How hard hit farmers in northern China are forced to adapt to Climate Change

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It’s not an easy time to be a farmer in north China.

Over-exploitation, water shortages and bleak profits make toiling the land an excercise in frustration on the North China Plain.

Researchers examining the impact of climate change in the area say things are going to get worse before they get better, but farmers are adapting.

Following temperature and precipitation records for three agricultural cities over the course of three decades,  teams from China Agricultural University, the Ministry of Agriculture and Ohio State University analyzed the impact of climate change on the North China Plain and how this has affected farming in the region.

The study found temperatures steadily rising.

Between 1981 and 2011, temperatures rose by around a half a degree celcius per decade in Luancheng (0.57 C increase) , Huanghua (0.47) and Feixiang (0.44) cities, with the biggest gaps during the winter wheat growing season.  There was no average increase in precipitation.

Shifting temperatures have the biggest impact on crop cycles, as certain plants will only thrive in certain climates.  A warmer winter season has pushed farmers to change the normal planting schedule and seed later in the season – shortening the grow period and ultimately reducing crop production, according to the research.

To cope with water shortage, many are forced to invest in expensive irrigation equipment.

The result is a virtual standstill in long-term agricultural development for the region.

“Trade-offs between crop production, water resource conservation, and intensive agricultural inputs will inhibit sustainable agricultural development in the North China Plain,” the study, Challenges and adaptations of farming to climate change in the North China Plain, concludes.

Climate change and the need to transform the agricultural sector are heavy on the agenda for China.

“The No. 1 Document”, a government plan published at the beginning of February, recognized the environmental woes faced by farmers and ensured subsidies to enable modernization, among other measures.

Modernizing techniques and adapting to the new climate are the only real options for farmers on the North China Plain to move forward, the research said.

“Innovative technologies, such as climate-smart agriculture, will play important roles in balancing food security and resources use, enhancing water use efficiency and reducing C emissions in the NCP,” it read.

It was published in the Climatic Change journal on February 4.

85% of Shanghai migrant children in need of glasses go without

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Children of migrant workers with visual impairments that require glasses in Shanghai often go without, a study of almost 10,000 children at Shanghai schools found.

Researchers from the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Center, collected a random sample of 9,512 children aged between 9-12 from 11 Shanghai schools and tested their vision.

The children all came from migrant parents, adults who move from rural areas in China to large cities like Shanghai seeking better work opportunities and higher pay.

They are often of a lower socio-economic bracket and, because of their migrant status, do not gain many social benefits which are reserved only for a city’s residents.  In many cases, this includes healthcare.

Out of the migrant children tested, only 15.5% of those requiring corrective lenses had them, with 85% of those found with vision problems not having access to glasses.

Of those who had glasses – 26.5% were wearing the wrong prescription.

Problems with the refractive lens was the most prevalent, making up 89.48% of the cases found.

Interestingly, the study concluded that migrant children were at the lowest risk for developing near-sightedness, a condition referred to as myopia.

Chances of developing myopia increase with outdoor activities and intensive study sessions.

Because migrant children live in cities where there is less open space for outdoor activities, they are less-likely to develop the disorder than their rural counterparts.   And with migrant workers living on low income, they often cannot afford tutors for their children – a common practice among Shanghai’s middle-class.

“As a result, the children of migrant workers study less intensely, which prevents and slows the development of myopia, and leads to a lower rate of visual impairment,” the study said.

It’s the first time research in China has collected data on this specific group. The scientists aimed were to offer information that would help organizations prioritize high risk groups.

“Accurate information on the prevalence and causes of visual impairment in children may help health organizations prioritize resources and develop appropriate policies on human resources and infrastructure,” the study, Prevalence and causes of visual impairment and rate of wearing spectacles in schools for children of migrant workers in Shanghai, China, said.

“Such information may also facilitate development of screening programs to identify people at an increased risk for eye diseases.”

It was published online at BioMed Center.

How healthy are the lifestyles of Chinese elders?

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Seniors between 50 and 80 in China tend to drink the most and smoke more often than other developing economies, but are the most likely to include healthy foods in their diets, according to a huge study of global aging populations.

Comparing factors such as tobacco, alcohol use, exercise and diet, they examined health risks for more than 30,000 elders from China, Ghana, India, Russia and South Africa.

Examining data from 13,000 elderly Chinese, they were found to be the most likely to drink heavily with 15% of men between 50-59 years old recording heavy alcohol consumption compared with Russia, the second highest, at 3% for the age group.

The divide gets larger tracking drinking among the 70-79 year old participants, with 8.5% of Chinese men drinking heavily, compared to second-place Ghana at 1.7%.  Only 0.7% of Russians in that age group drank, shrinking to 0% for the rest of the countries.

China had the second biggest number of smokers with 58% of men in their 50s smoking.  India had the highest number, with 63%, almost six times more than Ghana, where only 11% of men between 50-59 years old use tobacco.

Examining excercise, China was mid-table with  less than 25% of men and women aged between 50-59 not getting enough physical activity.  Mexico had the most active, with only 11.1% not reporting enough physical activity.
Unsurprisingly, China had the healthiest eaters among the other countries, with only 32% of 50-59-year-olds not eating enough fruits and vegetables. India had the most unhealthy eaters with 87% of elders not getting their greens.

As a result, Chinese men had the lowest levels of central obesity for that age range, at 41%.

The study was one of the first of its kind comparing aged populations in lower- and middle- income economies.   Data was collected between 2007 and 2010 by various organizations from each country and global organizations such as the  World Health Organization.

The goal was to provide a basic foundation for further research, the report, Common risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases among older adults in China, Ghana, Mexico, India, Russia and South Africa: the studyon global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) wave 1, said.

“The baseline information on the magnitude of the problem of risk factors provided by this study can help countries and health policymakers to set up interventions addressing the global non communicable disease epidemic,” it said.

The study was published online in January, 2015.

China’s algae-based biodiesel projected as 17.83 billion CNY industry

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Lakes and rivers covered with pollution-induced algae may fuel a multi-billion dollar industry for China as green energy becomes a priority.

First discovered in 1942, the technology to create biodiesel using lipids found in algae has been around for decades, but is only now starting to become commercially viable.

Easily grown and emitting less carbon when burned for fuel, algae-based biodiesel is often viewed as a very viable alternative to heavily-polluting fossil fuels.

Already, China produces 0.2 trillion t of the algae-derived fuel, making up a 5.86 billion yuan (926 million USD) industry.

Conducting an input-output analysis, a recently published paper from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said with proper development, the industry could grow to become worth 17.83 billion yuan (2.84 billion USD) in the near future.

In addition to a boom in potential value, the industry could also provide up to 104,000 jobs, more than double the current 39,200 employed in biodiesel production.

“The biggest economic and employment impacts of the algae-derived biodiesel industry are seen in Yunnan followed by Guangxi, Hubei and Henan, with the smallest being in Hunan,” the paper, Socio-economic impacts of algae-derived biodiesel industrial development in China: An input–output analysis, said.
It was published online through Elsevier and will appear in the May 2015 edition of Algal Research.

Tobacco use halved among religious in Ningxia province

A study examining smoking rates among the religious in Ningxia Autonomous Region in China have found those who worship are less likely to smoke.

China is home to one of the largest populations of smokers in the world,  with more than 350 million smokers reported in 2012.  More than 50% of men over the age of 15 smoke.

While religion is typically practiced only among minorities in China,  the study found smoking rates among those who practice any form of religion drop significantly.

Conducted by Ningxia Medical University in cooperation with Duke University Medical Center, they surveyed 2,770 people across Ningxia province.

Among those interviewed,  39.8% participants were Muslim, 8.9% Buddhist, 1.9% Christian, with the remaining 49.3% with no affiliation.

Participants who attend religious activities once a week or more were half as likely to smoke as those who did not.

Among Muslim males,  46.3% who never attend religious activities were like to smoke versus 24.5% for those who do.  The rate shift was almost identical among non-Muslim men.

Believed to be the first study of its kind, the study’s goal was to establish basic information for smoking prevention outside of China’s large metropolitan areas.

“There is a increasing prevalence of religious activity, and a growing acceptance by the Chinese government towards religious organizations,”
the study, Religious involvement and tobacco use in mainland China: a preliminary study, said.

“Buddhism, one of the most popular traditional Chinese religions, believes that whatever damages the body or mind must be abstained from. This is also true in Islam.”

It was published online at Biomed Central in February.

