Hierarchically porous polymer coatings for highly efficient passive daytime radiative cooling
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6 days ago
Five-minute neck scan can spot dementia earlier, say scientists
A group of almost 3,200 patients, aged 58-74, had ultrasounds on their necks in 2002, before having their cognitive functions monitored for up to 14 years, from 2002 to 2016.
People with the most intense pulses, which pointed to a greater and more irregular blood flow, were up to 50% more likely to suffer reduced cognitive functions, the research found, because the strength with which blood traveled into their brains caused damage to the brain's network of blood vessels.
Pulses become more intense when arteries near the heart are worn down -- usually by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and drug use -- and can no longer "cushion" the blood flow coming from the heart.

When healthy, arteries around the heart can regulate the blood being pumped from the organ, ensuring that it flows smoothly and at a constant rate to the brain.
But damage to the arteries means blood flows more aggressively and irregularly through vessels and into the brain, which can damage its network of blood vessels and cells. Over time, the researchers believe this led more frequently to cognitive decline in participants in the study.
"What we do know is that the blood supply in the brain is incredibly important, and that maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia," said Carol Routledge, Director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, who was not involved in the research.
Vascular dementia is directly caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, and this can also play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, studies have found. Those two conditions make up the vast majority of cases of dementia.
dementia  hypertension  cardiovascular  vascular.dementia  alzheimer's  from instapaper
6 days ago
Solving Microplastic Pollution Means Reducing, Recycling--And Fundamental Rethinking
What Dove and a growing number of materials scientists envision to reshape our relationship with all plastics is to move from physically recycling plastics by grinding them up to chemically dismantling them to weed out all the impurities that taint recycled plastic. Such a method would take a PET bottle, for example, and break it down into its most basic molecules, separating out added chemicals to provide the building blocks to remake virgin polymers. In this way plastic would become its own perpetual raw material, the way glass and paper are (although the latter are physically ground up, not just chemically broken down). “With some plastics, there’s no reason why you can’t infinitely recycle,” Dove says. “People just haven’t looked at it. It’s not been considered something that’s important.”

For the polymers that cannot be unraveled into their most basic molecules, Dove thinks it should be possible to at least chemically break them up into other small molecules that could be used for different purposes, such as fuel or pharmaceuticals. Ideally, scientists would devise chemical reactions that did not require too many harsh compounds and are not too expensive. That would give value to the plastic waste that currently has no, or very little, value. Currently, “it’s much cheaper to burn them or to throw them away in landfills, and that’s the core of the issue,” Wagner says.

Making discarded plastic valuable could also provide incentive for cleaning up the plastic waste already in the environment. “If we can create something high-value from cheap plastic waste, there might be an economic argument to go and dredge this out of the ocean,” Dove says. “We’re a long way from that, but that’s what we’d like to achieve.”

A few scientists have already begun to look at ways to clean up some of the microplastic waste, which could remain in the environment for at least several hundred years. Cleanup is difficult because the plastic particles are small and varied in nature, and the ecosystems in which they are embedded are vast. Researchers have found enzymes and bacteria that can break down certain types of plastic, but they need to figure out how these might be deployed without any potential negative side effects, such as producing greenhouse gases. Agroecologist Esperanza Huerta Lwanga, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the College of the Southern Frontier in Mexico, for example, hopes to test whether earthworms that possess plastic-munching bacteria in their guts might be able to remediate soil littered with plastic from the burning of trash.
sustainability  remediation  microplastics  from instapaper
7 days ago
Inhabitat - Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building
stack effect A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode by Lucy Wang 0 2 days ago Formerly cold, dim and damp, a terrace house in Northcote,…
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7 days ago
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