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Associated Press

To reverse damage of sitting, take an hour-long walk

LONDON (AP) -- If you spend all day sitting, then you might want to schedule some time for a brisk walk - just make sure you can spare at least an hour.

Scientists analyzing data from more than 1 million people found that it takes about 60 to 75 minutes of "moderate intensity" exercise to undo the damage of sitting for at least eight hours a day. Not exercising and sitting all day is as dangerous as being obese or smoking, they found.



Hawaii Dem congressman Mark Takai dies

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Mark Takai has died.

Takai, a first-term Democrat from Hawaii, 49, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He announced in May that he would not seek re-election.

His office released a statement saying that Takai died at home Wednesday surrounded by his family.

He was a longtime lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served on the Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.



Pentagon ends ban on transgender troops in military

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Transgender people will be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, the Pentagon announced Thursday, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces.

Saying it's the right thing to do, Defense Secretary Ash Carter laid out a yearlong implementation plan declaring that "Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so."



Temporary blindness tied to smartphone use in dark

LONDON (AP) -- Warning: Looking at your smartphone while lying in bed at night could wreak havoc on your vision.

Two women went temporarily blind from constantly checking their phones in the dark, say doctors who are now alerting others to the unusual phenomenon.

The solution: Make sure to use both eyes when looking at your smartphone screen in the dark.

In Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, doctors detailed the cases of the two women, ages 22 and 40, who experienced "transient smartphone blindness" for months.



Scientists battle to save world's coral reefs

HONOLULU (AP) -- After the most powerful El Nino on record heated the world's oceans to never-before-seen levels, huge swaths of once vibrant coral reefs that were teeming with life are now stark white ghost towns disintegrating into the sea.

And the world's top marine scientists are still struggling in the face of global warming and decades of devastating reef destruction to find the political and financial wherewithal to tackle the loss of these globally important ecosystems.



Scientists: Vibrant US marine reserve now a coral graveyard

WASHINGTON (AP) — El Nino’s super warm
water has turned what had been one of the world’s
most lush and isolated tropical marine reserve into a
coral graveyard, federal scientists said Wednesday.

Researchers finishing an emergency undersea expedition
found 95 percent of the coral dead around Jarvis
Island in the Pacific Remote Island Marine National
Monument.

In November, much of the coral had bleached white
but was alive.

“There’s hardly anything left on the bottom in
terms of the coral. It basically looks like a graveyard,” said the expedition chief scientist Bernardo



Urine test could simplify Zika virus detection

NEW YORK (AP) -- A urine-based test for Zika virus infection has shown to be more effective than the common blood-based one for many patients, a development that could make testing for the infection easier.

The test could potentially aid efforts to control Zika, which is mainly carried by mosquitoes, as it is expected to spread further into North America in the coming months.

"The timing is excellent," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.



Caymans to deploy gen-mod mosquitoes

MIAMI (AP) -- British biotech company Oxitec and the Cayman Islands government announced plans Thursday to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in the fight against a species that spreads Zika and other diseases.

Deployment of the mosquitoes against the Aedes aegypti species in the Cayman Islands is a major advance for Oxitec, which has promoted the method heavily as an environmentally safe way to combat the vectors of mosquito-borne illnesses while confronting public concerns about the technology.



Study: Football concussions and resuming play vary by age

CHICAGO (AP) -- Younger football players are more likely to return to the field less than a day after suffering concussions than those in high school and college, according to a new study.



No more ties? Spelling Bee to get harder words

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After two straight years of ties, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is adding more sting: The championship rounds will last longer, and the words will be harder.

The bee, now televised in prime time by ESPN, has exploded in popularity over the past two decades. And the spellers have gotten increasingly savvy. So instead of sticking to a list of 25 "championship words" selected weeks earlier, the final rounds could have as many as 75 words. And the organizers can choose harder words on the fly if the spellers don't appear to be struggling.



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