What's in the water we drink at the tap?

What's in the water we drink at the tap?

In France, we are 67% to drink tap water every day, or almost. This is at least what the Water Information Center (C.l.eau) tells us in its report. This report on the habits of the French in 2018 also tells us that it is the young people from 18 to 24 and the 30 to 44 year olds living in apartments in the city, who consume the most. But what does this water contain? Do we really know it?

Tap water: purified water

Drawn from groundwater, rivers or lakes, tap water can have a lot of dirt, particles or pollutants. Therefore, before it can be consumed, it must first be purified.

70 quality criterias

To be considered potable, tap water is evaluated by more than 70 quality criteria. The latter are set in France by the Ministry of Health and appear in the Code of Public Health (orders of 11 January 2007 and 21 January 2010).

The Water Information Center (C.L.eau) recalls that the process of water quality control is drastic. It ensures that the water is not contaminated by chemical pollutants, bacteria, minerals, etc. In 2015, no less than 312,000 water samples were taken to ensure consumer safety.

Drinking filtered water

Despite these various government implementations, the risk of contamination is possible, so it is common to filter tap water. At home, different solutions exist such as filter jugs, Binchotan Japanese vegetable charcoal, clay balls or Moringa seeds.

In company, it is possible to use water fountains without cylinders, including those at Exquado.com, which connect directly to the water system. The filtration of the water will then be done directly inside the fountain.

What's in tap water

Throughout its journey, water is responsible for trace elements essential for the maintenance of human health.

Limestone water

How many times have we complained about the amount of limestone in tap water? However, it is useful for living because it contains calcium and magnesium. These two elements are particularly important for the health of our bones. This is why we must not neglect the contribution that a limestone water (at reasonable doses, less than 300 mg / l of water) can have. It will also avoid too much soften the water, to keep the contributions of it.

Salts in our glasses

Aluminum and chlorine salts are used in the purification process. Their function is to make the normally turbid waters clear and clear, but also to combat the different bacteria that may have developed there.

Although their use is now widely criticized, the authorities say they drastically control their presence and use.

Vestige of an old time

Before the campaign to replace the pipes in France, these were - for the most part - made of lead. The problem with this material is that it erodes and leaves microparticles in the water in contact. However, lead poisoning can cause an illness called lead poisoning.

The site Ameli.fr reminds us that "lead poisoning is characterized by the excessive presence of lead in the body. Lead enters the body through the respiratory and digestive tracts. It has harmful effects especially in children, as well as in pregnant women and their babies contaminated by blood ".

Pesticides, still pesticides

Burns, irritations, headaches or congenital malformations, this is what pesticides can produce in tap water. They are used to kill different species of animals, insects or plants in the fields. Unfortunately, once disseminated, chemicals seep into the earth to end up in the groundwater.

According to the Ministry of Solidarity and Health 92.5% of the French population has been supplied with water that meets the requirements in 2018. Nevertheless, a part of the population has had to coping with a restriction of food use in order to avoid health risks.

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Africa, cradle of humanity: the concept evolves

Africa, cradle of humanity: the concept evolves

The origin of humans is not just one distinct population in Africa, as it has been claimed for decades, but to several groups scattered across the continent that have evolved differently from the outset both physically and culturally, have shown the work of European paleoanthropologists who offer a complete rereading of the ancestral origins of Homo sapiens.

Their work collects data combining the study of bones, stones and genes and detailed reconstructions of the climate and habitats of the African continent over time.

They allow us to construct a different image of our evolution over the past 300,000 years, according to which distinctive human characteristics have emerged rather like a mosaic across different populations across the African continent.

Scattered across Africa and largely separated by diverse habitats and environmental boundaries, such as forests and deserts, humanity would be born in a wide variety of forms, the mixture of which ultimately shaped the appearance of our species.

Thus, it is only after hundreds of thousands of years of miscegenation and cultural exchange between these semi-isolated groups that the modern human has emerged.

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Liquid water still present on Mars

Liquid water still present on Mars

The confirmation fell in July: there is still water under the surface of the planet next to the Earth. This is the first evidence of the existence of a large body of water on Mars. The discovery of a frozen lake on its surface was announced in December.

The underground extension

We already knew that oceans once covered the Red Planet and that streams of brine sometimes still flow to a few places on its surface during the warmer months.

