Painkillers research findings, Iceland volcano warning, AI tech to help police and more; all the stories from Thursday’s episode of our Tech & Science podcast.
A study suggests the long-term use of painkillers at a young age could be linked to poor mental health and addiction later in life.
Researchers at St George’s, University of London, and the University of Liverpool looked at the anonymous medical records of more than 800,000 people aged between two and 24.
The researchers found a 31% and 17% higher risk of poor mental health and substance misuse among those who were exposed to regular painkillers at a young age.
In Iceland, the country’s Met Office has said the country’s south-western peninsula could face decades of volcanic instability.
Pictures have emerged this month of cracked roads in Iceland caused by earthquakes.
Fears they could spark volcanic eruptions have led to the evacuation of the small fishing town of Grindavik.
The last time eruptions occurred on the Reykjanes Peninsula was in 2021 after an 800-year hiatus, marking the start of a new “eruptive cycle” according to the country’s Met Office team.
New police technology has been unveiled that could detect whether someone is carrying a knife from a few metres away.
At a summit in London, Paul Taylor, scientific advisor to the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said that sensors would be used to detect metal, with AI to distinguish a weapon from so-called “pocket clutter”.
He said the system could be ready to pilot in a year’s time, with more advanced versions available to use in two.
Astronomers have observed what they call a ‘fluffy’ planet, where it rains sand droplets.
Data from the James Webb Space Telescope show the planet, called WASP-107b, is around 200 light-years away, and has a ‘dynamic atmosphere’ made up of water vapour, sulphur dioxide, and sand clouds.
WASP-107b is just a bit smaller than Jupiter, but its mass is less than 10% of the gas giant, making it one of the lowest density exoplanets known, thus earning the label “fluffy”, like candy floss.
Also in this episode:
Meta’s Threads platform begins testing hashtags & trending topics, rise in employers using AI to help recruit university graduates, Adobe’s AI tool designed to break apart messy audio, and why ‘hallucinate’ is the Cambridge Dictionary word of the year for 2023.Mental Health News