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March 3, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
In the last 50 years, what's on dinner plates has grown more similar the world over - with major consequences for human nutrition and global food security, researchers said Monday. “Diversity enhances the health and function of complex biological systems,” the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But, they said, the world of food has become homogeneous, to the point of suggesting a global standard food supply. In the last half a century, “national per capita food supplies expanded in total quantities of food calories, protein, fat and weight,” they said.
March 3, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Wait three days after it rains before going into the ocean. It's a warning that public health officials issued to beachgoers this week, as they do after any significant storm in California. But a study released Monday is raising questions about whether that three-day waiting period is enough to protect people who swim, surf and play in the ocean from pathogens in storm runoff that can make them ill. "To err on the side of caution, stay out of the water for five days after rainfall," said Amanda Griesbach, a water quality scientist at Heal the Bay , an environmental group that provided data and other support for the research by undergraduate students at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
March 3, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
As another harsh storm delays thousands of flights across the United States, a new study estimates that severe weather has cost airlines and passengers $5.8 billion this winter. More than 2,800 flights were canceled Monday and another 2,900 were delayed, mostly from airports on the East Coast, because of another severe winter storm that was moving east from the Tennessee Valley and the Mid-Atlantic states. It has been an unusually tough winter for the Midwest and East Coast. A study released Monday said flight delays and cancellations have cost travelers and airlines $5.8 billion from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28. PHOTOS: The 10 richest people in the world About 1 million flights have been canceled or delayed during that period, affecting 90 million travelers, according to a study by MasFlight, an aviation operations technology company based in Bethesda, Md. For passengers, the cancellations and delays have cost $5.3 billion in lost productivity and money spent on hotels, rental cars and food during holdovers, the study said.
March 3, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
Doctors are fueling the epidemic of prescription drug addiction and overdose and represent the single largest supplier of these drugs to chronic abusers, according to a government study published Monday. The finding challenges the conventional wisdom that the epidemic is caused primarily by abusers getting their drugs without prescriptions, typically from friends and family. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview that the study shows the need to focus more on doctors who are “problem prescribers.” The study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Assn., echoes a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation that showed drugs prescribed by doctors caused or contributed to nearly half of the prescription overdose deaths in Southern California in recent years.
March 3, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
Doctors are fueling the nation's prescription drug epidemic and represent the primary source of narcotic painkillers for chronic abusers, according to a new government study. The finding challenges a widely held belief that has long guided policymakers: That the epidemic is caused largely by abusers getting their drugs without prescriptions, typically from friends and family. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study, said the research showed the need for greater focus on doctors who are "problem prescribers.
March 3, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Discouraging news for diabetics who are keen to ward off memory problems and keep their brains in peak condition: New research has found that using medication to aggressively drive down blood pressure or improve lipid levels does not do more than standard therapy to stem the decline in cognition that's common among such patients. In fact, aggressively lowering systolic blood pressure may accelerate brain shrinkage, which is a hallmark of dementia, the new study found. The findings , published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, emerge from a large and long-running clinical trial aimed at figuring out what measures might improve the health prospects of people at highest risk of cardiovascular disease.
March 2, 2014 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Tidal erosion caused by a February 1970 winter storm ate away a bank of soil on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, revealing parts of five Native American longhouses. The longhouses near Lake Ozette had been buried suddenly by a mudslide sometime around 1560, preserving their contents in such remarkable condition that the site is often referred to as the American Pompeii. Archaeologist Richard Daugherty of Washington State University had previously conducted some minor excavations at the Ozette site, but the revelation of the longhouses provided an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about the culture of the Makah civilization.
February 28, 2014 | By Nathan Fenno
Repeated head injuries among professional football players can lead to hormonal dysfunction and decreased quality of life, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma earlier this month. The study found 16 of the 68 retired NFL players examined had pituitary hormonal deficiency. Thirty-four of the former players also showed evidence of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that included high blood pressure and high cholesterol that are also associated with low testosterone.
February 28, 2014 | By Joe Flint
The Federal Communications Commission has pulled the plug on a study that sought information on the how local radio and television stations cover news. The Critical Information Needs study was to be conducted every three years for Congress. It was aimed at eliminating barriers that make entry into the media industry difficult for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. However, the pilot test for the survey included questions regarding the editorial practices of media and was heavily criticized both inside and outside the FCC. The test was slated for this spring in Columbia, S.C. PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV Besides general inquiries regarding coverage of issues including the environment and requests for insight into the decision-making process behind a newscast, it also sought details on the relationship between journalists and management.
February 28, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Listen up loners: A new study says having friends can make you smarter, at least if you're a baby cow.  Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that young calves that live alone performed worse on tests of cognitive skill than calves that live with a buddy. On most dairy farms, calves are removed from their mothers soon after they are born and put in a pen or a hutch where they live alone for eight to 10 weeks while they wean. The practice developed to keep disease from spreading among susceptible baby cows.
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