Health

What actually causes aging?
August 1, 2015 06:57 AM - Northwestern University

When does aging really begin? Two Northwestern University scientists now have a molecular clue. In a study of the transparent roundworm C. elegans, they found that adult cells abruptly begin their downhill slide when an animal reaches reproductive maturity.

A genetic switch starts the aging process by turning off cell stress responses that protect the cell by keeping important proteins folded and functional. The switch is thrown by germline stem cells in early adulthood, after the animal starts to reproduce, ensuring its line will live on.

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Going to the beach may require hand sanitizer in addition to sunscreen
July 15, 2015 01:07 PM - American Chemical Society

“No swimming” signs have already popped up this summer along coastlines where fecal bacteria have invaded otherwise inviting waters. Some vacationers ignore the signs while others resign themselves to tanning and playing on the beach. But should those avoiding the water be wary of the sand, too? New research in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology investigates reasons why the answer could be “yes.” Sewage-contaminated coastal waters can lead to stomach aches, diarrhea and rashes for those who accidentally swallow harmful microbes or come into contact with them. But over the past decade, scientists have been finding fecal bacteria in beach sand at levels 10 to 100 times higher than in nearby seawater.

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SPOTLIGHT

Could genetically modified mosquitos prevent mosquito-borne illnesses?

Lisa Palmer, Yale Environment 360

When people think of genetically modified organisms, food crops like GM corn and soybeans usually come to mind. But engineering more complex living things is now possible, and the controversy surrounding genetic modification has now spread to the lowly mosquito, which is being genetically engineered to control mosquito-borne illnesses.

A U.K.-based company, Oxitec, has altered two genes in the Aedes aegypti mosquito so that when modified males breed with wild females, the offspring inherit a lethal gene and die in the larval stage. The state agency that controls mosquitos in the Florida Keys is awaiting approval from the federal government of a trial release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitos to prevent a recurrence of a dengue fever outbreak. But some people in the Keys and elsewhere are up in arms, with more than 155,000 signing a petition opposing the trial of genetically engineered mosquitoes in a small area of 400 households next to Key West. 

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Are You Smarter Than a Reptile?


July 29th, 2015
Are you smarter than a reptile? In many respects, you certainly are. After all, no reptile is going to read this article. However, our clearly superior intellectual abilities for certain skills has seduced us towards a dismissive attitude towards the surprisingly deep and broad range of analytical gifts of our companion creatures.
To read the full post and comment, visit the ENN Community Blog

Forest’s Ecosystem Management

July 21st, 2015
Why Preserve Forests and Plant Trees?
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Energy Consumption in Homes Across Europe

July 10th, 2015
The largest since source of energy consumption comes from buildings. This piece looks at how the EU is performing in terms of reducing energy consumption in the home and what else can be done.
To read the full post and comment, visit the ENN Community Blog

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