Monthly Archives: August 2017

Lithium in tap water may cut dementia.

Researchers out of Denmark have released research finding that an increased level of lithium in drinking water may cut risk of dementia. Lithium is natural to tap water, but the amount varies. the researchers from the U of Copenhagen studied the medical records of 800,000 people. Some 74,000 with dementia and the rest without.

The experts are intrigued  and encouraged at the possibility of prevention of this terrible disease.

Tap water was tested in 151 locations around the country. It was found that where lithium was available in the water in moderate amounts dementia increased by 22%, compared to where low levels were available. Where lithium was in the water at the highest levels the risk of dementia was cut by 17%.

This is believed to be the first study of its kind, looking at the association of lithium in water vs dementia. It does appear that in areas where humans were exposed to higher levels of lithium in their water a lower rate of dementia is noted.

Lithium is presently used medicinally in the treatment of bipolar disorders. The element is known to alter a wide range of biological processes in the brain and is shown to be protective. The amounts used in the medical field are much greater than what appears in tap water. We are therefore talking about the effects of small amounts over a long period of time.

The importance of this finding is not without consequence as there is at present no drug or treatment that can reverse or slow the progression of this disease. Obviously , more study will be required.

…more ice water found on Mars.

Scientists have found large deposits of ice water around Mars’s equator. This will of course spur on future colonists or at least astrobiologists looking for life on Mars.

A reanalysis of data from the NASA spaceship Odyssey found evidence of water around the equator…bulk ice sitting just below the surface. The idea of water on Mars is not new. In 2002 ice was found at the poles and in 2008 the Phoenix lander stretched out its robotic arm and scratched the surface..finding frozen water hidden there.

The process of mapping the evidence of water continues to become more accurate. The importance of this would be that when we first put colonists on Mars we should put them near a water source.

Scientists are excited by the consideration that the equatorial ice melts and could provide a home or habitat for microbes…life on Mars. Dark streaks on steep slopes are potentially water seepage from water melting or from and aquifer. Habitats that can support local life could host life from Earth as well. For this reason there are strict protocols to ensure any equipment sent from earth must be sterile. The Martian climate is presently inhospitable to Earth’s organic matter , but we need to watch out for the transfer of our microbes and what they could do Mars.

Not all Antarctic glaciers are melting.

A new study has found that not all Antarctic glaciers are melting. There has been some attention lately given to the melting and breaking off of large areas of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula. This activity is not seen on the western Ross Sea coast. The pattern of advance and retreat of the ice pack is not evident here.

The western Ross Sea is an area of great importance to the Antarctic, with a large and diverse ecosystem. It is also the home of several research stations , including the U.S. McMurdo station..the largest on the continent.

Historical maps and satellite images going back 50yrs were used to study some 700kms of coastline, including 34 large glaciers. All showed normal activity. The results suggest changes in the drivers of glacier response to climate..air temp, snowfall, and ocean temperature has been minimal over the lat 50 years.

This comes as interesting news given the recent cracking up of the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Rome faces water rationing.

From the foundational myth of Romulus and Remus coming from the river…water has been inherent to the foundation of Rome. With ancient aqueducts and  baroque fountains water symbolizes Rome’s dominion over nature.

Today though Rome is facing a drought and high temperatures. The Mayor is looking at water rationing for 1.5 million Romans to 8hrs a day. In June to save water Rome began shutting off the water to some of the cities many water fountains , some of them historical landmarks. 

The city’s water utility Acea, is rushing to repair some 2,000kms of the 7,000kms of water piping. Hundreds of litres per second is being saved as the work is done. The piping is so antiquated that they estimate that some 44% of the water is stolen, spills into the ground or pools on the streets. 

So far Rome is experiencing the second hottest spring/summer recorded in the last 60 yrs, also one of the driest with 26 days of rain vs 88 in 2016. 7 of Italy’s 20 regions have declared an emergency to address the drought. Crops have also been damaged to the tune of 2 billion euros. even the Vatican has turned off some 100 fountains.

So many people in Rome thought an abundance of water was their birthright. As we find throughout the world water is never an issue until it is an issue..and then it becomes a big issue. The loss of 44% of the water in their utility speaks to someone took their eye off the infrastructure and now they have to pay the price.