Latest research news

October 20, 2004

Leaked report damns passive smoking
Passive smoking is a "substantial public health hazard," expert advisers have told the government in a boost to those seeking tobacco bans in restaurants, bars and other work and public places. A report leaked yesterday is said to conclude that knowledge of the hazardous nature of second-hand smoking has consolidated in the past five years and "this evidence strengthens earlier estimates of the size of the health risk."
The Guardian

Passive smoking report 'suppressed'
Ministers were accused yesterday of delaying the publication of a report on the damaging effects of passive smoking for fear of increasing pressure on the Government to ban smoking in public places. Campaigners claim that the report was released four months ago but has been buried by John Reid, the Health Secretary, amid concerns that it will lead to calls for an outright ban on smoking in workplaces.
The Times

Women can prolong lives by starting HRT before 60
Hormone replacement therapy significantly increases the life expectancy of older women, but only if they begin taking the drugs soon after the onset of the menopause, a major review of the evidence has found.
The Times

Health risks found in household aerosol use
Mothers and their babies are being made ill by common household products such as air fresheners, polish, deodorants and hair sprays, researchers at Brunel University claimed on Monday. They said frequent use of such chemicals appeared to increase the risk of diarrhoea, earache and other symptoms in infants as well as headaches and depression in mothers.
The Guardian

Apple a day keeps the cancer away
AN apple a day really can cut the risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests. French scientists conducted tests on rats which showed that chemicals found in apples called procyanidins helped to prevent changes that can lead to cancer.
The Times

Secret to summer loving: vitamin D
The reason why many couples seem to conceive while they are on holiday may have been explained by scientists: sunlight might be good for a man’s sperm.
New research has indicated that vitamin D — which is produced by the human body when exposed to the sun — is critical to the production of sperm, and that a lack of the nutrient may be linked to male infertility.
The Times

Cranberries can help to combat herpes
Cranberries have been shown to help combat one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in Britain. Scientists have found a substance in cranberries that appears to prevent infection of cells in a test tube with the virus that causes genital herpes, though the work has yet to be replicated in humans.

Bacteria are genetically modified by lightning
Lightning is nature’s own genetic engineer. By opening up pores in soil bacteria it allows them to pick up any stray DNA present, report Timothy Vogel, Pascal Simonet and their colleagues at the University of Lyon in France. This hitherto unknown phenomenon might help explain why gene swapping is so common among bacteria.
New Scientist

Is £35m Madonna all she's cracked up to be?
The Madonna of the Pinks takes centre stage at the National Gallery tomorrow amid fresh doubt that the painting is really a Raphael and fears that millions of pounds of public money have been squandered on a 19th-century copy. James Beck, Professor of Art History at Columbia University in New York, said that he has “devastating evidence” which will show the hand of the Renaissance master had nothing to do with the National’s prize exhibit.
The Times

North Sea cod 'may never recover'
North Sea cod stocks may now be so low they may never recover, one scientist said yesterday. The warning came as European Union experts called for a ban on cod fishing in the North Sea, Irish Sea and west of Scotland. The annual assessment of the cod by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea shows there has been no recovery as politicians chose to ignore scientists' calls for a ban for the past two years.
Daily Telegraph

Storms devastate bat population
Summer storms are being blamed for devastating Scotland's bat population prompting fears that global warming could jeopardise the future of the species. The Bat Conservation Trust believes the strong winds and torrential rain deprived the mammals of their essential diet of insects. It forced them to abandon their young leaving them insufficient energy for winter hibernation.

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