Creatine, a compound found in meat, can bulk up your brain power. So claims an Australian study reported in Health Day News.

In a study using vegetarians as subjects, researchers found that taking creatine as a dietary supplement boosted working memory and general intelligence. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Proceedings B.

In the study, researchers monitored the effect of 5g./day of creatine supplement given to 45 young adult vegetarians, a level comparable to that taken to boost sports fitness, lead researcher Caroline Rae says. However, to gain 5g./day of creatine through meat consumption would necessitate a person eating 2 kg. (or 4.4 lbs.) daily.

The study subjects were divided into two groups, one receiving creatine, and the other a placebo for six weeks. That was followed by six weeks of no intake of placebo or creatine by either group. In the final six weeks, the control and placebo groups were swapped.

Memory and intelligence were tested at the start of the trial, the end of the first six-week period, and the start and end of the final six-week period. The results showed that in both groups and both test scenarios, creatine supplementation gave a significant measurable boost to brainpower,” Rae says.

The Livestock Assistance Program (LAP) signup period ends Oct. 24. The program makes $250 million in federal funds available to livestock producers for grazing losses in either 2001 or 2002. USDA says funding may be adjusted proportionately if the total value of all applications at that time is in excess of $250 million.

To qualify, a producer's grazing land must be located in a county declared a primary disaster area under a Presidential or Secretarial declaration. The county must have been approved after Jan. 1, 2001, and a designation requested no later than Feb. 20, 2003, and subsequently approved. Contiguous counties aren't eligible.

During 2001 or 2002, a livestock producer must have suffered a 40% or greater loss of grazing production for three or more consecutive months. Payments will be made on a per head basis of eligible livestock. Go to for more info.

Seven ranches will vie as regional finalists for the 2004 National Environmental Stewardship Award. Sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, the seven ranches and an overall winner will be recognized at next January's cattle industry convention in Phoenix, AZ.

The regional honorees include: Llangollen Farms, Middleburg, VA; Carlton 2×4 Ranch, Arcadia, FL; M&M Cattle Company, Carthage, MO; Canyon View Farms, Geary, OK; Frasier Farms, Woodrow/Limon, CO; Work Family Ranch, San Miguel, CA; and Barenthsen Red Angus Ranch, Powers Lake, ND.

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is suspected in a $20-million arson case in San Diego, CA. Regarded by the FBI as among the most violent U.S. terrorist groups, ELF is suspected of the arson that destroyed an unoccupied five-story apartment complex in late July. A banner reading “If you build it, we will burn it,” with the initials “ELF,” was found next to the burning building that was still under construction.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is under government scrutiny. The Senate Finance Committee is seeking thousands of pages of internal documents from TNC as part of an independent review of the environmental organization's charitable practices.

In a letter sent July 16 to TNC president Steven J. McCormick, the committee asked for records going back 10 years and spanning 18 topics. Along with general explanations of TNC policies, the committee is requesting detailed information on individuals who received loans and land from the nonprofit organization.

The intent of the letter dates back to last May when the senators indicated they would scrutinize TNC after The Washington Post reported on a range of TNC practices, including the group's sale of scenic property to trustees who in turn made tax-deductible donations to the organization.

The letter includes more than 100 questions and requests for information, and covers such cases as a dozen home loans to TNC employees, including $1.5 million extended to McCormick and a no-interest $500,000 mortgage extended to California state director Graham Chisholm. The committee seeks details of land sales to government agencies, including appraisals and any profits banked by TNC.

A new foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) test distinguishes vaccinates from infected cattle. As reported in the science journal Nature Science, the development of the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which correctly recognized blood samples from 50 infected and 1,000 vaccinated cows, means immunization could replace culling in controlling future FMD outbreaks.

FMD expert David Paton of the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright, UK, says the test “could easily be made into a strip test — like a dipstick.” Animals could then be checked quickly in the field, reports Reuters.

The test spots the antibodies that infected cattle produce against the FMD virus replicating in their cells. Animals vaccinated with inactivated virus don't produce the antibodies.

Similar kits exist, but the test developed by Armin Saalmüller and his colleagues at the Institute for Immunology of the Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals in Tübingen, Germany, is quicker to use and costs one-fifth the price.