Bumble Bees in Peril!

Music Bumblebees in peril Bumble bees pesky stinging nuisances right? Not quite. They actually have a really important job… pollinating all the beautiful flowers and delicious fruit we enjoy eating every day, like strawberries and apples. But now it seems their livelihood is at risk. NSF-funded researchers at North Carolina State, Florida State University and the University of Maryland have discovered that climate change, warmer temperatures and earlier snow melt are causing flowers to bloom earlier affecting at least three types of bumble bees that live in higher altitudes and rely on these blooms to live and thrive. Studying over 40 years of bee, flower and climate data at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Rebecca, Irwin and her team want to better understand whether the bumble bees will be able to adjust to this shift in flower blooms or continue to be out of sync. Which could ultimately lead to less bumble bee populations to pollinate and help our flowers and fruits grow. Irwin will continue adding to this study with changes she is seeing and feels this work is important to understand how bees and flowers will respond as climate continues to change. Leaping ancestors 52 million year old ankle fossils suggest that some of the earliest primates were adept leapers. The quarter-inch long bone a part of the ankle joint from a chipmunk-sized creature was discovered in a quarry in southeastern France. The animal is thought to be one of the earliest members of the primate tree leading to lemurs, lorises and bush babies. Examining the bone the NSF-funded Duke University team was surprised to find that these first primates were masters of leaping, when it was previously thought that the earliest primates crept along small twigs slowly. The creatures actually spent most of their time jumping high between the trees using their grasping feet to stick landings, evading ground predators. Printed Meds NSF-funded researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a technique that can print pure ultra precise doses of drugs onto a wide variety of surfaces. In a study led by Dr.Olga Shalev and professor Max Shtein, they say this system could one day enable on-site printing of custom dosed medications at pharmacies and hospitals. The technique can print multiple medications into a single dose on a dissolvable strip microneedle patch or other dosing device. The team says this could make life easier for patients who currently take multiple medications every day. The doctor can choose the number of medications to combine into a single dose. Organic vapor-jet printing adapted from creating printed functional electronics and photonics is the key to this technology. The system is unique because it can print a very fine crystalline structure over a large surface area. This helps medications dissolve more easily. This system also opens a door to a variety of potential new drugs that today can’t be used because they don’t dissolve well with conventional methods, like pills and capsules. While printing mass-market drugs is still years away, the team believes that their technique may be useful for a variety of drug delivery applications. Game-changing technology An estimated 3.8 million concussions occur each year in the U.S., from recreational sports. About half of them go undiagnosed, putting millions of young players and adults at risk for permanent cognitive damage. Right now there is no surefire way to quickly and accurately detect concussions, even in the emergency room. Coaches and parents are left assessing the athletes suspected of a concussion by asking them a series of basic questions. We ask the kid questions you know do you know where you’re at? How are you feeling? How many fingers am I holding up? NSF-funded researchers at the University of Washington are developing the first smartphone app capable of detecting concussion and other traumatic brain injuries right on the sidelines. The PupilScreen app might just be a game changer. If we can use an app to determine if he has a concussion or not, that is a game changer. That would make it a lot easier on the coaches and protect the player and the coaches from putting a kid back in there who might have suffered a concussion. PupilScreen works by detecting changes in a pupils response to light using a smartphone’s video camera and artificial intelligence that can pick up tiny changes undetectable by the human eye. This pupillary light reflex has long been used to assess traumatic brain injury, and a recent study finds it can also be useful in detecting milder concussions. The UW team of computer scientists electrical engineers and medical researchers has demonstrated that PupilScreen can be used to detect significant traumatic brain injury. An upcoming clinical study will put PupilScreen in the hands of coaches and emergency technicians for fine-tuning. The team hopes to make PupilScreen commercially available within two years. One, two, three, Wildcats. For more information about these stories visit us at nsf.gov. This is NSF Science Now, I’m Dena Headlee. music

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4 thoughts on “Bumble Bees in Peril!

  1. Hey you might title these videos something like 'NSF Science Now: Bumble Bees in Peril, Leaping Primates, Printed Drugs, and a Concussion App?'. It seems wordy, but it explains the video as an overview of the most important news topics in science this month. It looks like breaking the videos down into separated clips has been standard in the past, which achieves the same result, but can also cause clutter. Thanks for the Science!

  2. if you are the one who is going to make high school safer with eye phones consider the in one ear sound and something else in the other ear device and get good college grades for this kid.

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