But what the Marsis radar instrument embarked on board the European Mars Express orbiter has detected is certainly one of the most important discoveries of recent years in astronomy.

The South Pole of Mars.

The liquid water is under the ice (in white) at the South Pole of Mars Photo: ESA / DLR / FU BERLIN / CC BY-SA There is therefore a vast underground lake 1.5 km deep under the ice cap of the South Pole. The stretch of water is about 20 km wide. Its temperature is probably below the freezing point of pure water, but the lake remains in the liquid state due to the presence of magnesium, calcium and sodium.

A lake on its surface

In addition, at the end of the year, a huge lake of frozen water was constantly observed by the European probe Mars Express in Korolev crater, nearly 82 kilometers wide.

The body of water is in the lowlands of the northern hemisphere of the planet.

In the center of this crater, the ice would have a thickness of nearly 2 kilometers.

The presence of liquid water is a prerequisite for the development of life. These two discoveries will not fail to intensify the search for other sources of water on Mars.

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Sarcosine: detection of prostate cancer

Sarcosine: detection of prostate cancer

This substance, easily dosable in urine, can identify prostate tumors requiring immediate and powerful treatment. Its discovery could lead to a test usable by doctors.

Three researchers at Ann Arbor University in Michigan have discovered a substance, sarcosine, easily dosed in the urine, that can distinguish in humans a simple hypertrophy of the prostate, localized or metastatic cancer of this body.

This important work could lead to the development of a test to help doctors distinguish slow-growing tumors from those requiring immediate and powerful treatment. The British scientific journal Nature did not make a mistake: it devotes 35 pages of the weekly and an editorial to this major discovery.

Arun Sreekumar who led this work, used with his team a series of high-performance machines to analyze thousands of substances taken from 262 tissue samples, urine analysis and blood samples from patients with prostate cancer or cancer. otherwise free from this disease. These chromatography and mass spectrometry devices make it possible to separate and identify the atomic composition of thousands of substances in record time under the control of powerful computers.

At first, they identified 60 molecules present in the urine of patients with localized or metastatic prostate cancer and absent from the urine of patients with normal prostate. Of these 60 suspect metabolic "profiles", only 6 (including sarcosine) had a higher and higher concentration when mild to more invasive and metastatic tumors were passed. And among these six candidates, sarcosine has the best correlation with the severity of the disease.

Sarcosine, which is derived from the metabolism of an amino acid, glycine, is found in increasing concentrations as prostate cancer progresses and metastases occur. It has also been found in human prostate cancer cell lines stored in research laboratory freezers. And when the researchers added sarcosine to normal human prostate cell cultures, they became cancerous and invaded the culture dishes! This set of evidence suggests that sarcosine plays a key role in the transformation and aggressiveness of cancer cells.

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Spinal cord stimulator offers new hope against Parkinson's

Spinal cord stimulator offers new hope against Parkinson's

A simple small electric stimulator of the spinal cord brings new hope to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, according to promising research carried out on mice in the United States.

This stimulator was attached to the top of the spine of mice and rats whose researchers had significantly reduced the body's dopamine content to replicate the biological characteristics of people with Parkinson's at different stages of this neurodegeneration. progressive incurable.

Dopamine is a small molecule that provides communication between neurons, nerve cells in the brain.

When the pacemaker was started, the dopamine-free animals whose movements were slow and stiff began to move quite normally.

This improvement was generally observed 3.35 seconds after the start of the stimulation.

"We observed almost immediately a dramatic change in the animals' ability to move when the device electrically stimulated their spinal cord," says Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, a neurologist at the Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina. (Southeast), one of the authors of this study published in the journal Science dated March 20.

"In addition, this stimulator is simple to use and much less invasive than current approaches such as drugs or deep electrical stimulation of the brain," adds the researcher.

"Finally this stimulator could be used very widely with the most commonly prescribed drugs to treat Parkinson's," notes Dr. Nicolelis.

When the spinal cord stimulator was used on these rodents without drugs they were 26 times more active than other non-stimulated mice and rats.

Animals whose spinal cord was electrically stimulated also receiving two doses of the L-DOPA anti-Parkinsonian drug had movements comparable to five doses of this treatment in other animals without electrical stimulation.

L-DOPA, which increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, is one of the most commonly used drugs to reduce Parkinson's symptoms.

