Archive | Drinking Water

High Fructose, Trans-fats Up Liver Disease

CINCINNATI, June 25 (UPI) — A diet high in fructose, sucrose and trans-fats increases obesity risk as well as fatty liver disease with scar tissue, U.S. researchers warn.

The study’s main author Dr. Rohit Kohli, a gastroenterologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues conducted the study in a mouse model of obesity and liver disease that closely models human disease.

“Fructose consumption accounts for approximately 10.2 percent of calories in the average diet in the United States and has been linked to many health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” Kohli said in a statement. “We’ve developed a mouse model that is very close to human disease, allowing us to better understand the process involved in the development and progression of obesity-related fatty liver disease.”

The study had some mice fed a normal diet of rodent chow and some a 16-week diet of fructose, sucrose-enriched drinking water and trans-fat solids.

The study found mice fed the normal calorie chow diet remained lean and did not have fatty liver disease, but mice fed trans-fat alone or a combination of trans-fat and high fructose became obese and had fatty liver disease.

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Great Lakes Groundwater Threats Assessed

WINDSOR, Ontario, June 16 (UPI) — The Great Lakes Science Advisory Board issued a bi-national assessment Wednesday of threats to groundwater in the Great Lakes basin.

The report, prepared for the International Joint Commission, notes groundwater in the Great Lakes basin is similar in volume to Lake Michigan and provides a source of drinking water for millions of basin residents.

“Yet this major component of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem receives inadequate attention in policies designed to protect Great Lakes water quality,” officials said.

“Annex 16, which was added to the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1987, acknowledges that contaminated groundwater affects the boundary waters of the Great Lakes System and specifies how the two countries should coordinate their existing programs to control this phenomenon,” the report says. “Despite these connections, groundwater receives less attention in the agreement than it should. Newer government programs for source water protection do include groundwater, but Annex 16 is the shortest annex in the agreement.”

The agreement is currently being renegotiated by the governments of Canada and the United States.

The report is available at http://www.ijc.org/php/publications/pdf/ID1637.pdf.

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Straw Residue Aids Waterways, Cuts Profit

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., June 14 (UPI) — A U.S. ecologist says she’s found straw residue left in fields after grain harvesting reduces nitrogen leaching into waterways, but might also reduce profits.

Anna Starovoytov of Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences says agriculture is the largest source of nitrogen pollution in U.S. waterways via erosion or leaching from the soil. Minimizing nitrogen pollution is a key environmental goal since it not only degrades the ecosystem, but nitrates in drinking water are linked to various cancers and birth defects.

“In this study, three different quantities of straw residue were spread on research plots that were later planted with hairy vetch,” Starovoytov said. “A corn grain crop was later no-till planted into the vetch/straw residues. The type of residue present affected not only the magnitude of the peak of nitrogen in soil, but also the timing of this peak, which is important when considering the synchrony of nitrogen availability to corn nitrogen demand.”

Her study, led by Associate Professor Robert Gallagher, revealed that adding straw residues to hairy vetch cover crops tended to lower soil inorganic nitrogen content but also negatively affected corn yields by as much as 16 percent.

The study that included Assistant Professor Jason Kaye and researchers Brosi Bradley and Krista Jacobsen appears in the May/June issue of the Agronomy Journal.

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Major Discovery Made in Prostate Cancer

PARIS, June 9 (UPI) — A French-led international team of scientists says it has discovered how polyphenols in red wine and green tea inhibit prostate cancer growth.

The scientists — who say their finding might lead to a major advance in the treatment of prostate cancer — said they discovered antioxidants in red wine and green tea disrupt an important cell-signaling pathway necessary for prostate cancer growth.

The researchers, led by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, said their findings that appear in the early online edition of The FASEB Journal, might lead to the development of drugs that could stop or slow cancer progression, or improve current treatments.

