Vet develops cheap manatee chow for injured animals

Fifty pounds of romaine lettuce makes enough Caesar salad for a hundred people, but it?s just a one-day food supply for a manatee in captivity. To feed the endangered aquatic mammals more economically while they recover from injuries or medical treatment, a University of Florida veterinarian has developed a new manatee chow that costs one-tenth the price of lettuce. The discovery comes at a time when manatee injuries and subsequent deaths have reached record rates. In 1986, 122 manatees died in Florida. Fifteen years later, that number climbed to 325.

Strange attraction: Shaping metal with magnets

Researchers in Ohio say they’ve come up with a way to shape metal using powerful magnetic fields, a process that could help cut down on the use of toxic lubricants otherwise needed to stamp products as diverse as auto parts and kitchenware. Said one of the researchers: “The process has to be reliable, and require as little human intervention as possible…. In automobile production especially, manufactures need to make parts in as few steps as they possibly can. I think we can do a lot of good things for industry with this technique.”

Coenzyme Q10 slows Parkinson’s in study

High doses of the naturally occurring compound coenzyme Q10 has been found to slow by 44 percent the deterioration in function that occurs in Parkinson’s disease. The greatest benefit was seen in everyday activities like eating, dressing, bathing and walking. But researchers say that before people run out to RightAid for a barrel of the stuff, a wider study is needed (this one tracked 80 patients). Parkinson?s is a degenerative disorder of the brain in which patients develop tremor, slowness of movement and stiffness of muscles. It affects about 1 percent of Americans over the age of 65.

See also: Parkinson’s patients look to gene therapy

Bloodworm shows new use for copper

The lowly and somewhat gruesome bloodworm may have a few lessons to teach material scientists.The critter apparently is the first ever to be found to use a copper-containing mineral structure as part of its skeleton. The finding is remarkable first because the amount of copper detected in the jaw tip of the marine worm would normally be toxic to an organism. Second, the copper also occurs in non-mineral form in the bloodworm jaw where it may act as a sort of bridge, cross-linking long chains of fibrous proteins. And that has appealing commercial posibilities. “The marriage of protein with copper mineral as well as with bound copper ions is an intriguing concept per se but may also serve as a design prototype for new materials that need to be hard, lightweight, and durable.”

Broccoli not always so healthy, researchers find

It probably won’t get you off the hook with mom, but researchers say that the nutritional content of broccoli tends to fluctuate wildly. While a single serving from one head could pack enough antioxidants and cancer fighters to keep you going for a few days, eating an entire other head could do bupkus.

Nintendo all grown up?

Japan’s Nintendo built its reputation on cheery games for children. But seeking a bigger chunk of the adult market, the purveyors of the Mario Bros. series and Pokemon are adding zombies, strippers and gunmen to the menu, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s a shift in resources that carries some risk. The keep-it-clean approach has made Nintendo one of the few good guys in an industry criticized for violence, the Journal notes. And that has translated into big bucks. “In his 21-year life as a game character, Super Mario has grossed more money globally — $7 billion in software sales — than the combined take of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson at box offices around the world.” But times change. Fearing erosion in market share thanks to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo over the next two months will spend $140 million to market videogames to American teens and 20-somethings, including promotions in nightclubs and tie-ins with brewer Heineken NV and others. New games will be edgier, sexier and more violent.