• Scientists research plant-based insect repellent

    What do the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense have in common? Besides being government departments, both want to improve technologies for killing pathogen-transmitting insects. Mosquitoes, sand flies, ticks, and other biting bugs can cause some of the most devastating diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever. These arthropods pose a particular problem not only for native populations, but also for military troops that are located where these illnesses are endemic. >> Read the Full Article
  • Open Air Fires

    For millenia mankind has used fires to keep warm and cook. What could be so wrong in burning a little wood? Expanding its focus on the link between the atmosphere and human health, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching a three-year, international study into the impact of open-fire cooking on regional air quality and disease. The study will break new ground by bringing together atmospheric scientists, engineers, statisticians, and social scientists who will analyze the effects of smoke from traditional cooking methods on households, villages, and entire regions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Malaysian dam project will set precedent on how to treat indigenous people

    The controversial Murum dam in Malaysia is the first big overseas project for the China Three Gorges Project Company (CTGC) which is building hydro- and coal-fired power stations in 23 countries. So how it resolves its current conflict with the protesting Penan tribe will set an important precedent as to how other Indigenous people are treated. Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo and is covered in ancient rainforest. This pristine oasis is home to many rare species, including the Slow loris, Clouded leopard, eight species of Hornbill as well as the iconic Orang-utang. Logging practices in the Sarawak region have decimated the habitat of these, and thousands of other unique species, and caused irreparable damage to valuable peat lands. >> Read the Full Article
  • Combatting Indoor Air Pollution from Downtown Cities

    Air is constantly being circulated in large cities as air conditioning and heating units intake city air and use it to heat and cool their offices and residential buildings. As urban populations expand, and as downtown buildings grow higher and higher, we often forget about the growing pollution within the downtown areas. And because these buildings are so close together, neighboring buildings are often forced to intake polluted air into their indoor air systems. To combat this issue, researchers from Concordia University have modeled scenarios and have figured out a way to solve a portion of circulating polluted air. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cancer Treatment Breakthrough

    Several substances inhibiting so-called HDAC enzymes have been studied in trials searching for new anti-cancer drugs in recent years. "Trials have shown that HDAC inhibitors are very effective in arresting growth of cultured cancer cells. But apart from a very rare type of lymphoma, these drugs unfortunately do not clinically affect malignant tumors," says Prof. Dr. Olaf Witt, who heads a research department at DKFZ and is pediatrician at the Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine of Heidelberg University Hospital. In the cell, histone deacetylases (HDAC) are responsible for removing small chemical tags called acetyl groups from histone proteins. Histones serve as coils the genetic material wraps around in the nucleus. The presence or absence of acetyl tags determines where genetic material is accessible and can get transcribed. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Lasting Health Effects of the Breakfast Sandwich

    People around this country love to eat their hot breakfast sandwiches like pork roll, sausage, or bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel or hard roll. While very delicious and quite satisfying, the iconic breakfast sandwich is also laden with a tremendous amount of fat. According to the head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary, eating just one of these a day, and "your blood vessels become unhappy." Diets associated with high-fat meals are associated with atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries over a lifetime. But the new research shows that the ill effects of a high fat breakfast can be felt well before lunchtime of that very day. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hurricane Sandy and Potentially Hazardous Waters

    When flood waters hit lubricating oils, heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel and other potentially hazardous or toxic liquids, there is the potential for contamination of surface waters in ponds and rivers. The US Geological Survey is undertaking sampling of waters to see if contamination exceeds acceptable levels. As recovery efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy continue, U.S. Geological Survey crews are sampling water for nutrients, sediment, and pesticides to document water quality in areas affected by the hurricane. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm. "We tend to think of events like Sandy in terms of the ephemeral effect of the wind, rain, waves, and even snow as it swept through our communities, but in fact this superstorm can have a longer-term effect in the large pulse of sediment and associated pollutants swept into our waterways," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "It is particularly important to quantify the input of this one unusual event before concluding that certain efforts to reduce pollutant run-off from year to year have or have not been effective." >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers study effects of open-fire cooking on air quality and human health

    The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has just launched a study examining the impact of open-fire cooking on regional air quality and human health. The study will look at atmospheric air pollutants and human diseases in terms of the effects of smoke from traditional cooking methods in households, villages, and entire regions particularly in northern Ghana. There are many factors that force developing countries to rely on cooking food with open flame fires. For example, electricity and energy sources are extremely scarce and lead natives to use dried plant stalks and other mediums for fuel. Research suggests that the continued use of these open fire pits and stoves has the potential to create problems for local populations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Slowing Down Parkinson's

    A team of scientists at Northwestern University have discovered what might slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. This compound was developed by Richard B. Silverman at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and creator of the molecule that became the drug Lyrica. This compound or rather the family of compounds work by blocking calcium flow in the brains neurons. The main mechanism is the suppression of a membrane protein, which allows calcium to flow into the dopamine neurons. With this membrane protein blocking calcium flow into the dopaime neuron it avoids further cell damage. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

    Hurricane Sandy is no longer a hurricane, as it continues to bring high winds and rain to large portions of the north east and northern mid-west US. There are many trees down, and massive power outages. It will be days before the clean up is complete. The ENN offices have no power so editors are working remotely to maintain a reasonable update schedule. There is also a reduced amount of news being published by our news sources which include university research departments and government agencies as they are dealing with storm related issues themselves. As news on storm related damage and recovery becomes available, we will publish updates. >> Read the Full Article