In its Three Questions, Three Answers series, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Laura Kubzansky discusses the link between optimism and hypertension. Kubzansky, who is co-author of the study, is the Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and co-director of the School’s Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness.Q&ALaura KubzanskyChan School: What did your study find?Kubzansky: In a population of relatively young and healthy U.S. Army active-duty soldiers, we found that those who tested highest for optimism at the start of the study had a 22 percent lower risk of developing hypertension during three-and-a-half years of follow-up than those who scored the lowest. We know that people in the military are more susceptible to early-onset hypertension because of the stressors associated with their jobs (for example, combat exposure), so it was striking to see that much of a protective effect — and also that the finding held for both women and men, and across racial and ethnic groups.We took into account of a lot of other factors that might have explained away the apparent effects of optimism, including number of deployments, smoking, and levels of depression, but none of them substantially altered our key finding. People who are optimistic don’t tend to be depressed, but our analysis further suggests that optimism confirms protection over and above signaling the absence of a risk factor — it’s a positive health asset.Given that early-onset hypertension can lead to many cardiac and cardiovascular problems down the road, it’s important that we identify protective factors and seek ways to foster them early on.Chan School: What are the pathways that might explain the health benefits of optimism?Kubzansky: We think that optimism enhances people’s ability to regulate both their emotions and their behaviors. People who are more optimistic are less likely to smoke and to misuse alcohol, and more likely to engage in physical activity. They often have a healthier diet, although we didn’t have data on that in this particular study.We’ve also been looking at how optimism may affect biological processes. Some research has suggested that optimism is associated with lower levels of inflammation. So, maybe there’s more anti-inflammatory activity or higher levels of antioxidants that circulate, which in turn protect against hypertension or other adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Another biological factor that we have seen in multiple studies linked to optimism is higher levels of HDL, the healthy lipids. We’re also curious to look at optimism in relation to the microbiome and are hoping to get the data to be able to do that.One of the challenges to this work is that so much of research is focused on what causes deterioration and poor health. There are actually a lot fewer studies about what a positive biology would look like. So identifying pathways and mechanisms requires a little more creative thinking.Chan School: Months into a global pandemic, optimism might seem like a tall order. What can people do to improve their long-term outlook?Kubzansky: It may seem odd to talk about optimism in the midst of so much suffering. However, it’s perhaps more important than ever to think about ways to enhance functioning and not solely look at what happens when things go wrong, in the interest of preventing even more suffering later on. Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier Protecting the heart with optimism Positive thinking linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular events Good genes are nice, but joy is better Related With regard to optimism, the good news is that it seems to be only about 25-30 percent heritable, which means that there’s a lot of room to improve it. There’s no one-size-fits-all intervention, but there are some things that people have found can help. For example, imagining your best possible future self and the things you can do to get there. Writing a gratitude letter can also be a useful exercise, because it reminds you that good things are possible. Some people might want to try counseling or meditation as a way to find some respite from focusing just on the things that may be going wrong.But it’s also important to talk about whether people have equal opportunity to be optimistic. For example, we’ve found that optimism tracks a lot with education. I think it’s partly because people with higher levels of education tend to pick up more problem-solving skills. So, we want to create environments where people feel like they have the power to tackle problems and be efficacious.Our findings in the current study suggest it would be beneficial if we could find ways to improve levels of optimism relatively early in life. That’s a very grand dream, but it seems like it might be worth spending a little bit more time thinking about how to manage that. Even if you can’t fix every health problem, it may be that you can identify assets that can be made available to more people that will help them stay healthier.
