• China drought deprives millions of drinking water

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Millions of people and cattle in north China face shortages of drinking water because of a severe drought, the government said on Saturday, promising to speed up disbursement of billions of dollars of subsidies to farmers. State television quoted disaster relief officials as saying 4.4 million people and 2.1 million cattle lacked adequate drinking water. Official media have described the drought as north China's worst in half a century. >> Read the Full Article
  • How much is the world spending on neglected disease research and development?

    The first comprehensive survey of global spending on neglected disease R&D, published in this week's PLoS Medicine, finds that just over $US 2.5 billion was invested into R&D of new products in 2007, with three diseases—HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria—receiving nearly 80% of the total. However, the survey finds that many neglected diseases, responsible for killing millions of people in developing countries, are significantly underfunded. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Questions Raised About Controversial Plastics Chemical Bisphenol A

    A University of Rochester Medical Center study challenges common assumptions about the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), by showing that in some people, surprisingly high levels remain in the body even after fasting for as long as 24 hours. The finding suggests that BPA exposure may come from non-food sources, or that BPA is not rapidly metabolized, or both. >> Read the Full Article
  • Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury, New Study Finds

    Minneapolis - Mercury was found in nearly 50 percent of tested samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to a new article published today in the scientific journal, Environmental Health. A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brandname food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient-including products by Quaker, Hershey's, Kraft and Smucker's. >> Read the Full Article
  • New insights into a leading poultry disease and its risks to human health

    Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University associate research scientist Melha Mellata, a member of professor Roy Curtiss' team, is leading a USDA funded project to develop a vaccine against a leading poultry disease called avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC). APEC is part of a large, diverse group of microbes called extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC). They cause a number of complex brain, lung and urinary tract diseases in human, animals, and birds. >> Read the Full Article
  • What's a little mold? Why consumers have different freshness standards at home

    Why is it acceptable for someone who would never purchase "expired" milk at the store to pour "expired" milk into a cup of coffee at breakfast? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explores the reasons consumers are more likely to consume products that are past their expiration dates if they are in their refrigerators than if they are in a store. Authors Sankar Sen and Lauren G. Block (both Baruch College/CUNY) explored a phenomenon termed the "endowment effect," meaning that owning a product increases a consumer's valuation of it. The endowment effect has been studied before, but not in regard to perishable products. >> Read the Full Article
  • TOMS Project Holiday: Outfitting Africa

    Ethiopia…land of the original coffee bean, breathtaking waterfalls, and the history-making, inspired leadership of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Ethiopian people are some of the most beautiful in the world, as well as some of the poorest. Too many people in this country suffer and die from diseases that are completely preventable, like podoconiosis. Podoconiosis, or "podo," is a form of elephantiasis caused by walking barefoot on soil with high concentrations of irritants like sodium, potassium, and silica. Podo victims become outcasts of society and are often incapable of performing most types of work. This incurable condition is gruesome, debalitating, and 100% preventable. The grand solution to podo involves providing people with one basic possession: shoes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Water Desalination: The Answer to the World's Thirst?

    Randy Truby's wardrobe -- broad, rectangular glasses; a long-sleeve navy blue corduroy shirt; navy slacks; and oxblood cowboy boots on an 80-degree day in Southern California -- does little to minimize his distinct physical presence. But an almost elfin energy animates Truby's big-fella frame when he starts talking about water. "If you consider rainfalls, and you look at rivers and lakes -- all that water is pretty well known," he says. "If you look at the Colorado River, that water is all adjudicated and consumed. In a place like Southern California, people have to look at the sea." >> Read the Full Article
  • Students learn the value of canning it: Food preservation can be an inexpensive alternative in a tough economy

    Students who might have reached for some store-bought jelly for that after-school peanut butter sandwich can now have a healthier -- not to mention cheaper -- alternative. People who know how to can and preserve food will have a leg up if the economy continues to decline, said Shari Steager, a teacher at Northeastern Senior High School. >> Read the Full Article
  • Boosting Access to Medicine

    The Indonesian government aggravated the World Health Organization (WHO) three years ago by refusing to hand over samples of the deadly H5N1 "bird flu" virus. The Indonesians argued that the samples would be used to produce medicines priced beyond the means of its poorer citizens. Jakarta's stance raised concerns that countries with confirmed cases of SARS might abstain in a similar fashion. Such global recalcitrance never materialized, and last year Indonesia relented by handing over 12 samples to the WHO after being assured of access to medicines in the event of a pandemic. According to a GlaxoSmithKline press release, H5N1 virus samples from Vietnam have been used to produce a viable pre-pandemic vaccine. Bird flu made its way back into the news after a recent death from the illness in China. >> Read the Full Article