Published December 1, 2020
As the calendar turns to December, questions of how to stay healthy mingle with concerns about global climate conditions, law enforcement policies, and the encroachment of technology into our daily lives. Rutgers experts take these issues on in appearances across the media landscape, providing much-needed perspective on everything from medicine to environmental science to criminal justice.
Although a direct link between regular exercise and an ability to beat COVID-19 has not yet been established, studies have clearly shown that staying fit helps fight many viruses. This is crucial knowledge for people over 65, according to an article in The Conversation by three experts at the Aging & Brain Health Alliance at Rutgers University–Newark. “Every session of exercise mobilizes billions of immune cells throughout the body,” say coauthors Lisa Charles, Bernadette Fausto, and Mark Gluck. Their essay includes a few simple exercises readers can do safely on their own, at home.
Symptoms like nausea and headache could indicate you have COVID-19 or another virus, or they might actually be the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, says Diane Calello NJMS’99, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the symptoms you may experience with the common cold, seasonal flu, strep throat, and COVID-19,” she tells Patch. “Overlooking an exposure to this poisonous gas puts you and your loved ones at risk for serious injury and possible death.”
Will the La Niña climate pattern affecting the Pacific Ocean’s water temperatures have an effect on New Jersey’s winter? David Robinson, a geography professor at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and the state’s climatologist, tells The Star-Ledger that the phenomenon likely won’t lead to more snowstorms this winter in New Jersey. During La Niña winters, he says, “the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes tend to be wetter than average and the Southeast drier. We’re in between, with most La Niñas favoring precipitation close to average, not leaning toward an extreme in either direction.”
Facial recognition and other algorithm-based technologies used by police departments to monitor and predict crime may exacerbate racial bias and abuse, says a recent report by a United Nations committee. Rashida Richardson, a visiting scholar at Rutgers Law School, tells The New York Times that police departments have resisted sharing details about technologies they employ. “We don’t know how many police departments use them for the same reason we also don’t know if most police departments even have policies in place to ensure constitutional compliance of these technologies,” says Richardson.
The New York Times | U.N. Panel: Technology in Policing Can Reinforce Racial Bias
A Star-Ledger op-ed by School of Engineering professor Umer Hassan explores the mindboggling future of personalized medicine. Hassan, whose research has focused on biosensors for diagnosing infectious diseases, uses a term familiar to Star Trek fans when he calls the smartphone “the true tricorder of tomorrow.” He predicts the development of a “lab on a chip” that can “quickly analyze a sample of what—if any—harmful bacteria are on a doorknob of a bathroom; test a salad for the presence of E. coli or Salmonella bacteria; or even quickly test for the flu.”
Good news for seafood lovers! Or at least those who aren’t averse to biotechnology and genetic engineering. Science talks to experts in aquatic farming, including professor Ximing Guo of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, about new tools that can greatly improve productivity and lead to more disease-resistant fish, oysters, and shrimp. “The technology is amazing, it’s advancing very quickly, the costs are coming down,” says Guo, who helped boost shellfish yields with major contributions to research during the 1990s. “Everybody in the field is excited.”