Sperm counts are on the decline could plastics be to blame?

A recent study that tested both men and dogs added to concerns that chemicals in the environment are damaging the quality and quantity of sperm Surprising new research into dog sperm has reproductive biologists concerned about the fate of their own species. In a March study, scientists at Nottingham University found that two chemicals common in home environments damage the quality of sperm in both men and dogs. The culprits implicated are diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), used to make new plastics more pliable, and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB153), found in older plastics and electrical equipment. Companies stopped producing PCBs in the late 1970s due to their health risks including a possible increased risk of cancer, hormone disruption, liver damage and behavioral …

Canadian Arctic fossils are oldest known fungus on Earth

Fungus is half a billion years older than previous record holder found in Wisconsin Tiny fossils found in mudrock in the barren wilderness of the Canadian Arctic are the remains of the oldest known fungus on Earth, scientists say. The minuscule organisms were discovered in shallow water shale, a kind of fine-grained sedimentary rock, in a region south of Victoria island on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Tests on the shale, which accumulated over millions of years in a river or lake, revealed that it formed between 900m and 1bn years ago in what is now the Northwest Territories. The age of the rock makes the fungus half a billion years older than the previous record holder, a 450m-year-old …

Wellcome Trust investing 80m in snakebite treatment

Scientists say antivenom exists for only 60% of all the snakes in the world New drugs for snakebite are desperately needed, say scientists, to replace the current 100-year-old treatment made by injecting snakes venom into a horse and harvesting antibodies which is very expensive, may not work and can cause lethal allergic reactions. Snakebite, says the Wellcome Trust, is the cause of the worlds biggest hidden health crisis and it is investing 80m in the hope of solving it. The World Health Organization will this month also launch a snakebite strategy aiming to halve deaths by 2030. Every five minutes, on average, 50 people are bitten by a snake. Between 81,000 and 138,000 people die from snakebite every year and …