SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Environmentalism

234

Mammographic breast density is a well-established strong risk factor for breast cancer. The environmental contributors to geographic variation in breast density in urban and rural areas are poorly understood. We examined the association between breast density and exposure to ambient air pollutants (particulate matter <2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3)) in a large population-based screening registry.

Concepts: Cancer, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Particulate, Smog, Environmentalism, Air pollution, Dust, Scrubber

172

Environmentally Degradable Parameter ((Ed)K) is of importance in the describing of biodegradability of environmentally biodegradable polymers (BDPs). In this study, a concept (Ed)K was introduced. A test procedure of using the ISO 14852 method and detecting the evolved carbon dioxide as an analytical parameter was developed, and the calculated (Ed)K was used as an indicator for the ultimate biodegradability of materials. Starch and polyethylene used as reference materials were defined as the (Ed)K values of 100 and 0, respectively. Natural soil samples were inoculated into bioreactors, followed by determining the rates of biodegradation of the reference materials and 15 commercial BDPs over a 2-week test period. Finally, a formula was deduced to calculate the value of (Ed)K for each material. The (Ed)K values of the tested materials have a positive correlation to their biodegradation rates in the simulated soil environment, and they indicated the relative biodegradation rate of each material among all the tested materials. Therefore, the (Ed)K was shown to be a reliable indicator for quantitatively evaluating the potential biodegradability of BDPs in the natural environment.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Environment, Natural environment, Environmental remediation, Biodegradation, Environmentalism, Bioremediation, Bioplastic

170

In order to endow environmental protection features to dentifrice, hydroxyapatite (HA) was added to ordinary dentifrice. The effects on dentinal tubule occlusion and surface mineralization were compared after brushing dentine discs with dentifrice with or without HA. The two types of dentifrice were then added to 100 µg/ml of hexavalent chromium cation (Cr(6+)) solution in order to evaluate their capacities of adsorbing Cr(6+) from water. Our results showed that the dentifrice containing HA was significantly better than the ordinary dentifrice in occluding the dentinal tubules with a plugging rate greater than 90%. Moreover, the effect of the HA dentifrice was persistent and energy-dispersive spectrometer (EDS) revealed that the atomic percentages of calcium and phosphorus on the surface of dentine discs increased significantly. Adding HA to ordinary dentifrice significantly enhanced the ability of dentifrice to adsorb Cr(6+) from water with the removal rate up to 52.36%. In addition, the sorption was stable. Our study suggests that HA can be added to ordinary dentifrice to obtain dentifrice that has both relieving dentin hypersensitivity benefits and also helps to control environmental pollution.

Concepts: Chemistry, Atom, Adsorption, Pollution, Dentin, Hydroxylapatite, Dentine hypersensitivity, Environmentalism

168

Agro-industrial wastes are generated during the industrial processing of agricultural products. These wastes are generated in large amounts throughout the year, and are the most abundant renewable resources on earth. Due to the large availability and composition rich in compounds that could be used in other processes, there is a great interest on the reuse of these wastes, both from economical and environmental view points. The economic aspect is based on the fact that such wastes may be used as low-cost raw materials for the production of other value-added compounds, with the expectancy of reducing the production costs. The environmental concern is because most of the agro-industrial wastes contain phenolic compounds and/or other compounds of toxic potential; which may cause deterioration of the environment when the waste is discharged to the nature. Although the production of bioethanol offers many benefits, more research is needed in the aspects like feedstock preparation, fermentation technology modification, etc., to make bioethanol more economically viable.

Concepts: Environment, Natural environment, Natural resource, Material, Recycling, Habitat conservation, Environmentalism, Ethanol fuel

161

Potential environmental risks caused by chemicals that could be released from a recycled plastic product were assessed using a screening risk assessment procedure for chemicals in recycled products.

