Good News and Bad News From the World of Science

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Good News

- In a preliminary trial, stem cell therapy helped patients with multiple sclerosis reverse some neurological losses, marking the first time such improvements have ever been observed.

- A simple checklist helped surgical teams cut death rates by nearly half and reduce major complications of surgery by more than a third in a pilot study at eight hospitals worldwide.

- The United States has become the top producer of wind power in the world (surpassing previous front-runner Germany), with a 50 percent increase in wind capacity in 2008, according to an industry report.

The Bad News

- Tree death rates in old-growth forests in the western United States have more than doubled in recent decades, probably due to regional warming, according to a USGS report.

- In a rat study, exposure to nicotine during adolescence sent animals into a depression-like state in adulthood, with decreased sensations of pleasure and increased susceptibility to anxiety.

- The global trade in frog legs threatens to drive the amphibians to extinction, according to a new international study. As many as a billion frogs are killed and eaten every year.

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