China SOA uses large scale oil fingerprinting to catch spill culprits

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Much like a criminal may leave a fingerprint behind at the scene of a crime, oil carries a molecular calling card that can enable scientists to track the general source in the event of a spill.

While the technology to capture an “oil fingerprint” – specific biomarkers that can identify the source of oil – is becoming increasingly commonplace, often the information can offer a  general idea, but cannot pinpoint a source spot.

“It is usually difficult to identify the source if the oil spill accident occurs during offshore petroleum exploration due to the highly similar physiochemical characteristics of suspected oils from the same drilling platform,” a  recently published paper, Combining molecular fingerprints with multidimensional scaling analyses to identify the source of spilled oil from highly similiar suspected oils, said.

In the paper, researchers from the China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) used oil rigs in the South China Sea to explore  combining  multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) – large amounts of data – on oil fingerprints with a mathematical algorithm that allowed them to more accurately identify the sources of oil from a spill.

“The results suggest that the MDS calculation based on oil fingerprints and subsequently integrated with specific biomarkers in spilled oils is the most effective method,” it said.

The paper was published by the Marine Pollution Bulletin online in March.

50% tax on tobacco would save 231 million years of life for Chinese smokers

China could preserve 231 million years worth of life by implementing a 50% tax on tobacco products,  a recently published study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation said .

Emulating the numerous  smartphones apps that help smokers quit by offering individual statistics on the money and time  saved for each cigarette they skip, researchers have used cost-effectiveness analysis to determine the impact for the country’s entire smoking population.

Analyzing data from several studies, they determined 231 million  years of life and US$703 billion of additional tax revenues from excise tax could be accumulated over the course of 50 years.

As one of the world’s biggest smoking populations, with more than 300 million male smokers,  China has long mulled heavier taxes on tobacco but has avoided doing so because of the staggering impact it would have on the country’s poor.

China has already made some minor steps in reducing the country’s tobacco use by passing several smoking bans, with some more effective than others.

“Since China’s economy has grown enormously, cigarettes have become cheaper to smokers, which means that more aggressive tobacco taxation is now needed,” the study, The consequences of tobacco tax on household health and finances in rich and poor smokers in China: an extended cost-effectiveness analysis,  said.

The analysis, conducted by Havard’s T.H. Chan School of Health, with the help of several prominent U.S., Canadian and Chinese health institutions,  asserts that a higher tobacco tax could actually help the poor.

Of the $703 billion U.S. dollars of government revenue gained through excise tax, $98 billion would filter down to those in the lowest socio-economic bracket, it said.

The  50% tax would also save $6.6 billion on treatment of tobacco related illness for the poorest population – more than a quarter of the overall health expenditure saved.

“More than 30 years ago the World Bank argued in support of Chinese government policies initiated in late 1981 to increase the retail price of cigarettes by 30%,” it said.

“The current analysis has concluded that such policies are pro-poor in their financial as well as health consequences.”

It was published in Lancet Global Health on March 15, 2015.

Giant Chinese Salamander thought to be extinct in Mayanghe Nature Reserve, Guizhou

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The critically endangered Chinese Giant Salamander  may have become extinct in  the Mayanghe nature reserve in Guizhou province, a recent field study has found.

Reaching 5.9 feet (180cm)  long,  Andrias davidianusis  is considered the largest amphibian in the world.  The species was put on the critically  endangered list after populations were reduced by more than 80% to due to dwindling habitat, pollution and  over-exploitation, with many of the wild salamanders being poached for food or traditional Chinese medicine.

It is believed by some to have an anti-aging effect when consumed.

In January, a group of Chinese police officers were photographed by journalistsdining on the endangered species at a luxury banquet in the southern city of Shenzhen.  The photos caused a public outcry and resulted in suspension for 14 of the officers.

In an effort to better quantify the remaining populations and provide the foundation for further studies, researchers from the Imperial College of London worked with the Ecological Research Center at Guiyang University to conduct fieldwork at 3 nature reserves – Fanjingshan, Leigongshan and Mayanghe.

Collecting sightings reports and collating data using the local communities, they determined that things are looking worse for the giant salamander population.

“Although Fanjingshan and Leigongshan are still priority sites for salamander conservation, few recent sightings were recorded in either reserve, and respondents considered that salamanders had declined locally at both reserves,” the study, Using local ecological knowledge to assess the status of the critically endangered Chinese giant salamander Andrias Davidianus in Guizhou Province, China, said.

“The species may already be functionally extinct at Mayanghe.”

Mayanghe was one of 14 nature reserves established to help revitalize the giant salamander population.

But even as wild populations dwindle, there is some hope on the horizon for the subdued amphibian. China is building a 10.83 million yuan (1.35 million U.S. dollars) breeding center in Jiangxi province which is expected to produce 60,000 giant salamanders annually.

The study was published online by Oryx conservation journal in March.

China to axe commercial logging of natural forests by 2020

As China’s policies  shift to  restoring the environment after years of heavy production, the country  plans to stop all commercial logging of natural forests by 2020, the central government recently announced.

With around 49.92 million cubic meters of natural forests harvested per year, Helilongjiang was the first of the country’s provinces to set the goal in April 2014.  The policy has now been applied to the whole country, Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The move is expected to increase China’s forested areas by 100 million mu (6.7million hectares).

The announcement also outlined a plan to reduce harvesting of natural forest by the country’s 4855 state plantations by 20 percent in 2020.

Ecstasy, insecticides found in Beijing blood, hair, nails

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Chinese researchers have analyzed the toxins in the capital’s blood, hair and nails for the first time.The results showed illegal drugs, insecticides and antidepressants were common among those tested.
Blood, hair and nail samples were collected from 40 healthy Beijing volunteers, all of whom reported not taking in any medication in the last year.

After analyzing samples, scientists found trace amounts of MDMA (used in Ecstasy), Benzodiazapam (Valium) and ketamine along with a host of chemicals used in antibiotics, cosmetics and insecticides.

MDMA, the basis for the illegal drug Ecstasy, was found in just under 10 percent of hair samples, while prescription painkiller tramadol was found in more than 20 percent.

Carbamate derivatives, used in the production of a variety of insecticides, were found in 4 percent of the blood samples and 10 percent of the hair samples.Carbamate insecticides such as Carbaryl are usually dusted or sprayed on crops and can be inhaled or digested.They are generally low risk, but can have an adverse effect on the nervous system and, in cases of extreme exposure, can result in death, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Squalene, manufactured from shark liver oil and used in cosmetics, was found in more than 60 percent of the hair and nail samples.

Its the only time such research methods have been used in China, with researchers at Tongji University School of Medicine working with the University of Pierre et Marie-Curie to create new test methods.

“This study is the first of its kind,” the report, which was published in the
Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research journal in January, said.

“Therefore, further studies should be conducted in other cities and provinces of China to be compared with each other.”

In addition to setting a baseline by testing other cities, the researchers plan on analyzing hair and nails to find concentrations of heavy metals in Beijing samples in the future.

30,000 Beijing Couples Apply For 2nd Child

The Beijing Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission announced more than 30,000 couples in the capital applied for a second child under the eased policy – 20,000 less than estimated.

In a press conference on Monday, the commission said national estimates are on target, with less than 2 million applications for a second child across China, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

In January 2014, China began piloting a new policy that would allow couples of which at least one is an only child, would be allowed to have a second Child. In Febuary 2014, they implemented the policy nationwide.

In a survey of 2,052 people by China Youth Daily at the end of 2014, only 24.9 percent of those who qualify under the policy have submitted applications for a second child.

Those who opted out cited financial and time costs as being a primary factor, with others saying one child is enough for them.

N. China wetland shut down after swan deaths

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A resort in China’s second largest wetland was closed after a dozen swans are suspected to have died of food poisoning.

The Pinglu Yellow River Wetland Protection Area in northern Shanxi Province is one of the nation’s largest migration spots for swans, with the birds arriving from Russian and Siberia.

Bird enthusiasts often volunteer to help take care of the 10,000 swans that arrive following their winter migration.

But after the bodies of a dozen swans and several wild ducks were found on Jan 4, national forestry officials have closed down the wetland to the public.

Wang Tian’En, a park ranger at the wetland, told China’s official Xinhua News Agency he suspected the bird’s food was poisoned and that this was not an epidemic such as bird flu.

Each year, the local forestry department sends food to help feed the birds, who would otherwise have a hard time finding enough to eat.

Wang believes a portion of this year’s 30,000 kg of corn and cabbage may have been poisoned by poachers so they could collect and eat the bird’s meat.

