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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Children with autism who live with pets are more assertive

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 10:28 AM PST

Dogs and other pets play an important role in individuals' social lives, and they can act as catalysts for social interaction, previous research has shown. Although much media attention has focused on how dogs can improve the social skills of children with autism, a researcher recently found that children with autism have stronger social skills when any kind of pet lived in the home.

New study links neurological disorders in captive felids to improper diet

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:57 AM PST

A new research study confirms the connection between high incidence of spinal cord issues in cheetahs and lions kept as exotic pets in the United Arab Emirates with dietary deficiencies. The study compared blood and tissue samples among captive felids, including cheetahs, lions and snow leopards, that were fed different diets. Thirty percent of the animals that did not receive supplements and existed primarily on a poultry muscle meat diet displayed clinical neurological signs such as ataxia, lack of coordination, swaying gait and moderate to severe hind limb weakness. Despite having normal appetites, these animals developed hind limb paresis and were eventually unable to stand. They either died or were euthanized, as damage is permanent and there is no treatment.

Bats are a possible source of Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 04:57 AM PST

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease occurring in West Africa may have originated from contact between humans and virus-infected bats, suggests a study. The report identifies insectivorous free-tailed bats as plausible reservoirs and expands the range of possible Ebola virus sources to this type of bats. The results also reveal that larger wildlife are not the source of infection.

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