Tech

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have discovered a new eco-friendly way of dissolving wood using ionic liquids that may help its transformation into popular products such as bio fuels, textiles, clothes and paper.

Dr Héctor Rodríguez and Professor Robin Rogers from the University's School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering worked along with The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, to come up with a more cost and energy efficient way of processing wood.

A new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Baystate Medical Center at Tufts University in Massachusetts concludes that patients facing coronary artery bypass surgery should, as a first priority, select a medical facility that has the highest adherence to quality standards.

ATS 2009, SAN DIEGO—Patients with moderate COPD were randomized to receive "usual care" or to undergo an interdisciplinary, community-based program (INTERCOM) that offered an intensive lifestyle moderation phase of four months, during which patients were instructed in detail to perform two 15-minute intervals of pleasurable walking or cycling, and offered instruction in other lifestyle changes such as nutrition and smoking cessation.

Hospitals across Canada are seeking ways to free up beds. University of Alberta researcher Donna Wilson has a suggestion: people should be encouraged to die at home rather than in hospital.

She looked at statistics dating back to 1950 and has found that there's been a dramatic change in the location of death of Canadians. Up until 1994, about 80 per cent of people dying each year were passing on in hospital. Now that number is down to 61 per cent, and Wilson is hoping the trend continues.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Some researchers hope to turn plants into a renewable, nonpolluting replacement for crude oil. To achieve this, scientists have to learn how to convert plant biomass into a building block for plastics and fuels cheaply and efficiently. In new research, chemists have successfully converted cellulose -- the most common plant carbohydrate -- directly into the building block called HMF in one step.

Rice University's Andrew Barron and his group, working with labs in Italy, Germany and Greece, have identified specific molecules that could block the means by which the deadly virus spreads by taking away its ability to bind with other proteins.

Using computer simulations, researchers tested more than 100 carbon fullerene, or C-60, derivatives initially developed at Rice for other purposes to see if they could be used to inhibit a strain of the virus, HIV-1 PR, by attaching themselves to its binding pocket.

"Medical and nursing students don't have many opportunities to train together and interact with pharmacists and hospital managers until they are in a professional setting – the students' lack of experience and confidence can affect patient care," said Gretchen Gregory, clinical instructor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. "Group simulation requires students to interact with other health professionals and care for patients as a team."

MADISON, WI, MAY 18, 2009 –Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) carried in biosolids (i.e., treated sewage sludge) may reach surface waters or groundwater when these materials are applied as fertilizer to agricultural land. During the high flow conditions created by land application of liquid municipal biosolids (LMB) the residence time of solutes in soil macropores may be too short for sorption equilibration which increases the risk for leaching. Physically based solute transport simulation models are widely used in environmental risk assessment for pesticides.

ATS 2009, SAN DIEGO—Research conducted seven years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City (NYC) found that children attending the socioeconomically and ethnically homogeneous elementary school closest to Ground Zero have high rates of self-reported asthma and airway obstruction.

The research will be presented on Tuesday, May 19 at the American Thoracic Society's 105th International Conference in San Diego.

Last year's energy crisis highlighted an unforseen by-product of the looming fuel shortages of the 21st century. Petroleum-based products such as plastics that society takes for granted but now requires to function will run out with the oil. Scientists are looking to microorganisms to pick up the slack and help produce environmentally friendly plastics, according to research presented today at the 109th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

A new 3-minute test could help in diagnosing prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the UK, according to scientists.

Researchers have developed the test by using light energy to measure the level of citrate in fluid samples from the prostate gland. The technique could provide the basis of a rapid means of detecting prostate cancer in the future. Almost a quarter of male cancers in the UK are diagnosed as prostate cancer and more than 10,000 men die from the disease each year.

A novel vaccine strategy using virus-like particles (VLPs) could provide stronger and longer-lasting influenza vaccines with a significantly shorter development and production time than current ones, allowing public health authorities to react more quickly in the event of a potential pandemic.

PROVIDENCE, RI – It is time for states to suspend, rather than terminate, the Medicaid benefits of inmates while they are incarcerated, say correctional health care experts from The Miriam Hospital in a commentary published online by the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Although federal law does not mandate Medicaid termination for prisoners, 90 percent of states have implemented policies that withdraw inmates' enrollment upon incarceration, which the authors say leaves a vulnerable population uninsured following release.

Many scientists currently think at least 5 percent of humanity's carbon footprint comes from the concrete industry, both from energy use and the carbon dioxide (CO2) byproduct from the production of cement, one of concrete's principal components.

Yet several studies have shown that small quantities of CO2 later reabsorb into concrete, even decades after it is emplaced, when elements of the material combine with CO2 to form calcite.