In some parts of China, a dish containing swan meat can cost up to 600 yuan ($96 USD). If sold live at an illegal market, the birds can fetch up to 3000 yuan.

There are 239 species of birds residing in the Pinglu Yellow River Wetland Protection Area, with 37 protected at the national level.

Men with schizophrenia in rural China more likely to die than women

A follow up to a 14 year study from the University of Hong Kong has found men with schizophrenia in rural China have a much more difficult time than women with the disorder.

When compared with female patients,  male patients were considerably younger, had higher death, suicide and homless rates, and less family or social support.

The shorter survival rate among men may explain why schizophrenia is more prevalent among women in rural areas, the report concluded.

Beginning in 1994, researchers with Hong Kong University’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration began observing progress of schizophrenia patients in Xinjin County, Chengdu, Sichuan province.

Follow-up research was conducted in 2004 and 2008 before the conclusion of the study. The latest data from the long-term project was published in the British Journal of Psychology, January 2015, Volume 206, Issue 1.

In China, many children left behind

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Rural children who’s parents leave them at home while they work for long periods in cities are more likely to suffer from depression, but excel in studies.

As China’s urbanization draws parents away from towns and villages to earn more money working in cities, a generation of ‘left behind’ children, those who remain in a small town with no parents, has emerged.

Instead, they are looked after by grandparents, who usually have little or no education, family friends, who have their own children to take care of, or are simply left to fend for themselves.

Currently, there are 61 million left behind children in China, 40% of which are under 5 years old.

With a lack of proper guidance and emotional support, they are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem, a recent study found.

Researchers from Central China Normal University surveyed more than 1,700 adolescents, varying in age and gender,  throughout central China’s Hubei province.

They found children who’s parents have left experience lower life-satisfaction compared to those who do.

With little interaction in their home life, left behind children tend to place greater emphasis on school, excelling in education.

In many cases, they turn to teachers for emotional support.

“Mitigating factors which positively influenced outcomes of certain subgroups of left-behind children included the presence of one parent, increased parental contact, and shorter length of time since parental migration,” the study, published in the January edition of School Psychology International, said.

Unfortunately, head teachers interviewed for the study said parents of such children rarely communicate.

They concluded more efforts should be made in school-led initiatives to help the children adjust.

Poorly designed kitchens increase cancer risk by 49% for Shanghai women

For those looking for a reason to renovate to your kitchen – here’s one.

A 13-year study in Shanghai found that poorly ventilated kitchens increased cancer risk by 49 percent.

The research followed 71,320 women in Shanghai who never smoked from 1996 to 2009.  Of those women, 429 of them contracted some form of lung cancer.

Including factors such as coal usage, ventilation, cooking method and amount of cooking oil used, they concluded that poor ventilation was the only solid link to cancer risk.

Coal usage, while a heavily contributing factor when paired with poor kitchen ventilation, could not be independantly corroborated with cancer risk.

There was no significant connection made with cooking oil.

“The risk of lung cancer is an important public health issue in cities across China where people may have lived in homes with inadequate kitchen ventilation,” the report concluded.

Titled “Home kitchen ventilation, cooking fuels, and lung cancer risk in a prospective cohort of never smoking women in Shanghai, China”, the research was done in cooperation from 7 universities including the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, Yale University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute.

It was published in the February 2015 edition of the International Journal of Cancer.

China more reluctant to take part in clinical research than U.S., fearing safety

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When it comes to participating in clinical research, Chinese are far more reluctant when compared to Americans, with safety and compensation listing as their top priority.

A 2-year study interviewing more than 1,100 patients from rural, urban China and the US compared attitudes toward clinical research.

It found those in the US were more likely to have no problem with clinical research, but if concerns were mentioned they were privacy, confidentiality and safety.

Safety was the top concern for a majority of both rural and urban Chinese.

Among Chinese participants, especially rural, self-benefit was also listed as a top priority.  Free medical care and financial incentives went a long way in influencing participation, whereas being told they were free to leave the study whenever they like had little impact.

Titled “A Comparative Study of Patients’ Attitudes Toward Clinical Research in the United States and Urban and Rural China”, the research aims to provide information that will help future cross-cultural clinical studies be more effective.

It was published in the Clinical and Translational Science journal on January 15, 2015.

Giant Pandas obtain less nutrients from Bamboo than Sheep

While often its the results that keep us fascinated in science, sometimes it is the process in which they are obtained.

In this case, researchers produced a study that examined, in depth, how China’s beloved panda digests the cell walls of Bamboo – by simulating digestion using temperature-controlled panda feces.

They found pandas generally absorb less nutrients from bamboo when comparing similar test methods to observe sheep digestion.

Scientists from the School of Vetrinary Medicine at Kitasato University, Japan, used a scanning electron miscroscopy in vitro to observe digestion of pandas at the Chengdu Research and Breeding base in the least invasive way possible.

They supplemented their info by keeping panda feces at a temperature of 37 degrees celcius for 12 hours in order to simulate digestion before examining the results.

They concluded the likely reason pandas absorb less nutrients than sheep is because they are not capable of breaking down bamboo cell walls, either through microbes or enyzmes.

In addition to bettering understanding the panda’s digestive system, the study also has implications in better health treatments and quicker diagnosis for the rare animal.

The paper, titled “Procedure and Mechanisms of Bamboo Cell Wall Digestion in the Giant Panda, Ailurpoda melanoleuca” was published by the Mammals Society of Japan in January.

Toddlers in Fireworks producing cities exposed to high levels of potentially dangerous Propellant

Researchers found almost 80 percent of toddlers living in two fireworks producing cities exceeded the recommended US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exposure of Perchlorate, a salt used in creating rocket fuel, explosives and fireworks.

Perchlorate can potentially adversely impact the thyroid’s ability to produce certain hormones and is capable of hindering development in children.

Scientists tested indoor dust, urine, drinking water and milk to test exposure for toddlers, children and adults in fireworks and non-fireworks producing cities.

With the highest percentage, 79 percent of the toddlers tested exceeded EPA levels, with 48 percent of children tested and 25 percent of adults also over the limit.

The Chinese researchers found indoor dust was one of the biggest contributors, responsible for high levels of perchlorate in 26 percent of toddlers, 28 percent of children and 7 percent of adults.

The samples were taken from fireworks producing cities Yueyang and Nanchang and non-producing cities Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Yuxi and Guilin.

Overall, levels in both were much higher than that of other countries, with Yueyang and Nanchang naturally having the highest levels.

Perchlorate remains an issue in the US, where the chemical is sometimes found in drinking water.  While several studies have been conducted in the US, more data is needed before an official ruling can be given on perchlorate, the US EPA said on its website. It is currently unregulated.

The research was published on January 14, 2015, by the American Chemical Society.

28% of rare White yaks in Tibetan Village have Chlamydia

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Blood samples from white yaks in a herding village in Gansu province revealed as many as 28.77% are infected with Chlamydia Abortus, potentially threatening a vital source of income for locals.

Chlamydia Abortus is a strain of the STD that commonly infects humans which greatly increases the risk of fetus deaths in mammals.  It is transmitted sexually or orally, found in various species including humans.

Zhuaxixiulong village, one of two locations tested, had the highest prevalence in their herds, with more than a quarter of the white yaks infected.  The overall average was 16.22%.

Vetrinary universities from Jilin, Hunan and Anhui collected samples from 974 of the rare yaks in  Zhuaxixiulong village and Xidatan village, Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County, Gansu Province between 2013 and 2014.

The number of blood samples with positive results was slightly less than the black yaks tested in neighboring Qinghai province (17.66%) and significantly lower than tests from India, where herds showed results as high as 35%.

Milk, meat and leather from the white yak are an important commodity to those in the county, which has around 40,000 white yaks in total. In some areas, it is considered a holy entity and worshipped by the locals.

Green advertising grows 50% in China, though many guilty of “Sin of No Proof”

As pollution continues to draw criticism, advertising for green products and services has seen huge growth in the last decade.

Between 2004 and 2014, green advertisements in newspapers and magazines increased by 49%, according to a study by Huazhong University’s School of Management in Wuhan, China.

Defining green advertising as containing messages that promote  planet preservation, animal preservation or personal health preservation, researchers examined more than 1,300 green ads in prominent newspapers and magazines.

They found Chinese companies tended to focus on selling green products while foreign-owned enterprises were more likely to gear their ads toward developing a green brand.

With almost nothing in the way of laws or regulations to restrict them,  33% of Chinese companies were found guilty of greenwashing – spinning a product as green, even if it’s not.  The most common example found were advertisements with the  ‘sin of no proof’, where advertisements makes claims they cannot back up.

