Latest research news

August 13, 2003

Opinion divided over stem cells that heal heart attacks
Injections of hardy stem cells have helped rats to recover from a heart attack. But researchers are still arguing about the value of such cells for human patients. Hopes for the stem-cell treatment were raised in 2001 when two reports revealed that mouse bone-marrow stem cells, which normally make blood, had patched up damaged heart tissue. But in many ensuing studies, more than 90 per cent of cells pumped into the heart died within two days.

Lights will go out in 10 billion years
"The universe is getting dimmer and dimmer," says Alan Heavens. Star numbers, his University of Edinburgh team has found, are falling. They calculate that star formation is now around 30 times slower than around 6 billion years ago, when our Sun was created. "Within 5 or 10 billion years the Universe will be a pretty dark place," says Heavens. "But you probably won't start to notice the difference for a billion years."

Copper link to Alzheimer's disease
Copper may increase the growth of the protein clumps in the brain that are a trademark of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new US study on rabbits. Researchers first noticed that the rabbits they use to model Alzheimer's disease developed fewer plaques in their brains when they drank distilled water rather than tap water. These insoluble plaques, generated in the rabbits via a high-cholesterol diet, are a trademark of the degenerative illness.
(New Scientist)

Barrier reef bleaching worsens
Coral bleaching caused by global warming could devastate swaths of Australia's Great Barrier Reef within 50 years, according to a report. The study, commissioned by the Queensland government, found that bleaching could be an annual occurrence by 2050.
(The Guardian)

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