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Isolated Amazonian Tribe Contracts the Flu From Outsiders

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There are an estimated 77 Indian tribes living in isolation in the Amazon rainforest. These groups choose to steer clear of outsiders, but thanks to illegal loggers, drug traffickers, and oil workers, they are being pushed out of their land and threatened with disease. Recently, one such group emerged from the rainforest near the Brazil-Peruvian border and made contact with another indigenous community, marking the first time in recent history that such an isolated tribe set out to visit a settled population. But as a result of their expedition, at least seven of the tribe members have contacted influenza, according to Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, FUNAI. This could spell disaster for a group that lacks immunity to the bug.

“This news could hardly be more worrying—not only have these people confirmed they suffered violent attacks from outsiders in Peru, but they have apparently already caught flu,” says Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, which fights to protect groups of indigenous people.

It’s not clear who gave these tribespeople the flu—the other tribe they encountered, aid workers, or the people invading their land. FUNAI tried to clean up the mess as swiftly as possible by treating the infected and giving them flu shots. Unfortunately, they returned to the forest abruptly, presumably to join the rest of their village. Now researchers are worried the illness will spread, and for good reason. Between 1983 and 1985, nearly half of another population was eliminated due to illnesses passed from loggers.

"The uncontacted Indians now face the same genocidal risk from disease and violence which has characterized the invasion and occupation of the Americas over the last five centuries,” Corry says.

Anthropologists can only hope the sick members were treated fast enough to prevent the sickness from spreading, but as long as loggers and other outsiders continue their invasion of the rainforest, these uncontacted tribes will face huge risks. As anthropologist Robert Walker of the University of Missouri, Columbia told IBTimes, “If you think of how many loggers and narcotraffickers there are in this region, and that there could be as many as 3000 to 4000 uncontacted people there, the potential for contact is huge."

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'Lime Disease' Could Give You a Nasty Rash This Summer
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A cold Corona or virgin margarita is best enjoyed by the pool, but watch where you’re squeezing those limes. As Slate illustrates in a new video, there’s a lesser-known “lime disease,” and it can give you a nasty skin rash if you’re not careful.

When lime juice comes into contact with your skin and is then exposed to UV rays, it can cause a chemical reaction that results in phytophotodermatitis. It looks a little like a poison ivy reaction or sun poisoning, and some of the symptoms include redness, blistering, and inflammation. It’s the same reaction caused by a corrosive sap on the giant hogweed, an invasive weed that’s spreading throughout the U.S.

"Lime disease" may sound random, but it’s a lot more common than you might think. Dermatologist Barry D. Goldman tells Slate he sees cases of the skin condition almost daily in the summer. Some people have even reported receiving second-degree burns as a result of the citric acid from lime juice. According to the Mayo Clinic, the chemical that causes phytophotodermatitis can also be found in wild parsnip, wild dill, wild parsley, buttercups, and other citrus fruits.

To play it safe, keep your limes confined to the great indoors or wash your hands with soap after handling the fruit. You can learn more about phytophotodermatitis by checking out Slate’s video below.

[h/t Slate]

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Why Eating From a Smaller Plate Might Not Be an Effective Dieting Trick 
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It might be time to rewrite the diet books. Israeli psychologists have cast doubt on the widespread belief that eating from smaller plates helps you control food portions and feel fuller, Scientific American reports.

Past studies have shown that this mind trick, called the Delboeuf illusion, influences the amount of food that people eat. In one 2012 study, participants who were given larger bowls ended up eating more soup overall than those given smaller bowls.

However, researchers from Ben-Gurion University in Negev, Israel, concluded in a study published in the journal Appetite that the effectiveness of the illusion depends on how empty your stomach is. The team of scientists studied two groups of participants: one that ate three hours before the experiment, and another that ate one hour prior. When participants were shown images of pizzas on serving trays of varying sizes, the group that hadn’t eaten in several hours was more accurate in assessing the size of pizzas. In other words, the hungrier they were, the less likely they were to be fooled by the different trays.

However, both groups were equally tricked by the illusion when they were asked to estimate the size of non-food objects, such as black circles inside of white circles and hubcaps within tires. Researchers say this demonstrates that motivational factors, like appetite, affects how we perceive food. The findings also dovetail with the results of an earlier study, which concluded that overweight people are less likely to fall for the illusion than people of a normal weight.

So go ahead and get a large plate every now and then. At the very least, it may save you a second trip to the buffet table.

[h/t Scientific American]

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