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Drylands, where 38 percent of the world's population lives, can be protected from the irreversible damage of desertification if local residents and managers at all levels would follow basic sustainability principles, according to a panel of experts writing in the May 11 issue of the journal Science.

The causes of "broken heart syndrome" remain a mystery, but doctors will soon have an easier time recognizing and treating this rare, life-threatening condition, thanks to data being reported at the 30th Annual Scientific Sessions of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), May 9–12, 2007, in Orlando, FL.

Does sex education promote sex among children or discourage it? What about drug campaigns?

Shape Up Somerville: Eat Smart. Play Hard.™ a community-based environmental change intervention to prevent obesity in culturally diverse, early elementary school children reduced weight gain over one school year.

Many products, such as golf clubs or cameras, are designed for consumers of a certain skill level. However, deciding what product would be most appropriate is often based on skewed self-assessment, leading to a purchase of equipment that may be too advanced or too basic. A revealing new study from the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research shows how these choices may be affected by marketing strategies and provides insight into how consumers can better select the right products for their particular skill level.

Collaborating with scientists in the United States and from around the world, Mengshi Lin, assistant professor of food science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, has successfully used a new approach combining DNA sequencing technique with mid-infrared spectroscopy to rapidly and accurately identify Alicyclobacillus, a common bacterium found in apple, carrot, tomato, orange and pear juices, tropical fruit juices and juice blends. The bacterium won't cause human sickness, but it affects flavor and results in spoilage.

New scientific evidence is helping to build a compelling case for oncolytic viruses as a first-line and adjunctive treatment for many cancers.

Drinking farm milk can protect children against asthma and hayfever, according to a study of nearly 15,000 children published in the May issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

But consuming farm milk that hasn’t been boiled may pose health risks and further research is needed to develop a safe product that still provides good protection against these common childhood diseases.

Researchers from Europe and the USA studied 14,893 children aged between five and 13 in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

A novel catheter technique for patching holes in the heart may make it possible for many patients to avoid surgery altogether and others to regain enough strength to safely undergo surgical repair at a later date.

The patch successfully closed ventricular septal defects (VSDs)—or ruptures in the wall between the right and left ventricles—in nearly all patients, allowing blood to circulate normally again and relieving fluid back-up in the lungs. After recovery, patients were able to return to active lives.

The presence of ecologically distinct males and females greatly increases a species' niche, say researchers.