Delaware Public Media

Science, Health, Tech

Delaware Public Media's coverage of stories involving, science, health, medicine, technology and the environment.

By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A new survey of beehive colonies not only reveals major losses on a national level, it also shows that Delaware has one of the highest rates of colony loss in the country.

According to the research conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership, along with the Apiary Inspectors of America and the USDA, over 40 percent of American honeybee colonies were lost since April 2014. In Delaware, the loss in the past year was even worse, at 61 percent.

A recently released report showed that Delaware is top-ranked in publishing research nationwide.

According to academic publisher Elsevier and the Council for State Governments, Delaware had the second highest production rate of peer-reviewed publications, from 2004 to 2013. That rate was 11.4 publications per million dollars in research and development expenditure, twice the national average.

Eurico Zimbres

The Delaware Natural History Museum will be showing off its new display of minerals found in First State starting on May 11.

At the “Delaware Rocks!” exhibit, visitors will see minerals like the Iron Hill iron ore and chert that the Native Americans used to make tools. Cockeysville marble was another mineral used by farmers to fertilize fields, and is the namesake for “Limestone Road” in upstate Delaware because so much of the marble fell off the wagons, turning the road white.

Ronald Amundson

A new paper published by the head of the Delaware Environmental Institute at University of Delaware expresses concern over the rising rates of soil erosion and its potential impact on the quality of human life in the future.

The review, “Soil and human security in the 21st century,” was published in leading journal Science. In many parts of the world, soil conditions are suffering from wind and water erosion, especially in areas are facing intense drought, flood patterns and weather conditions exacerbated by climate change.

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that they will give $483,333 in Affordable Care Act funding to La Red Health Center.

La Red has served a mix of immigrant and non-immigrant patients on a sliding scale basis in Georgetown since 2001. Like many rural areas, Sussex County has a high patient to doctor ratio.


Delaware State University will be receiving a $5 million dollar grant from NASA to advance research in space exploration and technology.

Spread over five years, the grant will fund four different projects to gain a better understanding of the planet Mars and the regions of space beyond Earth.

Two of these projects will be to develop lasers and sensors to understand the Martian landscape. This will build on the technology that DSU researchers have already contributed to NASA.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Every now and then, you might hear of an unusual bird sighting. One example folks in Delmarva might be familiar with are the snowy owl sightings at the end of 2013.

Wildlife scientists call these birds and other animals that don’t belong in Delaware “vagrants.” One recent example was the burrowing owl, which was spotted at the Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge in April.

Delaware Public Media

  Delaware-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is currently testing a drug that has potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Many potential Alzheimer’s treatments right now are targeting the abnormal growth of two types of proteins in the brains affected by the disease. These are beta-amyloids and tau proteins, which are also known as “plaques” and “tangles,” respectively.

The drug, called AZD3293, was produced by AstraZeneca’s Neuroscience iMed group in partnership with Eli Lilly. AZD3293 works by blocking the beta-secretase or BACE enzyme, that produces these plaques. AstraZeneca began developing the drug in 1999, shortly after the discovery of the BACE enzyme.

USDA grants could aid First State farmers

May 5, 2015
Delaware Public Media

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will be awarding a total of $235 million dollars in grants to fund innovative projects that promote environmental conservation.

The funds will be administered through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, as a part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Paul Petrichenko, an assistant conservationist for programs at the NRCS office in Dover, says that this will provide tremendous support for farmers in Delaware.

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

DNREC hosted a pair of public workshops in Milford and Bethany Beach on May 1 and 2 on changes to state’s Beach Preservation Act.

Last revised in 1983, the Beach Preservation Act seek to mitigate the effects of beach erosion and property damage from coastal flooding and storms. The latest draft seeks to redefine several terms in the Beach Preservation Act, including “regulated areas.” These are areas along the shore that the state can regulate construction in favor of protecting beaches, dunes and properties.