Latest research news

August 13, 2002

Ten numbers that can trace your family tree
An Oxford University spin-off company is to launch a service that will enable the public to trace their ancestors by typing  DNA code into the internet. The service from Oxford Ancestors, founded by Brian Sykes, professor of genetics at Oxford, can be used by anyone who knows their ten-digit code for their Y chromosome, which is easily found by sending the company a swab taken from the inside of your cheek, and £150. When the code is typed into the website, it will bring up the matches for a person's surname and DNA and the country where they live.

Killer virus may spread through US, expert says
America's epidemic of West Nile virus, the disease passed on by mosquitoes that has claimed at least seven lives, is the worst in US history and may spread to the whole of the country, according to Dr Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control.
(Times, Guardian)

Scientists identify brain's lie detector
A 'cheating centre' in the brain has been identified by researchers led by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The findings suggest 2 million years of human evolution have led to a specialised set of brain cells devoted to the critically important social task of detecting whether someone is a cheat or a liar.
(Independent, Daily Telegraph)

Leukaemia drug approved in U-turn
Cancer charities have welcomed a reversal by the medicines watchdog that will back the use of a 'landmark' drug for the treatment of leukaemia in the NHS. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence said that Gilvec should be recommended for patients who had not responded to other therapies or who were in the chronic stage of the disease.
(Independent, Financial Times, Times)

A banana a day can keep strokes at bay
A daily banana is a good way of warding off strokes, scientists at the Queen's Medical Center in Hawaii have found. An eight-year study of 5,600 men and women over 65 found those with the least potassium in their diet were 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those with the most. Bananas are a useful source of potassium.
(Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph)

Scientists breed mice that stay slim
An animal that can eat a rich, high-fat diet without putting on weight or risking diabetes has been created by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. The development of mice that defy attempts to make them fat provides new insights into the genetic mechanisms that underpin diet and suggest it may one day be possible to devise drugs to protect against obesity and diabetes.
(Daily Telegraph)

Thalidomide campaigner dies
Professor Richard Smithells, the award-winning paediatric researcher who fought for compensation for the victims of Thalidomide, has died aged 77.

Brand names bring special buzz
It is what every advertiser would have dreamed of - brand names have a unique impact on our brains. Brand names engage the "emotional", right-hand side of the brain more than other words, new experiments suggest. (New Scientist) 

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