MPs back free access to research results
The results of publicly funded scientific research carried out in Britain should be made freely available to all and the government should help universities fund digital archives of their academic work, a committee of MPs urged on Tuesday.
Animal rights activists halt building of laboratory
Animal rights protesters claimed victory on Monday after Montpellier, the construction group, pulled out of its contract to build a controversial vivisection laboratory at Oxford University. The company's subsidiary, Walter Lilly, is abandoning the project after a campaign of pressure from activists, including hoax letters to shareholders urging them to sell out, which has pushed shares down to their lowest level in four years.
MoD 'gag' on details of Gulf war illness
The "manipulations and manoeuvres" of the Ministry of Defence were condemned on Monday after it approached scientists researching "Gulf War Syndrome" and asked them to limit their co-operation with an independent inquiry into veterans' illnesses. The criticism came on the second day of open hearings to Lord Lloyd of Berwick, a former Lord Justice of Appeal. The inquiry had been taking testimony from former servicemen who blame the 1991 conflict for a range of subsequent medical problems.
Report links cot death to gene fault
A faulty gene could be responsible for some cases of cot death, or sudden infant death syndrome, according to a group of US researchers. Tests on Amish families from Pennsylvania have found a new disorder that causes sudden death and sometimes malformation of the genitals. The findings, in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could explain some of the thousands of unexpected deaths each year.
Bad diet and obesity raise Alzheimer's risk
People who are obese and have high cholesterol and blood pressure are six times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to new evidence. A study of elderly Finns, reported yesterday at an Alzheimer’s conference in Philadelphia, found that the same factors that lead to heart disease also greatly increase the risk of dementia.
Vaccine success for skin cancer patients
A vaccine to treat melanoma — the deadliest of skin cancers — is to be tested in Britain after encouraging results from a clinical trial in Australia. Of 19 patients given the vaccine, only two showed any recurrence of the cancer two years later, compared with five out of seven who were given placebo injections.
Future looks bright for sun-lovers as drug offers 'instant tan'
It may not be instant but it is pretty damn quick. Scientists have developed a drug that boosts tanning by speeding up the rate at which skin darkens when exposed to sunlight. In tests, people who tanned in the ordinary way required 50 per cent more time lying in the sun than those who took the drug before stripping off. The tans of those who received the treatment - given by injection - also lasted at least three weeks longer. The research is at an early stage, but the drug could potentially hit sales of sun cream yet at the same time cut rates of skin cancer.
Gene scientists plan aggression drug
Scientists have raised the prospect of drugs being developed to treat violent behaviour. As experts gathered in London for a conference to discuss the role that genes play in aggression, Professor Donald Pfaff of Rockefeller University said there was enough known about how genes influence behaviour in animals to consider designing human medicines to fight the rising tide of antisocial behaviour.
'We have proof that Lenin died of syphilis'
For decades it was no more than a whispered rumour in the corridors of Soviet medicine but now a team of doctors claim to have proved that Lenin, communism's greatest icon, died of syphilis. Israeli doctors, writing in the European Journal of Neurology, say they used medical records pieced together from archives released after the fall of communism to reconstruct the first Soviet leader's illness and death.