In 2011,  China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, identified more than 230,000 false advertisements were published daily, with only 16,000 being dealt with due to lack of resources.

Oil, chemical and plastics companies were the most prominent green advertisers based on industry, with transport equipment manufacturing and household appliances coming in second and third respectively.

Among the Chinese ads, 69% focused on product sales, with the remaining 30%  examining corporate branding.  For foriegn enterprises the numbers were more moderate with 56% of advertisements for green products.

“These numbers show that enterprises in China were more motivated by product sale than corporate image when deploying green advertising, while foreign enterprises adopted a more balanced strategy,” the study, titled “A Content Analysis of Green Advertising in China”, said.

It was published in the Journal of Marketing and Case studies at the end of 2014.

Toxic puffer fish found in Beijing fish fillets

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More than half of the fish fillets bought in Beijing and Qingdao were found containing toxins from puffer fish, a new study found.

Scientists from Medical college of Qingdao University tested 90 roasted fish fillets purchased at restaurants and supermarkets in the two cities for tetrodotoxin and found more than 68% were positive.

Using DNA tests, they discovered 87.5 of the 58 positive samples contained meat from the highly toxic Lagocephalus Lunaris puffer fish.

The amount of Tetrodotoxin in each fish varied from .10 miligrams per kilogram to as much as 63.81 mg/kg.

Considered 100 times more poisonous than cyanide, a 75 kg person ingesting 25 mg of tetrodotoxin can suffer paralysis of the diaphram, resulting in respiratory failure and death.

The paper, “Study on tetrodotoxin detection and puffer fish identification of roasted fish fillet at the retail in Beijing and Qingdao”, ascertained the toxic meat was mixed in with the raw materials before being cooked.

“Based on these results, we suggest that roasted fish fillet producers should prevent toxic puffer fish from mixing in the raw material and the regulators should strengthen TTX surveillance and product labeling supervision of roasted fish fillet,” the study, published in the Journal of Hygeine Research at the end of last year, said.

Tobacco’s hazards more apparent as China switches to clean fuel

As more Chinese households move away from burning coal for heat, the impact of cigarette smoke on lung cancer numbers in the country’s most cancer-ridden city is becoming more clear.

Scientists collected data from 520 males, half of which had lung cancer in Xuanwei, Yunnan, where mortality rates from lung cancer are 12 times the national average at 186 per 100,000 people.

Analyzing exposure to smokey coal used in heating, cooking and power generation, as well as cigarettes, they found, unsurprisingly, the two are heavily linked.

However, the researchers said coal increased lung cancer risk 6 fold, whereas smoking had a less poignant impact.

Smokey coal used in the home or emitted from power plants was strongly associated with lung cancer, increasing the risk 6 fold.  The locally
used Lai Bin and Long Tan coals presented the greatest risk, the study, published in the Lung Cancer journal, said.

Genetically Modified Crops decline in China

The number of genetically crops in China declined by 300,000 hectares in 2014, after safety concerns have many farmers opting for traditional harvests.

The country grew a total of 3.9 million hectares of GM crops in 2014, according to research from the International Service for Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

The drop was largely due to low cotton prices and overstocking.

Only two GM crops are approved in China – cotton and papaya. Staple foods such as GM rice are prohibited from commercial use, though two strands of rice have official safety cerficiation for non-commercial use.

Despite several  restrictions on the production of GM crops, China is the sixth largest producer in the world.

Scientists discover method to reverse hard boiled eggs

This story’s not so much about China as it is about one of the country’s favorite foods.

Scientists in Irvine, California have successfully discovered a method to reverse the process of hard boiling eggs, or returning the yolk proteins back to a liquid form.

While the method may be not be practical for those indecisive about their daily poultry intake, the technique has wide application from cancer treatment, lab sanitation and food processing.

When an egg yolk is boiled, proteins contained within become tangled as they shift state.

The research discovered a technique to detangle the proteins and allow them to refold into their previous state, Greg Weiss, a professor of chemisry, molecular biolgy and biochemistry at UC Irvine who participated in the project, told phys.org.

Though they only worked with a single protein, the process could theoretically be expanded to unboil a hard-boiled egg, he said.

It’s most immediate use will be in helping remove proteins from test tubes, a process that previously took up to 4 days and was very costly.

But applications are far-reaching, ranging from cheaper cancer antibodies, with the current process using hamster ovaries where being able to shift protein state could better utilize costly resources, to better processed cheeses.

The study, titled Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies, was published in European Biochemsitry Journal Chembiochem.  

Does World Heritage Listing boost tourist numbers ?

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Yes. But not as much as many would hope according to a survey of visitors to the Kanas National Nature Reserve in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The site, known for its lush green mountainous landscape and the large Kanas Glacial Lake, has been nominated to join the ranks of  47 international sites on the World Heritage List (WHL).

But a survey questioning 284 tourists showed WHL, in China at least , does not equate more tourists.

Participants overwhelmingly reported being listed or not listed would have very little influence on their decision to the site.

Currently, there are 48 tourism sites globally waiting to be put on the WHL.

WHL listing does, however, help tourism sites develop by offering easier access to funds and highlighting the importance of such an area, the study, conducted by the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geology at the Chinese Academy of Science in cooperation with the University of Waterloo, said.

The study, published on December 31st in the Journal for Nature Conservation,  concluded education about the tourism site should be done prior to being listed as a WHL in order to ensure maximum benefit.

Metastudy confirms 10 percent obesity rate in Chinese Primary schools

A comprehensive examination of research papers relating to China’s childhood obesity confirmed 10.4 percent of Chinese primary school children are overweight.

Published by in the International Journal of Clinical and Expirmental Medicine, the scientists pinpointed the average by combining data from 20 research papers published from 2009 to 2014, narrowing their search from an initial selection of 133.

For comparison, the US, childhood obesity rates registered as high as 18 percent in 2012, compared with 7 percent in 1980, according to the US Center for Disease Control.

While the number is not dangerously high, the rising number of obese children is still cause for concern, the study said.

“Our results indicated that the obesity prevalence status in China is still troublesome,” the report said.

“The situation will get worse if we currently fail to take effective and practical measures.”

C-sections as safe for child as natural birth in China, natural preferred

A large study of pregnant women reveals giving birth via C-sections carries the same level of risk as natural birth in China, though more than half preferred natural birth.

Scientists from Shanghai Jiaotong University observed the pregnancy of 66,226 women at the largest obstetric center in Shanghai over the course of 6 years,

They found there was equal risk for severe postpartum hemorrhage (0.5% for C-section vs 0.5% for natural birth), maternal infection (1.3% vs. 1.3%) and organ injuries (0.4% vs. 0.5%).

Birth trauma among those getting C-sections was significantly lower at 0.2% versus 1.1% for natural births.  Similarly, there was slightly lower risk of neonatal infection and meconium aspiration syndrome for those who underwent C-section.

The only area where natural birth carried a lower risk than C-sections was forrespiratory-distress syndrome, with 0.4 and 0.6% risk respectively.

Despite equal risk factors, a majority of the study’s participants, 61.2%, preferred natural birth.

The study, Cesarean delivery on maternal request in China: what are the risks and benefits?, was published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Top 5 Picks for the Best Sofa Bed 2019

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Whether you live in a small apartment or simply don’t have the space for a guest room, a sofa bed makes a great addition to any home. If guests unexpectedly drop by and stay for the night, you always have a comfortable place for them to sleep.

But just like buying a mattress for your bed, finding the right sofa bed isn’t always easy. Naturally, you want to invest in a sofa sleeper that’s comfortable, but won’t break the bank.

So, what’s the best sofa bed?

We’re going to share our top picks along with helpful reviews, so you can find the best sofa sleeper for you. But before we get to that, we invite you to take a moment to look over our comparison chart below for a quick overview of our favorite models.

1 DHP Emily Splitback Futon, Vanilla

Available in a beautiful vanilla color, the DHP Emily is a split-back futon with a sleek modern design and flexible functionality. Constructed with tufted faux leather, the left and right sides of this futon sofa bed pull down individually, so you can transform the sofa into a chaise, or pull down both sides to create a twin-size bed.

When folded up, this sofa is 71 inches wide, 32 inches high, and 34 inches deep. When opened up, the DHP Emily offers plenty of space for sleepers.

In just a few simple steps you, you can transform this sofa into a lounger or a sleeper. With a multi-position back and click clack technology, this is the most versatile sofa bed under $200 that you can buy.

