Zika is no longer an international public health emergency, says WHO

November 22, 2016 by  
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The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Friday that Zika virus is no longer a global public health emergency . The mosquito-borne illness, which has also proven to be sexually transmitted, causes a severe birth defect called microcephaly and thousands of cases have been reported in South and Central America. Although WHO is downgrading the severity of the Zika threat, the agency also warned the virus is not going away. With this update, the WHO ends the warning originally issued in February 2016 , which identified Zika as an international public health emergency. That acknowledgment came after Zika cases were reported in Central America, following ongoing large outbreaks in Brazil and Colombia throughout 2015. As the end of mosquito season draws near in many parts of the world, WHO recognizes a reduction in transmission. However, when the weather warms again and the Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika begin reproducing faster in the spring, the Zika cases could increase once more. Related: Brazil unleashes millions of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat Zika The WHO “should be prepared to re-examine the decision if, in fact, we have a resurgence of Zika in South America as we enter into the summer months of January and February in the Southern Hemisphere,” according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Despite the WHO declaration, health agencies need to continue research and efforts to control the virus. “It remains crucially important that pregnant women avoid traveling to areas with local transmission of Zika, because of the devastating complications that can occur in fetuses that become infected during pregnancy,” said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a statement. Via NYT Images via Wikipedia and  PAHO/Flickr

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Zika is no longer an international public health emergency, says WHO

Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water

November 22, 2016 by  
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Utilizing light to purify water isn’t a new idea, but Ohio State University researchers recently developed a portable, cheap way to cleanse water with light anywhere in the world. Their LED foil prototype has the potential to revolutionize water purification with deep-ultraviolet (UV) light. Deep-UV lights are already used to purify medical equipment and water, but such light usually comes from cumbersome mercury lamps. By putting LED lights on metal foil, the Ohio State researchers may have avoided the problems usually associated with purifying water with deep-UV light. They designed their LEDs to glow with that sterilizing deep-UV light, and when their flexible prototype is folded around objects and energized, it could kill dangerous microorganisms. Related: Groundbreaking affordable, paper-thin filter removes viruses from water Roberto Myers, materials science and engineering associate professor at Ohio State, said in a statement, “Right now, if you want to make deep ultraviolet light, you’ve got to use mercury lamps. Mercury is toxic and the lamps are bulky and electrically inefficient. LEDs, on the other hand, are really efficient, so if we could make UV LEDs that are safe and portable and cheap, we could make safe drinking water wherever we need it.” The LED foil could offer a more environmentally friendly light to purify water. The researchers are confident they will be able to scale up their prototype; their goal is to transform nanophotonics, a study centered around how objects just nanometers big interact with light, into a profitable industry. “People always said that nanophotonics will never be commercially important, because you can’t scale them up,” said Myers. “Well, now we can. We can make a sheet of them if we want.” The journal Applied Physics Letters published the researcher’s paper on the LED foil. The researchers will continue working to make the LEDs shine brighter. Via New Atlas Images via Brelon J. May courtesy of The Ohio State University and Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water

Zika found in US mosquitoes for the first time

September 2, 2016 by  
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For the first time in the continental United States, researchers have confirmed positive tests for Zika virus in mosquitoes trapped near Miami. Just weeks after the Centers for Disease Control issued a historic warning for a 1.5-square-mile neighborhood in northern Miami, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Thursday that the three mosquito samples that tested positive for Zika were from that affected area. Health officials had already determined that at least five of Florida’s human cases of Zika had been contracted locally, so finding the Zika-positive mosquitoes comes as no surprise. Embed from Getty Images Since the CDC health alert went into effect, Miami-Dade County officials have been working to control local mosquito populations in an effort to reduce the risks of Zika. The virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito as well as through sexual contact and most infected patients feel only minor flu-like symptoms. However, contracting Zika virus during pregnancy can lead to microcephaly, a severe birth defect that results in children needing lifelong care. Women who may become pregnant in the near future, and their partners, are also urged to take extra precautions when living or traveling in Zika hotspots. Related: South Carolina kills millions of bees while spraying for Zika mosquitoes Of the three Zika-positive mosquitoes, officials said that one came from traps at the botanical garden. The locations of the other two positive samples were not revealed. It is also not known to the public when any of the Zika-positive mosquitoes were trapped. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said 16 other mosquito traps in the county tested negative and tests on other samples are ongoing. Confirming Zika-positive mosquitoes and knowing the locations where they were trapped will help local officials focus mosquito control efforts. Mosquitoes travel just a small radius—not more than 150 meters—during their short lifespans, so the positive tests allow officials to create a detailed map of Zika risks. Although eradicating the mosquitoes that carry the virus is highly unlikely, officials are hopeful that the testing and control measures, along with the public health alerts, will keep Zika cases to a minimum. Via CNN Images via Pixabay and CDC

