Health

Algal Toxins Detected in One-Third of Streams Assessed in Southeastern United States
February 18, 2016 07:12 AM - USGS Newsroom

USGS scientists have detected toxins known as microcystins produced by various forms of algae in 39 percent of the small streams assessed throughout the southeastern United States. Their recent study looked at 75 streams in portions of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

UCLA studies the long-term health impacts of ozone
February 18, 2016 06:31 AM - UCLA Health

 

Adults with long-term exposure to ozone (O3) face an increased risk of dying from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, a study  “Long-Term Ozone Exposure and Mortality in a Large Prospective Study” published online ahead of print in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggests.

Using data from a large U.S. study begun in 1982, researchers found that every additional 10 parts per billion (ppb) in long-term ozone exposure increased the risk of dying by:

  • 12 percent from lung disease
  • 3 percent from cardiovascular disease
  • 2 percent from all causes

Researchers said the increased risk of death was highest for diabetes (16 percent), followed by dysrhythmias, heart failure and cardiac arrest (15 percent) and by COPD (14 percent).

 

New Report Ties "Hottest Year on Record" to Human Toll of Disasters
February 17, 2016 07:05 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Natural disasters made 2015 a miserable year for many people around the world. According to the United Nations’ Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the statistics were brutal. At least 98.6 million people were affected by natural disasters ranging from droughts to floods, and the economic damage could have been as high as $66.5 billion. Using the data available from the Belgian non-profit Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), the UN reports that almost 23,000 people died from the 346 natural disasters reported across the world.

The differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat
February 16, 2016 07:13 AM - Newcastle University

A new study has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Analysing data from around the world, the team led by Newcastle University, reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat and found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat, especially in terms of fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.

Bad air quality is deadly
February 13, 2016 07:18 AM - UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA via EurekAlert

New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution. More than half of deaths occur in two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India.

Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person's health. New research, presented today at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), found that despite efforts to limit future emissions, the number of premature deaths linked to air pollution will climb over the next two decades unless more aggressive targets are set.

"Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease," said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver, Canada. "Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population."

Obama Administration's "Clean Power Plan" dealt a setback by the Supreme Court
February 10, 2016 07:03 PM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan suffered a setback on Tuesday when the Supreme Court granted a stay to the program. In a 5-4 decision, the court sided in favor of petitioning states, utilities and coal companies that claimed that the federal government was overreaching its powers when it attempted to establish a national plan to move away from fossil-fuel based power. Requests for the Supreme Court to impose the stay were submitted in January after an appeals court ruled that the plan could proceed while legal challenges were being heard.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is an about-face to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and it comes at a critical time for the Obama administration’s clean energy program, especially in light of the upcoming elections in November. While the administration can appeal the Supreme Court’s order, arguments would not be considered until June and, pending acceptance by the higher court, likely wouldn’t be scheduled until October or later this year. That leaves the fate of the Clean Power Plan in the hands of the upcoming presidency.

Warmer climate contributes to spread of the Zika virus
February 10, 2016 09:51 AM - Nadia Pontes, The Ecologist

The Aedes mosquitos that carry the Zika virus and dengue fever are not just perfectly adapted to life in cities, writes Nadia Pontes. They are also being helped along by warming climates which increase their range. It's time to get serious about the health implications of a hotter planet.

Global warming affects the abundance and distribution of disease vectors. As regions that used to be drier and colder start to register higher temperatures and more rain, mosquitoes expand their breeding areas, which increases the number of populations at

The explosion in the number of Latin American cases of microcephaly - a congenital condition associated with maldevelopment of the brain - has become an international emergency due its "strongly suspected"link with the rapidly spreading Zika virus, according to the World Health Organisation(WHO).

Over 50 Percent of the World Breathes in Toxic Air
February 9, 2016 07:13 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Everyone needs clean air to survive, yet somehow it is not an internationally recognized human right. That probably has something to do with the fact that over half of the world’s population live in areas where they breathe in toxic air. Altogether, that means there are more than 3.5 billion people inhaling dangerous air into their lungs on a daily basis.

Who would have guessed this? Study finds vacations can lead to weight gains!
February 5, 2016 03:38 PM - Universtiy of Georgia via EurekAlert

A week's vacation may leave many adults with a heavier midsection--extra weight that can hang around even six weeks post-vacation.

A faculty member in the University of Georgia's College of Family and Consumer Sciences found that adults going on a one- to three-week vacation gained an average of nearly 1 pound during their trips. With the average American reportedly gaining 1-2 pounds a year, the study's findings suggest an alarming trend.

"If you're only gaining a pound or two a year and you gained three-quarters of that on a one- to three-week vacation, that's a pretty substantial weight gain during a short period of time," said Jamie Cooper, an associate professor in the college's department of foods and nutrition.

Seafood Consumption May Play a Role in Reducing Risk for Alzheimer's
February 3, 2016 07:01 AM - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

New research published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older adults with a major risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease known as APOEɛ4 who ate at least one seafood serving per week showed fewer signs of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes.  In contrast, this association was not found in the brains of volunteers who ate fish weekly but did not carry the risk gene.   

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