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Study Suggests Metals from Bolivian Mines Affect Crops and Pose Potential Health Risk

A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.




Study Suggests Metals from Bolivian Mines Affect Crops and Pose Potential Health Risk

A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.




Scientists gain better understanding of how Ebola disables people's immune defenses

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston scientists have unlocked mysteries of how the Ebola virus hampers the body’s natural defenses to speed the rate of infection and its accompanying lethal disease, according to a new report in PLOS Pathogens. The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Washington and The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.




Scientists gain better understanding of how Ebola disables people's immune defenses

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston scientists have unlocked mysteries of how the Ebola virus hampers the body’s natural defenses to speed the rate of infection and its accompanying lethal disease, according to a new report in PLOS Pathogens. The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Washington and The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.




High Levels of Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure and Stress Increase Childhood Asthma Risk

A new study has found that children, especially boys, whose mothers were exposed to higher levels of outdoor particulate air pollution at the same time that they were very stressed were most likely to develop asthma by age six. The study was presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference. 

The team, led by senior investigator Rosalind Wright, MD, MPH, co-director of the Institute for Exposomics Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, conducted this study because of their overarching interest in understanding how these and other environmental factors interact to produce respiratory health disparities.




High Levels of Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure and Stress Increase Childhood Asthma Risk

A new study has found that children, especially boys, whose mothers were exposed to higher levels of outdoor particulate air pollution at the same time that they were very stressed were most likely to develop asthma by age six. The study was presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference. 

The team, led by senior investigator Rosalind Wright, MD, MPH, co-director of the Institute for Exposomics Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, conducted this study because of their overarching interest in understanding how these and other environmental factors interact to produce respiratory health disparities.




Air Pollution May Disrupt Sleep

High levels of air pollution over time may get in the way of a good night’s sleep, according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.

“Prior studies have shown that air pollution impacts heart health and affects breathing and lung function, but less is known about whether air pollution affects sleep,” said lead author Martha E. Billings, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington. “We thought an effect was likely given that air pollution causes upper airway irritation, swelling and congestion, and may also affect the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep.”




Air Pollution May Disrupt Sleep

High levels of air pollution over time may get in the way of a good night’s sleep, according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.

“Prior studies have shown that air pollution impacts heart health and affects breathing and lung function, but less is known about whether air pollution affects sleep,” said lead author Martha E. Billings, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington. “We thought an effect was likely given that air pollution causes upper airway irritation, swelling and congestion, and may also affect the central nervous system and brain areas that control breathing patterns and sleep.”




Red blood cell variation linked to natural malaria resistance

A study from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and their collaborators have identified a genetic rearrangement of red blood cell glycophorin receptors that confers a 40 per cent reduced risk from severe malaria.




Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus could simultaneously transmit other viruses

A new study led by Colorado State University researchers found that Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito that carries Zika virus, might also transmit chikungunya and dengue viruses with one bite. The findings shed new light on what’s known as a coinfection, which scientists said is not yet fully understood and may be fairly common in areas experiencing outbreaks.




Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus could simultaneously transmit other viruses

A new study led by Colorado State University researchers found that Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito that carries Zika virus, might also transmit chikungunya and dengue viruses with one bite. The findings shed new light on what’s known as a coinfection, which scientists said is not yet fully understood and may be fairly common in areas experiencing outbreaks.




During heat waves, urban trees can increase ground-level ozone

Planting trees is a popular strategy to help make cities “greener,” both literally and figuratively. But scientists have found a counterintuitive effect of urban vegetation: During heat waves, it can increase air pollution levels and the formation of ozone. Their study appears in ACS’ journalEnvironmental Science & Technology.

Previous research has shown that planting trees in cities can have multiple benefits, including storing carbon, controlling storm water and cooling areas off by providing shade. This has spurred efforts in cities across the U.S. and Europe to encourage the practice. However, it’s also known that trees and other plants release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that can interact with other substances and contribute to air pollution. And when it’s hot, plants release higher levels of VOCs. Galina Churkina and colleagues wanted to investigate what effects heat waves and urban vegetation might have on air pollution.




During heat waves, urban trees can increase ground-level ozone

Planting trees is a popular strategy to help make cities “greener,” both literally and figuratively. But scientists have found a counterintuitive effect of urban vegetation: During heat waves, it can increase air pollution levels and the formation of ozone. Their study appears in ACS’ journalEnvironmental Science & Technology.

