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Researchers Discover Dye That’s Safe and Effective for Treating Malaria

Fight Against Malaria

New research has shown the dye methylene blue kills malaria parasites at an unparalleled rate and is safe for human use. In the recent study, which was conducted in Mali by scientists at Radboud University Medical Center, the University of California (UCSF), and the Malaria Research and Training Center (MRTC), malaria patients were treated with a combination of the blue dye and artemisinin-based combination therapy (a fairly standard treatment). Within two days, the patients were cured of malaria and were also no longer able to transmit malaria parasites if they were bitten by a mosquito again.

The research, which will be published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases this week, marks a significant breakthrough in the treatment of malaria. Malaria parasites are growing increasingly resistant to existing drug treatments. When they are effective, current medications still do not prevent the spread of parasites — meaning that even if a patient’s symptoms are treated successfully, when they are bitten by another species of mosquito that spreads malaria, it could transmit the disease to someone else.

Malaria can still be transmitted from a person to a mosquito for at least a week using traditional treatment methods. Malarial parasites stay in an infected person’s blood for a long time, and while they’re there they split into gametocytes — male and female sex cells. When a new mosquito comes along and bites an infected person, they suck in those gametocytes in the person’s blood. In the new mosquito, they become fertilized, and when the mosquito bites someone else, the cycle continues, spreading the parasites.

With the addition of the blue dye, researchers saw that they could stop transmission of the parasite in just two days.

Teun Bousema (Radboudumc), who coordinated the study, explained in the team’s press release that its ability to prevent the spread of the disease so quickly is what makes methylene blue so promising. Bousema added that the treatment also seems to work well “in species that are resistant to certain medicines.”

The Only Drawback

The researchers have noted just one side effect of using the blue dye. “I have used it myself,” Bousema said “and it turns your urine bright blue. This is something that we need to solve because it could stop people from using it.”

While the side effect may be strange and could be alarming if patients weren’t aware that it could happen, it doesn’t appear to be harmful. As Bousema pointed out, if researchers aren’t able to suppress the dye’s effect on urine, providers who use the treatment will need to communicate the possible side effect, its cause, and explain that it isn’t a cause for concern in order to assure it doesn’t dissuade patients from starting or completing treatment.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year around the world 212 million people contract malaria and an estimated 429, 000 die. The group of people that most often die as a result of malaria infection are children, specifically those living in Africa. While preventative measures like insecticides and mosquito nets have helped reduce the number of annual deaths by nearly half in the last decade, the spread of malaria continues to take lives.

The new treatment shows promise, and although there are still a few small hurdles (such as the blue urine) that need to be worked out before the dye would become widely available for treatment purposes, having another treatment — especially one that helps prevent the spread of the parasite — could certainly contribute to our goal of eliminating malaria once and for all.

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Bizzare & Odd

Mysterious Humming Sound Recorded in Sky over Sweden 

A mysterious humming sound that was said to have reverberated through the air for an astounding 45 minutes was recorded in Northern Sweden back in December.

According to the witness, the humming noise was constant and seemed to almost vibrate the air.

The witness goes on to say “it is usually a very quiet place here. But I’m sure the sound came from the sky or the atmosphere. The sound came from the whole sky. I could not locate if it came from north south east or west. it filled it all. Strange it was….”

Could the sound heard by the witness in Sweden may be connected to the larger mystery hum phenomenon heard in different parts of the world in recent years.

Some theories for what may be causing these sounds range from the conspiratorial, such as clandestine military weaponry, air displacement caused by slow-moving huge UFOs to prosaic possibilities involving natural events surrounding the magnetic field of the Earth.

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Watch the Trailer for the New Peculiar Children Book ‘Map of Days’

The peculiar children come to America and encounter unimaginable new dangers in Map of Days, the new novel in the Miss Peregrine series from Ransom Riggs.

Jacob uncovers new secrets about his grandfather’s double life, leading the peculiar children on a dangerous new adventure in Map of Days, the latest book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs.

Map of Days is part of the 2018 Cult of Weird Fall Reading List.

From the description:

Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color.

Map of Days

Map of Days hits shelves on October 2.

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13 spooky vintage board games to play this Halloween

Battle monsters, ghosts, voodoo curses, boobytrapped mansions, haunted carnival rides, and more with these vintage spooky board games.

Spooky vintage board games
Voice of the Mummy board game

The Ouija board is the only board game known to cause so much fear that people refuse to touch it. But these vintage board games from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s are considerably spookier. We’re talking about games where a mummy’s voice echos from its tomb, an electronic Deathhead determines if you win a battle against demons or perish, a game where you put voodoo curses on the other players, and plenty of haunted mansions with traps, treasures, and monsters lurking around every corner.

