According to a new investigation that involved rescue workers exposed to dust from the World Trade Center (WTC), metabolic syndrome biomarkers predict decline in lung function later in life following particulate exposure. Findings from the study were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 327 non-smoking FDNY 9/11 rescue workers were enrolled to participate in a nested case-control investigation. Researchers measured metabolic syndrome biomarkers within six months of exposure to WTC dust. The measurements predicted a decline of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) over the next 6 years. Anna Nolan, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of Medicine and Environmental Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained: "Study participants with dyslipidemia, elevated heart rate or elevated leptin levels had a significantly increased risk of developing abnormal lung function during follow-up.
Health costs exceeding $14 billion dollars, 21, 000 emergency room visits, nearly 1, 700 deaths, and 9, 000 hospitalizations are among the staggering impacts of six climate change-related events in the United States during the last decade, according to a first-of-its-kind study published in November 2011 edition of the journal Health Affairs. "When extreme weather hits, we hear about the property damage and insurance costs. The healthcare costs never end up on the tab, but that doesn't mean they're not there, " said lead author Kim Knowlton, DrPH, assistant clinical professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Senior Scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "Right now, there's a gaping hole in our understanding of the health-related costs of climate change.
Lawyers representing over 5, 000 Haitian cholera victims are suing the United Nations and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for bringing the disease into their country. The cholera epidemic resulted in more than 475, 000 registered cases of sickness and over 6, 000 deaths. They say MINUSTAH brought cholera into Haiti in October 2010. The Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti (IJDH-BAI) is providing legal assistance. BAI stands for Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (international bureau of lawyers). BAI, located in Port-au-Prince, consists of trained Haitian lawyers who have spoken out on justice issues since 1995. The Haitian cholera epidemic started at the end of October 2010 in the Artibonite Department of Haiti, a rural area approximately 60 miles (100km) from Port-au-Prince, the country's capital.
Wildfires kill and, too often, fatalities are caused by a lack of situational awareness, said Kelly Cohen. Timely information can prevent wildfire deaths, especially among first responders, said Cohen, associate professor of aerospace engineering & engineering mechanics at the University of Cincinnati. Cohen supervises a project known as SIERRA (Surveillance for Intelligent Emergency Response Robotic Aircraft) which integrates small, unmanned aircraft with global positioning systems, environmental data, video and fire-prediction software to give real-time information about where a fire is burning, and where it is moving. "What we are designing is a complete system, " Cohen said. "It is low-cost and low-risk. That is important for this application because, while the technology is ready, firefighters are not quick to adopt new technologies.
Spiders are very agile, and some can even jump. They owe this capability to their hydraulically operated limbs. Researchers have now designed a mobile robot modeled on the same principle that moves spider legs. Created using a 3-D printing process, this lightweight can explore terrain that is beyond human reach. Enviably agile and purposeful, the mobile robot makes its way through grounds rendered off-limits to humans as the result of a chemical accident. Depressions, ruts and other obstacles are no match for this eight-legged high-tech journeyman. Its mission: with a camera and measurement equipment on board, it will provide emergency responders with an image of the situation on the ground, along with any data about poisonous substances. Not an easy task; after all, it must be prevented from tipping over.