Can you imagine doing almost anything do you do during the day except do it in the dark? People who live close to the poles want to know how it feels – so do I. As a Scot, I have (not) good memories of going to school, playing sports, shopping, working and so on … in the dark. These daily tasks are more difficult to perform when it is pitch black outside, but the challenge is not solely to do with the lack of natural light: Dark days can lead to dark thoughts.
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However, the answer does not have to be to invest in a therapeutic lamp to recreate sunlight inside. I’m Claire Cameron, editor in chief Vise versa. Keep reading to find out how to combat winter blues using seven science-based mental health strategies. And speaking of darkness, today we bring you the only explanation you need for one of the darkest forces in the cosmos.
How Russia’s anti-satellite test could threaten Earth’s near space for years – It was not quite like the scenario in Gravity, but it came uncomfortably close. On Monday, astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station climbed into their Crew Dragon and Soyuz spacecraft and waited for hours, ready to return to Earth with a moment’s notice.
The reason? Sometime late Friday night, the Russian military used an anti-satellite missile to destroy an aging Russian satellite in orbit, creating a waste field of more than 1,500 pieces of metal larger than a softball swirling around the Earth at 15,000 miles per hour.
“The orbit crosses the International Space Station every 90 minutes,” said Brian Weeden, director of planning at the nonprofit Secure World Foundation, which promotes peaceful use of outer space. Vise versa.
Fortunately, the ISS was not affected and the crew appears to be safe in the short term. But the mess is going to get stuck – and we’m not just talking about geopolitics.
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Clean the palate: See amazing new images of Earth, captured by NASA’s own love satellite
Antidepressants such as Prozac can help patients survive Covid-19 – A growing body of evidence suggests that Covid-19 patients on SSRIs are less likely to die. The most recent study examined fluoxetine, known as the Prozac brand.
The team behind the study, published Monday in JAMA Network Open, collected health records from more than 83,000 patients from across the United States who had been diagnosed with Covid-19, including about 3,400 patients who were prescribed SSRIs.
They found that people who took anyone SSRIs were 8 percent less likely to die from Covid-19. These odds jumped to 28 percent among those prescribed fluoxetine.
“It has been suggested that certain SSRIs can be used for sepsis in inpatients, so I think it would make sense based on the animal experiments to test this in other types of infections,” says Angela Reiersen, associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Reiersen was not involved in this study.
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7 science-based strategies for better mental health – Feeling blue in winter is not an anomaly. Fortunately, there are more than a few strategies you can try to improve mental health.
At least 6 percent of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that occurs as the seasons change. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate these low emotions. Research published November 11 in the journal Preventive medicine surveyed 250,000 people during Covid lockdowns in the US in April 2020 and found some trends that helped.
Participants who trained and spent more time outdoors during the shutdowns in 2020 had lower rates of anxiety and depression. But there are other strategies you can use to help boost your mental health through the darker months.
Get the scoop.
Related reading: The discovery of ketamine is a step towards new fast-acting antidepressants
The physics-breaking force that shapes our universe, explained – Dark energy is a long-standing mystery in science, but it has not stopped curious scientists from turning every stone to better understand it.
So what is dark energy?
Instead of describing an observed phenomenon – like ink-like, black energy vines radiating through space – the name “dark energy” instead refers to a gap in physicists’ knowledge. If point A and point B are both observable events, then dark energy is the unknown link between them. In this case, the link that scientists believe explains why our universe expansion is accelerating instead of slowing down.
In the same way, instead of imagining this energy as the color of some coal, “dark” means more that it is invisible to both the human eye and human instruments. This invisibility seems to come from the fact that photons – or light particles – do not interact with dark energy.
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Go deeper: A physics experiment may have unexpectedly discovered dark energy on Earth
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- Go outside: The Leonid meteor shower peaks tonight, and then again in the early hours of Friday, you can also expect to see the longest lunar eclipse of the century.
- Today’s song: “15 Step” by Radiohead. This is my current earworm.