Lifestyle

U.S. agencies stick to pregnancy fish-eating limits
October 15, 2007 10:29 PM - Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government said on Monday it was holding firm to its recommendations that pregnant and breast-feeding women limit how much fish and other seafood they eat and avoid certain types with high levels of mercury.

The two agencies that have set government policy on the subject -- the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency -- have declined to alter their recommendations that these women eat no more than 12 ounces of fish weekly.

Their stance comes a week after a health advocacy coalition that received funding from the fish industry and 14 experts on October 4 urged these women to eat more fish.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies that are members of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition have actively distanced themselves from the coalition's new advice.

AOL to cut one-fifth of global work force
October 15, 2007 10:16 PM - Kenneth Li, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc's Internet unit AOL will eliminate 2,000 jobs as part of an ongoing restructuring to better focus on boosting online advertising, according to a memo obtained by Reuters on Monday.

The cuts, which begin on Tuesday, amount to about one-fifth of AOL's global work force and are spread across operations in the United States and in Europe, where the company has sold off its Internet access businesses.

AOL plans to boost investment in higher growth areas such as advertising and new international regions, AOL Chief Executive Randy Falco said in the memo to staff.

Scientists call for drastic cuts in EU cod fishing
October 15, 2007 10:59 AM -

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's trawlermen should cut back drastically next year on trawling for cod in the North Sea and aim to take less than half their 2006 catch from the sea, a group of international scientists said on Monday.

Cod, one of Europe's most threatened species due to years of chronic overfishing, has long risked a collapse in numbers. But matters seem to have improved slightly, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) said.

"Our scientific surveys show that the number of young fish has increased, although only to half of the long-term average," said Martin Pastoors, chairman of the ICES' main committee on compiling scientific advice on fish stocks and numbers.

Air Pollution Linked To Bronchitis In Preschoolers
October 15, 2007 10:04 AM -

Davis, California - In one of the first studies to examine air pollution in relation to infant and early childhood health, a UC Davis researcher has discovered a strong link between exposure to components of air pollution and acute bronchitis diagnoses in preschool-aged children. Those components - polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs - contribute to air pollution from a variety of sources, including coal burning, vehicle exhaust, wood-burning stoves, tobacco smoke and grilling food.

Led by UC Davis environmental epidemiologist Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the Czech Early Childhood Health Study involved 1,133 children from birth to 4.5 years of age born in two districts of the Czech Republic between 1994 and 1998. One of those districts, Teplice (pronounced Tuh-PLEET-zuh), is known for its high levels of air pollution. The other, Prachatice (pronounced prah-kuh-TEET-zuh), has much lower levels of air pollution.

Global Imbalances and Developing Countries
October 15, 2007 07:46 AM - Jan Joost Teunissen, Global Policy Innovations Program

The abrupt unwinding of global imbalances is a major risk for the world economy; it affects countries across the globe, but is particularly harmful to developing countries.

This second volume on global imbalances includes an unorthodox, long-term view on global imbalances, an in-depth discussion about the role of the IMF, and a discussion about the need for reform of the international monetary and financial system. It pays special attention to Africa and East Asia.

Animal food allergens unmasked
October 15, 2007 07:43 AM - Norwich BioScience Institutes

The relatedness of an animal food protein to a human protein determines whether it can cause allergy, according to new research by scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and the Medical University of Vienna.

In theory all proteins have the potential to become allergens, but the study found that in practice the ability of animal food proteins to act as allergens depends on their evolutionary distance from a human equivalent.

No sex for 40 million years? Works for some
October 14, 2007 10:45 PM - Michael Kahn, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - One microscopic organism has thrived despite remaining celibate for tens of millions of years thanks to a neat evolutionary trick, researchers said.

Asexual reproduction has allowed duplicate gene copies of the single-celled creatures -- called bdelloid rotifers -- to become different over time.

This gives the rotifers a wider pool of genes to help them adapt and survive, the researchers said in the journal Science.

"It is like having a bigger tool kit," Alan Tunnacliffe, a molecular biologist at the University of Cambridge, said in a telephone interview. "You can do the same job but better."

Depressed at work? Get a new career
October 14, 2007 10:34 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Child care workers, home health care aides and other people who provide personal services have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers, according to a new survey to be published on Monday.

It found that 10.8 percent of personal care and service workers and 10.3 percent of food preparation and serving workers -- both usually low-paying jobs -- experienced one or more major depressive episodes in the past year.

The least depressing careers appear to lie in architecture, engineering, the sciences and in the installation, maintenance and repair fields, the survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found.

Canada not listening to leading environmentalist
October 14, 2007 10:20 PM - Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO (Reuters) - David Suzuki, Canada's best-known environmentalist, has spent a generation encouraging Canadians to look after the environment, but it seems they have not been listening.

Goateed, soft-spoken and avuncular, Suzuki has built a devout following from 28 years narrating "The Nature of Things," a popular television series on the science of the natural world.

Now aged 71, he notes Canada's environmental credentials are eroding just when he says it is more important than ever to move in the opposite direction.

Smoking Turns On Cancer Genes, Permanently: Study
October 14, 2007 09:59 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

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