Health

The Deepwater Oil Release Impact on Marine Life
May 25, 2010 03:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

New reports are surfacing every day about the immediate impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf Coast wildlife, especially as the oil reaches the sensitive marshlands along the coast. What will be the long term impact to local marine life? There is some knowledge from earlier releases such as Valdez off Alaska. Oil contains complex hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Such materials will be absorbed and have impact on the local marine life over time. How they will be absorbed, how much and their effects are unknown or debatable. To begin to address this issue, Academy scientist Peter Roopnarine is working with Laurie Anderson from Louisiana State University and David Goodwin from Denison University to collect and analyze three different types of mollusks from the Gulf Coast. These animals are continually building their shells, and if contaminants are present in their environment, they can incorporate those compounds into their shells.

A New Source Of Dioxins: Anti-Bacterial Soap Combining with Chlorine in Wastewater Sewage Plants
May 25, 2010 08:47 AM - Janet Raloff, Science News, Organic Consumers Association

Manufacturers have been adding the germ fighter triclosan to soaps, hand washes, and a range of other products for years. But here's a dirty little secret: Once it washes down the drain, that triclosan can spawn dioxins. Dioxins come in 75 different flavors, distinguished by how many chlorine atoms dangle from each and where those atoms have attached (their locations indicated by the numbers in the front part of a dioxin's name). The most toxic is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, or TCDD. Some related kin bearing four to eight chlorines are also toxic, just less so.

Clean Up the Trucks
May 24, 2010 03:46 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

About a year ago the President and car company CEOs, announced the first Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks that took into account greenhouse gas emissions as a factor. The move ordered a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency by 2016, totaling a 35.5 miles per gallon average for both cars and light trucks. This past Friday’s directive ordered federal agencies to begin development of even more stringent standards for 2017 and beyond. Though big rigs represent less than five percent of all vehicles on U.S. highways, they consume more than 20 percent of the total of transportation fuels utilized. Truck fuel consumption tends to be presently less than 10 miles per gallon which makes them comparatively fuel inefficient.

Nuts Lower Cholesterol, Study Finds
May 24, 2010 09:14 AM - LiveScience Staff

A diet with nuts, including pistachios, significantly lowered total and LDL-cholesterol levels, in addition to triglycerides, a new study found. The finding, published earlier this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, confirms other evidence that nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers said.

The Great No Fishing Area
May 19, 2010 12:45 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has extended the boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico into the northern portion of the loop current as a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. Though the latest analysis shows that the bulk of the oil remains dozens of miles from the loop current, the new boundaries address the possibility that a tendril of light oil has entered or will enter the loop current. Part of the Gulf Stream, the Loop Current is a warm ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico that flows northward between Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula, moves north into the Gulf of Mexico, loops west and south before exiting to the east through the Florida Straits.

Long-Lasting Sensory Loss in World Trade Center Workers from Airborne Toxins After 9/11 Attacks
May 19, 2010 08:57 AM - Science Daily

New research from the Monell Center and collaborating institutions reports that workers exposed to the complex mixture of toxic airborne chemicals following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City had a decreased ability to detect odors and irritants two years after the exposure.

Hard Exercise Can Prevent Cell Death
May 14, 2010 10:52 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Every day our bodies are dying, or rather, our millions of cells are dying. Fortunately they do not all die at once, and there is always another cell to take its place. What if people could stop their cells from dying? Wouldn't that be the same as eternal life? Well that is not possible, so the best people can do is delay the cellular inevitable. To do so merely entails exercise, an activity that people should be doing anyway. An Italian team of scientists at the University of Rome put their collective skills together to prove this hypothesis.

Air Quality Awareness Week Focuses on Reducing Exposure to Ozone, Particle Pollution / Keep your eye on the AQI
May 13, 2010 10:51 AM - US Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON – EPA, state and local air agencies across the country are marking Air Quality Awareness Week by reminding Americans to stay "Air Aware" to reduce their exposure – and their contribution – to air pollution. By following recommendations of the Air Quality Index (AQI), people can take simple steps to reduce the amount of pollution they breathe in. The AQI is EPA’s color-coded tool for reporting daily air quality and forecasts for common air pollutants, including ozone (smog) and particle pollution.

Science Closing in on Mystery of Age-Related Memory Loss, Says UAB Neurobiologist
May 11, 2010 08:38 AM - University of Alabama at Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The world's scientific community may be one step closer to understanding age-related memory loss, and to developing a drug that might help boost memory. In an editorial published May 7 in Science, J. David Sweatt, Ph.D., chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Neurobiology, says that drugs known as histone deacetylase inhibitors are showing great promise in stopping memory loss - and even in boosting the formation of memory in animal models.

Stronger evidence pollution damages the heart
May 11, 2010 06:25 AM - Reuters

The evidence is stronger than ever that pollution from industry, traffic and power generation causes strokes and heart attacks, and people should avoid breathing in smog, the American Heart Association said on Monday. Fine particulate matter from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal and oil is the clearest offender, the group said. "Particulate matter appears to directly increase risk by triggering events in susceptible individuals within hours to days of an increased level of exposure, even among those who otherwise may have been healthy for years," said Dr. Robert Brook of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who headed the group writing the report.

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