While epidemiologists and scientists who study complex network systems are working to create mathematical models that describe the worldwide spread of disease, to date these models have focused on the final stages of epidemics, examining the locations that ultimately develop the highest infection rates. But a new study shifts the focus to the first few days of an epidemic, determining how likely the 40 largest U.S. airports are to influence the spread of a contagious disease originating in their home cities.
Shale gas drilling has attracted national attention because advances in technology have unlocked billions of dollars of gas reserves, leading to a boom in production, jobs, and profits, as well as concerns about pollution and public health. In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.
In the first detailed analysis of the Fukushima nuclear diaster's global health effects, Stanford University researchers estimate the number of deaths and cases of cancer worldwide resulting from the release of radiation.
In a first-of-its-kind departure for lab-on-a-chip technology, a new device was successfully field-tested by University of Michigan researchers to detect trace amounts of air contaminants near the Utah Air Force Base. Even in the presence of 50 other indoor air contaminants, microsystem found very low levels of targeted contaminants.
City officials in Medellín, Colombia, recently faced the difficult task of relocating an entire neighborhood off of a contaminated landfill they were using to grow food and collect water. Unable to pay for removal, officials may have found another way: Researchers at the University of Illinois have put together an experiment to see if biological agents could be used to neutralize the hydrocarbon contaminants at the site.
Thousands of families affected by the ongoing drought in East Africa are set to benefit from improved water supplies thanks to innovative mobile technology designed by Oxford University.
A recently published review paper by 22 internationally known scientists contains data that suggests that within just a few human generations there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life. Part of their research gauges how plants and animals respond to major shifts in the atmosphere, oceans, and climate.
It doesn’t matter if it’s regular or decaf, a big new study find that coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer. The results from the largest study ever done on the issue, comes after years of waffling research on coffee and health, even some fear that java might raise the risk of heart disease.
An increase in plastic debris floating in a zone between Hawaii and California is changing the environment of at least one marine critter, scientists recently reported. Over the past four decades, the amount of broken-down plastic has grown significantly in a region dubbed the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Most of the plastic pieces are the size of a fingernail.
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a rapid testing method using a simple paper strip that can detect E. coli in recreational water within minutes. The new tool can close the gap between outbreak and detection, improving public safety.
Engineers are developing new and innovative ways of coating medical materials with nano-sized particles of silver, an element that has long been known for its antimicrobial properties. However, a recent paper from the University of Notre Dame highlights the fact that a vast majority of bacteria are actually neutral, or even beneficial. Overuse of nanosilver might harm their useful functions in daily life, the paper reports.
The U.S. government has issued its initial draft guidelines on the use of nanotechnology, particularly nanoparticles, in food and cosmetic products. These recommendations, intended to help guarantee consumer safety within these two industries, do not extend to the other products that fall under Food and Drug Administration oversights, such as drugs and medical devices.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have provided the first evidence that engineered nanoparticles are able to accumulate within plants and damage their DNA. They have shown that nanoparticles of cupric oxide, a common compound, can enter plant root cells and generate mutagenic DNA base lesions.
A person whispering is 20 decibels and a lawn mower is 90 decibels. Jet noise from tactical aircraft can reach 150 decibels on the flight line, and can cause permanent hearing loss to sailors and marines. The Office of Naval Research is funding a new project to help reduce this noise.
Despite concern from some scientists who believe exposure to BPA can harm the reproductive and nervous systems of humans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has turned down a petition from environmentalists that would have banned the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol-A from all food and drink packaging, including plastic bottles and canned food.
On Friday, the U.S. government's biosecurity advisers said they support publishing research studies showing how scientists made new easy-to-spread forms of bird flu because the studies, now revised, don't reveal details bioterrorists could use. The announcement could end debate sparked by the government’s request last December that scientists refrain from publishing all the details of their work.
From an extensive study that grew out of an initial research cruise to the Gulf of Mexico in October 2010, scientists have published the first evidence of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea corals. The team used underwater vehicles and 2D gas chromatography to determine precisely the source of the petroleum hydrocarbons they found.
While several recent studies suggest that much of the world is likely to experience freshwater shortages as the population increases and temperatures rise, determining the relative impact of each has been difficult. A recent Oak Ridge National Laboratory paper outlines a process that might help.
Shortly after the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese officials considered the evacuation of nearly 36 million residents of the Tokyo area, a decision that reflected the lack of treatments for mass contamination. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing an alternative that can be taken as a form of pill.
Infectious diseases can spread very rapidly, so quickly identifying them can be crucial to stopping an epidemic. However, current testing for such diseases can take hours and days. But not for much longer. University of Tennessee, Knoxville researchers have developed a portable device that can be used onsite to detect infectious diseases, pathogens, as well as physiological conditions in people and animals.
Flu bugs are common in humans, birds and pigs and have even been seen in dogs, horses, seals and whales, among others. But for the first time, scientists have found evidence of flu in bats, reporting a never-before-seen virus whose risk to humans is unclear.
Drillers require a lot of energy to recover and refine heavy, viscous bitumen from Canada’s oil sands. In the first look at the effect of air pollution from the excavation of oil sands, also called tar sands, scientists used satellites to measure nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The effects, they say, are equivalent of a large power plant or a medium-sized city.
According to recent research led by a chemist at the University of California, Irvine, airborne gases settle in smog particles from which they cannot escape. This result could explain why pollution computer models underestimate organic aerosols, the least understood component in climate change calculations.
Much like wheat flour and cornstarch, the industrial-scale processing of nanomaterials creates a type of dust that can combust with little energy. In fact, a recent study shows that only 1/30th of the energy that caused a deadly 2008 sugar dust explosion in Georgia would be needed to ignite typical nanomaterials, such as aluminum.
Amalgams, which are alloys of mercury and other metals, have been used for over 2,500 years in the production of jewelry and for the extraction of metals like silver and gold in mining operations. These days, the inverse process is of greater interest: the removal of mercury from wastewater by amalgamation with precious metals in the form of nanoparticles.