over $ 2.88 billion for the vaccine’s research.

Marine Serre Ready To Wear Fall Winter 18/19

Despite the financial torubles, coronavirus made another problem visible – the popularity of various things that hide faces. Robbers have never been so in vogue. Lots of magazines, for example, Fashion United, call medical masks a new trend of the season. A curious fact is that fashionistas or sincerely frightened individuals buy rolls of masks from Aliexpress, a web-site which supplies goods from China. The Blueprint mentions that the virus cannot exist outside of biological objects. So, you can safely purchase cheap goods from Chinese retailers. But it can be doubted that they will be delivered quickly, as the work process is intermittent. The workers might get sick because the factories are located near the outbreak.

Balaclava IknitHandmade 19/20

Many clothing brands, in obedience to protests, demonstrated masked models, balaclavas and respirators (Gucci, Rick Owens, Moncler and even Calvin Klein) on the catwalk in past seasons. They seemed to foresee that at the beginning of 2020, these accessories would become the most popular. Fashionistas buy specific medical accessories or knitted balaclavas, not only because of the fear of infection, but because of the atmosphere of general concern. While others are afraid of going out, they show their awareness, firstly, in terms of news, and secondly, in terms of fashion trends.

 

The strongest

How did the humanity fight dangerous viruses in different eras?

Reading time 6 minutes

When the coronovirus epidemic walks around the world, it’s time to recall what diseases people have already defeated. In the article we will tell you who, how and when saved the humanity from epidemics.

Plague

According to historians, up to 300 million people died from the plague. The disease was rolling in wave during the Middle Ages and the New Age. The most ferocious pandemics are the Justinian plague in the 6th-8th centuries and the “Black Death” in the 14th century. More often people got sick with bubonic plague – lymph nodes became inflamed and formed characteristic “buboes”. Pulmonary plague happened less frequently. A person began to cough and spit blood. In the first form, the probability of recovery was 25%, in the second – 0%. All the doctors could do was to protect themselves when approaching a sick patient.

Костюм, который вошёл в культуру Средневековой Европы: кожаные доспехи и маска. В «клюв» доктора закладывали травы, которые обладали антисептическими свойствами. При дыхании они нагревались и испаряли вещества, снижавшие риск заражения
This costume was popular in medieval European culture: leather armor and a mask. Doctors laid herbs in the beak that had antiseptic properties. When breathing, they heated up and vaporized substances that reduced the risk of infection.

We learned how to deal with “black death” in the 20th century. Epidemiologist Vladimir Khavkin created an inactivated vaccine against bubonic plague from temperature-killed plague sticks. The live vaccine was created and tested by the bacteriologist Magdalene Pokrovskaya. In 1947, Soviet scientists from the Red Army Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene developed the antibiotic called streptomycin and began to use it in Manchuria, where an epidemic broke out at that time. All patients who received the new medicine recovered. Today, with proper treatment, 90-95% of patients survive.

Smallpox

Chinese annals mentioned smallpox in 12th century BC. In the 6th century AD, the disease entered Europe. Epidemics happened regularly and claimed up to 40% of patients. The ones who recovered often remained blind and had disfigured scars.

A person who had contracted smallpox usually did not get infected again. A Millennium BC the Chinese instilled a mild form of the disease, so, that a person would not become infected with a serious one. However, the course of the disease was still individual and the person who was vaccinated could die. There were few people who wanted to try their luck, and the disease spread further.

Екатерина II первой в России сделала прививку от оспы. Страна последовала её примеру и в XX веке для поступления в учебное заведение уже требовалась справка о прививке
Catherine II was the first who got smallpox vaccine in Russia. The country followed her example, and in the 20th century a certificate of vaccination was required for admission to an educational institution.

The safest way to protect oneself from smallpox was invented by the British physician Edward Jenner in the 18th century. He suggested that  vaccination from cow smallpox, which was easily tolerated by humans, could protect them from dangerous natural one. The doctor conducted an experiment on May, 14 in 1796. The vaccinated boy remained healthy. Jenner later discovered that a vaccine made using the blood of a previously vaccinated person is just as effective as one made from biomaterial that has been infected directly from a cow. Now, vaccination did not require waiting for rare outbreaks of vaccinia. The last case of smallpox was registered in 1977, and in 1980 the World Health Association announced the victory over the disease.

Poliomyelitis

The developed countries faced epidemics of poliomyelitis in the 20th century. The patients were mostly children under 5 years old. The virus affected the nervous system and the gray matter of the spinal cord. The person was broken by paralysis.

