Pesticides and pollutants are related to a 450 percent increase in the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in rural China, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Peking University, as reported on Science Daily.
Their study, published in August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the result of a more than decade-long collaboration between Richard Finnell, professor of nutritional sciences and director of genomic research at the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, and a team of researchers in Shanxi, a province in northern China that mines and burns a lot of coal — and has a high prevalence of neural tube defects. The researchers screened placentas of affected babies and stillborns and found high levels of persistant organic pollutants (POPs). These compounds, says Finnell, “cause cell death” and are evidence that these pollutants are related to an increase in birth defects.
The incomparable Steve Jobs dies and minutes later all my Mac apps “quit unexpectedly.” Now who am I gonna call?
Brian Vastag summed it up well in his excellent article in The Washington Post today: “Two years ago, a research team in Nevada linked an exotic mouse virus to chronic fatigue syndrome, sparking hopes among patients that a cause of the baffling condition had finally been found.
“But two other research teams reported Tuesday that the virus, called XMRV, is a laboratory contaminant incapable of infecting human blood.”
This comes after at least ten other studies have failed to find XMRV retrovirus in CFS patients. The journal Science has even issued a rare “statement of concern” about the 2009 study by the private Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, saying that the validity of the original study is now “seriously in question.”
Contamination of lab samples has been a threat to valid research for as long as labs have been around. Sloppy technique–or the mere insinuation–can torpedo a career. Yet according to another Science report, there is growing suspicion that XMRV, accidentally created in a laboratory working with human cancer cells in the mid-1990s, contaminates a wide range of solutions and other laboratory products used to test blood for viruses.
Brilliant emergency shelter solution for natural and humanitarian disasters: fabric buildings that turn into concrete when sprayed with water. It takes only two people, some water, and air to erect a Concrete Canvas Shelter, technically known as a rapidly deployable hardened shelter. In 24 hours — voila! – shelter from the storm.