"This research addresses an important need because L-DOPA eventually loses its effects with the worsening of Parkinson's symptoms," says Romulo Fuentes of Duke University and the lead author of this study.

In addition, deep brain electrical stimulation only applies to a limited number of patients, says the researcher.

In a healthy person, neurons light up at different frequencies, reacting to information transmitted by the brain to initiate normal body movements, a process compromised in someone with Parkinson's.

"This stimulator of the spinal cord acts as an interface between the brain and the neural system to facilitate the transmission of nerve impulses", notes Per Petersson, one of the authors of the study.

"If we can show that this stimulator is safe and effective in primates and humans, almost all Parkinson's patients will soon be able to use it," says Dr. Nicolelis.

More than 50,000 Americans have Parkinson's and 50,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.

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Sun exposure reduces risk of blood clot, Swedish study says

Sun exposure reduces risk of blood clot, Swedish study says

The exposure to the sun, whose role is demonstrated in the occurrence of skin cancer, nevertheless significantly reduces the risk to women. Thrombosis, more commonly known as blood clots, according to a new Swedish study.

"We found that women who tan in the sun have a 30% lower risk of suffering from blood clots," Pelle Lindqvist, Associate Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Stockholm's Karolinska University Hospital, told AFP. .

"There is also a higher risk of blood clots in December, January and February in Sweden, when there is less sun here," said the study's co-author, published in the March issue of the Journal. Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

The researcher and two colleagues from the University of Lund, in southern Sweden, have analyzed the results of a survey conducted since 1990 with 40,000 Swedish women, among other things, asked about their tanning habits, especially whether they tan during the summer, winter, or if they traveled to sunny countries or used a solarium.

The team then studied the medical complications over the next twelve years, which showed that 312 of them had thromboses.

Even when combined with other factors such as exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption or weight, the study showed that tanning reduced the risk of clot formation.

"By tanning, you avoid the vitamin D shortage during the winter when people in Sweden suffer from vitamin D deficiency. It's only during the summer that we have enough vitamin D, "said Lindqvist, who believes the results should be similar for men, although the study could only be women.

The exact role of vitamin D in preventing thrombosis has not been established and will be the subject of another study, he said.

To counteract the risks of skin cancer with the benefits to the bloodstream, the researcher recommends taking short sunbaths every day, and even in the middle of the day, but to avoid sunburn.

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Reduce the risk of cardio vascular stroke

Reduce the risk of cardio vascular stroke

A major study, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reveals that the combination of two drugs significantly reduces risk of stroke in some patients with cardiac arrhythmia who can not take oral anticoagulants due to bleeding.

These patients, mostly elderly people, usually take Coumadin and respond positively to treatment. But this drug causes bleeding in 50% of people suffering from palpitations, "atrial fibrillation."

Thus, doctors prescribed aspirin to reduce the risk of stroke and paralysis.

The three-and-a-half-year study showed that the combination of aspirin and Plavix reduced the risk of stroke in these patients by 28%.

Dr. Christian Constance of Maisonneuve Rosemont Hospital in Montreal participated in this study. He qualifies this discovery as major, since it will ensure better, safer therapy.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. It is characterized by the accumulation of blood in the upper chambers of the heart, conducive to the formation of clots which can then pass into the bloodstream and cause a stroke.

Patients are five times more likely to have a stroke and account for almost 15% of all stroke cases.

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Insomnia: psychotherapy more effective than sleeping pills

Insomnia: psychotherapy more effective than sleeping pills

If you suffer from chronic insomnia, it may be that you have advantage to swap sleeping pills for cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.

This is indicated by the results of a study conducted by researchers at Laval University, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 1.

Having developed effective cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy to treat insomniacs, psychologist Charles Morin and his team wanted to know if using a sleeping pill could help improve treatment.

They recruited 160 people, all suffering from chronic insomnia for 10 years, on average. By definition, a person suffers from this disorder when it takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep or to spend more than 30 minutes awake in the middle of the night, at least three times a week.

With or without sleeping pills?

For six weeks, all participants took part in weekly cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions designed to change their habits and beliefs about sleep and insomnia. Some took zolpidem 10 mg each night - a classic hypnotic sleeping pill - and some did not.

Then, during the next five months, the psychotherapy sessions were held on a monthly basis.

As a result, taking sleeping pills has been effective in combination with psychotherapy, but only for the first six weeks.

