Selectively logged Amazon forests play important role in climate

With careful management, selectively logged tropical Amazonian forests can recover their carbon stocks within a cutting cycle of 20 to 30 years, according to researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 21. The findings show that sustainably logged tropical forests continue to play a key role in global carbon sequestration, with important implications for global climate.

Fracking Chemicals can cause Endocrine Disruption

There is mounting data to suggest that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can have adverse affects on the environment. A new study, however, suggests that populations living close to fracking sites also have a higher incidence of health complications.

Rutgers develops “Super Catnip”

A bigger more hearty catnip plant – whose enriched oil not only promises to drive cats crazy with pleasure but also may be a safer, more effective mosquito repellent – has been developed for specialized commercial farmers by Rutgers University.A super catnip has been developed by Rutgers that will allow commercial farmers to grow bigger yields at more affordable prices.The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), which has spent more than a decade developing the new breed, CR9, for the insect repellant and pet toy industries recently licensed the product to Ball Horticulture, an Illinois company that will produce the seeds for commercial farmers.

Alarming report on the health of our oceans

The sheer vastness of the oceans on this planet make it seem almost impossible that our actions could bring them to the point of no return, but a new report has found that we are causing an alarming decline of marine ecosystems and the species who rely on them.According to the World Wildlife Fund‘s (WWF) recently released Living Blue Planet Report, marine populations have declined by an astonishing 49 percent between 1970 and 2012, with with some fish species, including tuna, declining by almost 75 percent.

Fruits and vegetables are good for the mind

Eating a Mediterranean diet or other healthy dietary pattern, comprising of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and low in processed meats, is associated with preventing the onset of depression, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine. A large study of 15,093 people suggests depression could be linked with nutrient deficits.

High protein diets improve blood sugar control

New research presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) shows that high protein diets improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes without any adverse effects on kidney function. The research is by Mariya Markova, German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE), Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany, and colleagues. Previous studies have reported both favourable and adverse impacts of high-protein diet in type 2 diabetes. This new research compared the effects of two high-protein diets with the same number of calories--one from animal protein (AP) and one from plant protein (PP)--on metabolic functioning and liver fat.

Sea Turtles are making a Comeback!

Conservationists are celebrating news that endangered sea turtles are nesting in record numbers in the southeast from North Carolina to Florida, offering a promising sign that efforts to help protect them are paying off.Last week, researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) studying green sea turtles at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge declared that for the second time in the past three years they’re setting records after they counted 12,026 nests.“This is really a comeback story,” said Kate Mansfield, a UCF assistant professor of biology and lead of the Marine Turtle Research Group, which monitors the turtles during their nesting season that lasts from May 1 to October 1.The refuge, which was established in 1991, has become a vital haven for sea turtles. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it’s the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America, but they’re not the only ones benefiting.

Birds that flock to feeders are more likely to get sick, spread disease

Wild songbirds that prefer to eat at bird feeders have an increased risk of acquiring a common eye disease. In turn, these birds also spread the disease more quickly to their flock mates, according to an international research team led by Virginia Tech scientists.

Are “sustainable” pet foods better?

Many of its brands — and commercials — may be iconic, from Meow Mix to Alpo, but the fact is that the pet food industry is a relatively new business. For millennia, cats and dogs were simply fed unwanted table scraps. Go to a timeless fish market like the Besiktas in Istanbul, and the chances are high that visitors will see a fishmonger feeding a feline the day’s scraps. Wander through the timeless Central Market in Athens and observers will watch the same thing, only with tidbits of beef and lamb.Fast forward to the post-World War II era, however, and it was then that many food companies saw the benefits of marketing formulated pet foods to dog and cat owners. Growing affluence and the demand for convenience together inspired companies including General Foods, Nabisco and Purina (now owned by Nestlé) to enter the pet food sector. The profit margins were huge, as food waste that previously would have been discarded was recycled into what quickly became a lucrative new business.

Beet juice boosts muscle performance quickly

Scientists have evidence that Popeye was right: Spinach makes you stronger. But it’s the high nitrate content in the leafy greens — not the iron — that creates the effect. Building on a growing body of work that suggests dietary nitrate improves muscle performance in many elite athletes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that drinking concentrated beet juice — also high in nitrates — increases muscle power in patients with heart failure.“It’s a small study, but we see robust changes in muscle power about two hours after patients drink the beet juice,” said senior author Linda R. Peterson, MD, associate professor of medicine. “A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based — getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life. We want to help make people more powerful because power is such an important predictor of how well people do, whether they have heart failure, cancer or other conditions. In general, physically more powerful people live longer.”