Incredibly Comfortable

Whether sitting or sleeping, the Emily is always comfortable. With the best sofa bed mattress topper, you will feel like you were sleeping on a cloud.

And with its neutral modern design, this sleeper sofa will complement any home decor.

Easy to Assemble

Some assembly is required, but we had no issues putting this sleeper sofa together. In fact, assembly was a breeze. However, we do recommend having someone help you move the box into your home, and assembling the sofa where you plan to use it. Even with its small footprint and minimalistic design, this is still heavy piece of furniture.

Great for Small Homes and Apartments

Because of its flexible design and small footprint, this is the ideal sofa sleeper for small homes, guest bedrooms, and apartments. Plus, you can mix and match this sofa bed with other products from DHP to create a customized, contemporary space.

Our Top Pick

Backed by over 1,000 positive customer reviews, the DHP Emily sleeper futon is our top pick for the best sleeper sofa because it’s incredibly comfortable, extremely affordable, and offers a stunning contemporary design. And if you purchase the DHP lounger, you can easily create a sectional sofa bed that’s comfortable and affordable.

Pros

  • Contemporary design
  • Can transform into a lounger or sleeper
  • Affordable
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Heavy

Just like any other sleeper sofa, the Emily split-back futon is a bit on the heavy side. Make sure that you have somebody help you put this sofa together and bring the box inside your home.

2 Homelegance Meyer 4956PU

The Homelegance Meyer is a faux leather sofa bed with a contemporary curve-arm, daybed design. Upholstered in bi-cast vinyl with a rich espresso color, the sofa bed will add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your home.

Two Separate Twin Beds

This sofa sleeper pulls out to a twin size bed under a trundle, and can accommodate a mattress up to 8 inches thick. Between the daybed itself and the trundle, this sofa sleeper actually transforms into two separate twin beds. Unfortunately, you cannot combine the beds to create a queen size sofa bed.

Optional Storage

If you don’t want to place a mattress in the sleeper sofa, you also have the option of using it as storage space. Place it in a sitting room to create a cozy reading space, or in a guest room to accommodate guests. No matter where you decide to put it, this sofa bed will fit perfectly in your home.

Customized Comfort Level

We love this daybed’s modern elegant design, but we did notice that you have to purchase a daybed mattress as well as a trundle mattress, which adds to the cost of this furniture piece. For this reason, we had to rank the Meyer #2 on our list.

Don’t get us wrong – we love this daybed. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture, and worth every penny. We recommend purchasing the best sofa bed mattress you can afford to ensure the utmost in comfort and durability.

While purchasing your own mattress does add to the cost, it also gives you more control over the bed’s comfort, which is a major plus in our book.

Pros

  • Offers two separate twin size beds
  • Customizable comfort level
  • Elegant modern design

Cons

  • Moderate assembly
  • Ships in three boxes

This daybed does require a moderate amount of assembly, and ships out in three boxes. This is in no way a dealbreaker, but something you should be aware of as you likely need help putting this sofa bed together.

Overall, we loved the Homelegance Meyer. It’s beautifully designed, well-constructed, and highly durable. If you’re looking for a daybed with a trundle, this is the right sleeper sofa bed for you.

3 Handy Living CAC4-S1-AAA85 050

The Handy Living CAC4 Convert-A-Couch blends seamlessly into your home’s décor. With the ability to convert into a full-size bed and with a 10 inch pillow top seat cushion, this is one of the most comfortable sofa beds we’ve ever reviewed. And unlike other sleeper sofas, it’s incredibly easy to convert the CAC4 into a bed. All it takes is the touch of a hand.

Durable and Stain Resistant

As an added bonus, this sofa is constructed with 100% polyester microfiber, making it highly durable and stain-resistant. Two decorative pillows are also included, which add not only to the design of the sofa, but also serve as a sleeping pillow when necessary.

The finished block wooden legs add height to the sofa and contribute to its contemporary design. There is no bar in the back either, which makes sleeping more comfortable, too.

Versatile

The great thing about the sofa is that it’s so versatile. The back can be moved into three positions using a click-style hinge. Sit, recline, or sleep – it’s up to you. When fully opened, this sofa bed sleeps two comfortably.

In our opinion, this is the best sofa bed for everyday use because of its traditional sofa design.

Easy Assembly

Assembly of this sofa is surprisingly easy. Using an innovative design, the CAC4 can easily fit through a 10 inch doorway. The entire sofa ships in one box for added convenience, and full assembly takes less than an hour thanks to the Handy Lock tool-free design. All you have to do is click and slide the sofa together. That said, we do recommend having someone help you bring the box inside your home and assemble the sofa.

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Easily converts to a bed
  • Made with durable and stain resistant microfiber
  • Offers three positions: sitting, reclining and sleeping

Cons

  • Heavy

While it’s great that this sofa ships in one box, the box does weigh over 100 pounds. You’ll need some help moving the box into your home and assembling the sofa itself. Thankfully, assembly is incredibly easy.

We love the Handy Living CAC4 sofa bed, and in our opinion, this is the only modern sofa bed that’s truly easy to convert into a sleeper. It’s comfortable, stain-resistant and affordable.

4 Mainstays Metal Arm Futon with 6″ Mattress

Looking for the best convertible sofa bed under $200? The Mainstays Metal Arm Futon is the right choice for you. Featuring a contemporary design, this futon can be used as both a sofa and a bed.

The best part? You won’t have to invest in a mattress. Mainstays includes a comfortable, durable mattress made from earth-friendly materials that are thermo-bonded.

Low-Sitting Frame

Adding to its functionality, the futon features a low-sitting, contemporary frame that sits just 10” off the ground.

This multi-purpose sleeper sofa is ideal for dorms, apartments, guest rooms and small homes. It’s relatively easy to assemble, too, and comes in a beautiful crimson red color.

The Focal Point of Any Room

There’s no doubt about it – this futon will be the focal point of your room thanks to its bold color. Simple in design and contemporary in appearance, this is the best futon sofa bed in this price range.

The only drawback to this futon is its difficult assembly. The instructions aren’t always clear, and some buyers did have issues with screws not fitting properly. We had no issues with assembly, although it did take longer than expected.

We do want to note that this futon will arrive in two boxes, and is a little on the heavy side (what futon isn’t?). So, make sure that you have help when putting it together.

We love the bold red color of this futon and its small footprint. In our opinion, this is the best sofa bed for a studio apartment or a dorm room because it serves as both a functional piece of furniture and a conversation piece.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Bold color
  • Comfortable mattress
  • Minimalistic design

Cons

  • Assembly can be tricky

As mentioned previously, this futon can be a chore to assemble. It’s not that it’s difficult or complex, but rather that the instructions are lacking. It took longer than expected, but was worth the effort.

With a modern design, this futon sofa bed is the perfect choice for anyone living in a smaller apartment, or dorm.

5 Serta CR-43538PB Santa Cruz Collection

Serta is one of the best sofa bed brands, and one of the most recognized names in the mattress industry. The CR-43538PB is part of the Santa Cruz collection, and features a tool-free assembly with a stylish, modern design.

Comfortable and Durable

The construction of this sleeper sofa is what makes it so comfortable and durable. It all starts with a strong hardwood frame. Sinuous coils offer added support, while the polyester fiber on the top-tier adds luxurious comfort. Pillows are included, too, so you have everything you need to complete this sofa bed’s look.

Featuring a 20” seat depth, this sofa is incredibly comfortable.

Serta Quality

We do have to note, though, that this is technically not a true sofa bed. It does not include a mattress, nor does it have a pull-out bedframe. It is, however, large and comfortable enough to enjoy an afternoon nap or an overnight sleep. Because this sofa is made by Serta, it’s easy to assume that it’s a sleeper sofa, but this is not the case.

Easy Assembly

The thing that surprised us most about the CR-43538PB was its easy assembly. With the EZ no-tool assembly system, we had this couch assembled in no time. It comes in one single box, too, so you won’t be lugging multiple heavy boxes into your home.

If you’re looking for a sofa that’s just as comfortable as a bed, but don’t want to deal with the hassles that sometimes come with traditional sofa beds, the CR-43538PB is the right choice for you.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Modern design
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • Not a true sofa bed

If you’re looking for a true sofa bed, the CR-43538PB is not the right choice for you. That said, this sofa truly is just as comfortable as the bed you sleep on at night.

We loved just about everything about the CR-43538PB. Although it’s technically not a sleeper sofa, we included it on our list because of its extreme comfort and generous size.

