Latest research news

May 19, 2004

Car fumes 'may cause one in six cot deaths'
Exhaust fumes from vehicles may be to blame for up to a sixth of cot deaths, says an international study. Soot from combustion is already linked with lung disease, asthma and a rise in deaths from cardiovascular disease. Now scientists have linked the tiny pollutant particles with 16 per cent of unexplained deaths among babies of normal birth weight.
(Daily Telegraph)

Scientific studies back Atkins diet
People on the Atkins diet do lose weight quickly without damaging changes in their cholesterol levels, according to two new studies. But the studies have failed to silence critics of the diet, who want the US government to investigate alleged adverse effects. The Atkins Foundation helped to fund the research but had no involvement in it.
(New Scientist, Times)

Drinking soda linked to gullet cancer rise
The steep rise in some cancers of the gullet in developed countries could be explained by the massive increase in the consumption of fizzy soft drinks, suggests a new study. Researchers at Tata Memorial Hospital, India, found a "very significant correlation" between the rise in consumption and oesophageal cancer globally.
(New Scientist)

Blood test hope for cancer sufferers
A simple blood test being pioneered in Scotland may help to improve survival rates for ovarian cancer by revealing which patients are likely to develop a resistance to chemotherapy. Details were given on Monday by Robert Brown, a professor at Glasgow University, when he attended a meeting of senior Cancer Research UK scientists in Yorkshire.
(The Herald)

Dirty homes bug hygiene scientists
Scientists today launch a major demolition of the "hygiene hypothesis" which suggests that our clean, sterile modern homes could be a cause of rising allergies in the UK, and warn that tolerating dirt could lead to a rise in harmful bugs and infectious diseases.
(Guardian)

Brain scans prove teenagers are children at heart
The terrifying transition from angelic child to stroppy teenager is the result of a blip in the brain, a scientist has concluded. She found that part of the brain involved with higher reasoning is the last to mature, which could explain teenage angst and sullen behaviour.
(Independent)

Early man had mining in mind
An Israeli research team has caught our ancestors in the act of learning to mine raw materials for tools. The discovery suggests that some cave-dwellers were mining flint 300,000 years ago, while their neighbours were still using whatever stones were lying around.
(Nature)

Written in the stars
A British scientist's new book claims that astrology may be right after all. Percy Seymour, a former Plymouth University astronomy lecturer, argues that the movement of planets cause variations in the Earth's magnetic field. These in turn affect the development of unborn babies' brains.
(Guardian)

Vanishing coat appearing soon
Invisibility cloaks may be the stuff of fantasy in Harry Potter adventures but "optical camouflage" technology being developed at the University of Tokyo comes close to making them a reality. As demonstrated at an exhibition of emerging technologies in San Francisco, it is possible to see straight through someone wearing a special coat and make out a blur of the objects directly behind them.
(Independent)

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