Posts tagged STUDY
NEW STUDY SHOWS FEDERAL LABS INJECTED $1.5 BILLION INTO STATE’S ECONOMY AND SUPPORTED 16,000 JOBS IN 20100
The federal laboratories in Colorado together with their affiliates contributed $1.5 billion to the state economy in fiscal year 2010, and accounted for more than 16,000 direct and indirect jobs, a new survey shows.
The $1.5 billion impact is a 36 percent increase over the $1.1 billion impact for fiscal year 2007, when the Business Research Division of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business last conducted a survey and analysis.
The study Impact of Federal Research Laboratories in Colorado, 2009-2010 was done at the behest of CO‐LABS, a consortium of federally funded scientific laboratories, universities, businesses, local governments, and community leaders.
There are 24 federal labs in Colorado, ranging from large institutions such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to smaller organizations such as the Bureau of Reclamation Technical Services Center and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere.
The new study, released today and available for review at the CO-LABS website at http://www.co-labs.org/, was prepared to quantify the economic impacts that federal research facilities and their university affiliates have on Boulder, Jefferson, and Larimer Counties, and on the state of Colorado.
The study also aimed to assess the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the Colorado labs and on the surrounding communities. It found that total ARRA construction spending jumped from $2.7 million in FY 2009 to $102.7 million in 2010.
“Colorado is home to some of the most advanced research labs in the world,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “Their work impacts every aspect of our lives – from the basic research that created the technology for cell phones to predicting the next tsunami. The labs are critical to our state’s economy, providing more than 16,000 jobs in partnership with Colorado universities and industry.”
Net economic benefits to Boulder County totaled $463.8 million in FY 2010, while the totals for Jefferson and Larimer counties were $413.2 million and $99.5 million, respectively. Economic benefits to the rest of the state totaled $523 million. In total, the facilities account for 7,964 direct jobs in Colorado and an additional 8,521 indirect jobs in FY 2010.
Total construction at the facilities, which occupy 4.7 million square feet of leased and owned real estate, topped $84 million in FY 2009 and $201 million in FY 2010.
The study is an update of an economic impact study conducted for CO‐LABS by the Leeds School’s Business Research Division in 2008. The study was titled “CO‐LABS Economic Impact Study: The Impact of Federally Funded Research Laboratories in Colorado.”
The study applied the framework of the Insight Colorado Model to gather data, and utilized IMPLAN to quantify the economic and fiscal impacts of federal research facilities and their affiliates by examining:
–Economic benefits, such as dollars distributed through the economy
–Public revenues, such as tax revenues generated, and
–Public costs such as providing government services to the labs and their employees.
The sources of the impacts include construction, operations, and off-site and secondary effects. Secondary or multiplier effects estimate the indirect employment and earnings generated due to the relationship between the labs and other industries. A lab that spends money on goods and services, while offering partnerships and internships, for example, supports other jobs and other manufacturing operations. The presence of its employees supports retail, entertainment and other industries.
March 30, 2011
It’s not often that plants are described as diabolical, but spotted knapweed has that rare distinction. A 2004 issue of Smithsonian magazine, for instance, dubbed it the “wicked weed of the West,” a “national menace” and a “weed of mass destruction.”
Such reports were overstated and incorrect, but the press wasn’t making this stuff up. It was summarizing research results published in leading academic journals.
For example, an influential paper in the journal Science reported that knapweed produced poisons that killed native species.
In the academic and agricultural world, the prevailing view was that invasive species like spotted knapweed were crowding out native species on farmland and the prairie, that they had to be eradicated or at least controlled, and that the best means of doing this was through the use of herbicides.
Tim Seastedt, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, has spent about 14 years studying the spread and control of knapweeds. His research contradicts the view that knapweed is a floral WMD.
Further, his work indicates that weed-eating bugs such as certain flies and weevils—knapweed’s natural predators—can keep and are keeping the weed under control.
A group of landowners in an area known as Spruce Gulch near Boulder asked Seastedt’s group for help in 2001 because they didn’t want herbicides in their water supply. So he introduced the seedhead weevil, which attacks the plant’s seeds at the top of the plant, and the knapweed root weevil, which goes underground and attacks the plant’s roots.
In 2010, Seastedt and CU researcher David Knochel reported that by using only the biological controls—meaning weed-eating insects—one area of Spruce Gulch has shown an 80 percent decline in plant densities since 2007.
In several recent studies funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Seastedt and Knochel have replicated these results.
Knapweed is native to Eurasia and was accidentally carried into the United States in the late 1800s, according to the USDA. It has spread over millions of acres of land in North America, out-competing native species.
Knapweed can crowd out alfalfa and other plants on which cows graze. The weeds’ spread seemed to accelerate in the 1990s.
In 1996, Boulder County began using helicopters to spray herbicides on diffuse knapweed, a close relative of spotted knapweed. In 1997, Seastedt told the county commissioners that spraying made little sense.
Spraying herbicides on 1,000-acre parcels in a sea of tens of thousands of acres of knapweed would not have any long-term benefit, he said.
The county let Seastedt conduct experiments on public land, trying to control knapweed with some of the plant’s natural predators, which had not arrived with the weed itself.
