• Gene Doping Could Be Next Step in Cheating by Athletes

    Doping scandals marred the runup to the Rio Olympics and other games of the recent past. Now, scientists warn that cheating could rise to a new level using genetic research.

    There are already a number of products and methods used to boost athletic performance that the International Olympic Committee considers to be illegal. For example, there’s a hormone that can boost red blood cell production, making more oxygen available. That increases endurance. Then there are anabolic steroids and…

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  • World Food Day Focuses on Rural Poverty, Migrants

    October 16, is World Food Day. It marks the founding of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization 70 years ago, following World War II. The day is observed every year to raise awareness about ongoing hunger and poverty.

    The theme for this year’s World Food Day is “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty.” It’s in line with the FAO’s new State of Food and Agriculture report that called for “sustained private and public investments and social…

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  • Study Projects Warmer, Dryer Horn of Africa

    Scientists generally agree climate change will impact the Horn of Africa in coming years.  The question is – will the region become drier or wetter?

    A new study says the frequent hot spells and droughts of recent years could grow even worse for Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia.  The study warns that “progressively less rain during the long rains’ season in March, April and May could exacerbate tensions in one of the world’s most geopolitically unstable…

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  • Pope Expected to Talk Environment in US Congress Address

    When he addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress next week, Pope Francis is expected to speak about the environment, and the need to combat climate change.  

    The Pope recently released an encyclical – or papal letter – on the environment. In the encyclical, entitled On Care for Our Common Home, he writes the Earth “cries out” because of the “harm inflicted on her by irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”  

    What’s more, he says, is that…

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  • Study: Drugmaker Profits Undermine Malaria Diagnosis in Nigeria

    Following a dramatic decline in malaria-related deaths between 2000 and 2013, World Health Organization data show more than 430,000 kids still die from the mosquito-borne infectious disease in Africa each year.

    Despite the wide availability of Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT), many health workers in Nigeria, which carries a quarter of Africa’s malaria burden, neglect to use it.

    Unlike conventional microscopy testing, in which lab technicians look for parasites in blood samples, 15-to-30…

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  • FAO: World’s Forests Faring Better

    The bottom line from the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2015 assessment of global forest resources: The state of the world’s forests is better than it was.

    The U.N. agency released the report this week ahead of the 14th World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.  

    FAO Senior Forestry Officer Kenneth MacDicken is among those monitoring how the forests are faring.

    “What we’ve seen is a continued forest loss in the tropics, not surprisingly,” he says….

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  • Living Longer, But Healthier?

    There’s good news and bad news about life expectancy. The good news is people are living longer. The bad news is there’s a bigger risk for poor health.

    Around the world, life expectancy has risen by six years since 1990.

    A new study says much of that is due to advances against HIV/AIDS and malaria.  In addition, progress has been made in reducing deaths from communicable diseases and maternal, newborn and nutritional disorders.

    The top 10 places with the highest life…

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  • Quality Control Improves TB Rates

    A new study shows that redesigning medical services for tuberculosis can dramatically reduce the death rate. The research was conducted in a local health district in the West African nation of Togo.

    TB is blamed for two million deaths every year. Most of them are in developing countries. It’s also the second leading cause of death among infectious diseases.

    Over the years, TB and HIV have been closely linked because TB easily infects those with weakened immune systems. Also, new…

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  • Katrina Lessons Could Save lives

    Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the southern U.S. state of Louisiana, killing 1800 people, displacing more than one million others and causing 110 billion dollars in damage. An economics professor says the lessons learned from Katrina should be applied elsewhere in the world, where tens of millions of people live in coastal areas.

    About 60 million poor people live low inelevation zones 10 meters or less above sea level. It means they’re particularly vulnerable to large…

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  • Sierra Leone Murder Sparks Outrage

    Last night (8/20) on a beach in Freetown, Sierra Leone, a candlelight vigil was held for a teenager found murdered last week. The death has sparked outrage in the country and concern about rising crime in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.

    The body of 17 year old Hannah Bockarie was found earlier this month on the well-known Lumley Beach. Tests will determine whether she was sexually assaulted, but police and a women’s group say it appears she was. She may have been beaten to…

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