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Using DNA to Monitor Environments

June 27, 2014 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Environmental policy must respond to ever-changing conditions on the ground and in the water, but doing so requires a constant flow of information about the living world. Now, scientists propose employing emerging environmental DNA sampling techniques that could make assessing the biodiversity of marine ecosystems as easy as taking a water sample.

Insect Diet Helped Early Humans Build Bigger Brains

June 26, 2014 11:25 am | News | Comments

Figuring out how to survive on a lean-season diet of hard-to-reach ants, slugs and other bugs may have spurred the development of bigger brains and higher-level cognitive functions in the ancestors of humans and other primates, suggests new research.

How Keeping Cool Could Spur Metabolic Benefits

June 23, 2014 2:37 pm | News | Comments

A new study being presented at ICE/ENDO 2014, the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago, demonstrates that ambient temperatures can influence the growth or loss of brown fat in people. Cool environments stimulate growth, warm environments loss.

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Livestock Gut Microbes Contributing to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

June 18, 2014 11:51 am | News | Comments

Ruminant livestock are the single largest source of methane emissions, and in a country like New Zealand, where the sheep outnumber people 7 to 1, that’s a big deal. However, not all ruminants are equal when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.  It turns out that the amount of methane produced varies substantially across individual animals of the same ruminant species.

Female Hormones May Contribute to Male Obesity

June 13, 2014 12:45 pm | News | Comments

An imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity, according to new research. The study suggest that obesity among Western men could be linked with exposure to substances containing the female sex hormone estrogen.

Newborns Exposed to Allergens May Have Lower Allergy, Asthma Risk

June 9, 2014 12:57 pm | News | Comments

Infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to a new study.          

Breaking News: Air Pollution Linked to Autism, Schizophrenia

June 5, 2014 3:00 pm | News | Comments

A new study shows how exposure to air pollution early in life produces harmful changes in the brains of mice, including an enlargement of part of the brain that is seen in humans who have autism and schizophrenia.           

Sperm Size, Shape Affected by Cannabis Use

June 5, 2014 11:53 am | News | Comments

Young men who use cannabis may be putting their fertility at risk by inadvertently affecting the size and shape of their sperm, according to recently published research.                        

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Did Standing Up Change Our Brains?

May 27, 2014 2:50 pm | News | Comments

As humans, how, and why, do we think and act so differently from other species? A new study suggests that the big difference between humans and other species may lie in how we use our brains for routine tasks.            

Mixed Signals

May 27, 2014 1:42 pm | by Skip Derra | Articles | Comments

The intimate interaction between a plant and its environment has sent some puzzling cues to scientists trying to determine how, at the molecular level, a plant becomes infected by bacteria. At this level, researchers have found that plants sometimes beckon the bacteria in a seemingly counterintuitive action to its health.

Fossil-fuel-free Process Makes Biodiesel Sustainable

May 22, 2014 2:02 pm | News | Comments

A newly developed fuel-cell concept will allow biodiesel plants to eliminate the creation of hazardous wastes while removing their dependence on fossil fuel from their production process.                  

Martian Mineral Could be Linked to Microbes

May 20, 2014 1:53 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered that the earliest living organisms on Earth were capable of making a mineral that may be found on Mars. The clay-mineral stevensite has been used since ancient times, but scientists had believed deposits could only be formed in harsh conditions. Researchers found living microbes create an environment that allows stevensite to form, raising new questions about the stevensite found on Mars.

Breaking News: Genes May Verify Earliest American Inhabitants

May 15, 2014 2:12 pm | News | Comments

A new study uses genetic information extracted from the remains of an adolescent girl to help resolve the longstanding debate about the origins of the first people to inhabit the Americas.                  

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Hazardous Flame Retardants Found in Child Care Settings

May 15, 2014 11:17 am | News | Comments

A new study of preschools and day care centers finds that flame retardants are prevalent indoors, potentially exposing young children to chemicals known to be hazardous.                       

Teenage Concussions Linked to Higher Rates of Suicide Attempts

April 16, 2014 2:04 pm | News | Comments

Teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion are at “significantly greater odds” of attempting suicide, being bullied and engaging in a variety of high risk behaviors, a new study has found.          

Cholesterol Levels Vary by Season, Worsen in Colder Months

March 27, 2014 12:15 pm | News | Comments

Cholesterol levels fluctuate based on the time of year with more unfavorable lipid profiles seen in the colder months, a trend that may be driven by related behavior changes, according to new research.               

Major ‘Third-hand Smoke’ Compound Causes DNA Damage

March 17, 2014 11:43 am | News | Comments

Scientists are reporting that one compound from “third-hand smoke,” which forms when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, damages DNA and sticks to it in a way that could potentially cause cancer.              

Prevalence of Allergies the Same, Regardless of Where You Live

March 4, 2014 12:05 pm | News | Comments

In the largest, most comprehensive, nationwide study to examine the prevalence of allergies from early childhood to old age, scientists from the National Institutes of Health report that allergy prevalence is the same across different regions of the United States, except in children 5 years and younger.

Nuts Were All Our Big Brains Needed Millions of Years Ago

January 22, 2014 9:35 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

Nuts are in the news: a recent study has offered evidence for a big reason our bodies are so nuts for nuts. They are apparently almost all our big brains needed to survive— thus almost all we ate— from 1.4 to 2.4 million years ago.    

Sun Exposure May Reduce Blood Pressure

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Exposing skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure by altering levels of the small messenger molecule nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, thus cutting the risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study says.       

Elephant Shark Genome Decoded

January 9, 2014 12:34 pm | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the elephant shark and found new insights into the shark's bone formation and immunity.                            

Researchers Differentiate Between Microbial Good and Evil

January 9, 2014 11:48 am | News | Comments

To safely use bacteria in agriculture to help fertilize crops, it is vital to understand the difference between harmful and healthy strains. But can the microbial good and evil be told apart? Yes, life scientists and an international team of researchers report.

“Rapid Evolution” Method Found in Eyeless Fish

January 8, 2014 11:09 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

The controversial idea that vertebrate evolution can happen rapidly, in the merest handful of generations, has been given a boost. Harvard University evolutionary geneticist Nicolas Rohner and colleagues recently reported finding the mechanism by which some cavefish are born eyeless after the species moves from surface waters to dark caves.

Neanderthal Genome Exposes Interbreeding

December 20, 2013 12:17 pm | News | Comments

An international research team has completed the first high-quality genome sequence of a Neanderthal, deepening knowledge about the genetic connections and population histories of ancient and modern humans.             

Fracking Chemicals Disrupt Hormone Function

December 17, 2013 10:58 am | News | Comments

A controversial oil and natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses many chemicals that can disrupt the body’s hormones, according to new research.                   

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