Tech

After two years of design, experimentation, fund-raising and building, the University of Arizona's Solar Decathlon team has completed construction of its 800-square-foot solar-powered house on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The UA's team will compete with entries from 14 other states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany and Spain.

The Solar Decathlon effort is but one of the UA's efforts to broaden the horizon of sustainable architecture and building.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A new mobile air research laboratory will help a team of researchers led by a Michigan State University professor better understand the damaging health effects of air pollution and why certain airborne particles – emitted from plants and vehicles – induce disease and illness.

Jack Harkema, a University Distinguished Professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation in the College of Veterinary Medicine, will deploy the new 53-foot, 36,000-pound center – dubbed "AirCARE 2" – throughout southern Michigan, including metropolitan Detroit.

Health insurance, and the access it provides to a primary care physician, should reduce the use of a major driver of health care costs: the emergency room.

Yet in a policy brief released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, researchers found that in California, privately insured African Americans enrolled in HMOs are far more likely to use the ER and to delay getting needed prescription drugs than HMO-insured members of other racial and ethnic groups. The research was funded by the California Office of the Patient Advocate.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers are developing a new type of rocket propellant made of a frozen mixture of water and "nanoscale aluminum" powder that is more environmentally friendly than conventional propellants and could be manufactured on the moon, Mars and other water-bearing bodies.

The aluminum-ice, or ALICE, propellant might be used to launch rockets into orbit and for long-distance space missions and also to generate hydrogen for fuel cells, said Steven Son, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

Starting this month, a giant NASA DC-8 aircraft loaded with geophysical instruments and scientists will buzz at low level over the coasts of West Antarctica, where ice sheets are collapsing at a pace far beyond what scientists expected a few years ago. The flights, dubbed Operation Ice Bridge, are an effort by NASA in cooperation with university researchers to image what is happening on, and under, the ice, in order to estimate future sea-level rises that might result.

San Diego, CA – Obesity in children significantly increases the risk of major and minor respiratory complications following surgery to correct sleep disordered breathing (SDB), according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, CA.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Batteries can power anything from small sensors to large systems. While scientists are finding ways to make them smaller but even more powerful, problems can arise when these batteries are much larger and heavier than the devices themselves. University of Missouri researchers are developing a nuclear energy source that is smaller, lighter and more efficient.

Although many specialized hospitals deliver better and faster services in cardiac care and other specialties, a paper being presented at the annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) maintains that these hospitals cherry-pick patients to achieve these results, and that average patients actually receive worse care.

October 5, 2009 -- Patients continue to enter home healthcare ''sicker and quicker," often with complex health problems that may require extensive nursing care. This increases the risk of needlestick injuries in home healthcare nurses. While very few studies have focused on the risks of home healthcare, it is the fastest growing healthcare sector in the U.S. In a recent study, led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the rate of needlestick-type injuries was 7.6 per 100 nurses.

Coastal roads and harbors are traditionally protected from sea erosion by giant blocks of rock or geosynthetic bags filled with material, all locally sourced where possible. In the Arctic and other cold northern regions, where good quality material is often scarce, the prohibitive economic and environmental cost of importing suitable matter has led to a demand for solutions that make use of whatever low quality soil or other material is available.

Area-wide traffic calming schemes that discourage through-traffic from using residential roads are effective at reducing traffic-related injuries in high-income countries and may even reduce deaths. However, more research needs to be carried out to see whether these interventions will work in low- and middle-income countries, according to a Cochrane Systematic Review of the available evidence.

New, less invasive surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence in women are just as effective as traditional open surgical approaches, according to Cochrane Researchers. The researchers carried out a systematic review of trials comparing different surgical approaches to treating the condition.

Contracting private providers of healthcare services and giving cash incentives to patients are two strategies that have been proposed to increase access to healthcare in low income countries. In two new Cochrane Systematic Reviews of public healthcare policies in poor and middle income countries, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of these approaches for increasing use of health care services. The cash incentives review is the first ever systematic review on this subject.

The 'Coastland Map' produced by scientists from Durham University and published in the Journal GSA Today, charts the post Ice-Age tilt of the UK and Ireland and current relative sea-level changes. According to the map, the sinking effect in the south could add between 10 and 33 per cent to the projected sea-level rises caused by global warming over the next century. *