“Not only does (the) signaling pathway play a role in prostate cancer, but it also plays a role in other cancers, such as colon cancer, breast cancer and gastric cancers,” said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal.

In the experiment, three groups of mice were given drinking water, drinking water with a green tea compound known as EGCg, or drinking water with a different green tea compound, polyphenon E. Then human prostate cancer cells were implanted in the mice. The results showed a dramatic decrease in tumor size in the mice drinking the green tea mixtures.

“The profound impact the antioxidants in red wine and green tea have on our bodies is more than anyone would have dreamt just 25 years ago,” Weissmann said. “As long as they are taken in moderation, all signs show that red wine and green tea may be ranked among the most potent ‘health foods’ we know.”

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.

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Major Discovery Made in Prostate Cancer

PARIS, June 9 (UPI) — A French-led international team of scientists says it has discovered how polyphenols in red wine and green tea inhibit prostate cancer growth.

The scientists — who say their finding might lead to a major advance in the treatment of prostate cancer — said they discovered antioxidants in red wine and green tea disrupt an important cell-signaling pathway necessary for prostate cancer growth.

The researchers, led by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, said their findings that appear in the early online edition of The FASEB Journal, might lead to the development of drugs that could stop or slow cancer progression, or improve current treatments.

“Not only does (the) signaling pathway play a role in prostate cancer, but it also plays a role in other cancers, such as colon cancer, breast cancer and gastric cancers,” said Dr. Gerald, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal.

In the experiment, three groups of mice were given drinking water, drinking water with a green tea compound known as EGCg, or drinking water with a different green tea compound, polyphenon E. Then human prostate cancer cells were implanted in the mice. The results showed a dramatic decrease in tumor size in the mice drinking the green tea mixtures.

“The profound impact the antioxidants in red wine and green tea have on our bodies is more than anyone would have dreamt just 25 years ago,” Weissmann said. “As long as they are taken in moderation, all signs show that red wine and green tea may be ranked among the most potent ‘health foods’ we know.”

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.

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Tenn. Well Water May Harbor Dangers

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., May 31 (UPI) — U.S. researchers found viruses and bacteria in East Tennessee drinking water before it was treated, a finding that may be a warning for untreated home wells.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville linked the contamination of the community water sources’ limestone — karst — aquifers to human feces.

“Karst aquifers have long been recognized as having high susceptibility to fecal contamination because they have features, such as sinkholes and caverns, which act as pathways for rapid flow and transport of contaminants,” Larry McKay said in a statement.

The study, published online in advance of print in a special edition of the journal Pathogens and Fecal Indicators in Ground Water, pointed out all eight of the sampled wells and springs were used for public water supply — water that is treated before distribution so the contamination in the study represented no direct risk to consumers.

However, the researchers say the results point to the health hazard potential of non-treated water.

“The real concern is for the numerous small non-community water systems and household wells, where local residents typically drink groundwater that hasn’t been filtered or disinfected,” McKay said. “It’s likely that many of these residents are being exposed to waterborne fecal contamination, both bacterial and viral, but it isn’t clear how big a health risk this represents. Local and regional research is needed to assess the health impacts.”

Fecal contamination of the water may create no symptoms in some, while others may become seriously ill or even die, McKay noted.

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.

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Well Water May Harbor Viruses, Bacteria

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., May 31 (UPI) — U.S. researchers found viruses and bacteria in untreated East Tennessee drinking water, which is treated, but the finding may be a warning for home wells.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville linked the contamination of the community water sources’ limestone, karst aquifers to human feces.

“Karst aquifers have long been recognized as having high susceptibility to fecal contamination because they have features, such as sinkholes and caverns, which act as pathways for rapid flow and transport of contaminants,” Larry McKay said in a statement.

The study, published online in advance of print in a special edition of the journal Pathogens and Fecal Indicators in Ground Water, pointed out all eight of the sampled wells and springs were used for public water supply — water that is treated before being distributed — so the contamination in the study represented no direct risk to consumers.

