Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men

November 1, 2016 by  
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It seems every time we think we know all the terrifying health effects of the Zika virus , new research shows it’s even worse than previously believed. A new study from the University of Washington, published in the journal Nature , has found that mice infected with Zika experience shrunken testicles, low testosterone, and low sperm counts — and so far, no one is sure if it could have the same effect in humans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSGPi-vB768 Dr. Michael Diamond, co-author of the study, told The Telegraph , “While our study was in mice, and with the caveat that we don’t yet know whether Zika has the same effect in men, it does suggest that men might face low testosterone levels and low sperm counts after Zika infection, affecting their fertility. We don’t know for certain if the damage is irreversible, but I expect so, because the cells that hold the internal structure in place have been infected and destroyed.” The most worrying implication of this new study is the fact that many affected men may not realize the disease has left them infertile until years later. There have already been reports of men with the disease experiencing pelvic pain and bloody urine – symptoms Zika shares in common with other sexually transmitted infections. While doctors have been aware the virus can pass through the reproductive organs , this is the first time researchers have suggested that process might be damaging. Related: Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time This is the first study of its kind linking Zika to male infertility. In the past, it was believed to be mostly dangerous to pregnant women , whose children were at risk of severe birth defects like microcephaly. In rare cases, the mosquito-transmitted infection could also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition which can lead to paralysis and death. Men potentially exposed to the disease are currently being told to use condoms for six months, and women in Zika-affected areas are being told to delay pregnancy if possible. + Nature Via The Telegraph Images via Wikimedia Commons and University of Washington

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Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men

Foster + Partners China Resources University opens in Shenzhen

November 1, 2016 by  
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Set atop a hill, the new China Resources University overlooks views towards the South China Sea and accommodates hundreds of students. The campus comprises a management training institute, residential buildings, five teaching building, an invention center, auditoria, library, and gym. The campus is connected to a larger mixed-use development , also designed by Foster + Partners, that includes a hotel, clubhouse, retail, and other residences. Related: Foster + Partners breaks ground on Ferring Pharamceuticals’ headquarters in Copenhagen “The idea was to create a cascading complex of buildings and spaces – a series of teaching and living spaces, terraces and informal streets that encourage interaction and a sense of wellbeing,” said Chris Bubb, architect partner at Foster + Partners. The campus is made primarily from locally fired brick as a nod to Shenzhen’s history of brick masonry buildings. Coarse stones hand-pressed against the bricks before the firing process give the bricks their rough texture, which were then baked at varying temperatures to create different colors to match the different tones of earth in the surrounding area. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , by Neil Young

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Foster + Partners China Resources University opens in Shenzhen

Zika outbreak declared in Miami Beach

August 22, 2016 by  
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An outbreak of the Zika virus has been identified in a section of Miami Beach, Florida after five people were determined to have been infected by mosquitoes. Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) stated on Friday that the new patients were infected by native mosquitoes within a 1.5 square-mile area in the popular tourist district. Florida is the first state in which native mosquitoes have transmitted the virus to humans. The outbreak in Miami Beach brings the total number of known Zika cases in Florida to 35, although Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden stated that there are “undoubtedly more infections that we’re not aware of” and that the virus may be spreading throughout Miami-Dade County. The CDC has advised pregnant women and their sexual partners to avoid the identified area. Those who have traveled there since July 14th should be tested for the virus, which has been known to cause microcephaly and developmental disorders in infants. More than 500 women have been infected in the United States, though most have received the virus through sexual contact, not mosquito bites. To fight back against the newly discovered, Zika carrying mosquitoes, the CDC is employing workers to spray pesticides from backpacks. Pesticides would ideally be delivered by air, but in urban Miami stacked with high rises, this is not a viable option. Related: FDA approves genetically modified mosquitos to fight Zika Zika’s harmful effects may not be limited to pregnant women and infants. A major new study has suggested that Zika attacks immature cells, which are essential for learning and memory function, in the brains of adult mice. The gradual deterioration of these cells could cause the brain to shrink and lead to severe impairment of cognitive function, similar in effect to Alzheimer’s. Researchers caution that further study is needed before Zika’s full impact is understood. Comprehensive research, treatment and prevention measures require reliable federal funding. To the shock of no one, the United States Congress has failed to pass legislation that would deliver the necessary resources to confront this public health crisis. Via The Independent Images via Jimmy Baikovicius and John Tann

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Zika outbreak declared in Miami Beach

Recycled tire traps are seven times more effective than traditional mosquito traps

April 12, 2016 by  
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The use of recycled materials  is not only good for the environment . Sometimes, it is simply the best way to get a job done. Such is the case with the ovillanta mosquito traps crafted from old tires and tested in Guatemala. Over the course of ten months, researchers supported by the Guatemala Ministry of Health’s Vector Control Program observed the number of mosquito eggs collected by the simple traps. Based on their pending study, the ovillanta tire traps captured seven times the number of eggs as a standard trap. The ovillanta traps are specifically deployed to capture mosquitoes of the  Aedes genus. These mosquitoes are those notoriously known for transmitting devastating viruses, such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.  Aedes mosquitos can become resistant to pesticides and although adults only live for about two to four weeks, eggs can remain viable for up to a year. This enables populations to mitigate the effects of hazardous weather. Many communities lack the resources to deal with this resilient pest and are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases. Related: World’s largest ‘mosquito factory’ in China to release 20 million bugs a week The ovillanta is composed of two 20-inch segments of a used car tire, which is joined together to create a basin. “We decided to use recycled tires – partly because tires already represent up to 29 percent of the breeding sites chosen by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, partly because tires are a universally affordable instrument in low-resource settings, and partly because giving old tires a new use creates an opportunity to clean up the local environment,” says lead researcher Gerardo Ulibarri. The mosquitoes are lured into the tire’s basin with a non-toxic substance that includes a special mosquito pheromone, which signals to pregnant mosquitoes that this is a safe place to lay their eggs. The eggs are then dropped on a small “raft” floating in the solution, which is removed twice a week so that the eggs may be removed and destroyed. This low-tech solution costs only a fraction of traditional techniques and does not harm other animals in the process of catching the mosquitos. A tutorial for constructing an ovillanta can be found here. Via TreeHugger Images via Daniel Pinelo  and Enrique Dans/Flickr

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Recycled tire traps are seven times more effective than traditional mosquito traps

First-ever malaria vaccine could save hundreds of children in Africa

July 24, 2015 by  
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After 30 years in development, the first-ever malaria vaccine has received a positive recommendation from a European Medicines Agency (EMA) committee. GlaxoSmithKline announced this morning that Mosquirix, which has been developed specifically for use on African babies, will go on to be reviewed by the World Health Organization (WHO) before individual governments decide when and how to administer the life-saving drug. According to clinical studies, the vaccine could save hundreds of thousands of lives in Africa, where most of the victims of malaria are under the age of five. Read the rest of First-ever malaria vaccine could save hundreds of children in Africa

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