“We started with about 50 insects against about a million plants in 1997,” Seastedt recalls. The bugs took awhile to make an impact. On one parcel of land, the number of knapweed stems per square meter more than doubled between 1997 and 2000.
By 2001, however, the knapweed density had dropped about 80 percent. It fell even more the following two years. Density rose slightly in 2004 and ’05, then fell again to near-zero levels.
The introduction of knapweed’s natural predators was part of the reason for the decline. Another was that as knapweed populations struggled, other species bounced back. “We demonstrated that plant competition mattered,” Seastedt notes. “The invaders didn’t really do well if competing plant species were present.”
Still, “The surprise was how well the biocontrols worked and how quickly they worked,” he said. The results have been replicated from Colorado to British Columbia.
Knapweed seems to have been controlled in its native lands by traditional predators, and it appears to be manageable here too. With the addition of natural predators and competing plants, “It still exists, but it’s not an ecological threat,” Seastedt said.
CU Press Release–Read more on this story soon in Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine at http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine.
Adults who take one of the world’s most commonly prescribed sleep medications are significantly more at risk for nighttime falls and potential injury, according to a new study by the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The study, which involved 25 healthy adults, showed 58 percent of the older adults and 27 percent of the young adults who took a hypnotic, sleep-inducing drug called zolpidem showed a significant loss of balance when awakened two hours after sleep. The findings are important because falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, and 30 percent of adults 65 and older who fall require hospitalization each year, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Kenneth Wright, lead study author.
To measure balance, the research team used a technique known as a “tandem walk” in which subjects place one foot in front of the other with a normal step length on a 16-foot-long, six-inch-wide beam on the floor. In 10 previous practice trials with no medication, none of the 25 participants stepped off the beam, indicating no loss of balance. All participants were provided with stabilizing assistance to prevent falls during the trials, he said.
“The balance impairments of older adults taking zolpidem were clinically significant and the cognitive impairments were more than twice as large compared to the same older adults taking placebos,” said Wright, a faculty member in the integrative physiology department. “This suggests to us that sleep medication produces significant safety risks.”
The new CU-Boulder study is the first to measure both the walking stability and cognition of subjects taking hypnotic sleep medicines or placebos. In addition to the balance problems caused by zolpidem, the study also showed that waking up after two hours of sleep after taking zolpidem enhances sleep inertia, or grogginess, a state that temporarily impairs working memory. The study participants were given computerized performance tests that involved adding randomly generated numbers.
A paper on the subject was published Jan. 13 in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. Co-authors included CU-Boulder’s Daniel Frey, Justus Ortega, Courtney Wiseman and Claire Farley. The study was funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health.
The effects of sleep inertia even without sleep medication has previously been shown to cause cognitive impairment, said Wright. But when the CU-Boulder study subjects took zolpidem rather than a placebo, the cognitive impairments essentially doubled.
One unexpected study finding was that young people taking placebos appear to be more cognitively impacted by sleep inertia than older adults taking placebos, he said.
A 2006 study led by Wright showed that study subjects who took no sleep medicine and were awakened after eight hours of sleep were more cognitively impaired, for a short period of time, than a totally sleep deprived person.
Several billion doses of zolpidem have been prescribed worldwide, said Wright, who also directs CU-Boulder’s Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory. Zolpidem is a generic drug that is marketed under a number of different brand names, including Ambien, Zolpimist, Edluar, Hypogen, Somidem and Ivedal.
The CU-Boulder team also measured balance and cognition in older adults who took no sleep medication and were kept awake for two hours past their normal bedtime. They found that 25 percent of these older adults failed the tandem walking balance test, which is consistent with what is seen in people who have insomnia. “Just having insomnia itself increases your risk of falls, even without sleep medication,” he said.
The finding that zolpidem affected older adults more than younger adults in balance tests may be explained in part by the fact that both groups were given five milligram doses on study nights. While the normal dose for older adults is five milligrams, the standard dosage for younger adults being treated for insomnia is 10 milligrams. “This is an area that needs more study,” he said.
The study results showing that both hypnotic sleep medications and sleep inertia cause significant impairment have important public health implications, said Wright. In older adults, falls have caused millions of nonfatal injuries annually and more than 300,000 fatalities worldwide. “Falls can be very debilitating, especially when older people break their hips and require hospitalization, causing their quality of life to go down,” said Wright.
In addition, the cognitive impairments caused by both zolpidem and sleep inertia may impact decision-making, including responding to situations like fire alarms and medical emergencies as well as caring for sick children or driving to a clinic or hospital, said Wright.
“One of the goals of this study was to understand the risk of this sleep medication and of sleep inertia on human safety and cognition and to educate adults and health care workers about potential problems,” said Wright. “We are not suggesting that sleep medications should not be used, because they have their place in terms of the treatment of insomnia.”
One possible solution to reducing falls of older people due to zolpidem, other sleep medications or sleep inertia would be to install bedside commodes for those who frequently wake up in the night to void themselves, said Wright. Additional research is needed on this important public health and safety topic, he said.
Source: CU-Boulder news release