However, the researchers say the results point to the health hazard potential of non-treated water.

“The real concern is for the numerous small non-community water systems and household wells, where local residents typically drink groundwater that hasn’t been filtered or disinfected,” McKay said. “It’s likely that many of these residents are being exposed to waterborne fecal contamination, both bacterial and viral, but it isn’t clear how big a health risk this represents. Local and regional research is needed to assess the health impacts.”

Fecal contamination of the water may create no symptoms in some, while others may become seriously ill or even die, McKay noted.

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.

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USGS Finds Contaminants in Public Wells

RESTON, Va., May 25 (UPI) — Scientists say more than 20 percent of untreated water samples from 932 U.S. public wells contain at least one contaminant of possible health concern.

The U.S. Geological Survey study focused on water collected from public wells before treatment. Officials said about 105 million people receive their drinking water from one of the 140,000 public water systems across the United States that rely on groundwater pumped from public wells.

“By focusing primarily on source-water quality, and by testing for many contaminants that are not regulated in drinking water, this study complements the extensive monitoring of public water systems that is routinely conducted for regulatory and compliance purposes by federal, state and local drinking-water programs,” said Matthew Larsen, USGS associate director for water. “Findings assist water utility managers and regulators in making decisions about future monitoring needs and drinking-water issues.”

The study showed naturally occurring contaminants, such as radon and arsenic, accounted for about three-quarters of contaminant concentrations greater than human-health benchmarks in untreated source water, the USGS said. Man-made contaminants were also found, including herbicides, insecticides, solvents and gasoline chemicals.

“Detections of contaminants do not necessarily indicate a concern for human health because USGS analytical methods can detect many contaminants at concentrations that are 100-fold to 1,000-fold lower than human-health benchmarks,” said lead scientist Patricia Toccalino.

More information is available at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/studies/public_wells/.

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Study: Handwashing Prevents Disease Spread

STANFORD, Calif., May 17 (UPI) — U.S. scientists report new evidence supporting the idea that handwashing can prevent the spread of water-borne disease.

Researchers at Stanford University led by Associate Professor Alexandria Boehm and Assistant Professor Jenna Davis said their study showed a connection between fecal bacteria contamination on hands, fecal contamination of stored drinking water and health in households in a developing country in Africa.

Boehm, Davis and their students said nearly half of the world’s population has no access to municipal drinking water supply systems. Such peoples obtain drinking water from wells, springs and other sources, storing it in jugs and other containers in their homes. Past research showed stored water can have higher levels of bacterial contamination than its source, but it was not understood why that occurred.

The scientists said their new study found a strong link between fecal contamination on the hands of household residents and bacterial contamination in stored water in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Stored water contained nearly 100 times more fecal bacteria than the source where it was collected.

“The results suggest reducing fecal contamination on hands should be investigated as a strategy for improving stored drinking water quality and health among households using non-networked water supplies,” the researchers said.

The study appears in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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.

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Wells Dry in Record Drought in S. China

BEIJING, March 26 (UPI) — The drought in South China has become so severe that wells have dried up, leaving 18 million people without drinking water, officials say.

In one village, Xiazha in Guangxi province, records show the three wells have been reliable since at least the early 16th century, The Daily Telegraph reports. Now, all are dry.

“I’m 83 years old, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Yang Kuanren, a resident of the village. “Not a single drop of water can be seen in our wells. For hundreds of years, we have relied on those wells for irrigation and drinking water and we do not know what to do. It is time to start planting the fields, but the earth is so dry we cannot even plough it.”

Some villages in the region have tried digging new wells. But even those sunk hundreds of feet are coming up dry.

In Yunnan, at least 5,000 villagers have left their homes and moved into temporary camps in the Himalayan foothills, taking advantage of the flowing streams there.

The government has also sent thousands of water trucks to the region and mobilized the army to deliver more than 1 million tons of food.

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.

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