New Model Helps Hospitals Better Respond to Potential Bioterror

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced the availability of a new computer model to help hospitals and health systems plan antibiotic dispensing and vaccination campaigns to respond to bioterrorism or large-scale natural disease outbreaks. Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, this new resource is the nation’s first computerized staffing model that can be downloaded as a spreadsheet and used to calculate the specific needs of local health care systems based on the number of staff they have and the number of patients they would need to treat quickly in a bioterrorism event.

Researchers Say Deadly Twist Key To Sickle Cell Disease

Patients with sickle cell disease have mutant haemoglobin proteins that form deadly long, stiff fibres inside red blood cells. A research team led by University of Warwick researcher Dr Matthew Turner, propose a mathematical model in the 28 March online issue of PRL to explain the persistent stability of these deadly fibres. The theory suggests that an inherent “twistiness” in the strands that make up the fibres could be the key to their durability and possibly to new treatments.

Computer calculates when reinforced concrete will rust

Dutch researchers have developed a computer model that calculates the rate at which salt and moisture penetrate reinforced concrete. The model can be used for both the design of new concrete structures as well as analysing the lifespan of existing ones. Sander Meijers from Delft University of Technology studied the relationship between moisture transport and salt penetration in concrete. Concrete structures such as bridges and dams are designed with as long a lifespan as possible. If these structures are built in the sea or are exposed a lot to gritting salt then the reinforcement rods in the concrete eventually rust over the course of time.

NASA-funded research looking at El Ni?o events to forecast western US snowfall

A NASA-funded study uses a computer model to understand an observed link between winter and spring snowfall in the Western U.S. and El Ni?o Southern Oscillation. Almost 75 to 85 percent of water resources in the Western U.S come from snow that accumulates in the winter and early spring and melts as runoff in spring and summer. Understanding this connection and using it to predict future snowfall rates would greatly help both citizens and policy makers.

Hibernating Squirrels Provide Clues for Stroke, Parkinson’s

A compound that enables squirrels to hibernate may one day help minimize brain damage that results from stroke. In an animal model for stroke, delta opioid peptide reduced by as much as 75 percent the damage to the brain’s striatum, the deeper region of the brain and a major target for strokes, according to researchers. In fact, evidence suggests that the compound, which puts cells in a temporary state of suspended animation, may help protect brain cells from the ravages of Parkinson’s disease as well.