Egypt Independent: Science-Main news en Air pollution can affect blood pressure: study <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Long-term exposure to urban air pollution incrementally increases the risk of high blood pressure, according to a study released Tuesday of more than 41,000 European city-dwellers.&nbsp;<br /><br />Constant noise pollution &mdash; especially traffic &mdash; also boosts the likelihood of hypertension, researchers reported in the European Heart Journal.<br /><br />High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for premature illness and death.<br /><br />The study found that one extra adult per 100 people of roughly the same age developed high blood pressure in the most polluted part of towns compared to more breathable neighbourhoods.<br /><br />The risk is similar to being clinically overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30, the researchers said.<br /><br />To carry out the study, 33 experts led by Barbara Hoffmann, a professor at Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, Germany, monitored 41,071 people in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Spain for five to nine years.<br /><br />At the same time, the researchers examined air quality annually in each locale during three two-week periods between 2008 and 2011, measuring different sizes of particle matter.<br /><br />Every increment of five micrograms &mdash; or millionths of a gram &mdash; of the smallest of these particles upped the risk of hypertension by a fifth for people living in the most polluted areas, compared to those in the least polluted.&nbsp;<br /><br />None of the participants had hypertension when they joined the study, but during the follow-up period 6,207 people -- 15 percent -- reported that they developed hypertension or started to take medication to lower blood pressure.<br /><br />For noise pollution, the researchers found that people living on busy streets with loud night-time traffic had, on average, a six percent increased risk of developing hypertension compared to areas where noise levels were at least 20 percent lower.<br /><br />&quot;Our findings show that long-term exposure to particulate air pollution is associated with a higher incidence of self-reported hypertension,&quot; Hoffmann said in a statement.&nbsp;<br /><br />Even when noise was excluded, the impact of air pollution on blood pressure remained, she added.<br /><br />&quot;Current legislation does not protect the European population adequately from adverse effects of air pollution,&quot; the researchers concluded.</p><p>Pollution levels were higher in Spain and Germany than in the Nordic countries, Hoffmann noted.<br /><br />Air pollution is thought to affect the heart and blood vessels by causing inflammation, a build-up of damaging molecules, known as oxidative stress, and an imbalance in the nervous system.&nbsp;<br /><br />Noise is thought to affect the functioning of both the nervous and hormonal systems.</p> Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:36:00 +0000 AFP 2473770 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/04/21/54605/air-pollution.jpg Alexandria zoo to undergo LE7 million development project <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Alexandria Zoo will be closed for 15 days from Monday due to restoration and development work, said zoo director Eman Mekhaimar.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The decision was made by Ibrahim Saleh, President of the General Authority for Veterinary Services, in order to avoid exposing visitors to danger, in view of digging work that would be involved, Mekhaimar told Al-Masry Al-Youm.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The development project costing LE7 million involves 13 locations, including Al-Seba Hall, the toilets, the animal museum, the house of reptiles, the administration building, the aviaries building, the outer wall of the zoo, the sewage system, power lines and the water system, according to Mekhaimar.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alexandria Zoo is the second largest zoo in Egypt after Giza Zoo. It is located on 24 acres in the Nozha area in downtown ‚Äč‚ÄčAlexandria.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:03:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2473769 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/10/25/16030/nozha_zoo.jpg Hard crash-landing may have wrecked Europe's Mars probe <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Scientists say Europe&#39;s experimental Mars probe has hit the right spot but may have been destroyed in a fiery ball of rocket fuel because it was traveling too fast.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end days of speculation over the probe&#39;s likely fate following unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The agency said in a statement that the probe dropped from a height of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.4 miles to 2.4 miles) and struck the surface at a speed exceeding 300 kph (186 mph), &quot;therefore impacting at a considerable speed.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It said the large disturbance captured in the NASA photographs may have been caused by the probe&#39;s steep crash-landing, which would have sprayed matter around like a blast site on Earth.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full,&quot; the agency said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Schiaparelli was designed to test technology for a more ambitious European Mars landing in 2020. The European Space Agency said the probe&#39;s mother ship was successfully placed into orbit Wednesday and soon will begin analyzing the Martian atmosphere in search for evidence of life.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;In my heart, of course I&#39;m sad that we couldn&#39;t land softly on the surface of Mars,&quot; agency chief Jan Woerner told The Associated Press. &quot;But the main part of the mission is the science that will be done by the orbiter.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Woerner said engineers received a wealth of data from the lander before the crash that will prove valuable for the next attempt in four years. He described the mission as &quot;a 96 percent success.