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Weekly News Roundup 1/10 to 1/16

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“Dudes and Dogs” program aims to help men talk about mental health

When Rob Osman feels the anxiety creeping in, he laces up his shoes and puts a leash on his Hungarian vizsla, Mali. As the two walk, he feels his body relax as the tension melts away. “I’m not saying anything new when I say going into the fresh air makes you feel better,” 38-year-old Osman said. “Just the realization of just how beneficial that time with the dog has been.” At the beginning of 2019, Osman’s life was in transition. He gave up his corporate job and started walking dogs, focusing on his family, and studying psychology at a local university. He soon realized that walking Mali or other pups helped him when he experienced depression and anxiety, something he’s dealt with since his twenties. Osman started taking friends on walks with Mali. . . . more

Do you think you’re allergic to dogs? Maybe just males

There might be a solution that’s easier than allergy shots for those who love dogs but find themselves sneezing around them: Neuter a male pup or opt for a female dog. “Up to 30% of people who are allergic to dogs are actually allergic to one specific protein that’s made in the prostate of a dog,” said Lakiea Wright, MD, MAT, MPH, an allergist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. While the protein was identified years ago, a reliable blood test for the allergen was only approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last May. “If you’re allergic to only that specific protein in the male dog, you may be able to tolerate a female or a neutered dog,” Wright said. . . . more

US veterinary hospital faces rare antibiotic-resistant E. coli

On April 1, 2019, Shelley Rankin, PhD, chief of clinical microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, got a surprising notification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Four times a year, Rankin and her colleagues at PennVet ship off bacterial isolates from the school’s veterinary hospitals to the FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Information and Response Network (Vet-LIRN). The notification Rankin received from Vet-LIRN that day regarded a set of isolates submitted at the end of 2018. Among the isolates was a sample of carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli from one of a handful of sick cats and dogs treated at PennVet’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital in July and August of 2018. . . . more

Cameras show animals thriving in Fukushima’s “uninhabitable” radioactive zone

Nearly a decade after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, researchers have discovered that wildlife is thriving in the areas evacuated by humans, despite radiological contamination. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan. More than 20,000 people died or went missing in the quake and tsunami, while hundreds of thousands more lost their homes. Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the air and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the area. Scientists have now discovered that wildlife is abundant in the areas where humans no longer live. . . . more

Do cute dog photos improve work productivity?

Whether checking social media accounts, responding to messages, or watching clips of cute puppies throwing tantrums, we are easily pulled away from our work. It’s called cyberslacking, and the struggle and impact on productivity is real. But what if they’re wrong? What if these minibreaks to take in a slideshow of heartwarming cuteness actually improve productivity? One woman intends to find out. Jennifer Ragsdale, a University of Tulsa professor who studies industrial-organizational psychology, and her team of researchers are setting out to determine if cyberslacking (or cyberloafing) can actually improve workplace productivity, rather than inhibit it. . . . more