Tech

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 19, 2009 -- Sustainable farming, initially adopted to preserve soil quality for future generations, may also play a role in maintaining a healthy climate, according to researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge and Los Alamos national laboratories.

PROVIDENCE, RI – A commentary in the December issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases brings to light the gaps in knowledge on the transmission of a common pathogen – the influenza virus – and its impact on decisions about how best to protect health care workers. Infectious diseases specialist Leonard Mermel, DO, medical director of infection control for Rhode Island Hospital, looks at the ongoing debate in light of the H1N1 pandemic, what past research tells us about the spread of influenza, and what is missing in the debate.

Obese patients are no more likely to have post-operative complications than those of average weight when undergoing robotic surgery to remove uterine fibroids, according to a study at Henry Ford Hospital.

Myomectomy is a procedure that removes uterine fibroids, leaving the uterus intact and preserving the ability for future pregnancies.

William Shakespeare, who knew a thing or two about words, advised that "An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told." But the exact meaning of plain language isn't always easy to find. Even simple words like "most" and "least" can vary greatly in definition and interpretation, and are difficult to put into precise numbers.

The ocean is a potentially vast source of electric power, yet as engineers test new technologies for capturing it, the devices are plagued by battering storms, limited efficiency, and the need to be tethered to the seafloor.

Now, a team of aerospace engineers is applying the principles that keep airplanes aloft to create a new wave-energy system that is durable, extremely efficient, and can be placed anywhere in the ocean, regardless of depth.

India may rank only a distant fourth in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, behind China, the United States and Russia, but its rapid economic growth rate coupled with aging and inefficient energy infrastructure suggest dire environmental consequences if "business as usual" continues. That's why experts from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been working to expand collaborations with India on energy efficiency.

The oceans play a key role in regulating climate, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air. Now, the first year-by-year accounting of this mechanism during the industrial era suggests the oceans are struggling to keep up with rising emissions—a finding with potentially wide implications for future climate. The study appears in this week's issue of the journal Nature, and is expanded upon in a separate website.

A new generation of "green" automobile tires that can boost fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety and durability is rolling their way through the research pipeline. The new tires could help add an extra mile or two per gallon to a car's fuel economy. That's the topic of the cover story of the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, (C&EN) ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

Scientists are reporting evidence that air pollution — a well-recognized problem at major airports — may pose an important but largely overlooked health concern for people living near smaller regional airports. Those airports are becoming an increasingly important component of global air transport systems. The study, one of only a handful to examine airborne pollutants near regional airports, suggests that officials should pay closer attention to these overlooked emissions, which could cause health problems for local residents.

An analysis of quality of cardiac care following the public release of data on measures of care at hospitals in Ontario, Canada, did not result in significant systemwide improvement in hospitals' performance on most quality of care indicators, according to a study to be published in the December 2 issue of JAMA. The study is being released early online because of its presentation at an American Heart Association scientific conference.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - New MIT research points the way to a technology that might make it possible to harvest much of the wasted heat produced by everything from computer processor chips to car engines to electric powerplants, and turn it into usable electricity.

The goal of an integrated, miniaturized laboratory analysis system, also known as a "lab-on-a-chip," is simple: sample in, answer out. However, researchers wanting to use these microfluidic devices to analyze complex solutions containing particulates or other contaminating materials often find that the first part of the process isn't so easy. Effective sample preparation from these solutions can be laborious, expensive and time-consuming, involving complicated laboratory methods that must be performed by skilled technicians.

November 13, 2009, New York, NY. Family caregivers can significantly reduce suffering in cancer patients at home through use of simple touch and massage techniques. These findings were recently reported at the 6th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

ITHACA, N.Y. - With a bit of leverage, Cornell researchers have used a very tiny beam of light with as little as 1 milliwatt of power to move a silicon structure up to 12 nanometers. That's enough to completely switch the optical properties of the structure from opaque to transparent.

Even if you are not a cook, you might have wondered why a pinch of flour (or any small particles) thrown into a bowl of water will disperse in a dramatic fashion, radiating outward as if it was exploding. Pushpendra Singh, PhD, a mechanical engineering professor at NJIT who has studied and written about the phenomenon, has not only thought about it, but can explain why.