College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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March 19, 2013

Energy Drinks Are Hurting Kids, Experts Tell FDA

Ann Brody Guy, College of Natural Resources

A group of doctors and public health experts are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take immediate action to protect young people from the effects of caffeinated energy drinks. In a letter signed by 18 medical doctors and public health professors delivered to the FDA today (March 19), experts cite research that links consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks to rapidly increasing numbers of emergency room visits and even deaths.

“Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the serious health risks of these drinks,” said Patricia Crawford, a signatory on the letter and the director of the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley. “They have no place in the diets of young people.” There are no health benefits and potentially grave health risks, says Crawford, who is also an adjunct professor of public health at Berkeley.

The letter, which is directed to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, cites research showing energy-drink related emergency room visits have doubled between 2007 and 2011, and documents a number of increased risks for cardiovascular complications and seizures, among other problems associated with youth consumption of the beverages. It urges the FDA to take immediate action to protect young people.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office has been investigating the safety of highly caffeinated energy drinks such as Monster Energy, issued a similar letter. It states that the burden is on the manufacturers to prove that an additive is safe for its intended use based on scientific consensus and published literature.

In addition to Crawford, signatories include Kristine Madsen, an assistant professor of public health at Berkeley and a UC San Francisco pediatrician, and faculty from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, University of Massachussetts Memorial Medical Center, and several other institutions across the United States.

Continue reading "Energy Drinks Are Hurting Kids, Experts Tell FDA" »

March 18, 2013

Stressed Corals Dim Then Glow Brightly Before They Die

By Rachel Nuwer, Smithsonian.com

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Anyone who has gone scuba diving or snorkeling in a coral reef will likely never forget the dazzling colors and other-worldly shapes of these underwater communities. Home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife hotspots, reefs are worth an annual $400 billion in tourist dollars and in the ecosystem services they provide, such as buffering shores from storms and providing habitat for fish that people eat.

Yet it’s a well known fact that coral reefs around the world are in decline thanks to pollution and rapidly warming oceans. However, determining just how reefs are faring–and designing steps to protect them–requires a way to accurately measure their health. Researchers tend to rely upon invasive, damaging techniques to figure out how corals are coping, or else they perform crude spot checks to determine reef health based on coral color alone. But now, scientists have announced a new method of determining coral health that relies upon measuring the intensity of corals’ fluorescent glow.

Read the complete article at the source, Smithsonian.com

March 4, 2013

Wild Bees Are Good For Crops, But Crops Are Bad For Bees

Dan Charles, National Public Radio

A huge collaboration of bee researchers, from more than a dozen countries, looked at how pollination happens in dozens of different crops, including strawberries, coffee, buckwheat, cherries and watermelons. As they report in the journal Science, even when beekeepers installed plenty of hives in a field, yields usually got a boost when wild, native insects, such as bumblebees or carpenter bees, also showed up.

... Many bee researchers are trying to figure out how to help those native bees — and how to help farmers who benefit from them.

Continue reading "Wild Bees Are Good For Crops, But Crops Are Bad For Bees" »

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Energy Drinks Are Hurting Kids, Experts Tell FDA
Stressed Corals Dim Then Glow Brightly Before They Die
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