Three trillion trees on Earth, half as many as before humans

Three trillion trees on Earth, half as many as before humans

Each year, humans reduce the number of trees worldwide by 15 billion. This is one of the startling conclusions of new research published in the journal Nature. The study also estimates the Earth is home to more than three trillion trees – that’s 3,000 billion – so you may think that while 15 billion is a very large number, humans shouldn’t be at risk of making significant changes to global tree cover.

Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider confirms tiny drops of early universe 'perfect' fluid

Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider confirms tiny drops of early universe 'perfect' fluid

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a particle collider for nuclear physics research at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, smashes large nuclei together at close to the speed of light to recreate the primordial soup of fundamental particles that existed in the very early universe. Experiments at RHIC-a DOE Office of Science User Facility that attracts more than 1,000 collaborators from around the world-have shown that this primordial soup, known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP), flows like a nearly friction free "perfect" liquid.

Isthminia panamensis: New species of ancient river dolphin discovered

Isthminia panamensis: New species of ancient river dolphin discovered

Examination of fossil fragments from Panama has led Smithsonian scientists and colleagues to the discovery of a new genus and species of river dolphin that has been long extinct. The team named it Isthminia panamensis. The specimen not only revealed a new species to science, but also shed new light onto the evolution of today's freshwater river dolphin species.

Radioactive contaminants found in coal ash

A new Duke University-led study has revealed the presence of radioactive contaminants in coal ash from all three major U.S. coal-producing basins.

The study found that levels of radioactivity in the ash were up to five times higher than in normal soil, and up to 10 times higher than in the parent coal itself because of the way combustion concentrates radioactivity.

The finding raises concerns about the environmental and human health risks posed by coal ash, which is currently unregulated and is stored in coal-fired power plants' holding ponds and landfills nationwide.

Neuron responsible for alcoholism found

Scientists have pinpointed a population of neurons in the brain that influences whether one drink leads to two, which could ultimately lead to a cure for alcoholism and other addictions.

A study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, finds that alcohol consumption alters the structure and function of neurons in the dorsomedial striatum, a part of the brain known to be important in goal-driven behaviors. The findings could be an important step toward creation of a drug to combat alcoholism.

Poor women twice as likely to develop clinical anxiety as poor men

Women living in poor areas in the UK are almost twice as likely to develop clinical anxiety as women in richer areas. However, whether men lived in poorer or richer areas made no difference to their levels of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). These are amongst the main findings of a major survey on how socio-economic factors affect mental health in the UK.

Disruption of a crucial cellular machine may kill the engine of deadly cancers

In a way, cancer resembles a runaway car with a gas pedal stuck to the floor, hurling out of control. Most new targeted cancer therapies seek to fix the gas pedal itself, and thus thwart the aggressive behavior of the tumor. But for many types of cancers, the pedal simply cannot be repaired, so new alternatives are desperately needed. A team at Baylor College of Medicine has discovered a way to step on the brakes of some of the deadliest cancers.

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power and more secure way to communicate information between wearable electronic devices, providing an improved alternative to existing wireless communication systems, researchers said. They presented their findings Aug. 26 at the 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in Milan, Italy.

With tobacco, what you don't know can kill you sooner

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Most people know smoking is risky. But that’s not news smokers can use.

What they can benefit from is knowing the varying levels of risk associated with different tobacco products, according to public health researchers at the University at Buffalo, who found that a large number of people aren’t aware of the differences.

Smoking prevalence stays the same but people who want to quit are up

Smoking prevalence has stayed the same but the proportion with no intention of quitting has risen in the last seven years, according to results from the latest EUROASPIRE surveys presented for the first time today at ESC Congress 2015 by Professor Kornelia Kotseva, chair of the EUROASPIRE Steering Committee and senior clinical research fellow at Imperial College London, UK.