Concepts: Risk, Assessment, Risk management, Environmentalism, Risk assessment, Probabilistic risk assessment

122

Few people would deny an intuitive sense of increased wellbeing when spending time in beautiful locations. Here, we ask: can we quantify the relationship between environmental aesthetics and human health? We draw on data from Scenic-Or-Not, a website that crowdsources ratings of “scenicness” for geotagged photographs across Great Britain, in combination with data on citizen-reported health from the Census for England and Wales. We find that inhabitants of more scenic environments report better health, across urban, suburban and rural areas, even when taking core socioeconomic indicators of deprivation into account, such as income, employment and access to services. Our results provide evidence in line with the striking hypothesis that the aesthetics of the environment may have quantifiable consequences for our wellbeing.

Concepts: Environment, Natural environment, United Kingdom, England, Wales, Environmentalism, Environmental science, Kingdom of England

114

Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is used extensively worldwide in plastic products, and its accumulation in the environment has become a global concern. Because the ability to enzymatically degrade PET has been thought to be limited to a few fungal species, biodegradation is not yet a viable remediation or recycling strategy. By screening natural microbial communities exposed to PET in the environment, we isolated a novel bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, that is able to use PET as its major energy and carbon source. When grown on PET, this strain produces two enzymes capable of hydrolyzing PET and the reaction intermediate, mono(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalic acid. Both enzymes are required to enzymatically convert PET efficiently into its two environmentally benign monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Enzyme, Fungus, Natural environment, Acetic acid, Environmentalism, Polyethylene terephthalate

114

Dominant theories of hippocampal function propose that place cell representations are formed during an animal’s first encounter with a novel environment and are subsequently replayed during off-line states to support consolidation and future behaviour. Here we report that viewing the delivery of food to an unvisited portion of an environment leads to off-line pre-activation of place cells sequences corresponding to that space. Such ‘preplay’ was not observed for an unrewarded but otherwise similar portion of the environment. These results suggest that a hippocampal representation of a visible, yet unexplored environment can be formed if the environment is of motivational relevance to the animal. We hypothesise such goal-biased preplay may support preparation for future experiences in novel environments.

Concepts: Environment, Geography, Natural environment, Hippocampus, Hypothesis, Place cell, Environmentalism

108

Green, natural environments may ameliorate adverse environmental exposures (e.g. air pollution, noise, and extreme heat), increase physical activity and social engagement, and lower stress.

Concepts: Environment, Ecology, Natural environment, Pollution, Environmentalism, Environmental science, Air pollution

107

Sedentary behaviour - i.e., low energy-expending waking behaviour while seated or lying down - is a health risk factor, even when controlling for physical activity. This review sought to describe the behaviour change strategies used within interventions that have sought to reduce sedentary behaviour in adults. Studies were identified through existing literature reviews, a systematic database search, and hand-searches of eligible papers. Interventions were categorized as ‘very promising’, ‘quite promising’, or ‘non-promising’ according to observed behaviour changes. Intervention functions and behaviour change techniques were compared across promising and non-promising interventions. Twenty-six eligible studies reported 38 interventions, of which 20 (53%) were worksite-based. Fifteen interventions (39%) were very promising, 8 quite promising (21%), and 15 non-promising (39%). Very or quite promising interventions tended to have targeted sedentary behaviour instead of physical activity. Interventions based on environmental restructuring, persuasion, or education, were most promising. Self-monitoring, problem solving, and restructuring the social or physical environment were particularly promising behaviour change techniques. Future sedentary reduction interventions might most fruitfully incorporate environmental modification and self-regulatory skills training. The evidence base is however weakened by low-quality evaluation methods; more RCTs, employing no-treatment control groups, and collecting objective data, are needed. Supplemental_PRISMA_checklist.pdf Supplemental References.pdf Supplemental Table_1.pdf Supplemental Table_2.pdf Supplemental Table_3.pdf Supplemental Table_4.pdf Supplemental Table_5.pdf.

Concepts: Evaluation, Environment, Natural environment, Intervention, Problem solving, Environmentalism, Risk factor