During this period, psychotherapy - alone or in combination with the medication - significantly reduced the time required to fall asleep, as well as the duration of awake periods during the night, while improving quality of sleep.

But in the long run, people who had been in therapy and had taken a sleeping pill for only the first six weeks had the best results: nearly 70% of them had a complete remission of their chronic insomnia.

In contrast, those who continued taking zolpidem for the next five months showed a 42% remission rate.

Why such a result?

According to Charles Morin, delaying drug withdrawal has the effect of reducing the beneficial effects of psychotherapy.

"We think that if they do not have sleeping pills at all after six weeks, patients are putting more energy into changing their behavior," says the psychologist-researcher.

According to him, the medication would be especially useful at the beginning of the treatment of the chronic insomnia or to treat the occasional insomnia associated with temporary situations, such as a divorce or a layoff.

For the reimbursement of psychotherapy

In Quebec, psychotherapy fees are generally not covered by the health insurance plan.

As a result, Dr. Morin hopes that the results of his study will encourage the government to allocate more resources to non-pharmacological treatments to treat insomnia.

"It's still paradoxical that the scheme covers the price of sleeping pills, but not that of a psychotherapy that is more effective, especially in the long term," he insists.

He also points out that the social costs generated by chronic insomnia, especially in terms of work absenteeism and lower productivity, are heavier than those associated with the psychotherapeutic treatment of this sleep disorder.

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HIV: A component of green tea against transmission

HIV: A component of green tea against transmission

A research conducted by the Heinrich-Pette-Institute for Experimental Virology Hamburg and the Heidelberg Faculty of Medicine has just shown that the major component of green tea has a major antiretroviral and "virucidal" capacity in the fight against sexual transmission of HIV. This study has just been published in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

If HIV, it should be remembered, is also transmitted through contaminated blood transfusions or the exchange of contaminated syringes from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding, the vast majority of cases of transmission are related to unprotected sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal). Today, the WHO estimates that 33.2 million people are living with HIV, that 2.5 million people have been newly infected to more than 80% by sexual transmission, and that 2.1 million people have died AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most severely affected region in the world. Finally, HIV remains responsible for more than 6,800 new infections and more than 5700 deaths per day.

The discovery of the actions of this plant component, the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or polyphenol of green tea by researchers from the University of Heidelberg and the Institute of Experimental Virology Hamburg is therefore essential: EGCG would have the capacity to inhibit a sperm protein serving as a vector for spreading the virus.

This protein, a propagator of virus infection by sperm called SEVI, "captures" HIV virions and "directs" them to target cells. This protein therefore plays a key factor in HIV infection through sexual transmission.

Epigallocatechin gallate, the major component of green tea, stops the activity of the SEVI protein and destroys it.

With the goal of improving the prevention of sexual transmission of the AIDS virus, the researchers are therefore interested in an inhibitor of SEVI: A solution including epigallocatechin gallate applied locally in women can cancel any development of HIV infection.

While the majority of the 33 million HIV-positive people in the world have been infected with HIV in heterosexual sex, the researchers say the discovery of the inhibitory properties of the green tea component is "promising." Indeed, if these results were confirmed, this component would be a simple, inexpensive and natural mode of prevention exploitable especially in developing countries, headquarters of the majority of transmissions.

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Make love…

Make love…

Hundred times on the job ... Some men could happily welcome the new findings of an Australian study, which indicate that the frequency of intercourse affects sperm quality.

The study, made public at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Congress, was conducted among 118 Australians whose sperm was spoiled.

Dr. David Greening of the Sydney IVF private clinic and his colleagues found that a daily sexual intercourse for one week reduced the number of lesions in the patients' sperm DNA.

After seven days, the doctors observed that 81% of the subjects had a 12% drop in the amount of damaged sperm. Experts conclude that sperm is less likely to be damaged if removed quickly from the body.

Dr. Greening and her colleagues are continuing the analysis of the results to determine how many of the participants have become pregnant. In the meantime, he recommends that his patients make love more often. The instruction would smile to young men, but not to older ones.

Professor Bill Ledger of the University of Sheffield in Britain is even less enthusiastic than his Australian colleagues. "It may improve pregnancy rates, but we still have to do additional studies. "

He also argues that advising couples to increase their sex may add to their stress of wanting a child, and therefore harming them.

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