Science & Society

Chitin and Chitosan have been extracted from lobster waste and used in medicine and biomedicine by a team from the University of Havana. These researchers’ work has led to the development of a procedure to obtain surgical materials with great healing and antiseptic properties.

Chitin is a polymer very common in nature as part of animals’ and plants’ physical structures. Only cellulose is more abundant than chitin, which makes this compound a highly important renewable resource that can easily be found in arthropods, insects, arachnids, molluscs, fungus and algae.

It's no secret that Europeans enjoy new ways to tax people - if they can tell you they are doing it for your own good, so much the better.

I often hear arguments that start with phrases like "If we we can save even one life doing ( insert your pet cause here), it's worth it" but is there a limit to how much society wants to spend to save a life?

A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health says the UK could save the lives of 3,200 people if they taxed more foods.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota have been evaluating the impact of antibiotic feeding in livestock production on the environment.

This particular study, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), evaluated whether food crops accumulate antibiotics from soils spread with manure that contains antibiotics. Results from the study are published in the July-August 2007 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.Soil Science Society of America Meeting in November 2006.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have developed a method to estimate sickle cell disease severity and predict the risk of death in people with this disease. The study appears online in the June issue of the journal Blood.

Sickle cell disease is caused by mutations in the beta-hemoglobin gene (HBB). Individuals having identical pairs of genes for the HBB glu6val mutation (HbS) have sickle cell anemia; individuals with both HbS and HbC mutations have sickle cell-HbC (HbSC) disease. Both of these types of sickle cell-disease have extremely variable characteristics.

A new study of sweetened beverages shows that cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup have similar effects on hunger, fullness, and food consumption at lunch.

According to the study, which appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this may be because sucrose (table sugar) in beverages splits into glucose and fructose molecules, such as are present in high-fructose corn syrup. The results suggest that while appetite and food intake are influenced by the number of calories consumed earlier, the types of sugars consumed in those calories seem to make little or no difference.

Teenagers who forego a healthy and balanced diet may have a harder time catching their breath. A new study, published in the July issue of CHEST shows that a low dietary intake of certain nutrients increases the likelihood of respiratory symptoms such as asthma, especially in teens who smoke. Furthermore, a lack of these nutrients may also lead to lower lung function.

“Our study, as well as other research, suggests that higher intakes of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory micronutrients are associated with lower reports of cough, respiratory infections, and less severe asthma-related symptoms,” said lead study author Jane Burns, ScD, Harvard School of Public Health.

Women don't just like men with muscles — they go for them.

Men who are more muscular than average are much more likely to have short-term affairs and multiple sex partners than their scrawnier peers, according to new UCLA research published in the August issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

"If you're trying to figure out why men — especially young men — spend so much time at the gym, here's your answer," said David Frederick, lead author and a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology. "The stereotype is that men work out to compete with each other, but our research suggests that pumping iron is a way for men to enhance their attractiveness to women."

A few years ago, the low-carb diet craze was in full force and it looked like sugar might never return to society's good graces.

Sugar substitutes are a billion-dollar business. According to a national survey conducted by the Calorie Control Council, a sugar-substitute industry group based in Atlanta, 80 percent of adults use low-calorie and sugar-free foods and beverages.

Yet you can't really count sugar out. For one thing, every diet program recommends sugar substitutes, which keeps the taste of sugar in the minds of its dieters, and though that doesn't make a lot of sense because it's like Alcoholics Anonymous telling its members to drink non-alcoholic beer, it means that people prefer it.

A world leader in medical implants calls for a rethink in our approach to building medical implants.

Currently so-called biomaterials are chosen because they are reasonably successful at hiding from the body’s immune system, and are consequently not rejected. All the same, within a month of implanting them, the body isolates implants by wrapping them in a collagenous, avascular sac. Materials are considered to be ‘biocompatible’ if this sac is not too thick.

Independent research, involving over 3 million Italians, conducted by Henley Management College and the University of Milan has concluded that the prescription costs for men over the age of 65 is significantly higher than it is for women.

The primary objective of this study was to make the first step in the modelling of pharmaceutical demand in Italy to improve the governance of prescribing funds.

The research found that the mean annual prescription cost per individual was similar for males (196.13 euro) and females (195.12euro). However after 65 years of age, the mean prescribing costs for males were significantly higher than females. On average, costs for a 75-year-old man would be 12 times the costs for a 25-34 year-old subject if male, 8 times if female.