Green light for Scotland's research pooling plans
Plans to bring together hundreds of researchers in Scotland in physics and chemistry "super departments" will be backed with £37 million of funding, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council announced yesterday. Two major research pooling plans, aimed at securing the place of Scottish research on the world stage, will bring together in two research alliances over 180 chemistry researchers and over 200 physicists and their research groups.
The Guardian ( The Times Higher , September 10)
Umbilical cord cells 'allow paralysed woman to walk'
A woman who has been paralysed for almost 20 years has started to walk again after scientists injected stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood into her spine. The researchers claim the work - which they admit has yet to be replicated - may mark the first case in which a patient with spinal cord injuries has been successfully treated in this way.
Lung cancer patients test 'smart' drug
A major new trial to test the effectiveness of one of the new generation of “smart” drugs to target cancer was launched on Tuesday. Scientists at more than 70 centres across the UK will test the drug Tarceva on patients with advanced lung cancer, which is currently very difficult to treat. The drug, taken orally as a simple white pill, targets a molecule with a key role in the growth and extended lifespan of cancer cells.
GM crops 'no threat to wildlife'
A four-year experiment with genetically modified crops has found no evidence of a threat to British wildlife, scientists announced on Monday. Trials with oilseed rape and sugar beet, genetically modified to tolerate a particular herbicide, and used in rotation, provided some economic benefit to farmers and left a pool of dormant weed seeds that could sprout to provide future food for Britain's farm and woodland birds.
Stressful commute can derail you
Commuters can experience greater stress than a fighter pilot going into battle or a police officer facing a rioting mob, research suggests. A difficult journey to work, and the loss of control felt by the commuter, can induce intense feelings of pressure, fast pulse rates and high blood pressure. David Lewis, a psychologist who carried out the research, said that many workers felt extreme pressure when their daily commute went wrong.
Row over 'Hobbit woman'
She may have only been a midget but her bones have generated a huge row in the world of human palaeontology, already reeling from the dramatic implications of her discovery. All the experts who have studied her tiny skull and skeleton believe the "hobbit woman" found on a remote Indonesian island represents a new human species that only died out in recent history. However, a maverick scientist disputes this interpretation, saying she was just another member of our own species but with a congenital dwarfism disease.
New law means better protection for wildlife
Tough new wildlife laws which took effect on Monday will put Scotland at the leading edge of conservation around the world, a minister claimed. Under the new Nature Conservation Act, public bodies have a legal duty to pay greater heed to the impact of their activities on wildlife and the environment. The legislation also reforms the sites of special scientific interest system and creates new offences aimed at catching anyone who damages them.
Lies 'are recorded in different parts of the brain'
Lying relies on different parts of the brain - and more of them - than telling the truth, a discovery that suggests brain scanners could offer an accurate way to detect deception within a few years.