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, the crash-landing was a painful reminder of how hard it is to put a spacecraft on the surface of the red planet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Its resting place was photographed by NASA&#39;s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter , which also spotted Europe&#39;s last ill-fated mission to the surface of the planet. The Beagle 2 probe landed on Mars in 2003 but failed to deploy its solar panels properly, preventing it from functioning.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There have been only seven successful robotic landings on Mars, all by NASA. The last landing was in 2012, when the Curiosity rover touched down in a crater.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Landing on Mars is notoriously difficult because of the planet&#39;s thin, dusty atmosphere. Inbound spacecraft hit the atmosphere at 12,000 mph (19,300 kph) and have only minutes to slow down and land.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With the loss of Schiaparelli, only two spacecraft are currently roaming the Martian surface: Curiosity and Opportunity, which landed in 2004.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The European Space Agency said that, according to what its scientists have been able to piece together so far, Schiaparelli suffered problems during the last 50 seconds of its descent through the harsh atmosphere.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The picture taken by NASA&#39;s orbiter shows two features that weren&#39;t visible on the surface when the spacecraft photographed the area in May. The first is a bright spot of about 12 meters (39 feet) in diameter. The agency says that&#39;s likely to be Schiaparelli&#39;s parachute.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The second feature was described as &quot;a fuzzy dark patch roughly 15 by 40 meters in size&quot; north of the parachute. That&#39;s likely to be the lander.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis&quot; and a high-resolution picture in the coming days, the agency said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While Schiaparelli was able to beam back some 600 megabytes of data before the crash, scientists won&#39;t get any of the close-up photos the probe took during its descent. Those were meant to be transmitted after the landing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ESA said the other part of the ExoMars mission &mdash; the Trace Gas Orbiter &mdash; was &quot;working very well and will take science calibration data during two orbits in November.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The spacecraft then is supposed to descend to an altitude of about 400 kilometers (250 miles) and begin its study of Mars next year. The orbiter will act as a radio relay for the next stage of the ExoMars mission and future attempts to land on the planet.</div> Sun, 23 Oct 2016 14:18:00 +0000 AP 2473704 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/10/23/505446/file_-_this_artists_rendering_provided_by_the_european_space_agency_shows_the_separation_of_the_exomars_2016_entry.jpg Medical city for heart disease to open in Aswan by mid-2017 <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Renowned Egyptian heart surgeon Magdi Yacoub has revealed plans for a new medical city in Aswan specializing in the treatment of heart disease.<br /><br />The medical facility, which will also conduct research, should be constructed on the west bank of the Nile by mid-2017, said Yacoub.<br /><br />The famous surgeon made the announcement at an event to open a 3,000-meter extension to the Aswan Heart Center. He said the planned city will cover an area of 29 feddans and will include a new center to treat both adults and children.<br /><br />He added that around 2,700 heart operations and 5,100 cardiac catheterizations have been conducted by the Magdy Yacoub Heart Foundation over the past three years.<br /><br />Yacoub stressed that the foundation will always be committed to offering the best medical services for Egyptians free of charge.<br /><br />Meanwhile, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali said during the opening ceremony, &ldquo;Fortunately, the ceremony coincides with the phenomenon when the sun aligns directly on Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan, on the same day when another sun shines in Aswan, which is the sun of the medical and research center by Professor Magdy Yacoub. All this comes despite the challenges that Egypt is facing. However, we will continue along the correct path.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Today, we celebrate an exceptional value, which is the value of giving that is a basic Egyptian value. We also celebrate values of hard work and quality,&rdquo; she added, praising the center&rsquo;s focus on Egyptian doctors.<br /><br />&ldquo;The center conducted over 2,000 operations and diagnosed 13,000 cases last year, which is a big number that reflects value of the place. We are here to thank them. It&rsquo;s not new in Egypt to be excellent in the field of heart diseases. We are here to take the side of the poor,&rdquo; she added.<br /><br />Yaoub, who heads the executive committee at the foundation bearing his name, said the extention of the Aswan Heart Center has clinics and research centers, adding that the aim is to conduct both treatment and research.</p><p>&ldquo;Treatment without science or research will never progress,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />&ldquo;The best thing here is to bring the young Egyptians to train and qualify them scientifically and medically to be equal to their colleagues abroad,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />He said there are 36 researchers, two of whom studied in Munich University but left because they prefer to work in Egypt with less advanced facilities, which points to their belief in the center&rsquo;s message.<br /><br />In related news, the foundation has signed deals with the Al-Maghraby Foundation and the Al-Alfy Foundation for Human and Social Development to raise awareness and offer services to sponsor researchers.<br /><br />The organizations have agreed to combine efforts to sponsor researchers at the Magdy Yaaqoub Foundation, helping them gain higher scientific degrees from the best international universities and research centers.<br /><br /><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em><br />&nbsp;</p> Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:00:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2473700 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/03/08/16030/image.jpeg