Health

Microbes At Work (Cleaning Up The Environment)
September 29, 2007 06:25 PM -

LIVERMORE, Calif. – It may sound counterintuitive to use a microbial protein to improve water quality. But some bacteria are doing just that to protect themselves from potentially toxic nanoparticles in their own environments, and clean up crews of the future could potentially do the same thing on a larger scale.

A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that bacteria from an abandoned mine excrete proteins that cause metal nanoparticles to aggregate. The bacteria are binding and immobilizing the metals in the nanoparticles and the nanoparticles themselves, which are potentially toxic to the bacteria.

 

FDA staff urge warnings on kids' cold medicines
September 29, 2007 03:50 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that contain decongestants and antihistamines should come with new instructions saying they are not recommended for very young children, U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewers have recommended.

The FDA has not made a final decision on whether to change the warnings or instructions for use on the widely used drugs, officials said in documents released late on Thursday. The agency will seek input from a panel of outside advisers next month.

Officials said in March they were reviewing use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children. A group of doctors and public health officials had filed a petition voicing concerns that the drugs were risky and not effective for children.

U.S. meat firm expands beef recall due to E.coli
September 29, 2007 03:41 PM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Topps Meat Company LLC has expanded its recall to include 21.7 million pounds (9,800 tonnes) of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the Elizabeth, New Jersey-based company said on Saturday.

The beef has a "sell by date" or "best if used by date" between September 25, 2007, and September 25, 2008. All recalled products will have a U.S. Department of Agriculture establishment number of EST 9748, which is located on the back panel of the package and/or in the USDA legend.

On Tuesday, the company announced a recall of 331,582 (150 tonnes) pounds of frozen ground beef products.

Study: Replace Older Woodstoves For Indoor Air Quality
September 28, 2007 07:05 PM - , BuildingGreen

Air-quality test results confirm that it’s possible to reduce the concentration of fine particulate matter, which is harmful indoors even at extremely low concentrations, by using cleaner-burning woodstoves certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Drinking may dampen hearing in the short term
September 28, 2007 05:50 PM -

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If you have a hard time hearing conversation at a bar, it may not be because of the noise, a study suggests.

Alcohol, UK researchers found, seems to temporarily drain a person's hearing -- particularly when it comes to discerning the sounds of conversation.

In a study of 30 healthy volunteers, they found that as participants drank, their hearing became less acute. Lower-frequency hearing, which is necessary for discerning speech, suffered the most, the researchers report in the online journal BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders.

3 Dead, Hurricane Lorenzo Plows Into Mexico
September 28, 2007 05:20 PM - Alejandro Juarez,

NAUTLA, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Lorenzo crashed into Mexico's Gulf coast on Friday, killing three people in a mudslide and knocking out power to 85,000 homes.

In the coastal fishing town of Nautla, Lorenzo's 80 mph (130 kph) winds ripped off bits of roofs, blew down trees and scattered debris in the streets.

"It hit us hard and there is an incredible amount of rain," said Mayra Castro, 29, a waitress who spent the night mopping up water that leaked into her house through windows and under doors.

Corn-based Plastic Packaging Hits The Marketplace
September 27, 2007 07:56 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- A Florida body care company has launched an innovative and earth friendly way to package their products. Their new case, which contains five travel size products, is made entirely from 100% U.S. grown corn, not foreign petroleum. This material is produced from plastic that consists of polylactide, a corn-based versatile polymer.

EPA Orders Five Illinois Feedlots To Halt Stream Discharges
September 27, 2007 07:49 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

CHICAGO - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has ordered five Illinois feedlots to stop all unauthorized discharges of manure and wastewater into area streams. The feedlots were told they had to comply with the Clean Water Act. The EPA also ordered several of the feedlots to apply to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for discharge permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

So far, none of the lots has been fined.

Human parasite genome reveals long past
September 27, 2007 07:21 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An icky parasite that is a major source of tummy trouble for young children and nature lovers appears to have been infecting mammals for a very long time, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Giardia lamblia is one of the most common human parasites in the United States, causing more than 20,000 intestinal infections each year.

A complete genetic sequence of this parasite now suggests it had ancestors reaching back more than a billion years.

"We think it is deep in the evolutionary tree," said Hilary Morrison, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, whose study appears in the journal Science.

Report: Pandemic is Overdue, Prepartions Almost Nil
September 27, 2007 06:41 PM -

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - A report issued today by two of the world's foremost risk experts, warns that the catastrophic impacts of a long-lasting pandemic are not only likely to happen, but overdue.

The study, funded by the large pharmacetical company Roche, also says the impact of a pandemic is likely to exceed what most corporate and governmental leaders imagine, or are prepared for. This comes on the heels of U.S. government reports issued earlier this month that come to similar conclusions. 

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