Pesticides

In Brief

New bug sprays may last longer than DEET

In Brief

May 29, 2008

Researchers have identified seven possibilities for the next generation of mosquito repellent, some of which may work several times longer than the current standard-bearer, DEET.

The next step: safety testing to make sure they're not harmful.

While the new repellents aren't likely to be available commercially for a few years, early tests on cloth were promising, with some chemicals repelling mosquitoes for as long as 73 days and many working for 40 days to 50 days, compared to an average of 17.5 days with DEET, according to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Biting insects such as mosquitoes and ticks can spread diseases such as encephalitis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, malaria and dengue fever.

Several of the new chemicals "were just phenomenal," said Ulrich R. Bernier, a research chemist at the Agriculture Department's mosquito and fly research unit in Gainesville, Fla. "I was so surprised."

Focusing on a chemical known as N-acylpiperidines, researchers narrowed the study down to 34 molecules -- 23 that had never been tested before and 11 that had, Bernier said.

From those, the 10 most effective were narrowed down to seven, with eliminations based on concerns about toxicity and high production costs.

The tests were done on cloth treated with the chemicals and then placed on the arms of volunteers.

Associated Press

ADHD

Lack of focus tied to reduced output on job

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can cause employees to lose nearly a month's work per year, new research shows.

This lack of ability to concentrate costs the average adult with the disorder 22.1 days of "role performance" per year, including 8.7 extra days absent, according to researchers led by Dr. Ron de Graaf of the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction.

It might be cost-effective for employers to screen workers for ADHD and provide treatment, the researchers suggest.

Researchers interviewed 7,075 workers ages 18 to 44 in 10 countries, concluding that an average of 3.5 percent had ADHD. Their findings are published in the online edition of the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Associated Press

Horticulture

Feeling blue at work? Put green plant on desk

In an article published in a recent issue of Horticultural Science, researchers at Texas State University in San Marcos found that workers who had at least one plant in their offices rated themselves as happier in their work and more satisfied with life in general than those without a plant. Those working alongside greenery were happier even than workers who had a window but no greenery.

The findings, which controlled for factors such as income, education level and job position, come from an Internet-based survey of 450 office workers in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. They follow research that suggests that indoor plants help purify the air, provide a calming visual cue for the troubled and create a link to humans' evolutionary past.

Los Angeles Times

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