Published December 8, 2021

Facing the facts on the new coronavirus mutation. Enhancing the brain’s immune system. And: when will the stranglehold of global shortages end? Rutgers experts explore the issues.

Richard Marlink, director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute, joins News 12 New Jersey to discuss safety precautions for airports, airlines, and travelers as the Omicron variant spreads. Requiring passengers to undergo rapid COVID-19 tests “will cost money, but those…will work and they’ll be applied uniformly,” says Marlink. He contrasts testing with travel bans, which are only effective before a new contagion appears. “When the cat’s already out of the bag…they’re really not going to work,” says Marlink. “We have to go ahead and do the rest: PCR tests at airports and doubling down on getting people vaccinated.”

News 12 New Jersey | Omicron variant now in the US. Here’s how airports are stepping up safety precautions

A new study has found that physical activity boosts immune cells in the brain and could ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Mark Gluck, a professor of neuroscience at Rutgers University–Newark’s School of Arts and Sciences, tells the New York Times that the findings are important. The study, he says, was “the first to use post-mortem analyses of brain tissue to show that a marker of inflammation in the brain, microglial activation, appears to be the mechanism through which physical activity can reduce brain inflammation and help protect against the cognitive ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The New York Times | How staying physically active may protect the aging brain

Disruptions to the nation’s supply chain will last beyond the holidays, says Weihong Guo, an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering at Rutgers’ School of Engineering. “There is no doubt the supply chain has not fully recovered and is still struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels,” she tells Patch. Rudi Leuschner, an assistant professor in the supply chain management department at Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick, adds, “The quickest we are going back to normal is when seasonal demand declines and supply chains have a chance to get back to some equilibrium.”

Patch | NJ small businesses face holiday supply-chain impacts

Cryptocurrency debit cards can make it easier for consumers to use the new, all-digital forms of currency that are transforming the global economy. But Rutgers Business School professor and financial technology expert Merav Ozair advises consumers to read the fine print before setting up a card. Interviewed in U.S. News & World Report, Ozair says that companies may advertise rewards programs or say they have low fees, but “they don’t advertise all the…things that you are being penalized for or paying fees for. You have to do the math.” Ozair also suggests trying out other types of decentralized finance, not just crypto, to learn more about what’s happening in this industry.

U.S. News & World Report | What you should know about crypto debit cards

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