China more reluctant to take part in clinical research than U.S., fearing safety

When it comes to participating in clinical research, Chinese are far more reluctant when compared to Americans, with safety and compensation listing as their top priority.

A 2-year study interviewing more than 1,100 patients from rural, urban China and the US compared attitudes toward clinical research.

It found those in the US were more likely to have no problem with clinical research, but if concerns were mentioned they were privacy, confidentiality and safety.

Safety was the top concern for a majority of both rural and urban Chinese.

Among Chinese participants, especially rural, self-benefit was also listed as a top priority.  Free medical care and financial incentives went a long way in influencing participation, whereas being told they were free to leave the study whenever they like had little impact.

Titled “A Comparative Study of Patients’ Attitudes Toward Clinical Research in the United States and Urban and Rural China”, the research aims to provide information that will help future cross-cultural clinical studies be more effective.

It was published in the Clinical and Translational Science journal on January 15, 2015.

Giant Pandas obtain less nutrients from Bamboo than Sheep

While often its the results that keep us fascinated in science, sometimes it is the process in which they are obtained.

In this case, researchers produced a study that examined, in depth, how China’s beloved panda digests the cell walls of Bamboo – by simulating digestion using temperature-controlled panda feces.

They found pandas generally absorb less nutrients from bamboo when comparing similar test methods to observe sheep digestion.

Scientists from the School of Vetrinary Medicine at Kitasato University, Japan, used a scanning electron miscroscopy in vitro to observe digestion of pandas at the Chengdu Research and Breeding base in the least invasive way possible.

They supplemented their info by keeping panda feces at a temperature of 37 degrees celcius for 12 hours in order to simulate digestion before examining the results.

They concluded the likely reason pandas absorb less nutrients than sheep is because they are not capable of breaking down bamboo cell walls, either through microbes or enyzmes.

In addition to bettering understanding the panda’s digestive system, the study also has implications in better health treatments and quicker diagnosis for the rare animal.

The paper, titled “Procedure and Mechanisms of Bamboo Cell Wall Digestion in the Giant Panda, Ailurpoda melanoleuca” was published by the Mammals Society of Japan in January.

Toddlers in Fireworks producing cities exposed to high levels of potentially dangerous Propellant

Researchers found almost 80 percent of toddlers living in two fireworks producing cities exceeded the recommended US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exposure of Perchlorate, a salt used in creating rocket fuel, explosives and fireworks.

Perchlorate can potentially adversely impact the thyroid’s ability to produce certain hormones and is capable of hindering development in children.

Scientists tested indoor dust, urine, drinking water and milk to test exposure for toddlers, children and adults in fireworks and non-fireworks producing cities.

With the highest percentage, 79 percent of the toddlers tested exceeded EPA levels, with 48 percent of children tested and 25 percent of adults also over the limit.

The Chinese researchers found indoor dust was one of the biggest contributors, responsible for high levels of perchlorate in 26 percent of toddlers, 28 percent of children and 7 percent of adults.

The samples were taken from fireworks producing cities Yueyang and Nanchang and non-producing cities Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Yuxi and Guilin.

Overall, levels in both were much higher than that of other countries, with Yueyang and Nanchang naturally having the highest levels.

Perchlorate remains an issue in the US, where the chemical is sometimes found in drinking water.  While several studies have been conducted in the US, more data is needed before an official ruling can be given on perchlorate, the US EPA said on its website. It is currently unregulated.

The research was published on January 14, 2015, by the American Chemical Society.