• Why Does Fat Go to a Man's Belly and a Women's Hips and Thighs?

    In general, men tend to become apple-shaped, storing their fat in the abdominal areas, but maintain normal hips and thighs. Women on the other hand, tend to become pear-shaped, storing their fat lower down in their hips and thighs. Why is this? For research Steven R. Smith, M.D., director at the Sanford-Burnham Translation Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, this simple truth was worth investigating. He found that the placement of fat storage in the body is genetic. Furthermore, belly fat is associated with higher risks of heart disease and diabetes, while hip and thigh fat is not. >> Read the Full Article
  • Marrriage and Midlife

    To marry or not to marry? There are many pros and cons. Could marriage, and associated companionship, be a key to a longer life? According to new research, not having a permanent partner, or significant other, during midlife is linked to a higher risk of premature death during those midlife years. The work, by Dr. Ilene Siegler and colleagues from Duke University Medical Center in the US, is published online in Springer's journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why is SO Much Food Wasted?

    A new report titled "Global food, waste not, want not" published by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers has found that 30 to 50 percent of all food produced in the world never reaches a stomach. The authors of the study warn that these figures are quite conservative. The large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water that are wasted in the food production have not been accounted for. >> Read the Full Article
  • 2012 Weather in Review

    From tropical storms and hurricanes like Sandy, to extended heat waves and detrimental summer droughts, to unprecedented wildfire outbreaks in the American West, 2012 marked a historic year for extreme weather events in the United States. In fact, 2012 takes the prize for the warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous US thus allowing the year to break some other climate and weather related records. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center reports the State of the Climate and offers some of last year’s highlights. - 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. - The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988. - Each season of 2012 had precipitation totals below the 20th century average. >> Read the Full Article
  • BPA in Plastics and Aluminum Cans Linked to Heart and Kidney Disease

    New scientific data has been released linking a chemical commonly found in plastic bottles and inside aluminum cans to a biomarker for higher risk of heart and kidney disease in children and adolescents. The chemical, known as bisphenol A (BPA) is used to provide an anti-septic function to the liquids and food products it contains. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned the chemical, but it is still widely used in aluminum cans. Previous studies have found that BPA can disrupt various mechanisms in human metabolism. The new study from the NYU School of Medicine shows that it can also increase the chance of developing coronary heart disease and kidney dysfunction. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Strategies

    Natural sources, such as volcanoes, are responsible for approximately half of atmospheric mercury emissions. Humans contributed most of the rest through fuel combustion. International negotiators will come together next week in Geneva, Switzerland for the fifth and final meeting to address global environmental controls on mercury. Ahead of the negotiations, researchers from MIT and Harvard University are calling for aggressive emissions reductions and clear public health advice to reduce the risks of mercury. >> Read the Full Article
  • Genetic Obesity

    For those who are overweight, it is not entirely your fault. Researchers at UCLA say it's not just what you eat that makes those pants tighter — it's also genetics. In a new study, scientists discovered that body-fat responses to a typical fast-food diet are determined in large part by genetic factors, and they have identified several genes they say may control those responses. The study is the first of its kind to detail metabolic responses to a high-fat, high-sugar diet in a large and diverse mouse population under defined environmental conditions, modeling closely what is likely to occur in human populations. The researchers found that the amount of food consumed contributed only modestly to the degree of obesity. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Contamination Similarities Found Between Birds and People

    Birds aren't that different from people. We learn from our parents, just like zebra finches learn songs from their fathers. We are active and noisy during the day, like birds, and we can also be territorial. Also like birds, we try to attract mates through colorful displays and beautiful songs. Birds are sensitive to pollution in their environment just like we are: harmful elements such as mercury wreak similar havoc on human and bird biology alike. Because our species share so many attributes, studying birds illustrates the connections between them and us. >> Read the Full Article
  • Brain Development in Children Directly Impacted by Parenting Technique

    Infancy and early childhood is a critical time for the development of a healthy brain as well as positive emotional development. It is the role of the parents to ensure that their babies grow up to be healthy, functioning members of society. However, a new study from the University of Notre Dame claims that social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing the healthy development of children. Traditional methods of nurturing, having been passed down from our hunter-gatherer days, are being neglected for more stereotypically modern childbearing norms to the detriment of the youth of America. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shoe Stable Fly!

    Swatting at flies is a major aggravation but luckily for us, we can often shoe away these annoying arthropods before that painful bite. But what about cows and other livestock that only have a tail to defend themselves? Besides a quick pinch, stable flies actually have a huge effect on cattle costing the U.S. cattle industry more than $2.4 billion! How might you ask? Animals will often stop grazing and bunch together to minimize the number of bites they're getting. Consequently, this can reduce milk production in dairy cows, decrease weight gain in beef cattle, and reduce feed efficiency. >> Read the Full Article