Latest research news

October 29, 2003

Space station crew back on Earth
The outgoing crew of the International Space Station has arrived safely back on Earth after six months in orbit. The Expedition 7 team, made up of US astronaut Ed Lu and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, touched down in Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz capsule. They came back with Spaniard Pedro Duque, who has spent a week conducting scientific tests on the platform.
(BBC)

Smoking can double risk of multiple sclerosis - especially in men
Smokers are at greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to a study that has established the first clear link between smoking and the nerve disease. Scientists found that smokers in their forties were almost twice as likely as non-smokers to develop MS in later life, with male smokers having 2.7 times the risk.
(Independent)

Red wine chemical may soothe lung disease
A chemical found in red wine may quell inflammation in a severe and incurable lung disease in humans, suggests a new study. The molecule, an antioxidant called resveratrol, is credited for many of the beneficial properties previously associated with the drink.
(New Scientist)

Biggest map of universe clinches dark energy
Astronomers have compiled the largest, most detailed map of the universe so far and believe that it shows beyond doubt the presence of an all-pervading "dark energy" throughout the cosmos. The three-dimensional map contains 200,000 galaxies and covers 6 per cent of the sky.
(New Scientist)

Test-tube 'hair cells' may treat deafness
Treating deafness in the elderly may soon be possible after scientists in America succeeded in growing the cells in the ear involved in detecting sound. The researchers grew fully mature "hair cells" - found only in the inner chamber of the ear - by culturing stem cells from the embryo of a mouse in a test tube.
(Independent, New Scientist)

Rabies threatens world's rarest dog
A rabies outbreak has hit the world's rarest dog, the Ethiopian wolf ( Canis simensis ). Twenty animals have died in the past few weeks; more are expected to succumb. The crisis is centred on the Bale Mountains national park in southeast Ethiopia, home to 300 of the 500 remaining wolves.
(Nature)

Spiders 'remember first date'
A male wolf spider who looks familiar to his mate is less likely to get eaten during courtship, say scientists. Female wolf spiders - schizocosa uetzi - prefer to mate with males which look similar to those they encountered before they were sexually mature. This suggests invertebrates have social recognition, which can be maintained and remembered throughout the different phases of their lives.
(BBC)

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