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Enriching crops by adding a naturally-occurring soil mineral to fertilizers in Malawi could potentially help to reduce disease and premature death caused by a dietary deficiency of the mineral selenium — which plays a vital role in keeping the immune system healthy and fighting illness. 

An international study has shown that dietary deficiency of selenium is likely to be endemic among the Malawi population and that most Malawi soils cannot supply enough selenium for adequate human nutrition. They call for further investigation into the benefits and costs of using selenium-enriched fertilizers and other strategies to boost levels within the country's food.

Unless we want continued runaway wildfires in dry regions like California, logging makes sense. But there is also an ecological upside, according to a new study. 

Retaining moderate levels of logging debris, also known as "slash," helped to both directly and indirectly increase the growth rate of Douglas-fir seedlings replanted after harvest. The findings, which are among the first to speak to the benefits of second-growth logging debris,
 show that the downed limbs and other woody debris that are inevitable byproducts of timber harvest could be among the most important components of post-harvest landscapes.   

New Yorkers are not happy about the boom in Pennsylvania due to increased natural gas in that state - but politicians have been against it. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will soon decide whether to approve gas drilling but engineers writing in Energy Policy say that wind, water and sunlight could hypothetically be sustainable, inexpensive and reliable and save the state billions of dollars in pollution-related costs.

Familiarity with the unknown, even the scary unknown, reduces anxiety about everyday life, according to surveys of over 800 children ages 8 to 17 conducted by the  Mayo Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology.

The scholars developed two eight-question surveys: the Children's Avoidance Measure Parent Report and the Children's Avoidance Measure Self Report. The questionnaires ask details about children's avoidance tendencies, for instance, in addressing parents, "When your child is scared or worried about something, does he or she ask to do it later?" It also asks children to describe their passive avoidance habits. For example: "When I feel scared or worried about something, I try not to go near it."

Regional spending is not linked to differences in survival of patients with advanced cancer, according to an analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Cancer care accounts for approximately 10% of Medicare spending, and costs are highest for cancer patients with late-stage disease. There are large regional differences in spending within the Medicare program - more seniors, more spending on Medicare, for example - however it is unknown if higher average regional spending for advanced cancer is linked to improved survival for individual patients with cancer.

The widespread introduction of a chicken pox vaccine in Australia in 2006 has prevented thousands of children from being hospitalized with severe chicken pox and saved lives, according to a national study of chicken pox admissions at four participating Australian children's hospitals.

Chicken pox is a highly contagious infection spread by airborne transmission or from direct contact with the fluid from skin lesions caused by the disease. In its most serious form, chicken pox can cause severe and multiple complications, including neurological conditions, and even death.