Poliomyelitis is not treatable, but it can be prevented. Salk’s inactivated vaccine was launched in the United States in 1955. At the same time, Virologist Albert Seibin invented a cheaper and more effective live vaccine. Soviet scientists Mikhail Chumakov, Marina Voroshilova and Anatoly Smorodintsev tested it on their children, grandchildren and relatives. The vaccine helped to stop the polio epidemic, which has been affecting the Baltic states since 1949.

Основатель и первый директор Института полиомиелита и вирусных энцефалитов АМН СССР действительный член АМН, профессор Михаил Чумаков за работой
Professor Mikhail Chumakov

In 1988, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on the eradication of poliomyelitis in the world. After this initiative, the number of cases decreased by 99%. Today, the virus persists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

 

“Journalistic is not a profession to come into, it is a profession to be seduced”

Cheese maker, journalist, and optimist Halina Spasskaya speaks about the ability of living how you want

Reading time 6 minutes

When Moscow began to grow beyond Sadovoe ring, I was working as a cheese making technologist. I was able to distinguish 100 kinds of cheese. But one day I accidentally turned up at the radio-station and fell in love with it. Journalistic is not a profession to come into, it is a profession to be seduced.

Love and session

I entered Moscow state university but was dropped out of it at the end of the first year. Thus, I understood once and for all my life that love and session are incompatible. My choice was never in favour of session… It is a family feature: my grandfather was expelled from a seminary because of his love affairs. By the way, he married a beautiful woman and became an engineer. He worked at Kurskiy railway station, so lobbied landowner L’vova’s interests when she decided to divide her estate into sites and sell them for dachas. Exactly that dachas are said to be described in “Vishneviy sad” by Chekhov. As for the faculty of journalism, I finished it in Moscow State University of Printing Arts.

“Tyoshcha”, convicts and full bears

This painting was drawn by Halina Romanovna's pupil. By common consent of her old friends, it depicts her character most of all.
This painting was drawn by Halina Romanovna’s pupil. By common consent of her old friends, it depicts her character most of all

One day I was promptly sent to the event in Onega at White sea. When I rushed to the ticket office, it turned out that Onega can be reached just by the only trailer car which went once a week. That trailer car had already gone. That is why I developed the tactic and went with changes to Plesetsk then by Murmansk train to the station from which train for workers, “tyoshcha”, went twice a day. However, I did not count that Murmansk railway was a single-track one and after driving through one section, the train waited for the oncoming one to do the same. Due to this fact, I missed the “tyoshcha”. So, I went to the station masters-on-duty and said that I had to be in Onega till 7 p.m when the event started. They replied, “Easy as pie! Once you have gone right through the taiga about 2 or 3 km, you will see the road along which convicts are carrying the forest. They will give you a lift. People as people. Don’t be frightened, bears are full in Autumn”. Well, I am a sensible woman I asked for another way. It was pretty suitable. Girls stopped the passing locomotive, “You’ ll be transferred to the track crossover. We’ve called the duty. She’ll stop the oncoming car to Onega”. How unique northern people are! I was afraid that convicts might pass by but the duty reassured, “Don’t worry, I closed the crossover, nobody can pass by without stopping”. Yeah, they gave me a lift, so I was in time for the event.

PhD’s envy

Nowadays Halina Romanovna takes any possibility to travel, though, by more comfortable transport. She prefers rucksacks to suitcases which never takes with her
Nowadays Halina Romanovna takes any possibility to travel, though, by more comfortable transport. She prefers rucksacks to suitcases which never takes with her

My progress in journalistic was quick I became an editor at “Podolsk-radio” but still felt that I have lack of knowledge in social science. That is why I started searching for places where I could study. At that very time Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences was opened. It was the only place where sociologists were taught and I was lucky to get after-graduate programme as academic Igor Bestuzhev-Lada tutee. I was attracted by the programme of social psychology. Studying was splendiferous: lectures were held once a week and we got wages for it. Moreover, a month time off was given to us to prepare a dissertation and we could take another one without salary to finish it. Of course, I used them all! My husband envied he said, “I am a scientist of the Russian Academy of Sciences and I have only 45 days off while you have 54”.