These are our top picks for the best sofa bed. Each model is backed by positive customer reviews and affordably priced, so you can enjoy a high quality product without spending a fortune. No matter which model you choose, you’re sure to be pleased with your new sleeper sofa.

Cheap Sofa Beds: 5 Tips to Buy a Quality Sofa 2019

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As a consumer, you’re always looking for a great deal. Steep discounts, cheap prices and promotions draw you in and virtually force you to buy products that simply aren’t the best quality. After all, it’s very difficult to pass up a deal on any cheap item.

When it comes to cheap sofa beds, you’ll find plenty of options online. But there’s just one problem: you won’t be able to see the product in person. So, you have to rely on a few certain specifications and measures to ensure that the discount sofa bed you need right now will be worth every penny.

We’re going to discuss five tips consumers should consider when buying cheap sleeper sofas.

1.     Improper Sizing

It’s very difficult to buy a sofa without knowing the measurements. Pictures are misleading and can cause you to buy a sleeper sofa online that’s either too small or too big for your space. Instead, the smart choice is to look for the measurements of the sofa either in the product listing, or by looking at the company’s website.

Never make a purchase without knowing the size of the sofa and its exact measurements.

2.     Poor Quality

The word “cheap” can be very misleading. While cheap is meant to be low-cost, you don’t want to buy a sofa bed online only to find out that it will fall apart within a few months of use. Instead, do your research and see what other consumers have said about the products.

  • What type of fabric is it? What benefits does this fabric offer?
  • What type of legs does it have?
  • What type of warranty is present?

You can expect cheap sleeper sofas for sale from unknown companies, or products that are defective that may have minor scratches or other issues. Always read through the description and ensure that the product you’ll be receiving is new – not used – and that there’s some form of warranty or return available.

Just because a product is cheap, that doesn’t mean it should break within a month or two.

Your goal should be to find a cheap sofa that’s also reliable. This means finding a sofa that’s now discontinued, or a company that’s trying to get rid of inventory to make room for new stock and is selling its products for cheaper.

3.     Buy from Known Companies

You might find a cheap futon sofa bed from a small company based in Korea, but what do you really know about the company? It’s always better to buy any type of sofa or furniture from a known brand or company.

Why?

You’ll be able to do research on the company and look into the warranty program that the company offers. If a company is well-known for their quality construction and cheap prices, you’re lowering the risk of having to return a cheap sofa bed because it’s not a quality product.

If you have the option return the sofa because of defects or breakage, then you know the product is likely of higher quality.

Don’t expect many companies to offer a warranty beyond the initial delivery. If a product arrives broken or is missing a piece, you’ll definitely want to know if the company has quality customer service, which is something we’ll be talking about shortly.

4.     How Is Customer Service?

No matter what product you buy, there’s always the chance that it will arrive broken, there will be a piece missing, or some other issue will arise. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying socks or a sofa bed – you need to know that customer service is willing to help you.

If you purchase a cheap sectional sofa bed, and one of the pieces is missing, how can you contact customer service?

Ideally, customer service will offer one or a combination of ways to contact them:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Live chat

If customer service is nonexistent or not helpful at all, don’t buy a cheap product from one of these companies. There’s always a chance, like I said earlier, that the product may arrive damaged, and you need a way to rectify the issue.

You may also want to investigate the company’s return policy.

5.     Buy from a Reputable Source

The final tip is to buy from a reputable source. Don’t know where to buy a sleeper sofa online? Several companies run sales, from furniture companies to large online retailers, such as Amazon.

Always know that the source you’re buying from:

  • Has a reputable name.
  • Offers customer service that’s helpful.
  • Is a trusted retailer.

You never want to buy from a company that has no reviews online, isn’t incorporated or has a bad reputation in the industry. It’s better to pay a little bit more instead of buying sofa beds for cheap from a company that’s in the business of scamming people.

Cheap sofa beds are available, but you need to make sure that your investment is worthwhile. The five tips that we discussed will help you make a smart sofa bed purchase.

DHP Emily Splitback Futon, Vanilla Review 2019

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A Best-Seller with Exceptional Quality

The DHP Emily Splitback futon in vanilla is a best-seller on Amazon, and we’ve seen the same product in several stores in the past. Sitting on this futon, you’ll quickly realize that this white sofa bed (vanilla) is one of the best rated sofa beds for a reason – it’s exceptionally comfortable.

And, Emily futon reviews are always exceptional despite the model’s low price.

Before we dive into our first-hand review of the DHP Emily Splitback futon, I want to point out the pros and cons that we experienced during our review.

Pros

  • Converts effortlessly from a chase to a sleeper.
  • Replacement parts are easily available for free from the company.
  • Converts to a near full-size bed when opened.
  • Both sides open independently, allowing you to create an extra seat for more guests.

Cons

  • A little harder than I expected.

Our Thoughts

When we first sat on this model, we found that it was little harder than what we imagined. And, this hardness also translates when laying on the futon itself. However, the quality is exceptional, and once you break-in the cushioning, it’s very comfortable.

I really like the fact that you can independently open each side of the futon to allow for more space.

For the price, it’s difficult to find a futon of this quality and durability. It’s one of the better models that we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, and over 1,000 people have agreed that this is a great futon to own.C

Detailed DHP Emily Splitback Futon Review

When we first looked at this product, we noticed that the weight was listed as 240 pounds; far too heavy for a futon. I want you to know that this is an error, and the product weighs just 81 pounds, which is light enough for you to carry the box into your home and assemble it.

You may need the help of a friend carry the box in your house.

Assembly was a Breeze

The initial assembly process always worries me because you never know how good the instructions will be, or if you’ll have to struggle to put together a simple piece of furniture. This futon sofa sleeper is simple and easy to assemble.

Not only are the instructions clear and concise, but it takes just 15 to 20 minutes to put together.

You also have the option of paying more to have the item preassembled for you, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend paying the extra price – assembly is that easy.

Comfortable Material and a Beautiful Cream Color

When you first sit on a futon, you’ll realize that it’s harder than a traditional couch. But, futons are also much less expensive and more versatile than the usual couch. This model converts easily from a chase to a sleeper.

The seated height is 16 inches while the depth is 23 inches, which is more than enough room to sit comfortably on the futon.

When folded, the dimensions are as follows:

  • 32 inches high
  • 71 inches wide
  • 34 inch depth

Once you unfold this model, the dimensions are 70.5 inches x 43.5 inches x 15.5 inches. In terms of bed size, the small sofa bed is actually misleading. According to the measurements and my own experience on the futon, this model is bigger than a twin size bed and slightly smaller than a full-size bed.

In my opinion, this is great. If unexpected guests come over, you have one of the best convertible sofa beds on the market to accommodate them.

So, what does the material feel like?

Modern sleeper sofas for small spaces need to be able to be cleaned with ease. If you have kids, you know that they will drop drinks and food on the sofa bed. But, that is no longer an issue thanks to the Emily Splitback futon.

The leather futon sofa bed is actually tufted faux leather. Being water resistant, you won’t have to worry about this model getting dirty. Simply wipe away any liquid that is on the surface and enjoy a futon that looks like new.

If you’re looking for a pure white sofa, know that this sofa sleeper features a cream color.

Durability and Functionality

If you’re like me, you’re probably looking for a small sofa sleeper for small rooms. And I highly recommend this model because it’s an apartment size sofa bed / futon. It’s the ideal choice for smaller spaces or homes that want a modern, chic look.

The legs of this futon are chrome, so they are very stylish and sturdy.

Using click-back technology, you can adjust the back of the futon in multiple positions, which allow you the utmost in comfort. The cushioning itself is firm, as mentioned earlier, and is made from high density polyester and foam.

As you sit on this model, you’ll notice how sturdy it is. One thing I really like is that each of the backs of the futon can be folded down independently. If one person wants to lay down and watch TV, they can do so on one side of the futon, while the other side is still in the upright sitting position.

If you have a little cocktail party, you can fold down the futon and effectively have four chairs that guests can sit on.

I really like this level of flexibility and functionality that a normal lounger sofa bed wouldn’t offer.

If you’re very savvy, you definitely want to know that this futon comes in several different colors, including: gray, vanilla and black. Another neat feature, which a lot of people don’t talk about, is that you can buy an actual chair (which is more like a lounge chair) that can be added to the end of the futon.

Going through all of my sofa bed reviews, this is probably the one futon that I would recommend for small apartments and spaces because it is very versatile. Affordable, made of quality materials and an exceptional design make this a great choice for any home or office.

