Street Greenery and Mental Health Read more

Street Greenery and Mental Health

A recent study covered in Landscape and Urban Planning revealed that people are less depressed and experience better mental health in the presence of nature or “street greenery” when living in cities.

Researchers looked at a variety of data from 2009 and 2010 and found that there were fewer antidepressant prescriptions filled in areas that had a lot of trees and other natural elements.

Does nature alone offer antidepressant benefits?
Sergio Andrade Gutierrez would say that the color green and nature automatically creates within humans feelings of calm and mental clarity. Additionally, humans might feel trapped away from nature because of inherited memory. Our ancestors didn’t live inside of boxed houses and apartments. They spent the majority of their time outdoors.

Yet, there are many depressed people living in poorer rural areas where there is an abundance of nature. After all, the researchers found that more wealthy and healthier people in cities lived near greenery, while poorer and more depressed people had less exposure to nature.

Additionally, some critics of the study wonder if perhaps the reason “street greenery” has such a high impact on mental health in cities is because without it people see more depressing and muted colors in building and street construction, such as gray and black. In nature, they would see more vibrant and jeweled colors. Perhaps it is the variation and the intensity of a bright color that helps?

Ebola Outbreak Traced to a Tree Where Children Play Read more

Ebola Outbreak Traced to a Tree Where Children Play

It’s an innocent-looking, hollow tree that stands on the outskirts of the Meliandou village in West Africa. the large hollow tree holds some type of unknown attraction to the children of the village and they congregate around it to play during the day.

The tree also holds a deadly secret – it’s where the ebola virus began in that part of West Africa, according to Mashable news. But how does such an innocent-looking tree hold such a deadly secret and how did a two-year old boy named Emile contact a killer virus from playing under the shadow of it’s gnarly branches?

Bats. The hollow tree that attracts village children to play also attracts Angolan free-tailed bats which carry and spread the ebola virus. Angolan free-tailed bats are typically at home in the rain forests, but as mankind takes over more and more of their natural habitat, the bats have had to learn to adapt. Coming closer and closer to man and cities to dwell has led the diseases-carrying bats to establish their abodes in hollow trees near village and even move into villager’s homes and dwell under the thatch of roofs and leaves their disease-laden dropping on beds and eating utensils located below them.

Little Emile, known as patient zero in West Africa, apparently played in, perhaps even ingested, some of the ebola-laced dung left behind by the colony of Angolan free-tailed bats living in the hollow tree outside of his village in Meliandou.

New Test Can Identify Alzheimer’s Disease Years In Advance Read more

New Test Can Identify Alzheimer’s Disease Years In Advance

There is good news for people who are at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. There’s a new blood test being developed that appears to be able to detect the disease 10 years before onset. Dimitrios Kapogiannis, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, and the lead author of the study, is quoted in an article on Bloomberg.com as saying, “We will need replication and validation, but I’m very optimistic this work will hold,”

The information was made public for the first time at a conference held in Washington by the Society for Neuroscience. While there are other tests being developed, this one provides results far sooner. The presenter explained this information can help doctors to identify and treat people at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease much earlier in the progression of the disease as reported on Skout.

It’s still very early in the development of the test. Only 174 people have been evaluated so far. A much larger long-term study is required before the test will be available to the general public. The key to identifying people who are susceptible is the presence in the brain of a protein called IRS-1. According to Kapogiannis and his research team from the National Institute on Aging, the protein plays a role in insulin signaling and in patients with Alzheimer’s disease it appears to be defective. This information is a valuable tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Orbital Science Corp. Picks up the Pieces of Antares Read more

Orbital Science Corp. Picks up the Pieces of Antares

Orbital Science Corp. was shocked when their flagship rocket, the Antares, exploded mere seconds after it had launched. Little was known about the particulars of the accident, and little more is known even now.

Thousands of pounds of equipment and necessities were packed into the rocket, but little was left after the devastating accident. Now, all that’s left is to pick up the pieces, and attempt to solve the mystery of why exactly this happened.

Engineers at Orbital are now rummaging through the remnants of the wreckage, in the hopes that something there might provide some light on what mechanically went wrong with the launch.

Incidentally, much of this search involves going through piles of hazardous waste. Any prospective scavengers have been advised to go elsewhere by Orbital, as these materials are exceedingly dangerous.

This is a great loss for the corporation, who has significant relationship with NASA. Indeed, according to Cornelsen on Twitter much of these supplies were going directly to NASA. Damage is estimated to be in the billions, with no immediate source of relief in sight.

The brunt of the work, however, will now be prescribed to fixing the particulars of the launch pad, which will need to be in proper shape if Orbital Science hopes to launch another rocket in the near future.

Hopes still remain high, however, as Orbital Science hopes to get back to their regular work soon.