Don’t wait – live now

In childhood my health was poor. I had congenital heart disease and diabetes but father always told me, “You can always lie as an ill person but you ought to live energetically. Now”. He taught me to ride a horse, drive a car, swim. There is a 300 metres long pond in our town and father said that I should swim it across to learn how to swim. I was stunned. It was scary… However, I succeeded at the second try. When I was floundering, he held me up. My father skied with me, let me drive a motorbike, even sent me to a shooting club. By the way, I had the first ranking because I could shoot 96 targets from 100. In my opinion, active social lifestyle starts when you stop frightening of working.

Halina Romanovna's Instagram page
Halina Romanovna’s Instagram page

Nowadays, Galina Romanovna is Podolsk star. Over 17 hundred of people are subscribed to her Instagram blog. “Orel i reshka. Babushka” casting must have added fame indeed.

Tourism as a State of mind

Report on the trekking marathon in november forest

Reading time 7 minutes

— Hey, guys, it’s time to go. The halt is over. Is everybody here? Hmm… Sasha… Where is he? Has anybody seen him recently? Well, the participant has gone let’s find him!

That was the beginning of “Medicine” part of “Noyabr’skiy marathon” , the contest organized by Hiking club of NRU HSE. Somewhere in Moscow region forests four girls and three boys searched for the fourth boy in the twilight. He hadn’t been seen since the beginning of the halt until 15 minutes later he was found at a spruce windfall. Sasha pretended that he was a sufferer with broken leg. We were to perform the first aid and carry him to the ambulance. Not in a serious way but as training. It was the challenge of “Medicine” part.

Firstly, we examined the “injured” person in the dusk, secondly, immobilized “broken bone” with trekking mats, ropes and sticks after dark. At the same time we were binding a stretcher. If a group is small and lights of lanterns are not pretty bright, the forest seems to be infinite and pitch-dark while people seem to be just small glow-worms that have to carry “injured”, into the civilisation. Where the civilisation was, everyone might have already forgotten because all trails couldn’t be seen.

You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher.
You need a 30 metres long rope and at least 5 friends to make a good stretcher

The darkness was close to making Sahsa actually injured. Having put mats and jackets on the stretcher, we laid Sahsa on it and fastened him. When we lifted the construction, one log cracked, therefore, we had to fix it and hold the load on the rope. Walking through spruce windfall, we saw that two trees are too close to one another to walk between. Despite that fact, we had to go there as it was impossible to walk around. That’s why a couple of metres Saha was carried sideways perpendicularly to the Earth with his left side what made him scream with protest.

“Medicine” was not the only part of the contest. In each of three days participants faced up to three or four challenges. There they practiced skills essential for hiking and trekking. As the organisers had found themselves in different situations within their experience, challenges varied a lot. The next one, “Byt”:

— Are you going to take the backpack till the morning?

— Of course.

— This backpack for the whole night?

— Yeah, for the whole night.

— Will you, indeed?

— Actually, don’t postpone, give it now.

In this challenge we had to imagine that our group made the camp on the rock ledge of a sheer mountain side and one of backpacks fell into abyss. No sooner had we unbound the stretcher from “Medicine”, we started the discussion who would be that one without gear at night. The discussion looked like this: we pulled matches. Well, at that moment my heart was in my mouth. I thought that I just couldn’t bear sleep without warm sleeping bag and a sweater as it was freezing… and pulled a short match. In the group report my emotions were described in this way, “Lisa was deprived of her possessions. Luckily, she didn’t carry any joint gear”.

Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear
Tourists are unaware of bed weather, they are aware of good gear

Yeah, it was a luck because we didn’t lose the dinner consisted of bulgar and chicken fillet with sour cream or tents and axes. Night stay without them would have been much more tricky than without first aid and two bars of chocolate. Nevertheless, I still had to sleep without gear. In a windy and cold night it was scary. To solve this problem, we organized a brainstorm. As a result, all of us came to the conclusion that I should sleep with my friend in her large sleeping bag. Trekking unites, doesn’t it? Guys gave me warm clothes too. By the way, at the evening gathering at the fire I looked like a disco mirror ball as the special blanket in which I was wrapped reflected the light.

Hardships were waiting for the participants both at the challenge-parts and on the road. The next day when groups had to walk 30 km, according to the plan, all of them faced a life-long green fence. It was so long that “Petushki” team decided to go through the swamp in the darkness just not to walk around the fence. “Oi” team walked around the fence and figured out that three sides of it were approximately 3,5 km long. That way took them two hours… Our team “Schastlivyy sluchay [Happy occasion]” affirmed the name and found the hole in the fence. Behind tall metal sections was hidden a field. An ordinary field. Later we saw a road and lights of houses, though we were unable to understand what their habitants fenced. That is why the fence was named irrational in the reports.

