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With over half of U.S. children ages 3-6 in child care centers, growing concern over childhood obesity has led physicians to focus on whether children are getting enough physical activity and a new study of outdoor physical activity at child care centers, conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has identified some surprising reasons why the kids may be staying inside.

“It’s things we never expected, from flip flops, mulch near the playground, children who come to child care without a coat on chilly days, to teachers talking or texting on cell phones while they were supposed to be supervising the children,” according to Kristen Copeland, M.D., lead author of the study.

Beads known to geologists as carbon cenospheres were formed from liquefied carbon deep in the earth when an asteroid struck some 65 million years ago, according to a new theory.

The carbon cenospheres were deposited next to a thin layer of the element iridium -- an element more likely to be found in Solar System asteroids than in the Earth's crust. The iridium-laden dust is believed to be the shattered remains of the 200-km-wide asteroid's impact. Like the iridium layer, the carbon cenospheres are apparently common. They've been found in Canada, Spain, Denmark and New Zealand.

But the cenospheres' origin presented a double mystery. Cenospheres had been known to geologists only as a sign of modern times -- they form during the intense combustion of coal and crude oil. Equally baffling, there were no power plants burning coal or crude oil 65 million years ago, and natural burial processes affecting organic matter from even older ages -- such as coals from the 300-million-year-old Carboniferous Period -- had simply not been cooked long or hot enough.


Over the past decades competition for fossil fuels and the concern that they are generating large quantities of contaminating gases have given rise to a growing scientific interest in the development of alternative energies.

Most current research is focused on hydrogen cells, the biggest advantages being that they do not generate contaminant gases and have water vapor as the only waste product. However, hydrogen is very expensive, both in production and distribution. It has to be kept and stored under conditions of very high pressure (more than 800 bars).

This is why hydrogen is dangerous and even more so when stored in vehicles travelling at high speed – a small crack in the storage container could have fatal consequences.

Whole-organ maps that superimpose genetic information over the terrain of cancerous bladders chart the molecular journey from normal cell to invasive cancer, an international research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports online ain Laboratory Investigation.

By geographically relating an organ’s varied tissues – normal, precancerous and malignant – to their underlying genetic variation or regulation, the team also identified a crucial new category of genes that launches the process of cancer development.

“These ‘forerunner genes’ are the ignition key that starts the engine of carcinogenesis,” said senior author Bogdan Czerniak, M.D., Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Pathology.

Want to live a long life? Your genes still don't make a difference (yet) according to research on the bone health of one of the oldest persons in the world who recently died at the age of 114 The study reveals that there were no genetic modifications which could have contributed to this longevity.

The research team, directed by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona professor Adolfo Díez Pérez, pointed out a healthy lifestyle, a Mediterranean diet, a temperate climate and regular physical activity as the reasons for his excellent health.

They studied the bone mass and analysed the genetics of a man with enviable health who at the time of the study was 113 years old. The research was carried out with four other members of his family: a 101-year-old brother, two daughters aged 81 and 77, and a nephew aged 85, all of them born and still living in a small town of the island of Menorca. The man's bones were in excellent conditions: his bone mass was normal, there were no anomalous curvatures and he had never sustained a fracture.

Scientists at Gramina, a joint biotech venture by Australia’s Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre and New Zealand rural services group PGG Wrightson Genomics, are developing a grass that will not only cut the amount of methane cows burp up when chewing the cud but will also grow in hotter climes, according to the latest issue of Chemistry & Industry.

This means that farmers should be able to maintain dairy herds’ productivity and profitability in the face of a changing climate, while cutting down their gaseous burps and reducing their contribution to global warming.

Combating greenhouse gas emissions produced by the agricultural industry is a priority. The UK’s DEFRA has just announced a roadmap aimed at helping the dairy industry reduce its potential impact on the environment in line with Britain’s target to cut its greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2010. By 2015 the roadmap plans to have 20-30% of milk producers trialling new technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions.