Comments Off on Combating diabetes in Argentina, Chile’s endangered Darwin’s frog, and measuring carbon sequestration in Mexico.

20 June 2013

Combating diabetes in Argentina, Chile’s endangered Darwin’s frog, and measuring carbon sequestration in Mexico.


Argentina’s Ministry of Science and Technology recently signed an agreement with the pharmaceutical company Sanofi to develop a program of primary prevention of type 2 diabetes, a disease with high prevalence in Argentina and Latin America but with few prevention efforts. The study will identify high-risk patients and incorporate nutrition education program and regular practice of physical activity to prevent the development of this disease. Two and a half million Argentines suffer from diabetes. Latin America has 20 million who suffer from diabetes, a number that could double by 2025.

Darwin’s frog in Chile is facing extinction. Credit: Wikipedia.

A working group of the Faculty of Agronomy at the Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto has prepared a technical report with strategies and soil management recommendations to achieve maximum crop yields while safeguarding water and soil resources. The report has been adopted by institutions of higher education in Brazil and taken into account by farmers, especially in the province of Córdoba. Including are also recommendations for provincial and national agricultural policies to “encourage the development of an agrarian structure which is most closely connected with the ownership of the resource responsible for the production, with a long-term vision and an appropriate scale for the production and retention of the rural population.”

Scientists from Argentina’s Balseiro Institute are developing ceramic materials for application in medicine and energy efficiency. For medicine, they are developing glass microspheres for radiotherapy treatment of liver cancer, ceramic surfaces for dental cements and development of microspheres for drug transport. In the case of energy efficiency, they are looking at ceramic oxides to produce electricity with high efficiency and low emissions.


Darwin’s frogs, three-centimeter-long frogs endemic to Chile and Argentina, are in danger of extinction, according to a study by Chile’s Universidad Andrés Bello. There are currently 35 Rhinoderma darwinii populations in Chile and one in Argentina, most with fewer than 100 individuals. The Chile Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma rufum) is also in trouble: it has not been sighted since 1980 and may already be extinct.


Ten percent of mining royalties paid to the Colombian state goes to science, technology and innovation, which means an increase of 3.2% of public resources that were formerly set aside for science, technology and innovation. Areas which will benefit are health, agriculture and human resources training.


The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) uses satellite images to study deforestation in Latin America in real time. The monitoring system, called Terra-i was developed by CIAT, King’s College London and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland. Satellite images superimposed on Google maps are used to analyze the changes in the vegetation every 16 days. Various algorithms for transforming changes in pixels of different colors are used to watch the evolution of deforestation.


Carbon dioxide sequestration by vegetation is a key factor in mitigating the greenhouse effect, complementing the reduction of industrial and transportation carbon emissions. A group of researchers from the Yucatan Center for Scientific Research measured carbon sequestration of some species of vegetation along coastal southeastern Mexico, concluding that their conservation is essential for the environmental balance in the region.