Health, Science, Environment

Robotics
6:35 am
Tue April 26, 2011

Student-made robots take over Chaifetz Arena. Next stop? The Edward Jones Dome!

Peter Prombo Cates (left) and Chirag Doshi, students at Gateway Institute of Technology in St. Louis, carry their team’s robot off the playing field.
(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

This week in St. Louis, close to 9,000 high school students from five countries will compete in the FIRST Robotics Championship.

Teams of student-built, remote-control robots will take to the field at the Edward Jones Dome. Organizers hope the competition will draw more than 20,000 spectators and generate at least $18 million in local spending.

Véronique LaCapra was at the St. Louis Regional event in March and has this inside look at the competition.

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Gates Foundation grant
3:48 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Danforth Center gets grant for African nutrition

A cassava root. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has received $8.3 million fron the Gates Foundation to research ways to increase nutrition in the root, which is the main carbohydrate for a quarter of a billion people.
(via Flickr/Intenational Center for Tropical Agriculture)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur $8.3 million to increase the nutritional value of a staple crop in Africa.

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St. Louis Zoo
4:34 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Elephant at St. Louis Zoo tests positive for tuberculosis

Donna, the 40-year-old Asian elephant at the St. Louis Zoo, has tested positive for tuberculosis.
(St. Louis Zoo)

A 40-year old Asian elephant at the St. Louis Zoo named "Donna" has tested positive for tuberculosis, but is expected to be just fine.

Donna the Elephant came to the St. Louis zoo as a 3-year old juvenile in 1971.

All elephants get complete medical evaluation each year including blood collection, vaccinations and trunk cultures to look for tuberculosis.

Randy Junge, the Zoo's Director of Animal Health said the 40-year-old pachyderm will live off-display for the next year, but won't be quarantined.

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Brain Health
3:00 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Exposure to welding fumes may lead to impaired brain function

Brain scans from a control subject (left), a welder (center), and a subject with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (right), in a study by researchers at Washington University comparing brains of apparently healthy welders to those of Parkinson's patients.
(via Neurology ®)

Workers exposed to the metal manganese in welding fumes may be at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s-like symptoms, including loss of motor control and tremors.

That’s the finding of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, who compared brain scans of apparently healthy welders to those of Parkinson’s patients.

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Illinois & Japan Radiation
11:53 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Officials: no reason for concern in Ill. over radiation from Japan

View Locations of found radiation from Japan in IL in a larger map

The map above depicts the locations highlighted in the following story where trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been found in Illinois - Will County and Springfield, Ill.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Trace amounts of radiation from Japan have shown up in Illinois. But state officials say there's no reason for concern.

Minute levels of radioactive materials have been detected in both northern and central Illinois.  The state's Emergency Management Agency says radioactive iodine was found in grass clippings in Will County and in an air sample collected at a lab in Springfield.

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Carter Carburetor Superfund Site
5:05 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

EPA a step closer to cleaning up Carter Carburetor Superfund site in St. Louis

View Larger Map

The above map depicts Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club (right), across the street from the Carter Carburetor Superfund site, a former gasoline and diesel carburetor manufacturing plant which closed in 1984.

The Environmental Protection Agency is a step closer to cleaning up a contaminated industrial property on the city's north side.

In a memorandum signed today, the EPA spells out the steps it will take to clean up the Carter Carburetor Superfund site.

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Tablet Discovery
7:45 am
Wed March 30, 2011

UMSL archeologists discover continental Europe's earliest-known written record

This is the back of the 2x3 inch tablet that was discovered in Iklaina, Greece.
(Christian Mundigler)

Archeologists from the University of Missouri-St. Louis have discovered continental Europe’s earliest known written record.

The clay tablet fragment dates back to between 1490 and 1390 BC – at least 100 years before any other known writings from mainland Europe.

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HIV Photography Project
6:15 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Photography project gives women new perspective on living with HIV

Tamika Taylor Jackson decided to participate in Michelle Teti’s photography project to show how she has transformed her life since her HIV diagnosis.
(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

More than a million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About a quarter of them are women, and in St. Louis and throughout the country, African-American women are disproportionately affected.

An HIV diagnosis can lead not just to debilitating medical problems, but to social stigma and isolation. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra reports, a photography project is giving some HIV-positive women a new way to look at their disease and its challenges.

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Health Research
5:48 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Lab-grown gut microbes could help combat malnutrition, gastrointestinal diseases

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis were able to grow and manipulate individual collections of human intestinal microbes, like these E. coli, in the laboratory. (Wikimedia Commons/Rocky Mountain Laboratories/NIAID/NIH)

Scientists have taken another step toward understanding human nutrition.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown they can grow entire collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory.

Washington University microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Gordon says his team then transplanted the bacterial communities into previously germ-free mice, to see how the lab-grown bacteria would respond to a human diet.

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Biotech Agriculture
5:05 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Lawsuit challenges genetically modified alfalfa

Alfalfa fields in Idaho.
(via Flickr/Sam Beebe-Ecotrust)

A lawsuit filed in California is challenging the federal government's deregulation of alfalfa that is genetically altered to withstand the popular weed killer Roundup.

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