Previous research has shown that planting trees in cities can have multiple benefits, including storing carbon, controlling storm water and cooling areas off by providing shade. This has spurred efforts in cities across the U.S. and Europe to encourage the practice. However, it’s also known that trees and other plants release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that can interact with other substances and contribute to air pollution. And when it’s hot, plants release higher levels of VOCs. Galina Churkina and colleagues wanted to investigate what effects heat waves and urban vegetation might have on air pollution.




Super hearing: University of Toronto scientists study fly to develop better hearing aids

Ormia ochracea's sense of directional hearing is second to none in the animal kingdom.

“These flies have highly specialized ears that provide the most acute directional hearing of any animal,” says Andrew Mason, an associate professor of biology at U of T Scarborough.  “The mechanism that makes their hearing so exceptional has even led to a range of bio-inspired technology, like the mini-directional microphones used in hearing aids.”




Researchers make waves in the ultrasound world

A team of Ryerson researchers, led by Scott Tsai, have developed a new method to create the uniformly minuscule microbubbles most desirable for use in ultrasound imaging.




Researchers uncover potential risks of common MS treatment

In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, UBC researchers have identified potential adverse reactions of a commonly used multiple sclerosis drug.




Researchers uncover potential risks of common MS treatment

In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, UBC researchers have identified potential adverse reactions of a commonly used multiple sclerosis drug.




Diesel vehicles produce 50 per cent more nitrogen oxide than originally thought

A study, published in Nature, has shown that laboratory tests of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles significantly underestimate the real-world emissions by as much as 50 per cent.

The research, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation and Environmental Health Analytics, LLC., in collaboration with scientists at the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); University of Colorado; and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, examined 11 major vehicle markets representing more than 80% of new diesel vehicle sales in 2015. 




Diesel vehicles produce 50 per cent more nitrogen oxide than originally thought

A study, published in Nature, has shown that laboratory tests of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles significantly underestimate the real-world emissions by as much as 50 per cent.

The research, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation and Environmental Health Analytics, LLC., in collaboration with scientists at the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); University of Colorado; and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, examined 11 major vehicle markets representing more than 80% of new diesel vehicle sales in 2015. 




Not just your typical garden-variety UAlberta volunteer

When asked why she loves to garden, Shirley Ross quotes the late Lois Hole, Alberta’s most beloved green thumb.

"Caring is the soul of gardening . . . We take risks and place our trust in factors beyond our control. Yet in the end, we are almost always rewarded with a beautiful harvest."




Research finds spike in dust storms in American Southwest driven by ocean changes

People living in the American Southwest have experienced a dramatic increase in windblown dust storms in the last two decades, likely driven by large-scale changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean drying the region’s soil, according to new NOAA-led research.

With the increase in dust storms, scientists have also documented a spike in Valley fever, an infectious disease caught by inhaling a soil-dwelling fungus found primarily in the Southwest.




Study analyses foods for radioactive substances

"Even though radiation emitting radioactive elements like uranium are only contained in small quantities in food, their chemical properties and radioactivity could pose a risk if they are ingested over a longer period in higher concentrations. The actual risk is now being assessed within the scope of the cooperation with the BfS," explains BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "In this way, the BfS and BfR will jointly obtain more data for risk assessment," Hensel adds.




Study analyses foods for radioactive substances

"Even though radiation emitting radioactive elements like uranium are only contained in small quantities in food, their chemical properties and radioactivity could pose a risk if they are ingested over a longer period in higher concentrations. The actual risk is now being assessed within the scope of the cooperation with the BfS," explains BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "In this way, the BfS and BfR will jointly obtain more data for risk assessment," Hensel adds.




Can crab shells provide a "green" solution to malaria?

A non-toxic mixture of chitin-rich crab shell powder and nanosized silver particles could be an environmentally friendly way of curbing the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes, and malaria in particular. This is according to a series of experiments led by Jiang-Shiou Hwang of the National Taiwan Ocean University. The findings are published in Springer’s journal Hydrobiologia.




Can crab shells provide a "green" solution to malaria?

A non-toxic mixture of chitin-rich crab shell powder and nanosized silver particles could be an environmentally friendly way of curbing the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes, and malaria in particular. This is according to a series of experiments led by Jiang-Shiou Hwang of the National Taiwan Ocean University. The findings are published in Springer’s journal Hydrobiologia.