• 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
  • Hurricane Sandy Update

    The National Hurricane Center advises that high wind warnings will remain in effect until 9 am in New Jersey and nearby states. There is also a high risk of coastal and inland flooding as extremely heavy rains are expected in what looks to be an extended period of heavy rain. Wind gusts will exceed 65 mph over the area today and this evening. The storm is intensifying as it passes over the Gulf Stream and will be very powerful as it slams into the New Jersey coast this evening with periods of widespread damaging wind gusts up to 85 mph. Conditions are forecast to worsen this afternoon and storm preparations should be complete by noontime or early afternoon. >> Read the Full Article
  • Exercise Helps Maintain a Healthy Brain!

    People who exercise later in life may better protect their brain from age-related changes than those who do not, a study suggests. Researchers found that people over 70 who took regular exercise showed less brain shrinkage over a three-year period than those who did little exercise. Psychologists and Neuroimaging experts, based at the University of Edinburgh, did not find there to be any benefit to brain health for older people from participation in social or mentally stimulating activities. Greater brain shrinkage is linked to problems with memory and thinking and the researchers say their findings suggest that exercise is potentially one important pathway to maintaining a healthy brain both in terms of size and reducing damage. >> Read the Full Article
  • To See a Molecule

    Molecules are pretty small. If one could see them, it might be easier to diagnose some problems. When someone develops liver cancer, the disease introduces a very subtle difference to their bloodstream, increasing the concentration of a particular molecule by just 10 parts per billion. That small shift is difficult to detect without sophisticated lab equipment – but perhaps not for long. A new "lab on a chip" designed by Brigham Young University professor Adam Woolley and his students reveals the presence of ultra-low concentrations of a target molecule. As the BYU researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry, their experiments detected as little as a single nanogram – one billionth of a gram – of the target molecule from a drop of liquid. And instead of sending the sample to a lab for chemical analysis, the chip allows them to measure with such precision using their own eyes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Emphasize the Need to Monitor Rivers for Triclosan

    Ever heard of triclosan? As an antibacterial and antifungal agent, it is used in everything from toothpaste, to soaps, socks and trash bags. While the US Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Union all regulate triclosan, the chemical is not monitored and often gets absorbed into sewage sludge after wastewater treatment. Researchers from Germany and Slovakia are claiming that triclosan is harmful to the ecology of rivers and are calling for further monitoring of the chemical. After monitoring the Elbe river basin, concentrations of the chemical at various test sites were found to exceed the predicted no-effect concentration for algal communities. From the 500 river basin-specific pollutants investigated, triclosan ranked sixth as one of the most particularly harmful substances in Europe. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study Reveals High Levels of Formaldehyde in Child Day Care Centers

    In a comprehensive survey conducted by University of California (UC), Berkeley, researchers analyzed the indoor environmental quality of day care centers. In general, the results were similar to most indoor environments except for formaldehyde. This and several other contaminants were found to exceed California state health guidelines. The source is believed to be the cleaning and sanitizing products and furniture coatings. >> Read the Full Article