Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rare Cheetah Gets a Close Up

Learning about endangered species is no easy task. The Saharan cheetah falls into this category and is rarely seen - until now. A team from the Zoological Society of London has captured several images of the endangered animal. The images help identify individual animals and provide information about the allusive species, which little is know about. 

With fewer than 250 mature individuals in the wild, the Saharan cheetah faces extinction. By gathering images of the animals that roam just six countries (Algeria, Togo, Niger, Mali, Benin, and Burkina Faso), zoologists hope to understand the animals' movement and ecology. This information may help save the species. 

If nothing else, the images provide another face to a problem humans love to ignore - endangered species. 

Originally reported by the BBC. Photo by Farid Belbachir of the Zoological Society of London. 


Friday, February 20, 2009

Peanut Allergy Cure?

An allergy to peanuts is no joke. For some, just smelling peanuts can result in a fatal reaction. Which makes finding a cure all the more important and useful. A team from Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital may have done just that. The team effectively cured four children of their peanut allergy. 

Over the course of six mouths, the team gave the children larger and larger exposures to peanuts to build up their bodies' tolerance to the nut. By the end of the six month period the children could eat five peanuts a day and have no reaction. This is the first food allergy to be mitigated by exposure. 

Even though more testing needs to be done on the method, it does give people with the debilitating allergy hope. People with peanut allergies agonize over food products and often can't eat in certain restaurants because of the allergy. 

If the allergy is curable that means improved quality of life. (It also means airlines might start serving peanuts again. Here's hoping.) 

Originally reported by the BBC

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Universal Phone Charger on the Way

We've all done it - forgotten to charge our phone then appealed to a friend for theirs, but of course they have a different brand of phone so their charger won't work. This annoying scenario will be a thing of the past. 

The major phone companies - Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Orange, 3, AT&T and Vodafone - have agreed to come together and create a universal phone charger that can be used with any handset model. The majority of phones will support the new charger by 2012.  Additionally, the charger will be environmentally friendly and consume 50 percent less stand-by energy compared to today's chargers.  

Let's give props to the major phone companies for thinking about their customers and how they can make our lives easier. It's also impressive that they would make the charger use less energy. Too bad the iPhone isn't included! 

Originally reported by the BBC

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Toddler Recovers from "Drowning"

The average person can only survive without oxygen for less than six minutes. Oluchi Nwaubani, a two-year-old girl, is not your average person. According to brain scans, the girl went for 18 minutes without oxygen while she lay at the bottom of a London pool. 

Despite going without oxygen for three times the normal period, the girl has made a full recovery. Doctors originally believed Oluchi wouldn't be able to walk again and would have brain damage. There predictions have proven unwarranted, which may be due to the cold water Oluchi was submerged in. Doctors believe the cold temperatures inhibited the potential damage. 

Originally reported by the BBC

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Way to Test for Postpartum Depression

Until recently postpartum depression was a mystery. Doctors didn't know which women would be affected. That has changed with the release of a study conducted by researchers at the University of California. They found increased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) - produced by the placenta - indicates women at risk for developing depression after they give birth. 

The study is a break through when it comes to identifying the disease and preventing its debilitating effects. Now women can be screened so they know if they are at risk for postpartum depression, which is the first step to treating it. 

Originally reported by Reuters.