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Zika found in US mosquitoes for the first time

Levels of Flame-Retardant Chemicals in American Women Finally Dropping

September 28, 2013 by  
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For the first time ever, researchers are finding that levels of flame retardants (PDBEs) are declining in the bodies of American women. The study focused on the bodies of a group of California women, and found that the PDBE levels in their bodies were 65% lower than those found in pregnant women who were tested just three years ago. Considering that flame retardants wreak havoc on our bodies , disrupting thyroid hormones in women and their newborns, as well as reducing IQ and concentration in children exposed, these lowered levels are very encouraging.  There’s still a lot of work to be done, considering that PDBEs are found in all manner of products , but these declining levels are certainly a good start. Click through to learn more about the study, as well as other flame retardants to watch out for: READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: flame retardant , flame retardant chemicals , hormone disruption , PDBE , PDBEs , pregnancy , pregnant women , thyroid        

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Levels of Flame-Retardant Chemicals in American Women Finally Dropping

Innovative Birth Simulator Device Trains Women To Handle Life-Threatening Complications

August 31, 2013 by  
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Expectant mothers in developing nations don’t always have the luxury of a nearby hospital or well-trained OB/GYN. Instead, when the baby decides it’s ready to be born, they must rely on the assistance of midwives and family friends. Unfortunately, this often means that thousands of newborn babies and mothers die of complications during childbirth that could have been prevented with adequate tools and well trained birth assistants. A Norwegian company recently debuted a low-cost, portable birthing education kit that could better prepare midwives for potential complications, and reduce child and maternal mortality rates by 47% in developing countries. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: babies , childbirth , developing nations , education , healthcare , Natalie Collection , parenting , pregnancy        

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11 Amazing, Offbeat Wedding Dresses for the Eco-Friendly Bride

August 31, 2013 by  
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Any bride-to-be who has ever spent time poring over pictures of gowns knows how hard it can be to find that perfect, unique garment. But these 11 offbeat wedding dresses go above and beyond to create unforgettable eco-friendly nuptials. Click through to see a dress made entirely of plastic bottles , an assemblage of bread bag tags , and even a dress that is in fact one giant wedding cake . READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco-fashion , ecofriendly wedding , ecouterre , green fashion , green wedding , handmade wedding , recycled clothes , sustainable wedding , unusual dress , unusual wedding , upcycled clothes , upcycled fashion , wedding dress , wedding dresses        

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11 Amazing, Offbeat Wedding Dresses for the Eco-Friendly Bride

Gates Foundation Offers $100,000 For Next Generation Condom Design

March 27, 2013 by  
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Last year, the Gates Foundation held a competition to redesign the toilet . Turning its sights from sanitation to overpopulation, the nonprofit has now announced a challenge to reinvent the condom . By way of the Grand Challenges in Global Health Program , a grant of $100,000 will be awarded to those who develop the next generation of personal protection. The contest hopes to encourage the use of the simple, life-saving technology by making the latex prophylactic more fun, pleasurable, and attractive to couples around the globe. Read the rest of Gates Foundation Offers $100,000 For Next Generation Condom Design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bill & melinda gates foundation , challenges in global health program , condom , latex , origami condoms , pregnancy , prophylactic , reinvent , sex , silicone , std , stephen ward , university of washington

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Gates Foundation Offers $100,000 For Next Generation Condom Design

Scientists Find Children’s Cells Living In Mothers’ Brains

February 9, 2013 by  
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The link between mother and child during pregnancy is perhaps the closest that two humans can ever be linked, but after childbirth they become two separate individuals — or do they? New research suggests that the connection between mother and child may be much stronger than previously thought. The study, which was published recently in  PLOS ONE , reveals that male cells have been found in the brains of women, sometimes decades after a woman had given birth. The findings could have broad implications, ranging from disease prevention to identifying immune disorders. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: blood-brain barrier , DNA , genetic biology , genetics , Mothers , neuroscience , parenting , pregnancy

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Scientists Find Children’s Cells Living In Mothers’ Brains

The Great Diaper Debate: Comparing the Environmental Impact of “Eco-Friendly” Diapers

October 29, 2009 by  
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I knew going into having a baby that the mountains of diapers would horrify me from both a personal hygiene and environmental perspective. I also knew that I wasn’t game for potty-training-at-birth philosophies

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The Great Diaper Debate: Comparing the Environmental Impact of “Eco-Friendly” Diapers

Upgrading The College Diet: Breakfast On The Go

October 29, 2009 by  
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Since I’ve been in college, my morning routine has remained pretty consistent: wake up, brush my teeth, make some coffee , get dressed, make my bed, collect my school things, fill up my thermos with brew, and go. The whole she-bang takes about an hour. The last step, in which I am walking out the door, is usually when I have an oh yeah moment, and remember that I should eat something

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Upgrading The College Diet: Breakfast On The Go

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