Health, Science, Environment

Conservation - Endangered Species
2:38 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

MOBOT scientists help rediscover two tree species thought to be extinct

The fruit and seeds of Erythrina schliebenii, a highly endangered East African coral tree.
(Frank Mbago/Missouri Botanical Garden)

Scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden have confirmed the discovery of two tree species that were thought to be extinct.

Last year botanists from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania set out to look for the trees. They discovered small populations of both species in a remote forest in southeastern Tanzania, along Africa’s eastern coast.

Missouri Botanical Garden botanist Roy Gereau worked with British scientist Phil Clarke to confirm the identity of the trees.

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The Salt
11:47 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Feds to decide on banning BPA from food and other products

Environmental groups say a ban would protect consumers from the health effects of BPA that leaches from products including some soup cans.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 4:26 pm

UPDATE 4:23 p.m.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has denied a call to ban the plastic additive BPA from food packaging. The action comes after government scientists found little reason to think people are being harmed by the chemical.

The FDA was responding to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which called for the ban on BPA, also known as bisphenol A, from any use where it comes in contact with food.

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Agriculture - Seed Patents
10:43 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Organic farmers file appeal in lawsuit against Monsanto

A field of soybeans grown with Monsanto's genetically-modified Roundup Ready seeds.
(via Monsanto)

A coalition of organic farmers and grower organizations has filed an appeal in its lawsuit challenging Monsanto seed patents.

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Cancer Prevention
6:25 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Preventing cancer: a conversation with Siteman Cancer Center's Graham Colditz

An x-ray image of a chest. Both sides of the lungs are visible with a growth on the left side of the lung, which could possibly be lung cancer.
(National Cancer Institute)

More than half of cancer cases in the United States could be prevented.

That’s according to a new article published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with lead author Dr. Graham Colditz about what we know about cancer — and why more isn’t being done to prevent it.

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Saint Louis Zoo
12:30 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

2 lion cubs survive, 2 die at Saint Louis Zoo

Lion cubs Mtai and Serafina at two weeks old. The cubs are being hand-raised because their mother was unable to produce milk.
(photo by Rachael Macy/Saint Louis Zoo)

Two newborn lion cubs are being raised by staff at the Saint Louis Zoo more than a month after their birth, but two other cubs in the litter have died.

The African lion cubs were born Feb. 14 to the 6-year-old lioness Cabara. The zoo said Tuesday that two did not survive because Cabara couldn't produce enough milk to feed them. Zoo officials say it is not uncommon for lion mothers in the wild to rear fewer than 50 percent of the cubs born in a litter.

Conservation - Endangered Species
3:46 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Endangered beetle to return to Missouri

A female American burying beetle.
(Dan Kirk/Saint Louis Zoo)

An endangered beetle could be making its way back to Missouri, with some help from the Saint Louis Zoo and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

If all goes well, the zoo plans to reintroduce the American burying beetle to Wah’ kon-tah Prairie in southwestern Missouri in early June.

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Tuberculosis
12:23 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Illinois records record low in TB cases

Tuberculosis bacteria, shown here under a high-powered microscope, become active, and begin to multiply, if the immune system can't stop them from growing. The bacteria attack the body and destroy tissue.
(CDC/Dr. Ray Butler)

The Illinois Department of Public Health says the state experienced a record low number of new tuberculosis cases last year, but the news isn't all good.

Health officials say Illinois still ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to the number of TB cases. And Health Department Acting Director Arthur Kohrman says many of the new cases are the drug-resistant type, which are harder to overcome.

Officials say 359 cases of active TB were reported in Illinois in 2011. That's a decrease from 372 cases reported in 2010.

Robotics
11:27 am
Thu March 22, 2012

"Final Four of Smarts" robotics competition takes over Chaifetz Arena

Teams of teens will be competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition regional at Chaifetz Arena this weekend.
(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Forty-three teams of teens from Missouri and four surrounding states be competing in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition regional this weekend at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.

(You can see a full feature on last year's FIRST competition here, too).

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Roxana, Illinois - Pollution
5:54 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Village of Roxana, Ill. files suit over contamination from oil refinery

A view of the Wood River Oil Refinery in Roxana, Ill. The Village of Roxana filed suit today in relation to contamination from the refinery.
(Art Chimes)

The Village of Roxana, Ill. filed suit today over contamination from the Wood River Oil Refinery.

The suit against Shell Oil, ConocoPhillips, and WRB Refining alleges damage to village property from chemicals that have spilled or leaked from the refinery.

Derek Brandt is the lead attorney on the case for the Simmons Firm, which has joined Roxana Village Attorney James Schrempf in the suit.

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Climate Change - Ethnobotany
6:00 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Studying climate change in the Himalayas: the Missouri Botanical Garden's Jan Salick

Missouri Botanical Garden ethnobotanist Jan Salick crosses the highest pass (5,400 m) in the Himalayas. The pass lies to the north of the Annapurna Mountain range in western Nepal, where one of her climate change research sites is located.
(Asha Paudel)

The Himalayan mountain range in Asia is one of the highest places in the world, with several peaks rising above 8,000 meters. It’s also one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

Seven years ago, Missouri Botanical Garden senior curator of ethnobotany Jan Salick traveled to the Himalayas to begin a study of how climate change is affecting alpine plants—and the local people who depend on them.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra sat down with Salick to talk about her research.

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