May 25, 2018

Long weekend reads: Double amputation didn't keep this man from reaching the top of Everest

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    The double amputee who was determined to scale Mt. Everest. Climber Xia Boyu tried to climb Mt. Everest multiple times, facing avalanches, an earthquake, and ultimately losing both of his feet to frostbite when his team got caught in a storm. Eventually, Xia was diagnosed with lymphoma, which forced doctors to amputate both of his legs above the knee—but that wasn't going to stop him: On May 14, Xia became at least the third double amputee to make it to the top of Mt. Everest, according to climbing records.

    Review sheds light on safety of inducing labor vs. waiting. While inducing labor carriers risks, induction at or after 41 weeks gestation might be less dangerous than waiting for labor to begin, according to a review published in the Cochrane Library. For the review, researchers analyzed 30 randomized trials involving over 12,000 women with normal pregnancies in 14 countries, including the United States. The researchers said induced labor, compared with waiting, was association with fewer perinatal deaths, stillbirths, and cesarean sections.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Scientists to search Loch Ness for famed lake monster. A research team next month will set out in search of the Loch Ness monster's "DNA footprint." Specifically, the scientists will scour Loch Ness for environmental DNA: fragments of skin (or perhaps scales) that organisms leave behind in their environment. The project lead, Neil Gemmell of New Zealand's Otago University, admits that he's been using the Nessy plug to draw attention to a broader study on lake biodiversity in Loch Ness. The team will sail the loch in its entirety, look at two nearby control group lakes, and analyze the DNA they find to see what makes Loch Ness unique.

    Errors on Ebola outbreak maps. Many maps of the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo contain errors, Ed Yong reports for The Atlantic. According to Yong, villages and in some cases regions are misplaced. However, there's no evidence that the errors have hindered the response thus far, Yong reports. Cyrus Sinai, a cartographer working to re-map the country, said, "Everyone on the ground knows where the health zones start and end. … But you surely want the most accurate data." Sinai and colleagues are also conducting microcensuses of the region. The country hasn't had a formal census since 1984.

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