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In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.
While trees’ pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1 percent, the impacts of that improvement are substantial. Researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year in a study published recently in the journal Environmental Pollution. “Tree and Forest Effects on Air Quality and Human Health in the United States,” is available online at: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/46102
"With more than 80 percent of Americans living in urban area, this research underscores how truly essential urban forests are to people across the nation," said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. "Information and tools developed by Forest Service research are contributing to communities valuing and managing the 138 million acres of trees and forests that grace the nation’s cities, towns and communities."
English oak leaf pores or stomata (Quercus robur)
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Dysfunction in dopamine signaling profoundly changes the activity level of about 2,000 genes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and may be an underlying cause of certain complex neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, according to UC Irvine scientists.
This epigenetic alteration of gene activity in brain cells that receive this neurotransmitter showed for the first time that dopamine deficiencies can affect a variety of behavioral and physiological functions regulated in the prefrontal cortex.
The study, led by Emiliana Borrelli, a UCI professor of microbiology & molecular genetics, appears online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
K Brami-Cherrier, A Anzalone, M Ramos, I Forne, F Macciardi, A Imhof, E Borrelli. Epigenetic reprogramming of cortical neurons through alteration of dopaminergic circuits. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.67
Image via Resverlogix
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Seed Dreaming IV
"The plant is the dream of the seed."
-Australian Aboriginal saying
Karen Kamenetzky - Fiber Artist
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Moose “kind of salivate a lot,” says York Univeristy biologist Dawn Bazely, ”They slobber around.” With the help of the Toronto Zoo, Bazely has been studying the properties of this abundant moose spit. So far, Bazely has found that moose spit (and European reindeer spit) has anti-fungal properties, says the CBC.
Antifungal saliva is helpful for moose, says the CBC, because some of the plants they eat use fungi as a self-protection mechanism. Too much fungus in their food can make moose sick.
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Mouse embryo (16 dpc) expressing the epithelial-specific nuclear marker K14-H2B-GFP, illustrating the pattern of whisker follicles on the face
The Rockefeller University, Fuchs Lab
New York City, New York, USA
Technique: Fluorescence (4x)
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Exposure to light at night, which shuts off nighttime production of the hormone melatonin, renders breast cancer completely resistant to tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug, says a new study by Tulane University School of Medicine cancer researchers. The study, “Circadian and Melatonin Disruption by Exposure to Light at Night Drives Intrinsic Resistance to Tamoxifen Therapy in Breast Cancer,” published in the journal Cancer Research, is the first to show that melatonin is vital to the success of tamoxifen in treating breast cancer!
"High melatonin levels at night put breast cancer cells to ‘sleep’ by turning off key growth mechanisms. These cells are vulnerable to tamoxifen. But when the lights are on and melatonin is suppressed, breast cancer cells ‘wake up’ and ignore tamoxifen," Blask says.
Robert T. Dauchy et al. Circadian and Melatonin Disruption by Exposure to Light at Night Drives Intrinsic Resistance to Tamoxifen Therapy in Breast Cancer. Cancer Research, July 2014 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3156
Las Gralarias Glassfrog (Nymphargus lasgralarias) (by Lucas M. Bustamante-Enríquez)
"Respiratory events such as exhalations or more violent coughs and sneezes are key in transferring respiratory diseases between infectious and susceptible individuals. We present the results of a combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the fluid dynamics of such violent expiratory events. Direct observation reveals that such flows are multiphase turbulent buoyant clouds with suspended droplets of various sizes. Our observations guide the development of an accompanying theoretical model in which pathogen-bearing droplets interact with a turbulent buoyant momentum puff. The range of validity of our theoretical model is explored experimentally. Our study highlights the importance of the multiphase nature of respiratory clouds in extending the range of respiratory pathogens.” John Bush.
See paper: Bourouiba, Dehandschoewercker & Bush (2013)
Novel Technologies Advance Brain Surgery to Benefit Patients
Minimally invasive brain surgery at UC San Diego Health System
In a milestone procedure, neurosurgeons at UC San Diego Health System have integrated advanced 3D imaging, computer simulation and next-generation surgical tools to perform a highly complex brain surgery through a small incision to remove deep-seated tumors. This is the first time this complex choreography of technologies has been brought together in an operating room in California.
“Tumors located at the base of the skull are particularly challenging to treat due to the location of delicate anatomic structures and critical blood vessels,” said neurosurgeon Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, UC San Diego Health System. “The conventional approach to excising these tumors involves long skin incisions and removal of a large piece of skull. This new minimally invasive approach is far less radical. It decreases the risk of the surgery and shortens the patient’s hospital stay.”
“A critical part of this surgery involves identifying the neural fibers in the brain, the connections that allow the brain to perform its essential functions. The orientation of these fibers determines the trajectory to the tumor,” said Chen, vice-chairman of Academic Affairs for the Division of Neurosurgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We visualized these fibers with restriction spectrum imaging, a proprietary technology developed at UC San Diego. Color-coded visualization of the tracts allows us to plot the safest path to the tumor.”
After surgery planning, a 2-inch incision was made near the patient’s hairline, followed by a quarter-sized hole in the skull. The surgery was carried out through a thin tube-like retractor that created a narrow path to the tumor. Aided by a robotic arm and high-resolution cameras, the team was able to safely remove two tumors within millimeter precision.
“What we are seeing is a new wave of advances in minimally invasive surgery for patients with brain cancer,” said Bob Carter, MD, PhD, professor and chief of Neurosurgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine. “These minimally invasive approaches permit smaller incisions and a shorter recovery. In this case, the patient was able to go home the day after the successful removal of multiple brain tumors.”
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