Archive | Maps

Breast Cancer, Air Pollution May Be Linked

MONTREAL, Oct. 9 (UPI) — Air pollution from motor vehicle traffic may put women at higher risk for breast cancer, Canadian researchers said.

Researchers at Montreal’s Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre, McGill University and Universite de Montreal found a link between post-menopausal breast cancer and exposure to nitrogen dioxide — a “marker” for traffic-related air pollution.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found the risk of breast cancer increased by about 25 percent with every increase of nitrogen dioxide of 5 parts per billion.

“Another way of saying this is that women living in the areas with the highest levels of pollution were almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those living in the least polluted areas,” study co-author Dr. Mark Goldberg of the Research Institute said in a statement.

Goldberg and colleagues had created two air pollution “maps” showing levels of nitrogen dioxide — a by-product of vehicular traffic — in different parts of Montreal in 1996 and 10 years earlier in 1986. They then charted the home addresses of women diagnosed with breast cancer in a 1996-97 study onto the air pollution maps.

The incidence of breast cancer was clearly higher in areas with higher levels of air pollution, the study said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Air Pollution, Maps, Other0 Comments

New World Map of Air Pollution Created

GREENBELT, Md., Sept. 23 (UPI) — Canadian scientists say a new satellite-based map offers a global view of air pollution particles suspected in millions of deaths annually.

In many developing countries, the absence of surface-based air pollution sensors makes it difficult to get even a rough estimate of the abundance of a subcategory of airborne particles epidemiologists think contribute to millions of premature deaths each year, researchers at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center say.

The problematic particles, called fine particulate matter or PM2.5, are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, about a 10th the width of a human hair. These small particles can get past the body’s normal defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs.

Researchers Aaron van Donkelaar and Randall Martin at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia used data from two NASA satellites, combined with computer models, to create a world map of the distribution of PM2.5 particles.

Their map, which shows the average PM2.5 results between 2001 and 2006, offers the most comprehensive view of the health-sapping particles to date. It has provided the first PM2.5 satellite estimates in a number of developing countries that have had no estimates of air pollution levels until now, they say.

The map shows high levels of PM2.5 in a broad area stretching from the Sahara Desert in Northern Africa to Eastern Asia. When compared with maps of population density, it suggests more than 80 percent of the world’s population breathe polluted air exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommended level of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

“We still have plenty of work to do to refine this map, but it’s a real step forward,” Martin said. “We hope this data will be useful in areas that don’t have access to robust ground-based measurements.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Air Pollution, Maps, Other0 Comments

Quality Care, Patient Satisfaction Differ

GREENVILLE, S.C., Sept. 20 (UPI) — An analysis of hospital and physician care shows where a person lives affects quality of healthcare, a U.S. healthcare information firm says.

CareChex, a division of The Delta Group, which specializes in rating the quality of hospital and physician care, released two studies that demonstrate broad disparities U.S. healthcare quality by state and metropolitan area.

One study, 2010 CareChex Quality of Care by U.S. Geographic Area, shows broad disparities in care delivered across different states and major metropolitan areas — and may explain the trend of U.S. “medical tourism,” in which patients travel outside their community to receive higher quality care at a better price.

The second study, 2010 CareChex Patient Satisfaction by U.S. Geographic Area, identifies patient satisfaction with hospital care among states and major metropolitan areas.

Ohio, Michigan, Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut ranked at the top for overall quality of care. The District of Columbia, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico and New York ranked at the bottom.

Top states for patient satisfaction are Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Alabama and Louisiana, while the bottom states for patient satisfaction are the District of Columbia, Nevada, Florida, California and Hawaii, the CareChex analysis says.

The studies are at: www.carechex.com/media/maps.aspx and www.carechex.com/media/studies.aspx.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Maps, Other0 Comments

New Details of Moon's Surface Revealed

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) — Our moon was bombarded by two distinct waves of asteroids or comets in its youth, leaving it surface more complex than previously thought, U.S. scientists say.

New results from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft are featured in papers appearing in the Sept. 17 issue of Science, NASA said in a release Thursday.

LRO data shows there were two separate populations of impacts on the moon’s surface with the earlier period featuring much larger impacts than the later assault, James Head of Brown University wrote in a study.

The rich record of craters on the moon can give clues to the effects of similar impacts in Earth’s early history, he said.

“The moon is thus analogous to a Rosetta stone for understanding the bombardment history of the Earth,” Head said. “Like the Rosetta stone, the lunar record can be used to translate the ‘hieroglyphics’ of the poorly preserved impact record on Earth.”

Previous lunar maps had different resolutions, viewing angles and lighting conditions, which made it hard to consistently identify and count craters. Head and his team used instruments aboard the NASA orbiter to build a map that highlights lunar craters with unprecedented clarity, they said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in History, Maps, Other0 Comments

Satellites Offer Clues to Forest Fates

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) — Rocketing numbers of pine beetles have decimated areas of forest from British Columbia to Colorado so large they can be detected by satellites, authorities say.

NASA says scientists use Landsat satellite imagery to map these pine beetle outbreaks and determine what impact the beetle damage might have on forest fires.

University of Wisconsin forest ecologists compared maps of areas hardest-hit by the beetles with maps of recent fires. Their preliminary analysis indicates large fires do not appear to occur more often or with greater severity in forest tracts with beetle damage. In fact, some beetle-killed forest swaths may actually be less likely to burn.

The results appear counter-intuitive, researchers say, but make sense when considered more carefully.

Green pine green needles appear to be more lush and harder to burn, but they contain high levels very flammable volatile oils. When the needles die, those oils begin to break down. As a result, depending on weather conditions, dead needles may not be more likely to catch and sustain a fire than live needles.

