Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In a press conference this morning, the Danforth Foundation announced that it is closing after 84 years of operation at the end of this fiscal year, May 31, 2011.

The foundation's last act will be a $70 million donation to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

The last donation is the largest in foundation's history, which has contributed $226 million to the Plant Science Center over the years.

(via Flickr/jasonippolito)

Monsanto today announced progress on nine of its research projects on genetically-engineered crops.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Monsanto's vice president of biotechnology, Steve Padgette, said several collaborations with the Germany-based BASF Plant Science will be moving forward in 2011.

The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London have completed the first comprehensive list of world plant species.

This year produced promising medical advances in the battle against Alzheimer's disease. First came word that scientists had come up with a new test for making more precise diagnoses of the disease. That news was followed this month by the announcement of a discovery of a relationship between an abnormal level of a plaque-forming substance in the brain and Alzheimer's.

Both developments are said to be important to long-term efforts to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's with new drugs even before the disease's symptoms become apparent in patients.

Type 2 diabetes – the kind related to obesity and an unhealthy diet – gets a lot of attention these days. But there’s another, less common, form of the disease – type 1 – that can also lead to life-threatening complications.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra takes us behind the scenes at a local hospital, for the transplant operation that got one St. Louis-area woman off dialysis, and made her diabetes-free.

A baby kangaroo has begun poking her head out from her mother's pouch at the Saint Louis Zoo.

The female Matschie's tree kangaroo was born six months ago. Hidden in the pouch, she has grown from the size of a lima bean to the size of a small cat.

This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

Ameren operates a coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Mo., about 35 miles west of St. Louis, and wants to build a 400-acre landfill near the plant to store coal waste.

Some Franklin County residents are definitely not happy about a possible landfill in the Missouri River floodplain and the effects it might have on drinking water.

Tonight they will once again be voicing their opposition to proposed regulations that would allow Ameren to go ahead with their plan.

Chad Williams, Saint Louis University Medical Center

St. Louis is joining the National Children's Study, the largest long-term study of child health ever conducted in the United States.

The study will follow 100,000 children nationwide from before birth to age 21.

Local study leader Louise Flick of Saint Louis University's School of Public Health says more than 4,000 children from St. Louis City, Jefferson County, and southwestern Illinois will be asked to participate.

Judy Schmidt, James Gathany / CDC

Saint Louis County is seeing a surge in cases of pertussis.

More commonly known as “whooping cough,” pertussis is highly contagious, spreading through the air via small droplets when infected people cough, sneeze or talk.

One hundred and eighty-five cases have been reported in the county so far this year – two-thirds of them in the past six weeks.

(Flickr Creative Commons User Mindy.Kotaska)

Monsanto's latest lawsuit is no small potatoes - in fact, it's sugar beets.

(Flickr Creative Commons user whiskeyandtears)

A new study has found that over-the-counter children's medications aren't labeled the way they should be.
The research led by the New York University School of Medicine examined two-hundred top-selling liquid medications for children, to see whether they included a dosing device, like a cup, spoon, or syringe.
If they did, the researchers compared the measurement markings on the device to the dosing instructions on the product's label.
Lead author Dr. Shonna Yin says about a quarter of the products had no dosing device at all.

Dr. Leonor Feliciano, who came to the United States to complete her medical training and succeeded in teaching thousands about Philippine culture, pride and contributions, died Saturday of breast cancer at her home in Creve Coeur. She was 66.

She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Three days before her death she had written, "I have lived my life out loud and with happiness."

Her daughter, Sonjie Solomon, confirmed that assessment.

Mass will be celebrated for Dr. Feliciano at St. Monica Catholic Church on Friday morning.

Curran | Flickr

Ventilation systems failed to remove nicotine from smoke-filled air in restaurants and bars in the area, according to a study released Wednesday by Washington University researchers.

University representatives used the results of the study on Wednesday to argue that ventilation systems are ineffective at removing nicotine, putting customers and workers at risk for health problems that include cancer and cardiovascular disease. And they cited the research as the first objective study in St. Louis lending support to comprehensive smoking ban legislation.

Federal stimulus dollars continue to provide additional financial underpinning for St. Louis' system of health care for the needy. Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers is a recent beneficiary of stimulus money, and it has used those funds to replace and upgrade two of its facilities.

Most of us will be fortunate to visit the local emergency room only on a handful of occasions during our lives. I had occasion to visit emergency rooms in two countries in a seven-month period: one visit to a St. Louis ER while home visiting my parents; the second to an ER in Ireland, where my husband and I live with our two young sons.

Bedbug
Wikipedia

This summer, when Linda Morgan began waking up with strange bug bites on her arm, she didn’t know quite what to make of them.

“I still have the scars,” said the 51-year-old Granite City resident. “They were incredibly itchy, 10 times worse than mosquito bites.”

Steve Chapman is worried about your eggs. He's a featured columnist for the Chicago Tribune -- a sort of Windy City epigone of Bill McClellan -- who devoted his Aug. 29 oped piece to the recent recall of salmonella-infected eggs.

To the extent that this recall was national in scope and the offending bacterium makes its victims violently ill; posing a real -- albeit remote -- risk of death, you might think that he would advocate on behalf of greater public scrutiny of the food industry. You would be wrong.

Emily Isaacs loves playing soccer so much that it hurts.

Why do some people have a high tolerance for pain, while others experience the slightest touch as painful? Why do some injured soldiers perform heroic feats and claim that they felt no pain at the time?

Nobody quite knows, but new findings by Meinhart Zenk and Toni Kutchan at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center offer some tantalizing possibilities.

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