Homelegance Meyer 4956PU Review 2019: Beauty Meets Affordability

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The Homelegance Meyer 4956PU is a modern sofa bed that pulls out to a twin size bed, has room for an 8 inch thick mattress, and truly looks elegant. This daybed is brown with vinyl, which is both beautiful and comfortable.

You won’t have a problem with this bed matching your decor.

I’m going to provide you with an in-depth review of Homelegance Meyer 4956PU, which is one of the best sofa beds under 500 dollars. But first, I want provide you with the pros and cons that this modern sofa sleeper offers.

Pros

  • Very attractive look with an easy assembly.
  • Works as a sofa/daybed/trundle.
  • Sturdy construction with a beautiful dark brown bi-cast vinyl.
  • Offers a modern sofa bed with storage as an extra perk.

Cons

  • Many buyers complain of broken parts during shipment (more on this shortly).

Our Assessment

This is not a cheap sofa bed, and I didn’t experience any broken parts during my review. With that said, being a heavier sofa bed, I can definitely see how parts may be broken during shipment. Thankfully, all you need to do is call customer service, and they will send you out new parts or a replacement shipment.

For me, this is one of the best sofa beds for everyday use because it’s sturdy and aesthetically-pleasing.

This unit provides more elegance than a futon, such as the DHP Emily Splitback Futon, but it also comes at a price that is significantly higher. If you want a daybed with a trundle, the Homelegance Meyer 4956PU is one of your best options.

Not only is this unit aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also very durable (as we’ll talk about in our review).C

Homelegance Meyer 4956PU Review

We’ve had the pleasure of writing sleeper sofa reviews for several different models, but this modern furniture bed is a little bit different than the competition. First, I wanted to make note that this model is under $500, and it’s worth every penny.

You’ll be able to use your daybed for years with proper care.

And it has a touch of elegance that many daybeds simply don’t offer any more. While modern, you’ll find that the twin sofa bed is very comfortable. This is one of the most comfortable sleeper sofas we’ve had the pleasure of sitting on.

Assembly

I always have a tendency to start with the assembly process because it can be rather difficult to put together a sofa that weighs 190 pounds. In fact, I recommend having someone, maybe even two other people, help you bring this unit into your house and assemble it.

Even if you don’t need help with assembly, you will need help with moving the sofa – it’s rather heavy.

But, this is a testament to the quality of the unit. You don’t want a 40 pound sofa break under the weight of two people.

I recommend using a power drill with a screwdriver bit to make the assembly process faster. If you have just one person working on assembling the sofa, you can expect to spend about an hour to put it together. I found that all of the drilled holes lined up perfectly, allowing assembly to be smooth and fast.

And, you can use the normal screwdriver if you like, but it will take a little bit longer to complete the assembly.

Bed and Cushion Material and Comfort

Featuring a modern curved arm design, this model uses bi-cast vinyl faux leather that is both beautiful and easy to clean. You’ll notice that the day bed itself features a dark brown color with a rather fancy look.

I want to also note that this is a sofa bed with storage, so you can store items underneath this model.

However, the main functionality will be sitting on this pullout sofa bed. The ideal place to sit down and read a book or watch television, there are two mattresses you need to purchase: one for the day bed, and one for the trundle. Please note that the trundle needs a mattress that is no more than 8 inches thick.

So, you have a lot of options in terms of customizing your daybed’s comfort level.

You definitely don’t want a trundle mattress that is thicker than 8 inches because you won’t be able to close the unit properly. But, you can place a very comfortable 12 inch thick mattress on top for the utmost in padding when you sit down.

And if you choose not to place a mattress on the trundle, you can use this space for storage if you like.

Ultimately, both of the mattresses will act as two separate twin size beds. You won’t be able to pop up the trundle so that it is flushes with the top of the unit.

If you have kids, this is the perfect leather sofa with a bed pull out that is both smaller than a traditional sofa and much cheaper. You do have to spend a little more money to buy the mattresses, so please make note of this when you make your purchase.

Anyone that is looking for a sofa that is more like a traditional couch than this model, I recommend the Handy Living CAC4-S1-AAA85 050.

Durability

Since the bottom unit comes out as a trundle, you don’t want your children jumping on the sofa bed. If you sit on the unit and use it normally, you won’t have to worry about it breaking under pressure.

For a trundle, this is a rather durable model that should last you years with normal use.

As far as cleaning is concerned, you can easily wipe away spilt liquids thanks to the faux leather exterior. But, you will have to be careful with your mattress choice as mattresses can stain and absorb liquid.

The Homelegance Meyer 4956PU is one of my top choices for a daybed/trundle combination unit. Beautifully designed and easy to assemble, you also have the full opportunity to customize the comfort level of the sofa with your own mattress choices.

You could even pay a little extra to have it assembled for you after it’s delivered to your house, which is a very nice option to have.

In terms of comfort, this truly depends on the mattresses you choose, but I will state that pulling out the trundle is a breeze and that the exterior of the unit is very comfortable and durable.

How to Make a Sofa Bed More Comfortable In 5 Steps 2019

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Sofa beds are a convenient way to accommodate overnight guests, but the one thing that a lot of people complain about when sleeping on these beds: they’re uncomfortable. Springs poke into your back, and the mattress doesn’t offer much cushioning. While this isn’t true for allsleeper sofas, a lot of models (especially older ones) are difficult to sleep on.

If your sleeper sofa is uncomfortable, don’t torture your overnight guests. Use these tips on how to make your sofa bed more comfortable.

1.     Add Cushioning

One of the quickest and easiest ways to make a sofa bed more comfortable is to invest in a mattress topper. The extra padding will cushion the mattress and make it easier on your guests’ backs.

Mattress toppers may be filled with memory foam or down feathers. While the material is a matter of preference, thicker covers will add more depth and comfort to the mattress while still ensuring that it can be folded back into the sofa. And if you live in a colder area, you may consider purchasing a heated mattress pad to keep guests cozy and warm at night.

When shopping for a mattress topper, be sure to look for products that are designed for sofa beds to ensure that the mattress can still be folded up into the couch.

2.     Flip and Rotate the Mattress

Another simple way to improve the comfort of your pullout sofa bed is to simply flip the mattress. Sometimes this is all that’s needed to restore comfort. Ideally, you should be rotating the mattress in your sleeper sofa just as often as your regular mattress – every six months.

Not only should you flip the mattress over, but you should also rotate it lengthwise. And if the bed is used daily, be sure to replace the mattress every few years.

3.     Fill In Gaps

If there are gaps between the bed and the couch arms, fill in these holes with pillows. Any exposed metal parts should be padded with cylindrical bolsters to ensure that your guests never have to sleep directly on the sofa’s folding mechanism. You can also use these bolsters to fill gaps between the top of the mattress in the back of the sofa.

4.     Use High Quality Bedding

Ensuring that the bed is fitted with high quality sheets and blankets will also add comfort. Remember, these are guests in your home, so don’t skimp on bedding. Look for sheets with high thread counts for maximum durability and comfort. Make sure that you add a comforter and an additional blanket just in case your guests get cold.

Even if the weather is warm, you want to ensure that your guests have the option of covering up with a blanket to keep warm.

5.     Keep the Bed Clean

Naturally, you want to ensure that your best sofa bed stays clean. After each use, remove the mattress topper and the bedding. If the mattress topper is down filled, place it in the dryer to fluff it with the no-heat setting. Wash all blankets and sheets after each use, or weekly if you use the bed regularly. Before you fold up the mattress, vacuum both sides to remove allergens, dust and other irritants.

Adding more cushioning, flipping the mattress, using high quality bedding, and keeping the mattress clean will ensure that your sofa bed stays comfortable for years to come. If none of these tips make your sleeper sofa any more comfortable than it was before, it may just be time to invest in a new mattress. If the bed gets used regularly, the mattress will need to be replaced more frequently.

Mainstays Metal Arm Futon with 6” Mattress Review 2019

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With a contemporary design and a bold red color, the Mainstays Metal Arm Futon is the perfect choice for small apartments, dorms, living rooms and guestrooms. With a simple adjustment, this futon transforms from sofa to bed.

After reviewing this Mainstays sofa sleeper for ourselves, we can’t help but recommend it. It’s so affordably priced, it’s comfortable, and it’s durable. These three things are the key most important factors to consider when buying a futon.

But before we dive into our detailed review, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this model.

Pros

  • Attractive contemporary style
  • Includes mattress
  • Serves as couch or bed
  • Great for dorms, apartments, guest rooms and living rooms
  • Convenient low sitting frame
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Assembly is complicated

Our First Impressions

We loved the contemporary design of this futon. It’s modern. It’s sleek. And it boasts a bold red mattress. What more can we say? This futon will look great in any space.

