Ban on stem cell work 'would be disastrous'
Pioneering British research that could revolutionise the treatment of disease is being threatened by European plans to ban experiments on cloned embryo stem cells, say leading scientists. They believe the proposals are being driven by anti-abortion campaigners and would be "disastrous" for patients.
Raise investment to £1bn, MRC tells MPs
Investment in British medical research should be doubled to nearly £1 billion, Colin Blakemore, the new head of the Medical Research Council, told MPs yesterday. His plea is likely to be backed by the Commons' science and technology committee despite its criticisms earlier this year over the council's priorities and the way it handled grant applications from researchers.
Cot deaths not affected by sleeping position, doctor says
Putting babies to sleep on their backs may not prevent cot deaths, a specialist claims today. The fall in cot deaths seen around the world over the last two decades may instead be the result of the natural variation witnessed in all diseases, a review of research indicates.
Public is baffled, drug firms admit
British drugs companies admitted yesterday that it is very difficult for the public to find out how well prescription medicines work. In a survey of ten firms carried out by The Independent, none could cite where the layman could easily discover how well products performed in clinical trials.
The findings come a day after a senior executive with Britain's leading drugs company admitted that most prescription drugs do not work for most people.
Teenagers facing a health time bomb
The binge drinking, drug taking, sexually careless behaviour of today's adolescents is setting them up to become the most obese and infertile generation of adults ever, warns a report from Britain's doctors. Adolescents are falling through the gap between services provided for those who are younger or older than they are, says the British Medical Association in a report out yesterday.
Fear of new things shortens life
Animals with an innate phobia of novelty have higher levels of stress hormones after a new experience and die significantly younger than their braver kin, new research has found. The work suggests that a lifetime of fearful stress can take an accumulated toll on health.
Mathematicians dispute proof of century-old problem
A mathematics journal has withdrawn a paper that claimed to crack one of the discipline's great mysteries, the second part of Hilbert's sixteenth problem, after reviewing and accepting the work and publishing it online. (Nature)
Trees link leukaemia clusters
Three different clusters of childhood leukaemia in the western United States may be linked to high levels of tungsten in the environment, a new study hints. Paul Sheppard of the University of Arizona in Tucson compared metal concentrations in tree rings for the past five years with those from a five-year period during the 1980s when leukaemia rates were normal. He found that tungsten levels had risen and that there was no detectable change in the level of any other metal.