• NOAA and FDA Announce Gulf Seafood well within safety standards based on new, more stringent testing

    A study conducted by NOAA and the FDA, building upon the extensive testing and protocols already in use by federal, state and local officials for the fishing waters of the Gulf, NOAA and the FDA are using a chemical test to detect dispersants used in the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill in fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Trace amounts of the chemicals used in dispersants are common, and levels for safety have been previously set. Previous testing involved a "sensory analysis process". Using this new test in the Gulf scientists have tested 1,735 tissue samples including more than half of those collected to reopen Gulf of Mexico federal waters. Only a few showed trace amounts of dispersants residue (13 of the 1,735) and they were well below the safety threshold of 100 parts per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for shrimp, crabs and oysters. As such, the study concludes that they do not pose a threat to human health. >> Read the Full Article
  • Innovation: Portable Breast Scanners

    A new portable scanner for detecting early signs of breast cancer has been developed at the University of Manchester by Professor Zhipeng Wu. The device works by radio frequency technology that can show the presence of tumors on a computer screen. The amazing thing is that it can show the image within seconds on the computer screen, rather than an x-ray mammography which takes minutes and can only be done at hospital or specialist care centers. This new technology can revolutionize the early detection for women with breast cancer. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mind Over Fat

    Scientists have revealed that an anti-obesity drug changes the way the brain responds to appetizing, high-calorie foods in obese individuals. This insight may aid the development of new anti-obesity drugs which reduce the activity in the regions of the brain stimulated by the sight of tasty foods. This is not unexpected since the brain is the center of many such sensory responses. For example in 2008, researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and colleagues demonstrated a link between a predisposition to obesity and defective dopamine signaling in the mesolimbic system in rats. The new study at the University of Cambridge discovered that the anti-obesity drug sibutramine reduced brain responses in two regions of the brain, the hypothalamus and the amygdala, both of which are known to be important in appetite control and eating behavior. Their findings are reported today in The Journal of Neuroscienc >> Read the Full Article
  • Air Pollution Control by Trees

    Trees and other vegetation must use what is in their environment. So it is not surprising to find that they absorb pollutants (natural or man made) which may be absorbed successfully or may cause the vegetation to die. Vegetation plays an unexpectedly large role in cleansing the atmosphere, a new study finds. The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., uses observations, gene expression studies, and computer modeling to show that deciduous plants absorb about a third more of a common class of air-polluting chemicals than previously thought. >> Read the Full Article
  • Philippines braces as Megi becomes super typhoon

    A super typhoon bore down on the northeastern Philippines on Sunday packing winds of more than 250 kph (155), and evacuations began before it makes landfall on Monday morning. Typhoon Megi would be felt on Sunday night in the north of the main island Luzon, a rice and corn growing area, and the government advised up to 7 million people in its direct path to stock up on food and medicine. Government forecasters said waves off the east coast could be greater than 14 meters (46 ft), and advised against travel to the region as Megi could bring flash flooding, landslides and storm surges. Manila was not expected to be affected by the typhoon. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fat Distribution Controlled by Genetics

    People become overweight in different ways. Some will develop a beer gut (apple-shaped) while some will have the fat go to their rear and thighs (pear-shaped). Two new major studies have identified a set of genes that determine where the fat goes in obese people. The team of international researchers also identified genes that determine individual susceptibility to obesity. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bring on Enviropig?: Can Genetic Engineering Make Meat a More Sustainable Food?

    Food safety advocates may shudder at the thought, but a team of scientists in Canada have come up with a new breed of pig that is intended to make meat a greener, more sustainable food. The Enviropig is engineered to have the same meat quality as your typically breeded Yorkshire pig, with all the ideal protein and fat content developed for the market. But in addition, it is also engineered to produce less toxic manure that releases fewer pollutants into the atmosphere, thereby making it a more environmentally sustainable option for large scale pig farmers. >> Read the Full Article
  • Night-time lights bring insects, disease

    Use of artificial lighting at night can change human and insect behaviors, increasing the risk of insect-borne disease. Consider that before gas street lamps and electric light bulbs were invented in the 1800s, the world settled into darkness after sunset, relying only on the moon and stars for light. That is still the case in more remote regions of the world. But, as artificial lighting spreads through these mostly tropical areas, research is showing how night-time light can alter human and insect behavior and bring about some unexpected results – an increase in the transmission of insect-borne diseases. Altering human and insect interactions is one example of how light pollution may be changing disease risk patterns. The evidence suggests researchers should consider this when conducting future studies of how diseases spread. Synopsis by Thea Edwards >> Read the Full Article
  • Hungary races to raise dam to avert new toxic spill

    Hungarian authorities raced to finish building an emergency dam by Tuesday to hold back a threatened second spill of toxic sludge, and hunted for clues to the causes of last week's deadly industrial spill. A million cubic meters of red mud, a by-product of alumina production, burst out of a plant reservoir into villages and waterways in Hungary last Monday, killing seven people, injuring 123 and fouling rivers including a tributary of the Danube. "We hope to have the dam finished by Tuesday," Prime Minister Viktor Orban's spokesman told TV2 on Monday. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hungary sludge reservoir may collapse, town evacuated

    Hungary's premier warned on Saturday that the wall of a damaged industrial reservoir was likely to collapse, threatening a second spill of toxic red sludge, and a nearby village was evacuated as a precaution. About one million cubic meters of the waste material leaked out of the alumina plant reservoir into several villages and waterways earlier this week, killing seven people, injuring 123 and fouling some rivers including a local branch of the Danube. >> Read the Full Article