By Juan Delgado / Diálogo March 19, 2020 In mid-January 2020, Chilean security forces made the largest seizure of contraband copper, about 80 tons estimated at $305 million, found in a junkyard of the Lampa community, 22 miles northwest of Santiago de Chile. Chile’s Investigations Police (PDI, in Spanish) said in a press conference that the metal was bound for China.The finding, one of a growing number of copper thefts in Chile, shows that the smuggling may be motivated by the high demand in China, said in a late January report by the organization InSight Crime, which specializes in security threats in Latin America and the Caribbean. “The country [China] has a track record of soaking up global copper production, both legally and illegally,” the report said.“The great expansion of Chinese companies in telecommunications, networks, 5G, etc., means an increase in the demand for copper and its derivatives to meet the demands of businesses in third markets,” Sergio Cesarín, coordinator of the Center for Studies on Asia-Pacific and India at the University of Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires, Argentina, told Diálogo.Cesarín described copper smuggling as a large-scale transnational criminal activity, with several actors involved in Chile, from thieves, operators, domestic shipping networks to national companies. In China, it is likely “a complex operation,” where “criminal rings, companies, and public officials might be involved […]. It intertwines responsibilities and corruption up and down the chain.”Martín Verrier, professor of international relations at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, explained that this metal is an essential commodity for the Asian country’s industrial base, which is used in the electrical, electronic, telecommunications, and construction industries, among others. According to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), a raw materials intergovernmental organization, China is the world’s largest importer of copper, with almost 5 million tons imported in 2019. Chile, ICSG indicates, is the largest exporter in the world, with China being its main commercial partner for the metal.“This increasing demand explains why copper prices rose to more than $6,200 per ton at the end of 2019 […],” said Verrier. “Consequently, and similarly to gold, criminal organizations find in copper smuggling an advantageous market.”PDI said on its Twitter account that the copper seized in January had been stolen from electric and telecommunication companies. Complaints filed by the affected companies — which lost copper cables to thieves all over the country — and PDI investigations led to an operation that resulted in the historic seizure and the arrest of the owner of the company that collected the copper.Months before, in October 2019, PDI recovered more than 10 tons of smuggled copper, estimated at $55 million, in various companies in the city of Antofagasta, capital of the northern region of the same name and a mining area known for copper production. Several trains transporting copper extracted from the mines in the region were also attacked. According to the Argentine newspaper Mining Press, which focuses on mining in Argentina, Chile, and Peru, the Antofagasta Prosecutor’s Office had reported six attacks on copper trains in 2014, but in 2018, attacks increased to 48.“They can attack a train anywhere simply by placing obstacles on the tracks. They climb up, cut the supports holding the cathodes, and load them up onto trucks specially adapted to take the weight,” PDI agent Luis Millapán told the Bloomberg news agency in a February 2019 article. “They use high-frequency radios and special clothing to withstand the frozen temperatures of the [Atacama] desert, and they know the area like the back of their hand.”The Antofagasta region has experienced so many robberies, that in August 2018 the PDI created a special unit to counter this crime; Millapán leads the unit. According to Bloomberg, within the first six months of its creation the unit was successful, seizing about 60 tons of copper and arresting 11 people.
Interpol Italy had tipped Interpol Indonesia off about the crime, he said. The information was later passed on to Bareskrim.According to a preliminary police investigation, a Nigerian-Indonesian crime syndicate had used the so-called “business email compromise” method to con the firms out of the funds.A total of 3.67 million euro ($4.34 million) was sent to the Indonesian account in three separate bank transfers, Listyo said.Read also: American wanted by FBI arrested in Indonesia for suspected child sex crimes The National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) has arrested three members of an international crime syndicate for the alleged theft of Rp 58 billion (US$3.93 million) intended for the purchase of medical equipment, including ventilators for COVID-19 patients.Bareskrim head Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo told the press on Monday that the syndicate had stolen money transferred under a contract of sale between two foreign healthcare technology firms: Althea Group from Italy and Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics from China.“An individual who was posing as a general manager of the Italian firm said there had been a change in bank accounts […], which resulted in the money being redirected to an Indonesian bank account,” Listyo said. The police have arrested three suspects and have seized a portion of the recovered money as evidence.“Thanks to the cooperation between Interpol Italy, Interpol Indonesia, Bareskrim and colleagues from the PPATK [Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center], we have managed to arrest three of the perpetrators in Jakarta, Padang [West Sumatra] and Bogor [West Java],” Listyo said.“We have seized the funds stored in a sharia bank account, totaling Rp 56 billion.”He added that the police were pursuing a fourth suspect, a foreign citizen identified as DM, who remained at large.The police have also retrieved two cars, a private plot of land and a number of company documents.The suspects were charged under Article 378 of the Criminal Code, Article 85 of Law No. 3/2011 on bank transfers and Article 10 of Law No. 8/2010 on money laundering.Topics :
The Batesville Lady Bulldogs Varsity muster 8 hits, drop 17-3 contest to Hamilton Southeastern @ the Golden Bear Invitational.BHS vs HSE Softball (5-16)Tuesday night 5/19 will be senior night in a lone game against visiting North Decatur. Seniors: #2 Katie Thomas, #8 Jessica Meer, #14 Meg Liter, and #17 Hannah Putnam.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Jody Thomas.