Latest research news

April 21, 2004

Suburb studies finds a home on the college agenda
It is the place we love to ridicule - the mock Tudor home of the Bisto family where Tupperware is king and Shake n' Vac is the drug of choice. But now suburbia is to gain status at last as academic subject matter with the opening of the country's first suburban studies research centre. Based appropriately at Kingston University, just down the road from the Surbiton, south-west London, setting of the suburban comedy The Good Life , the new centre will examine the suburb in film, fiction and history, attempting to challenge traditional perceptions often locked in the 1970s.
( The Guardian )

Solvent 'raises risk of female cancers'
A solvent commonly found in paint, varnishes, dyes and fuel additives can raise the level of female hormones in the body and increase the risk of breast or ovarian cancer, researchers said yesterday. Ethylene glycol methyl ether has been found to boost the activity of oestrogen and progesterone in cells by up to 10 times. The research is the first to show that the activity takes place inside cells.
( Daily Telegraph )

Database lists human genes
Researchers have compiled a comprehensive catalogue of over 21,000 human genes: as many as three-quarters of the total number of genes thought to be in our genome. Experts say the catalogue, called the Human Full-length Complementary-DNA Annotation Invitational Database, will help geneticists identify what each gene does in the human body, including their contribution to certain diseases.
( Nature )

Easy way to live longer: just starve yourself
An extreme low-calorie diet can dramatically reduce the risk of developing diabetes or the clogged arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes, scientists in the United States have discovered. Diet regimes that restrict calorie intake to two thirds of recommended levels can slash decades from the cardiovascular “age” of their followers, the first study of their long-term health effects has revealed.
( The Times )

Iron may improve women's memory
Young women may be able to achieve significant improvements in memory and concentration by taking iron supplements, scientists have found. Women between 18 and 35 who took iron supplements for 16 weeks did better at tests of mental performance compared to women of the same age who did not take extra iron.
( The Independent )

Cod retreat from UK as warmer waters lure tuna and sharks
Cod and other coldwater fish in the North Sea and North Atlantic could soon be replaced by subtropical marine species such as tuna, sharks and sea horses lured by warmer waters caused by climate change. One of Britain's leading marine scientists has warned that a minor change in temperature of the seas off the north-west coast of Scotland and the rest of the UK is having a dramatic effect on traditional marine life.
( The Independent )

Chicken shed litter breeds resistance to drugs
Large chicken sheds are a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria which could make human infections more difficult to treat with conventional medicines, a study from the University of Georgia in the US has found.
( Independent )

British bluebell faces extinction
The great British bluebell could be wiped out by its Spanish cousin within a decade, conservationists have warned.
( Daily Mail )

Particle physicists rescue rare vinyl recordings
Classic audio recordings preserved on a warped and damaged records could yet be rescued for future generations using an optical analysis technique originally developed to keep track of subatomic particles. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, US, adapted a sensitive instrument used to build a colossal particle accelerator as a highly sensitive optical recording method.
( New Scientist )

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