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Microbial biologists, including the University of Oregon's Jessica L. Green, may not have Jimmy Buffett's music from 1977 in mind, but they are changing attitudes about evolutionary diversity on Earth, from oceanic latitudes to mountainous altitudes.

Even if you don't like the outdoors, you're probably pretty fond of air, clean water and food.

That makes you a fan of biodiversity, because those essentials for life-human and otherwise-are maintained as a direct result of the Earth's biodiversity, the abundance and variety of species and populations on the planet. Preserving a substantial amount of biodiversity is critical to a healthy future for us, but how best to do that has been a subject of ongoing debate.

DALLAS – Aug. 11, 2008 – Small, specially designed bits of ribonucleic acid (RNA) can interfere with cholesterol metabolism, reducing harmful cholesterol by two-thirds in pre-clinical tests, according to a new study by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in collaboration with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research led by UK and Australian scientists sheds new light on the role that our ancestors played in the extinction of Australia's prehistoric animals. The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, provides the first evidence that Tasmania's giant kangaroos and marsupial 'rhinos' and 'leopards' were still roaming the island when humans first arrived. The findings suggest that the mass extinction of Tasmania's large prehistoric animals was the result of human hunting, and not climate change as previously believed.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Despite the popularity of spicy cuisine among Homo sapiens, the hotness in chili peppers has always been something of an evolutionary mystery.

A plant creates fruit in order to entice animals to eat and disperse its seeds, so it doesn't make sense for that fruit to be painfully hot, said University of Florida zoology professor and evolutionary ecologist Douglas Levey.

But according to new research by Levey and six colleagues from other universities, chilies have a very good reason to make themselves hot. It boils down to protection.

Patients who use proton pump inhibitors for 7 or more years to treat reflux, peptic ulcers and other conditions are at greater risk of osteoporosis-related fractures, according to this large observational study, http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg319.pdf, of 15,792 patients published in CMAJ.

There is specifically an increased risk of hip fracture after 5 years of continuous exposure and an increased risk of any fracture after 7 years continuous exposure. Short-term exposure did not appear to increase risk of fractures.

Despite the possibility of shorter waiting times for surgery, a majority of patients were unlikely to consider changing surgeons, according to this cross-sectional study of 1200 patients, http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg327.pdf, who either were awaiting or had undergone hip or knee surgery.

Despite a median waiting time of 8 months, 63% would elect to continue with their surgeons.

This has implications for governments and healthcare policy makers in setting waiting-time guarantees.

On the eve of the Olympics, have we succeeded in addressing drug doping and its public health ramifications, asks Andrew Pipe in a guest editorial in CMAJ.

Drug doping, which has also affected athletes at the community level, has serious health risks and public health ramifications.

The anemia of chronic disease may be a beneficial, adaptive response to the underlying disease, rather than a negative effect of the illness, postulates an analysis article in CMAJ, http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg333.pdf.

The authors argue that anemia may be beneficial to patients with inflammatory disease, and advocate restraint in treating mild to moderate forms of anemia.

"The general assumption is that anemia is a disorder and that patients would be better off without it," state the authors.

Providing fruits for snacks and serving vegetables at dinner can shape a preschooler's eating patterns for his or her lifetime.

To combat the increasing problem of childhood obesity, researchers are studying how to get preschoolers to eat more fruits and vegetables. According to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, one way is early home interventions — teaching parents how to create an environment where children reach for a banana instead of potato chips.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins are reporting what is believed to be the most conclusive evidence to date that inadequate levels of vitamin D, obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, lead to substantially increased risk of death.

STANFORD, Calif. - Regular running slows the effects of aging, according to a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine that has tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years. Elderly runners have fewer disabilities, a longer span of active life and are half as likely as aging nonrunners to die early deaths, the research found.

Some obese individuals do not appear to have an increased risk for heart disease, while some normal-weight individuals experience a cluster of heart risks, according to two reports in the August 11/25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Individuals with low levels of vitamin D appear to have a higher risk of death from all causes, according to a report in the August 11/25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

About half of U.S. adults age 20 and older have refractive errors, or eye problems that result in less than 20/20 vision, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.