Scientists plea for gorilla protection
NEW YORK, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society says gorillas living in a large swamp in the Republic of Congo are increasingly threatened by human activity.
The gorillas are part of a group of more than 125,000 gorillas discovered last year in swamp forests adjacent to the southwest border of Lac Tele Community Reserve.
The society says the swamp also supports large numbers of chimpanzees, red colobus monkeys, elephants and other rain forest species.
According to conservation researchers, imminent threats to the swamp include new logging operations, oil exploration, an influx of refugees from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and, an increase in the human population.
"The world was electrified at the discovery of more than 125,000 western lowland gorillas still in existence in the heart of Africa's rain forests, which include the recently surveyed gorillas just outside of Lac Tele," said society researcher Hugo Rainey, the study's lead author. "Now that the thrill is gone, we can't forget about the most important part of wildlife surveys: protecting what we find."
The study's findings and recommendations appear in the November issue of the journal Oryx.
Tea may help control blood sugar
DALLAS, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Tea has long been heralded as promoting heart health and may reduce cancer risk but a U.S. researcher suggests tea may also help control blood sugar.
Dr. Jo Ann Carson, professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says studies from various countries suggest a lifetime consumption of at least two to four cups of tea per day -- black tea, in particular -- reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
However, Carson says while scientific evidence on tea's health benefits is limited, all teas -- green, white, black and oolong -- can be part of a healthy diet.
Carson says people have two choices -- learn to enjoy iced tea with little or no sugar, or drink sugared iced tea in moderation, generally once a day or less.
Tsunami educational Web site developed
WOODS HOLE, Mass., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says it has created an educational Web site to help people prepare for and survive a tsunami.
Called an "interactive guide that could save your life," the site features the latest tsunami-related science research and compelling tsunami survivor videos and interviews.
"Tsunamis can neither be prevented nor precisely predicted yet," said site initiator Jian Lin, a Woods Hole geologist actively involved in tsunami research and a member of a U.S. national committee on tsunami warning and preparedness. "But people educated about tsunami warning signs can save their own lives and the lives of others."
Tsunami is the Japanese word for "harbor wave," and is the term used when giant undersea earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions generate a sudden motion of ocean water that results in a series of large waves. In the open ocean, such waves can travel as fast as 500 miles per hour -- the same speed as a jet. A tsunami can quickly engulf vulnerable coastal regions, resulting in widespread destruction and death.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami took 240,000 lives.
Available at http://www.whoi.edu/home/interactive/tsunami/, the Web site instructs people how to prepare for a tsunami, how to respond should they see one approach and what to do in the aftermath.
Micro-endoscope is under development
GAINESVILLE, Fla., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A U.S. scientist says he is developing a micro-endoscope that could replace traditional endoscopes and can spot abnormalities, such as tumors, inside a body.
University of Florida Associate Professor Huikai Xie says physicians currently insert camera-equipped endoscopes into patients to look for abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract and other internal organs. Xie says he wants to replace such cameras with scanners that reveal abnormal groups of cells or growth patterns beneath the surface, before cancerous growths are big enough to be visible.
"Right now, endoscopes just take pictures of the surface tissue. So, if you see some injury, or abnormality, on the surface, that's good," Xie said. "But most of the time, particularly with cancer, the early stages of disease are not so obvious. The technology we are developing is basically to see under the surface, under the epithelial layer."
Experiments with Xie's scanning "micro-endoscopes" on animal tissue have been promising. The pencil-sized or smaller endoscopes could one day allow physicians to detect tumors at earlier stages and remove tumors more precisely, increasing patients' chances of survival and improving patients' quality of life.
Xie and his graduate students have authored at least 40 papers on various aspects of the research, which is supported with more than $1 million in grants, primarily from the National Science Foundation.
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