Latest research news

May 26, 2004

IVF baby born using sperm frozen in 1979
A baby born using sperm which was frozen for 21 years is believed to mark a world record in fertility treatment, British researchers said on Monday. The boy, who was born in Manchester, was conceived from sperm donated just before his father underwent treatment for testicular cancer when a teenager, in 1979.
( The Times )

Public still in the dark over Beagle
The government and European space chiefs have refused to publish the full report into the loss of the Beagle 2 Mars probe, even though British taxpayers contributed more than £22 million to the cost of the mission. The decision, justified on grounds that the report contained "commercially sensitive" information, led some scientists to accuse the authors of a cover up.
( Daiyl Telegraph )

Beagle inquiry hints at return to Mars
A secret inquest into the loss of Britain's Martian lander Beagle 2 has ended with 19 recommendations for the European Space Agency - and a hint that a Beagle 3 might return to Mars under European colours.
( The Guardian )

Scientist's nuclear pleas fuels debate
A former Labour energy minister and the nuclear industry both welcomed the call by the scientist James Lovelock for a massive expansion of the nuclear industry to combat global warming. They also forecast that Professor Lovelock's call would force more environmentalists to consider whether nuclear power really posed a greater threat to humanity than climate change.
( Independent )

E-numbers do harm children, research shows
Artificial colourings and preservatives in food and drink boost levels of hyperactivity in pre-school children and urgent consideration should be given to removing them, doctors claim. The additives have a "significant" impact on the behaviour of ordinary children and their elimination would be in the long-term interests of public health, researchers from the University of Southampton say.
( Independent )

Industrial pollution may double twin births
High levels of environmental pollution may increase the rate of twin births, suggests a new study. Industrial pollution from a toxic waste incinerator more than doubled the proportion of twins born to mothers living nearby, compared with those living in away from pollution in the Hesse region of Germany.
( New Scientist )

Beware doctors wearing ties
Beware well-dressed doctors. Their ties might present a health risk. A study in New York has found that 47% of ties worn by medical staff at one hospital harboured bacteria and that clinicians were eight times more likely to have bugs in their ties than security staff.
( The Guardian )

High winds suck oxygen from Everest
Climbers on Mount Everest could die because of sudden drops in air pressure triggered by high winds, according to scientists who have analysed weather patterns around the summit. Better forecasting of these events could save lives, they say.
( Nature )

Cutting is one in a million
More than a million plants are on display at the Chelsea Flower Show — everything from common flowers to one of the world’s rarest climbers. Only one specimen of the New Zealand plant Tecomanthe speciosa has been found in the wild but a cutting from it has allowed it to be seen at the exclusive London show. The only wild specimen that is known to exist is on the remote Kermadec Island, 20 miles off New Zealand. All the rest have been eaten by goats introduced by settlers.
( The Times )

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