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Northeast US temperatures are decades ahead of global average

AMHERST, Mass. – Results of a new study by researchers at the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that temperatures across the northeastern United States will increase much faster than the global average, so that the 2-degrees Celsius warming target adopted in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change will be reached about 20 years earlier for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole.

Efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force

It was believed that efficient operation of organic solar cells requires a large driving force, which limits the efficiency of organic solar cells. Now, a large group of researchers led by Feng Gao, lecturer at IFM at LiU, He Yan at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Kenan Gundogdu at the North Carolina State University have developed efficient organic solar cells with very low driving force.This implies that the intrinsic limitations of organic solar cells are no greater than those of other photovoltaic technologies, bringing them a step closer to commercialisation.

Ecological consequences of amphetamine pollution in urban streams

Pharmaceutical and illicit drugs are present in streams in Baltimore, Maryland. At some sites, amphetamine concentrations are high enough to alter the base of the aquatic food web. So reports a new study released today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, which is one of the first to explore the ecological consequences of stimulant pollution in urban streams.Lead author Sylvia S. Lee conducted the work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Lee, now with the Environmental Protection Agency, comments, “Around the world, treated and untreated wastewater entering surface waters contains pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs that originate from human consumption and excretion, manufacturing processes, or improper disposal. We were interested in revealing how amphetamine exposure influences the small plants and animals that play a large role in regulating the health of streams.”

How did the giraffe get its long neck?

For the first time, the genomes of the giraffe and its closest living relative, the reclusive okapi of the African rainforest, have been sequenced — revealing the first clues about the genetic changes that led to the evolution of the giraffe’s exceptionally long neck and its record-holding ranking as the world’s tallest land species. The research will be published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on May 17, 2016.“The giraffe’s stature, dominated by its long neck and legs and an overall height that can reach 19 feet (~ 6 m), is an extraordinary feat of evolution that has inspired awe and wonder for at least 8,000 years — as far back as the famous rock carvings at Dabous in the Republic of Niger,” said Douglas Cavener of Penn State, who led the research team with Morris Agaba of the Nelson Mandela African Institute for Science and Technology in Tanzania.How did the giraffe get its long neck? Clues now are revealed by new genome sequencing. 

Why women get more knee injuries than men

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found that women who take the birth control pill, which lessen and stabilize estrogen levels, were less likely to suffer serious knee injuries. The findings are currently available in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.Female athletes are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than their male counterparts to injure their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the top and bottom portions of the knee. Damage to this ligament is a serious athletic injury that can be career altering. Return-to-play rates after ACL injury are as low as 49 percent among soccer players. Also, this injury may lead to lifelong issues with knee instability, altered walking gait and early onset arthritis. 

New Federal dietary guidelines recommend eating less meat

Many Americans, especially men and teenage boys, eat too much red meat, poultry and eggs, and should reduce their consumption, according to new federal dietary guidelines jointly released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing Americans’ meat consumption will not only help improve public health, but reduce climate and water pollution from the meat industry.This is the first time federal dietary guidelines have included a recommendation to reduce meat consumption. The report advises that cutting back on meat can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.The new dietary advice, however, did not include the recommendation from the agencies’ expert scientific advisors that the FDA explicitly link the science-based benefits of adopting diets lower in red meat, and higher in plant-based foods, to additional benefits to environment sustainability and to food security.

Did you know its national pear month?

It's National Pear Month and the perfect time to enjoy juicy, sweet pears. If that isn't reason enough to fill your shopping basket, there's another reason to add this fruit to your grocery list. A new study, 'Fresh Pear Consumption is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake, Diet Quality, and Weight Parameters in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010,' published in Nutrition and Food Science, revealed new information regarding the health benefits of pear consumption.1 Of particular interest given the high rates of obesity in the United States, the study found that adult pear consumers had a lower body weight than non-pear consumers and they were 35 percent less likely to be obese.The epidemiologic study, led by Carol O'Neil of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, used a nationally representative analytic sample to examine the association of fresh pear consumption with nutrient intake, nutrient adequacy, diet quality, and cardiovascular risk factors in adults. 

Another Glacier in Greenland is rapidly melting

It's big. It's cold. And it's melting into the world's ocean.It's Zachariae Isstrom, the latest in a string of Greenland glaciers to undergo rapid change in our warming world. A new NASA-funded study published today in the journal Science finds that Zachariae Isstrom broke loose from a glaciologically stable position in 2012 and entered a phase of accelerated retreat. The consequences will be felt for decades to come.The reason? Zachariae Isstrom is big. It drains ice from an area of 35,440 square miles (91,780 square kilometers)

Active older adults are more fit

“We found that fitness level had the strongest association with physical activity, followed by gender and season. This means that fit older adults were more active than the unfit, females were more active than males and physical activity was higher in the warmer months of the year. In addition we found that higher education was associated with higher physical activity for males, but not for females. Among other interesting results, we found that the social environmental correlates, such as social support and living situation, were not associated with physical activity among the elderly”, says the two first authors of the study, Hallgeir Viken and Nils Petter Aspvik, PhD candidates at NTNU.In the study newly published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, researchers from the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine – Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) and the Department of Sociology and Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Norway have examined how background factors (correlates) are associated with overall physical activity among older adults.

Mars once supported lakes of liquid water

A new study from the team behind NASA's Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity has confirmed that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time.Using data from the Curiosity rover, the team has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed more than three years ago. The sediment deposited as layers that formed the foundation for Mount Sharp, the mountain found in the middle of the crater today.