Latest research news

July 28, 2004

Activists challenge monkey lab approval
Animal rights activists have challenged the government's approval for a primate research laboratory on greenbelt land even though Cambridge University has since abandoned the project. Campaigners asked a High Court judge to quash John Prescott's decision to give the go-ahead for the "monkey lab" at Girton on the outskirts of Cambridge, claiming it was perverse, unreasonable and unfair.
(Financial Times)

Stem cells hope in stroke therapy
Master cells taken from foetuses may help to repair the brain damage suffered by stroke victims, a new study of rats has suggested. esearch in the United States has shown that stem cells from rat foetuses can move to damaged parts of the brain in stroke-affected animals and start to develop into replacement neurons.
(The Times)

Foetal operation gives a breath of life
A pioneering operation in the womb could save the lives of dozens of babies every year. In research trials almost two thirds of babies who developed a hole in the diaphragm were saved by the operation, which is designed to allow the lungs to develop normally.
(The Times)

Swing test could spot Asperger's in babies
A simple test of whether a six-month-old can hold his head high on a swing could help to diagnose a form of autism - Asperger syndrome - years earlier than at present. People with the condition are more able than those with autism but they still lack social skills. On Tuesday, an American team reports that affected children may be diagnosed as early as infancy by studying how reflexes go astray.
(Daily Telegraph)

Frozen ark to save rare species
A modern version of Noah's Ark, designed to save thousands of creatures from extinction, was launched on Monday by scientists at the Natural History Museum. Rather than being offered refuge on a giant wooden boat, the threatened species face a more prosaic salvation at the bottom of a deep-freeze unit in one of the museum's laboratories in west London.
(The Guardian)

MoD to dredge the Solent for Mary Rose's bow
Marine archaeologists have began the search for a vital missing section of the Mary Rose, the Tudor warship that sank in the Solent more than 450 years ago. The original operation failed to locate the missing section, but less than 20 years later the search is on again because the Ministry of Defence is planning to dredge a deepwater channel which will obliterate the wreck site.
(The Times)

Rogue waves proved to be no sailors’ tall tale
Scientists have discovered that freak or rogue waves that can reach heights of more than 150ft are more than just a seafaring myth. Two satellites operated by the European Space Agency have completed a radar survey from space and found that not only do these waves exist, but also they are more widespread than people feared.
(Daily Mail)

Queen Victoria will speak again thanks to science
Eminent Victorians such as Alfred Tennyson, Florence Nightingale and even Queen Victoria herself might soon speak again to modern ears. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California are turning technology developed for tracking sub-atomic particles to the task of decoding unplayable sound recordings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
(The Times)

Pigeons 'may have followed roads since Roman times'
Pigeons have taken the easy route home and followed major roads and other human thoroughfares for thousands of years, researchers claim. The study, published on Monday by a Swiss team, provides "statistical proof" that the carrier pigeon's uncanny ability to find its home coop depends a great deal on trunk routes, suggesting that the birds have probably relied on human directions as long as people have been changing the landscape.
(Daily Telegraph)

Car fights road rage by turning red with anger
Japanese inventors believe they have the answer to road rage: a car that expresses emotions. They have patented a car that laughs, cries or shows anger, and sings to the occupants. A "vehicle expression system" is vital for today's traffic congestion, the Toyota team says in the patent, registered in Washington DC.
(Daily Telegraph)

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