Both the beetles and fires hold the potential to significantly change Rocky mountain forests, Wisconsin forest Phil Townsend says, but both are also key to forest health.

“Both fire and beetle damage are natural parts of system and have been since forests developed,” Townsend said. “What we have right now is a widespread attack that we haven’t seen before, but it is a natural part of the system.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Maps, Other0 Comments

CDC: How to Prepare for Hurricane Earl

ATLANTA, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Whether in the path of Hurricane Earl or not, everyone should have necessary supplies on hand in case of a disaster or power outage, U.S. health officials say.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people should have several clean containers sufficient to hold 5 gallons for each person in a household for three to five days, as well as a three- to five-day supply of non-perishable food.

In addition, people should always have on hand a first-aid kit and first-aid manual; battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries; sleeping bags or extra blankets; water-purifying supplies, such as chlorine or iodine tablets or unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach and prescription medicines.

Families with babies need to stock up on baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies — as well as disposable cleaning cloths, such as “baby wipes,” for the whole family that can be used in case bathing facilities are not available.

CDC officials recommend having personal hygiene supplies such as soap and toothpaste.

It is important always to have vehicles equipped with flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, shovel and gloves, the advisory said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Maps, Other0 Comments

Computer Glitch Silences Satellite

PARIS, Aug. 23 (UPI) — A European Space Agency observation satellite has suffered a computer glitch — its second — and can’t transmit its data to the ground, agency officials say.

The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer spacecraft — launched in March 2009 –is orbiting Earth on a mission to make the most precise maps of minute variations in gravity on the continents and oceans across the globe, the BBC reported Monday.

A problem with the processor in the satellite’s main computer forced operators to switch over to its backup computer system in February. Now that unit has developed a fault, and engineers are struggling to return the spacecraft to full operation.

“There’s no doubt about it: we’re in a difficult situation, but we are not without ideas,” GOCE mission manager Rune Floberghagen said. “If we have just two half-computers, we can stitch them together and get GOCE working again”

Other systems on the satellite continue to work normally, including the gradiometer that senses subtle differences in the pull of gravity from place to place on Earth’s surface.

The second computer developed a fault in July affecting a communication link between the computer and a module that prepares telemetry for transmission to the ground. As a result, data are not being sent back to Earth.

Even if the fault cannot be fixed, GOCE has collected almost two-thirds of the gravity data the mission was expected to produce, the agency said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Maps, Other0 Comments

Satellite Enlisted to Measure Flooding

PARIS, Aug. 17 (UPI) — A European “water satellite” is giving researchers a different way to look at the recent devastating monsoon floods in Pakistan, officials say.

The European Space Agency’s orbiting Smos spacecraft can sense the moisture level in soils, and the unique instrument has been trained on the areas in Pakistan where some 20 million people in 62,000 square miles — almost a fifth of the country — have been affected by the floods, the BBC reported.

Data gathered by the satellite has been processed to make a series of maps covering the spreading reach of the flooding.

The satellite carries instruments that sense the natural emission of microwaves coming off the earth’s surface, a signal that changes with levels of moisture in the soil.

Scientists hope once the Smos observation technique has become sufficiently mature it will be able to play a leading role in disaster mitigation.

Satellite data is increasingly being used in the relief response to major disasters, and in the case of Pakistan the world’s satellite fleets were mobilized on Aug. 2 to provide space-borne information under the International Charter on Space and Disasters.

The charter was activated by U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Maps, Other0 Comments

Satellite Data Yield Better Wetlands Maps

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) — New accurate maps of Chesapeake Bay wetlands will help in studies of areas critical to the health of bodies of water like the Bay, U.S. researchers say.

Two U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists used satellite data to created new maps 30 percent more accurate than existing ones, a USDA release said Friday.

Because many wetlands are forested, it can be hard to see the wetlands on aerial photography. Trees block the view and maps drawn from aerial photographs are subjective, causing more loss of accuracy, the release said.

With the satellite data, Agricultural Research Service soil scientist Greg McCarty and USDA Forest Service ecologist Megan Lang were able to create accurate maps showing flow paths into the Bay — and determine whether water flows without filtration directly into the Bay, or whether it flows first through forested wetlands that might filter out possible pollutants.

Because forested wetlands had been thought to be isolated from each other and the Bay, researchers say, the Clean Water Act did not offer them the same regulatory protections as other wetlands.

Accurate maps such as the new satellite versions are vital to Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts and state and national wetland conservation debates, the USDA said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Conservation, Maps, Other0 Comments

MRI Can Help Differentiate Prostate Cancer

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Aug. 12 (UPI) — Magnetic resonance imaging could help assess prostate cancers that need more aggressive treatment, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., report more than 90 percent accuracy in distinguishing low-grade from high-grade prostate cancers using magnetic resonance spectroscopy that maps concentrations of certain chemicals that indicate the presence of cancer in the prostate gland.

“The breakthrough we’ve had in the last few months is that we see image signatures that distinguish aggressive cancers from less aggressive ones,” Anant Madabhushi says in a statement. “Now we’re getting beyond merely identifying whether a person has cancer or not.”

In a preliminary study, Madabhushi and colleagues used computer analyses of the images and spectra to differentiate prostate tumors on 19 patients who then had the prostate surgically removed.

Recent studies suggest men with low-risk cancers receive aggressive treatment, but improved diagnostic methods outlined by this study may help patients with low-risk cancers and their physicians feel more confident with watchful waiting, Madabhushi says.

The Rutgers findings are scheduled to be presented at the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention Conference held in Beijing in September.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Chemicals, Maps, Other0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement