August 14, 2012

    Photo: Flickr

Mutant Butterflies Traced to Fukushima

Radioactive fallout blamed for abnormalities

Butterflies collected from in and around the Fukushima nuclear disaster area suffer from mutations that indicate lasting ecological effects from the radioactive fallout. The butterflies are showing abnormalities in their legs, antennae, and abdomens, and have dents in their eyes, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Scientists collected the butterflies two months after the disaster and found that 12 percent of the samples suffered from abnormalities, with the rate of mutation increasing each generation. In a follow-up collection last September, scientists noted that the rate of mutation rose to 28 percent, and the number of mutated offspring increased to 52 percent of the sample. "Our results are consistent with the previous field studies that showed that butterfly populations are highly sensitive to artificial radionuclide contamination in Chernobyl and Fukushima," the study said. "Together, the present study indicates that the pale grass blue butterfly is probably one of the best indicator species for radionuclide contamination in Japan.” Because sensitivity to irradiation varies between species, there shouldn’t be concerns about these type of mutations in humans.

Via CNN

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Study: Egg Yolks Almost as Bad as Smoking

May increase carotid plaque build-up

Are eggs the cigarettes of the breakfast-food world? Almost, says one Canadian researcher. Dr. David Spence, a professor at Western University in Ontario, Canada, surveyed more than 1,200 people and found that regular egg yolk consumption is approximately two-thirds as bad as smoking in regards to the build up of carotid plaque, which is a risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. The mean age of participants in the study was around 62. Spence found that while plaque build up typically increases linearly after the age of 40, it increased exponentially when respondents either smoked or ate egg yolks regularly. This research directly contradicts the popular idea that moderate egg consumption has not been shown to contribute to heart disease. “The mantra ‘eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people’ has confused the issue," Spence says. He maintains that the plaque build up caused by egg yolk consumption is “independent of sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index and diabetes.” His findings were published in the journal Artherosclerosis.

Via The Atlantic Wire

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Firefighters drive to the frontlines of a Colorado forest fire.     Photo: USDAgov/Flickr

Firefighter Killed in Idaho Wildfire

An Oregon firefighter suffered burns

One wildland firefighter was killed in Idaho and another burned in Oregon in accidents over the weekend as wildfires continued to burn across the United States. Anne Veseth, a 20-year-old in her second season as a firefighter, died after being struck by a falling tree while fighting a blaze near Orofino, Idaho. "The Forest Service is devastated by the loss of one of our own," said Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell. In a separate incident, a firefighter working on the 525-square-mile Holloway Fire on the Oregon-Nevada border was sent to a Salt Lake City burn center for treatment after being forced into her emergency shelter by dust devils filled with fire.

Via New York Daily News

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Swimmers in the 2010 New York City Triathlon     Photo: Peter Galvin/Flickr

Triathlete Dead in NYC Ironman Identified

Hong Kong Policeman expired in the swim

A triathlete who died during the swimming leg of the Ironman U.S. Championship on Saturday has been identified as a 43-year-old officer in the Hong Kong Police Force. Ironman organizers said competitor Andy Naylor experienced "distress" toward the end of the 2.4-mile Hudson River swim, and that though he was pulled from the water, attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. “Our swim safety personnel were there within seconds,” organizer Jeff Korff said. “We can speculate on what happened until the cows come home. I think we were as well prepared as we could be.” Just days earlier, Naylor had set a course record at the TEVA Kayak 'n' Run competition in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. Ironman officials say the cause of death is unknown and an autopsy will be performed.

Via San Francisco Chronicle

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Shot Putter Stripped of Gold for Doping

Belarus athlete tested positive for steroids

The International Olympic Committee announced Monday that Belarus shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk would be stripped of her London Games gold medal after testing positive for steroids. Ostapchuk tested positive for the anabolic steroid metenolone on the day before and the day after her gold medal win. Defending champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand, who came in second to Ostapchuk, will now be awarded gold. It marks the first of the London medal standings in all 302 events to be altered by a positive doping test. "Catching cheats like this sends a message to all those who dope that we will catch them," I.O.C. spokesman Mark Adams told the Associated Press. The I.O.C. will store all samples from the London Games and intends to reanalyze them as newer and better doping tests become available.

Via CBC Sports

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