Alzheimer’s Disease and Lead Exposure Researchers striving to understand the origins of dementia are building the case against a possible culprit: lead exposure early in life. A study spanning 23 years has now revealed that monkeys who drank a lead-rich formula as infants later developed tangles of a key brain protein, called tau, linked to Alzheimer's disease. Though neuroscientists say more work is needed to confirm the connection, the research suggests that people exposed to lead as children—as many in America used to be before it was eliminated from paint, car emissions, water, and soil—could have an increased risk of the common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Even in small doses, lead can wreak havoc on the heart, intestines, kidneys, and nervous system. Children are especially prone to its pernicious effects, as it curbs brain development. Many studies have linked early lead exposure with lower IQs. Researchers estimate that one in 38 children in the United States still have harmful levels of the metal in their systems, but evidence linking this exposure to dementia later in life has been tenuous.
UN shows how mobile-phone data can map human need Tracking people’s movements after the Haiti earthquake, mapping malaria spread in Kenya, evaluating Mexico’s government policies on flu outbreak, improving national census surveys in Latin America and Africa... These are just a few examples of how mobile-phone data has been used in development, as highlighted by a recent UN report.
Scientists record primates regularly using caves for the first time After playing, feeding, and socializing in trees all day, some ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) take their nightly respite in caves, according to a new study in Madagascar Conservation and Development. The findings are important because this is the first time scientists have ever recorded primates regularly using caves. "The remarkable thing about our study was that over a six-year period, the same troops of ring-tailed lemurs used the same sleeping caves on a regular, daily basis," said the lead author, Michelle Sauther, with the University of Colorado Boulder.
Amazon Promotes "Frustration-Free Packaging Initiative" Just in time for the gift-giving season, the world's largest online retailer, Amazon.com continues to promote it's Frustration-Free Packaging initiative. This initiative is a five-year effort to not only make products easier to open, but to create sustainable and recyclable packaging. In a 2008 letter written to customers, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos describes "wrap rage" as the frustration we feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package. And we've all experienced it - from cutting through thick plastic and scraping our fingers against sharp edges, to pulling packaging apart with all our might, the process of opening up a present has become a chore.
Europe's biggest renewable energy plant completes switch from coal to biomass Britain’s largest coal-fired power station is set to become one of Europe’s biggest renewable electricity generators today, with the potential for new future generation on the site to be based on truly clean coal.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey opened the Drax coal-to-biomass conversion plant, and announced the Government was awarding funding to further the White Rose CCS project, also based at the site.