Minister says animal tests vital for science
The government declared unequivocally yesterday that animal experiments remain essential for medical advances, human welfare, and protection of the environment. The government said the idea of a British research centre for the three Rs was "worth exploring further", but warned that research into alternatives to animal testing should be seen as mainstream science rather than as a science of opposition.
Electric toothbrush fails to sparkle
Most electric toothbrushes are no better than traditional brushes at preventing tooth decay and gum disease, an independent group of researchers said yesterday. The largest study of its kind found that only powered brushes with a "rotation-oscillation" action were any more effective than manual brushing. Even then, the reduction of plaque and gum disease was "modest" while the benefits were "borderline" in the very long term.
(Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail)
Great uncle aardvark?
The ancient ancestor of all mammals - including humans - probably had close genetic similarities with today's aardvark.
(BBC, The Times)
Fungi iron-out asbestos pollution
"Fungi may help decontaminate asbestos-polluted soils," say Silvia Perotto and co-workers at the University of Torino. They have found a fungus that takes the toxic bite out of asbestos fibres.
Stem cells migrate from bone to brain
Autopsies on four dead women have shown for the first time that stem cells in bone marrow can develop into brain cells, not just blood and bone cells as previously thought. The discovery suggests new approaches for repairing damaged or diseased brains.
'Oldest star chart' found
The oldest image of a star pattern, that of the famous constellation of Orion, has been recognised on an ivory tablet some 32,500 years old.