August 14, 2012

Change in Local Ecosystem

1 Japan Nuclear Disaster Mutated Butterflies

The local ecosystem in Japan has changed after 2011’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, say scientists who point to mutated butterflies as evidence. Lead researcher Joji Otaki, University of the Ryukyus, collected 144 common butterflies 2 months after the accident and found that 12% of them showed abnormalities such as shortened wings and changes in coloration. When he collected 238 butterflies 6 months later, he found the abnormalities had increased to 28% and had been passed on to half of the butterflies’ offspring. Otaki has been studying butterflies for 10 years to analyze global warming. “... since we've seen these effects on butterflies, it’s easy to imagine that it would also have affected other species as well. It’s pretty clear that something has gone wrong with the ecosystem,” he says.

More at NBCnews.com | Posted 5 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Longterm Fukushima Cancer Toll Pegged at 130

Tags: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, Mutated Butterflies, Nuclear Fallout, Joji Otaki, Ecosystem, Changes in Japan's Ecosystem, University of the Ryukyus

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (52%) / No! (48%)

Three Strains Targeted

2 FDA Approves Flu Vaccine for 2012/2013

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new flu vaccine for the upcoming flu season. The new vaccine was designed in conjunction with The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to target three viral strains most likely to cause flu. "There is always a possibility of a less than optimal match between the virus strains predicted to circulate and the virus strains that end up causing the most illness," says the FDA. But even if this is the case, “the vaccine may reduce the severity of the illness or may help prevent influenza-related complications." The CDC estimates that between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu each year and recommends that people over 6 months of age get the flu vaccine.

More at CBSNews.com | Posted 5 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Immunity Against the Flu Tied to Viral Load

Tags: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flu, Flu Season, Flu Shot, Flu Vaccine, Food and Drug Administration, Influenza, World Health Organization

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Infantile Hemangioma

3 Treat Babies’ Strawberry Birthmarks Early

Infantile hemangioma, commonly referred to as strawberry birthmarks, that may cause complications are best treated shortly after birth, say researchers at the Mayo Clinic and UC/San Francisco. These most common of infantile tumors usually manifest themselves in the first weeks of life and, left untreated, grow with the child. Potential complications include permanent disfigurement or compromise of vital organs. Researchers examined photos of 30 babies with hemangiomas and found that the tumors grew most rapidly between 5.5 and 7.5 weeks of birth. These findings suggest that babies with hemangiomas that may cause complications should be seen by a dermatologist for possible treatment by the fourth week of life. Drug therapy and laser removal are used to treat infantile hemangiomas.

More at Eurekalert.org | Posted 5 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Infants Most at Risk for Child Abuse

Tags: Mayo Clinic, Tumors, University of California at San Francisco, Infantile Hemangioma, Birthmarks, Strawberry Birthmark

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (34%) / No! (66%)

Get Started on That Brisk Walk

4 Exercise in Midlife Protects Heart

It's never too late to start exercising, say researchers who found that exercise in midlife helps to protect the heart. Published in the journal Circulation, the research found that people who didn't skip the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate weekly exercise had lower levels of inflammatory markers present in their blood. The markers have been linked to an increased heart risk. Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the 10-year study showed that those who consistently exercised had the lowest inflammatory levels. Yet, even those who didn't start exercising until they were well into their 40s also saw lower levels compared to people who never exercised enough. Researchers say that the exercise doesn't have to take place in the gym, and tasks like gardening also count.

More at BBC | Posted 5 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Eat Heart Healthy Food for a Healthy Brain, Heartburn Free Coffee May Be on the Way

Tags: British Heart Foundation, Exercise Benefits Midlife, Heart Healthy Exercise, Protecting Heart Middle Age, Journal Circulation

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (45%) / No! (55%)

Jogging Toward You

5 Nike Greatness Ad Features Overweight Kid

A new Nike ad that aired during the Olympics broadcast, with tagline "Find Your Greatness," features a 12-year-old boy who weighs 200 pounds. Nathan Sorrell, a middle-school student, is 5 feet and 3 inches tall. As the ad progresses, the viewer can see the jogger, Nathan, more clearly and realize he's overweight. The narrator of the ad talks about "greatness," telling viewers that "we're all capable of it." According to Time, some see the ad about the power of the human will as a publicity stunt that exploits Nathan, while others see it as Nike's attempt to combat the stigma around childhood obesity. What do you think?

More at Time | Posted 5 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Childhood Obesity May Affect Puberty

Tags: Childhood Obesity, Nike Greatness Ad, Nike Publicity Stunt, Nathan Sorrell

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (44%) / No! (56%)

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