Australia’s marine ecosystems absorb 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

The amount of greenhouse gases that can be absorbed by Australia’s marine ecosystems has been studied and quantified in a new study published by Nature Communications.

According to researchers at Edith Cowan University, Australia’s marine plant ecosystems, consisting mainly of algae, mangroves and salt marshes, absorb 20 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. That is why they play an important role in the presence of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

According to the same study, this amount of absorbed fuel is estimated to be equivalent to the emissions of more than 4 million cars per year. However, the same study also notes that human damage to these particular ecosystems results in more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere annually.

In addition to the direct human-induced cause, adverse weather conditions, which resemble climate change itself, also reduce the carrying capacity of these ecosystems. These ecosystems may be damaged by, inter alia, dredging and other actions that limit their scale, or they may be damaged by heatwaves.

The same principal author of the study, Oscar Serrano of the Marine Ecosystem Research Centre at the University of Australia, adds that these coastal plant ecosystems are reduced in terms of distribution twice as fast as tropical rainforests, despite the fact that the latter play a much greater role in the same world of information when it comes to damaging nature.


Pregnancy hyperemesis associated with increased risk of autism in children, according to a new study

According to a study by the American Journal of Perinatology, pregnant women with hyperemia during pregnancy may have a 53% higher risk of having a child with an acoustic spectrum disorder.

The study, funded by the American institute Kaiser Permanente, is important, according to the principal author, Darius Getaun, because through this association we can better diagnose children at risk of autism and conduct early interventions.

Hyperthermia during pregnancy is a severe form of morning sickness that occurs in about 5% of pregnancies. Usually, women suffering from it cannot contain any food or liquid, which can cause severe dehydration, as well as insufficient or insufficient nutrition during the same pregnancy.

Researchers have found this link by analyzing the health records of nearly 500,000 pregnant women and their babies born between 1991 and 2014. They focused in particular on women suffering from hyperemia during pregnancy and compared their children’s pathologies with those that did not cause such severe nausea in mothers.

Researchers noted that children of mothers with hyperemia during pregnancy were at greater risk of autism when the same hyperemia was diagnosed in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, but not when it was diagnosed in the third trimester.

Researchers also noted that the association is stronger in female daughters than in male sons and stronger in whites and Hispanics than in blacks. The same researchers, as indicated in the press release (see first link below), exclude links between drugs used to control hyperemia during pregnancy and the same risk of autism.

This is an observational study that cannot identify the immediate cause, and therefore other studies should be conducted to examine the causes of this association. There may be other explanations, even if the researchers themselves suspect that women who suffer from hyperemia during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from poor nutrition, which in turn may harm the neurological development of children.


According to a new study, blocking the hormone in immune cells can reduce the risk of heart disease

According to a new study presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) conference in Estes Park, Colorado, blocking the action of a certain hormone in human immune cells can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Researchers, as explained in the press release, in fact, found that blocking mineralocorticoid (MR) receptors, a protein involved in maintaining salt and water levels in the body and present in immune cells, can reduce the risk of pathologies such as heart attacks and strokes.

Higher levels of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates water balance, are actually associated with an increased risk of these diseases. This hormone is directly related to the mineralocorticoid receptor as it can activate or deactivate it. With age, the level of this receptor increases, which contributes to the growth of heart disease.

Researchers have experimented on mice and found that rats without MRI are characterized by lower levels of vascular inflammation and fewer plaques (fatty substances that accumulate on the walls of the arteries).

According to the researchers, these results indicate that “a reduction in plaque inflammation due to MRI blockage can improve clinical outcomes with MRI antagonists.

Therefore, mineral corticoid receptors can be an excellent therapeutic target for treating atherosclerotic diseases, heart attacks and strokes, says one of the authors of the study, Joshua Man, a researcher at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Compound found in breast milk that helps children to defeat pathogenic bacteria

A new research paper on the positive aspects of breastfeeding has been published in scientific reports. This study has shown that breast milk can help the baby to resist the infectious effects of bacteria and can contribute to the reproduction and flourishing of beneficial bacteria.

According to researchers, it is the high level of glycerol monolaurate (GML), more than 200 times higher than that found in cow’s milk, that can provide such benefits, explains Donald Lung, a professor of pediatrics and senior author of the study. This is what can be called the “perfect antibiotic”: it is a compound that, unlike antibiotics, can strongly fight bacterial infections but does not kill useful bacteria, as explained by Patrick Schlivert, professor of microbiology and immunology and the first author of the study.

GML in this sense is very selective: it only fights harmful and pathogenic bacteria and at the same time allows others, especially the intestine and body, to thrive. In addition, the same compound can reduce inflammation of epithelial cells, which are the basis of the lining of the intestine and mucous membrane. It is this inflammation that can give freedom to both bacterial and viral infections.

In order to use these properties, this compound can be produced in the laboratory and added to cow’s milk so that it can be enjoyed even by newborns who are not breastfed.

Schlivert himself talks about the big and potential benefits that such a “supplement” could bring to the health of children around the world, including because it would be relatively easy and cheap to produce the same “artificial” GML.

12,800 years ago, an asteroid could have hit Earth

New evidence of an asteroid or meteorite collision that could have occurred on Earth 12,800 years ago was found by a team from the Institute of Evolutionary Research at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Researchers led by Francis Tackeray discovered a significant “peak” of platinum in one of the deposits in the province of Limpopo (South Africa). This peak is observed in a peat deposit, in a sample estimated to be 12,800 years old.

The study, published in Palaeontologia Africana, takes into account the idea of asteroid impact that will take place in an era called the recent Dryas era, which will lead to global consequences, especially climate change, which caused the extinction of several species.

Platinum may, in fact, be linked to meteorites or asteroids, which are notoriously known for their wealth of this element, as stated by Tekkerei himself, who suggests that this is certainly not conclusive evidence, but additional evidence that confirms the hypothesis of the impact of recent droughts.

In any case, platinum peaks such as in South Africa have already been found in the past in Greenland, Eurasia, Mexico in North America and recently in the Pylauco region of Chile. These abnormal amounts of platinum would have fallen to the soil of half the world after the asteroid fell and scattered in the atmosphere.

This hypothetical impact should have led to a near-global extinction of species, which has occurred in regions such as North America, South America and Europe, as well as Africa. Among the animals that died out in those years were some giant mammals, including African buffalo, larger zebras and wildlife than we know today.

In addition, this global climate change is also affecting populations. In North America, for example, researchers have noticed an unusual interruption in the production of stone artefacts, especially in the case of Clovis’ culture. And in South Africa, archaeologists have discovered a similar phenomenon, dating back to the same period, affecting the different cultures of the area, which now belongs to southern South Africa.

In fact, a significant impact could have a strong impact on the environment of human communities, especially with regard to the availability of food resources. According to Tekkerei, the asteroid could have affected an area of northern Greenland. A crater with a diameter of 31 km was found under the ice in the area.