“This study shows no evidence of a correlation between low level mercury exposure and autism spectrum-like behaviors among children whose mothers ate, on average, up to 12 meals of fish each week during pregnancy,” said Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center‘s (URMC) Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study which appears online today in the journal Epidemiology. “These findings contribute to the growing body of literature that suggest that exposure to the chemical does not play an important role in the onset of these behaviors.”
The debate over fish consumption has long created a dilemma for expecting mothers and physicians. Fish are high in beneficial nutrients such as, selenium, vitamin E, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids; the latter are essential to brain development. At the same time, exposure to high levels of mercury has been shown to lead to developmental problems, leading to the claim that mothers are exposing their unborn children to serious neurological impairment by eating fish during pregnancy. Despite the fact that the developmental consequences of low level exposure remain unknown, some organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have recommended that pregnant women limit their consumption of fish.
“The Seychelles study was designed to follow a population over a very long period of time and focus on relevant mercury exposure,” said Philip Davidson, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Seychelles Child Development Study and professor emeritus in Pediatrics at URMC. “While the amount of fish consumed in the Seychelles is significantly higher than other countries in the industrialized world, it is still considered low level exposure.”
… lends further evidence to an emerging belief that the “good” may outweigh the possible “bad” when it comes to fish consumption during pregnancy. Specifically, if mercury does adversely influence child development at these levels of exposure then the benefits of the nutrients found in the fish may counteract or perhaps even supersede the potential negative effects of the mercury.
“This study shows no consistent association in children with mothers with mercury level that were six to ten times higher than those found in the U.S. and Europe,” said Davidson. “This is a sentinel population and if it does not exist here than it probably does not exist.”
Read entire article at ScienceDaily.
“… researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that nanoparticles infused with a toxic bee venom can kill HIV. The researchers hope to take this new compound and develop a vaginal gel that can prevent the further spread of the disease.
The key to this discovery, which was made by Samuel A. Wickline and his team at Washington University, involves cytolyic melittin peptides. Melittin is found in bee venom, and it has the fortuitous trait of being able to degrade the protective envelope that surrounds HIV.”
These findings, along with the newfound realization that dolphins have names for each other, offer further evidence for why, as some scientists argue, they should be considered “non-human persons,” in the spirit of the Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans, drafted by a group in Helsinski, Finland.
It also makes one wonder, what do many captive dolphins think about having names like “Flipper” given to them — what if we called them by their names instead and attempted to learn their forms of communication?
The Universe normally does an overview of ‘space news’ each month. But after the events of last week, we thought it would be a good idea to re-cap!
This is a selection of breaking news stories, all covered by The Universe, from February 11-17, 2013.
Meteor explodes over Russia – Image: AP (Nasha Gazeta Newspaper http://www.ng.kz/AP)
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=475602839171560&set=a.433415610056950.106382.334816523250193&type=1&theater
2012 DA14 Flyby – Image: Dave Herald, Murrumbateman, Australia
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=475124325886078&set=a.433415610056950.106382.334816523250193&type=1&relevant_count=1
Landsat Data Continuity Mission Launch –
Image: United Launch Alliance
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=473579899373854&set=a.371203752944803.89148.334816523250193&type=1&relevant_count=1
Hubble Images Interacting Galaxies:
Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA
More Information: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=476314879100356&set=a.455520841179760.110988.334816523250193&type=1&relevant_count=1
Image: Peter Ward, Barden Ridge Observatory
Gold nugget forming bacteria: http://bit.ly/14C1QIK
Bionic eye: http://bit.ly/WTitKo
Sea urchins: http://bit.ly/WbLZNl
Mammal ancestor: http://bbc.in/YZKkie
Stem cells: http://bit.ly/Y3s94C
Earth like planets: http://hvrd.me/12iA29h
via I fucking love science .
IT’S becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. And I’m not talking about imposing some utopian vision of small organic farms on the world. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use — if it wants to.
This was hammered home once again in what may be the most important agricultural study this year, although it has been largely ignored by the media, two of the leading science journals and even one of the study’s sponsors, the often hapless Department of Agriculture.
The study was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer.
The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn’t reduce profits by a single cent.
In short, there was only upside — and no downside at all — associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons.
And though critics of this path can be predictably counted on to say it’s moving backward, the increased yields, markedly decreased input of chemicals, reduced energy costs and stable profits tell another story, one of serious progress.