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.
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.
The Optum business group of UnitedHealth, working with Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and others, has announced it will soon be launching a cloud-based service that allows doctors to share information about patients over the Internet.
AeroShot went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, offering a single shot of caffeine for $2.99. But instead of a liquid, the tube contains caffeinated air and is meant to be inhaled. Critics challenge its safety, but one biomedical expert says it’s harmless.
In the United States, fluoride is often added to drinking water and toothpaste to help strengthen teeth. But too much naturally occurring fluoride can cause fluorosis, a darkening of the teeth and sometimes debilitating skeletal effects. Efforts are underway to use aluminum-coated bone char to filter water in Africa, but overcoming local stigmas is a challenge.
Research suggests a pricey new treatment for prostate cancer called proton therapy might have more side effects than traditional radiation does. Hospitals are rushing to build proton centers, and nine are operating now. But a study of Medicare records revealed potential problems and no rigorous studies have been done to prove it is as safe as therapies.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wants to create a lunar colony that he says could become a U.S. state. This, along with his plan to figure out the human brain and warnings about electromagnetic attacks have led some to cry science fiction. But mostly these ideas rooted in solid scientific foundations.
John Delaney, an attorney with experience in toxic and environmental torts and a founding member of the law firm Delany & O’Brien in Philadelphia, has recently published guide to the legal implications of nanotechnology. He pays particular attention to carbon nanotubes and nanometal oxides, and notably argues for tort reform in anticipation of potential legal actions.
According to a report developed by medical professionals and technology experts and released by the Bipartisan Policy Center last Friday, the effort by hospitals and doctors’ office to go increasingly digital is being hampered by the lack of progress in allowing computer systems to exchange data the way financial companies do.
The pharmaceutical industry won approval to market a record number of new drugs for rare diseases last year, as a combination of scientific innovation and business opportunity spurred new treatments for diseases long-ignored by drug companies. Many of these so-called orphan drugs offer extra patent protections and faster government approval.
Caving to public pressure, Beijing environmental authorities started releasing more detailed air quality data Saturday that may better reflect how bad the Chinese capital's air pollution is. But one expert says measurements from the first day were low compared with data U.S. officials have been collecting for years.
After two laboratories reported created new, easier-to-spread version of the deadly bird flu viruses, research was temporarily halted on Jan. 20. The pause comes as fierce debate intensifies over how to handle this high-risk research.
Computerized medical records have been sold as a powerful tool to improve patient safety, for example by automatically alerting a doctor to potential allergic reactions to a medication prescribed to a patient. But a report by a panel from the Institute of Medicine said such benefits shouldn't be taken for granted.
The biggest study ever to examine the possible connection between cellphones and cancer found no evidence of any link, suggesting that billions of people who are rarely more than a few inches from their phones have no special health concerns.
At the end of October, the United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, will conduct the third of five meetings to hammer out a treaty that may involve the comprehensive ban on mercury. The problem, says many health experts, is that a proposed ban might include thiomersal, a mercury compound used to prevent contamination and extend the shelf life of vaccines.
A new study suggests that an estimated 100,000 people in India may have escaped HIV infection over five years thanks to one of the world's biggest prevention programs. Though the true impact of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Avahan project is uncertain, its an encouraging sign that targeting high-risk groups remains vital even as more donors focus on treatment.
Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply.
Makers of the controversial chemical bisphenol-A have asked federal regulators to phase out rules that allow its use in baby bottles and sippy cups, saying those products haven't contained the plastic-hardening ingredient for two years.
Over the past decade, federal research laboratories such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have shifted from Cold War-era defense R&D to meeting the challenges of new terror threats, developing a nationwide system to sniff the air for germs such as anthrax and smallpox.
Until recently, medical files belonging to nearly 300,000 Californians sat unsecured on the Internet for the entire world to see. The leak was not brought about by a hacker, however, just a company’s neglect. Experts worry that such mistakes could hinder the transition of medical records to digital form.
A federal court said Friday that human genes can be patented, reversing a lower court's ruling that involved a test for breast cancer but which could have had big implications for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix. Generic competition will decimate sales of the brand-name drugs and cut costs to patients and companies that provide health benefits.
Federal regulators are now laying the groundwork for monitoring a new generation of medical devices, drugs, cosmetics, and other nanoscale products. This week the Food and Drug Administration formerly invited industry leaders to weigh in on possible regulations and restrictions for the rapidly emerging industry.
In rating the severity of the Fukushima accident as a Level 7 major accident, the highest possible level, the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale has prompted another kind of fallout. Richard Wakefield, a radiological protection specialist at the Univ. of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, is questioning the accuracy of the system, which also placed Chernobyl at Level 7 despite that reactor's much greater release of radiation, and thinks media confusion will result.