Asian Cities’ Air Quality Getting Worse, Experts Warn

HONG KONG — Air pollution has worsened markedly in Asian cities in recent years and presents a growing threat to human health, according to experts at a conference that began on Wednesday.

Clean Air Asia, a regional network on air-quality management, aggregated data from more than 300 cities in 16 Asian countries and found that levels of fine particulate matter — a key pollutant in terms of its impact on human health — were below targets recommended by the World Health Organization in just 16 cities, most of them in Japan.

Pollution levels in 70 percent of the cities, mostly in fast-growing, less developed countries like China, India, Bangladesh and Mongolia, exceed even the most lenient of several targets recommended by the W.H.O., the organization said.

“The economic rebound in Asia following the global economic crisis of 2008 has accelerated sales of both passenger and freight vehicles as well as power generation,” Sophie Punte, Clean Air Asia’s executive director, said in a statement. This “is putting pressure on urban air quality in the region,” she said.

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A First: Organs Tailor-Made With Body’s Own Cells

STOCKHOLM — Andemariam Beyene sat by the hospital window, the low Arctic sun on his face, and talked about the time he thought he would die.

Two and a half years ago doctors in Iceland, where Mr. Beyene was studying to be an engineer, discovered a golf-ball-size tumor growing into his windpipe. Despite surgery and radiation, it kept growing. In the spring of 2011, when Mr. Beyene came to Sweden to see another doctor, he was practically out of options. “I was almost dead,” he said. “There was suffering. A lot of suffering.”

But the doctor, Paolo Macchiarini, at the Karolinska Institute here, had a radical idea. He wanted to make Mr. Beyene a new windpipe, out of plastic and his own cells.

Implanting such a “bioartificial” organ would be a first-of-its-kind procedure for the field of regenerative medicine, which for decades has been promising a future of ready-made replacement organs — livers, kidneys, even hearts — built in the laboratory.

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Bizarre Insectlike creatures discovered in Spanish cave

Bizarre insectlike creatures discovered in Spanish cave

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Hurricane Sandy

We’ve recently experienced one of the worst weather phenomenons that had hit the Northeast Coast. As residents of New York City and adjacent areas we get to see a lot of devastation around us. The effect of this hurricane will have a direct emotional, health and economic impact on the lives of Americans. Use the following readings to understand the hurricane from a scientific perspective and feel free to use this as a forum to express your feelings after the natural disaster that we unfortunately had to face.

Below you can access an article that relates to the climate change impact on the Northeast of the United States

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Mosquitoes and disease

The West Nile Virus represents a public health hazard in the United States.  The virus  is transmitted by a mosquito bite, but it has been demonstrated that it can also be passed on by body fluids, such as breast milk while breast feeding and blood (Blood Transfusions).  We recently discussed arthropods in the classroom and previously we discussed viruses.  Access the article and share your knowledge with us. More importantly, focus on the public health issues and why the federal government has a special agency dedicated to monitor the rate of infection (Center for Disease Control (CDC)). Is it endemic for the US?

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Welcome to General Biology!

Welcome to the General Biology site.  Please feel free to read, comment and post any article you consider interesting and relevant to the topics discuss in class.   Hope you have fun with biology!

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