Trust your gut, it controls more than you may know

Most people are familiar with the role of DNA: A set of genetic instructions on how a particular living organism should function. This nucleic acid has been widely explored as a way to identify individuals, define illnesses or hereditary diseases and contribute to behavior, among many other clues about an individual. However, there may be another complex feature of human anatomy that influences many surprising aspects of human...

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Living in a city within a park

A satellite view of Baltimore, Maryland, would show plenty of abandoned buildings and parking lots, with parks—such as Patterson and Gwynns Falls parks—scattered throughout. However, while there is an abundance of concrete and asphalt within the city limits, Baltimore is not a city in isolation. Like Washington, D.C. and other nearby urban areas, Baltimore lies within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This means Baltimore residents get...

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Gulf seafood safety and the government’s response

This post contributed by Terence Houston, ESA Science Policy Analyst.                   Since oil began leaking from a rig in the Gulf of Mexico last April, concerns regarding the safety of the region’s seafood abounded. Now, more than two months after the leak was sealed, public officials, federal scientists and even President Obama have all been saying that seafood from the Gulf region is...

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How a polluted environment can lead to illness

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics revealed alarming findings: A link between children diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and traces of the breakdown of organophosphate pesticides in their urine. Specifically, the higher the concentration of metabolized pesticides like dimethyl alkylphosphate the researchers found in a participant’s urine, the more likely he or she met the criteria for an...

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Nutrient enrichment linked to diseases in humans and wildlife

Scientists have provided a rather grim prognosis for global health: the recent increase in nutrient enrichment due to human activities, such as nitrogen pollution through fossil fuel combustion, is likely contributing to several varieties of infectious diseases in humans and wildlife. Lead author Pieter Johnson from the University of Colorado and colleagues referenced several studies showing the links—both direct and indirect—between...

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The health benefits of spending time in the great outdoors

According to a study published last month in the Archives of Ophthalmology, nearsightedness, called myopia, has increased in the U.S. by 66% since the early 1970s. And the intensity of the disorder has also increased—that is, the prevalence of people with moderate cases of myopia has nearly doubled since the 70s. Susan Vitale, an epidemiologist at the National Eye Institute and the study’s co-author, partly attributes this prevalence...

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