"Petushki" repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night
“Petushki” repeatedly went across swamps. Difficult in daylight, such route is much more tricky at night

“Noyabr’skiy marathon” was 60 km of roads and trails, fields and windfalls, heels and swamps. Three teams of beginners and advanced tourists. Three days of jokes and adventures, two nights of songs. One unforgettable competition.

Vaccination wrestlers are being driven from social networks

Instagram blocks hashtags against vaccination

Reading time 5 minutes

Instagram struggles with misinformation about vaccinations by blocking hashtags that show false posts on a controversial topic.

Anti-vaccination messages on social media are considered one of the reasons for the decline in vaccination rates in recent years, when an estimated 169 million children worldwide missed the first dose of measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017.

Instagram already bans obvious hashtags, through which antivaccination activists are spreading false information. Labels #vaccinescauseautism (vaccines causes autism), #vaccinescauseaids (vaccines entail AIDS) and #vaccinesarepoison (vaccine is poison) have been got under the block.  Now the policy of the social network is expanding hashtags, which may seem at first glance neutral and harmless.

Misleading reports of vaccination on social media are believed to be one of the reasons why vaccination rates have been declined in recent years

For example, the hashtag #vaccines1234 (vaccines 1234) does not contain anything alarming in its formulation, but if the platform finds that this hashtag is used in a number of messages to promote vaccine misinformation, it will be added to the block list. When a hashtag is blocked, users don’t get results when they search for it on the social network.

Instagram has not specified a limit on the number of times after which the hashtag will be blocked. Instead, the platform said it would ban the hashtag in case the content displayed on its page contained «a certain amount» of fake anti-vaccination information.

False statements, such as #vaccinescauseaids and #vaccinesarepoison has already been banned and do not show the search results in Instagram

Instagram has taken these measures after recent Facebook pleas. The company announced that it «is considering additional measures» to address anti-vaccination messages after concerns about a controversial topic that appears in the groups and on the Facebook pages.

At that time, the company recognized that the challenge was complex as it struggled to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the security of its users. Despite this, the social network said it will continue to fight the problem.

Last month health Minister Matt Hancock said he «can’t rule anything out» when was asked if unvaccinated children should be kept out of school. NHS England Executive Director Simon Stevens also described the vaccine’s abandonment as a «growing public health time bomb».

In addition to banning hashtags, Instagram is considering showing educational pop-up messages to people looking for vaccine-related hoaxes. The platform is already showing similar messages to people who are interested in information about drugs and self-harm.

Instagram plans to show educational pop-up messages to doubting people

In February, YouTube stopped showing ads on many popular channels that promote anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. He made this move after protests from firms who have discovered that their advertising works, along with the controversial video.

The world health organization (WHO) said that in 2019 anti-vaccination became the «top 10 global health threats».

How to recognize «date rape drug»

Nail рolish allows you to determine the content of a dangerous substance in the drink

Reading time 5 minutes

Going on a date with a stranger, the girls need to be very careful: a glass of wine or even a сup of coffee can be fatal if they are mixed with drugs or sleeping pills.

Date rape drug

Drugs that rapists add to the drink to the victim, are dangerous because they do not have taste, color and smell, so  is almost impossible to feel them. Such substances are referred to drug rape, these include:

  • Rohypnol is the most common drug in the United States that has become associated with date rape. When used with alcohol causes muscle relaxation and memory lapses. Thus, the victim can not resist, and after the rape does not remember the details of what happened.
  • Ketamine – used for anesthesia, but it provokes confusion, causing hallucinations and nightmares, so the victim suffers both physically and mentally.
  • Xanax is a tranquilizer several times weaker than ketamine, but at excessive doses it has the same strong effect.
  • Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) – acts in the same way as rohypnol, but is a more dangerous drug. It is rarely found in its pure form. Overdoses in most cases lead to death, since it is impossible to neutralize the action of GHB.

The company Drink safe Technologies has created a nail polish that reacts to the above substances: if something is mixed in the drink, the color of the nail polish will change from pink to black. To conduct such a rapid test, it is enough to dip your finger in a drink or drop a little liquid on the nail.

Reaction to drugs

The creators of nail polish – are the students of the faculty of materials science and engineering at the University of North Carolina (USA). They  decided ti launch thus project, because each of them was personally acquainted with the victims of rape on a date, they reported in an interview. According to them, such cases are not uncommon in the United States, especially often it happens in dormitories, so the students decided to take up the problem.

