News: Can a weather forecast predict disease outbreak?

Overcast with flurries'and a chance of flu season?It may sounds strange, but 'disease forecasting' could be the new model for determining patterns of disease, according to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.According to the study's authors, skillful predictions of when flu season will peak can be made more than […]

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Overcast with flurries’and a chance of flu season?

It may sounds strange, but ‘disease forecasting’ could be the new model for determining patterns of disease, according to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to the study’s authors, skillful predictions of when flu season will peak can be made more than seven weeks in advance.

How?

In part, their answer came from the magical world of all answers: Google.

The researchers were able make calculations using Google Flu Trends, which provides estimates of the flu based on Internet searches in specific areas.

They also examined weather and flu data spanning a period of six years, and took into account that the flu virus spreads more when the air is dry and cold.

‘This work represents an initial step in the development of a statistically rigorous system for real-time forecast of seasonal influenza,’ the study’s authors wrote.

Which means we might know exactly when the next flu season will hit, just in time to stock up on tissues, homemade soup ingredients, and a season at least three seasons of our favourite guilty pleasure TV show.

Would you find a tool like this helpful? Do you think you’d take more precautions if you knew when flu season would peak?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

Related:
5 flu-fighting foods
7 ways to prevent the flu
Natural home remedies: Cold and flu

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News: Driving linked to skin cancer

Just because you aren’t poolside or hanging out at the beach doesn’t mean you shouldn’t slather on sunscreen. Research from the University of Washington found that many cases of the deadliest skin cancers were found on the left arm and side of the face, and the increased cancer risk is likely linked to driving with […]

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Grilled Salmon in Ciabatta

Here fresh salmon fillets are marinated, then lightly grilled and served in warm ciabatta rolls with mixed salad leaves and a basil mayonnaise, to create a very tempting and special lunch dish. Using light mayonnaise and yogurt reduces the fat without losing any of the creaminess.