Scientists Re-evaluating the Meaning of 'Desertification'

A Duke University ecologist is leading an international scientific reassessment of the causes and effects of desertification, a term he said has been subject to misinterpretation and oversimplification. In a new book he co-edited, and as organizer of a new ARIDnet research network that will study desertification worldwide, James F. Reynolds is seeking to better explain the interconnected factors that cause sensitive dry land environments to sometimes degrade to points of no return.

New age for Mungo Man, new human history

A new study has finally got scientists to agree on the age of Mungo Man, Australia’s oldest human remains, and the consensus is he is 22,000 years younger. Mungo Man’s new age is 40,000 years. The research also boosted the age of Mungo Lady, the world’s first recorded cremation, by 10,000 years putting her at the same age as Mungo Man. It is the first time scientists have reached a broad agreement on the ages of the Lake Mungo remains.

Scientists hone in on cause of amphibian deformities

A dramatic increase in deformed frogs and other amphibians is being caused by a range of environmental factors, all of which can ultimately be linked to human impacts on habitat, but the primary cause of many of the deformities is an epidemic of a key parasite. These findings are the results of eight years of research by scientists around the world, and are presented in the February issue of Scientific American by researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin.

Scientists Find that Ulcer-Causing Pathogen Uses Hydrogen for Energy

In a new study, a microbiologist has discovered that the bacteria associated with almost all human ulcers – one that is also correlated with the development of certain types of gastric cancer in humans – uses hydrogen as an energy source. The finding is novel because most bacteria use sugars and other carbohydrates to grow, says Dr. Jonathan Olson, assistant professor of microbiology at North Carolina State. The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori does not.

Scientists Grow Nano Blood Vessels

Traditional heart bypass surgeries require using veins from the leg to replace damaged blood vessels. Using a nanotechnology developed by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers, doctors soon could be using artificial blood vessels grown in a laboratory to help save half a million lives every year. The new technology produces a natural human blood vessel grown around a scaffold, or tube, made of collagen. Using a process called electrospinning, VCU scientists are making tubes as small as one millimeter in diameter. That’s more than four times smaller than the width of a drinking straw and six times smaller than the smallest commercially available vascular graft.