With a compact design, this is an apartment size sofa bed that’s easy to move around. The entire Mainstays metal arm futon with mattress included weighs just 50 pounds. You’ll have no trouble moving or assembling this piece on your own.

The low sitting frame is convenient, it makes it easy to get on and off the futon. With one simple adjustment, you can transform this futon into a bed. If you’re living in a smaller space, this futon can do double duty as both a sofa and a bed.

It’s affordably priced, too, which is always welcomed.

The only issue we had with this model was that assembly was very complicated. The futon comes in two separate boxes, and both are quite heavy, so you may need help moving them into your home. The assembly process itself is very time-consuming, so expect to spend at least two hours putting this thing together.

Normally, this would be a major drawback for us, but because of this futon’s price point, we really couldn’t complain.

Mainstays Black Metal Arm Futon Review

There were a lot of things that we loved about this futon. The following features stood out to us during our review:

Bold Red Color

Although this futon’s design is simple, its ruby red mattress color makes this piece stand out. It will easily be the focal point of the room. If you’re not a fan of red, you may be able to find a Mainstays metal arm futon with mattress black on Amazon or another online retailer.

Smart, Comfortable Design

This red sofa bed features an economical design with a low-sitting frame. The frame sits 10” off the floor, which makes it easy to get on and off the futon whether you’re using it as a bed or a sofa for guests to sit on.

Because of its low design, this is the best sofa sleeper for anyone living in a studio apartment or dorm.

We were also surprised to find that mattress itself was very comfortable. Typically, futons are hard, uncomfortable and cause back pain. But this model is different. That’s because the mattress is made from a thermos-bonded polyester and cotton core. There are no springs in the mattress, which often cause pain or dig into your back at night.

This is the best sleeper sofa mattress in terms of comfort that we have ever seen on a futon.

That said, we did notice one slight issue with this mattress: It falls flat after extensive use (2+ years). In truth, at this price point, this wasn’t surprising. But the mattress will only fall flat after extensive, heavy use. If you’re simply using this for guests, you shouldn’t have any issues with the mattress for years. And if you use this as your daily bed, you always have the option of ordering a replacement.

Environmentally-Conscious Design

If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll be happy to know that this futon’s mattress is made from Earth-friendly materials and contains a minimum of 50% pre-consumer recycled content.

Not only does this futon have a contemporary design, but the company takes a modern, eco-friendly approach to the production of this product.

Versatile

When folded up, this futon can serve as a coach or sofa. It’s comfortable, durable and you can sit on it for long periods of time without any issues.

In just a few simple steps, you can convert the sofa into a full-size bed. After laying on this futon, we can confidently say that you can easily fit two people on this bed.

The versatility of this futon is what makes it such a great choice for small studio apartments and living rooms. Use it as your permanent bed to save on space, or for unexpected guests. If a friend or family member drops in, you can now offer them a comfortable place to sleep for the night.

Lightweight

One of the major advantages that this futon offers is that it’s so lightweight. Most sleeper sofas weigh hundreds of pounds, but this model weighs just 50 pounds. This means that you can easily move the mattress and the frame from one room to another if you need to.

The Final Verdict

We’ve tried a lot of sofa beds (and we have a long list of sleeper sofa reviews to prove it), and this Mainstays model is one of the better options in this price range. It’s comfortable, the design is modern, and the red mattress color will add flair to your space. Assembly is difficult, but not a deal-breaker. You may have issues with the mattress in the future, but that’s to be expected with any futon.

Overall, we felt that this sleeper sofa was a great buy. It’s ideal for anyone living in a studio apartment or dorm room. It’s also an affordable option for guest rooms and second living rooms for unexpected guests. If you’re looking for a futon that won’t break the bank but is still comfortable to sit or sleep on, the Mainstays Metal Arm Futon is a smart option.

Serta CR-43538PB Santa Cruz Collection Review 2019

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What’s not to love about the Serta CR-43538PB Santa Cruz Collection? This is a beautiful fabric sofa that is the perfect complement to any modern home. Tool-free assembly allows you to quickly assemble your sofa and enjoy it within an hour.

This model even ships in one single box, allowing for easy maneuverability when bringing it into your home.

Before we dive right into our Serta CR-43538PB Santa Cruz Collection review, let’s discuss the pros and cons that we found during our review.

Pros

  • Very easy to put together and requires no tools during assembly.
  • The cushions are firm enough to support your back, yet soft enough to be comfortable.
  • Includes 2 matching decorative pillows.
  • The fabric is very well sewn together, and the construction is very solid and durable.

Cons

  • The back of the sofa is a little lower than what is expected from the picture and video.

Our Assessment

If you’ve ever read Serta sofa reviews before, you know that the company makes durable products that are worth every penny. We tested the Santa Cruz Collection, and we couldn’t have been happier with the quality and durability of this model.

The cushions are soft enough to be very comfortable even after hours of sitting and watching television, but not so soft that they have no back support.

We did want to mention that the back is slightly lower than what you see in the picture, but this is not much of concern.

For the extremely low cost of this sofa, you honestly can’t go wrong with your purchase. Serta even includes two decorative pillows that provide the perfect contrast to the sofa, allowing for a professional look when viewed in your home.

We simply loved the easy assembly of this sofa. It was both fun and uncomplicated – unusual for any piece of furniture.

Full Review of the Serta Santa Cruz Collection

We’ve written so many sofa bed reviews, but this one has been a true joy for us to review. We simply love the comfort and ease of this model as well as its low price point that is perfect for smaller apartments or even homes.

Assembly

We can’t say enough about the assembly process of the Santa Cruz. It’s so easy to assemble this model that we actually had fun during the process – a rarity for us. First, this is a tool-free assembly, which allows you to quickly and easily assemble the couch without having to grab a screwdriver or a hammer in the process.

Instructions are clear and concise, and assembly can take anywhere between 20 minutes to one hour depending on your experience.

Hint: When assembling this model, the cushions will come shrink-wrapped in plastic. I recommend trying to put the covers in place first and then removing the plastic so that the cushions don’t expand, which makes it a little bit more difficult to put the upholstery covers in place afterwards.

Several Size Options

I do want to make note that I am reviewing the 78�? sofa. But, there are three unique size options available that are perfect for any home:

  • 61 inch loveseat
  • 73 inch sofa
  • 78 inch sofa

There are also three unique color options to choose from. Don’t worry, the fabric for each model is the same, so you’ll still enjoy the same great feel and comfort of your sofa. The colors you can choose from include:

  • Platinum
  • Brown
  • Mink Brown

Personally, I like the platinum look. This is a lighter color than the darker brown, which isn’t my personal favorite.

Durable Construction

One of my biggest concerns with all of my sleeper sofa reviews is that I never know if the construction will be optimal. Unfortunately, you never really know what the construction will be like until you try it out for yourself. But the construction on this model really surprised me. It’s highly durable and very well-constructed.

Serta has provided a diagram to explain how the count is constructed internally. This provides us with a little bit of insight into just how durable this model is. The diagram shows:

  • Premium S coils have been added underneath the cushion to provide added support when sitting on the sofa.
  • The hardwood frame allows for the utmost in durability.
  • In the back of the seat, premium ultra-wide back straps have been included to provide that extra firmness you need when sitting on a couch comfortably. This ensures that your back has some sort of support.
  • The arms of the couch have a hardboard interlining so that they never lose their firmness or durability.
  • Solid wood footers are used on the bottom of the couch, which is very nice as they won’t break like plastic models do.

Cushioning and Comfort

When it comes to comfort, this sofa is a great option. If you’re like me, you want the cushions of your couch to be soft, but still provide support for your back, so it’s not aching every time you get up.

The cushions themselves are made from premium quality polyester fiber on the back and feature pocket coils for support and comfort on the bottom. These pocket coils are made of high density polyethylene foam at the center. Surrounding the center coils at the top is premium quality polyester fiber, which allows you to sink into your cushion just enough. The extra support of the foam and the coils ensures that your cushions won’t sag in few weeks.

Serta furniture reviews always have one thing in common – people love the Serta brand.

And the Santa Cruz collection demonstrates just how affordable a great couch or sofa can be. You have many options to choose from in terms of size, and the loveseat (from what I’ve heard) is an amazing option for smaller areas, such as a flat or an apartment where you might be low on space.

Serta has also included two beautiful decorative pillows with each size sofa.

Stylish and affordable, we recommend the Santa Cruz collection to anyone looking for an affordable, beautiful couch.