• New Connection Links Parkinson's Disease with Pesticide Exposure

    Scientific evidence already has connected pesticide exposure with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. Chemicals like paraquat, maneb, and ziram, commonly found in pesticides have been found in farmworkers and others living and working near the fields, and are tied to an increase in the disease. New research has identified another chemical from pesticides, benomyl, that is linked to Parkinson's. The toxic effects of benomyl are still found in the environment, even 10 years after the chemical was banned by the EPA. This chemical triggers a series of cellular events leading to Parkinson's. >> Read the Full Article
  • You Can't Buy a Single-Serve Plastic Bottle of Water in Concord Massachusetts

    Concord is the first town in the nation where the sale of plastic water bottles is prohibited. A new year brings a controversial new law into effect in Concord: no one can sell single-serving plastic water bottles. “I think Concord, you know, they have a good point about the plastic. I really do and I think other towns might follow,” one woman said. The new law is the talk of the town. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Thick Haze of Cairo

    The air quality in downtown Cairo is more than 10 to 100 times of acceptable world standards. Cairo has a very poor dispersion factor because of lack of rain and its layout of tall buildings and narrow streets, which create a bowl like effect that traps pollutants. The main air pollution problem in Egypt is the particulate matter. The most notable sources of the dust and small particles is transportation, industry and open-air waste-burning. Another significant source is the wind blowing dust from dry arid areas into the city. The air in Egypt tends to be gray with a thick haze over Cairo. Two years ago when the Egyptian government began fully implementing taxis run on natural gas, there was much praise and fanfare. Air pollution was at monumental levels in the Egyptian capital Cairo and something was needed to curtail the growing problem that was leading to health hazards, including a dramatic rise in cases of asthma among young adults. While the country’s burgeoning taxis have largely made the switch to natural gas, congestion and poor maintenance continues to see air pollution one of the biggest problems facing everyday Egyptians. >> Read the Full Article
  • Beware Spice Abuse

    While you're busy putting finishing touches on the holiday meal, your teenagers and pre-teen kids might have other ideas about how to use the season's aromatic spices and other ingredients. And the results could be dangerous. >> Read the Full Article
  • Extreme Weather Delays Efforts to Regain Control of Run-aground Oil Rig

    On Monday night, an oil drilling rig owned by Dutch Royal Shell ran aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska, prompting fears of an oil spill. As of yesterday no oil was seen leaking from the rig according to the Coast Guard, but efforts to secure the rig have floundered due to extreme weather. The rig, dubbed Kulluk, contains over 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The incident occurred when harsh weather caused the rig to break free from a ship that was towing the Kulluk from the Arctic back to its winter headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Rescuers quickly evacuated. >> Read the Full Article
  • Early Predictor for Glaucoma Identified

    Glaucoma is an eye disease which involves damage to the optic nerve. It can lead to permanent vision damage and lead to blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma often, but not always, involves increase fluid pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. A new study has found that certain changes in blood vessels in the retina may be an early warning that an individual has an increased risk of glaucoma. Researchers from the Australian Blue Mountains Eye Study showed that people with abnormally narrow retinal arteries at the beginning of their 10-year study were most likely to develop glaucoma by the end of the study. >> Read the Full Article
  • A Ticking 'Food Clock': How excessive holiday eating can disturb our metabolisms

    If you're like me this holiday season, you've overindulged in everything from cookies to roasts, extravagant desserts and tons of hors d'oeuvres. Stuffing our faces and trying everything on the table rewards our taste buds with satisfaction-but in the spirit of excessive holiday eating, our bodies often suffer afterwards with a bellyache of feeling full. And unfortunately, all of this excessive holiday eating will disturb our "food clock". The body's "food clock," is a collection of interacting genes and molecules known technically as the food-entrainable oscillator, which keeps the human body on a metabolic even keel. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, are studying how this clock works by examining the role of key molecules in our body's metabolism in an effort to help explain what happens when we overindulge at such odd times. The UCSF team has shown that a protein called PKCγ is critical in resetting the food clock if our eating habits change. The PKCγ protein binds to another molecule called BMAL and stabilizes it, which shifts the clock in time. An experiment showed that normal mice who were given food only during their regular sleeping hours will adjust their food clock over time and begin to wake up from their slumber. But mice lacking the PKCγ gene are not able to respond to changes in their mealtime and will sleep right through their meal. The results have potential for understanding the molecular basis of metabolic syndromes like diabetes and obesity because a desynchronized food clock may serve as part of the pathology underlying these disorders, said Louis Ptacek, MD, the John C. Coleman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at UCSF. Ptacek also says the study may also help explain why those that eat at night are more likely to be obese. >> Read the Full Article
  • Vineyard Microbes May Create Wine Variations

    Wine gets it flavor from the grape itself, the climate of which the grapes are grown, and the winemaking process- so vineyard management is a crucial part in contributing to the final aromatic properties of a wine. With this, researchers are finding that a wide variety of microorganisms are also contributing to pre- and post-harvest grape quality and will essentially influence the final taste of a wine. >> Read the Full Article
  • Smoking Found to Affect Your Genes

    Cigarettes leave you with more than a smoky scent on your clothes and fingernails. A new study has found strong evidence that tobacco use can chemically modify and affect the activity of genes known to increase the risk of developing cancer. The finding may give researchers a new tool to assess cancer risk among people who smoke. DNA isn't destiny. Chemical compounds that affect the functioning of genes can bind to our genetic material, turning certain genes on or off. These so-called epigenetic modifications can influence a variety of traits, such as obesity and sexual preference. Scientists have even identified specific epigenetic patterns on the genes of people who smoke. None of the modified genes has a direct link to cancer, however, making it unclear whether these chemical alterations increase the risk of developing the disease. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA Finalizes Clean Air Standards for Boilers and Incinerators, Makes Progress in Protecting Public Health

    Today, the U.S. EPA finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers, incinerators, and cement kilns which are used by industries for everything from power generation, heating, treating waste, and manufacturing. These changes will achieve extensive public health protections by reducing toxic air pollution, while at the same addressing concerns and feedback from industry and labor groups, increasing the rule’s flexibility and dramatically reducing costs. As a result, 99 percent of the approximately 1.5 million boilers in the U.S. are not covered or can meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups. >> Read the Full Article