With their eerie box art and creepy themes, these board games will add some spooky fun to the Halloween season without putting your mortal soul in danger.

1. Seance (1972)

Seance spooky vintage board game by Milton Bradley

Your dear Uncle Everett has died in this rare board game from Milton Bradley. According to the directions, Everett was a spiritualist. He believed his spirit would return from the grave to guide the distribution of his wealth.

Although he left the bulk of his estate to his parrot, players (his nieces and nephews, of course) gather in his creepy Victorian mansion to hold a seance and bid on his remaining possessions of unknown value. Everett’s ghostly voice emanates from an actual record player hidden inside the seance table. When everything has been bought, Uncle Everett reveals how much each item is worth, or how much each player owes in taxes.

The player with the most money wins.

“When the game is over and the room is plunged into darkness,” the instructions read, “it is said that the image of Uncle Everett may be seen.”

Seance vintage board game

2. Ghost Castle (1985)

Ghost Castle board game by Milton Bradley

Based on Milton Bradley’s earlier Which Witch? and Haunted House (The Real Ghostbusters board game was also a re-themed version of this), players had to collect ghost card and avoid traps as they made their way up the stairs to close the coffin lid and “lay the ghost.”

3. Mystic Skull: The Game of Voodoo (1964)

Mystic Skull voodoo board game

Each player is a witch doctor with a voodoo doll. When you stir the cauldron, the Mystic Skull spins and determines where you will place the next pin in your opponents doll.

Mystic Skull vintage board game

4. Escape from Frankenstein (1983)

Escape from Frankenstein board game

Players move around Frankenstein’s castle looking for the key that matches their color, hoping to reach the laboratory and shut off the power before the monster comes alive.

Escape from Frankenstein vintage game

5. Green Ghost (1965)

Green Ghost board Game

The Green Ghost board is on stilts, players can fall through trap doors, there’s keys, bat feathers, bones, snakes, ghost children, pets, and it was the first board game to glow in the dark. I have no idea what you need all of these things, but the inclusion of everything creepy means it’s obviously amazing.

Green Ghost vintage game

6. Alien (1979)

Alien board game

Aliens have invaded the Nostromo. Each player is an astronaut trying to make their escape on the shuttle while using their own personal xenomorph to eliminate other players. While it may seem tempting, please refrain from laying eggs inside your opponents.

Alien movie vintage game

7. Ghost Train (1974)

Ghost Train board game

Based on the Ghost Train amusement park ride, this game simulates the experience by including sudden and jolting changes of direction, dead stops, getting stuck, and mechanical ghosts. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the expansion pack where you have to buy tickets, wait in line, and exit the ride feeling like you got seriously ripped off.

Ghost Train vintage game

8. Mystery Mansion (1984)

Mystery Mansion board game

Roll the dice and search for clues as you build a Victorian mansion room by room in hopes of finding a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels rather than cobwebs and dust.

Mystery Mansion vintage game

9. Voice of the Mummy (1971)

Voice of the Mummy board game

The precursor to Seance, Voice of the Mummy also has a record player inside. The mummy doles out instructions while players race around the three levels of the sarcophagus collecting gems. All the fun of looting tombs without all those pesky death curses.

Voice of the Mummy vintage game

10. Scream Inn (1974)

Scream Inn board game

With a slogan like “We’re only here for the fear!” this must be the world’s first (only?) dark tourism board game. Players spin the wheel and try to get all of their pieces out of the haunted inn without disturbing a ghost.

Scream Inn spooky vintage game

11. Superstition (1977)

Superstition board game

Players wander around a cemetery trying to reach the Wizard’s Tomb, but the graveyard is full of rubberband-powered traps with superstitions like a black cat and a broken mirror that may fling your piece off the board.

Superstition spooky board game

12. It from the Pit (1992)

It from the Pit board game

Players have to dash for the treasure chest while a giant green mechanical monster tries to pull their tiny plastic explorers into the pit full of bubbling green goo.

It from the Pit spooky board game

13. Horror House (1986)

Horror House board game

Face off against 45 monsters from around the world (including the dreaded Umbrella Monster!) in this electronic board game from Bandai. Players move through the house fighting these monsters while the Deathhead Roulette determines the outcome of each battle. The demons scream if you win. If you lose, a wicked laugh emanates from the Deathhead.

Be careful with this one, though. Bandai recommends you never play alone.

Deathhead Roulette on the Horror House game board

Which of these spooky board games was your favorite to play when you were young? Let me know in the comments below.

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