The creators of the nail polish: Tyler Confry-Maloney, Stephen Gray, Ankes Maidan and Tasso von Windheim

Mass production of the nail polish detector has not yet been launched, but the inventors regularly notify all those interested in how the work is progressing. Last year, the project was among the semi-finalists of the startup competition K50, this year it took first place in the State competition of private entrepreneurs.

The project is called «Undercover colors»,  users can donate funds for the research on the official website. Students themselves believe that their invention will help girls feel more protected, and in case of danger – to take action. They write about it on the project page in Facebook.

The logo of the project

Previously, Drink Safe Technologies was engaged in the development of stands for glasses, which also contained a reagent that reacts to the drug. However, this method of checking the drink is too obvious and can provoke a rapist. Therefore, drug detector stands were not in demand.

Turn the screen into black and white mode

How to overcome the dependence on the smartphone without getting rid of it

Reading time 4 minutes

Dependence on smartphones is a disease, and users themselves began to understand it. According to Google statistics, the query “smartphone addiction” and similar became very popular last year.

Analysts attribute this to the desire of people to cope with dependence on smartphones. Recently, as SKY News reported, sales of push-button phones without Internet access have increased in the world. According to the data presented on the website, sales increased by 5%.

However, there is another way to deal with smartphone addiction. American psychologist Martin Sinclair, the author of the bestseller “Care for busy people” proposed to transfer smartphones in monochrome. All application icons and their interface will become black and white. According to him, looking at the screen without colorful pictures and notifications can block emotional attachment – a key element of addiction.

It’s not a secret that app and website developers deliberately use techniques that cause addiction. Bright colors and colorful pictures – one of them. This was told by Tristan Harris, former head of design ethics at Google. He is the founder of the non-profit organisation Time Well Spent, where users are told about manipulation of their attention and how not to fall for the tricks of developers.

Instruction for use

If the smartphone has already become an integral part of the hand, and life without it seems impossible, it’s time to ask yourself: have I become addicted? The positive answer is an excuse to put your phone in monochrome mode. This can be done in a few clicks.

For Android

  1. Go to system settings and select the category «about phone»;
  2. Several times in a row click on the build number, it will open access to advanced editing;
  3. In the system find window «for developers»;
  4. In the section «hardware visualization acceleration» find the item «Simulate anomaly» and choose the monochrome mode.

For iOS

  1. Go to basic settings;
  2. Find the «Quick access» section and select «Filters»;
  3. After that, a triple press on the «Home» button will allow you to quickly change modes from black and white to color.

And the main recommendation: remember that the world around is much brighter than the screen of your smartphone!

Stress and the city

How different urban objects affect the human condition

Reading time 4 minutes

Experts at the University of Bristol decided to explore which urban landscapes have the greatest impact on stress levels.

Three objects were chosen for the study: parks, cafes and shops. Modern neuroimaging technologies have made it possible to obtain data directly from the brain, not just from surveys. The experiment involved 40 people. Their stress levels were measured using portable electroencephalogram sensors – not in laboratories, but directly in the city.

How does it work

Studies of encephalogram allow to determine different States of brain activity, its dependence on the level of stress and concentration of a person. Experts paid special attention to two types of activity: alpha rhythm and beta rhythm. The first occurs in a state of calm, the second – in the solution of any problem, when you need the maximum concentration. Watching these rhythms, you can assess the level of stress or the opposite indicator – the level of meditativeness.

The level of meditativeness of the urban landscape (cafe, supermarket, park)

The first point of the study was to determine the level of meditativeness-that is, the relaxation of a person in a particular place. Experts assumed that the highest level of stress will be observed in shops, and the lowest – in parks. Their hypothesis was confirmed: the diagram clearly shows that a person is more calm in parks or cafes than in supermarkets, where the level of meditativeness is much lower.

The second point of the study is the preparation of a heat map, where red is an indicator of the maximum level of stress, and blue is the minimum. Indicators in cafes and parks are about the same, the only difference is that in a cafe the stress level is sometimes very high. This is due to the fact that there people can face unpleasant situations for the brain: an irritable waiter, a long wait for the order, etc.

Heat map: the level of stress in cafes, parks and shops

It is obvious that supermarkets are an emotional test for our brain. The researchers note that there are people who rest while shopping, but they should be careful: it is unknown at what point the brain will start to get annoyed and stop perceiving shopping as a vacation.